Today it’s my privilege to welcome Lisa Brittain to the blog series, Heading Home Together.

In preparation of the upcoming release of my memoir, A Place to LandI’ll be sharing a series of posts on themes related to the book.

 

longing for home

 

This post by Lisa Brittain first appeared on her blog, and now she is graciously sharing it with us here. I love how Lisa dives into Scripture to see the common thread of home appearing over and over again.

Here’s Lisa:

 

***

 

I wonder…

if we were sitting around my favorite room of my house in our pajamas enjoying our favorite hot tea {mint for me please} and eating popcorn laced with plain M&M’s, how many different responses would result from this question:

What is home?

I imagine we would hear as many different responses as people willing to answer the question.

The definition of home is dependent on geography, culture, and generation. And in various seasons of life, home may take on a whole new look, size, and feel. Simply contemplating home can evoke some strong emotion – whether positive or negative.

The concept of home, I think, is closely tied to our hearts. And as such, the idea of home has to do with family, tradition, belonging, growing up, provision and participating.

Home is a memory-induced feeling we long for when we go out into the big wide world on our own. Or a fairy tale fabrication of what we always wished home would be for us with a vow of creating our own one day.

Where is your heart home?

Scripture abounds with stories of home. Homes lost, left, destroyed, battled over, redeemed, and rebuilt.  Homes filled with families, faith, fear, obedience, and deception. There are the elaborate homes of kings and the tents of the wandering nomads. Reading Scripture with an eye for home, it’s amazing and comforting to recognize – HOME is God’s idea.

 

 

At the beginning of Genesis, we should be in awe of God’s purposeful and loving creation of a perfect garden dwelling for His first man, Adam, and His first woman, Eve. God delighted in His people and the home He provided for them so much so God, Himself, would meet up and walk with them in the cool of the evening.

Adam and Eve forfeited the only home they had ever known with their rebellion against God. They were forced to leave home, but God didn’t leave them.

Where was the first couple’s heart home?

longing for homeWhat about God calling Abraham, out of the blue, to pack up and leave his homeland not having any idea of his destination. Abraham might be the original pioneer, taking his family, their belongings and livestock on a continual journey across foreign territory until God said, “Welcome to your new home, Abraham.” Abraham chose to believe God for His promise.

So where was Abraham’s heart home?

Moses, a Hebrew baby in a basket, was taken into Pharaoh’s home and was raised to manhood as a royal son of a foreign father. Later in life, Moses found himself caught between his bloodline and his adopted culture. After killing an Egyptian man, Moses fled to make a home of hiding in the desert.

God called to Moses from the burning bush and told Moses to go back to Egypt. Way out in that far-off land, God commissioned Moses to lead the Hebrew slaves out of captivity and into their true home – the Promised Land.

Where was Moses’ heart home?

David’s home was first a sheep pasture and then a battlefield and finally a King’s domain.

Where was David’s heart home?

And what about Jesus, who willingly left His heavenly place as the Word of God and took on flesh to live on this earth and call it home for 33 years?

Where was Jesus’ heart home?

 

Does your heart long for home?

When I ponder the word HOME, scripturally my mind automatically turns toward Naomi, whose story is told in the book of Ruth. Naomi left her home – her people – in Bethlehem of Judah. Surely this was Naomi’s heart home.

I wonder about the ripping of her heart – obedience to her husband, leaving loved ones behind in a famine, obedience to God, a mother’s desire to save and protect her children.

I wonder…

Did Naomi pack only her physical body, but leave her heart behind? Did she agree with her husband’s decision to leave their spiritual heritage – their culture and tradition?

I read the words of Scripture and I feel Naomi’s pain – the last hugs of family and friends, the heart-wrenching tearing away, and the tearful sobs deep in the gut. Surely, Naomi wondered if they were doing the right thing.

Why would they leave their heart home? Why would they leave God’s people in Bethlehem to live in a foreign land? Would they allow their children to be raised on unfamiliar food amongst a pagan people?

Did Naomi’s heart ache with a longing for home?

Later, after the men were buried, three women remained as widows. Naomi, who understood the searing pain of leaving everything familiar insisted the younger women return to their families and stay in their homeland. Yet, Ruth dramatically clung to her mother-in-law in love and devotion. Did Ruth’s heart long for the homeland of promise she had so often dreamed of through Naomi’s reminiscing?

