Thursday, May 17, 2012
I have struggled with belonging this month. Not feeling as though I belong here, feeling as though I belong somewhere else.
Last weekend, when I went home to visit family in Michigan, I had such a hard time returning back to Indiana. I feel a sense of belonging in Michigan, even though I haven't lived there for seven years. I go the grocery store there, and run in to someone I know. I go to my Mom's church, and all of my old friends are warm and welcoming. I sit at my Mom's kitchen table surrounded by brothers and sisters who know me (and love me anyway), and I feel such a comfort and peace.
I don't feel comfort and peace in Indiana. I don't run into friends at the grocery store.
I don't belong.
I was putting some books away the other day when this book literally fell off the shelf and into my hands. "Here I Am Again, Lord: Confessions of a Slow Learner" by Carole Mayhall. I decided that it was a sign that I should read this book. After all, I haven't been in the Word lately, and consequently, it's made me a slow learner concerning the lessons God has planned for me.
The book is filled with devotions about some of the characteristics of God, and includes verses in the Bible for further study. One verse seemed to jump out at me this week.
Isaiah 43:1: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name.; you are mine."
Wow. Not because of anything I've done, but because of what God has done for me. Redeemed me. Summoned me. Called me His own.
I am God's, and that is where I belong.
In a chapter titled "Lord, I don't understand!" (reflecting on God's sovereignty), Carole has this to say:
"I take my eyes off God and fix them on the circumstances. In these times the Father has to remind me again, 'I am the Blessed Controller of all things. My ways are not your ways, but My ways are best.' I am so grateful He never gives up on me.I'm a slow learner, but He's a patient Teacher."
I confess to taking my eyes off God and fixing them on my circumstances. I confess to not trusting that He has good things in store for my future. I only see my present circumstance, this place where I'm stuck and don't belong. I look around and ask "Why?"
I spoke with my friend, Beth, on the phone yesterday. She, too, feels displaced as her life is being turned upside down. We spoke of the Whys. And speaking them out loud helped us come up with a few answers.
Why here? Well, my oldest sons have had great educational opportunities here. They've made friends, really good rock solid Christian friends. They've found colleges and career paths. And consequently, I've found myself embracing the role of "House Mother" to this ragamuffin band of college students. I counsel them, I laugh with them, I feed them, I open my home to them. It's been a very haphazard ministry in many ways. No church affiliation. Just house church.
Maybe that is why I'm here.
Maybe I'm here to take this house and its gardens from sad to special. Maybe I'm here to feed the birds in the nature preserve every day. Maybe we're here to welcome the couple across the street who also don't feel as if they belong. Maybe I'm not here to fit in. Maybe I'm here to stick out.
I don't know all of the whys and wheres and whens. But I do know the whose...I am God's, and that is home.