Happy Thursday, y’all! Today is “Home is Where…” guest post day and I’m so excited to be hosting Jenn from Hang on, Baby, We’re Almost…Somewhere (love that blog title!). Jenn is whip-smart, funny and never fails to get my brain churning so I’m so glad to have her perspective on home. Enjoy!
Home is where…we find ourselves living in God’s place for us.
My Honey went to a job fair in his last semester of his Maritime Systems Engineering studies. Almost hidden among the engineering firms’ booths sat a table manned by two Diplomatic Security Special Agents. Honey’s study partner stopped to talk to the engineering firm with the spot next to that unassuming table, and one of the agents struck up a conversation with Honey. He agreed to an interview, once he discovered that DS was part of the U.S. State Department. He landed some engineering interviews, too. We were both excited! He had plans to build cool ocean structures. I envisioned him as next-in-command to the Secretary of State, who at the time was the amazing Madeleine Albright.
As the interviews progressed, I agreed to travel to places like Pascagoula, Mississippi, where I became optimistic about the possibilities of living near the beach and settling into a new community. Honey, on the other hand, started to think being a Special Agent would offer him career perks that he would not have as an engineer. Which is a fancy way of saying that he found out Special Agents get to carry a gun.
The interviews continued. Our interest in Diplomatic Security grew with each one. After one interview, Honey (whose interest in the news was practically non-existent in those days) reported that after their conversation, the State Department official told him gently, “You may want to brush up on your current events.” That guy was the master of understatement. Honey knew who the Secretary of State was, but he admits, “That was only because you had told me who she was. Before that, I probably didn’t know.”
We ended up in the State Department; Honey trained in D.C. and at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. Turns out, carrying a gun wasn’t even the coolest perk. A day at a racetrack learning high-speed maneuvers and evasive driving techniques took that honor. Following current events was a small price to pay! Honey also has a strong patriotic streak. Serving his country appealed to him strongly.
I, meanwhile, was thrilled. I come from a long line of passionate voters and political junkies. I remember watching my first Democratic National Convention when I was seven. My grandfather used to tell the tale of the day FDR died. “He had been President since I was 14. I didn’t know how the country would survive. I put my head on my desk and cried.” Coming from that heritage, becoming a State Department spouse sounded great to me! And it’s not like I’d end up like a military wife, moving every couple of years. That would be horrible!
Twelve years and six moves later, we laugh at our early preconceptions and assumptions about the job. We love it, even the moving; we consider ourselves “lifers” at this point, and it’s afforded our kiddos a chance to live in other cultures and get to know people who speak, believe, or act differently than we do.
But even with all the advantages, we recognize that kids need roots, too. Our challenge has been to figure out how to set down roots when we automatically uproot every two to three years.
Several years ago, I came across this verse: Your decrees are the theme of my song wherever I lodge. -Psalm 119:54
All at once, I was reassured. All we need to make a home is the same song, sung in all our different locations. In that one verse, we found our home. We live in God’s place. Sometimes our location in His place is really far away from what we believe is probably His favorite part of His place: Texas. (Yes, I’m tongue in cheek about that. Sort of.) Most summers, we spend time in Texas, near extended family, and that gives us a general sense of being “from” somewhere, but when it comes down to it, all of it is home.
This reminds me of a colony of quaking aspen trees in Utah, which look like individual trees but are all connected by one vast root system. “New” trees grow from these roots regularly; others fall. The colony covers 106 acres, a vast space for one living organism.
We find new friends, new schools, new churches in each place, and that helps us fit all of our homes into the wider picture of being in God’s place, always girded by the same root system.
We’re a team. We’re affectionate. We pray together. We have traditions. We even have our very own holiday, made up by our son Einstein in 2008: LeBow Day. On LeBow Day, each family member picks one activity, and we do all of them together. We’re coming up on our Fifth Annual LeBow Day. This year, we may make t-shirts! (Don’t tell Honey in advance, please.) And everywhere, His decrees are the theme of our song.
Jenn LeBow is a native Texan; lover of Jesus; happy wife of Honey, a Diplomatic Security Special Agent; mom of four (mostly) delightful kids: Cartwheel, 21; Einstein, 10; Blossom, 7; and Ladybug, 3; and a voracious reader, whose appetite for books is reluctantly subjugated to other duties in her life. She blogs at Hang On, Baby, We’re Almost… Somewhere