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Home by Pippa Botha

Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head (Matthew 8:20).

As a student this scripture spoke to me of the sacrifice of following Jesus. If He had no earthly home then I was faced with the question, was I prepared to follow Jesus even if it meant that I also would have no home? The challenge came to a head when Riekert and I answered the call to be missionaries. I didn’t really understand what being a missionary would entail but what I díd know was that the chances of us ever owning our own home were slim. All I remember about that first year in Ukraine was that I cried constantly. Looking back I wonder why it was so difficult to sacrifice my dream, but I think it affected my identity as a mother and my definition of family. The sacrifice was not only the house but what I perceived as essential elements of myself. By the end of that year I could honestly answer the question. Yes, I was prepared to follow Jesus even if it meant that we may never own a house. What a surprise when, after five years abroad, the Lord gave us a wonderful home in Vredendal where we could bring up our children and care for our parents. It was a gift. We had given up our right to own property. It was perfect in every detail; even my picture of a swing in the tree in the backyard was realised.

Before we left South Africa we had a short conversation with Floyd McClung about how to provide security for our children in the mission field. He gave us precious advice that we followed religiously and remember to this day. He said that we should make sure we packed our children's bedding and a couple of their favourite toys. He claimed that home for a child is simply the presence of his mommy and daddy, a familiar blanket and toy. I love this!

It means that home isn’t a place but a feeling. Home is literally where the heart feels safe. We can testify to the truth of this. Our children were secure and content as long as they were with us.

Now our lives are constantly on the move. In a normal month Riekert and I travel to at least three different towns and meet hundreds of new people. Our need for a safe haven is accentuated by the exposure to so much in short succession. After our trips we come back to a new town and a rented furnished house. The only things that are our own are our bedding and our clothes but when we are travelling, we long to go “home” to Vermont. This supports the truth that home is much more than a house and possessions. Home is a place of belonging.

We have been indoctrinated in thinking that we need a lot of things to make the perfect sanctuary where we can feel secure. Jesus had no place to lay His head and He is our example of peace and contentment. His home is the bosom of His father. Fellowship with His Father is His haven.

May we learn more about the place of peace in Him rather than in material things that can never

fulfill our need for safety and belonging.

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