Saturday, June 30, 2007

Homes.

This morning as I stood alongside the off-white kitchen counter at my new in-laws I glanced over at the refrigerator and began scanning what was posted, shared, written and appointmented. A minute into scanning I realized that I could read what was around me. I could understand what was being communicated. On this large white cold container, I could read what was being said! It has been so long since this was the case! I could understand the form of communication running back and forth between what was written, what my eyes were reading and what my mind was able to understand and comprehend.

Although it may seem that what impacted me the most through these few moments of realization was that I was not in a different country and could understand the language, what really impacted me the most during those moments was the realization that I was standing in front of arefrigerator, full of food, in a house, with a beautiful yard surrounded by blackberry bushes and green grass. Although like millions of Americans, a modest home full of love - I can't help but continue to struggle with the necessity of it all and how different this is from the reat of the world.

You see, this is a struggle I have been wrestling with for some time now. What is a "home"? What is necessary for a "home"? What makes a "home" comfortable? Why are "our" homes so much different than what a majority of the world considers a "home"?

Some may call these "cultural shock" questions I'm sure. But I must share with you, these are questions I have had for a number of years now. Through my transitions of sharing and outfitting an apartment in Fairfax to my time in Mission Year Chicago, up into this year of nothingness but the backpack on our backs; questions of what make a
"home" have continued to linger in our minds. All the while, hoping that God will remain faithful in teaching us and sharing with us what type of "home" He desires.

Does God desire a home with all the amenities that contribute to commercial convenience or would He rather live in a mud hut with only rugs to sit on and one gas stove burner to cook on like the nuns of Tattiwin, Morocco? Would He prefer a home filled with clothes and toys, furniture and space or would He rather "have" (if Jesus "had") three sets of clothing to wear like Mother Theresa, old boxes and tall trees to play in like the kids living on the streets of Delhi, dirt floors with worn in carpets to sit on like the tribal families of Northern Thailand, and a small space to share in the lives of others with like most comunities we have been fotunate enough to share time with?

I'm really struggling with this, because truly - I enjoy soft beds, comfortable couches to stretch out on, pools to swim in, computers to write on, ovens to bake
in, pantries to store food in, cold soy milk to drink each morning and green yards to dance in. And to be honest, I must confess, I am a bit nervous about posting this struggle of mine with fear of alienating and/or hurting those who have offered us thier home and these same very things each time we step into their homes. We are beyond grateful for what you have given, and continue to give to us all in the name of love. my intention is not to hurt you or sound ungrateful, but to ask of your forgiveness if I have offended you as I work and struggle with you through these questions and confusions of life.

I am sorry because I understand, I am here with you. I enjoy these same things, but a sense of "different" conviction is slowly making it's way into the core of my being and making me feel more uncomfortable as time progresses. So maybe it is cultural shock, but right now it feels like cultural conviction. Conviction of what is truly necessary in life to loving others and serving God.

Until I figure this out (yeah, right...)then I will continue practicing intentional thanks to God for being able to read what is posted, shared, written and appointmented on the refrigerator that holds and keeps cool the soy milk we drink each morning. Simply because it delights me and I believe this gratitude and joy pleases God as well.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

First of all, I am so SO SO happy you're both home...can't wait to see you. As for your most recent heartfelt question of home...there is a children's book called the Runnaway Bunny. It is the story of a little bunny who dreams about running away from home, only to find "home" wherever he ends up.

Whether we are bunnies or sheep or people, we cannot run away from God.

God is our home, and like the early ark of the Israelites, God travels with us wherever we go.

God needs and wants to be at home in us. God needs and wants to abide in us. So, no matter what our "home" looks like, no matter what amenities it has, no matter what luxuries it hasor does NOT have....it just does not matter. What does matter is that GOD is our home.

PS.....stop thinking so much!! :)

Love,
Rene...hope you come see my home in Evart.

Anonymous said...

Beautifully said Rene!!

Anonymous said...

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:12-13

Are you feeling like you're with Paul?

kimmeh said...

oh the nuns of Tattiwin, Morocco! are they not the greatest?!? :)

their mud hut is definitely one i would love to call "home"...

