Thursday, December 30, 2010


Oh, I am such  homebody.

I love so much to be at home. Coziness, my son's kindergarten teacher told me, is a word I have firmly melded into my family's vocabulary and expectations.

Give me a little home, a way to make it mine, and a sense of routine and stability, and I am able to create a little haven. It has taken me many years to admit that I need that - and that I love it, too.

But at the same time there is adventure. I love seeing and being a part of a world that is so much bigger than my own. To see how bright and incredible the globe (or our own town) is and how all the things we never expose ourselves to are, in reality, so vitally important. This planet is a mosaic of incredible people and experiences - a smorgasbord of opportunity and learning. And especially of God's heart that we would never get to know otherwise.

But then I feel so much like Mole in Wind in the Willows. I do love travel, too - but especially because it makes coming home so precious. I love the part in Grahame's book where Mole becomes reacquainted with all the little nooks and crannies and details he loves about his own little hole and he is moved to such sweet emotion and tears.

I keep thinking of this poem I was reading before I left on our recent trip. I am feeling a tug. A preparation. A sense that more change is looming for my little family. And change - by (my) very definition - is not cozy.

Braided into that I keep thinking of the top two things God has been teaching my very (I am embarrassed to admit) stubborn heart are: trust and obey. And I have always defined those two words as unpredictable lack of safety and control.

But he is slowly, increment by inch, and one choice at a time, teaching me that really and most truly they mean freedom. Though like a toddler overwhelmed by all the new stimulus in the world she is discovering around her, I am often not interested in freedom. I prefer familiar.

In the same vein I have been having some really fascinating conversations with the kids since we have come home. Their world view has been so expanded and - what we hoped for - they have realized that the way we live is not the norm. Our little home (as precious as it is) is not the apex of existence. 

We have talked about how our human tendency, when faced with differences and contrasts, is to compare, judge or brag. We try to find a place of security in change, and looking up or down makes us feel like the center. 

But instead, our challenge is to love, forgive and care. To bless by being secure and moving out of that security to give. To express what we have received and thereby become an expression of ourselves: freedom to unconditionally love.

I have tried so hard to redefine obedience for my kids as not drudgery, not control, not a pass or fail system - but as true freedom. It is only just beginning to be at my own mental finger tips that the same applies to me.

Like a truly kind father God is teaching me the same thing that I am trying to impart to my kids.  That ultimately he is my home, my security, my coziness.  And that real freedom is not demanding that he take care of me and mine (my way.)

Every school year we ask God to lead us to a word to focus on for that nine months. Every birthday we ask him if there is anything he wants to emphasize in our own personal year. And - my favourite - every new year we ask him what he wants to say to us about the upcoming year. 

This last year he gave me the (oh so depressing) emphasize of obedience. I was right in assuming that probably meant because I was bad at it. 

My word for this new year is jewels. God keeps challenging me that as I make space for him, he cannot help but fill it with beauty, with jewels. And to have that expectation when I obey. That by my obedience I am making space for him to fill in his way, in his time, with him self.

I am learning that when he has the freedom to move it is always to build something beautiful.

Though the mountains be shaken
and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
nor my covenant of peace be removed,
says the LORD, who has compassion on you.

Afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted,
I will rebuild you with stones of turquoise,
your foundations with lapis lazuli.
I will make your battlements of rubies,
your gates of sparkling jewels,
and all your walls of precious stones.
All your children will be taught by the LORD,
and great will be their peace.

"Free! The word and the thought alone were worth fifty blankets." ~ Kenneth Grahame


emily wierenga said...

oh misha. i've missed you. i find home here in your blog. in the Lord we serve together. i'm praying God makes my current house feel more like home; for some reason, that feeling has fled, and i'm desperate for it to return. any suggestions on how to make a house feel more like a home? bless you friend, as you seek these jewels of the kingdom.

Anonymous said...

I have been in a painful internal battle of wills, so to speak, with God. I have spent my life fighting hard for security, control, order... and He is trying to wrest it from me in order to replace it with, as you said, FREEDOM. But I am afraid and the struggle is incredibly hard.

Misha Leigh. said...

Oh Emily - That is one of my favourite things to chat about. I love creating home. : ) There is so much I could say, but also remember to give yourself heaps of grace, too. It is a whole different ball-game with little guys A.'s age! At that point I was just playing the survival game! But I would love to email chat about it. : )

Kika - I hear you. I hear you and I am with you and I agree. I keep pleading with him to change my heart.

Nikki said...

This is such a poignant piece to read on New Year's Eve. It challenges my heart in so many ways; I am such a creature of comfort, routine, and stability. The past 17 months of marriage have been the tiniest taste of the freedom that comes from trusting the man I married--and also of the conflict and pain that follows when I fear and refuse and turn into my own little shell. It's amazing to think of how this is a tiny microcosm, a tiny shadow, of the relationship Jesus has with those who love Him. I pray for freedom to trust and stretch my arms and heart and faith into the unknown!

corli said...

These words are beautiful, powerful, uplifting. They speak to me where I am. I will be reading it a couple more times - and I feel excited about freedom! Thank you, from one homebody to another.

Lael said...

Oh, these lines in Isaiah have been my hope and refuge in the last few months! I've been finding myself clinging to a piece of paper with verses 11-17 written out in the Message, hanging onto what I need to believe in my heart from these words. Your thoughts are always a blessing to hear and read, Misha. I am beginning to pray about God's word for me over this coming year...I see clearly that last year's was Provision. I hope we can catch up face to face soon! Love to you.

Chelle said...

This year is sure to be full of polishing and sparkling and shining brighter than ever, my beautiful friend. I love the word Jesus has laid on your heart for the year as well as every line + heartbeat of this post .
Praying Jesus will lay a word for the year on my heart...

Jessica said...

This is beautiful. I always love to read your thoughts. I am clinging to that hope for something beautiful.

Kirsty Lee said...

positively challenging, and this "But instead, our challenge is to love, forgive and care. To bless by being secure and moving out of that security to give. To express what we have received and thereby become an expression of ourselves: freedom to unconditionally love." My theme this year "letting go"