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Secondary Principal Blog

Janie Niswonger

I grew up in a small, rural town in Ohio surrounded by miles of farmland measured out like squares on a quilt with perfectly ordered rows of crops dotted with tall silver silos and big red barns. Whenever I fly home, I love seeing the landscape from a bird's eye view. It is comforting to me. The subtle shades of green and gold and the orderliness of the carefully marked out acreage. It is truly beautiful. I find myself sighing as I gaze out of the airplane window. I feel the hustle of suburban Atlanta life begin to slow down. It feels good to go home.

Two weeks ago our family flew home to Ohio to celebrate my mother's eightieth birthday. It was such a sweet time of fellowship with friends and relatives honoring Mom for her years of love and dedication to us and celebrating the many ways we see Jesus in her. What a joy it was.

Today we are packing for another trip to Ohio. One we had not planned on this year, but one we are also honored to make. This weekend we will celebrate the life of my father-in-law who went to be with his Lord on October 6. Once again friends and family will gather to honor the years of love and dedication Leroy gave to us, and we will celebrate the many ways we have seen Jesus in him. What a joy it will be.

In all the highs and lows of the past few weeks, I have realized one constant. It feels good to go home. And I don't just mean to that physical space on earth that we've plotted out for ourselves, because that is temporary. It feels good to be at home with Jesus, to exhale all of life's hurriedness, to take in His beauty, and to rest in His promises.

It feels good to know that one day He will set us free from the burdens of these bodies and restore us to a glorified state where we can live without sorrow in His presence forever.

John 14:1-4 (NIV) encourages us in this way, "Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father's house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going."

1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 (NIV) says, "Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him."

When was the last time you thought about home? Your true home, your heavenly home? Does it comfort you to know that Jesus wants you to be where He is and that He is preparing for your arrival?

On the last day my father-in-law was with us, I stood at his bedside stroking his hair back and holding his hand. I heard him say, "My Lord. My Lord." My husband and his two brothers gathered around their father, expressed their love and gratitude yet again, and reassured him that their mother would be taken care of. That was the last conversation they shared.

I cannot fathom the fullness we will enjoy when we are finally at home with Jesus, but I pray for each of us that when He calls, we will go running toward Our Lord with arms open wide. What a joy it will be to be home.