Citizens of Heaven

citizensofheavenmainI spent a lot of my early years in Africa trying to create a home for my family. When packing, I agonized over how much of America to stuff into Ziplock baggies. I packed shoes in five sizes for the kids to grow into and rolled packets of taco seasoning inside the toes to save space. I thought about holidays and recipes and music and toys and books.

But then we left. Evacuated in 30 minutes with one suitcase and a backpack. Three months and two countries later, we tried to establish a home again. Now we are ending a year in the States while my husband pursued a doctorate degree and where we tried, again, to establish a home -- a home we will leave in two months.

Home keeps slipping through my fingers.

And then I realized something. I'm not home yet. My kids aren't home yet.

This home I live in, no matter on which side of the ocean, no matter on which continent, is not my kingdom or my refuge. It is a house, a building. Even more, it is the very space in which to teach my children that we are not home yet.


My youngest -- a pale-skinned, freckled brunette -- ran up to a food booth at an International festival in St. Paul, Minnesota. The banner over the booth clearly read "African American." Lucy grinned and said to the women cooking, "African American, like me!"

Lucy was born in our host country and considers herself African. My older two vacillate between feeling American and feeling African, and this week my son told me he spends most of his life as an alien. He just learned the political meaning of the word.

I could spend a lifetime trying to create the illusion of home for my transitory family. I could talk them through passport identity, parents' home country identity, Third Culture Kid identity. And we do have those conversations, but they are not the focal point. Instead, I need to emphasize their eternal identity.

[Read the rest of the article at Desiring God.]