I was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland. It is a small, breathtakingly beautiful place that bears both the deep scars of civil war and the rich, lively heritage of music and story and Christian faith. It was an incredible privilege to grow up there. I was only 4 years old when I became a Christian and enjoyed all the freedom and opportunity to grow in the faith. Twenty years later marriage and music led me away to new places and although I miss my first home we are grateful for the new home we have made in the US.
Home is one of those words that can crack open the heart quite suddenly especially when you are at a distance from the familiar places that you love. As immigrants we have tried to learn to hold our geography with an open hand and to see home in a broader and more eternal way. (Even as over time our love of our Irish home has only deepened!)
This new song, written with our good friends Jordyn Shellhart and Ben Shive, echoes the story of Ruth – the immigrant widow who left everything to find a true home. She walks the steps we all take on our different roads. For whether we stay at home or travel far off we are all restless. The eternity God has placed in our hearts means that we are born unable to ever perfectly fit here in a world broken by sin and torn by death. Our earthly home is not enough and what we have we cannot keep.
The Christian gospel comes to us in the shape of an immigrant story. Christ left His perfect home to come and dwell with us and redeem us so that He could show us the way to our true home. And while we live here the shrunken spaces keep us awake on the journey. We have a Savior who leads us into a new identity, towards our real home so far from home
A place I imagine looks a lot like the North coast of Ireland…!
‘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.’ (John 14:1-3)