Monday, October 19, 2009

A Deeper Sense of Home

I am home! How good it is to be home! Home at last! Finally home!

Have you ever dwelt on the word, H-O-M-E, and what it means to you? Home can be a house, an apartment or some other type dwelling. Home can be a town or a community, yes, simply a location. Home can be permanent or temporary. Some people even have more than one home. I’m sure you’re also acquainted with the same phrase I’ve heard all my life, “Home is where your heart is.” Well, while living in Saudi Arabia, I thought a lot about that particular phrase and all those qualities which make up the special place I call home. There were a number of things that entered my mind as I compiled my mental list. First were the longing thoughts of my country and all the freedoms I dearly missed back in the USA. Those freedoms were fought for and attained by family and friends, yes, bought and paid for with their blood and my love and gratitude for them are very near and dear to my heart. Next were my thoughts of the state in which I was born and raised. Texas, for me, is like unto none other. My heritage runs deep in the piney woods of east Texas where my Grandfather, Amos DuBose, was the first Judge in Newton County. After that, memories surfaced of living in many towns before venturing afar to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia where I lived in a villa temporarily for seven months. Unlike those of you who still reside in or close to the town in which you were born and/or grew up in, I have lived in sixteen locations throughout my adult life. As I thought about each of those locations, I automatically attempted to focus on the positive aspects in my life at each particular place. I attempted to recall those things that caused me to picture myself at “home” there. I have to admit, in some locations the task was impossible. If you have lived in multiple locations, you most probably favor some more than others and feel some were truly “home” as opposed to others feeling uncomfortable or temporary. As I narrowed my list to those which felt more like “home” to me, it was very easy to pick and choose based on the important things that happened to me while living in each location. But something else was very apparent to me as I tried to rationalize what “home” actually meant to me now as compared to then.

Of course, my first and foremost thoughts were of the location where I grew up in a house with my family. For me, this was LaBelle, a small community in southeast Texas. There I was surrounded with love and protection. Hmmm… but it occurred to me that some of the best and worst memories of my entire life also happened there. Never the less, LaBelle is where I also returned to live a second time and where my younger son was born. I made life-long friends in LaBelle. Again, some of the best and worst memories of my entire life happened there.

Second on my list was San Antonio, Texas, where I also made life-long friends. I also lost friends during war while living there. This is where my first son was born. Here too, some of the best and worst memories of my life reside.

Third was Brazoria, Texas, which is where my two sons grew up. In this location, I was close in proximity to my family and also made life-long friends as well. And yes, Brazoria is another location where some of my best and worst memories also reside.

As you can see, there were good and bad memories in each location, so I derived that circumstances are not the determining factor in whether I felt at “home” or not. No other places have come close to feeling like “home” until now…here in Junction, Texas. The fact that I am here is simple yet complex, so yes, it’s a result of God’s master weave in my destiny. I have already made life-long friends here and continue to meet and get to know more wonderful people every day. Junction is not as near to my extended family as I’d like but we have e-mail, cell phones and I can physically reach them in four to six hours. That is a small drawback in comparison to the specialness I have found. I love the solitude I find with my Father on our ranch. I dearly love the Texas Hill Country, the spectacular views of His creations, the opportunities for friendship and fellowship, the abundant wildlife, history and nature’s stories. I love the rivers and exercise finally rocks when kayaking in the South Llano! We’re also building a house on our ranch. That, too, is exciting in and of itself, but the realization that it belongs to God is ever present in my mind. He is, after all, the only reason for it’s possibility. Yet all these things I’ve mentioned are still not what makes Junction my true “home-sweet-home” now. The “specialness” I referred to earlier is not due to the location or qualities I’ve found in Junction. It’s due to the location of my heart and my closeness to God. There has been a long time of waiting…a time of patience…a time of teaching…a time of learning...and finally a time to stand strong and move forward.

You see, all sixteen places I’ve called “home” were and are temporary to me…yes, even now. The same change is within me just as it was for Moses. It’s about God’s timing and the realization of His overwhelming presence and call on and in my life. Unlike Moses, I wasn’t sent into the desert to tend sheep for forty years after experiencing my mountain top in LaBelle, but I did travel an empty road of discouragement…trying to create my own happy “home” in so many places. Then at long last, I found myself facing God and asking Him “me?”… “now?” So the true meaning of “home” for me is, indeed, “where my heart is!” And guess where that is? My heart has experienced a time of great personal growth as a result of God’s call and that of waiting upon Him. I find myself loving the Lord, my God, with all my heart, with all my soul and with all my strength!

“And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.” -Deuteronomy 6:5 (NLT)

How does God know when we love Him? He says that if we love Him, we will obey Him. When we obey God, we set our heart on Him and we truly commit our way to Him. He is in me and I am in Him. I now have true fellowship with the Holy Spirit and oneness with the Lord Jesus Christ and I am at home with my Father…now and throughout eternity!

“Be careful to obey all the commands I give you; show love to the Lord your God by walking in His ways and clinging to Him.” -Deuteronomy 11:22 (NLT)

Also, remember how I said I love the rivers here? Well, Junction is known as the “Land of Living Waters.” Maybe it’s just in line with my destiny, but I find so much enjoyment in connecting one of my favorite verses…

“He who believes in Me … out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” -John 7:38 (NLT)

Yes, I am home! How good it is to be home! Home at last! Finally…and yes, with a much deeper sense of home!

Captured in His reflection,