Leaving Home

Leaving home never crossed my husband’s mind. Let me take you back a bit. My husband and I are middle school sweethearts. We met when I was 12 and other than a few break ups, we’ve been together since. We both grew up in a small town in Virginia and loved every second of it.

The first dates we took where I rode on the handlebars of his bike and the warm donuts at the Corner Bakery have been nostalgic in our memories.

This Thanksgiving my husband’s side of the family rented a darling AirBnB. We strolled through the town, ate at the Corner Bakery and showed our children where our former homes stood. When we walked into the stores and were greeted by familiar faces who knew us when we were young was delightful. We had been seen.

leaving home

It reminded me of an opposite time when my husband and I took a different journey. It wasn’t back home. Quite the opposite. It was to another country. 

You see, my husband and I had journeyed back home many times and that was comfortable. But this time it had taken God softening my husband’s heart toward other people groups. It also took God to calm my heart encourage and pray for opportunities. 

We boarded a plane to Guatemala and landed in a country where we spoke very little of the language. A man greeted us at the airport by a man with a pistol on his belt and a sign with our name on it. 

Comfort is far from what my husband was feeling. 

At this point I believe all of his military training was sending his instincts into high gear. 

But we got in the car to head to the orphanage we believed God had called us to see. This was not comfort. 

Needless to say, we were strangers. Foreigners. 

This is the place I want your mind and soul to rest on for the rest of the story. 

The discomfort. The strangeness. The hovering fear. 

It is from this place I want us to begin thinking about leaving home. I want us to discuss three things we can learn when we leave home. 

The first thing that leaving home does is makes you a stranger elsewhere. This act gives you sensitivity to the stranger near you.

It may seem obvious but when we arrived in Guatemala, we were strangers. There’s something about being in a foreign country with only your spouse and son that makes you long for someone to recognize your face. 

We did not know our drivers. They were unfamiliar. Finally, we arrived at the orphanage. We breathed a huge sigh of relief and they welcomed us with open arms. They prepared a hot meal and then gave us a place to lay our heads.

I’ve always remembered that feeling of being seen by someone who knows you. There is relief when you’ve felt lost, fearful or lonely to see someone who knows you.  Leaving home makes us extremely mindful of this.

I want us to think about that as we unpack this feeling of leaving home. 

There are people in our communities, our neighborhoods, even our churches who need someone who sees them. We need to stay sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s prompting in our soul to those who are lost, lonely and fearful. 

Look around today. Put yourself in the place of the stranger and see how you can help them feel recognized and at home.

The second thing I believe we can see when we leave home is that it makes you recognize what home truly means.

Home isn’t a roof over our head or the perfect shiplap on the walls. (Which I do love a good basket from Joanna Gaines, I will admit. The woman is a genius!!)

But home is deeper. When we leave home and step into the discomfort, we can begin to understand what the idea of home can do for people. 

The orphan, the widow, the lonely mom, the struggling pastor, the exhausted teacher… 

When we step outside of our own home and into this messy world, we can begin to bring the idea of home to them.

Home is:

being seen.

-a place to bring your dirty laundry.

-a hot cup of coffee and a place rid the loneliness.


How can we take the idea of what home is to those who desperately need it today?

The third thing I believe that leaving home can do for us is give us a new perspective so it is prepared for those who need us. 

My husband and I did not end up moving to Guatemala. But what leaving home and visiting Guatemala did do for us was open our eyes to what our home had not been. 

Our home had been a place where our own children laughed. It had been a place where I scrolled Pinterest for yet another way to cook chicken for ourselves. Our home had been a place where we sat and enjoyed each other. 

Yes! We need to enjoy each other.

But we weren’t given a home to simply enjoy it with each other. The book of Acts speaks about how the church shared everything with each other.

Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Acts 2:43-47

This is what happens when we leave home and God changes our hearts. He shifts our thinking, our perspective and our priorities on that which He finds to be important. 

When my husband and I left home for Guatemala, we came back with a fresh desire. It was as if God gave us a heart to open our homes to those who needed it. 

Since then God has given us many opportunities to share our home with those who have no home, those who need a fresh breath from the loneliness, those who have hard questions for God and about God, those who need their stomachs filled, those who needed a job, those who needed a breakthrough from addiction, those who were depressed and anxious, those who have lost loved ones and so many others. 

In this God has blessed us far more than those who have walked through our doors. I’m do not understand why He chose to use broken people, but we are overwhelmed and our souls are satisfied in Him. 

For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.

Psalm 107:9

In what ways have you left home, and in what ways have you seen God shift your perspective?