I love where I live. My family owns a little farm in a small Alabama town and I love it. I love the land, the rich history, the overt conversations about God and Church, the Southern hospitality, the slow pace and Southern drawl, and the sweet tea. Sweet baby Jesus…the sweet tea. I love that my son is flourishing here. I like hearing him blend Pennsylvania Dutch with a Southern accent. I love that my husband is fishing to his heart’s content here. I love that we belong.
As a native Oregonian who has lived all over the world for the last 24 years, I never thought Alabama would be “home.” When I first received orders to the Montgomery area, I prayed that this would not be “the forever home.”
Those who have lived in the same place for a majority of their lives may struggle to relate to this; however, those from a transient background such as the military, know that each assignment could be the last. The real last assignment. The assignment that “traps” you into staying at that location. I was so afraid Alabama would be that for my family.
Yet, here I am. Declaring that I love this place. We settled. I’m retiring from the military here. We’re staying…at least for a while.
You see…this isn’t really our home. None of it is. Our home is in Heaven, seated near Jesus, near all the Saints, and very near to our Heavenly Father. According to Philippians, our citizenship is in heaven.
“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” Philippians 3: 20-21 (NIV)
In John 14, Jesus comforts His disciples by telling them that there are many rooms in His Father’s house…and He goes on to state that He is going to prepare that place for them. For You. For Us.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” John 14:1-3 (NIV)
We aren’t meant to be anywhere on Earth as our “forever home.” We’re meant to be in the best home ever with the absolute best Father ever. It doesn’t matter how much I love the land and the hospitality of the locals in Alabama. It does not matter how much I adore my son’s developing Southern accent. It does not matter. Why? Because none of that truly matters in comparison to our true “forever home.”
I love living in small town Alabama. But I am so excited to eventually be in my “forever home” in Heaven.