Chantal, Zoi, and I recently moved to Palm Coast Florida, where I was called to pastor. Which means that what we knew as our “Home” was displaced and relocated for the very first time. Our first home, in Berrien Springs Michigan, was to be left behind for a new one in warm Florida. Though excited to move to a new location, to start a new chapter in our lives, it was tough.
It was difficult to leave the home where Chantal and I shared the first year of marriage together. It was hard to leave the home where we welcomed Zoi, our little puppy, and potty trained her (taking her out every 2 hours for the first week or so), adding another being into our little family. It was strange to come into a new apartment, with new neighbors in a new city. But we welcomed the change and the move, excited to follow where God leads.
As I look back on our move, I realize that both Chantal and I have been wrestling with what “home” really is. Yes, we both had already left our homes in Texas since we had gone to college. Yes, we both had even ventured across the world to live in a different country for a year. Yes, we had gotten married and created our own family. But, we always had a home to go back to in Texas. A physical house where part of our childhoods still lived on throughout every room. Where memories had been formed that were permanently etched on the walls that saw everything.
But now, it’s different. Why you ask? Because our parents are both (interestingly enough) on the verge of moving out of our childhood homes. Though we’ve awaited this moment for a while, excited for both our parents to be able to move on and enjoy retirement life it is strange, to say the least, to acknowledge that our homes will be in the hands of others and that we will never experience home the same.
This situation solidifies in my mind that home isn’t really about the physical location as much as it is about the people. Yes, smells, feels, furniture, decoration, and other stuff all serve important elements in our idea of home. But, at least for me, home is where my loved ones are. Home is the people who make home, home.
Hebrews 11:13-16 tells us of the great people of faith in the Bible that died hoping for a home they could call their own. We are reminded that they had not yet received that home, but that God, instead, is preparing that home for them – which we will also enjoy.
It’s beautiful to realize that it is okay to go through this world and feel as though we have not found our “home;” feeling that we are continually on the move. Because the reality is that this is not our home, and we are awaiting a home that is to come, a home that is full of love, where God is waiting for us.
It’s also neat to realize that home is the people we have around us, our loved ones and those that care for us. Our situations and scenarios may change, but people are what matter most, always.
So though I am in a new apartment, in a new setting, in a new challenge, I am home – for the present moment. Yet awaiting a future home – my permanent home.
Sebastian Lopez has been involved with Enspire Productions since 2010. He is pastoring in Palm Coast, Florida.