I grew up in a military family. I went to a military college. I joined the military. Then, I married into the military. My birth certificate was signed by my Daddy as a Second Lieutenant and a military doctor who later became my doctor in college. The military is indeed a small world. But it’s MY world; it always has been, and I’ve grown accustomed to its many nuances. I start getting the “itch” to move around the two-year mark and I absolutely love researching the next place. House hunting has become somewhat of a hobby. I love moving, making new friends, exploring new places, finding those hole-in-the-wall places that become a regular family haunt. I even secretly enjoy the packing and unpacking processes. The only aspect of moving I’ve always secretly and ashamedly hated is church hunting (perhaps I’ll share more on that in a future post). I mean it! I. LOVE. MOVING.
But I will admit that I dread the inevitable question of home. “Where are you from?” Well, can you quantify that? Do you mean where did I live longest? England. No, I don’t think of myself as “basically British.” Where did I graduate high school? Georgia. Nope, I have no sentimental ties to either of my two high schools other than some of the friendships I maintained over the years. At this point they usually ask, “OK, well where were you born?” California. To most people it would seem like I have no home. In fact, I honestly usually just say I’m from Georgia, where my parents retired, in order to keep things simple. Every once in a while the particularly curious (nosy?) people press anyway because I “don’t sound like [I’m] from Georgia.” But you get the picture. My life has been fairly nomadic. And yet, I’ve never felt cheated or as though I’ve missed out on having a home. Everywhere we went, God provided family and fellowship. I have friends and adopted family all over the world. God has blessed and enriched my life beyond measure.
Now, we are facing leaving the military life behind. It’s really happening. We are seriously planning to move to one place and hope to stay there (or very close) for the rest of our lives. And I’m TERRIFIED. Why? Because I will have to reevaluate and perhaps redefine my concept of home. In her book Keeping Place, Jen Pollock Michel discusses the concepts of home and housekeeping, and how they effect our spiritual lives. In the first chapter – which is a fascinating look at nostalgia and homesickness – she says, “words not only describe how we feel; they distinctly shape how we understand our feelings…as complex emotional beings, we need nomenclature for fear and self-doubt, longing and desire. In short, we must be taught to explain ourselves to ourselves as well as to others.” I love the idea that our words shape our perception of our lives and the world around us. In searching my heart during this time of transition, I was surprised to find that I am a little bit apprehensive about staying in one place, but mostly at peace with the thought of finally settling into a new life.
There will be so many changes. In fact, it seems to me that these first few years of my marriage have been nothing but huge, life-altering changes. But as I look back, I see God’s hand in every one of those situations, quietly but forcefully moving to make our lives better and draw us closer to Him. I know that every year will continue to bring new changes. But I also know a God who is never surprised and, in fact, has an amazing plan in store for me and my family. There’s nothing new under the sun, and I can have peace knowing that the God of the universe is quietly working behind the scenes of my chaotic, lovely, messy life.
Will you pray with me as we go through this transition? And I beg your patience in the coming months as I’m sure this change and the many stages involved will feature regularly on the blog. I’ve also decided to finish my Masters degree, in addition to everything else! Please bear with me and I promise to keep you updated with all the craziness.
I remain hapless but hopeful,