My Heart's at Home

Lord, what’s wrong with me? What woman wouldn’t love to go to Charleston, SC for her birthday? I love spending time with my friends, shopping and eating Low Country cuisine. Why does my heart feel sad about leaving home for a few days?

I talked to God and myself as I walked down the airport corridor trying to find my gate. I’d be leaving in 45 minutes and landing in another 45 in Charleston. I hadn’t been able to get enough hugs from JJ and the boys when they dropped me off. Funny how every time they squeezed me, my stomach felt a little better.

It was Sunday afternoon and my friend Margaret was driving 5 hours to spend my birthday with me the next day and attend an event I was speaking at Monday night. We’d go out for dinner Sunday night and then stay up late reading magazines and talking about fashion and Starbucks and how we can get her husband to retire in Charlotte. Then I'd fly back Tuesday afternoon. Sounds like fun, huh?

My mind said “yes,” but my heart wanted to stay home with my family. Then I felt guilty for all the moms who'd read about my heartache on my blog, and secretly wanted to slap me because they would move mountains for this kind of get-away.

Finally I begged God to help me understand why I was feeling this way. Was I just wanting what I didn’t have, or not wanting what I did have? Please tell me you have these kind of conversations with yourself. If I were not going, I’d probably wish I were! Was I just being discontent?

Discontent...that is the word that unraveled God’s answer. For years I had prayed He would help me be content as a mom and a wife. When our kids were younger I had a hard time staying home. I wanted to be going and doing. I didn’t want to be home cleaning and cooking and being a mom who never got any appreciation. Home was a hard place for me to be, and it wasn’t just because life was monotonous.

When I was growing up, my home was not a haven. It was unpredictable and chaotic at times. My parents were divorced and my mom had to work a lot to make ends meet. When she got remarried, my step father wanted her to spend the weekends with him. It never really felt like family and rarely was everyone home together. So I spent most of my time as a teen working at the mall, hanging out at my friends houses or spending time at my boyfriend’s house, with his family. My heart learned to detach from home and find a place of belonging somewhere else.

I recognized the same pattern in my heart once I got married and we had kids. Even though I finally had a family, I didn’t know how to be a family. My natural instinct was to want to be off doing something with someone else.

Once I realized what was happening, I started asking God to change my desires and give me a love for being home. A satisfaction in the sweet smell of fresh laundry and sweaty boys, and dirty dogs and a flannel lovin’ Hokie husband.

This weekend while I was away, I realized my heart was sad because God had answered that prayer years ago and even more so that I had asked or imagined. He's given me an abiding contentment in what I have at home. Instead of wanting to leave, it's where my heart longs to be. But sometimes He asks me to give it up and go; to move away from what is now most comfortable; to find my heart's comfort in Him...and to bring His comfort to others through my speaking ministry.

When I remembered what God has done, all my sadness went away. I was able to thank Him for making me the woman He wants me to be and open my heart to receive the blessings He had for me as part of my birthday and my speaking event. As I opened my heart with expectancy, it filled with joy and peace in being right where He wanted me to be that day. It was great and I am so glad I got to go! (I'll post photos this weekend.)

I am learning that only Jesus can bring the contentment I long for. Only He can change the desires of my heart to match His. And more than anything, He wants my heart to be at home with HIM, wherever that may be.

If you are visiting my blog from P31 devotions, thanks for stopping by. I hope you'll come back often and ponder with me the everyday adventures of God's grace where He helps us see beyond who we are - to who we can become - in Him.

Post a comment below and tell me, do you ever have this back and forth pull on your heart? Are there areas in your life that God has given you contentment you never had before? Or areas I can pray for you today, that He'd bring His peace? I'd love to hear about them.

To post a comment, just click on the word "comments" below.


Blogger Lysa TerKeurst said...

Beautiful post Renee~
My heart is at home as well and now I can thank God for those, "I don't want to go" feelings as well.

What a work He has done in us both.

Enjoy doing the journey with you my friend!

Anonymous Margaret said...

