Is home really where the heart is?

Let’s unpack this concept a little bit together…

My heart is full. I’ve realized a really wonderful dream in my life, and achieved our families joint vision of living on a farm. I have three fantastic kids, who are absolutely thriving here. My husband has never been more emotionally, physically, spiritually, and mentally content. We are so thrilled to be here and so happy to be walking in the Lord’s calling for our family. In all senses of the word, my heart is full and my heart is here, and therefore my home should be here… where my heart is. Right?

However…

Although this place is feeling more and more like home, it isn’t yet home. This has been bothering me.

But let me clarify here a little bit… I don’t mean Tennessee. I don’t mean Summertown. I don’t mean in my day to day life. I mean, quite literally, this house. The structure I’m physically living in.

So many other things around me feel like home already. Driving around the country roads, going to the store, even the movie theatre the kids and I went to today are wonderful, homey, and I can see my future there perfectly well.

But this house… all I can see is someone else’s past.

And this got me thinking… In what houses have I truly felt like home in before, and why? Well, to answer that, let’s start with why SO MANY places I have lived are NOT home to me.

For one, many of the places I have lived have been other people’s homes. For example, when my mom, my sister and I moved out of the last place I felt like home before I was married- my childhood home in Woodland- the next two places my mom lived we’re my step dad’s. If he lived there, it would never have been home to me.

In San Diego, and all through my college years and beyond, I lived many places that were always temporary. They might have been ‘homey’ but they were never home because they were never mine and they would never hold my future. On any serious paperwork I ever filled out, I would put my mom’s address, because I knew my home was ever changing.

I lived a few places with my husband before we bought our first house, none of which were ‘home’ to me, but all of which were absolutely where my whole heart was.

The first place I remember feeling like home was my childhood house on Stetson Street in Woodland, California. It remains the last place I lived with my mother and father- as a family, as crazy of a family as it was- and it was where my very first memories were made. It’s the home I knew until I realized you could live somewhere that would never be home.

I remember when we moved out, I was sixteen years old, a driver and in high school, and I would come ‘home’ from school to that empty house, long after we had moved out. I would drive over in the mornings on the weekends and shower there. I would go and sit in the empty living room and cry, and mourn the loss of the only ‘home’ I had known. It was a very difficult place for me to leave. I don’t remember feeling that emotional moving out of my dorm room, as an example.

That’s where I learned what ‘home’ means.

Unfortunately, it would be 12 years before I would feel that sense of ‘home’ again.

My second home was on Marigold Court in Minden, Nevada. Thomas and I bought that house- the first home either of us had ever owned- just a few short months before we were to bring our first baby home from the hospital. One could argue that that house was so special, so close to my heart, because it was where two of my children we’re born, where we became a family, and although that is true and certainly contributes to the emotional ties to that home, I don’t think that’s the full reason. That house was our home before we had officially moved in. It was never a house that I tolerated and didn’t love. And there were MANY things I didn’t love about that house. (It was terribly outdated when we moved in, for one). But it was our home from the very beginning.

Now, although I did bring my third baby home from the hospital to my next home in Genoa, Nevada, I can tell you that that house was also our home before we ever moved our things into it. I could picture our future there- even though we were renting and knew it wasn’t our forever home. The same is true for the home on Marigold- we always knew it wasn’t going to be forever. But for whatever reason, these two houses, were home to us.

One was rented, one was owned. Both saw babies come home. Both were temporary- one three years, one only two years. One had a great yard, one had no yard. Neither were closer or farther from church. Both were missing things we wanted and had things we loved.

What made them home?

I was beginning to wonder if maybe it had something to do with new construction! Like I said, all I can see here is someone else’s history and so perhaps that was true in general of the places I have felt like home in the past. But looking back, only one of those three houses were new construction when I moved in. Two of the houses held someone else’s past as well. So what’s the deal?

When I was thinking on it, and trying to gain my perspective on this idea- as I so like to do- I realized that all three of these houses that became homes were empty when I saw them for the first time. This matters to me. I have ZERO idea of how someone else did their furniture. I don’t know what their family was like, or where their kids slept or even if they had kids. I didn’t know how they used the spaces, or why they decided to paint the walls purple. I knew the past was there, but I didn’t know the past.

Here… I know. I see it. It’s everywhere.

I truly have come to very much enjoy the relationship our family has developed with the family who lived here before us- and I know that God intended the connection and relationship- however, it’s still their house. When I am showing people around my ‘home’, I’m filling in the details about the last family that lived here. I am sharing that Gage’s room once housed THREE boys. And Cay and Merit’s room housed their three girls. I know the names, I can see the faces. Pamela’s medicinal garden is in full bloom and it’s beautiful and it’s such a blessing and it’s hers. The pasture, where our pigs now roam, are where their cows would take shelter. I saw the cows. I pet the cows.

I never had any idea of any of these things in the three other places I immediately felt at home. There were certainly stories… they just weren’t a part of my stories.

I’m finding that hard to overcome.

But here is the deal, Readers…

 

God is bigger. Yes, that sounds ridiculous to me too, but I believe it. Because I know that I will build a house here that will have no stories. I will build memories here, that will be far more impactful and lasting than the glimpses of the memories I think I know from the past. I will outlast the emotions of transition, because I’ve done it before.

My dear friend, Tori Hein (also a Tennessee transplant from Nevada, my church, my circle of friends, my small group, my business… THANK YOU GOD for her), reminded me that it’s so wonderful that God allows us so many places to call ‘home.’ He gives us so many beautiful memories that will always send us back to that place of comfort in their presence. And I think that’s beautiful, and I know that that will become true here. The memories and the time spent, will start to be the comfort of home, even if the house never will.

Fun fact: Although I adore Nevada and in so many ways, it will always be ‘back home’ for me now, it was NOT love at first sight. I had no friends when I moved there- as a matter of fact I knew no one. I didn’t have a church or community. I didn’t have a home that I loved or felt at home in. I didn’t like driving in the snow I now miss so much, and I didn’t like that the sun was behind the mountains by 4pm in the summer and I didn’t like that I had to drive so far to go… back home…

Yes, the very place I love and miss and cherish as my home, started out as a place I didn’t know, felt lost in, and couldn’t find any peace.

And then… Life. Time. Memories. And even peace.

Home.

Home sprung right on out of the place that was so foreign to me I would cry myself to sleep. Home found me in the middle of it. And I found home right back.

And I know I will again. I have faith. I believe. Because when you know you’re where you’re supposed to be, and when you know you’re heart is fully here and fully full… home can’t be far behind.

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