Click on the image to order your copy today!

Finding Your Forever Home



My daughter and son-in-law are in the process of looking for their first home.  It is a very exciting time, but can also be frustrating.  As many of us who have bought homes know, there are so many things to consider; each person bringing a unique list of their "must haves" to the table; compromises usually inevitable.

And then there is the decision of whether the house you are looking to buy is going to be a starter home or your forever home.

I actually found a definition for starter home online...

noun
a relatively small, economical house or condominium that meets the requirements of young people buying their first home.

Although I didn't find a definition for forever home, in real estate terms, it is a home the buyer plans on staying in for the rest of his or her life.

I don't remember those terms being used when my husband and I were first in the market to buy a house back in the early 80s.  I'm not even sure conceptually we were forward-thinking in terms of moving again years down the road.   We were simply buying a house out of necessity and one that we could afford...

When Michael and I were first married, we moved four hours north, away from our childhood homes in New Jersey to Rhode Island.   Our move was prompted by my husband's acceptance to a college in Rhode Island where he was going to be studying Marine Biology.   I was already working for AT&T and was able to transfer to their New England offices.

All the details of our move were set a few months before we got married at which time we made our first trip to Rhode Island to attend an open house at the college my husband had been accepted to. We also used that time to do some sight seeing, but most importantly, to secure a realtor and look for our first home!

Interestingly, as we passed through one of the towns which was two towns away from where my husband's college was located, I said to Michael, I would love to live here!  And he agreed.  lol.   I was admiring a lot of the houses that were brick and said to Michael, "It would be so neat to have a brick house."  But I didn't stop there, I added, "... on the beach!"  We dreamed about the type of home we wanted, knowing that the "wishes" I expressed would remain just that.  The town we were admiring appeared "ritzy" with lots  of big homes.  Not quite in the price point of early twenty-somethings just starting out.

We then stopped at a beautiful park, on the bay, in the same town as the college.   I said to my husband, "Can you imagine being able to come to this park all the time?!"

We also ventured farther south to Newport and drove along Ocean Drive, taking in the stunning views of the ocean.  The mansions on Bellevue Ave. were a sight to behold.

So far "lil Rhody" was quite impressive, and I was excited at the prospect of making the state our home.

I don't remember how exactly we met Len, our realtor, but in looking back, I can see how the Lord had His merciful hand upon us, guiding us to the home He had set aside for us, before we were even in a relationship with Him...   Len took us under his wing and went to bat for us, so much so that he found a bank that was willing to approve us for a loan when all the other banks would not take a risk with young, first time home buyers.

After touring several houses that were for sale, we became discouraged because none of them seemed to fit.  We needed to make a decision in the short weekend we were visiting because our wedding was fast approaching, along with our big move.  I was concerned that we weren't going to find a place to live in time.

Our realtor then contacted us about one more house to see.  Remember that town I told you about that we wanted to live in, well the house the realtor wanted to show us was in that town!  Remember when I said I wanted a brick house near the beach?  This house was brick and one big mansion away from the beach!!  It was a cute bungalow, that  was dwarfed by a 26 room mansion next door.  But we loved it!  It had lots of windows, and a cute back yard.  You could see the bay when standing in front of our house, and smell the salt water in the air.  Everything was approved and we moved in right after our honeymoon.

My husband and I didn't think in terms of starter homes or forever homes, but we dared to dream and for us, our dreams came true, in that little brick bungalow near the beach...

After our first child was born five years after we bought the bungalow, we actually did end up moving to a new construction house that was just a little bit bigger.  {Remember the park I mentioned earlier that I said I would love to go to all the time?  Well you guessed it, this new house was just minutes away from that park!}  We have been in this home for the past 27 years; the home whose borders were established by the Lord so that I would find Him.  At the rate we are going, I guess realtors would say this is our forever home.   But I know this is the home that the Lord used so that I would find my Forever Home with Him...


When we hear the word home, the word conjures up different scenes for different people.

Some will envision a physical house, a place to live...

Others, will envision family...

And still others will envision Heaven...

A house...
  
There, of course, is nothing wrong with owning a house, but unfortunately, some people get in way over their heads, wanting the perfect house with all the bells and whistles; their main focus is on the house without instead of the home within...

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, 
and where thieves break in and steal.
Matthew 6:19

Family...

My husband recently watched a PBS program called The Italian Americans where he learned about the Roseto effect which is a "phenomenon by which a close-knit community experiences a reduced rate of heart disease. The effect is named for Roseto, Pennsylvania.  From 1954 to 1961, Roseto had nearly no heart attacks for the otherwise high-risk group of men 55 to 64, and men over 65 enjoyed a death rate of 1% while the national average was 2%.

