Over the Easter weekend, I was able to go visit my family in West Tennessee. Ever since my visit I have been thinking about “home” a great deal. The concept of home and the actual location of it. At 32 years of age, the current details that make up my home aren’t at all what I had imagined for my life at this point. And that is ok but I feel this need for something more definitive in my life to be happening.
Dan Cathy, the president of Chik Fil A, spoke at my church yesterday and said that God places 3 calls on your life:
- Master – enter into a relationship with Him.
- Mate – singleness or whom/when to marry
- Mission – vocation
I accepted the Lord as my personal Savior and repented of my sins in August of 1993. I surrendered to full-time Christian service at the age of 16 and have sort of felt like I was in limbo ever since. I thought going to grad school would give me the direction I was seeking but it hasn’t.
What is this pull?
What am I being called to?
Where is my home?
Why do I feel like this at 32?
Shouldn’t I be more settled by now?
Growing up in the ministry, our family moved back and forth between West and East Tennessee 3 times over the course of 11 years. We were blessed to be able to stay in the same state and when we did move we ended up being able to reconnect with many friends. For my dad’s pastorates at Dixie Lee Baptist and Cherokee Baptist our family was given the honor of living in the pastorium or parsonage. It was a unique and truly joyful experience to be able to grow up right across the street/next door to our church. The church became an extension to our home for me. I knew all the secret corners of the sacred buildings and as creepy as this sounds I still love to walk into a pitch black sanctuary. When our family moved to Knoxville in 2002 for my dad’s pastorate at Central Baptist my parents bought their first home ever. I will never forget all the emotions that came with that responsibility. While our church was in Oak Ridge, my parents chose Knoxville for financial and location reasons. We loved our home on Oak Haven Road. It was the first place that was truly ours.
My favorite home though was the pastorium at Dixie Lee. I was saved in this home and started singing here. I’ve said it many times that my spiritual roots were established here and it’s true. But I also loved this home because I got to play here. We had a basement! It was the perfect classroom for playing school as we had an old school desk and a chalkboard. It also made the perfect “home”. I can still feel the coolness of the floor on a hot summer day. The basement had a garage door that led out to our driveway so the ground sloped upwards on either side of the entrance that allowed me to imagine I was Laura Ingalls growing up in a soddy when I was playing like I was pioneer girl. (In my defense, it sloped quite a bit to an 8-year-old. Also, there used to not be a parking lot there. Oh and remind me to tell you the snake story!) We had a brick BBQ pit in our back yard that hadn’t been used in years that was also another play “home” for me. We also had a double layer deck off the back door so when I wanted to pretend like I was particularly upscale this was my two-story Victorian home. I played for hours in the basement, in our backyard, and on our deck. Sometimes I played on our church’s playground across the street and in the church when I was able to sneak in. This was the place where I fell in love with the church, started singing, writing, dreaming and imagining life.
Now my parents live in a different neighboring state and live in a two bedroom apartment. There are elements all throughout the apartment that call to me that say “this is home” but it’s not what most would call “the family home.” When I think of all that phrase embodies, I think of 3 places in my life … 3 homes that I can walk into and know that I am home.
The first is the home that belongs to my Mimi and Granddaddy Mullins. This home is where the Mullins family gathered for many years for holidays, family meals and swim times. There is a certain sweet smell that is a mixture of the assorted gum and mints waiting on the front table, with the 6 high school graduation photos of the Mullins grandkids, combined with the lingering scent of Mimi’s perfume that says you are home.
The second home belongs to my Mawmaw and Granddaddy Hazlewood. My Granddaddy and Uncle Tim built this home, with the help from some others, a year before I was born. When I have needed to getaway … I go here. I always called it “the farm” even though there aren’t any animals there except for some cats. The house sits on 37.4 acres and there are two ponds that my siblings and I have spent many hours fishing at. My 5-year-old nephew just caught his first fish there this past weekend. It’s such a joy to see 4 generations laughing, eating and loving the time together. This place calls to you to be outside yet to return to the warmth of its walls at the end of the day. I love this home.
The third home belongs to my Aunt Carolyn and Uncle Ray. This is another home where the Mullins family has gathered over the years for holidays and family meals together and at one time for swims. While they have moved 3 times in my life the layout of their houses have all been quite similar so there is a familiar sense of home when you walk in the door. You can always count on a delicious smell coming from the kitchen, a table full of family, conversations and laughter echoing off of every corner in the room.
Therefore when I think of going home … I think of seeing my parents because wherever they are that is home – whether it’s a home they own, a two bedroom apartment, a pastorium, a hotel room or a church office. Wherever they are that is home. But I also think of the homes of my Mimi and Granddaddy, my Mawmaw and Granddaddy, as well as my Aunt Carolyn and Uncle Ray’s homes. I think of their homes as my home too. I hope they don’t mind. Ha!
I think this is why I feel such a tug at my heart to put my roots down somewhere. To have my own little place that is mine. But maybe I am not called to that. Maybe that’s why I have found a home in the homes of my family members. Who knows. Well the Lord knows. Right now I am seeking His heart to know. Maybe the point is for me to continue on the journey without worrying about the earthly destination since my eternal destination has already been settled.
Who knows. Well the Lord knows. I am so glad He knows.