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.

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.