These statistics were at odds with a number of other factors observed in the community. They smoked unfiltered stogies, drank wine "with seeming abandon" in lieu of milk and soft drinks, skipped the Mediterranean diet in favor of meatballs and sausages fried in lard with hard and soft cheeses. The men worked in the slate quarries where they contracted illnesses from gases and dust.[5] Roseto also had no crime, and very few applications for public assistance.[5]

Wolf attributed Rosetans' lower heart disease rate to lower stress. "'The community,' Wolf says, 'was very cohesive. There was no keeping up with the Joneses. Houses were very close together, and everyone lived more or less alike.'" Elders were revered and incorporated into community life. Housewives were respected, and fathers ran the families. Wikipedia

This phenomenon did not seem surprising to me.   God created families to love, support and enjoy each other.   Families come in all varieties, from blood relatives, to friendships, to the body of Christ in community.  We feel most at home when we are with those we love.  And oh how blessed we are.

And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts.
 Acts 2:42


Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Galations 6:2

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—
a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, 
help the weak, be patient with them all.
1 Thessalonians 5:14

Heaven... 

Those of us who are in Christ Jesus know that our Heavenly Home awaits us.  We anticipate with joy that great day when we will see Jesus face to face, where "He will wipe away every tear from {our} eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."  Revelation 21:4

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Philippians 3:20

In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you 
that I go to prepare a place for you?
John 14:2

But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, 
what God has prepared for those who love him”—
1 Corinthians 2:9

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.
Revelation 22:1-5


As I pondered all of these things, the Lord showed me one more picture of home.  And it was ME!

 Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
1 Corinthians 3:16

For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, "I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.
2 Corinthians 6:16

Would we invite someone over to our houses and then lock them away in a room and never talk to them, acting like they aren't even there?  No, of course not.  But yet too often, after we have asked Christ into our hearts, inviting the Holy Spirit to live within us, we can go days or even longer without acknowledging Him.

If being in relationship and communion with our families, friends and brothers and sisters in the Lord has such a profound effect on our physical health, how much more does our relationship and communion with the Holy Spirit have a profound effect on our spiritual health, our lives and our testimonies!

Intellectually, I understand that the Spirit of God dwells within me, and I see evidences of that, through the writing of this blog, for instance.  Yet although I acknowledge that, I don't think I am truly comprehending to the fullest extent that ALMIGHTY GOD DWELLS WITHIN ME!  He has chosen to make His home with me!  He is at home with me and I am at home with Him!!

The God of the Universe came down from Heaven to make His home with us!

Heaven came down and glory filled my soul,
When at the cross the Saviour made me whole;
My sins were washed away -
And my night was turned to day -
Heaven came down and glory filled my soul!
John W. Peterson

Oh what joy and blessings we receive, and Glory we bring to God when we truly tabernacle with the Lord.

Even here on earth, our temporary home, we can be at home with the Lord...  When we greet Him with our morning prayers, when we talk with Him throughout the Day, and when we fall asleep at night acknowledging His provisions of the day.

I know I may be speaking to someone out there who is in a very lonely time of their lives right now, who is without friends or family... who is not part of a church body... who doesn't know Christ...

I hope that you will be especially encouraged to know that you can find your Forever Home with Jesus by receiving the free gift of salvation...

If you believe that the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus cancelled your sin debt, that you desire to repent of your sins and that you ask Jesus to be your Lord and Savior, then the Holy Spirit will come and make His Home with you here and now, and your eternal Home with Christ will then be sealed.  You will have found your Forever Home...

For those of you who know Christ but are feeling particularly lonely, I hope you have been encouraged that even now you are already at home with the Lord with all the comfort that brings.

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18
  
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you
James 4:8

May we find our Forever Home in Jesus, and may His presence fill us with hope and peace.


You might find me on these link-ups:
Grace & Truth Link-upWoman to Woman Ministries,  Growing in Grace Link-up, 3DLessonsLif4eInspire Me Monday Titus 2 TuesdayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeA Look at the Book,  Sunday StillnessThe Weekend BrewSpiritual Sundays, Soul Survival,  Give Me GraceA Little R&RTestimony TuesdayWomen with Intention WednesdaysStill SaturdayGood Morning MondaysTell His StoryFaith & Fellowship Blog HopMotivate and Rejuvenate MondaysBe SaltyMonday's MusingsThe Art of Home-Making MondayTuesday TalkWaiting on Wednesday,Dance with Jesus, Reflect His Love and Glory  Words of Comfort Link-upWholehearted WednesdaysTell it to Me TuesdayFaithful at Home Fridays, Faith 'N FriendsTGI SaturdaysSitting Among Friends Encourage Me Monday Words with Winter Essential FridaysSo Much at Home Family, Friendship & Faith House to Home Intentional Tuesday

