As part of my Discipleship Training School (DTS) with YWAM I travelled to Guatemala for the final three weeks of our practical outreach phase. When the outreach options were announced several months earlier, I had felt the Lord tell me to “go back home”, which I knew meant to go back to Guatemala. I was born in Guatemala and lived there until I was 4 1/2 years old. My parents had lived there for many years working as missionaries with the indigenous people. I have sporadically visited Guatemala since then as a little girl and again after the age of 17. This time, however, I found it quite hard to go back because I was so full of nostalgia; the memories of being there with my parents all came flooding back. As I walked through customs in the airport, I balled my eyes out remembering when my mom and I had walked through here last September.
I grieved for the memories, knowing I wouldn’t regularly return to those places with my family.
I feel like the only claim I have to Guatemala as my home is because I was born there. I didn’t live there for long, so I don’t have much knowledge of what life is like, or how people speak, eat or work on a daily basis. I have felt that my claim is not valid because I haven’t done much to be a Guatemalan. I was very young when I left and I didn’t go to school for long. I felt like the only significant thing I had done was to be born there. For me, it’s family that makes a place feel like a home. However, this trip I was travelling without my parents, and returning without them I felt like Guatemala was no longer my home.
Combine this with the fact that I was already feeling a sense of disconnection with my Guatemalan heritage, and you’ve got an identity crisis on your hands.
Arriving at the customs counter, the official saw I was born in Guatemala and immediately commented on it. I told him that, yes, I was born here, but I hadn’t lived here for very long. “You are one of us,” he said, “you can stay here for as long as you like.”
Guatemala is legally my home, not because of anything I did, but because I was born there! I had no control over where I was born. I had absolutely nothing to do with that decision. Everything Guatemala has to offer – it’s culture, people, natural beauty, food, heritage and it’s way of life – is mine to enjoy freely as a citizen, simply because I was born there.
The Lord opened my eyes to see that this earthly truth applies to the idea of being a “citizen of Heaven”. There is nothing I could do to earn this status.
The only reason I am a citizen of heaven is because I was born into the family of God.
When I was born again by the Spirit, the Bible says I was adopted as a daughter of the one and only, holy God of the universe. I was given citizenship in The Kingdom of Heaven. This citizenship gives me access to the culture, inheritance, way of life and spiritual food that His kingdom has to offer. The culture of Heaven is one of unconditional love, abundant joy and peace that passes understanding. Healing, provision and fullness of life are mine for the taking. All I had to do was be born!
This spiritual truth gives me so much peace. The beautiful and abundant life given freely from God is mine, purely because I have been born into His family. I didn’t pay for it or work for it.
I have full access because I am the daughter of the King.
Now, I only need to live in this truth and fully enjoy what it means to be His daughter. It’s a daily process of me learning the truth of what it means to be God’s daughter and choosing to live out of this truth. Part of this process is recognizing that it’s Jesus who makes a place feel like home, even more so than my parents. For me, home is where you always belong, are completely known and fully loved. Since the Lord is my family and He is always with me, this sense of belonging and acceptance is never out of my reach. Whether my parents are with me or not, He is my ultimate home. With Him I know I always belong, I am completely understood, I am completely known and I am fully loved.
by Ana Willis
YWAM DTS – Compassion Student