I wonder…

Have you ever left your heart home to make a home in a foreign land?

Maybe your heart home is in the northern United States and you left it for the foreign land of the southern U.S. or vice versa. Perhaps you pioneered your way from your heart home in the east to make a home in the west. Or left your country of origin, your heart home, to live in another country – a foreign culture.

I know. It happens to me. If you’ve ever left your heart home, you feel that familiar tug – even as you read these words. Perhaps you find yourself flipping through an emotional photo album of familiar memories. The emotions are tangible – you can taste the food, smell the flowers, see your old best friend and hear the accents of your former neighbors.

My heart home is the state of Florida where I grew up, went to college, began my career, and got married.  Twenty years and almost all my memories are saturated in humid, salt breezes.

One life-changing day my newlywed husband asked excitedly, “Do you want to move to Atlanta?” My response did not share his enthusiasm, rather I squeaked out a panicked, “NO!”

Why would I want to move up north? It gets cold there and it is far from the ocean. My head was spinning as I wondered why this was happening. A move north had been nowhere on my radar. Nowhere in my plans.

The answer to why was that my husband’s position within the bank was being relocated from Orlando to Atlanta. He was excited because he had previously lived in Atlanta, and since he was originally from Dayton, Ohio, Atlanta was still considered living in the south.

I knew immediately there was no point in arguing or negotiating. This had to be a test … a newlywed test of the vows. I had just a month previous promised to go wherever he would go, live with my man in peace and assist him in his life’s work. But. Wait. This isn’t fair. I didn’t know I was promising to… leave. my. heart. home.

Isn’t it true our heart home is where we abide with Christ?

longing for homeWe’ve now lived 29 years away from my heart home. How can the tug to “go home” still be so strong when I’ve lived away longer than I lived in my heart home?

We visit, of course. We dream of one day pulling up roots and returning to my heart home along one of the coasts. We say we will, but only God knows if this is His best plan for us.

It’s here that I recognize the deep longing for our heart home is knitted into the fabric of every one of us by our Creator, Father God. We were designed for perfect garden living in a Kingdom as princess or prince forever in the worship of our King Jesus. And yet for a little while, we have been assigned to live here on this earth as Ambassadors of our King in this foreign land.

Yes, we are a people with hearts deeply longing for our heart home.

Though I want to go, I’m willing to stay put as a matter of obedience. With this new perspective, 29 years in the development, I see my time here has been beneficial. There’s been Kingdom work to do here. I see more clearly today Atlanta is home because this is where we are family – biological, faith, and neighborhood family.  Our roots are dug deep.

In truth, the idea of hearing my husband say, “How would you like to move to South Florida?” sends a hopeful thrill through my spine. And yet the true revelation is in my soul’s anticipation of finding my forever heart home with God. I’m not ready to leave this earth yet, but when I do…

The deep longing for my heart home will be finally and completely fulfilled.

I’ll be forever HOME!

 

Questions to ponder:

What emotions surge to the surface when you think of HOME?

  • When you visualize home what do you see?
    • What do you smell?
    • What do you hear?
    • What do you taste?
    • What do you feel?

 

  • What place would you say is your heart home?
    • Is there a Scriptural reference to home in which you strongly relate?

 

  • Why not take your heart home longings to the Lord asking Him for wisdom, discernment, healing and His good plans for you.
    • Will you journal your conversation with Jesus?

 

Eyes on Jesus… you’re Shining!

~Lisa

 

longing for homeLisa Brittain and her husband, Randy, reside in Lilburn, Georgia, and have been married nearly 30 years. Together they are parents to two men pioneering their own journey in life. Lisa also shares her home with three furry adopted pups – Nole, Liberty and Victor.

By day Lisa works as the receptionist of her community middle school. However, her true passion for Jesus, loving people, building community, writing, and discipling women in the Word of God to have a voice and share their testimonies flows in and through and around all the open moments of her everyday life.

 

 

 

Lisa offers many opportunities to share her journey with Jesus:

Subscribe to Lisa’s blog – eyesonJesusandshine: www.eyesonjesusandshine.wordpress.com

Follow Lisa:
Twitter: @deserttostream
Facebook: www.facebook.com/LRBrittain/
Instagram: www.instagram.com/lisarbrittain/
Tumblr: desert2stream.tumblr.com

 

Five months from today, on April 1st, 2018, Lord willing my memoir will enter the world.

