I just got back from spending a week in Kona, Hawaii teaching at Y-WAM (Youth With A Mission) located at their International Headquarters, University of the Nations. It has been one of the greatest blessings of my life to teach in their Addictive Behavior Counseling School (ABCS) since 1999. It is a school designed to help students of all ages from all over the world learn about the physiology and treatment of addictions. This year's students ranged in ages from 21-58, both male and female, from the countries of Brazil, Finland, Germany, Korea, Norway, Sweden, USA, and Uzbekistan.
When I arrived at the Y-WAM base, I met up with dear friends, Abraham and Joy Lee who were leading the school with associated staff. Joy's first words to me were, "Welcome home!" Her words struck a deep chord in my heart. In so many ways, Y-WAM has become "home" in my heart. I love the big island of Hawaii, the people, the beaches, the whole "vibe" on the island suits me well.
While flying over to Hawaii I happened to be reading a book entitled Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me: A Memoir of Sorts Ian Morgan Cron. I came across this quote about home:
Home is not just a place, it's a knowing in the soul, a vague premonition of a far-off country that we know exists but haven't seen yet. Home is where we start, and whether we like it or not, our life is a race against time to come to terms with what it was or wasn't.
You may need to read that several times like I did to grasp its meaning. Cron tells the story of what it was like growing up with an alcoholic father. His writing is poignant and deeply personal. Although I didn't grow up in an alcoholic home, I could identify with Cron on many levels. Especially when he wrote this:
Children of alcoholics are pros at adapt-and-survive.
I too, grew up in a home where I learned to adapt and survive. But, at the age of 10 God drew me to find my new home in Him by inviting Jesus Christ into my heart. I wandered away from God at 18 and lived in exile until I fully surrendered my life to Him at age 22. "God, if you can do anything with the mess I've made of my life, I'm Yours." Little did I know at that time that God was already at work to redeem a young woman with an abused past. It took a process of time that required me to learn what it meant to walk with God, day by day, step by step, and I'm still learning.
But here I am, 39 years later telling the story of God's grace and mercy in my life to students from all over the globe who need a message of hope. When I finished teaching this week, I was overcome with joy and a deep inner fulfillment that is difficult to put into words. It's a feeling of being where I'm supposed to be, doing what I love to do, and experiencing God's pleasure!
I'm home for now! But one day, I'll be Home in the Presence of the One who gave His life that you and I might know what real life is and what it means to truly be Home.