Wow. How perfect! I smiled at the exactness of the Father’s plan in placing this new release from Revell Books in my hands.
After months of questions and wrestling homesickness and prayers for direction, it became abundantly clear that the answer I hoped for wasn’t coming. Because the LORD had already given His direction… seven years ago!
It wasn’t time to move back “home.”
It was long past time for me to embrace where He had already placed us! To make the conscious choice to call this place HOME.
So, there I stood at the mailbox, having ripped into the package right then and there. Staring at this new title… “Love Where You Live: How to Live Sent in the Place You Call Home” by Shauna Pilgreen.
Ummm… yes! Please help me! If we really heard Him correctly seven years ago and this is the home He has called us to for the foreseeable future, I need any insight I can get that will warm my heart to this place. [No offense intended, dear south FL, I just never really wanted to live this far from the northern hills. Please understand!]
And I was curious to hear her thoughts about “living sent.” This is a new concept for me, and I was eager to learn more!
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Well, here’s the long and short of it…
I dove into this book with selfish intentions – to help my own heart find a happier place! And I’ve turned the last page realizing that the real takeaway is not about me at all.
It is about lifting my eyes to see everyone else who is also living in this place, and longing for them to know JESUS. It is about finding any and every possible way to make genuine connections that help me share the love and truth of who GOD is and the good news He offers!
I am not stuck here. I have been purposely placed here.
Choose to stay, she implores. Consciously decide to settle in, get to know my city, walk the streets next to others who live and work and play and worship here. Get to know them. Listen to their stories. Welcome them into my own.
Remember He sees me here, she reminds. Far from anything familiar or comfortable, JESUS sees me! He sees each one around me too. He wants to use me to help others know that they are seen and noticed and loved beyond belief! [Maybe He has placed me far from “home” on purpose, so my deep longing for connection and “family” will urge me to reach out – and welcome others in!]
Look for JESUS here, she says. See others through His eyes. Extend His love and grace and kindness, no matter what. There are people here who need JESUS – desperately. And He chose to send me here. How has He created and molded me in such a way to be able to reach those who need Him? Do I trust Him enough to be brave – to just be the “me” He has been growing and trust it helps them get to know Him?
Trust the challenges, she urges. They are often the very way He lifts our eyes to find Him and His purposes… and they also give us stories to share and experiences through which to connect with others. Let others see my need of Him – and the ways He makes Himself real to me again and again as He meets those needs.
Start small, she advises, but start! There is a LOT of work to do. A LOT of needs. Ask Him to lead me to one person who needs His love and His truth today. Don’t underestimate the kindness of a smile, a helping hand, a reliable resource, an encouraging word, faithful support.
Live sent, she echoes again and again. Purposely placed. Embrace each new day, asking Him to show me what new path to explore, or which well-worn routine to retrace, trusting that each encounter is working toward a greater story.
* * *
We are all part of a greater story, graciously unfolding since the beginning of time. A story of Creator GOD who loves us and longs to be reunited with us in a deepening, intensely personal relationship. He sent His Son to be our Savior. He sends His redeemed children to share His love and His truth so others can come to know and love Him too.
This morning, as I take a long walk along the same sidewalks I have covered many times over seven years, as I wander out later today to run errands at the same businesses and interact with the same sweet people I see each week, maybe I will see it all differently.
Maybe this time I will pause to ask Him, “why was I purposely placed exactly here, exactly now? What have You given me to share with them? What next chapter in their story might I have the joy of watching as it unfolds?”
I kinda can’t wait!
What a shift! … from heartsick and longing for another place to genuinely excited to be part of a greater story.
* * *
If your heart is aching for a shift, a fresh sense of wonder about the place you have called home for decades or just days, you may find the help and hope you need from “Love Where You Live: How to Live Sent in the Place You Call Home,” by Shauna Pilgreen, published by Revell Books.
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