How Desire Led You Home

Feb 25, 2014

You were a child, and they wanted only the best for you. So they told you your heart was deceitful. They told you that every desire was only a misplaced desire for Him.

They spoke the (partial) truth in love, and you took their words to heart. Those words kept you safe. They kept you on a narrow way, and you will always be grateful for that.

But Jesus never promised safety; He promised abundance. The abundant life is a wide-awake life, and it is anything but safe.

*

Infertility was unexpected. It was a hammer blow to your heart, and when your heart cracked open something precious and dangerous slipped out.

Desire.

First one and then one more. And just when you thought that was all, convinced you’d closed the box up tight, even more would come leaking out. We were made to be deep water, but you were terrified when you first glimpsed the depths of your desiring self.

You wanted, and you wanted fiercely. You wanted a baby of your own. And when that miracle baby was born you asked for more.

There are three things that are never satisfied, / four that never say, ‘Enough!’: / the grave, the barren womb, / land, which is never satisfied with water, / and fire, which never says, ‘Enough!’ (Proverbs 30:16).

Babies were only the beginning. You wanted to earn that PhD. You wanted to live in the big city. You wanted to read poetry on green Irish cliffs.

You wanted to live a life that mattered. You wanted to create. You wanted to be loved.

Fiery desire had been unleashed. You held your hands to the flames, and you were consumed.

*

God gave you the babies. God gave you the degree. God gave you poetry in Ireland, and God gave you love.

But God wanted to give you more. So He took you to the wilderness.

You cried every day for two years, Lord I want to go home. Lord I have no home. Lord I want to go home. Please, oh please, take me home.

When God led you through the desert to the farmhouse on the hill, you heard again the message given by those well-meaning Christians all those years ago.

It is true that all desire is misleading.

Desire isn’t necessarily wrong (though it might be). It isn’t necessarily sinful (though it might be). Desire is misleading because, if God-given, it leads you somewhere unexpected.

The babies bring joy, but they grow so quickly and every day they slip just a little further from your arms. The PhD sharpened you, but it didn’t provide the career you imagined. The house is a dream-come-true, the garden is your canvas, but the work is relentless and you do not have what it takes.

Those things do not satisfy completely but wanting them was never wrong. Those dreams were planted in you by God himself and in reaching for them you found something better – someone better – than any dream-come-true.

*

Sitting in the deep recess of the old parlor window, you notice the snow beginning to dust your hilltop. Stepping outside, snowflakes tap-dancing on your cheeks, you feel a great longing well up in your heart.

This is a familiar feeling. For years, you could see some clear thing whenever you felt it. A child. Or an accomplishment. Or a garden of your own. But you have come home and what is there left to want? What is the object of this longing and where will it lead?

Perhaps the snowflakes blur your vision just enough to help you see. Because it is here – in the snow on the hilltop – that you finally glimpse the truth. Yes, the farmhouse on the hill is a gift, God-given, but it is only the shadow of your true home.

Now you understand that God is, that he has always been, leading you home to himself.

 

Welcome home.

 *

Painted in Waterlogue

*

27 Comments

  1. Larry Ebaugh

    And through all the struggle and the searching, one of the miracles is that the heart has managed to stay gentle, like a feather against a baby’s cheek. It is no secret, you are loved by many . . .

    Reply
  2. Shelly Miller

    Beautiful Christie. I feel the same way, different circumstance but the same. Love the photo of your house and can’t wait to see how he is leading you to write that book. It’s gonna be awesome.

    Reply
  3. Summer

    I winced from the gorgeous honesty my friend: Fiery desire had been unleashed. You held your hands to the flames, and you were consumed.
    Wow. I’m looking forward to this book you are birthing…

    Reply
  4. Sue Tell

    First, the painting of your home is beautiful.

    Ahhh, desire. Would you believe that was part of a talk I gave today at a women’s luncheon?

    Desire is good. we can’t know God’s creation of us without recognizing the desires he gives. Desire is dangerous too. I John 2:17; Romans 8:15.

    Author LeAnne Payne says, “Until we learn to yield to God all our needs, cries, and the desires of our hearts in petition, we will neither know Him or our hearts as we should.”

    Reply
    • Christie Purifoy

      I love that quotation, Sue. It could be the epigraph for quite a few of the blog posts I’ve written. I’m making a note of it. Thanks for passing it on.

      Reply
  5. amy

    mmm. Christie, write the full book-length version, please!

