In the aftermaths of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and the way they sandwiched President Trump’s declaration on DACA (the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals), a common thread kept weaving its way through my mind.

Perhaps it’s because I’ve been pondering home for the past few years as the primary theme in my forthcoming memoir — but I couldn’t help but think about how those directly affected by the hurricanes and the DACA decision have much in common.

They’ve either been displaced, or fear displacement. They long for a safe, established home.

But are they the only ones affected?

As an American citizen currently living in Michigan, I could say that I wasn’t affected by any of the above-mentioned events. But would that really be true?

 

DACA

 

In an article on iBelieve.com, I share a few thoughts on what hurricanes and DACA teach us about the body of Christ.

Read the whole article here

In short, we must remember that as brothers and sisters in Christ, we are all members of one body. If one member is affected, the whole body is affected.

Secondly, I was so encouraged to see the way that tragedy united the church. People came together. They helped. They served. They rescued.

And finally, let’s not forget that we’re all foreigners here. We are all displaced. We’re all just passing through on our way to our final destination.

With one storm or presidential pronouncement, our homes could be snatched away.

In the span of my lifetime so far, I’ve lost several homes—to divorce, a landlord’s decision to sell our rental property, a foreclosure, a parent’s death. I didn’t see any one of those circumstances coming. Nothing is certain in this life except God’s character and the promises found in His Word.

So while we mourn with those who mourn over losing homes and we do all that we can to help them rebuild and restore lost or damaged property, while we labor to love and support those affected by DACA, let’s not forget that we can’t take anything with us when it’s time to go. Let’s not forget that physical houses and material possessions are all temporary.

What a wonderful opportunity to direct conversation toward eternity and the life to come.

 

Read the full version of this article over at iBelieve.com

 

 

When I saw the monthly book reviewers’ email from Tyndale Publishers advertising all of the new books they had available for review, I almost didn’t open it.

Almost There“I’m way too busy to commit to reviewing any books right now,” I reasoned. But something (or should I say Someone?) prompted me to open the email, and my eye caught the title, Almost There: Searching for Home in a Life on the Move, by Bekah di Felice. (Don’t you just love the title and the cover?)

Although I’d never heard of the author before, the description sounded all too familiar — because she was telling a story I knew inside out.

I hesitated again, fearing I wouldn’t have time to read and review the book within the time frame requested. But again, Someone prompted me to click “request” … and I’m so glad I did.

Bekah’s book, Almost There, is full of rich insights on the universal longing for home. 

Right after college, Bekah married into the transient military life. She describes the complex emotions of leaving home, including the spiritual component: “It’s as if the act of leaving is part of the equipping, as if God personally leads people out of familiar territory so he can tell them who they are.”

In her book, Bekah shares the ups and downs of moving frequently and living in vastly different parts of the United States. She is honest about the challenges of her husband’s deployment: the loneliness, the awkwardness of limited communication, the surprising realization of established independence, and the adjustment back to a new normal after reunion.

 

 

With conversational tone and an easy sense of humor, Bekah tucks nuggets of wisdom into the telling of her story.

“The timing is different for everyone … but it happens: Your sense of belonging outgrows its previous residence. …In the search for home, we all try on different places and relationships and hobbies that make us feel pretty, all along lamenting the fact that belonging refuses to be nailed down to exact coordinates. It denies us permanence. And that feels like betrayal.

I think that by nature we are agitated by this restlessness, by the enigma of belonging. We’re pestered by the notion that people and places and things are all important pieces of home but not the whole thing, at least not in themselves. Deep down we know there is a permanence of home that exists somewhere. There is a whisper of eternity that beckons in the heart of every one of us.”

 

The above quote perfectly captures what I hope to articulate through my upcoming memoir, A Place to Land: A Story of Longing and Belonging. And I’d venture a guess that you can relate, too.

 

Again, Bekah captured the struggle in my heart with these words:

 

“Home doesn’t begin or end with a mailing address or a change in surname. I don’t think it is ever a total reboot. It is more of an ellipsis than a period, a continuation rather than a conclusion. It tends to be an ongoing list of people and places and experiences that have mattered, that have changed us in one way or another. It is an echo of the good legacies we have witnessed.

In fact, home is a lot like a poorly, categorized box containing all sorts of odds and ends: the surprising and familiar, the old and new, the bitter and sweet. It is mismatched in so many ways–not a start and end but an overlap, a tangle. We move away from it and bring it with us still.”

 

Besides making me think deeply about concepts of home and belonging, Almost There also made me laugh and nod my head in agreement on numerous occasions.

 

 

If you’re looking for a light read that will also make you think and relate, I can highly recommend this book.

 

 

 

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Affiliate links have been used in this post. 

I finally have news about my book! 

(And yes, this post is likely to be plagued with numerous exclamation points, so consider yourself warned.)

Some of you will remember that I shared the news back in February 2016 that I signed a book contract with Discovery House in November 2015.

At the time, I thought I would’ve had a published book by now, but the process ended up taking longer than originally anticipated.

Since I’ve been at this for a solid three years already, you can imagine my excitement that my book finally has a title, a cover, a release date, and a pre-order link on Amazon!

