Home Sweet Bittersweet



We’re in St Louis this week. It’s bittersweet to be back. As we drove into town, both Lee and I felt a strong sense of nostalgia and familiarity with this place that I think will always feel like home. It’s funny – he and I lived in Texas for two years and when I return, the memories are fond but it’s not…painful to visit. Perhaps this feeling will continue to dull over time.

When we visited last year it almost felt too soon to be back. The feelings of loss were still so fresh. This year we are in a much more healthy place in Florida. We have community and friends and events on the calendar that have us excited. We have the hope of some dear friends moving down to Florida in the coming months – they will be south of us, but they’ll be in the same state and that makes me near giddy with excitement.

We have a life in Florida now with some roots. The roots are shallow, but they’re there and with a little more time and a little more memory building perhaps Florida will develop that nostalgic feeling of home that feels so strong in this place.


We had such a wonderful day yesterday visiting our old church, hugging dear friends, laughing with people who feel more like family than friends. It was awesome. For me, it was another opportunity to hit the reset button – to touch home base and energize myself to head back home and keep planting, keeping cultivating the roots in Florida.

It’s good for me to come back, even if it hurts a little.

Have any of you ever moved from a place that holds such a special place in your heart that it will always bring a pang of joy and sadness to go back? Does that feeling go away? Ever?

(PS – Don’t forget to leave a comment to enter to win a free copy of Disney’s Teen Beach Movie. I draw the winner tomorrow morning.)


  1. Any investment in a place or relationship will always have a pull on your heart and soul. The hard part is knowing that, even if you went back, it wouldn’t be the same. Our memories never equal our reality. Glad you are in FL and know it will be home, deep-rooted and winsome, the longer you invest in it!

  2. I still have that feeling about my hometown. I was born and raised there. Lived there until I was almost 21. The painful memories of my childhood then my teen years always come back to me. I didn’t get saved until I became an adult, so going back there reminds me of all the wrongs I did. We were gone for almost 8 years before moving to Az, 5 hours away from my hometown. I only went back a couple of times over those 8 years, but it’s still very painful for me to go there and be reminded of my history. I just have to remind myself that I am redeemed, He sets me free!

  3. Your Uncle Dusty is spot on and it is interesting to contemplate Paul’s words in his various letters. He longed to be with those he left behind. But God had plans for Paul and them. It must have been so hard leaving and no doubt difficult arriving in new places. I am confident, as I know you and Lee are down deep, that God is fulfilling needs in you and others where you are. Easy it isn’t. That’s why it’s called faith!

  4. England will always be “home” even though I haven’t lived there for over 30 years… Special memories of the heart do that to you. It’s the goodbyes that are always the hardest. We have moved around a fair bit, and each place is special, and hard to leave, because of the people. Uncle Dusty is right, things change, friends change, and we change. But those memories will always hold special places in our hearts. Ann Vos Kamp wrote along the lines of life being a constant letting go of things, places and people, and I think she’s spot on. Enjoy your special times in STL, cherish the memories, and recognize that God still has more adventures ahead for you and your little family, whether in Florida or who knows where (He knows :).

  5. You are all so right. Home is a lot of places and our heart can stretch a lot of directions. I’m glad. I just wish it didn’t hurt so much. 😉

  6. Vonita Hill says

    Kelli, at first this may not seem to relate but hang with me till the end.

    Five years ago my nephew was killed in a tragic accident. I wanted so badly to ease the pain. Not so much my own, but most of all for Logan’s mommy. I remember crying out to God one morning as I headed to the YMCA to teach a water-fitness class. A lady in that class stayed after and we began to talk. I couldn’t help blurting out what was so heavy on my heart. That’s when she told me that she had lost a child just a few years earlier. I felt stunned and awkward in some ways – yet so relieved to know that she would understand what I could do and what I should say. As she poured her story into my life that day, I realized there wasn’t anything that I could ever do that would ‘ease the pain’ … but she did say one thing that I have never forgotten. She said, “Remember, the pain can only go as deep as the love that was shared.”

    Kelli – your pain is proof that you have loved and been loved DEEPLY! Rejoice that it may never get easier, my friend.

    • Vonita this comment is a treasure. You brought tears to my eyes. You’re right, it hurts deep because we loved deep. I’m so grateful for how deeply we’re still loved. I miss it and I think I always will, but I will never be sorry for the years we spent cultivating these relationships and I wouldn’t change a moment. Thank you, sweet friend, for sharing this with me!

  7. It makes me so sad that we missed you guys! I guess you’ll have to come again soon to meet our sweet Luke!

    • Lauren it almost makes me sick to think of missing you all. I am hanging on your every word as I read your blogs. Love you guys so much!