Saturday, October 3, 2015

My favorite place to live

We moved a lot while our girls were growing up.  Our family was more like a nomadic tribe, transferring to a strange land for a few years and moving on to the next.  A friend once confided to me that I had totally messed up her address book with all our changes of residence.

My husband and I are now in our tenth location.  Many times I thought that surely this move or that would be the last. But God freed me from that myth a few moves ago.  My final destination is heaven. Anything in between, well, is just a rest area on the highway.

Often, people ask me where was my favorite place to dwell.

The center of God's will.

I have realized through many experiences and locations that the center of God's will is not restricted to a certain geographic place, but my relationship with Him.

Years ago and every year between, God has used a particular verse to change my heart and my mindset.

Not that I complain of want,
for I have learned,
in whatever state I am,
               to be content.

                 Philippians 4. 11

I chuckle, because written in the margin now some 32 years and nine moves ago, I had scribbled "even Tennessee."  At the time, I was a young lonely mom from Chicago with a two year old and a newborn in the Deep South in a house surrounded by cotton fields.  It was our first major move.  And I felt like a stranger in a foreign land.

But little did I know, not just the hardships yet to come, but the extreme joys, the deepening of our lives in Christ, over all those many moves and all those new places.  God taught me quite literally "in whatever state I am," to learn His secret of contentment.

Because whether it was Tennessee or Illinois or Ohio or Kansas or Iowa, I could dwell in Him.  He has strategically appointed me in that exact house, that particular block, that specific neighborhood, that city for deeper purposes than I will ever know for His glory.

And through the years with each bend in the road and huge changes, God brought me to observe that I have seen too much to question God in this.

The amusing part of "even Tennessee" is that is the state where we moved again last year.

Contentment is not a secret joy,
      nor dependent on circumstances.
It is a learned state of heart
    that not just prevails over circumstances
but flourishes in them.

God's deliverance may not be in plucking you out of a difficult spot in life, but engraving His joy into your heart in whatever state you are.

When I look back
on all those places now,
    there is not one
    that I would have wanted to miss.

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