Introducing … 

A Place to Land: A Story of Longing and Belonging

 

A Place to Land

 

Isn’t she pretty? I’m so impressed with the talented team at Discovery House, and so grateful for the efforts they’ve poured into this project.

And yes, my eyes definitely teared up when I saw the book on Amazon.

If you’ve ever written memoir, you know it’s a stretching, emotionally draining experience. Add to that the fact that much of this book covers my mom’s cancer journey, and you’ve got a perfect recipe for tears.

I’ve spent hours upon hours poring over this manuscript for the past three years: write, edit, revise, repeat.

To see that the project is nearing completion welled up waves of gratitude and excitement, but also a tinge of melancholy. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’d much rather have my mom here than a book with my name on it.

This is not the story I asked for, but it’s the one I’ve been given, so I’m doing my best (with God’s help) to steward it well. 

While the book is not only about my mom’s illness, her death six years ago was the primary catalyst that got me to dwelling more deeply on heaven as my eternal home.

Here’s the description on Amazon: 

A Place to Land is a globe-spanning memoir that wrestles with the question, ”Where is my home?” Kate Motaung watched ”home” slip away again and again–through her parents’ divorce, a foreclosure, two international moves, ten rental homes in ten years, and her mother’s terminal battle with cancer. Add in the challenge of a cross-cultural marriage, and Kate was constantly adapting to a new environment. Through her experiences, you’ll realize–as she did–that no matter where we go or what we do, this world is not our home.

 

The book only releases on April 1st, but guess what?

You can pre-order now

A Place to Land

 

Benefits of pre-ordering: 

1. Amazon offers a pre-order price guarantee, which means if you pre-order now, you will only be charged on April 1st but will be charged the lowest price that the book has been advertised between now and then. So … if the price happens to drop a few bucks before April and goes back up again at the time of release, you’ll pay the lowest price!

2. You’ll be among the first to get your hands on it when it becomes available.

3. If a number of people pre-order, it tells Amazon how many copies they should have ready at the time of release so they don’t go out of stock.

A Place to Land

Thank you so much for sharing in my excitement, and for your support! My greatest prayer for this project is that the Lord would use the words He deems fit to include in the book for His purposes and glory.

 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links to Amazon. 

homeI am Eilis from Brooklyn.

 

I wonder if the main character in the 2015 film Brooklyn would say the same about herself.

 

Would she introduce herself as Eilis from Brooklyn or Eilis from Ireland?

 

I watch her story unfold and see my own in the reflection of her eyes. I ask myself, “Am I Kate from Michigan or Kate from South Africa?”

 

I was born and raised in the small, Dutch town of Holland, Michigan. A month before I turned twenty-one, I moved to Cape Town, South Africa, for my final semester of college. What I thought would be a six-month stint turned into a ten-year transformation.

 

Eilis was born and raised in Ireland. In 1951, as a young woman living with her mother and sister, Eilis is miserable in her small, gossip-filled town. She works part-time in a shop with a terrible boss and shows no interest in any Irish boys.

 

Seeing Eilis’s despondency and bleak prospects, her sister, Rose, contacts an Irish priest named Father Flood in Brooklyn, New York, on Eilis’s behalf. With the priest’s help, Rose arranges for Eilis to make passage on a ship bound for America and work in an upscale department store in Brooklyn.

 

As I watched the immigrants gripping the ship’s railing with one hand and waving farewell with the other, my own hatred of good-byes caught hard in my throat. Family members lined the dock, stoic-faced, except for the stray tear. I swallowed hard, dozens of past airport scenes banging on the back door of my mind, demanding to come in.

 

Eilis didn’t realize it yet, but her life was about to change forever. Home, as she knew it, would never be the same.

 

Join me over at Off the Page for the rest of these reflections …

Back story: My editor at Discovery House recommended this film to me, as the themes parallel those found in my forthcoming memoir — so much so that if you want to know what my book is going to be about, just watch the movie. 🙂

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

home

 

Home.

This four-letter word has strained every muscle in my heart, for all my wrestlings and stretchings across lakes, oceans and continents.

I’ve packed, re-packed and unpacked more boxes and suitcases than I can remember.

I’ve squinted my eyes looking for it.

My stomach aches and twists into knots longing for it.

This four-letter word.

It looks so unassuming. So humble. So plain.

And yet, the pull is so great I can’t resist its magnetic force.

The hand that created all things great and small pulls me, day by day, closer to my goal.

He sets my eyes on the prize.

He reminds me that every day is one step closer to eternity.

When I close my eyes and am ushered into His presence, I have a feeling I’ll wonder why I was so preoccupied with my search for home in this place.

It’s not here. It never was.

I’m a pilgrim, a foreigner just passing through.

May the Lord remind me that this life is but a temporary breath, a deep inhale in anticipation of

home.

 

Related posts: Defining Home in 31 Days

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Friends, if home is a theme close to your heart, you’ll definitely want to get your hands on this latest gem from Emily Wierenga:

 

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This is Day 5 of 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes. Click here for more posts in this series.