Books

How to Hope When We’re Far from Home

 Come, Lord Jesus: The Weight of Waiting is now available! For the next few weeks I have invited the members of my “street team”  to share their stories and reflections on the book, the topic of waiting, and Advent. 

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In 2005 my husband and I pulled up roots from the Midwest where we had grown up, met, fell in love, and got married, so that I could attend seminary in Denver, CO. We moved from a land of green grasses, lush trees, plentiful waters, and humidity to 5280 feet of altitude, an arid climate, mountain views, and much less snow.

The climate of course wasn’t the only change. The move away from our families was monumental. I cried every time we said goodbye to them. Every holiday. Every vacation. Every visit from the parents. Every single time.
I thought after three and a half years of grad school we would return home.

I was wrong.

snowy-tree

My son Jack was born the day after I finished seminary. It was also when the housing market crashed. Every night on the news we saw market values drop, housing values fall, jobs lost. I searched for work, but churches were letting their staff go, not taking on new.

Struggling with postpartum depression and anxiety, I did all that I could to get us back home.
I applied for every job I could find in the Midwest. But so did hundreds of other applicants and mine was just one of many.

I applied for positions as tutors and school teachers, but no one was hiring. There was no way back.
God instead provided us with work right where we were. I was grateful. But it was not home. It was not where I wanted to be.

I wept. And in the weeping, I waited.

snowy_pine

For five years we worked there, this place far from home. We bought a house. We had another baby. We developed a community. We enrolled our kids in local schools and became deeply invested in our church. Looking back on that time, the words from Jeremiah to the Israelites exiled in Babylon strike a chord in my heart:

Build houses and dwell in them; plant gardens and eat their fruit. Take wives and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, so that they may bear sons and daughters—that you may be increased there, and not diminished. And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace. (Jeremiah 29:5-7)

We were not captives in a strange land, but God called us to plant ourselves in the place He had provided for us, even though our hearts were far from there. During that time, I learned to cling to Jesus in ways I never would have if my security net of family and friends had been present. I did not know anyone enough to trust them with my fears, so I learned to voice them to Him. I did not know who to turn to for help in times of financial stress, but God invited me to trust in Him. I did not know where I could go for friendship, wisdom, or guidance, but again and again God showed Himself to be more than enough.

“As we wait for our permanent dwelling place beside God, we can find our home in Jesus. He is the only sanctuary, the only home, the only place where we can find the stability and safety we hunger for. He is the place where our hearts find rest in all seasons – but most especially in the waiting.” (Kris Camealy, Come Lord Jesus, p. 69)

After ten years of waiting and longing, we moved back to Minnesota. But this home isn’t the home it once was in my mind and heart. An ache remains.

snowy_bough

In her Advent Devotional, Come, Lord Jesus: The Weight of Waiting, Kris Camealy helped me realize that the ache I feel is a longing for Jesus. For Christ’s return. I needed to be told it was ok to hope for Christ’s second coming. That it is good and right to desire for the time when wrongs will be righted. Tears will be wiped away. Death will be defeated.

Beyond looking forward to when Jesus comes back, Kris also invites us to seek Jesus in the here and now. The already but not yet of God’s Kingdom here on earth.

Perhaps you too feel the stress of living in this world and your heart longs to be near Jesus. You are living in a time in between when one thing is finished, but the other hasn’t started. Or you are waiting to hear news of a pregnancy, a healing, a job, or a wrong made right. If so, I recommend walking through Advent this year with Kris’s book Come, Lord Jesus. Her gentle words of longing and hope are a balm to this weary soul. May they be grace for you too.
And as we hope for Christ’s coming, let’s pray, “Come, Lord Jesus.”

“Help us to see you in this season. Open our eyes and hearts to the work you have called us to, and teach us what it looks like to live alert, ready and faithful in the face of innumerable distractions and temptations to check out. Come, Lord Jesus, fix our eyes on you and strengthen us to stay awake.” (p. 21)

Amen

leah-eversonGuest Post By

Leah Everson is a Minnesota girl, a book addict, and a messy mama. She divides her time between encouraging new mothers in their walk with God and taking care of her own busy boys. Loved by Jesus, Leah is learning to rest in Him. Leah received her MDiv from Denver Seminary and is a popular speaker and writer. Leah is a member of Redbud Writers Guild and participates in the Five Minute Friday writing community. Connect with her on Facebook (www.facebook.com/leahdeverson), Instagram (@leahdeverson), or Twitter (@leahdeverson)

 

 

 

 

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