“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ…”
October 13, 2017
6 months. My favorite age. The bountiful rolls of a well feed baby, the personality developing as sitting by himself and scooting around would be a new normal. The 4 foot radius of adventure at his fingertips, encouraging him to push his boundaries only to experience gravity. I desire to know everything about Tyler. I wonder what his favorite toy would be; if he would love Foxy the way Connor has taken it and cared so tenderly for it? Which sibling would be his favorite? 6 months. My favorite earthly age.
Heaven’s collection of my sweet Tyler leaves me longing for my Home.
October 13, 2018
I recall the first time I was homesick. I was 5. It was a fairly short drive to Terrell, Texas to meet up with my grandparents where the “drop off” location (I’m almost positive was a gas station), was predetermined by my, more than ready for a break, parents of 5 lively children. The car ride was fun as they used to play old 50’s songs on cassette tapes and we would sing along at a cool 55mph down interstate 20. But then something started to happen as we pulled into the parking lot and I saw my grandparents standing outside their brand new Cadillac, waiting for the Smith clan to impose upon their very structured and very tidy lifestyle! I felt nervous. I could feel tears building as my parents excitement was probably boiling over. I kept telling myself that my brother and sisters were going to be with me so I would be ok; it would be just like home. Only, it wasn’t.
We packed into that Cadillac and headed into Dallas. I think I looked behind us a dozen times hoping Mom and Dad had changed their minds and really didn’t want a few days on their own. (Ridiculous, I know, but that took me becoming a parent to understand what a gift a couple of days on our own really was.). Despite my best efforts of willing that Mom and Dad loved me so much, that they really wouldn’t leave me with grandparents, I found myself dragging my bag into the home of, Merle Montgomery. Her name speaks for itself and describes the pristine home in which she maintained, fully equipped with white carpet and breakable objects on every coffee table, credenza and bureau. Not just the nickel and dime type breakables, the valuable finds from their travels throughout the world! Most people walked into their home ooooing and awwwwing over the luxurious decor and antiques. Me, I felt uncomfortable and just wanted to be back home.
I recount these memories because it always fascinates me to think about those weeks with my grandparents. They had a beautiful home with all the comforts of air conditioning and blue bell ice cream flowing freely. Though she was not known for her ability to cook, Merle made ME the best lemon cake I have ever had, and she always told me, despite my many other siblings, that she made it just for ME! They always let us carry our own tray through the Luby’s line and get whatever we wanted. We got tucked in at night and kissed on the forehead. In fact, my older sister and I slept in what I always thought was the most beautiful room on earth. It came fully equipped with a white wicker bed and the most frilly, delicate bedspread along with a china doll placed around dozens of white lacy pillows. There was even a white wicker chair and a gorgeous dressing screen which I thought was so magical. They would spend a day taking us shopping for clothes, which was always my least favorite day, but even then I was grateful for their gifts. So all this to say, it was fun and rewarding to be there but each night when I had to close my eyes and sleep in that beautiful wicker bed, despite my sister’s presence (but seriously, thank God she was there!), I got homesick. Each morning that came I got excited to think that maybe this was the day we would load up in that Caddy and return to that creepy gas station along I-20. I longed for home despite the enjoyment of my time from it.
My longing for Home has new perspective of a hope I never experienced, and it makes my early years of life and those feelings of homesickness make so much sense. I find so many parallels between my 5 year old feelings and my 40 year old feelings. My beautiful abode is comfortable and tidy, nowhere near as tidy as Merle’s but that was unnatural. I buy blue bell often and enjoy it with my kids. Although I haven’t been to a Luby’s in years, Ryan would not stop me from putting anything on my tray. I get to do the kissing and tucking in for my own wild arrows. I have several rooms in my house that I think are beautiful and beyond anything I ever thought I would have. I still don’t like to shop for clothes but I can whenever I need some. My sister no longer brings me the comfort of her presence at night but I receive that comfort from a handsome young man that curls up with me and still calls me his bride. And despite the fun, along with the rewards and comforts of earth, each night I close my eyes, I get homesick. I’d like to tell you that I’ve always felt that way. It’s not true.
Until Tyler beat me Home, I didn’t long for eternity like that 5 year old me that would wake with joyful excitement, not knowing, but hoping that “today” would be the day to go home. I honestly feared that I would miss out on so much life, that eternity was for me to ponder after I had watched my children marry, played with grandchildren on the floor, and taught a group of young women how to fall in love with Jesus. All this to say, it sounds fun and rewarding, but oh how I long for Home with a heart that now understands where it truly belongs. My heart was designed by the Creator and His Spirit dwells within me, constantly stirring me to long for Home, feel out of place and a foreigner in this land, yet live and prosper in it. In Hebrews 11, Abraham is described as a temporary resident of the Promised Land…Why? because verse 10 tells us,
“For he was looking forward to the city with permanent foundations, of which the architect and builder is God.”
Isn’t this the perfect explanation of why a 5 year old little girl gets homesick…and a 40 year old little girl gets sick for Home…there is a permanence about God and His grand design as the architect and His craft as the builder…
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart…”
The God who formed the intricacies of every human heart placed the longing desire for eternity…for lasting fellowship with Him.
I think we gain a better understanding of this statement when we look at how Paul describes his homesickness.
“For to me, life is the Messiah, and death is gain. But if by living on in the body I can do fruitful work, then I don’t know which to choose. I am caught in a dilemma: my desire is to go off and be with the Messiah-that is better by far-but because of you, the greater need is to stay on in the body.”
Paul stayed on. Paul continued to serve and suffer for the Messiah. Paul continued to rejoice and celebrate as the church expanded and God’s kingdom grew. But His heart, just like Abraham’s, was set on the permanent foundations God constructed in order that death would not win and the grave would not keep its control over the human heart and those who trust in Him would be rewarded with eternal life and completed union with God. He taunted the idea of death claiming it would only gain Him his one desire, Jesus. God designed us for fellowship with Him on Earth and in Heaven. I marvel at the fact that Jesus left the side of the Father knowing He would be forsaken in order that you and I could taste eternity with the Everlasting King.
“if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
I have learned that in my temporary placement on Earth I will live comfortably uncomfortable until I am called Home. I marvel at the thought that my son, whatever age he may be, enjoys perfect fellowship with God.
“When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be! When we all see Jesus we’ll sing and shout the victory.” –When We All Get to Heaven-hymn written by E.E. Hewitt, 1898