When They Come Home

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Most of the time you call when you need me. Sometimes I want you to call more, but neither one of us enjoys talking on the phone. But, we both know that time nor the long pauses in our communication can erase the love and bond between us. Maybe I’m another mother or a simply a mentor that refuses to put up walls to hide my humanity. I told you I was only afraid of one thing- you shutting me out because you wanted to go off grid and explore a new way to deal with pain…and make a few bad decisions.

You drifted off, but you came back. I always knew you would. So I waited for you. Even when I wanted to stalk you on all forms of social media to see if you were happy, I didn’t. You needed to drift and figure out what living less perfect looked like. You were exhausted from trying so hard, now you’re exhausted trying to find your way home.

Everything slows down for me when you call, I remove things from my schedule to love you face-to-face. Maybe this is what grace looks like?

You called. I answered.

I tossed and turned for many nights after our last visit. I cried and prayed. Then, I released my grip on you and gave you to God. I always knew you would come home, but I also knew you would come home a different kind of broken. I know all about that, too. Brokenness has been the very best place for me to begin again. It will be the same for you.

You’ve been through hell and none of us could stop it, not even your mom, not even a thousand great mentors, and friends.

Grace looks like many things, but I’ve never seen grace point fingers. Or, glare and say “pull yourself together. Snap out of it.”

Grace holds you together when everything is falling apart and stays when everyone else is walking out.

I think grace talks sweet to us until we are in a place to be sharpened and then grace sends us to “courage” and lets her say the hard stuff when we are ready for it. Grace can be the hug and courage can often be the kick in the pants. We need both.

But, grace is also fierce and unrelenting because it refuses to give up on you.

Grace refuses to give up on us.

When they come home with their heads lowered and broken, what will we look like?

You could call them prodigals, I guess. You could call them wanderers who chose to be lost after trying desperately to be a squeaky clean Christian with gaping wounds in their hearts. They run away because they want to go somewhere that it doesn’t hurt, but by the time they return to us they will know that pain lingers and follows them wherever they go. You can’t outrun pain but, eventually, you learn how to outsmart pain and become more than you could ever imagine because you harness it and refuse to let shame stand in the place that grace belongs.

In a world with one million ways to say, “I told you so,” what will we say?

Will we confess our long list of sins from the past and present, or throw shame on them like sticky confetti as if we’ve never thought a bad thought in our life, or admit that we, too, gave a little too much of ourselves to someone else thinking that was what love looked like?

I hope you will be mature enough to be real, even if it causes them to take you down from the pedestal you don’t belong on…or even want to be on.

When I think about grace, the picture that moves me the most is how the father ran to greet his wayward son in Luke 15. It didn’t matter where he had been, what he did, or that he came home with tattered, empty pockets. It didn’t matter that he broke his father’s heart and squandered the wealth that he never worked a day for, or how ticked off the “good siblings” were saying that his welcome home was unfair and undeserved.

The father waited for his return and then he ran as fast and as desperate as a heart possibly can towards the one he loved so much that it hurt. He wrapped his arms around him, kissed him, and clothed his wild, unwashed body in a robe his brother thought was too good for him. And then they had a big party. I think this is what grace looks like. It looks like a really big welcome home and a “let’s have a really big party”.

This, this is what we will look like. We will look like grace when they come home.

Much love to you,

 

Jennifer

Linking up for #LiveFreeThursday with Suzie Eller

 

11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “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. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”