To celebrate the upcoming release, for the next several months I’ll be hosting a brand new series called Heading Home Together, featuring a number of guest bloggers sharing stories on home, eternity, longing, and belonging — all themes that are present in A Place to Land.

 

sweet spot

 

To kick off this series, it’s my pleasure to welcome my friend Mary Geisen to the blog. Mary is a wise and generous woman of God. Her book, Brave Faith: A 31-Day Devotional Journey is available on Amazon.

 

sweet spot

 

Here’s Mary: 

 

***

 

The temperature felt like ninety degrees in the noonday sun. If I looked closely, I saw steam radiating off the asphalt. Nearby, my mom looked confident and in control in her tennis skirt, hat, and sunglasses.

I gazed at the volley of tennis balls distractedly, waiting for the moment I needed to fetch the ones that fell out of play.

Everything changed when I realized my mom was talking to me.

 

 

“Do you want to hit some balls with me?” she asked.

Quickly I scooped up the extra racquet and wrapped my right hand around the grip. This began my foray into the world of tennis. Time with my mom was precious. Learning how to play her favorite game was priceless.

Finding your sweet spot is a tennis player’s dream. The ball goes farther and faster and basically, you have a better chance of winning. This lesson was one my mom taught me and it has followed me through my life. I do not play tennis anymore, but I remember the sweet moments my mom and I spent together on the hot tennis court during the summer.

Reimagining home is much like finding your sweet spot.

It takes what you already know about home and mixes it with all you learn as you journey through the different seasons of life. It reframes the typical ideas of home as a shelter to be so much more. Reimagining home opens the door to your heart and makes space for seeing home through the eyes of God. And when you do this work, God aligns each part so finding your sweet spot becomes a reality.

My definition of home has changed over the years. During the last year, God completely reshaped my idea of home as I packed up and moved away from the area I lived in my whole life. He took me away from the comfortable and showed me how to find Him in the transition through friends. God welcomed me into new beginnings while teaching me that a true home will always reflect Him.

Reimagining home embraces your basic beliefs by providing the foundation and adds on God’s lessons to give it shape.

Home is …

Arms open wide ready to embrace you in a hug.

Making dinner and sharing it with those you love.

Not just the place you lay your head at night.

The door you walk through to acceptance.

An open window of invitation.

The foundation of who you are and what you are becoming.

Home allows joy and sorrow to coexist and never judges. We feel most at home when we know that leaving doesn’t mean forever, but until we meet again. When goodbyes happen, home is still there. Home is not only where your people are, but who you carry in your heart.

Finally,

Home is finding your sweet spot.

It is the place where you are always invited.

Where you will always have a seat at the table.

And the place you recognize who you are becoming because it’s where you feel most like YOU!

As you reimagine home, let go of any preconceived ideas and let God reframe them for you. Embrace the welcome, find your seat at the table and allow yourself to become the person God created you to be. Open your heart to new beginnings. Journey on the path to becoming and let God lead you to where you ache for home.

“The ache for home lives in all of us. The safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.”
Maya Angelou, All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes

 

Mary Geisen

Mary Geisen is a lover of coffee and deep, soul-filled conversations. She is the mom of two married sons, a retired teacher, writer, author and seeker of grace in the ordinary. Several years ago, God called her to bravely step out by sharing her journey in written form. The power of God’s words has inspired her journey of healing and drawing closer to God through the power of grace. She continues to walk toward brave faith in her everyday life and encourages others to do the same.

I recently had the incredible privilege of having dinner with Vivian Mabuni, speaker and author of Warrior in Pink.

 

warrior in pink

 

Vivian is absolutely delightful. It was such a pleasure to have time chatting and laughing and gleaning from her wisdom. I first “met” Vivian back in 2014 through her poignant memoir, Warrior in Pink: A Story of Cancer, Community, and the God Who Comforts.

I won a copy of her book from a friend’s blog, and her story had so many overlapping components to my mom’s breast cancer journey.

Since it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I thought I’d re-share the post I wrote three years ago and give away a copy of Vivian’s book to one winner. If you don’t have it already, go get yourself a copy!

 

Here’s the review I wrote in October 2014: 

***

“It took cancer to pull out the writer in me.”

So says Vivian Mabuni in the closing remarks of her book, Warrior in Pink: A Story of Cancer, Community, and the God Who Comforts.

And I nod my head, and say, “Me, too.”

