Being that I have a total of about 20 followers this will not change the world or anything, but after months of being away . . . I am back! The exclamation mark is for me because I am exciting to be writing again. The bold is for my faithful readers and followers so you don’t miss the news alert (that I am back). I put my blog on hold for months because I heard the gentle whisper of God. (You know what I mean, right? That tiny little voice that is so easy to ignore.) It whispered something like, “there is more” or maybe even “you aren’t really telling it all” or possibly something more like, “I want you to focus on something even more personal”. Only it was almost as if the whisper was unclear in the beginning, kind of like a “psst psssst psssssst psst” or the sound that a child makes when she is pretending to tell a secret.
So even though the whisper was ignorable, the feeling in my Spirit was not. One week I just didn’t write a blog. Then the next week I didn’t write a blog. Then the third week I just . . . . I think you are getting my point.
So I am back. No, not with a vengeance, but with a more specific theme: to share my story about coming home.
I have done a lot of returning home in my life. I have”come home” many times in varied ways.
I came home after college to work for a few months. I returned after years in the mission field to attend seminary. I moved back to my hometown after seminary to serve my home church as their Associate Pastor. Yet somehow, I missed the theme until recently. The connection slipped right passed me and I continued on obliviously.
Because the greatest story of coming home is not simply returning after years abroad, nor the one that speaks to me serving in my home church as a pastor. Even though this is part of the story, it is not the main event.
My real Coming Home occurred in the Spring of 2006, when I embarked on my journey back to the Father. The road was not necessarily direct, nor was the trip quick, and it was definitely not easy. But it is one that points to the tangible and saving grace of Jesus; one that depicts the love of God for his daughter and the value and place she has in his life. One that reminds me who I am and whose I am. It is the story of grace and freedom.
It is a story I have told in some places, in part, and to trusted confidents. But the gentle whisper of Jesus, the nudge of the Spirit, and the persistence of the Father have lead me here, to the unpublished pages of my blog where the story can be told. It will be raw, personal, and long – bust most importantly it will be beautiful!
If you have read the Bible or attend church, you probably know the story of the Lost Son, the Parable of the Prodigal Son. It is rather well-known. It is nestled amidst a collection of what we refer to as “the lost parables” or the “kingdom parables” or any other name that groups together the stories Jesus told about things or people that were lost, but now are found. In The Gospel of Luke (Chapter 15) we find the story of the Lost Son:
11 Then Jesus said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me.’ So he divided his property between them. 13 A few days later the younger son gathered all he had and traveled to a distant country, and there he squandered his property in dissolute living. 14 When he had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed the pigs. 16 He would gladly have filled himself with the pods that the pigs were eating; and no one gave him anything. 17 But when he came to himself he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but here I am dying of hunger! 18 I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands.”’ 20 So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. 21 Then the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly, bring out a robe—the best one—and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; 24 for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!’ And they began to celebrate.
25 “Now his elder son was in the field; and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 He called one of the slaves and asked what was going on. 27 He replied, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has got him back safe and sound.’ 28 Then he became angry and refused to go in. His father came out and began to plead with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Listen! For all these years I have been working like a slave for you, and I have never disobeyed your command; yet you have never given me even a young goat so that I might celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours came back, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fatted calf for him!’ 31 Then the father said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.’”
I relate to the prodigal son, because, well I am the prodigal daughter. The one who went away and put the Father and her faith aside while she wasted her inheritance (not in a literal sense). The players vary a bit, the details somewhat change, and the actions are not exactly the same. But trust me when I tell you, this is my story of coming home, of returning to the Father – of being sought after by Jesus because I was lost and desperately needed to be found. Found, in order to be the mother, wife, and pastor I am today.
So I am excited to unroll the story of my coming home here in my blog. I am ready to tell it, bit by bit, in a way that hopefully speaks into your story as well. Because we all have unique, personal, and real stories about God and what he has done in our lives, but they all center around His grace. And they all must be told. Because really “our story”, MY Story and YOUR Story, is actually the story of who He is and what He has done in our lives. And when we share our stories, God weaves them together in a beautiful way that only he can do, that then perfectly tells God’s story of grace and love.
The word that comes to mind today is “celebrate”. It has taken me a long time to really grasp this concept. That when I came home, the Father (God himself) celebrated. So today I celebrate too.
I celebrate Coming Home: back to the US, back to NJ, back to Woodstown, back to my blog – but most of all I celebrate being back in the arms of the Father.
So I don’t know how this is all going to play out, I don’t have a road map of the next couple months as I tell my story (this may come as a shock to those of you who know me well). But that is part of the fun, and also the essential element of trust, trusting that God will tell his story through me. That maybe, just maybe, you will catch a glimpse of the Savior through his work in my life.
So just as my blog began, it continues. It wraps around the base of me trying to figure it all out: being a mom, a wife, and a pastor . . . all while being assured that my identity is the Prodi-gal that our loving Father welcomed home years ago!