Where do you call home? How do you describe what home is to you? I don’t mean the building where you live. I don’t mean where you hang your hat, but where you hang your heart. And that’s not easy to define. Home is important to us, and even if you’re homeless, you can still have one.

A few weeks ago, Tropical Storm Imelda, like Hurricane Harvey, drenched South East Texas. Many people suffered damage to their homes due to rising water caused by the slow movement of the storm. So many people still displaced from Harvey, feared the return of the disastrous struggle to rebuild yet again. My niece, Melissa, a single mother, lost everything in the Memorial Day flood of 2016 lost her car, clothes, computer, pictures, toys, books—whatever wasn’t flooded on the first floor was lost to mildew and mold on the second.

Her world destroyed, she moved to another apartment and began to start over, replacing her belongings and rebuilding a life for herself and her daughter. Then, the next year, Hurricane Harvey came through and once more, she lost everything. She has been stalwart, uncomplaining despite losing everything two years in a row. When Imelda threatened her new home, Melissa didn’t lose hope. She prepared for the worst and prayed. She could have been shaking in her boots, but her faith held strong and her new home was not flooded. Though had it been, I believe she would have shrugged her petite shoulders and accepted whatever God has for her. It seems she grows stronger with each trial she survives. She is definitely an overcomer. It is because her home is not a “space,” but a place in her heart. Her family and friends, her church, and her God bring her the peace and strength to keep on keeping on.

Last week, the tragic death of a local young man, to an unknown cause, left his family and friends in shock. They look at his space, his things, and feel loss—a loss opposite that of Melissa’s loss. Her things and space were gone, and she survived. Whereas the young man is gone and his space, his things survive. His family look at them and I know from experience that they grieve. That they touch those items with a different touch than before he was gone. We can’t imagine the feelings, the pain, emotions the situation causes unless we, too have been there. I know they ask: “Why?” I know they long to understand.

Home is a place—not just a space. Not things.

The young man and Melissa found home in different spaces. Different spaces yet they each have found their place of love and acceptance. She within her heart, and he within God’s arms. Both are at peace. Both have found comfort. Home is not a space we occupy here on earth, but a place we call home because we have hope. We have a belief in a solid expectation of love, unconditional love.

Where is your home? Is it a place you feel accepted, safe and loved?

City on a Hill’s bible study, I Can Only Imagine, describes home like this: “Home is not just a space; it’s a place. Home is where our heart is, where we find meaning, where we are known, where we are safe, where we belong.” I love those descriptors. Unfortunately, though we all long for that kind of safe place, many of us are unable to describe home with those words—known, safe, belong.

When I think of home, I like to think of a place where I can be myself; where I am loved beyond my faults and despite my poor choices and mistakes. To me, home wasn’t the house where I grew up, but a place where I am accepted and loved unconditionally, without judgment. Does that place even exist? I wanted to provide that kind of place for my children. How does a parent convey that kind of total acceptance? Like most families, we had good times and hard times. And there were bad times. Can anyone but God express such love and acceptance? Can we find home anywhere then?

There was a hymn we used to sing in the little country church where I grew up. Anywhere is Home, (If Christ my Lord is there) by John M. Henson. It often comforts me when I’m feeling nostalgic, or when I’ve been gone from home for a while, or when a storm threatens. Like the dark night when Hurricane Alicia hit the Gulf Coast in 1983.

We huddled in our little single-wide mobile home listening as a howling tornado felled twenty-three trees on our property, two of which hit our house. The crashing thud of each falling tree sent me to my knees. Actually, I lay on the floor thinking we might, like Dorothy, sail through the skies to a crash landing somewhere over the rainbow. As I prayed and hummed Anywhere is Home if Christ my Lord is there, I found comfort in that old hymn, knowing wherever I landed, God would be there.

When my oldest son joined the army hoping to be assigned to the Persian Gulf and Operation Desert Storm, I was comforted, knowing the same sun and moon and stars I see, shine all over the world. Then when my youngest son moved to North Carolina, I reminded myself again, that God is everywhere. And anywhere He is, will be home to my children.

When I’m missing a loved one who has passed, the words to the song lift my spirits. Someday, I will go to that heavenly home too. Meanwhile, as they say, “Home is where the heart is,” and my heart belongs to Jesus. With Him, I feel safe, he knows me—better than I know myself even, and accepts me, loves me as I am. I know I belong. And when I think about it, it’s good to be home.

Where is home for you? Can you describe it? Is there a certain song that lifts your spirits?

Remember wherever you are, you are at the right place when you visit my website and read my blog. Come on back and share a slice of life with me.

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