I spent the past two weeks in my home state, South Carolina. Going back is always just what I needed. And my trips never seem to last as long as I'd like them to. New York City never really felt like HOME to me.
Before going back to SC I was so incredibly excited to finally go back, I told everyone "I'm going home in a couple of days!"
But this time everything just felt different. I had the brutal (and one would think obvious) realization that my friend's and family's lives didn't stop while I was gone. The changes I felt weren't major but they were enough to make me feel kind of queazy.
One night I sat on my bed and cried my eyes out because I felt like I didn't have a home anymore. NYC never felt like home. My SC bedroom didn't feel like my bedroom anymore. I won't hyperbolize the situation and say that I was "homeless" but my heart was really hurting.
I hate crying because when I cry, my heart starts to physically hurt and the chest pain becomes so great that I start to cry over that on top of the heartbreak cry. This cry was rough. I cried out to God, "Why did you send me to NYC? I don't even want to do what I originally went there to do, so can't I just start over somewhere else? Why can't I stay here with my family and live life with them?"
I was so heartbroken that I called my best friend to talk to them. As soon as they said "Hello?" I couldn't find my words because I was so out of breath from crying. "Just breathe, take your time. I'll stay on the phone until you're ready to talk". And they just listened. "Breathe." they reminded me (sometimes I accidentally hold my breath and I don't realize it until I let out a huge breath, it's bad).
When I finally caught my breath and had the ability to speak, I told my best friend just exactly what I was feeling. They tried to convince me that because I was surrounded by people that loved me, I was home. "It's not the same," I kept repeating, "It's not the same".
Finally they said to me, "Emily, you have Jesus in your heart. You have a Father up above who loves you so much more than I ever could. Home is where the heart is, and if your heart is focused on Jesus, you're always home. Paris, NYC, Australia, SC, you're always home because Jesus has you."
I'd been struggling with calling NYC my "home" for two years (which is actually how long I've lived there). I always referred to it as home just because it was too much effort to say "the place where I'm currently living".
When I first moved to NYC, the song "Home" by Phillip Phillips played as I drove into the city (which I'm fairly certain I've blogged about before). The lyric that always stood out to me was "Just know you're not alone, cause I'm gonna make this place your home," and I always heard it as the Lord telling me that NYC was going to be my new home. But it's not what it was, it was my Jesus telling me that "Home is where I am, and I am always with you."
I felt so incredibly loved when my best friend told me that. Loved by my Father. An unconditional love.
This is why I'm a Christian. Not because I want to follow a rule book. Not because I think I'm better than others. Not because I like my church. Not because I like the music. I'm a Christian because I get to know an unconditional love. I get to have moments a few nights ago in my bedroom where I'm reminded that I'm never alone (I don't know why I need a reminding, but I never get scolded for needing it).
Proverbs 16:9 says "In their hearts humans, plan their course but the Lord establishes their steps." I think that's why it's called "WALKING" with the Lord. It's like learning to waltz with Jesus. You make the decision to learn, He takes you in His arms, He teaches you and guides you until you learn the proper steps; but instead of letting you go on your own, He still holds on.
Sometimes I think that I can dance on my own and to my own beat, but I'm reminded who the perfect dance partner is. Sometimes He moves me in a direction that doesn't make sense to me, but it always ends up becoming a beautiful piece of the dance.
Dancing with Jesus is my home.
I hope this post was a little less scatter-brained than some of my previous posts, but I post these for me.