Earlier this month I boarded a plane alone with my four children. We were flying home to New York after nine glorious weeks of visiting our extended family in my hometown. Red eye flights always lure me in with their cheap rates and so at about 10 PM, cranky, tired kids in tow, I hugged my daddy tight, braved security checkpoints (the drama!), and we made our way to the gate. Two escalator rides, 5 bagels and 3 juices later, we arrived just in time for my youngest to collapse with her cheeks on the floor exclaiming, “My legs don’t work anymore!” while my son ran his forehead right into a sharp corner resulting in blood, a giant goose-egg and a mild concussion. The wailing was Olympic quality, I promise.
As other passengers looked one with sympathy, pity or the occasional raised eyebrow, others helped me with my bags and even ran to nearby cafes to get ice for my sweet boy. I was so overcome with their kindness and practical help that something in me just burst and I began to cry, right there in the airport. It was a good kind of cry, but I was faced with the reality not just with what was before me in that moment, but also the journey I was embarking on: leaving home once again and raising my babes away from papas and grandmas and aunties and uncles; relying in many ways on new friendships or complete strangers for support.
I write a lot about settling into life away from all I’ve ever known and the joys and challenges that come along with that kind of life, because that is my story- but in a way its the story of us all. At the Mom Heart conferences this year I was surprised by the common theme I kept hearing from women- they feel alone. So many of us it seems feel unstable, unsettled and ache for a deeper, truer kind of community and home.
In Scripture, James writes to encourage the early church and likens them to the 12 tribes of Israel in the Dispersion. This was a time when God’s people had been scattered all over the world by Babylon and Assyria and they longed to return to Jerusalem. God did re-gather his people and bring them home, and James used this illustration to encourage the Church, and even those of us today who are scattered throughout the earth. One day we too will be re-gathered by our Father, but this time, to our heavenly home- the place our hearts ache for. But what are we to do until then?
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