Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Homesick Dilemma

Yesterday evening I had the privilege of briefly talking with a family friend from back home. She had heard from another church member that I was horribly homesick. I immediately found myself being a bit defensive and even a little bit angry (on the angry scale from 0 to 10, 0 low, I was like a 1.5). It bothered me for two reasons; 1) I hadn't talked to this other church member since I left "home" and 2) it wasn't true.

So what did I say in response? I said, "Well that's interesting because I haven't talked to _______ since I moved to Tennessee."

But what do I say after that?

Do I say, "I'm not homesick"?.

But what kind of wife would I be if I didn't miss my husband? What kind of family member or friend would I be if I didn't miss my loved ones who live on the other side of the country? What kind of Oregonian would I be if I didn't miss her beauty and community?

My Superhero and I, one year ago, at one of my favorite places in the world. 
Sometimes I guilt myself in to saying I'm homesick because it's easier, but it's not the truth.

There was a time that I was indeed homesick; it lasted for about two weeks after I moved to Tennessee. If someone would have offered me a one way ticket back to Oregon within the first 36 hours of living in Tennessee, I would have quickly accepted and not looked back. Seriously. I've moved quite a few times in my life, and spent three months in Zimbabwe, but that was the first time  I had ever experienced the "homesick" feeling. 

But to say that I'm homesick now, would be a lie.

After returning from Zimbabwe in 2004, I shared a sermon titled "Home is Where Your Heart Is". In the sermon, I shared how my heart is ultimately and chiefly with the Lord, and so my home is with Him.

So am I homesick for Heaven?


But what kind of Christian am I if I don't want to be in Heaven? 

I realize that as a Christian, the politically correct answer is to be homesick for Heaven, but that would also be a lie. 

So if I'm not homesick; what am I?

I'm appreciative.
I'm appreciating this unique time in my life, where I'm out of my comfort zone. I think about the characters of the Bible; and whom of them lived a comfortable life?And if you can think of someone; would you want to be like them? I appreciate the updates my loved ones post on Facebook, so I can feel connected. I appreciate the new friends that I'm making here and the little extended family that we have here.

I'm learning.
I'm learning life lessons every day. I'm learning more about myself, my pets, our marriage, and my God. I'm learning how to better take care of myself. I'm learning to conquer fears. I'm learning about anatomy and physiology. And starting tomorrow I'll be learning in my "Christian Beliefs" class. I'm learning to trust and depend on my Heavenly Father more than I ever have. 

I'm trusting.
Like I just mentioned, I'm trusting the Lord more than ever. I'm trusting Him with precious people like my Grandma, who according to the medical world, is on borrowed time. I'm trusting the Lord with our income... some days are easier than others to trust. 

I'm distracted.
God has done a marvelous job of keeping me distracted from feeling like a bum or homesick. He keeps providing new people and experiences to keep my mind occupied. I've been blessed with the opportunity to give Bible studies to folks, bake bread from banquets, help with outreach, search for my dog, write about searching for my dog, read, exercise, discover new music, and explore a "foreign land" (to name a few). The distractions really help, especially since it would be really easy for me to feel like a bum for not working. Like even now, as I'm typing, I feel obligated to tell you all that I've submitted resumes/applications at dozens of places and have only had 2 interviews. I feel obligated to tell you that the two local hospitals are on a hiring freeze and just recently laid off employees. But then again, a guy I know, who has only been here for two weeks, has already found a job. So then I feel obligated to tell you that perhaps God knows what's best since this Fall I will be in class from 830am to 830pm three days a week, and from 830am to 330pm two days a week, and nearly all my weekends are already full starting in September to late December (because that's the nature of the scholastic program I'm registered for). I keep applying for jobs but the distractions are nice for when I'm "rejected"... again...

I'm claiming...
I'm claiming Bible verses/promises like I never have before. Every time I walk the path that had the huge snake skin (especially at night), I claim Jeremiah 29:11. Or when I start to worry (especially about money), I claim Matthew 6:25-34. Or when there is a creepy bug/spider/amphibian/reptile all up in my personal space, and everything in my wants to scream like a little girl, and holler for my Superhero husband, and my legs are crossed so I don't wet myself, I claim Isaiah 41:10 (and yell for my cat Ike). Sometimes I don't know how to articulate my desires or I'm too tired to pray the dozens of things on my prayers list, so at  times like those I'll claim Psalm 37:4-5 and ask God to read my heart. The more I claim verses, the more He gives me verses to claim.

So here's the thing...
Of course I miss my husband and my other loved ones. Of course I miss the beautiful valley and community that I called home for nearly 10 years prior to moving to Tennessee. And if Jesus were to come today or if I died today, of course I would be ecstatic to be truly "home".

But God is taking such great care of me, in such an undeniable way, that I can't in good conscience claim that I'm anywhere close to being "homesick".  Please don't misunderstand me, my life isn't perfect, and I have hard days/weeks, but God is even closer in those times... which takes me back to the comfort zone thing... I wouldn't trade anything to have the walk that I'm having with my Lord right now. (Please see Philippians 4:6-9).

Which is exactly what I told my friend on the phone, "God is taking really good care of me."

If I were to choose one word, it would be, "abiding". I'm abiding in the Lord. So if you hear anyone say, "Vanessa is homesick.", while that might be partially true, you now know to politely correct them by saying, "Vanessa is abiding."And then just refer them to this blog post! ;)

God is love,
Vanessa who is abiding

PS. I did a little Bible study on the words "home" and "sick" and found the following verses stuck out to me (which I have copied and pasted from (they are all TNIV)):

  • "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates." Deuteronomy 6:5-9

  • "29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to comeeternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” Mark 10:29-31

  • "Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them." John 14:23

  • "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life." Proverbs 13:12 

  • "10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick." Matthew 9:10-12

  • "34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’" Matthew 25:34-36

  • "13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make them well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." James 5:14
Perhaps this will shed more light on why I don't take the word "homesick" lightly. :)


  1. Great post Vanessa! Thank you for sharing your testimony! It is always so powerful to see how God is working in your life!