I started my first blog seven months before my mom died of cancer. For me, writing was a coping mechanism. It was therapeutic. I haven’t stopped.

 

warrior in pink

 

 

Warrior in Pink is the story of one woman’s journey through breast cancer, and how God orchestrated every step through every trench, hill, and valley.

As many of you know, my mom fought the same disease for nine years before the Lord took her home in 2011 when she was 59.

Reading this book was like stepping back in time. The initial shock of the diagnosis. The preliminary scans.  Surgery. More tests. More surgery. Doctor’s appointment after doctor’s appointment. Grace. Chemo. Exhaustion. Radiation. Friends. God. Repeat.

Though I was not the patient and did not experience everything firsthand the way Vivian has endured, her description of the events and emotions was spot on.

The whole time I read, I kept finding myself saying, “Yes. That’s exactly what it’s like. She gets it. She knows.”

The surgery to lodge the temporary port in place; the dreaded shedding and shaving of hair; the hot discomfort of the wig; the reclining chairs at the oncologist; and the cocktail chemo drip. The blasted compression sleeve to combat lymphedema.

The fear of death.

The rest in our Savior.

Vivian Mabuni gets it all, and she invites you and I into her journey.

As a friend of mine put it, reading Warrior in Pink “gave me an inner voice to the situation.” This book could do wonders for helping people understand the ins and outs, medically and emotionally, of fighting the all-too-common enemy of breast cancer.

They say some people view the world through rose-colored glasses.

Those who have been affected by breast cancer (either through personal diagnosis, or that of a friend or relative) — they suddenly see the world through rose-tinted lenses. Not in the sense that everything seems more pleasant than it really is, but perhaps the opposite. Everything looks pink, because all of life has been affected by this new, altered perspective.

As Vivian recounts, “Now I noticed every cancer billboard, radio commercial, TV ad, and every pink ribbon on a potato chip bag. When I received news of someone newly diagnosed, my heart would sink. Cancer was personal now. And death was no longer a far away, eventual thing.”

Equally powerful in Vivian’s testimony was the faithful, sacrificial support of her husband, Darrin. He even shaved his head bald when Vivian lost her hair, to show his solidarity in the fight. Vivian shares about how he said to her one day, “Viv, you talk about how battling cancer was like a marathon run. Well, while you were running the marathon, I also ran right along with you on the outside of the race tape — only I carried a huge backpack. No one cheered me on. No one held up signs.”

This is such a poignant snapshot into the life of a caregiver — one to remember as we continue to come into contact with families affected by this disease.

Vivian says it took cancer to pull out the writer in her. And while I would never, ever, EVER wish cancer upon anyone,

I’m so glad it did.

May the Lord use this book for His glory.

 

Get your copy here.

warrior in pink

 

GIVEAWAY

To enter to win a copy of Warrior in Pink, simply share this post on social media and come back to leave a comment noting where you shared it (i.e. Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, etc.). Each share counts for one entry. One copy of the book will be given away to one winner with a U.S. mailing address. Giveaway ends November 3, 2017.

 

Warrior in Pink

 

Disclosure: Affiliate links have been used in this post. 

There’s something comforting about hearing the words, “Me too.”

These two small words bring a certain level of freedom and relief in knowing that you’re not the only one — in knowing that your burden doesn’t need to be carried alone.

That’s one thing that author Ashleigh Slater wants readers to experience when reading her latest book, Braving Sorrow Together: The Transformative Power of Faith and Community When Life is Hard.

 

me too

 

It’s my pleasure to welcome Ashleigh to the blog today with a brief interview about her new book. Ashleigh plays an important role in my own writing journey, as she was the first editor to ever accept one of my guest post submissions. After that first “yes,” I had the privilege of writing for her at Ungrind for the first few years of my online writing career.

In Braving Sorrow Together, Ashleigh shares stories, personal experiences, and biblical wisdom about the power of faith and community when dealing with difficult issues pertaining to jobs, health, relationships, laying down dreams, and more.

At the end of this post, be sure to get your free copy of the companion e-book, Me Too: More Stories of Faith, Community, and Braving Sorrow Together.

I’m excited to have a chapter included in this collection of essays related to braving sorrow together, and would love to share it with you.

 

1) What led you to write on this topic?

