What to Do When You’re In Familiar Places, But New Territory

It might be a bit pre-mature for me to write this. But I’m going to anyway because my heart is full of hope.

Our little family has the opportunity to soon return to a place that held the title of “home” in our hearts. It’s where roots were planted long long ago before we ever knew each other. Yet, this is a place where brokenness in every sense of the word has moved in and memories have become tainted.

This stirring in our hearts to visit a place that has stabbed us in the hearts like a titanium dagger? We are certain this desire to face this place where both life and pain have emerged into our story is from the Lord with our healing process in mind.

It’s still on my list to read…Thomas Wolfe’s book, “You Can’t Go Home Again.” I don’t know a thing about the contents of the book that happens to be written by a guy who was from the same town in which I grew up. But I do know, that time and time again I’ve seen that no, you can’t go home again… not like you once did… not like you did when everything seemed right and well with your corner of the world.

It doesn’t feel ok, but it is.

It turns out, that even though it doesn’t feel ok to return to a place in which you once found comfort but now find brokenness, it is ok because God doesn’t want you to be defined by your comforts or your brokenness. He wants you to be defined by Him. Whatever circumstances may alter our life’s landscapes, even in the most familiar of territories, God wants us to look for what doesn’t change: Himself. He wants us not to be known as the person who lost everything, but the person who gained everything when they fully believed that He is enough. He wants us to be identified in custom ways tailored to fit each of souls, which manifest in ways more unique than our fingerprints: His.

We weren’t made for brokenness.

We were made to be repaired, restored, renewed, revived, and resurrected.

I’ve done this returning to a home that was once whole and then became broken before. It hurts. Mine was broken by cancer. It was changed by pain. The home we are returning to was broken by a family member’s covered up sin. It will hurt too.

But our hearts? They’re in the hands of the Healer. We’ve given them to Him long ago, my husband and me. Each time our hearts hurt, it’s our choice whether to put the pain in the hands of the One who holds our hearts or to keep it in our own hands.

So here we are, about to return to familiar places, yet unfamiliar territory.

What can any of us do when we are in new territory in familiar places?

We can go to the One we’ve made Lord of our Land and ask Him to help us navigate through these roads our tires haven’t yet tread.

Recently, we became homeowners again. Even with all the chaos of moving and all the repairs and all the money that’s flown out the window to establish a place to hang our hats, it feels good. Our last home was a place we rented. We had a landlord to answer to for every little jot and tittle in the place we so desperately wanted to be a haven for our heads and hearts. Living under that landlord’s rule wasn’t always that. But here? My husband recently asked me who our landlord is. I grinned and quipped, “Jesus.”

Sure, we have to answer to the bank and our neighbors, but ultimately, it’s true wherever we call home: our landlord is Jesus because He’s Lord over all.

Jesus is Lord over the places where we’ve found comfort.

Jesus is Lord over the places where we’ve been hurt.

This trip is fast approaching and is sure to be hard. But we are asking the Lord to redeem what’s been tainted by the wasteland and let us experience newness and joy in this familiar place with new territory by His amazing grace and perfect strength.

Maybe you need newness in the familiar places where you’re approaching uncharted territory in as well.

Ask God to use His Holy Spirit and His Word as the compass to show you what’s most important in any place you may travel: that He is with you, will guide you when you ask Him to, and that you belong to Him.

You can’t go home again. No, not the way you used to. Not to the sameness that you once knew. But you can hope again and you can experience newness and a transition from brokenness to wholeness with Heaven in your future.

Brokenness is a part of life that was never intended.


I’m convinced that the reason God allows us to experience brokenness is so He can put us together the way He always intended: wholly and holy.

Keep traveling with your true Home in sight, but don’t travel alone.

Walk with Jesus and He will take that brokenness and transform it by His newness.

You can’t go home again, but with Jesus, one day you’ll be Home for good.

I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:12-13

“Even if my father and mother abandon me, the LORD will hold me close.” Psalm 27:10

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