Hey Friend,
God is using you in such a huge way to touch womens hearts and lead them to the heart of God and it was amazing to watch in Charleston, that includes my heart as well. What a blessing and example to see you follow where "HE" leads.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I stumbled across your blog, and you are an answer to a prayer. I just quit my job 2 months ago to be with my 2 year old and husband and turn our lives around. What a jolt to be going 150mph to what seems like 10 mph. It is good, but I am struggling to be at home. You, through God, have helped me to realize what my prayer needs to be, to be content and to bring my heart home. I to want to run out and be elsewhere. I have struggled greatly with these feelings over not just the past 2 years, but the life of my marriage. Thank you for letting me realize I'm not the only one and I shouldn't feel horrible for these desires, I just need to hand them over to God and let HIM change my heart. Thank you for your beautiful ministry, keep pressing on...

Blogger jjstar said...

I came here to thank you for the Proverbs 31 devotional today and found this great post to read.

I'm actually away from home this weekend, working a scrapbook retreat. I am feeling blessed to be able to get a break from a typical weekend and remember how wonderful going home to be with my boys.

Thank you for sharing your God given talents with us!

Anonymous Patti VZ said...

Great job, Renee...

I agree as I have gotten older and more content in where God wants me, I couldn't be happier than home in my own little nest. Enjoy your time with your little ones but also take time for YOU along the way.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

God truly did a work in my home, the very thing I use to run away from is now the very thing I want to run to and today I can say the same about my neighbors and friends. I use to mumble and complain about not having what others had and I find myself falling in love with my life more and more everyday, reason being is that my eyes are now fixed on Jesus not the other way around. Thank you for sharing your heart. You are a blessing.

Blogger Van said...

Good morning, Renee. I read your P31 devo this morning and, of course, loved the doggie stories. What lessons they do teach, if we stop to look and listen. Thanks for passing on your wisdom learned.

I am a Homebody, a nester- and yet God is calling me out of my comfort zone. It's half adventure and half agony for me. But it IS a journey with Him- and for that I am ready to see where He takes me, even if I am yelling out all the while that I want to be home!

Blogger Tammy Nischan said...

Thank you for your a mother who has gone from being a tired babysitter while raising my kids to becoming a teacher and nearing completion of my Masters, I now find myself back home with our youngest son who is battling cancer. I am cherishing every minute of being home, but I am beginning to have feelings of uncertainty and fear about next year. What does God want me to do? I want to stay home. I feel God calling me to a new career in writing and speaking. Yet, the reality of Nick's illness combined with the need for steady income to help our family sometimes gets the best of me. Oh, how I long for our eternal Home!!!! And, yes, I like you have been on a journey that has brought me full circle..I can truly say, "My Heart's at Home!"

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a wonderful devo. I am past the time in my life with children at home. I remember well those days when I had to be away but my heart was pulled to home and my family. God the Father always helped me find a balance in my adventures. I love being home and am in a wonderful "second" honeymoon with my husband. The only problem is financially I really need to find work. I pray that the Lord will help me find work in ministry to use my wonderful seminary education. Keep up the good work and always turn to the Lord when tugs on the heart become difficult.

Anonymous Tracey said...

I am struggling with being a stay-at-home mom. I am struggling with the monotony of caring for two little boys (ages 3 & 4), one of whom has a disability, even though they are the loves of my life. I am struggling with not having the time or energy to keep the house in as good a shape as I want it. There just seems to be a total lack of time to do even the simple things like throwing out things in the basement we no longer need so that we can have it finished. Or even just to paint the living room walls! That is my biggest frustration. I am just not sure how to get over these feelings and enjoy these precious years with my sons before they head off to school for full days. Thanks for allowing me a place to vent.

Blogger Celly B said...

What a wonderful story of how God has brought you full circle.

Blogger boatgirl said...

Thanks for your transparency. I think this is something that all women struggle with. But by God's grace we can be content in all things as you so gracefully wrote about in this post.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was beautiful to read~you have written what so many of us have gone through. You are so articulate in expressing what I've experienced in my own life~HE answers prayers, not always as we might expect, but always for the best. Thanks for sharing your gifts!

Blogger Rachel said...

Thank you so much for your blog today. I too know those feelings that pull in so many directions. It's very easy for me to get caught up in thinking that something else or someone else would all make my life so much better or happier or easier or less tiresome and less plain old boring!!
And yet I am content at home. Most of the time I love being a mum and I really do get so much satisfaction out of clean laundry and a proper meal that I cooked from scratch.

That contentment can only come from God and must surely mean that this is the place He wants me to be. I think I just need to recognise that and be a bit more thankful.

Home is where the heart is and my prayer for myself and my family is that Christ is the heart of this family and thta others will feel at home as we try and share His love.

