When planning these first few weeks in the States, we were nervous that a big work trip to Nashville would unsettle our newly ‘homed’ existence. Little did we know that the nine hour trek down to the sweltering south, via Louisville, would be a blessing because it would mean nine days of sorted accommodation.
And it was a blessing in more ways than simply putting a roof over our head.
Happy times with kind, generous friends in La Grange who allowed us to invade their home (including giving up their bed), fill their yard with a paddling pool and build trains with every available cushion.
New experiences in Nashville itself, with the conference being held at the opulent Opryland Hotel, boasting an indoor jungle of a garden with rooms, restaurants and boat rides jostling alongside the gargantuan plants. Our little boys in yellow raced from jungle to bookshop, shouting in excitement at seeing ‘Daddy’ amidst the crowds and insisting on ‘helping’ serve the customers. We caught up with friends, met a heroine of the faith in Joni Erickson Tada and enjoyed Nashville’s finest homemade ice lollies.
Privileges a plenty. Much to be thankful for.
But we have returned to no tenancy agreement and so the nomadic existence continues. As ever, we are so grateful to open-housed friends putting us up in their basement. While it’s an adventure, we are struggling with frustration and increasing desperation for our own home, our own space, our own place of rest.
Some psalms have been resonating throughout these last few weeks , – the songs of lament, as well as joy, in the Bible. Thanks to honest, perceptive reflections of Matt Searles in his book Tumbling Sky, we have been reminded repeatedly that while comfort and housing matter, ultimately it’s in beholding Jesus that we find true rest and contentment – possible even when you’ve been living out of a suitcase for months on end.
‘So I have looked upon you [God] in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you […] my soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips.’
There are sure to be more tears, angsts and frustrations along the way, as we definitely haven’t secured a home yet, but we pray that while we long for a suitable house, we would yearn for more of God above all else so that we might echo David’s words in this psalm.