Comments

  1. Dear Karen! Such a precious, encouraging post! I found so much comfort in your words, in light of some things my family and I are facing! God uses you so many times to do that for me and to help me see something HE is trying to tell me. I am so very thankful to be walking this blogging journey with you and to have your encouragement and support...both here and at my blog. God's light shines so sweetly through you, and you are such a dear blessing to us all. I love reading the stories of your life and how God has led and directed your husband and you. May He bless you abundantly with many more years together in your earthly "forever home", and what a day it will be when we meet together in our true, eternal forever home at Jesus' feet!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheryl, Your encouraging comments always spur me on to keep writing for the Lord. They mean so much. Thank you!

      Praising God for how He spoke to you through this post.

      Thank you so much Cheryl. You are such a dear blessing.

      Delete
  2. What a sweet story of finding your first home (or having your first home found for you). I moved a lot as a child, and we've moved a lot since I got married. We have a home we built but have never lived in (we've been working at boarding schools where the housing is provided), so at least we'll have some place paid-off to retire to ;). But none of these earthly homes matter that much. It's my heavenly home that I need to be preparing MYSELF for.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you.

      Oh Wow! That sounds good!

      Indeed, our Home in Heaven is what we were ultimately created for.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I'm so glad you visited!

      Delete
  3. Great post! We should always live in hope of a forever home! I was wondering, do you still live in Rhode Island? I'm in Providence.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Alice, Thank you! Indeed!

      I sure do. I am down in the East Bay. :-)

      So nice to meet you neighbor!

      Blessings.

      Delete
  4. what blessings led you to find your first and most beautiful home..Rhode Island is beautiful too..what a thorough exploration of home, too..our true home in Christ! Visiting today from next door at #testimonytuesday!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kathy, Thank you for your kind comments. I appreciate them so much.

      Blessings.

      Delete
  5. Thank you for this beautiful post. It's very timely for me, because just last night I was thinking about heaven and what it truly means to have a forever home. So I don't think it's a coincidence that I'm next to you on the Tell His Story linkup. Blessings!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lily, You are very welcome.

      Praising God that there are no coincidences with Him. :-)

      Thank you for your kind comments. They have brought me encouragement.

      Delete
  6. Hi Karen. What a beautiful post. I found your words encouraging because I'm in a season where I don't have a lot of close friends or family near me right now. Thank you for the reminder that my real home is found in Jesus.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kelly, Thank you for your words of kindness.

      Thank you for sharing your tender heart in this season of not being near friends or family.

      During a particularly lonely season of my own life, Jesus became my best friend. He brought beauty from ashes.

      Praying that you feel Jesus presence in a profound and comforting way.

      Your visit here has blessed me. :-)

      Delete
  7. Karen, I love that connection--Jesus being a "forever home." What a lovely thought. :) That's great that you've been able to stay in your home for 27 years. Good luck to your daughter in finding the perfect home for them. ((blessings))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Brenda, Thank you for your kind and encouragement comments.

      Thank you so much. It certainly is a journey, but we know God is in control. :-)

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  8. Hello, Karen. I'd also read about the Roseto community in a book, maybe Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers??? Such an interesting story how community affects even our health. :-) You have alot of wisdom in this post. So much to share!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Betsy, It certainly was very interesting.

      Praising God for His leading and wisdom.

      Thank you for the encouraging comment. :-)

      Delete
  9. There's so much wisdom here Karen! We searched for 3 years to find a home that we loved. We finally found what we wanted, but you are so right in that Jesus is our Forever Home. Love this connection! Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your kind encouragement.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts here. :-)

      I have been blessed by your visit.

      Delete
  10. Hey Karen,
    I came over today on FaithnFriends to find your post today.
    It sounds like you live in a beautiful part of the country.
    And, I am so looking forward to that heavenly home one of these days!
    Hope you have a blessed weekend~
    Melanie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Melanie!

      Indeed on both counts! :-)

      Blessings to you too.

      Delete
  11. What a beautifully encouraging post, Karen! I love that verse from Psalms 34 -- that whole psalm is one of my favorites. On difficult days, it's comforting to remind myself that I am "just a passin' though" here. One day, I will set up camp in glory.

    Blessings

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lyli, Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words.

      I appreciate so much your sharing about Psalm 34. You are right, what a great mindset to have that indeed we are "just a passin through here." :-)

      I appreciate your comments on my posts so much!

      Delete

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to comment.

Popular Posts