If home is where the heart is, then I have many homes. This month proved it for sure as I enjoyed a three-week vacation reconnecting with friends and family in Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Time and money didn’t allow me to reconnect with everyone I wanted to see—cousins and friends in Vermont, New York, Chicago, Colorado, Vancouver, Toronto… not to mention precious friends in every other part of this globe.

From the day of take off until the day I landed, it seems like I experience only answered prayer. I had bought my tickets several months in advance. Nevertheless, I had absolutely no idea, really who I would see, when or where. I had asked people for dates/times, but only one person had specifically responded. For those of you who know me, you will understand what a grace of God it was that I set out on my journey having decided to take it for what it was, and to have absolutely no expectations. I loaded my iPad up with writing materials and books so that I could have something to do in my free time—and used not one of the things I’d prepared for my anticipated but non-existent free time.

I met amazing people along the way, and was able to reconnect with my step-kids and grandkids. Friends from my university days drove several hours for an evening of fun to say “hi,” and catch up with me and each other, I enjoyed good times with cousins on my mother’s side of the family, had an opportunity to share the gospel with a Muslim man from Egypt (he said he had never heard what I shared before), and met seeming strangers who just happened to be Christians in a garage and at the airport; we have exchanged emails and I look forward to hearing from my new friends. I even got to meet with friends who serve in the Central African Republic, who just happened to be in Grand Rapids when I was!

It was hard for me not to cry when I left Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Each parting made me feel like I was leaving home. My heart is with these precious friends and family members. Yet coming home to Israel, I find my heart is here as well and it was so wonderful to reconnect with my friends here as well. My mind is already whirling as I consider a letter from someone in China who wants to help me connect with my former students, a friend in Russia who wants me to visit St. Petersburg, and friends in Norway who say I need to come for at least a couple of weeks. When I think of these precious people, I yearn to be with them as well.

Home is where the heart is? Then my best home is the only home worth truly longing for—heaven—where there will be a wonderful reunion with most of the people I long to see now. Yet there is a disquiet within me, because, at this point in time, a few of these precious friends and family will not be in that eternal home—unless they make decisions that no one can make for them. Decisions of life and death impacting all eternity. I am thankful that God loves each one far more than I do, and ever can. I am thankful that where my words fail, prayer does not, and that God is able to do exceeding abundant beyond all I ask or imagine—especially for those who do not yet know Him and His amazing love.

And I am thankful that Joy comes in the Morning.