You can never give another person that which you have found, but you can make him homesick for what you have.
In my current manuscript, my heroine, Everly Scott, comes to realize that the antebellum plantation house she’s inherited – and despises – is God’s provision, a lavish gift, and is His spiritually engineered means of causing her to rely on Him.
Everly’s mother Katherine loved the place, even dreamed that one day it’d be turned into a restaurant and an art gallery. Before death could steal her mother’s dream, she passed it on to Everly.
Everly’s goal? Renovate the place and sell it. She’s not seeing the value. Until God creates a homesickness inside her heart and makes her long to keep it, to return home.
I get this. I was a Girl Scout.
Let me explain…
As a young girl, I attended Girl Scout camp in the summer. Camp Whispering Pines. I still have the badge to prove it.
But it wasn’t 24 hours into my stay before homesickness gripped me. Badly. Especially the year I wore a darn ugly cast on my arm after a car accident a few weeks before resulted in a fracture.
Because the cast was plaster, I was duly instructed to wear a plastic bag over it and elevate my arm above the water if I chose to go swimming in the lake or pool.
I opted out.
Who could possibly enjoy summer camp if getting in the water meant you had to look like you were raising your hand to ask a question?
Oh, so homesick.
Beneath the picnic tables where we ate our meals, I discovered — much to my horror — a dark, thick clump of hundreds of ghastly Daddy Long Legs with those pill-shaped bodies and ridiculously long legs. In that moment, no amount of scientifically based entomology facts about how these crawling things can’t hurt a person mattered. I despise them to this day. God only knows how many waited to crawl over my feet or across my backside when I sat on the latrine.
Freaked. Me. Out.
But spiders or not, Whispering Pines just wasn’t home, the familiar and predictable and safe place of Oak Bend Drive in Houston, Texas.
With my feet cramped inside the twisted confines of a sleeping bag on a squeaky, lumpy cot, I longed for – and needed – home but was left to endure the weeks until I could return to that which I knew.
In the 70’s, there was no frantic scrambling for a cell, texting momma, ‘I want outta here’. Counselors offered no sympathy. By the time an SOS postcard would have made it to my parents’ mailbox, camp would have ended anyway.
Everywhere I go, I am given the opportunity to interact with others who don’t know the love of Jesus and whose eternal home is not secured in heaven. It’s like they’re sitting on latrines while eight-legged spiders crawl around, and they want out.
Their fires go out.
Their tents leak.
Their flashlight batteries fail.
Thunderstorms threaten to undo them.
Ghost stories of past mistakes hold them captive in a grip of fear and shame.
Do others in less-than-desirable places see in my life something they long for, that which their soul is missing? Does their need for God begin a restless stirring that makes them want to ask, ‘Where’s your home? I’d really like to join you there’.
Does my life, my attitude, my talk of God cause another to become homesick for God and His promise of an eternal home?
I can’t give the Lord to someone, but I can make him homesick for that which his soul most needs. And even though my earthly journey with Christ doesn’t promise it’ll be free of ‘Daddy Long Legs’, He’s always given me the strength to endure.