“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9, NIV) 

I’ve been wanting to write a post about why I named my blog The Cupcake Caravan for quite some time now, and since my 21st birthday is coming up, I thought this seemed like an appropriate time.

<p>Vanilla Cupcakes (by Sugar Baby Sweets)<br />

First of all, I knew I wanted the word cupcake to be a part of the name because cupcakes are my absolute favorite thing ever.

And so are caravans.

Gypsy caravans are absolutely charming. They remind me of fairy tales, European carnivals with puppet shows and pickpockets, fortune tellers, smoke, and stars. They are pretty. Exotic. Charming and mysterious.

Caravan Gypsy Vardo Wagon:  A #Gypsy wagon.          

Traditionally, caravans are the home of the gypsies: a people I’ve been fascinated with ever since I saw Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame as a little girl. I wanted to be just like Esmeralda, the beautiful gypsy who is kind to the friendless Quasimodo by seeing past his disfigured appearance, standing up for the outcasts, and rocking some awesome dresses.

Since then, I’ve learned gypsies are truly an outcast people group. In fact, the term itself is sometimes used as a racial slur, and certain groups were oppressed alongside the Jews during the Holocaust.

Gypsies roam the land in their magical caravans, not really belonging anywhere.

So what does this have to do with anything? Or with me?

A lot, the more I consider it.

For one thing, I’ve always felt the need to find where I belong, as described in the song “Go the Distance” from another beloved Disney favorite Hercules. I have always felt that my destiny (and God’s true plan for my life) is in finding the place where I belong.

Yet, I have always moved from one place to the next and always more quickly than expected or desired.

As I child, I moved from daycare to a college-prep private school to a small Christian private school to public school to homeschooling to co-op. I moved dance studios. I made new friends and moved from the city to the suburb. One weekend of every month, I moved to a different house and what was supposed to be like a second family but was really more like strangers.

My high school summers began with theatre rehearsals and performances, parties, and volunteering at VBS. They ended with community college classes, commuting, and summer jobs.

After I graduated from high school, I moved to college and left my family. Then, I moved back home for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and summers.

In college, I moved from one roommate to another after freshman year. Then, I had none for one semester. Now, I have a different roommate. I moved my academic plan and class schedules. My best friend moved to another country to study abroad.

Fitting this apparent theme of my life, I’m moving through college in five semesters. Graduating a year and a half early.

Unexpected and surreal.

Next year, I’m leaving my best friends and my family at the same time and going to a new place to live with strangers, work hard at my dream job, and spread the Gospel. 

If I have to be completely honest, all of this moving is unsettling. The more years I live, the more my home is split into little pieces among the people and places I will always love.

This must be what growing up is really about, and maybe it is why I resonate with the gypsies and their caravans, constantly traveling from one place to the next.

From a Biblical perspective, the act of moving from one place to another seems to be the “place” I belong.

Adam and Eve moved from the Garden, even though this was a consequence of their sin. Noah and his family moved onto the ark in order to be spared from God’s judgment. Abraham moved to a new land to fulfill God’s promise. Joseph moved to Egypt, although not by his choice but to fulfill God’s plan to save many lives. Moses moved to the desert where he heard God speak in a burning bush. The Israelites moved out of Egypt and into deliverance. Mary and Joseph moved to Bethlehem and then to Egypt for their safety and protection. Jesus and His disciples constantly moved to new places, and before Jesus ascended into heaven, He told His followers to “go into all the earth” (Mark 16:15). The Church was spread across continents due to persecution, and Reformers brought the Gospel to America. God, though constant in character, moves among the nations today. His Spirit moves in the hearts of believers just as He moved over the surface of the deep in the beginning.

Moving reminds me that my real home is not in places I briefly visit on earth or even in the relationships I have while I am there.

My home is in God and His presence that is with me wherever I go.