Mai said...

I have a hard time with this question myself. Now that I'm no longer doing Mission Year and living among the poor, I wonder if I'm getting too comfortable.

But I realize that what matters is not the "home" we live in, but what's in our hearts.

I know your heart Jess, and I know that whether you lived in a nice apartment in Virginia or in that hut in India, your heart remained strong for the poor. And I think that will continue regardless of where your home is.

I will pray that God will guide you and Jake on where you need to be.

love, mai.

Robin said...

Jessica,

Have I told you how much I love and appreciate you lately? You are one incredible woman of the Lord! I hear you!!!! I struggle with the same issues you struggle with even though I'm living in luxury as compared to most of the world its only when we compare ourselves to the standards of Northern VA that we come up short because we don't have many of the things people consider necessity (like cell phones, cable, fancy cars, etc.) We have what we need and so much more.

My heart has been moved deeply by the writings of Randy Alcorn - you can check out his website at www.epm.org His goal (or so it seems to me) is to get us to think about eternity. I recently read "Safely Home" and it forced me to think about the Persecuted Church and their needs. It actually brought great guilt to me as I considered the fact that our household owns at least ten Bibles and therr are Christians in parts of the world that are not legally allowed to own a Bible. What page or scrap of Scripture they can get a hold of they treasure deeply and commit to memory. I fall so short...

Jessica, I miss you and our talks a lot!

Pray for me! and I'll pray for you and Jake! I know God has a plan and purpose and as HE works in our hearts He will make it clear one step at a time.

Since this earth isn't our home anyhow...it will be easier to leave it behind when God calls us to the home HE's been preparing for us....

Love you guys!

Robin

Robin said...

Hey Guys,

Here is a song I wanted to share with you.

Love,

Robin

by Mercy Me

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElISFieaukc&mode=related&search=

I can count a million times People asking me how I Can praise You with all that I've gone through The question just amazes me Can circumstances possibly Change who I forever am in You

Maybe since my life was changed Long before these rainy days It's never really ever crossed my mind To turn my back on you, oh Lord My only shelter from the storm But instead I draw closer through these times

So I pray

Bring me joy, bring me peace Bring the chance to be free Bring me anything that brings You glory And I know there'll be days When this life brings me pain But if that's what it takes to praise You Jesus, bring the rain

I am Yours regardless of The dark clouds that may loom above Because You are much greater than my pain You who made a way for me By suffering Your destiny So tell me what's a little rain

So I pray

Bring me joy, bring me peace Bring the chance to be free Bring me anything that brings You glory And I know there'll be days When this life brings me pain But if that's what it takes to praise You Jesus, bring the rain

Holy, holy, holy Holy, holy, holy Is the Lord God Almighty Is the Lord God Almighty

elle & josh said...

josh & i have definitely been struggling with this as well. we've accumulated so much since being married & living in a large home (a "cheap" one, but still large). & i can still remember when i could fit all i owned in the trunk of my car. we've felt very convicted about this, & are getting rid of so many of our things in preparation for whatever is next. already it's been wholly satisfying to begin this process. we've been thinking alot about voluntary simplicity--choosing to live well beneath our means, & by that living in solidarity with the poor, with the way the rest of the world lives, even if we live in america. if we ever were to build a home, we're hoping it can be a cob structure or straw bale. really, i can't tell you how delightful that thought is, & how increasingly joyful we are the more we get rid of our excess.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jessica,
Occasionally I find myself reading your blog and enjoying your pictures. This morning is one of those days and I enjoyed your posting about homes.

I understand your feeling whole heartedly as Kathy and I gave up our home in Vienna 6 months ago. It was quite liberating. We too have struggled with the question of what kind of life are we to live? Somehow the "American Dream" of a nice cozy home with all the extras simply doesn't appeal to us. I wanted you to know that you aren't alone with this struggle. I am currently writing you from the edge of the desert between Jerusalem and the dead sea...Also trying to figure out where God wants us to be going with our life.

God bless you and your husband.

Willem