By Becky Yurisich
“Where is home?”
As an army spouse, this is one of the questions I’m most often asked. It’s a complicated query. I moved a lot as a young child, and I mostly grew up in Idaho. I was living in Washington, D.C. when I married my husband, who quickly whisked me away to North Carolina. When faced with this question, I’m never exactly sure what to say.
Home is somewhat of an enigma, this thing I don’t really have anymore. Nomadic, somewhat rootless, our family goes where Mother Army sends us every two to three years.
As I type these words, I’m at my house in Texas, packing to visit family in Idaho and planning a move to our new home in Kansas at the end of the month. Like I said, “home” isn’t something I’ve become attached to.
Maybe some of you have a similar experience as a military family, or your family moved often for some other reason. Home to you isn’t just one place or one set of people. It’s a mosaic of faces and wallpaper patterns that build a wonky floor plan in the hallways of your memory. Maybe your home, even if it’s permanent, has never felt like home to you. Maybe it’s a place with memories you would like to forget.
I have good news for the wanderers, those of us for whom home isn’t just one place, one set of friends, or one perfectly furnished abode. These homes, whether apartments, two-story colonials, or military base duplexes, don’t matter much when I think of home. Home isn’t a building, hardwood floors, or granite countertops. Home is where God is, which means home is wherever you are.
Ruth is one of my favorite books in the Bible. Ruth, a young widow, has a choice to make: stay with her mother-in-law, Naomi, and go to Bethlehem, or return to her Moabite family and their customs. When faced with this decision, Ruth chooses to remain with Naomi and, ultimately, with God. When Naomi tries to send Ruth home, Ruth’s reply is simple: “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God” (Ruth 1:16 NIV). Ruth knows abandoning Naomi would also mean returning to a life without God, and Ruth isn’t willing to compromise her relationship with him.
Ruth, a foreigner, chose to follow God into his land, into his plan for her. Home, to Ruth, was where God was. And for her, God was in Bethlehem.
This is comforting to me as I head into yet another transition—another house full of blank white walls, a place with a new set of faces. For a fleeting moment in the timeline of eternity, that yet-to-be-determined place in Kansas will be where I live. My husband and family will dwell there with me, but even more importantly, God will too.
The beauty of knowing Jesus, and loving God as our Father, is that home can be anywhere if we invite him in. So while my earthly idea of home is a bit vague, I take comfort in knowing that wherever God is, is home enough for me.
Becky Yurisich is a full-time Army wife and mom, and an occasional teacher of first graders. She is an unapologetic follower of Jesus and the University of North Carolina Tar Heels. Becky holds a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from UNC, and dreams of writing a book. She blogs at beckyyurisich.com.
Photograph © Evelyn Paris, used with permission