I spent a good part of my young adult life “homesick”, not knowing where I belonged yet filled with a yearning to belong somewhere. Author Christie Purifoy shares a piece of her search for home in a guest post today. Christie’s book, Roots & Sky: A Journey Home in Four Seasons, is a beautiful recollection of the year her family settled into their earthly home — a brick house on a hilltop in Pennsylvania. I couldn’t help but relate as I read her story while in my own brick house on a hilltop in Indiana. It’s a blessing to welcome Christie to Slice of Life.
Guest post by Christie Purifoy
Five years ago, I came home with my family to an old, red brick farmhouse on a Pennsylvania hill. It is called Maplehurst, and it is a beautiful, maddening place.
The paint peels, the weeds grow, the bricks crumble. The children bicker, the chickens escape, and beetles never will stop eating the roses.
People come to stay for one night or a year of nights, neighbors gather, the woodstove in the kitchen crackles and steams, and God abides with us. We have come home.
I recently wrote a book about our first year at Maplehurst, and I found myself tripping over a hundred clichés. As a writer, I abhor a cliché. They are like those gel-coated pills, designed to go down easy. They are meant to comfort but only by bypassing thought.
Home is where the heart is
Home is with my people
There’s no place like home
This world is not our home
Such lovely, lyrical words, but are they even true?
Whether we are homebodies or world travelers, we all long for the moment of arrival. We all dream of the rest and peace we imagine waits for us at the end of a long journey. Only say the word home, and we all feel the pull of that desire. There really isn’t any place quite like the place we call home.
Yet too many Jesus followers accept homesickness as their lot in life. I have come home, yet I too have these homesick days. Why? Not because I was made for some heavenly home (I wasn’t). Not because Maplehurst is imperfect (it is but that imperfection is a gift). Not because home is with my people (my own little people are growing up and spending more time away from home). No, I feel homesick because even though my feet are planted in one place, I still wander away from that kingdom which has come and is, every day, coming.
Always God is calling, “Remember [and] … return to me, for I have redeemed you” (Isaiah 44:21,22).
Why does Scripture echo with the twin commands to return and remember? It is because God’s promises intersect with places. We relate to God and to one another in some place. To remember is to return. To return is to remember. Rootlessness is a kind of forgetting, and home is the dwelling place of memory. Home is the place where we daily abide with God.
We were never made for heaven. Our bodies, formed of dust, were always intended for a life on earth. This world is our home. The great promise has always been not that we would go to live with God, but that God would come to make his home with us. Jesus promised, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them” (John 14:23).
God comes to us, and we can go home again. Every day, again and again, we can go home.
Christie Purifoy earned a PhD in English Literature at the University of Chicago before trading the classroom for a farmhouse, a garden, and a blog. In lyrical, contemplative prose, Christie’s book, Roots and Sky: A Journey Home in Four Seasons, unveils the trials and triumphs of her family’s first year at Maplehurst. Christie invites you into the heartache and joy of small beginnings and the wonder of a God who would make his home with us. Connect with Christie and discover more about life in a Victorian farmhouse called Maplehurst on Instagram and Facebook.
Life stories knit us together, whether to family or to others who just need to know they are not alone. In these 31 days of October, I’ll be exploring the importance of STORY. You can read all 31 days by following the links under “31 Days of Story”. Thank you for joining me!
Tomorrow: Break the “resistance” that’s keeping you from living well