Home is Where the Air Force Sends Us is the mantra that hangs on our wall. We just recently settled in to our latest duty station, and to celebrate the fact that this home happens to be in HAWAII, my husband bought me one of those cool “Hawaii…Home” shirts. Being a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl, I was really excited about it. But then I began to think…I am not really from Hawaii…this is my first time to live here…what will the “real” Hawaiians think of me claiming that Hawaii is home (admittedly, I tend to overthink things)? In the end, though, I decided that as an Air Force spouse who took the circuitous route of eight previous assignments to finally arrive in Hawaii, it is OK for me to wear that shirt. Because I, like so many other military spouses, do strive to make each new duty station truly Home. We may have never even heard of the city on our orders, but we pack up everything we own, leave once again all that is familiar, and strike out for our new destination. Upon arrival, we waste no time in unpacking, hanging pictures, joining a new church, volunteering, and reaching out to make new friends. Geographically separated from family, we are quickly surrounded by and supported by our new military community. The geography and culture of a place may be totally new to us, but we boldly step out to explore, to learn, and to plant not just our feet, but our hearts there. We strive to make ourselves, well, at Home.
As Christians in the military, we are not unlike Abraham, who by faith “obeyed when he was called to go out to a place…by faith he went to live in a land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents…for he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God (Hebrews 11:8-10).” Yes, it is technically the Air Force who issues our orders, but we recognize that God is over the Air Force and that each assignment is ultimately a special duty assignment from Him; He has work for us to do wherever He sends us. And so every few years we go, anticipating all that God has in store for us, and we plug in, and we live, and we love, and we get busy working for Him.
And yet as we go, we realize that the next place is only a stop on this journey of the military life, of the Christian life. While I will enjoy Hawaii to the fullest while we are here, and I will wear my “Hawaii…Home” shirt confidently (and maybe I’ll start a whole collection of those shirts!), I recognize, as Abraham did, that no place on earth will ever truly be home. 1 Peter 2:9 & 11 calls us “sojourners” here on earth, as well as “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own possession,” meant to “proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” Lord, may I unhesitantly go wherever you call us, whenever you call us (even if it’s sooner than expected!). And may I wholeheartedly serve you at each new Home.