Team Us: Marriage TogetherMy first book, Team Us, was on marriage. When it came time to consider writing a second book, I fully expected to write another one for couples. As I sat down to brainstorm with my publisher, though, they asked, “What do people resonate the most with that you write?” My response was, “My miscarriage and panic attacks.” From this grew the idea of writing on loss.

The more I contemplated loss, the more I realized that all of us have stories of loss. However, it may not include miscarriage or anxiety. For some, loss might include unemployment, divorce, prolonged singleness, cancer, or infertility. I wanted to meet readers in whatever sorrow they faced. And, when I didn’t personally have experience with one of these losses, I brought in the voices of those who have.

 

 

2) What was the most challenging part of writing this book?

During the time I was writing Braving Sorrow Together, we moved, my husband Ted’s father died, and one of my daughters was cast in the national tour for a musical. Each of these events brought with it unique challenges when it came to finding time to write.

For example, Ted did most of the cross-country traveling with our daughter for eight months. This meant that I was single parenting, homeschooling, managing household issues, and trying to write a book all at the same time. It stretched and challenged and discouraged me. There were moments I didn’t think I’d be able to finish the book.

 

 

3) What do you hope your readers will get out of it?

I hope readers are:

  • reminded that God writes our stories and can be trusted when life is hard
  • encouraged that they aren’t alone in their loss
  • inspired to reach out to trusted friends and allow them to help carry their burden
  • challenged to be there for those around them who are grieving

 

ashleigh slater
She loves to combine the power of a good story with practical application to encourage and inspire readers. Learn more at AshleighSlater.com.

 

 

 

 

Me Too

 

Here’s what Ashleigh says about this companion e-book on her website

In Braving Sorrow Together, I weave together Scripture, personal stories, practical thoughts, and guest entries to comfort the suffering and encourage hopeful grieving.

Me Too offers you MORE stories of faith, community, and braving sorrow together from my friends and family. In this ebook, ten courageous women tell you their stories of faith, community, and braving sorrow with others when life is hard. Their voices vulnerably say, “Me too,” and invite you to bravely do the same within your trusted community.

***

If you already receive email updates from Heading Home and would still like to read Me Too, grab your copy at Ashleigh’s site over here.

 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Looking for book recommendations for your fall reading list? Look no further!

Apparently October 3rd is a grand day to release a book.

Join me in celebrating with the authors of these five new releases, now available for purchase!

 

book recommendations

 

Click each title to read the Amazon summary. 

 

Where We Belong

by Lynn Austin

 

where we belong

 

I’ve been a longtime fan of historical fiction author Lynn Austin’s work, and in the past year I’ve had the privilege of meeting with her in person a few times. I adore her novels and it’s been fun getting a behind the scenes glimpse into the process of this book’s birth. Can’t wait to get my hands on a copy!

 

Free of Me: Why Life is Better When It’s Not About You

by Sharon Hodde Miller

 

Free of Me by Sharon Hodde Miller

 

I’ve been reading Sharon Hodde Miller’s work online for quite some time, and she is a solid, biblical thinker and writer. I suspect the themes presented in this book will be uncomfortable in all the best ways, convicting me of my ongoing need to focus less on myself and more on Him. I’d also argue that the American society as a whole needs to hear and digest this important message. So glad Sharon did the hard work of getting these truths in print.

 

Braving Sorrow Together: The Transformative Power of Faith and Community when Life is Hard

by Ashleigh Slater

 

book recommendations

 

Ashleigh Slater was the first editor to accept one of my articles for publication on the website, Ungrind. I really enjoyed her first book, Team Us: Marriage Together, and I look forward to go deep into the message of this important topic. Every day that I look at the news headlines, it seems there is more sorrow, more tears, more tragedy. What a timely topic to address and discuss as the body of Christ.

 

A Moment to Breathe: 365 Devotions that Meet You in Your Everyday Mess

by (in)courage contributors

 

A Moment to Breathe

 

The (in)courage community has a new book! This looks like a beauty, and I know a number of the delightful women who have contributed to this volume of 365 devotions. Can’t wait to read my friends’ words and be encouraged to take a moment to breathe amidst the busyness.

 

Fiercehearted: Live Fully, Love Bravely

by Holley Gerth

 

Fiercehearted by Holley Gerth

 

I’ve read a number of raving reviews of this latest release from Holley Gerth, many of which are saying this is her best book yet. Grateful for Holley’s faithfulness to share truth in this generation.

 

 

Which of these book recommendations will you dive into first? 

 

This post contains affiliate links.