Cup o’ Joe

Posted on: October 28, 2014 Written by
Cup o’ Joe
Photography by: Wavebreak Media from iStock          

Prior to our home assignment in 2012, I daydreamed about the places I could go that had been favorites before life overseas: strolling down the sparkly-clean aisles of Target, walks at a best-loved park, cups of steamy drinks at my favorite cafe. I imagined myself sitting relaxed and smiling, wearing winter clothes for the first time in years, chatting over coffee with girlfriends, so much to share.

The truth is, things were not the same, coming back “home.” Our life was not the same as it was in the post-college, pre-kids era, with lazy evenings out for drinks and chatting. In addition to our erratic travel and speaking schedule, coffee out with two under two was much more difficult in this new season.

Our growing family was not the only thing that was different. We had been away for five years. My husband and I were not the same people we had been. Our friends’ lives had continued moving in the same direction together, and our life had veered sharply in another. After months of eagerly anticipating deep fellowship and renewed relationships, I found myself struggling with where my “place” was, often feeling on the outside and out of the loop. This feeling was not entirely foreign to me, of course. It is just that, on the field, where I was not from the same culture and language of most people, it was easier to be an outsider. I did not expect that I could fully fit there, so I did not mind as much when I felt that way.

It felt different, though, to be in a place I used to belong only to realize that somehow I no longer fit there any more either. It caused an ache and longing that caught me off guard and prompted a strange sort of grieving in my heart.

When would I live in a place where I could truly be understood, and belong?

The crumpled pages of the Scriptures opened in my hands, and these words bring comfort and hope…

They saw it way off in the distance, waved their greeting, and accepted the fact that they were transients in this world. People who live this way make it plain that they are looking for their true home. If they were homesick for the old country, they could have gone back any time they wanted. But they were after a far better country than that—heaven country. You can see why God is so proud of them, and has a City waiting for them. (Hebrews 11:13-16, The Message)

Homesickness, loneliness, the seemingly endless cycle of transition, and being a stranger on earth. One day all these things will cease and I will be rejoicing in the City God has ready for me in heaven country. I will be there, one hundred percent at home, completely belonging, maybe even with a cup o’ joe in hand!

 

©2014 Thrive.

Question to consider: How have you dealt with the struggle to find your “place” and “feeling on the outside and out of the loop”?



About the author

A Kansas born farm girl and former school teacher, Susan and her husband have worked in the Asia Pacific in the field of community development for five years now. She keeps busy at home with three kids age four and under who were all born on one of the most beautiful tropical islands in the world. Susan blogs at http://mnsspaciousplaces.blogspot.com.

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  • Beth Young

    After 14 years I can relate! Thank you for sharing what God’s answer was to your need.

    • susan

      It does make it easier knowing there are others in the same boat, a reminder that I’m not the “only one!” Thank you, Beth!

  • Elizabeth Givens

    Over and over, year after year, moving back and forth across the planet, I remind myself of the verses you alluded to that give me hope that there will be a homeland where I will feel completely at home (and it will have good ‘joe’ I am sure.)

    Hebrews 11:13-15 NLT:
    All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. 16 But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

    • susan

      I doubt we will be too concerned about the joe when we arrive in heaven!;) But the perfect home it will be! See you there!

  • Carol Dannenberg

    Hi Susan,
    I can relate too! And the longer you’re away, the more you feel it — I haven’t lived in the US since 2003. It’s true we need to remember our real home is in heaven. I’ve also found it helpful to stay in touch with fellow missionaries, those on the field or those also on home assignment. Fellow missionaries “get it”, and often share the same heart, values and lifestyle.

    • susan

      Carol, I really agree about the importance of keeping up with other people who are living overseas and have experienced the pull of living between two worlds. Thank you!

  • Caroline

    I’m glad God showed you the nature of your true home. I had a similar awakening several months ago when we needed to switch apartments during my last pregnancy. At first I was completely unwilling to even consider spending an extra $300 on rent for a larger apartment in the same university apartment community. As my husband and I were praying about it, God spoke to me, “I know you are wanting to save that extra money for the down on a house someday but…what if that’s not what I have for you?” Oh. Oh! I’m listening, God. “What if you will never have a house? What if I want you to give up that money (which is My money anyway) so that I can have you exactly where I want you to reach the people there? Will you do that for me?” Yes, Lord. I really can’t refuse. Considering what you have done for me, I will do that for you!

    What are you gripping too tightly that you need to place in God’s hands so He can give you His riches?!

    • susan

      Caroline-Hearing your story was encouraging–God has you moving to a new place to be there at just the right time for the people there! Thank you for sharing your story of your new “home”!…Have you already moved in there? I will pray for you during the transition!

      • Caroline

        Thanks Susan! Yes, we have been here for several months and have been able to invite more people into our home than we had before and we are making more relationship connections than ever before as well! Life has been very busy with my husband’s work responsibilities lately and just normal life with a new baby and two little ones, but God is always so good. We are looking forward to another season of reaching out to some of our friends and neighbors (who are not believers) especially during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season. Please pray for us to have opportunities to share the real Reason for the Season!

        • susan

          Great to hear more about your life and glad to know you are settled into your new place! I will pray for your family!….