How to Build a Home

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

It’s been a while since I’ve written for my personal blog, mostly because I’ve been hard at work crafting posts for other blogs (which is a total dream come true to be able to say, and I am so, so excited about it!). So before I dive in to this post, I wanted to share the one I wrote for the lovely and empowering community of women over at She Is Light, and let you know that in addition to crafting two additional posts for them over the next two months, I’ll also have one coming on The Free Woman later in September. Stay tuned! :)

And now, today’s thoughts:


“God, in Your goodness, You have made a home for the poor.”
Psalm 68

I’ve been thinking about the concept of home a lot this week. 

Maybe it’s because I’m visiting my mom and my grandpa at my childhood home in Las Vegas. Maybe it’s because my alma mater, the University of San Diego, welcomed its class of 2020 this weekend, and the pictures peppering social media have made me miss the place I called home for four magical years. Maybe it’s because it’s been a full year now since I moved to Colorado, and it’s really only over the course of this summer that I’ve become comfortable finally saying, “This is home.”

I felt so poor a year ago, when I moved in with my sister in Fort Collins right after I graduated from college. I think most people (myself included) assumed I’d picked the easy option by doing so, because I could rely on her help, and I would have a built in friend with whom to ride out whatever waves came next.

And sure, maybe that made my choice the efficient one, but it really didn’t make it any less lonely. I may have had a place to live, but it took an excruciatingly long time for my heart to feel at home. I knew it would be difficult to find community when it wasn’t handed to me as it had been in college, but what I didn’t know was that the emotional toil of building a home for my heart would feel like the backbreaking labor of building an actual house, brick by brick, stone by stone.

It’s hard work, building your heart home. But if you're starting over somewhere new, I want you to know that you can do it. In the year since moving to Colorado, I’ve learned that there are three things that can really help in this process:    

Get out there.

This is step one, for obvious reasons. If you stay happily ensconced within the walls of your home, you might feel safe, but you also won’t meet anyone that way. Invite your coworkers out for a drink. Download the Meetup app, join a couple of groups with interests similar to yours, and go with them on their next outing. Plug in to one of the ministries offered at your church. Say yes to that guy who asks you out. Do as much as you can just to meet people.

Call a friend or family member from back home.  

These people are so important, because they offer you foundational support in times of transition. They remind you, when your heart’s had enough, that you’ll make it through. They remind you that you’re an extraordinary human being who the right people will be lucky to someday call a friend, and they also assure you that, even if they aren’t local, you do have friends, and you are loved. And you’re doing great. To all of the people who have done this for me over the last year, I can't thank you enough.


My favorite prayer of late is one by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a Jesuit priest who lived from 1881 to 1955. “Above all,” he says, “trust in the slow work of God… it is the law of all progress that it is made by passing through some stages of instability — and that it may take a very long time… Give Our Lord the benefit of believing His hand is leading you, and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.”

This little prayer speaks directly to the growing pains of beginning again, of not knowing where we’re moving, or indeed, if we’re moving toward anything at all. But it’s only in looking back on this entire year — on all the acquaintances made, the friendships that began with promise but fizzled out, the ones that began slowly but have endured, the ones that formed last November or over the course of this summer — it’s only when I look at the entire picture, that I can see how God’s hand has been at work in all of the bumps and detours along the way.

Photo Credit: Jon_Callow_Images via Compfight cc