“And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet: and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate.” – Luke 15:21-24
The Prodigal Son. When I was younger, I always had a problem with this story. I was like the older brother who stayed home and was resentful of the other brother who got the party instead of what he deserved. Somewhere in my self-righteous, religious mind I had it figured out that if you were “good” enough you would have never left in the first place.
OH BOY WAS I WRONG. Foolish as well.
If I would have known that in a year or two I would be so far from God and living a life I never dreamt I could live, I would have told you, “Never! I am BETTER than that.” Pride is a terrible thing.
I went from being involved in every single activity possible at my church and as close to God as I thought possible to being someone who never let God even cross her mind. You see, I got church hurt. BAD. What I didn’t realize at the time was that I wasn’t supposed to rely on other people to maintain my spiritual life. Instead of running to God, I ran from Him…. straight into the arms of a stupid boy and a terrible group of “friends.” Satan jumped all over this opportunity and I welcomed his trap with open arms like it was one of the greatest things to ever happen to me. I thought they “cared” about me and wanted to show me how to “loosen up” and “not be so judgmental.”
Fast forward two years and the boy is gone. So are the friends. I’m left trying to figure out how I an going to raise a baby by myself while I’m still in college.
“There goes medical school. I’ll just switch to nursing.” “All of my friends are gone. Just live in complete isolation. This is your fault anyways.” “I feel so betrayed and so empty inside. Lash out and rage against everyone that hurt you.”
Thankfully, I finished nursing school and have found a profession that I love and respect so much. The people I lashed out at cared less and I finally just stopped. I found a best friend after my son was born who is now my sweet husband and the best daddy in the whole world to both of our boys. I thought life was going the best as it could, all the while I’m still running from God. During that period of my life, I was so ashamed and embarrassed of myself that I ran further and further.
A few years later, I went to church with my mom as a favor. I felt God for the first time in 7 years. A few weeks later, I sat in the row at that same church and told God I was sorry and asked Him to please forgive me. I was much like that prodigal son when I returned home. “I will get up and go to my father and will say to him, ‘Father I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I am no longer worthy to be called your son” But all I could feel was the Holy Spirit wrap me up and I heard my Heavenly Father say to me, “Welcome home. How I have missed you!” And from there my whole life has completely changed.
I let go of my anger and bitterness. I am a better mother to my boys. After almost 2 years of prayers and tears, my sweet husband gave his life to Christ. My marriage was saved. My children get to grow up in a completely different household. I wish I could describe to you every moment and detail of how it happened because when I look back I can see how God weaved every part together.
In the story that Jesus tells (if you want to read all of it go to Luke 15:11-32), the father not only welcomes the son home with open arms. He showers him with love. When I came back home, I knew God had welcomed me but I felt like I didn’t deserve a place at the table. I had done too much wrong. I had broken the trust placed in me when I had been in a leadership position. I had no business being involved anywhere. I should just be thankful for the forgiveness I received and leave it at that.
I have learned, however, that’s not the God I serve. Not only did He welcome me back, He lavished His love all over me. He healed my heart and all the hurt, anger, and sorrow inside of it. He wrapped me up in His presence and fed my spirit. He also taught me a lot about my shortcomings and wrong thinking. One of the hardest lessons I had to learn was– I can’t fix it. I am just a broken sinner incapable of ever making myself good enough. I can’t and never will be able to do it. But He can. MY job is to allow the Holy Spirit to work in my heart and change me from the inside and it would flow to the outside. I had been doing it backwards. I tried so hard to fix my outside actions that I thought it would make my heart right. Trust me though I am still having to learn this every day.
Even after all of this, He didn’t stop. He spoke to my heart and pressed it upon me to begin to serve. I never imagined that He would allow me to be where I am today. He has brought person after person and opportunity after opportunity to serve and minister through various ways.
And that is what has led me here…writing to you in this blog. Hoping to communicate the Father’s love and the freedom that comes in following Him.
This is why I am laying it all out there and sharing my story with you. So that you can know that you are never too far from Him that He won’t welcome you back into His arms.
I am a prodigal come home. He accepted me with all my faults, bruises, and scars.
If you are feeling that yearning in your heart to return to Him, don’t put it off another day. I know its hard and scary and embarrassing. However, I can guarantee you won’t regret it.
If you’ve never shared with someone your story of all that God has done in your life—DO IT!! Your story is worth telling. You never know who it may encourage or bless.
Let’s start something together! No matter your story-if you have accepted Jesus as your savior you are a prodigal come home. Share this blog post with #iamaprodigalcomehome and share all or part of your story! Even if its just about what all has changed since becoming a Christian. Let’s be an encouragement to each other!!