by Joyce Hornbaker
I texted my kids, “Well, your mother did her first brave thing of the new year. I finally drove to the location my family farm once stood.” The property is not ours anymore. My siblings and I sold it a few years after my parents passed away. I heard the new owners tore down everything, but I still was not prepared for what I observed.
Our smokehouse where meat had been smoked for years, the brick house, the house where the bricks had been fired right there on the property, and our washhouse where thousands of quarts of vegetables and fruits were canned were no longer there. All other buildings were gone as well. The topography of the land was completely changed.
It took a little bit to gain my bearings. Only part of the driveway remained. My eyes gazed over and over what had once been my home. I found one thing that was left standing. The gate to the meadow into the cow pasture was still there. From that one item, I was able to picture where all the buildings had stood.
As I pictured each building in my mind, it felt like a million memories had been released to fill each nook and cranny of those spaces and places. In the coming days, I grieved the loss of my home. I felt profound sadness in my heart. I felt stuck. I have not lived there since being married. I have a home with my husband. My parents were called home to be with Jesus over 20 years ago.
So how could I explain this deep loss? My childhood home was part of my life story, but it is not what defines me. I am a Christ follower … that is my story! As I continue to process the tearing down of my home, I am beginning to see more clearly that God allowed me to live in a home where Jesus was worshipped and followed. It was a place where prayer at mealtimes and family prayer time at bedtime were daily parts of our day. It was a place where my parents released their children to serve in faraway places for the kingdom. It was a place where we were encouraged to live boldly for God.
Because of my roots and my moorings, living for God has been who I am. My family and I served in Haiti years ago. We then served with another ministry for quite some time. Presently, my husband is employed by our local church body. I have appreciated all these opportunities to minister and serve. Living boldly is not defined by the places I have been called to.
Living boldly are the spaces in our days where life meets us. It is the time when we connect with fellow shoppers or when we pray with someone at the store or anywhere. It is how we serve others who have more or less than us. It is asking our waitress how we can pray for them. It is placing a Turquoise Table in our front yard, a place where we can meet with others. It is opening our home for those who need a safe place. It is making soup and then asking God who gets the soup this week. Living boldly is doing life with others. It is stepping out of our comfort zone. It is about being bold in the ways Christ has created us.
How do you live boldly for God? Are you comfortable being in the spotlight, or do feel at home behind the scenes? Are there places He has asked you to step into? Are there people He has called you to? I am so grateful for the uniqueness of each of us and God’s unique calling upon our life.
Psalm 139 is a favorite of mine.
“1 You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. 4 Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. 5 You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” 12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. 17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God! How vast is the sum of them! 18 Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you.”
Psalm 139 is filled with promises that God knows us. He has bold plans for us. He is everywhere even if He calls us to go to the far side of the sea. Let us each live boldly for Him!
Joyce Hornbaker loves Jesus and His Word. She has not been married to her beloved husband long enough. She is Momma to four and Gramma to thirteen. She attends Shippensburg First Church of God where her husband is the pastor of visitation and discipleship.