I'm honored to be writing this post as part of Emily Wierenga's blog tour for her new book, Atlas Girl: Finding Home In The Last Place I Thought To Look!
You may want to read, A Quest for Home: Part One, before reading today's post, the conclusion.
Five sisters sang every chance we had in Wyoming, but living on opposite ends of the state wasn't much different than living 2000 miles away, so I moved north after one semester at the university.
In the next year and a half, we performed the National Anthem for a Colorado Rockies game, a pre-show to the rodeo for Cheyenne Frontier Days and other local gigs. We traveled to the Music City to record a demo CD and met with agents and producers. We were five sisters turning heads and I didn't even own a pair of cowgirl boots or listen to country music.
But I found comfort in pursuing life with my sisters in the way we had bonded growing up. I didn't feel so disappointed in my family, and I wasn't running from them or trying to prove something to them – or myself – anymore.
Somewhere in this time of setting aside my pride and leaving New Jersey I submitted, let go, accepted who I was as the daughter of the imperfect mother who bore me and fought for me, like she did her own life and still fights for things that matter because she's a fighter. And the imperfect father who couldn't be there for me because he was and always had been too far away, when I just needed my daddy. And a sister to the five girls who had felt the same fears, shared in the same disappointments, and journeyed the same distance to the unknown territory we had come to call home for the past thirteen years.
And it was beginning to feel like home.
So I went back to school through the universities extension program and kept singing with my sisters until I got my degree and singing waned and I met, right there where I started, the man I wasn't even looking for.
In the place our children now call home.
There were good things throughout my wanderings. For one's journey is never truly in vain, no matter how lost one becomes.
I had to journey into the valley and through the depths to make the climb back up and out the other side, into the land of freedom.
And I was on the up-climb.
Journaling my journey not only healed me, but taught me to be a writer. Poetry and song lyrics flowed from me like honey. And God was in the writing and the healing.
Because though I left, God didn't leave me.
I left Montana searching for something outside the fabric of my very being and I ran from God because the life He had given me wasn't good enough, so I didn't think I needed Him anymore. But I did.
And the outward journey was really about an inward journey.
It wasn't about where I took that Greyhound or from which state I was uprooted. Leaving had always been about how far I was willing to run from the roots of my heritage, the sin of my family, and from the God who walked with me and held me every step of the way.
And the arriving was never about how far, but how deep, I was willing to go to find home.
I don't know if God just, poof! healed the bulimia or if simply choosing to walk in obedience to Him brought me complete freedom. When I finally stopped running, it eliminated the need to stuff – like there was simply nothing to shove down anymore, nothing to purge from my life, or to run from or to.
I found that sense of home simply where I allowed Christ to reside, in all of the empty spaces, and in the very life He had lain before me.
I found home where I could feed the hungry, embrace the hurting, and truly forgive; and He never said it would be easy.
Although I grew up a Christ follower, this was the beginning of my life growing and flourishing in Him. It's where I learned who I truly was and the very purpose of my being.
An acceptance that I was His. I was bought with a price and because of that, I was free.
I'm still on the up–climb, thirteen years later, and the work of walking in freedom never felt so good. Because I know what awaits me at the end of this quest. I've seen it from a distance, I've experienced it in glimpses and it's that place we're all longing for this side of heaven – home.
I've been reading Emily Wierenga's book, Atlas Girl: Finding Home In The Last Place I Thought To Look, and loving her story and journey that reminds me so much of the moral of my story and journey – our journey's. We can all relate to this travel memoir, on some level, about how God gently pursues us where ever we go and gently leads us back home. Emily is and award winning journalist and author of four books. All proceeds for Atlas Girl go to The Lulu Tree, a non-profit helping moms and orphans in Uganda. Get your copy here!
Sharing with Soli Deo Gloria Gathering