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Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Going home

The morning began like most at the beach. There was beautiful sunshine on the ocean front and the humidity was already climbing. The date was April 8th and it was our last full day at Hilton Head. Because of the forecast--increasing showers through the day--we had done an artful job of negotiating with our kids. We would take them to one of the local amusement places in exchange for some time at the outlet mall shopping for summer clothes.

We had finished up the kids' end of the bargain when my cell phone rang. I recognized the number as one of my friends and mentors in the ministry, Jerry Winfield. Dr. Winfield was the pastor at our former church in Nashville. We had been talking for some time about a move back to Franklin, a place we loved dearly. We had spent six years there in our student ministry days and our two oldest children had been born there. Jerry and I had been talking about the possibility of a church plant.

Although the conversations had been going on for almost a year at this point, Sarah had held her excitement. She had been around churches for a long time. She knew that their time frame for doing things was not always the fastest. Even with her controlled response to the possibility of moving back to Franklin, I could see the excitement in her eyes as I answered my phone.

Jerry let me know that meetings and conversations had progressed very well. We were being invited to move back to Franklin to begin the work of planting a new church. I hung up the phone and confirmed what Sarah had heard from my end of the conversation. We were sitting at a red light, preparing to turn into the Chic-fil-a. She reached out, grabbed my hand from the passenger's seat and said, "I can't help but feel like I'm getting to go home. Isn't that wonderful?"

More than she could ever know. More "home" than she could ever realize. In 24 hours, Sarah would be gone, the victim of a tragic accident. It wasn't till a couple of days later that I recalled her statement and thought how accurate it had been. I believe with all my heart that Sarah is, indeed, home. She arrived that next day at the one place she really longed to be.

I have often shared this story at the hospitals and conferences I speak at...the most amazing thing about where Sarah and Josh are is that, even if given the opportunity to come back here, they would choose to stay. I believe that with all my heart. I believe that is true for every Christ follower. Going home never felt so good. And that's why so many of us suffer "homesick" feelings for a place we have never been. It's where we truly want to be. Home.

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