Almost There Book

The Longing for Home

July 17, 2017

This week (tomorrow, in fact) I release a book about searching for home. It’s a book about transience and longing, about the ways we lose home then find it again. I talk about Jesus quite a bit, but also about back sweat, UTIs, and Joanna Gaines, so really there’s a little something for everyone.

Also, it has cars on the cover making it quite popular with boys under the age of five. Or so I’m told

Uncertainty has been a theme in our family story since the beginning and this certainly isn’t unique to us. Everyone, absolutely everyone, is living into the unknown right now.

We are all on the move in one way or another, and if home is a place we feel settled, then this hunger for settledness, this longing for home, is one of the greatest commonalities among us.

Some may long for a geographical location or version of life that’s more vibrant or easy. Others may long for friends or family or a time in their lives when they didn’t have to pay for a babysitter. Others may long for the settledness of having kids or being married or knowing what career field to sink into. There are always more questions than answers, it seems, and we are all homesick for something.

Home, I’ve found, is more often a longing than a destination. But I’ve come to think of the strain for home as a productive impulse.

“I believe that God is fostering the fullness of life within us by placing us in contexts that require us to tenaciously remain in him, to strain for what it means to be fully at home.”

Almost There

Homesickness compels us to get to the bottom of what home even is. Certainly, pieces of home can be found in people and physical addresses, even a sense of personal identity.

Elements of home exist everywhere. But I have discovered that any location I call home is temporary by nature. And this is incredibly frustrating. Because what I’m looking for is continuity of home, something that exists from all locations and all contexts.

“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. So it seems, almost by necessity, that home must expand beyond its physical definition and broaden into a more spiritual one. This, I think, is when the real search for home begins, when we look for Home in its singular, uppercase form, when we pursue it as a permanent destination, an orienting landmark amid the impermanence of everything else.”

–Almost There

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I’m living in a moment of transience as I release a book about transience, which is so annoyingly fitting.

For the time being we are staying with my generous in-laws—- where I live in fear that a piece of my underwear will accidentally fall out of the laundry basket and be subject to public display, then humiliating retrieval.

Further evidence of our transience is the fact that I received a final copy of my book nearly a month after I should have because the publisher couldn’t figure out which address to send it to. I don’t blame them. I’ve had four in the past three months.

All this to say, I’m here in the heart of transition, not reporting back about what home is, but actively reassessing what it could be.

Home seems to be just around the corner rather than right here in our midst. And I’m reminded that the biggest challenge of faith might be the simple belief that God is with us now and that he is as reliable a home as he promised to be.

I wrote a whole book about this, yet still I have to shout it to my own soul while living out of suitcases and sleeping in someone else’s bed.

Christ is a home for our souls even when we’re missing a home for our stuff or a home for our ambition or a home for our relationships. He is stable when all else is not, the Permanent One interpreting for us what to do with all these bits of temporary.

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In John 15, Jesus calls us to remain in him, to make our home in him. To those that remain in him he says, “I am the vine and you are the branches.” The vine, lest you forget, is a spreading plant. It grows outward, onward, continuously taking on new territory.

So why am I so surprised by the transience of change?

Jesus told us a that our lives would be marked by going and in the midst we could find stability in him.

If he is the vine and we are the branches, then the homestead of Christ provides direction and purpose in the going. As extensions of the vine, our transience is never aimless. Even on the road, nothing is lost.  Not even us.

We can feel restless for certainty, for answers, even for the tangible presence of God, but the longing for home is evidence that these branches have a constant place of returning to, abiding in.

The longing for home clarifies what home is: the only place of permanent foundation.

 


Order Almost There

Almost There is for those on the move and those who feel restless right where they are. It’s for those who struggle with not belonging, with feeling unsettled, with believing that home is out of their reach, at least for the moment. And Almost There is for those who find themselves in a transient lifestyle they didn’t expect―say, moving across the country for a new job or the military or an opportunity to begin again.

With imaginative storytelling and witty, relatable prose, Bekah DiFelice offers wisdom for those struggling to belong in a world where home is constantly shifting. When our hope of home is rooted in an unchangeable God, we are not uprooted, lost, or made homeless by change. We become found ones on the move.

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