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A Place to Land: A Story of Longing and Belonging Paperback – March 9, 2018
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From the Back Cover
So was I heading home? Or not? The conflicting voices in my head kickstarted a long-lasting soul search.
Heavyhearted, Kate boarded the plane to fly to her mother’s funeral. When a woman in the next seat asked, “Are you heading home?”, Kate wasn’t sure how to respond. An American Christian living in South Africa with her native-born husband and children, she was flying to Michigan where she had grown up. Kate stammered an answer, but wrestled with the question, “Where is my home?”
This is the story of a woman who watched “home” slip away again and again—through her parents’ divorce, a foreclosure, two international moves, ten rental homes in ten years, and her mother’s terminal battle with cancer. Add in the challenge of a cross-cultural marriage, and Kate was constantly adapting to a new environment. When home is supposed to be synonymous with love and comfort and safety, unpredictable and unwelcome life events—even the chosen but challenging ones—can shake you to your core.
“But maybe this tension is how it’s supposed to be,” Kate writes. “Maybe this home isn’t meant to feel safe. Perhaps we’re supposed to squirm in discomfort and groan with longing for the only place where moths and cancer ‘do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.’”
Journey with Kate across two continents to answer one of life’s great questions: no matter where we go or what we do, this world is not our home.
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Top customer reviews
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Pass go, collect two hundred dollars and get this book.
Seriously. This is not one you want to miss.
I had the joy of “meeting” Kate Motaung several years ago when she took over as the Fearless Leader of the Five Minute Friday community. (She did not give herself this title. I did. I don’t remember why, but it’s stuck in my brain). We have chatted via Twitter, Voxer and blog comments. As I’m sure others can attest, Kate has the unique gift of making one feel at home; I don’t doubt that, were I to show up in her driveway today, that I would be welcomed inside for tea and good conversation.
This is part of what made this book so fascinating for me. Kate writes of being torn between houses following her parents’ divorce and between continents after moving to South Africa in her early twenties. Her story is one of longing for home, of never quite knowing where or what that place is. Out of that longing, I believe she strives to give others a sense of comfort and security. Even those of us who have only connected with her through electronic means pick up on this and celebrate her gift of welcoming embrace.
Ultimately, and encouragingly, Kate reminds both herself and the reader that our true Home, the place our souls ache for, is not to be found in this life. We get teases, little glimpses, that give us hope and keep us going when things get hard, but we never get the full picture. We have to wait. So we sit in the discomfort, knowing that all is not as it should be, asking Jesus to daily give us the grit and the grace to navigate yet another bump in the road.
The pages of A Place to Land are full of honesty and humor. Kate looks unflinchingly at herself and allows us to do so as well. In that, we are given permission to be that honest. To acknowledge that we don’t always know the answers or do the right things. Her choice to tell her story in such a raw way is deeply refreshing. There are no neat and tidy bows, no pristine images of perfect kids and conflict-free living. There is, instead, a woman who consistently, constantly, preaches Jesus. His presence, His love, His guidance, His help. Over and over again, Kate finds Him in the middle of the mess. She shows the reader how to reach out for His hand.
God took the tug-of-war that waged in my soul, the thick rope that spanned across the ocean, and yanked from both sides. He cut it clean through the middle, somewhere over the depths of the Atlantic. And He made me look up. To see that the greatest and strongest pull is neither east nor west, neither here nor there. It’s the heavenward pull.
It’s the pull toward home.
I now know how to respond the next time someone asks me the simple question, ‘Are you heading home?'” Regardless of my earthly destination, and purely because of the grace of Christ’s sacrifice, I’ll be able to answer with confidence, ‘Yes. Yes I am.'”
– p. 266-267
To that I can only say, “Amen.”
Thank you, Kate, for sharing your story with us. Thank you for the hours you spend leading the ragtag FMF troop. Thank you for being who you are. Usikelelke.
I RECEIVED A FREE COPY OF THIS BOOK IN EXCHANGE FOR MY FAIR AND HONEST REVIEW.
Motaung doesn’t shy away from speaking on the hard topics of family separation, difficult diagnoses, enduring heartache, and loss.
If anything, Kate encourages her readers to look beyond their circumstances to the God who resides in a place where we’re all really hoping to land: Eternity.
A Place to Land isn’t Motaung’s story alone. It’s the story of her mother, a woman of undeniable faith, who continues to love and serve her daughters and grandchildren well.
A Place to Land is a memoir of a teenage girl with many questions and fears. Who is God? Does God still love me when my heart doubts and questions? Will God be faithful?
A Place to Land is the story of a teenager who evolves into a woman of quiet fortitude and gentle strength…trying to understand some of humanity’s biggest questions when faced with life’s hardest moments: Why me, God? Why my own mother, God?
Deeply humane. Full of fragile moments. Honest and heartfelt.
A Place to Land doesn’t disappoint. It offers its readers a sacred reality, that no matter our plans, God’s grand scheme for our individual lives miraculously occurs, covered in deep grace.