My husband and I love to watch HGTV. Many of the programs show clients who say they are looking for their “forever home.” A place where they can put down roots and raise a family. A place where they can make memories to last a lifetime.
That sounds so good. To have a place where you live for all your adult life, maybe even living there until you die.
I have never had a “forever home.” Several times I thought I had found it only to have it slip away.
My first “forever home” was a mobile home situated on three acres in the country in southeast Missouri. My first husband and I purchased the place, not for the run down mobile home, but for the beautiful land. It set on a hill overlooking the farm land around it. There was a small pond at the back of the property. We made such plans to build our “forever home” there. We would have a garden and there was enough land to have a horse for our girls and perhaps raise a calf to butcher later for beef. There were fish in the pond and that would provide some fun time for my husband to spend with his girls. We spent the winter looking at different house designs and planning just where on the property we would build the house. Just waiting for spring trying to survive the cold, bitter winter in the mobile home which let in the cold air. At one point our water pipes froze and we had to go out in the cold and pump water from a well, bring it in and warm it up. But it was okay because come spring we would have our “forever home.”
But two days after spring came, my dream of a “forever home” was destroyed. My husband was killed in an accident. Instead of beginning to laid the foundation for our home, I buried my husband. Without him, I did not have the heart or the ability to make that dream of a “forever home” come true. So – I moved back to Illinois to be near my family.
After a couple of years, I met another wonderful man and remarried. We bought a house that I thought would be my “forever home.” The upstairs was finished with two large bedrooms and a beautiful dining room with large windows looking on a back yard bordered by large trees. My husband set to work and quickly built three bedrooms for our children in the walk-out basement. All that remained to make our home complete was to finish a family room in the main part of the basement which also had large glass doors looking out on the back yard.
Before we got the family room finished, we answered a call to sell our home and go to the Philippines to work in a college in Iloilo. Selling our home and our possessions was a difficult decision to make and even harder was leaving our son who was about to graduate from Illinois College and was getting married that summer. We also left a daughter and son-in-love with two little babies under two years old.
Off we went to a new home in a new country – a home that would not be a “forever home.”
After returning to the USA again I thought I had found my “forever home.” It was a smaller home than the one we had before, but in a nice neighborhood with a fireplace – something I had always wanted. My husband went to work and built a deck on the back of the house and began planting some beautiful flowers. Finally I would have a place to put down roots.
After two years my husband received a call to become a pastor at a church in northwest Illinois. So – house on the market – off we went.
This time we would not be buying a “forever home.” The church had a parsonage and we would live there. I thought maybe some day when my husband retired I would have my own home again.
After seven years in the parsonage with my husband nearing retirement age we decided to buy our own home. Living in a parsonage is not an easy thing to do. It is not your house and you have to get approval from others if you want to make anything extensive changes. Since it is not your own house you hesitate to spend a lot of your own money making improvements and so you depend on the church board to see the need for improvements (not always an easy thing to do).
Getting our own home was so exciting for me. Finally, I would have my “forever home” and be able to fix it as I wanted. We did a lot of work to that home. We took up carpet and put down beautiful laminate floors. We added a sun room. We bought all new appliances and a new furnace and AC unit. My husband planted a beautiful hosta garden in the back yard with over 200 hostas plants along with roses, lilies of the valley, flowering trees. At last I had it – my “forever home.” We would stay here as he finished his years as pastor and then enjoy the home in our retirement.
It almost worked out that way. We lived here for seventeen years – the most I have ever lived in one house. It seemed perfect.
But then – our youngest daughter accepted a position as a pastor in central Michigan. She and her husband moved taking our youngest granddaughter with them. The rest of our children were scattered all over the USA and we were now going to be left with no family nearby. At our age (I’m 70 and my husband is 78) we did not like the idea of no one close to spend holidays with or call on if we needed help. And although we do not love this granddaughter more than the rest of our grandchildren, she is the youngest. The majority of our grandchildren are grown or at least teenagers. Zoe at only seven still thinks coming to Papa and Grandma’s house is an exciting event. So – you got it.
We said to goodbye to our “forever home” and headed north to Michigan. This time we are renting a house. Not knowing the area well, we did not want to purchase a home immediately. At our age we are not even sure we want to buy a house now. Easier to just call the landlord if something goes wrong and no yard maintenance for us to do.
So now I realize that I will not have my “forever home” in this life. But that has got me to really thinking.
I’m nearer now than ever to what will be the best “forever home” I can possibly have. I love the words that Jesus spoke just before He went to the cross.
“You must not let yourselves be distressed—you must hold on to your faith in God and to your faith in me. There are many rooms in my Father’s House. If there were not, should I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? It is true that I am going away to prepare a place for you, but it is just as true that I am coming again to welcome you into my own home, so that you may be where I am.”
While I’m not ready to take up residence just yet in that place Jesus has prepared for me, I treasure the thought that there is a “forever home” waiting for me.
“The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing — to reach the Mountain, to find the place where all the beauty came from….Do you think it all meant nothing, all the longing? The longing for home? Till We Have Faces