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For the Wounded Heart Seeking Home

"I just want to go home."

I barely catch them, these words. Whispers. They linger, and for a moment she looks as though she didn't speak at all, that I heard her soul's cry in silence. We sit, she and I, and her children climb across our knees, laughing and boisterous like little boys are, and the silence swirls, inviting and deafening, and tears fall.
     "I don't know if I mean home home, like heaven, or that I want to go back and be a little girl in a world where everything is okay and life doesn't hurt. I'm tired of fighting to stay alive."
     Caleb pounds me with his cotton elephant and shrieks with glee, two ivory teeth glistening with laughter. His mother weeps. "I think I miss the idea of what should be, what should've been." Eyes gather her babies with love and longing. "Then I feel guilty. I want it all to stop ~ I want it all to go away."
     Sometimes silence respects aching in mysterious ways, with quiet prayers cast heavenward rather than hesitant, awkward condolences. At least, I hope so as I fling them now, hurling quick, desperate pleas to the Keeper of our Eternal Home.
      She gulps breath, dries eyes on sleeve. I'm reminded of another sleeve: a hem, dusty, crowd-stained, grasped in desperate hands so long ago. She speaks once more: "I don't know how to make it end. I just know that it has to."   
     Priceless, these fragments of a broken heart. Warm with crimson traces of a thousand untold stories, she hands them over; my fingers drip, receiving. My own heart weeps. I think of other hands that bled so long ago and I share the burden; I hold the splinters close, and pray.   

nd us wounded ones who have lost parts of ourselves in the battle, who walk around with gaping, bleeding emptiness, who feel the longing for something we have lost but can never seem to find, who yearn for a home that always seems to elude us and a wholeness that is never quite ours, perhaps that aching is itself an answer from God?  That our craving for Him is a way of experiencing Him.  And in our hungering for God, we are slowly healed by God.

     Like an aging veteran or rape survivor carries memory in flesh,* we have home memory. For those of us whose thoughts of home are bittersweet, who yearn to replace, relive, and redeem, the emptiness can be especially sharp. We are born with it, this innate beacon that draws us, calls us, knows what should be. We are created for home. It is no coincidence, I think, that the very idea of wholeness embedded in homeostasis begins with it. Home. What we were made for, where our heart goes and spirit returns.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit. (John 3:7-8)    
Birth is a journey made in darkness, in travail and aching, in rawness and blood. He launches us in secret, our skin and bone, and in another shadowed womb, He completes us, makes us beautiful and whole in the fullness of time. The wind blows where it wishes. Who is to say when we are finished being born? Our Redeemer doesn't miss a tear and doesn't waste our pain, and it is in this unwasted aching we find grace. Sometimes the labor is long, yet with pain comes life. Birth brings us home.
But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.
For I am the LORD your God . . .” (Isaiah 43:1-3a)

I'd love to hear your thoughts about grace: your questions, your conclusions, your light-bulb moments. Insert a direct link into MckLinky and then compose a post at your own site, linking back to this article so others can follow with us. I look forward to discovering more of grace with you.  For more information, please click here.

*Note: graphic and potentially triggering link appropriate for mature readers. Please view with discernment.

Discover grace with us on Fridays and link to discoveries of your own...


  1. You are a superb writer and you told that story with such poignancy. I just wanted to let you know.

  2. There are so many things that touched my heart, that if I copied and pasted them all, it'd be most of this post. I'm blown away and grateful we are not alone in this journey.

  3. a friend just shared this site with me yesterday. he grew up in this kind of home. when i was young, i married into this kind of home. i didn't know the difference b/c the home i grew up in was ruled by fear thru abuse. i thought the family i married into was different; they were only more sophisticated using the spiritual umbrella of the church and pastoral/missional ministry.

    many years later, two children, a horrible divorce, traumatic years being a single mother and treated poorly by the church, i met my new husband. i call him my Country Man.

    though i have not been shy to share my journey in my writing, i have not focused on that so much on my current blog. my previous blogs had to be deleted when my ex created legal issues a couple years back.

    also, this sheds a new light on what i've gone through, which i am sure i will write about as i work through it ... but not now.

    however, after reading some here ... and the links of the six others who have written on grace, i thought i'd share a short post i recently wrote. i am learning what love is thru my new husband, and true love and grace are blended together.

    thank you for this place and your ministry. it is difficult to explain the kind of abuse i lived in for so many years. though the family i married into was different in some ways, it was similar in that it used authoritarianism (i belive i remember this is how you described it ... i've thought of it as a dictatorship) ... and it used God and the bible to inaccurately support their beliefs and actions.

    i feel like i've found a 'home' here.


  4. Kristen...thank you very much! I expect that this grace series will take me outside of the box, so to speak, regarding how I tend to write here (which makes it surprisingly vulnerable for me). But it's a subject I am passionate about and pray that together we can all grow deeper into God's heart and grace.

    {{Tammy}} Thank you...your posts tend to do that for me; thank you so much for participating in this journey!

    {{Ame}} So nice to meet you! I love that you've found a home here and hope to see you and get to know you a little through this space. It sounds like you've had quite a journey yourself...I love how you've contrasted the loves from your former life, and now...I'm going to link to your blogpost in my box above so that others might see it. You are so right...true love and grace are so intricately connected. Thank you for stopping by!

  5. Thanks so much for doing this, Hillary!

  6. who is to say when we are finished being born....that statement or question wraps this one nicely...wonderful write...and a great thing that grace...smiles.

  7. such sensitive write - so good for your friend to have someone like you to pour her heart out - and what i liked most was….we have home memory...

  8. birth brings us home.

    hillary, this post.... exquisite. and i felt a healing happening, even as i read. the spirit was in your words. and i love that you linked your friday post with imperfect prose, and of course, you can always do that. so much love, dear friend... xo


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