This weekend has been a bittersweet one for me. This was the weekend we had reserved my parent's beach house for the Labor Day holiday. It was supposed to be our trip (just the six of us) to celebrate this past hectic spring, the birth of Thomas, the move, the new job, the new school - our new life in South Carolina. But we didn't move. Of course, the trip from Birmingham was too much to travel in such a short time, so we canceled.
This morning, while a sick little Thomas rested in his crib, I stayed home from church and sat out on our back patio and felt a little sorry for myself. I should be sitting on the beach right now. Instead, we are here and I'm having to stay home from church, which I so desperately need because my child is sick. I did mention I was feeling sorry for myself, right? :)
I opened my bible. My reading was in Ezekiel and the gentle morning sun cast it's light on this particular passage...
This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Although I sent them far away among the nations and scattered them among the countries, yet for a little while I have been a sanctuary for them in the countries where they have gone. - Ezekiel 11:16.
After this past year, I don't believe in coincidences anymore. I know everything has a purpose and I know God has purposed plans for those He loves. He knew I needed to hear these words this morning. He knew my heart; and He knew my heart was feeling scattered and far away from home. My bible commentary went on to say, "God was a sanctuary for the righteous remnant..... the faithful exiles, even though they were far from home, would be protected by God." God's entire purpose of the Babylonian captivity was to bring back the hearts of His people.
I'm not saying that staying in Birmingham was some sort of punishment for our family. It is SO far the opposite. It has been such a blessing. Chris and I have seen God move in powerful ways in our marriage, in our parenting, and even in our relationships with friends and family. It was His precious grace that awakened our souls and opened our ears to His voice and guidance. It was a decision we never saw coming, but glad we stepped out in faith and made. We know God wants us here right now. He has been so kind as to affirm it again and again. But it doesn't replace home. Home feels far away this weekend. It just does. But I want to be where Christ wants me to be. He has grown all of us closer to Himself during this process. It has been good.
I don't know what you are feeling far from tonight. Perhaps your life is far from what you had imagined as a young dreamer. Maybe your family dynamic is far from lining up with your ideal. Maybe you thought your husband would be home every night for dinner. Maybe you thought you'd be married by now. Maybe you thought you'd be making more money. Perhaps your children are far from perfect. Maybe YOU are far from perfect and you think you should have had it all together by this point. Aren't we ALL living far from something? Do we allow that distance to keep us from all Christ wants to redeem? I am constantly amazed and astounded by the great links Christ goes on our behalf to return our lives to Him. Sometimes, His sending us far away becomes the means by which He keeps us close. He is my sanctuary.... wherever I am.