I’m finding, that sometimes people are surprised to hear that my family experienced a house fire in 2004. I guess I don’t talk about it all that often, because, why would I? Right? But looking back on it, I can see how that house fire jumpstarted my testimony of “homeless-ness.” Anybody who knows me really well will know that depending on my mood or the day, I will either say that I am homeless or that I have many homes. I know it’s probably not the most politically correct thing to say, but it’s just how my mind works.
Since I was 7 years old, “home” has always had a fluid definition. (One of my pet peeves: when people ask, “where’s home for you?”) After our first “home” burned down, we lived with some family friends, we lived in a friend’s beach house, we lived in a trailer, we lived in an un-finished garage (this is why I’m not the biggest fan of camping- because we did the whole DIY 5 gallon bucket thing, not just for fun…), we moved in with my grandma, we moved into a rental house, we moved back in with my grandma, I moved into a college dorm, I moved out of the college dorm, I stayed with my grandma, I stayed with my mom, I stayed with my dad, I stayed with my sister, I moved into a different college dorm, I moved out of that college dorm, and so forth, and so on, my whole life! And trust me, there have been so many days where I feel more like I’m homeless than anything- nowhere that I really belong.
But then there’s days like this, where I just feel SO THANKFUL. Recently, when my “housing” situation came up in conversation, someone mentioned that sometimes we experience tragedies in life, and they are tragedies. They’re hard to heal from, and sometimes we carry scars and burdens for the rest of our lives. And sometimes, those “tragedies” that we experience in life, help shape us and propel us towards something greater.
God has taught me so many lessons through this “testimony of homeless-ness.”
- I used to struggle with the idea of how big God is. When I first got to know Him, our family went through another change that required us to find another “home.” I remember being afraid that I would lose God! I thought maybe He didn’t live in Texas the same way he lived in Washington! (It’s laughable now!) God is everywhere! And I carry His presence in my heart. And I never have to be afraid of being alone anywhere.
- Having this “fluid definition of ‘home’” has surely prepared me to go into missions. “Home” doesn’t exist. “Home” is everywhere- anywhere- wherever I am? Wherever family is? I’m not exactly sure, but I know that growing up in so many different environments and conditions will surely help me be more flexible wherever I go next (Costa Rica?!?!), and it’s definitely taught me to BUILD community and MAKE a “home” wherever I am.
- Finally, God has consistently shown me His role as provider. This has become particularly evident these past few months as I’ve begun raising support to get to Costa Rica. Because I grew up moving back and forth all the time, and building communities wherever I went, I have so many communities to turn to. So many family and friends, PEOPLE who love me and want to support me. I’ve been welcomed into countless spare bedrooms, spare couches, “that half of the mattress”-es, caring “check-ins,” meaningful conversations, accidental encounters, purposeful meet-ups, I don’t even know, guys! I’m not even sure where my “home” is this summer, but I know that I’ve been traveling almost this whole time, and I’ve never felt un-supported in any of it.
So yeah, then there’s days like today, where I just feel SO THANKFUL. I find myself sitting here in this bubble tea shop, or falling asleep on a couch, or daydreaming at “work,” or driving in my car, or talking with friends, and just thinking, “God, how am I SO LUCKY?” How could I, ME, Rosie Sawatzki, be so lucky to get to be in the circumstance that I am in right now? To get to go through everything in my life that I’ve been through? All these “hardships” that help make me who I am… and help me gain such perspective on God’s greatness… Looking back on the “tragedies” or “chaos” or “homeless-ness” of my life, I wouldn’t change anything. (There's so much beauty in it all!) I’m so thankful for every experience that I’ve been through, that’s helped me to become who I am. I am so lucky. I’m livin’ the life! The sun is shining (and if it’s not now, it will later.) I have food in my belly. I have a place to sleep tonight. (Sometimes I curl up in whatever bed I'm sleeping in, pull a blanket up to my chin, smile real big to myself in the dark, and say, "dang, you are so lucky," before I go to sleep.) I have so many beautiful homes! My friends are hilarious! I have a car for transportation. I have people who are proud of me. I have people who are praying for me. I have people that I get to support and pray for too. (And these are just to name a few!) God is good. I am so lucky, I am so blessed, and I am SO THANKFUL.