Anonymous Starr LaPradd said...

Thank you so much for today! Your
P31 devotional was wonderful and your blog post was too. I related to both in a BIG way. I struggled with infertility for 6 years before my second son was born. That, in turn, left me being the mom of a young energetic boy at a much older age that I had originally desired. My oldest is 18and my youngest is 5. Some days I want to run away from home, but when I do get a chance to get away, I can't wait to run back!! I guess we all have those feelings. I am finally living out my deepest desire of being a stay-at-home mom. I do love it, but need ENERGY!!! Pray for me that I may remember that my prayers have been answered and to be content in what God has blessed me with. Thanks for your hinesty in your writing!!

Anonymous Sage said...

My birthday is next weekend, I too never had a real family, or know what its like to be in a family. I grew up in a boarding home after my mother died, don't know my father and my birthdays were filled with strangers that became family, I moved away for college, so I spend my birthdays at school with friends, again became like family, eventually graduated, moved on my own, still single and has been celebrating my birthday either alone or with a friend or two. Thanks for writing, i feel comforted that someone went through what I'm going through.
God Bless.

Anonymous favorite aunt said...

What clarity. You've just given me a pair of glasses onto something very blurry that I hadn't thought about. Mine isn't with home, it's with a church home. God just gave me what I asked for for years in a church! So it should bring a bit of a smile that I'm struggling with the opposite extreme - instead of feeling disconnected, I'm afraid of overloading. Thanks for allowing me to see things from a different perspective!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a grammy to a beautiful 4 year old whose parents aren't christians. Lots of addictions and financial problems kept them living with us till Princess (not her real name) was 6 months. I babysat all the time and we tried to be a support. They moved out but allowed us to take her to church and church stuff. She was here as much as she was with them.My dau-in-law and Princess moved in with us two other times while our son ran a muck. Our son entered rehab (not the first time for him)and my dau-in-law has decided she doesn't want us to have an influence in our Princesses' life. I used to mourn all the time I didn't have when She was here so much,I loved her and wanted to take care of her but I missed my friends,and church activities and my sleep. I work fulltime as a nurse nights. After working all night I would take care of her 4 days a week. Anyway our heart breaks thinking we see her so seldom and have only tried to love them both. She has filed for divorce and I think there is someone else. Please pray we will trust her to Jesus and have peace in the midst of the storm. I am new to computers and new to this website but have heard you on the radio and even grandmas love your kind of encouragement for living and loving our families.
thanks Princesses Grandma

Anonymous elizabeth said...

Hello Renee
I was worked at a job I had grown to really disliked but no matter how hard I tried to find another one, the door just would not open. Than I heard God speak to my heart that until I was content with the job I had, another one would not come. I prayed to be content and God in His faithfulness allowed contentment to come, followed by a wonderful new job. Thank you Jesus. Pray for me now that I would be content in a new circumstance that has arisen in a personal relationship and that thru it He would make me more like Him. Thank you and God bless. :) Elizabeth

Blogger Dee Ann said...

Thank you for your post today. It is so nice to hear that other women go through that same pull back and forth as I do. It was especially helpful to see how God answered your prayer so beautifully.He really does listen and answer.
What led me to your post,today, was your devotional on crosswalk about listening. I have been working on my blogs, and
and I realized this morning that I have been only listening to my 16 year old with one ear (or no ears)when I am at work on the computer. Thank you so much for the reminder to listen! I will indeed turn away from my computer and give him my full attention.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The art of being content where we are placed is indeed a wonderful way to live. I am right now where I thought I would never be and that is retired and staying home with my husband. It was a struggle to decide to take this step but I found that for my health and for time with my husband, it was time to let go of the security found in a job. Now I have so much to do at home, I am amazed! God has given me contentment and peace. Thank you for this devotional. Love&prayers, Kathy

Blogger Amy L Brooke said...

Hi Renee.

I enjoyed your devotion today. It reminded me of something I read years ago while in college. (I was an interpersonal communication major and had to take a semester long class on listening.) Anyway, the Chinese ideograph for the word "to listen" is made up of the characters/symbols for eyes, ears, individual attention, and HEART. I wish I kne wwhat it actually looked like, but I thought that was cool.

