By Violetta Reum

I have moved around a lot in my life.

I was born in Ukraine, I moved to Japan when I was 11, then to Florida for college when I was 19. I moved to Germany when I was 25. And right before my 28th birthday, I moved to California.

I am not the kind of person to feel homesick very often. Moving has become a kind of rhythm for my life.

I didn’t so much mind moving around. Moving was exciting because it always made me feel like I was going on a grand adventure and that I was better and more interesting than the people I left behind.

This most recent move was different for me though. I am not sure if becoming a mom and wanting more stability for our family was the reason. Maybe I was just feeling like I am ready to actually buy furniture and books without an impending relocation on the horizon.

Maybe I simply miss being known and to know others deeply; a depth that only time can bring.

But lately, I have found myself feeling a bit uprooted. I miss having some permanence in my life. 

Recently, I read this book called “Uprooted” by Rebecca VanDoodewaard. It put words to something I was already feeling deeply but didn’t know how to describe. It’s a short and sweet book, but it became a great tool when it came to reflecting on our recent move and contemplating on the idea of homesickness in general. Here are some of my biggest takeaways. 

Before you leave

It is important to set yourself up for success even before you leave.

This is the time to enjoy being fully present with people and truly appreciate the place that you are leaving.

I know it can be tempting to put up walls and become distant because the sadness of leaving or the excitement of the next place is so overwhelming. But in my experience, that only hurts people and leaves you with regrets in the future. 

Leaving a place with regrets for things undone and unsaid will be hard not only because of the pangs it causes you, but also because you know you have squandered a precious gift from the Lord; time.

“Uprooted” by Rebecca VanDoodewaard

Sabotaging your new place

It is incredibly easy and tempting to criticize and complain about the new place you are in.

Things are different, people are different, cultures are different. You don’t really know the place or people enough, so we cover them in judgement at first glance.

When we first move, especially if it’s not a glamorous move to an exciting place, it is easy to idealize the place you used to be and nostalgia can quickly lead to bitterness toward the place you are at now.

Do yourself a favor and be present here too. God has something for you in this place as well. 

When your desires and wants and longing stop you from seeing the opportunities, lessons, work, and blessings where the Lord has put you, homesickness becomes spiritually crippling.

“Uprooted” by Rebecca VanDoodewaard

Focus on others

In a time when homesickness is the most potent, it is so easy to throw a pity party for yourself and to allow yourself to wallow and complain. Though being honest about how you feel is important, it can quickly get out of control and really hinder the fruitfulness of your time in the new place.

Sometimes, all that’s needed is just a little perspective to keep us grounded.

There are people who have moved further, lost more and suffered more deeply than you have. Thank the Lord for His grace to you.

“Uprooted” by Rebecca VanDoodewaard

Instead, take the time to share how you feel but focus on serving others, being hospitable, caring for those around you, and being a good listener. By focusing on others, you can give yourself a break from focusing so much on the recent loss.

The only home that satisfies 

About a year ago, I began to feel homesick but I am not sure for which home. I am actually not sure if I feel homesick for a specific home or a particular place at all. It was something deeper. Because what is home really? I am from so many different places and have family and friends all over the world. Where would I say that I belong? 

In the book, Rebecca quotes Randy Alcorn, who said,

We are made for a person and a place. Jesus is the person. Heaven is the place. We’ll never be satisfied with any person less than Jesus, and no place less than heaven. We won’t be fully content until we’re home with our Beloved.

This deeply resonated with me and put words to the true cry of my heart.

I simply need Jesus and I had to realize that no place or person will satisfy me fully before I am in Heaven, in the presence of my Father. 

Everything on this Earth is only a glimpse of what is to come and it’s enough to keep us thirsty and panting for something more.

It is enough of a taste to keep us homesick for the best Home of them all, one that will not disappoint, with an Owner who is perfect, always good and will welcome us with a warm embrace. 

Whether you are encouraged or challenged, I pray that you will have the courage and grace to think deeper about your idea of home. If you are homesick, I pray that you will receive mercy from the ultimate Comforter himself. 

Author: Violetta Reum

Violetta has always had a passion and calling to see people pursue God with their entire lives, find their calling and identity in Jesus, and seek deep healing from past trauma and abuse.  She enjoys spending time with her husband and son and discovering all of the coffee shops and hole-in-the-wall restaurants.

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