Home Sweet Home

In My Father’s house are many mansions … I go to prepare a place for you. —John 14:2 NKJV

Writer’s block was never a problem after a visit to my daughter’s. I always came home with plenty of fodder.

One time the airlines lost my luggage. Another time when I wanted to change my return flight itinerary, they (the airlines, not my daughter) told me I could fly where I wanted, but my luggage was going to my original destination.

Another time I got three weeks’ worth of writing material:

  • Two formerly neurotic dogs she rescued from the animal shelter took a shine to me because I fed them on time. They woke me up every morning by banging against the door at 5:30 so I’d let them out.
  • Two cats—one that relieved himself on the bathroom floor and the other with an itchy skin condition and loose, fuzzy hair— liked to curl up on the sofa bed with me at night and chew my hair.
  • One autistic six-year-old turned on all the fans in the house or hid under the bed on his spacey days.
  • One three-year-old tyrant preferred not to wear pants (including underpants) on any day.

Then there were the spills and other accidents on the carpet in the family room, the endless laundry for a family of four that included the toddler who went through three or four outfits a day, meals to prepare, shopping to do, and a daughter who was recuperating from surgery and didn’t have the energy to deal with it all.

No need to wonder why, halfway through the visit, I plopped in the recliner at nine in the morning with nary an ounce of energy, wondering how I, a fifty-five-year-old woman well past her prime, was going to make it through the morning, let alone ten more days of this excitement.

Sometimes I was tempted to do nothing but sit and stare at a whirling ceiling fan or hide under the bed for an hour or two myself.

I sent my husband text messages daily: “Missing you,” “8 more days,” “PRAY!”

I called him every night at ten to hear his voice. I felt inadequate without him. Dealing with life with him around is so much easier.

And while I love my daughter and my grandkids, I longed to be home, in my own bed at night, in my own kitchen, using my own computer (oh, did I tell you my laptop crashed one week into the visit, and I had to use theirs?). I kept telling myself this was a gift—these three weeks with my loved ones who live seven hundred miles away and I usually get to see only twice a year.

But I still missed home. And I couldn’t wait to get there.

It was a good reminder of the journey I have here on earth. While I’ve got a loving husband, family I love dearly, a comfortable home, a few good friends, and a fulfilling ministry, I still feel out of place at times, like I’m not really home.

I long for the One who helps me through the rough times, who has promised never to leave or forsake me. I yearn to see Him face-to-face and lounge at His feet without a care in the world.

I’m a citizen of two worlds, and, while I live here and love the fulfilling life God has given me, I ache for the place where there are no tears, no pain, no frustrations, no bills, no dust, no meals to cook, and no separation from the ones I love. And I won’t have to worry about my luggage being lost in transport.

Someday, when we finally make it to the home God has waiting for us, we’ll feel like we feel when we walk through the door after three weeks away—we are home at last.

Dear God, thank You for the home I have now and thank You for the one I’ll have in eternity. Amen.

Read and reflect on John 14:1–4.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

My Bucket List

Image by Renee Gaudet from Pixabay

 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

One year I decided to compile a bucket list.

On it I put hiking, kayaking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, horseback riding in the Colorado Rockies, spending a month in Alaska and visiting the Canadian Rockies. Perhaps I should add “getting and staying in shape.”

I was hesitant at first to list anything. Unlike the two characters in the movie, I don’t have a billionaire to fund the fulfillment of the list of things I want to do before I kick the bucket. So phrases such as “we can’t afford it” and “be realistic” kept popping up.

We humans can come up with all kinds of reasons our deepest desires and wildest dreams won’t or can’t be fulfilled. So we plod on, not allowing ourselves to hope or dream because we don’t want to deal with disappointment. Or we make a bucket list of “safe” things—those that don’t border on impossible.

I had to push the hope-sucking words out of my mind with another phrase: “If money were no object …” and set my mind free to dream.

When I got brave enough to write my dreams down, I began to see the possibilities—how they can be fulfilled. I began to hope and dream again like I did when I was much younger.

What is life without dreams? Without hope?

In 626 B.C. God’s people thought they were without hope, too. Sent into exile for persistent willful disobedience, they were given these words: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).

The next 70 years weren’t going to be pretty. Babylon would be a far cry from the Promised Land flowing with milk and honey God had helped their ancestors to conquer. But don’t give up hope, He told them.

Hope—what we need to get us through our Babylon times, what we need to get us through life even when it isn’t tough.

There may be those who say this verse isn’t for us today—that it was meant only for God’s people at that time. There may be those who say this verse has been so overused, it’s become cliché.

But these 29 words say so much—and I believe they are for us today, too, for “the grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand forever” (Isaiah 40:8).

 “For I know the plans I have for you” —God has a plan for your life, a purpose for you.

“…to prosper you and not to harm you.”— Although life includes pain, God’s purpose is not to harm but to help you to grow. God’s plan for you is good.

“…to give you hope.” Life without hope is like soda without the fizz, like a long, dark night with no sign of morning. Hope comes from God, so ask Him for it.

“…to give you…a future.” God has a future planned for you, but He reveals it one day—one moment—one step—at a time.

Plans, hope, a future—Isn’t that what a bucket list is all about? It gives us hope that someday our dreams may come true.

So go ahead—let yourself dream again. Make up your bucket list. Then give it to God and watch your hope begin to grow.

Teach me to dream again, Lord. I’ve forgotten how. Amen.

Read and reflect on Psalm 139.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.