I first met Tania Vaughan online in the Woman Alive book club, and then I got to meet her in person when we both traveled to Surrey to hear the wonderful Liz Curtis Higgs speak. After our meeting I reflected on how wonderful the online community can be – here was a new friend who was just the same in person as she was online. In her post on finding her home, she opens her heart and shares deeply – I trust her vulnerability will touch and move you, as it did me.
Thinking about ‘Home’ has been an interesting experience. As I thought about how that word often relates to safety, security, stability and love, I realised that’s not what it meant to me.
Little did I know that it is around the age of 7 when our script for life is written. My script said that nothing is safe, nowhere is secure, there is no stability and you will be abandoned. This insight came 30 years later as I dealt with my abandonment issues in therapy.
It was only then that I could see how that script had impacted my life and how I felt about home. I never settled. I could live anywhere because nowhere held any meaning. I always said “a house is just bricks and mortar, it means nothing”. Moving on didn’t leave me with regret or sadness and I never held tight enough to anything to want to stay.
A lot of people feel like that about places; many would say that home is the people you’re with. This was the bigger problem for me. Not holding on to bricks and mortar was one thing but I realised I’d done the same with people. That first feeling of abandonment carried with me into every connection and relationship. I moved from one relationship to another without a backward glance. Friendships were shallow and meaningless, discarded and easily forgotten. There were no people I could call home; I believed they’d all abandon me in the end.
If they didn’t seem to be making moves to abandon me I would systematically destroy the relationship so that what I believed would bear out – people leave. I even left myself! As the destructive behaviour spiralled, self-harm and suicide attempts earned me a stay in a mental health hospital. It was there, as I faced myself, that I decided this was not where I wanted to make my home.
A few short years later, Jesus grabbed hold of me. Through the example of his love, God’s reassurance, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6), penetrated my defenses. It took my God-given husband another five years of battling my need to push him away before I realised he will never leave me either.
Without the fear of abandonment I have found stability and safety, a place and people to call home. It is only very recently as we have contemplated future plans that even the thought of leaving the house, the home we have built together, tugs at my heart strings. There are memories here and love has poured into the paintwork as we made it our own. The home I craved for so long has now rooted in the bricks and mortar around me.
To be homeless means to have nowhere to live, but it is so much more than just bricks and mortar. I always had a roof over my head but my heart was homeless. Now, through the transforming love of Jesus, this transient heart has found a home.
Tania Vaughan is a speaker and writer who started Let’s Talk About Ministries at www.liveloveshare.com after writing her book Let’s Talk About Sex and Relationships – A Bible study for single women. Through Bible teaching and devotionals Tania seeks to encourage every woman to claim the full life that Jesus came to give them. www.taniavaughan.com