Mobile Homes (Not That Kind)

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“Jesus was home, without a home.”

Growing up,  I lived with a prevailing feeling I like to call “never being comfortable in my own skin or my own home.” My mom was a single mom, doing the best she could, despite the obstacles. My dad, a sweet and kind man but a severe alcoholic, always lived in another state from us, renting rooms from people or living in a camper.

When I was in late elementary school I inherited a stepfather who had a positive (a stable job, so we owned a house for the first time) and a lot of negatives (he, too, drank a lot, but definitely wasn’t sweet and kind). My role in the family was to be the glue that kept everything together. Keep the peace, be good, do good—this was my coping mechanism.

The problem was that inside, I was sort of falling apart. I wanted someone to be glue for me.

I wanted to feel comfortable in my skin.

I wanted to feel “at home” in my house.

I wanted to feel “at home” in my heart.

After graduating from high school, I left for college in another state, my car packed to the brim with most of my belongings. My mom ended up finally separating from my stepdad and selling the only house I remembered living in.

Looking back, I realize now I had already been homeless, even before the house was gone. Spiritually and emotionally homeless.

After college I got married and started seeking God in more intentional ways. I also began to address some of the issues from my past. Really, most of them lead to that feeling of being emotionally homeless, displaced, lonely, never secure. Since then God has continued to do all kinds of crazy things in my life to bring healing and life into these dark places of my story. As I continue to heal, I feel more and more at home in my own skin. And, I have worked to create a home for my family and friends that is safe and loving for those who enter.

Over the years, it seems like my eyes keep being opened to this reality:

There are a lot of “homeless” people who live in houses. Men and women of all shapes, sizes, experiences, educations, faith backgrounds, ages, and colors who feel spiritually and emotionally homeless. Displaced. Disconnected. Unloved. With no sense of belonging or safety.

Some have been in churches for years, but have never felt the deep and meaningful connection with other people and God they long for. Others have never felt safe in a church for all kinds of reasons. Whatever the reason, feeling “home” has eluded.

As Jesus left his home and entered into his public ministry, Jesus had “no place to lay his head.” But his life was filled with friends, relationships, interactions with crazy people, weird parties, and a deep, passionate, intimate connection with God, the Father.

He was home, without a home.

Because He was a home.

A mobile home. A person who created a sense of safety and belonging and healing for those around Him, wherever He went.

Jesus left us with his example. I think that’s what the incarnation of Christ is supposed to be—we are called to be mobile homes, people who create a sense of safety and love and hope in the places we go.

We don’t have to be fully healed to create it. We don’t have to have all of our ducks in a row or our Scripture verses properly memorized. We don’t have to meet some magical bar in the sky that says what qualifies us.

The main thing we really need is a willingness to be present. (And maybe that is the hardest thing to give. I know it is for me.)

There is a whole desperate world out there, right in our own backyards. A world–no matter how rich or poor our neighborhoods might be–that is homeless and  yearning for “home.”

I think “home” can be created in ways that have nothing to do with four walls and a roof in a specific part of town.

– Home is our hearts being connected to each other in a tangible way.

– Home is a relationship that restores dignity, beauty, value where there once was none.

– Home is a shared meal and a meaningful conversation about God and life that stirs the soul.

– Home is the safety of showing the reality of the brokenness in our lives and having people not ditch us.

– Home is a shared experience that makes us think.

– Home is a desperate hug reciprocated.

– Home is a group of people “where everybody knows your name and everybody’s glad you came.”

– Home is the weird crazy sense that God is with us and will never leave us, no matter how dark it gets.

My hope on this downward path of living out the wild ways of Jesus is that in each of our own unique ways, we would become these kinds of mobile homes.

People sent out in a broken and disconnected world to somehow create a strange and beautiful sense of belonging wherever we go. People of hope.  People of love.  People of presence.  People who are beginning to feel more at home in our own skin and can help others feel more “home,” too.

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Kathy Escobar
Kathy Escobar co-pastors The Refuge, an eclectic faith community in North Denver dedicated to those on the margins of life and faith. She blogs regularly about life and faith at kathyescobar.com and is the author of Down We Go--Living out the Wild Ways of Jesus in Action. She lives in Arvada, Colorado with her husband, Jose, and five kids. Her most recent book Faith Shift can be found on Amazon.com
Kathy Escobar

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  • Kathy, this is so eloquently portrayed. Thank you for this reminder to be a mobile home to all those I encounter.

  • Debby

    This touched some familiar places in me. And it took me further in my understanding of why I’ve felt homeless and why “home” has been so important to me. I’ll be re-reading this to let those words sink deeper, helping to ease the scars.

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  • abby

    “Because He was a home.
    A mobile home. A person who created a sense of safety and belonging and healing for those around Him, wherever He went.”

    I needed that

  • Morag Renfro

    YES!! Thank you for this. I long for a place/house to call ‘home’ but it turns out that ultimately Jesus is always the thing I’m longing for!

  • Love your description of home. Sigh.

    “Home is a shared meal and a meaningful conversation about God and life that stirs the soul.”–> My heart cry is to both facilitate and participate in this kind of dialogue.

    “Home is a desperate hug reciprocated.” –> Been there so many times. Yes.

    “Home is the weird crazy sense that God is with us and will never leave us, no matter how dark it gets.” –> Amen. Amen. Amen.

    Thank you for sharing the difficult parts of your story. Love your heart so much, Kathy.

    xoxo,
    Teen

  • oh yes, lady!!! You hit the nail on the head! It’s through the trials that He is teaching me that the trials don’t dictate my security (or lack of)…HE is my security…no matter the trial.

  • Stacy

    Seriously, this goes up in my all time favorite posts.. which says a *lot*, eh? 🙂 Love this line: “Home is the safety of showing the reality of the brokenness in our lives and having people not ditch us.” and I have been thinking about it *all* day. There is literally no physical house for me to go “home” to, and I remember when that came a reality. It is a disorienting one, a lonely and sad feeling. I often struggle with the idea of just falling off the map and not feeling like I would be found, and I think a lot of that has to do with me just not feeling comfortable in my skin. So grateful to be loved well, and that the feeling of being an emotional nomad is getting less and less frequent.

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  • I guess sometimes being Jesus to others makes us feel homeless, just as you suggest that Jesus was homeless. I still find homelessness a difficult place to be…

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