There was a season of my life where I lived about 45 minutes away from everything that I was involved with: work, church, community group, friends’ homes, classes; you name it. During that time, I often spent spare hours between events at coffee shops, libraries, restaurants, or stores. I slept many nights at different friends’ houses so that I didn’t have to drive long and late at night, only to come right back early the next morning to go to work. It felt very much like a gypsy lifestyle.
I learned a lot during that season: the library closes at 5 on Fridays, pack two lunches if you’re sleeping away from home, and keep extra toiletries in the trunk of your car. But more than anything, I learned that God was refining my concept of home.
I had always considered home to be the place that I lived with my parents and siblings and where I was most comfortable. It was the place that kept me safe, kept my stuff, and kept my family. I had plenty of places that I considered second homes: houses where I spent a lot of time and knew my way around the kitchen. But the name “home” was reserved for the place where I lived.
As other families invited me into their spare rooms, kitchens, and daily life, “home” became less about the place I returned to every night and more about the people who were in it. While practical things like brushing my teeth and doing laundry there were comforting and familiar, it was the personal time, friendly faces, and open doors that started making many places feel like home.
We hear the phrase “Home is where the heart is” all the time. During this time, I was deeply aware of where my heart was: it was held by Christ. So wherever He took me was home. Through the hospitality of others whose hearts were held by Christ, God provided for me.
Our homes, like any other gift from God, are ours to steward, not ours to own. They don’t need to be photograph-ready or have a table for twelve in order to welcome people in. Stewarding starts with taking our home and its contents before the Lord and asking him how he wants to use it. Then, we posture our hearts to be open. A place becomes a home because of the people who are there, and with Christ that can be created anywhere.