The One Who Ran Away
There's nothing to hide here, I am the one who ran away. A recent story of my dear friend Kelly being the not-so prodigal son had me reflecting...I am the son who ran away. A lot. And if I'm being really honest with you, sometimes I still fight the urge to run.
I have found that some will question if I really know the love of the Father then I would not have been tempted to run. I used to feel condemned by this or as if something was wrong with me...but oh how I know my Father is not questioning me. Ever. He always welcomes me back with a feast, robes, and His unconditional acceptance. So why do I run one might ask. Because I'm human with some very real emotions that sometimes get the best of me. To be clear, when I "run" now, it is like a child. I run and hide and wait for my Father to come find me. I no longer run to the world as I once did.
See, I met the Lord at a young age and went ALL IN with Him. I absolutely loved Him and wanted to be near Him. As I faced hurt after hurt in my youth, I turned away from God and outright rejected Him. I would say things like "I'm not going back to God because I like living in my sin" and simultaneously say "I will not do x-y-z until I get my heart right with God." I was in no way disillusioned about my prodigal son ways, I knew I was running. And I was running because I was hurt.
There's nothing glamorous about the life of a prodigal daughter. I did things that only the love of God could erase. I hurt people. I hurt myself. I lived so deep in a hole of brokenness that I was willing to turn to men, partying, materialism and so many other soul-defeating ways in an attempt to aid my pain. Nothing worked. With every broken relationship, I only felt more filled with shame. With every night out, I only felt more lonely. With every stance to reject God, I only felt more rejected myself.
In God's grace, when I finally returned home with shame covering my entire being He didn't point at it, He covered it. In some way, this gave me the assurance that no matter how much I might fail Him, I will always have a place of safety to return to. He will always welcome me back with open arms. This has given me the safety to grow, fail, learn and become the woman I am today. I never would have returned home if God didn't accept me. I never would have been able to stay home if God didn't continue to accept me. And so my encouragement to you is that you too dear one are accepted. Your shame is covered by His robes of righteousness. He welcomes you with a celebration. He will only ever love you and patiently wait for you to come home. If you are already home, rest assured, you have a safe place in Him to grow, be imperfect, learn and become exactly who you are meant to be.