I found this file on my computer this week, and realized I never posted this anywhere. I wrote it 3 years ago, but the truths stayed the same. It is the story of being a prodigal daughter, and the God who says to us “Daughter, you are now home.”
When I followed Jesus in high school, I never dreamed that I would fall so far from my faith shortly after beginning college. My desire was to follow Him with my entire life. It wasn’t in my plan to pretty quickly forget my desire to follow Him, as my desire to fit in grew.
But it happened. I never didn’t believe in God, and I knew He would be there when I was “ready” to return to Him, maybe kind of like the prodigal son. I hate that I even thought that way. Like, God will always be there… when I am ready to return. I am still bothered that I thought that way.
Is this what the Bible meant by dry bones?
Anyway, after about 7 years of being away from my faith, I ended up in a place where I felt that I was existing opposed to living. I wasn’t depressed, and wasn’t suicidal, but it was such a sad place to be. I remember crying on the phone to my friend that I felt like I was doing nothing of value with my life. Maybe that is what the Bible means when it talks about dead bones. Like I was physically alive, and breathing, but almost spiritually dead. I say almost, because there was always the knowledge that He would be there for me to return.
It began when I was having some health issues. My mom was going to a healing service, and she wanted me to come along with her. Her friend’s son had been healed something that had he had been suffering from, so she figured maybe God would heal me too.
I didn’t want to go. I was hoping the guy I was dating would want to hang out, but he didn’t. So, I went. When the pastor explained what he was going to be doing, I was terrified. He said that everyone would come up to the front and that one by one he would say a blessing over them. And then he added that some people may fall over. Oh my goodness! Get me out of here! And as it began I sat in my seat and watched, just as he said, him blessing people and some people falling over.
What was I so afraid of?
I was afraid. But my fear went a lot deeper than just falling over. As the priest was blessing my dad, he turned to me (mid-blessing) and said What are you so afraid of? Sobs. Tears that didn’t stop. He looked me straight in the eye and said He knows everything you have been through. He was there through it all.
And that was the night that He took the burden of my sin that I had carried for so long. I felt free, and the freedom was released through a lot more tears over the next few weeks. I wish I could say that is when I went running back to Him, but it wasn’t. That was about 6 months later.
But when I did return to Him, I ran to Him with everything I had, because that is all I knew how to do.
Because I know my God, if I asked Him where He was during the times that I wasn’t following Him and when He may have seemed distant, I know He would say I was there when you were laying in the parking lot sobbing and heartbroken. I was there that Easter when you walked into that small church and were so rocked by the message that you could barely stand. And when you were scared and didn’t know who you were. I was there when you felt alone. I was there when you felt like you were existing and not truly living. And I quickly welcomed you home when you walked back into my arms and I walked you out of the fire.
I can look back, smile, and feel my heart melt knowing that my God never left me. He knew where I was, even if I didn’t. He was there through it all, with me, and with you in what you are facing in life.
But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ Luke 15: 22-24
I love this father’s heart for his son. And it is the same heart He has for his daughter’s that are far from Him. He quickly wants to celebrate that she is coming home. I can almost feel the joy this father feels, and how God must feel when one of his daughter’s returns home.
I remember the first morning I was going to drop my daughter off at daycare. She was only 10 weeks, and she held my finger. I remember thinking Oh little girl, you can hold my finger forever just like you hold a special place in my heart.
This prodigal daughter was home.
Oh beautiful one, He will hold your heart forever. God is not slow to show His affection for you. Just run to the One who loves you and is waiting with open arms to tell you I know where you are, I never left you. You were lost, but I now call you found. Daughter, you are now home.