Longing for Heaven

Longing. We have all felt it. Missing, aching, yearning, striving. The feeling of wanting something to bring satisfaction, warmth, comfort, pleasure.

Emptiness. The moment you achieve what you longed for and still have the gnawing on the inside of your chest. The realization that you can’t wait for the next rush, climax, success, affirmation, attention. You are already planning it. Thinking of it. The place of satisfaction is so short lived you wonder if you even experienced it at all.

Comparing. Looking, measuring up your success and ability next to everyone else’s success and abilities. Wanting what’s not yours, chasing after dreams that you long for that will inevitably leave you, longing.

Whether you and I want to admit it or not I believe this is the plight of the human cycle. This is the battle at it’s truest form. The always living for the next high whether it be; attention, fame education, success, pleasure, comfort, money, beauty. We are a people defined by our grasping. Those who grab hold know that what they have in their hand is never enough and those who can’t quite attain are forever envious of those who seem to grasped the allusive.

Peace. Contentment. Worth. Affirmation. At the root of our longing are these things. No matter what form our longing presents itself in, it boils down to these 4 seeds.The desire for peace, contentment, worth and affirmation is what drives our seeking and striving.

In Abraham’s life I speculate as I read chapter 13 of Genesis and because I know Abraham was human too that he struggled with these same feelings. We see Abraham and Lot who he brought with him as he followed God’s call at a crossroads. They both are wealthy and their employees are fighting, there isn’t enough room. They can’t share the space. Lot was Abraham’s nephew and I can imagine Abraham had given him a hand, maybe was a Father figure to him. So he did the humble thing suggesting they separate, letting Lot choose first. Lot chose the best.

We know from more of Lot’s story that he had a wife and children. He settled in a land close to the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah which makes me think he and his family found a place there, community, maybe even notoriety. Abraham on the other hand was isolated away from the city. He had a few close friends and wealth, but no heir, no babies at all. I wonder if Abraham questioned what God was doing in his life as it seemed his nephew had all the “blessings” while he was waiting on a promise.

I don’t know about you, but I can relate to Abraham. Does it ever feel like everybody else is getting everything you feel God promised to you? Do you ever wonder if you have been forgotten about? The longing is deep and real.

We see from the story of Abraham that Lot’s choice really didn’t do him much good. He ends up getting captured and Abraham has to go rescue him and ultimately Lot looses his wife and his daughter disgrace him because of the company he kept and the city he chose. The pleasures, wealth and places he fit in didn’t end up doing him much good in the end.

That longing that we all have it will never be, never be satisfied by anything apart from a relationship and daily surrendering to the Lord of All. Fame, success, money, beauty, education, pleasure, comfort, none of that is bad except if it becomes the why for your life. If you and I are striving for, chasing down anything other than God, if we are living for anything other than his promise we have missed and are missing the contentment, peace affirmation and worth that we so desperately long for. The ache deep inside of us is only satisfied by sitting at the feet of Jesus and bringing others to join us.

The world’s way of striving always looks better. Especially with the right filter, perfect makeup and no evidence of the outtakes. But God’s way IS better. His way may be harder in the middle, it will take more of him and a lot less of us, it will require faith and trust beyond what you think you have to give but in the end we will see his faithfulness and his promise fulfilled.

In Ecclesiastes 3:11 it says that “God has set eternity in the heart of man…” I believe this is the root of our longing, for eternity. Eternity with our Creator God. And until you and I choose to live for the eternal things, the ones that last, we will always find ourselves coming up, longing.

Explore the idea of home with me through November while looking at the life of Abraham. Get every post to your inbox so you don’t miss one by signing up here.

Making a Home a House.

When we move into a house, duplex, fourplex, apartment, camper, RV we begin setting up our things. Making it ours. Our style of furniture, our pictures, our colors. The things that make the new living space a home. A place that reflects us. A place we belong.

Then when it is time and there is a change we pack everything up again. We take the things off the walls, take apart the furniture. Everything goes back into boxes and the home that we created becomes what it was when we moved in. A house, a duplex, an apartment, RV, camper. Walls and doors, cupboards and closets.

My husband and I have moved 11 times in our almost 13 years of marriage. I remember the first house we called our home. It was in Uzgohrod, Ukraine and after days of travel and no sleep we arrived. I was determined to unpack instantly, making the space ours.

In Western culture we often define worth based on what a person owns, where a person lives, how a person looks. Even if we don’t admit it these are the criteria that naw at us. We have a favorite book in our house You are Special by Max Lucado. It is about a village of wooden people who spend all their time giving out star stickers for those who look and act right and dot stickers to those who fall short. Every time I read it I am struck by the weight of the truth of it. This is how we live our lives, looking at the outward appearance and handing out invisible stickers.

In the book the wooden person who is the main character, Puchinello, is always getting dots. Finally after meeting someone who didn’t have any stickers he went to visit the Woodworker, Eli and in meeting him he learned that he is special because of what Eli, his maker, thought and that it didn’t matter what the others said. The book ends with a dot sticker falling off a he leaves the Woodwooker’s shop. This is how I want to live my life, with the expectations of a world of people with invisible stickers not having any affect on me.

When I read the account of Abraham in Genesis 12 and I read of him packing up his household, not once but likely multiple times as they traveled in a nomadic way I can’t help but think of his wife, Sarah.

Oh women like their homes, don’t they. I like pretty things and spaces where everything looks and feels just right. Sarah moved with her husband also following God’s call to get up and go.

She had to come to a place of realization, as I hope each of us will consider as well, that a home really has very little to do with the four walls that we find ourself surrounded by. A home is the people that are within the walls. A home is characterized by the purpose that it has of bringing warmth, love, light and encouragement to those who crave these very things. In the end it doesn’t matter to our Maker if the home is big or small, new or old he doesn’t give out stickers as our peers do, he simply desires us to steward the gift of the place well to allow the space that we call home to be a place of home for others.

The buildings we call home are really only walls, doors and floors. What makes them home is what each of us brings to the space and who we share it with. We have all been given a great gift if we have been given a safe space to call home, now who needs to be invited in?

Explore the idea of home with me through November while looking at the life of Abraham. Get every post to your inbox so you don’t miss one by signing up here.

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Preparing For Christmas - A 25 Day Devotional for Families during the Month of December.

Grab Preparing For Christmas as we head into the Holiday Season. Be ready to use this time to focus on the true meaning and impact of Christmas with your family.

I wrote Preparing for Christmas because I wanted something I could do with my family that would turn our hearts towards what Christmas really means for us. Every year we go through Preparing for Christmas and we would love to have your family join us. Love, Steph

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What is home? 

Things hanging on the walls, thousands of square feet, a fenced in backyard? Or is it more than that; a sense of belonging, safety and warmth.

Maybe home isn’t something we come to but something we bring with us. Join me as we explore the idea of home while looking at the life of Abraham in a 6 part blog series through November.

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