In six months we will have to move again. Just thinking about it turns on a faucet—hot, stinging tears that brim over and redden my face.
Every three to four years, when I was overseas in mission work, I moved back and forth between Africa and the U.S. Maintaining a willing, nomadic spirit was easy then. But now, having lived in the same place—near our mission’s technical center—for over ten years, I long more and more for a few square feet of my own.
In those ten years, we have moved three times. Renting homes from fellow missionaries going back overseas helps them financially—and us. But the desire to have a “nest” to decorate and do with as I please nags me. Sometimes this “beast” of a desire gets out of its cage and badgers my husband, pleading, crying and pouting.
God hears about it too, although I know better than to demand what I want. I fear too much that “leanness of soul” the Israelites in the wilderness suffered in return for complaints over lack of meat, leeks, onions and garlic (Psalm 106:15 KJV).
In Africa, we sometimes lived in mud houses with no plumbing or air conditioning. How can I now complain about a rented home, complete with indoor toilet; shower; warm, running water; carpeted floors; screened windows and electricity?
Some of my friends can afford a home of their own. Yet, following their jobs, they have moved more often than we have. Obviously, money does not insure stability.
And, after all, we are not homeless. So what is my problem?
I live more comfortably in my present rental than did a young, Christian woman I once knew. Renting an upstairs apartment of an old home, along with her gigantic St. Bernard dog, she embraced an urban-nomadic lifestyle. The living room shelves were fashioned from concrete blocks; big, old pillows thrown on the floor provided seating; tin cans served as vases for flowers and the kitchen sported one small metal table near a sunny window—covered with plants. She purposely furnished her home so that, within one hour, she could pack up all her things and drive away in her small Volkswagon, her dog taking up every inch of the back seat!
Like that woman, I understand what the pillow on my couch says: Home is where you make it. I’ve had plenty of practice making a home out of a less-than-ideal dwelling. One creaky, old house we lived in was scheduled for demolition after our departure. However, my creative décor, houseplants and some discarded furniture transformed the place. People entered our home expecting little, but were surprised and complimented us, “Oh, this is so nice in here!”
Nevertheless, I still want so much to own my own home. Perhaps having full say—control—over the dwelling I inhabit is my feeble attempt to “insure” my happiness and safety. Sometimes, this desire almost feels like a curse.
Once I confided to a friend about this near-obsession of mine. She thought awhile and then said, “Carol, do you think not having your own home makes you feel rejected by your Heavenly Father?”
Struck with her wisdom, I said, “You know, Mary, you’re probably right. No wonder I cry about it so much. God has not rejected me, but Satan wants me to think so. I need to reject his lie and receive God’s truth: He loves me and cares for me.”
That upsetting date for our next move is already on the calendar. Will we end up renting someone else’s home? Will God work a miracle and give us a more permanent earthly home? I don’t know. I look up and laugh, noticing the tent-shaped peaked ceiling of my present home.
Lord, I know You have not rejected me. You love me and direct the path of my life. Make me a truly happy camper, a willing nomad, dwelling in whatever “tent” You provide for me.