Twelve years ago today, on the 2nd of July 2002, I left home.

Not in the rebellious, “I’m-never-coming-back” way, but in the “I’m spending a semester overseas” way.

With the ten-hour layover spent dragging my bags up and down the Frankfurt airport terminal and the seven-hour time difference, it would be two days later before I reached Cape Town, South Africa.

There would be no 4th of July fireworks in that country, except those felt in my chest as I exploded with giddy college-girl excitement and fell in love at first sight with the aerial view of the city that, unbeknownst to me, would become my home for the next ten years.

And somewhere between being sprawled out across multiple airport chairs in Germany, subconsciously drooling on my bag, and then consciously drooling over the breathtaking beauty of The Mother City several flight hours later, He did it.

The Lord took my neatly packaged definition of home, crumpled it up, and tossed it into the southeaster, never to be seen again.

Through ten moves in those next ten years, the Lord would peel back my layered notions, and would slowly and persistently teach me about home.  I would long for it, grieve the loss of it, grasp at it, cry over it, watch it slip between my fingers … all to realize that, as Augustine so wisely declared, “our hearts are restless until they find rest in Thee.”

And that’s the secret.  We might grieve over home as though it can be lost, but we just haven’t found it yet.

For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” ~ 2 Corinthians 5:1

 

Check out Emily Wierenga’s new travel memoir, Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look.

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