20160318-Kayworth-HomePurpose

“To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.” {Ecclesiastes 3:1, ESV} These are the words printed beside my face in the “Seniors” section of my 2010 high school yearbook.

Each year the seniors would choose a quote that would forever mark their legacy in the high school world, and these words from Ecclesiastes seemed the perfect fit in my eyes. They implied strength and courage going into my next phase of life. Boldness. A maturity that knew it was time to move on. “I am the Champion of Transition!” my senior face smiled.

If only that face told the truth.

The truth is, I’m a perfectionist who hates perfectionism, I’m a routine-follower who craves adventure, and I’m a change-resister who’s learning to let go. Last summer held one of the greatest transitions of my life: marriage. It also came with a move. Born and raised in Alabama, God led me to one of the few Florida boys who attended Auburn University. And now here we are in the Sunshine State!

We’ve been here for about five months now. It’s been hard and it still doesn’t feel like home. It feels uncomfortable and insignificant, and I’ve felt my heart growing hard and giving up. But today God showed me this . . .

Remember the story of Isaac’s sons, Jacob and Esau? In a moment of hunger Esau sells his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of soup, and later becomes angry about it and plans to kill Jacob. In fear for his life, Jacob flees to Haran. On his way, he stops to rest for the night.

“When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. There above it stood the LORD, and He said, ‘I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.'” {Genesis 28:11-15 NIV, emphasis mine}

Notice it says Jacob stopped to rest in a “certain place.” No name, insignificant, pretty random, and he goes to sleep with a rock pillow. Insignificant and uncomfortable.

But when the Lord shows up — everything changes!

Suddenly, this place becomes Bethel, meaning “house of God”, and that rock — that rock becomes a pillar that Jacob pours oil over in holy praise to the Lord! The place becomes an altar, a testimony to the Lord’s presence.

God makes the meaningless meaningful. He makes the ugly beautiful. Simply by his presence.

I’m sure Jacob wasn’t exactly loving the rock-pillow-spend-the-night-on-the-ground party — oh, but I just love what he says when he wakes!

“Surely the Lord is in this place and I was not aware of it! How AWESOME is this place!” {Genesis 28:16-17}

It wasn’t that the place changed, it was that the Lord gave it meaning. His presence gave it meaning. Jacob just had to wake up.

I am choosing to believe that our new home has purpose because the Lord is here with us. Surely He has been here all along, and I have simply been unaware.

Oh, Lord, wake me up! Surely you are in this place and I have been unaware.

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  • Bev @ Walking Well With God

    Jenna Le,
    You remind me of a younger version of myself. I got married and immediately moved away from what had been home for all my life. I then proceeded to move around the country with my family. I encourage you to look up Exodus 23:20. There are many times I clung to that promise that the Lord would send an angel ahead of me to guard me along the way and to bring me to the place that He had already prepared. If it helps God has ALWAYS been faithful to this promise and I know He will be faithful to you as well. Loved your post and am lifting you up in prayer right now…
    Blessings,
    Bev

  • Lynn Piontek Schroeder

    This was great! Thank you for bringing a new meaning to the verses.

  • Suzanne

    Way to go Jenna! This was a great post.

  • A

    Jenna, thank you for this beautiful message. You reminded me today to look for Jesus in everything so I am not unaware, blind to His presence and grace. Thank you for showing me that the Lord brings meaning to our broken places and experiences with His presence. It is a comfort. May each of us continue to seek Him in our places, in each other. Prayers for you…

  • Ruthie

    God is faithful. Moving and resettling is hard. Sometimes you even have to adjust to the climate and vegetation. Time is often a tool that God uses in this adjustment process. Keep trusting. He will bring adjustment to you and you will learn alot in this process. Wait on the Lord and put your hope in Him.

  • Cheri Tolliver Johnson

    Awesome insight. It’s the Lord who makes a place meaningful. Thank you for sharing.

  • Jane @SeeJaneLearn

    Jenna~I’ve been in your circumstance and I love how you let God’s word preach to you! I thought I’d ALWAYS live in Carmel, Indiana…but my husband and God transplanted me out in Washington State. I agree with Bev; God always goes before us. Thanks for this meaningful post and blessings to you as you grow roots in Florida.

  • JeanneTakenaka

    Jenna Le, my heart resonated with your post. In the first six months of marriage, I moved from California to Nevada to Alabama (thank you, Uncle Sam). My heart and mind were caught in the whirlwind of change and it left me staggering.

    I loved what you shared about how where we are isn’t insignificant because the Lord is there. Such wisdom!

    And this—”It wasn’t that the place changed, it was that the Lord gave it meaning. His presence gave it meaning.”—spoke to me . . . even all these years after those three moves. Thank you for sharing here today!

  • https://www.nighthowells.wordpress.com Jenny Howell

    Jenna! Thank you. Loved these reminders that the Lord Himself makes a home. I am especially in a season of grieving a big move in the near future…I LOVE our current home and I can’t imagine another being so full of life and memories. But,,,, BETHEL – HOUSE OF GOD is ahead because He is in the moving of our lives and ministry. Bless ya Sister for gathering up hope for me today!

  • http://www.waterintowineblog.com Tracey Cross

    Wonderful post, thank you so much.Much needed today.

  • Nancy Ruegg

    What a beautiful statement of faith, Jenna! I, too, have lived your story–in the Sunshine State no less. Without a doubt, your new home DOES have a purpose, and the day will come when you’ll look back (with joy and wonder) and say, “Wow! Look what God did!”

    Someone once told me, “Without a test, there’s no testimony.” Hang tight to hope during this test that is bringing you to a future testimony of joy and wonder!

  • Beth Williams

    Jenna,

    Congratulations on your wedding! May God bless you both with many happy years together!! Ecclesiastes 3:1 There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens: happens to be one of my favorite verses. I need it now as I’m in a season of not holding a job, but caring for my aging dad & his many medical issues. Wondering what the next step will be? One thing I do know is that God was with me all along this journey. Each change brought about trials and worries-yet each time God was there with us. He was making a pathway for us to follow! I was unaware of His presence for most of it, but now I can easily see His handiwork in it all!

    Blessings :)
    PS I lived in Brandon, FL (outside Tampa) for twenty years!

  • http://www.amyfritzwrites.com/ amyfritz

    I love this message. I learned so much about God and faith when we moved in 2012.

    • Opie

      Preach sista!!!!!!