It has been said that "Home is where the heart is." There have been many times I have paused to think about that in recent years, but on this trip, I have thought about that often. I guess I have a few homes, then. Ohio is my home; Heaven will be my home; and Florida has been and always will be a home for me, too. All 3 places hold big pieces of my heart.
My statement down here that I have found myself saying while being here with all our best friends again is : "I found the missing pieces of my heart." Let me explain.
Some of you who read this did not know me before Ohio-we have become friends since my return to my home state in 2007. Some of you who read this have not seen me since my move away from Florida in 2007. But Michael has had to live with me through the entire journey....and it hasn't been easy.
We left here (Florida) in November 2007. It wasn't by a lot of choice...it was because it was what we had to do. Saying that, I do not regret our move at all. It was a total God formed experience. I was able to be with my mom in her last healthy years, and be there for her and dad in her last months. I am eternally grateful to God for that. I am happy to be in Ohio....not doubting it is where God wants us.
But as we drove back into our "home" state of Florida, the wave of emotions set in. This is where we started our life together....and when we left it 5 years ago, i truly did leave part of my heart here. I loved the warmth, the latin culture, the laughter, the friendships, the church....I loved every part of life here. And since leaving, life turned upside down....we experienced a move, job change(s),financial strife, death, depression, and heartache.The journey we have walked the last 5 years has been tough, for lack of any better word. I believe it has been just a part of molding us into who we are supposed to be, what we are supposed to learn, who God wants me to become. But believing that and accepting it are sometimes and often 2 different things.
Coming back to see old friends has been such a blessing and a joy. We have laughed until we have cried, we have talked about old times and new times, we have shared cups of coffee and meals. On Sunday, we showed up at our old church, surprising everyone! We'd only shared with our best friends with whom we are staying that we were coming. It was a priceless moment to see everyone's faces. There were tears, hugs, jaws dropped, and joy. We felt like we had never left. We felt the love lavished on us.
That's where the missing piece of my heart comes in. I found it. When we left, I really did leave a tiny part of me here. I have never been quite the same. I do believe that we are supposed to change and grow as life goes on, and I have for sure done that. But until we returned here, I don't think I realized just how big that little piece of my heart was that I left here. Life is kind of like a puzzle sometimes...and mine has been all about putting the pieces together the last several years . It was put together once, then got "taken apart" only so it can be put back together again. God does that sometimes for growth purposes. Sometimes we never learn His purpose. The point is, only God can put me back together again. And slowly I think I am beginning to let Him. It dawned on me today that if we had come here a few years ago, I might not have been ready to because leaving would only break me further. But here we are. Leaving will be hard, no doubt. But maybe I found my missing puzzle piece and so I can go back "home" put more together. Maybe God waited 5 years to bring me "home" just for that reason. Who knows? Regardless, it's been wonderful being here.
It's been a refreshing time for us as a family....we don't get much quality time together. And it's been a refreshing time for me....I needed my girls around me again. I needed the beach and the reminders.I needed this time with my husband. I needed to remember where we were once...where we are now...how much God has done and is doing even now. I needed to laugh. I may not be totally rested physically -we've been on the go having fun:) . But my heart needed this emotional rest and rejuvenation even more, and that I have found.
So yes, I do believe home is where the heart is. And I am blessed enough to be able to say I have a few homes. And one day at a time, I will keep letting God put my pieces back together. And allowing Him to take me where He guides. If mom were here, I'd be telling her all about my trip....but I have no doubt she'd be happy that I found this little piece of my heart again.