And I liked your post today. My heart is often discontent. I am working on being content, but it isn't easy. I am in such a season of waiting and I am so easily impatient . . . . Anyway, I enjoyed your thoughts.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right now I am the opposite. I have one child at 11 years old, and am working outside the home. My heart longs to have another child and just stay at home and be a mommy. I was a single mom until 4 years ago, but now am enjoying married life so much that I think I just want the "whole meal deal" and add a few more kids. My husband adores my son but does not want more kids (he has 2 older children not living with us). I'm 37 and he's 44. Is that right for me to ask that of him?

Anonymous Tammy in TX said...

Enjoyed your post. I love being a mom and wife and have always been a bit of a homebody. A perfect day for me is being at home with my family enjoying each others company.
I'd like to offer tracey a little advice. I have a daughter graduating from high school this year. You would not believe how quickly that time passed by. I know right now it seems like nothing gets done and your life is a bit unorganized but please trust me when I say that you will have enough time to keep a clean house and get your basement finished when those boys are grown. Right now, enjoy every moment you have with these incredible blessings of God. Stay the course ~ it will be worth it!

Blogger Bonita said...

Renee, This post really spoke to my heart. I wrote a little something about it on my blog and you can read my Jan.19 entry here:

You are such a blessing!

Blogger Digging for Pearls said...

Hi Renee,
Thank you for this precious post. It looks like you aren't alone in your thoughts from the amount of comments here. I too had those struggles early with knowing I was to be home, but not always enjoying it as much. I praise God how He has changes my heart to be more focused on our home as well. Praise God for how He spoke to you this week.

Blogger Amy Strong said...


Thank you so much for sharing your heart.

The year 2007 was the most trying year of my life. The Lord had brought me to a place of choosing between my career and my life, my husband or another lifestyle, my Lord's will or my own will. Through this trial of a year, the Lord has blessed me by letting me be home to care for my most treasured gifts my boys and my husband.

I still have a lot to sort through, sin to deal with, and I struggle with contentment every day. But I am counting each of these as joy because my Lord still loves me and wants me to be in His will.

Through all of this the Lord has allowed me to build a website that encourages families to spend time and grow stronger together.

I love your blog! Thank you!

Blogger Holly said...

Hi Renee! Love your post my friend...I do visit here often even though I usually don't leave a comment. I appreciate you - you are wise, honest, and you share water bottles with me!!! It doesn't get much better than that!

Blogger Renee Swope said...

I have loved reading your comments. It's been like having coffee with a friend just struggles, joys and encouragement. Don't you just love knowing that you are not alone in your thoughts, your struggles, questions and desires? I do!!!

Iam praying for each of you today by name or pseudo name, God knows your name if I don't and He knows just what you need.

Father, thank you so much for each woman, each new friend. Thank for a place to be real each other and ourselves about where we are, where we've been and where we long to be.

Thank you for those who have walked a little longer down life's path and can look back in their journey and encourage us along the way. Thank you for those who have affirmed our desire and efforts to have our hearts at home whether we are there full time or not.

Father, I pray that you would reveal Yourself to us in amazing ways through Your Word and through the lessons our lives are teaching us each day. We cannot find our way without Your Word as a lamp for our feet and a Light for our path.

We love you in Jesus' Name, Amen.

Blogger Dionna said...

Renee - I have loved finding your blog and your post was so relevant. I know that I have a "back and forth" pull often. And I have to have some serious chats with God about it. :) My husband is the one who wants to go everywhere and do everything bringing us all along with him - when my heart longs for some homebody moments at home. Sometimes I think it's just fear - fear of what could happen "out there." Other times I think it's me pulling and fighting against a fast-paced society.
But truly, when I have many, many blessed days at home - I long to go do something active.
I think Satan is that breeder of "discontent." We'd do so well to not let him in and just go where the wind carries us!

Blogger Mocha with Linda said...

Ah, there you are! :-) I bookmarked the wrong blog - your HeBrews Faith Cafe on my blog site - and thought you didn't post much. I've missed a treasure this week! So glad to find the "active one".

Blogger MaryLu said...

I too have had those discontented feelings at times. I am content now to be at home, and thankful that my husban'd job allows me to home with the kids. I struggle with being content with what I have, not where I am. I see things in the stores and want, I see magazines or catalogs, and want, it is a different contentment I deal with.
I have learned skills to counteract these desires, but it is only through Jesus that we can be truly happy in any circumstance.
Thanks for the gentle reminder today.

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