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Longing for Home

Posted by Lindsey Smallwood on


Something about the changing of the season makes me want to be home—although not in my loud, messy home full of boys having sword fights and dishes piled in the sink. I want to be home in some magazine version of home, drinking a mug full of cider and reading a book by the fire.

Copyright by Stocksnap / Pixabay

Home has changed a lot for me—both over the course of my life and also in the last year. After three cross–country moves in our nine-year marriage, we came to California last year. Now we’re moving again, not cross–country this time, just across town. Meanwhile, my parents who have lived in Alaska for most of my life, decided to retire to Ohio where they can help care for my grandfather. They are doing a good thing, but it’s so strange that ‘going home’ to see my parents won’t mean heading back to Alaska anymore.  

Home is changing again. I feel tired, uncertain, I’m longing for steadiness and constancy, even more than my cozy-book-by-the-fire-and-mug-full-of-cider fantasy. 

My friend Whitney has a life dream to be a regular at a local coffee shop, to be greeted by name and to be able to order ‘the usual’. She worked on this for awhile when we were living in Berkeley, stopping into the same coffee shop on University Avenue each day, ordering the same drink while she waited for her bus. Still, after months of practicing this little ritual, the barista still asked her name, still didn’t know her order. When she moved across the country, she vowed to try again.

I get what she’s after, I want it too. To know and be known, to find a little oasis of predictability in the vast desert of change that is this life. I long for a secure place to be seen and loved as I am and grow into who I am becoming.

One promise of God in Scripture is that he is unchanging. 

Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. (James 1:17 NLT)

Not only is he the author of every good thing there is, God never changes. My understanding of him can change. My circumstances will certainly change. But he won’t. God’s never-ending, way-making love is my true home in the world.

The ache I have for steadiness in a world where home keeps changing? I think it’s actually a longing for the one true constant, a needfulness of Jesus, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 

My need won’t be met with seasonal décor and a mortgage guaranteeing a place to live. It’s met in quiet, in waiting, in worship, in remembering the one who made me and loved me enough to give his life that I might live in love forever. 

As I watch the leaves fall and think about the story the trees are telling, that death makes way for life in the springtime still to come, I sense the invitation to turn toward the love that calls me home in every season. Like the trees, my life is changing again. In a real sense, again, home isn’t home anymore. Still, my real home is as open to me as it’s always been.

Thanks be to God. 


Lindsey Smallwood loves to communicate truth through stories, whether by blogging, making up tales at bedtime, or preaching and teaching to churches and groups. She is married to Chris, a SJSU Physics professor, and they have three young sons. 


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