    Reply
    • Christie Purifoy

      I hope I have that opportunity someday, Amy. Though, if I’m being honest, I feel the book ideas lining up in me and the memoir version of this post will have to wait its turn. 🙂

      Reply
  6. Dan McDonald

    I love your view of how God has always been leading us home. Your perspective made me think of something in a way I’ve never seen it. It is this, we are always yearning for something more. We can’t find it wholly satisfied in this creation. But to make the picture full St. Paul describes the creation as groaning for something more alongside of us. So we who tend our gardens, care for our places in creation and the creation itself, we all together are yearning and desiring and waiting as he pulls and brings it all home. I never thought of any of this until your blog put all these pieces together. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Christie Purifoy

      Dan, I’ve never quite seen it that way either. Reading your words, I feel as if so many part of the puzzle have fallen into place. Amazing how inspiration and insight pass back and forth as we share our stories.

      Reply
  7. Glenda Childers

    Beautiful words that remind me and draw me to our real home.

    Fondly,
    Glenda

    Reply
    • Christie Purifoy

      Oh, I hope they do, Glenda. I think that may be my prayer for every word I write.

      Reply
  8. Elizabeth W. Marshall

    Christie so lovely. Oh I want to sit with coffee and hear this from your lips. I too have been through a season of infertility. That and other pieces of this pierce my heart. How wonderfully told. This is a sacred thread, from you to God, from God to you. Thank you for allowing us to read your story.

    Reply
    • Christie Purifoy

      Thank you for being here, Elizabeth, and for receiving my story with such grace. I’m grateful. And I have no doubt we’ll sit down for that coffee and conversation some day!

      Reply
  9. Katie @ cakes, tea and dreams

    So powerful and lovely. I was also taught that desire is dangerous, and it can be, but not for the reasons they gave me. I love that you have come home. And it’s also true: the longing doesn’t stop when you get what you wanted. There’s always more there.

    Reply
  10. Diana Trautwein

    Now, see? This is wonderful and spot on. Desire is such an important part of life and too often, the church has downplayed it or negated it completely. Yes, to all of the above: it can steer you wrong, it can become idolatrous, it can be false. BUT not always. And not even very often. Not if we’re prayerful about it, looking at it, asking God about it. Desire is the key emotion needed for growing deeper in every way — in our understanding of ourselves and in our relationship with God. And I’m delighted to read about it here, in your fine words. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Christie Purifoy

      Diana, your comments always make me wish we could sit down together for a good, long talk. If only these coasts weren’t quite so far apart …

      Reply
  11. Danielle

    “Now you understand that God is, that he has always been, leading you home to himself.”

    Yes, always.

    Reply
  12. Kris Camealy

    Christie, this is stunning. That proverb?! Wow. Desire….I’m learning about this, these days. And I agree that I would so love to read an entire book by you, on this. ((Someday)) 😉

    Thank you for writing–for sharing the art that wells up inside of you.

    Reply
  13. Em Climaco

    Christie,
    This is gorgeous: the writing, the Proverb, the painting, the whole. Love it.
    Em

    Reply
  14. Ashley Larkin

    Christie, ahhhh – your writing, friend. This is so where I’ve been – examining desire, those God-given and those of my own that hungered for acclaim, affirmation, influence. It is indeed a call home…yes, exactly that.

    Reply
  15. ginny

    So beautifully written. It’s my first time visiting here. The impression I am left with through your writing here today is how Loving God is!! Not only did he give you hearts desires, but in His wooing of you, you have come out of the wilderness leaning on the Arm of your Beloved. That is “coming home”. Thanks for your honesty and openness in sharing of your heart and pointing us who are on the journey to the way home. Blessings to you today. Ginny

    Reply
    • Christie Purifoy

      Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment, Ginny. I’m so glad you stopped by. It’s good to hear that the God I see is being reflected in my words. Because, yes, he is Love. And I am so grateful for every experience – the good but especially the bad – that has led me to this place where Love lives.

      Reply
  16. Kimberly

    I found this post through Rachel Held Evens’ “Sunday Superlatives” series that she does. I have struggled with feeling like God only cares about what we need and not about what we want — or desire as you have put it. And I feel like he’s been unraveling that thinking and this has been part of that unraveling. 🙂 thank you

    Reply
  17. Averil

    “The babies bring joy, but they grow so quickly and every day they slip just a little further from your arms. The PhD sharpened you, but it didn’t provide the career you imagined. The house is a dream-come-true, the garden is your canvas, but the work is relentless and you do not have what it takes.

    Those things do not satisfy completely but wanting them was never wrong. Those dreams were planted in you by God himself and in reaching for them you found something better – someone better – than any dream-come-true.”

    Balm for my soul. Exactly how I have been feeling as I turn back at last to God after having desired nothing more than family, babies, a beautiful home and the completion of my novel for 8 years now.

    Welcome Home, is exactly the voice that has spoken to my heart for weeks now.

    Reply
    • Christie Purifoy

      Averil, I’m thrilled that he would speak to you through my own small story. Welcome home!

      Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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