Whose Hearts are Set on Pilgrimage

942786_871026399616_2048314837_n I moved here with all my worldly possessions in a two door Honda Civic, sight unseen save for a week spent with a friend. No plan, no job, no home, and He made a way for me. Wherever I have gone, whoever speaks strongly into my life, they speak this verse, "A man's gift makes room for him and brings Him before kings." But the gift I have known here more than anything is the Gospel and the King I am before is the King of Kings. I know that's not what that verse means, though, so forgive my interpretation.

I have lived in this home for two years, and the one next door for one year before. Three years on Meadow Lane and it is the longest I have lived anywhere in more than a dozen years. I had forgotten how to live in a place long. Now I am afraid I have forgotten how to leave a place.

Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.

This spring I quietly checked my options—almost all taking me back to the motherland of the northeast. I also considered a move south to our new church campus. In the end, over coffee with a friend who admonished me to let myself love Texas, even if that meant suburbs, I begrudgingly agreed I hadn't. To love these acres of homes, all identical, all brick, all trying their best to be different, to make a statement—meant somehow that I would lose mine.

I am not a suburbanite. I have lived in farmhouses and stone houses, brick houses and bungalows, cottages and apartments, but never the suburbs. I have felt my heart come alive with the gospel in this home and my soul wilt every time I walk out my front door.

A home is what you make of it, isn't it?

In this home, behind these doors, we have seen three girls fall in love, all in the span of one summer. We have planned weddings and showers. We have piled so many of us on my bed I fear for its life every time. We have warmed ourselves around the fire with mugs of tea and good books. We have had conversations deep about Jesus and God and whether He is who He says He is. We have strung two hammocks and made a raised bed garden. We have painted walls and gotten jobs and quit jobs and this week, one will finish graduate school. We have fully lived here and this gift of a home has brought us before one another, kings of a kind.

As they pass through the Valley of Baka (the place of tears), they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools.

Last weekend I packed all of our artwork and our kitchen. My books were next. We're sorting through belongings and trying to figure out who belongs to what and it feels like a divorce of my soul. These girls and this home. Even as they've made their exit with pomp and circumstance and wedding festivities, parts of them remain here and leaving this house feels like leaving this gift. Three years is nothing to most people, but three years of the same people has been God's best grace to me.

Sometimes my strength is my strength—and I know home is a place of strength to me. But sometimes my weakness is my strength and I don't fully know what that means except that God brings us through places of tears and makes them places of life, and surprises us by doing it.

We're leaving this house, and it's with the new roommates I'll take the next season. It feels like weakness and fear today, but God is the strength of my heart and brings me before Him.

They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion. Psalm 84