There is a quote graphic that I have seen floating around the last couple of weeks. I am sure that it is prompted by all the mama's that are sending their kids off to college. I'm not sure where the quote originally came from, but it does hold a lot of meaning to it. I know I have seen it in passing before, but as Joe gets older I suddenly understand and feel the meaning of some of those things I used to roll my eyes at things like this when moms would say them.
Here is what it says.
"One day, when my children are grown,
I hope they still come through that front door without knocking.
I hope they had to the kitchen for a snack and rifle through the
mail looking for a magazine they always read.
I hope they come in and feel the weight of adulthood leave them,
for they are home.
For my children, my door will forever be open.
Above all else, I hope they know this without me telling them.
Love speaks clearly enough."
As I said before, prior to me ever having Joe, this is something that I would have just simply rolled my eyes at and just carried on. Now I stop, read the words, let them roll around in my head while I feel them. He is just coming up on five friends, but I still feel this deep in my soul.
It isn't just about our children coming home to take advantage of us. It's about them knowing where they can go that is a safe place. Where they can come just to get away. They can leave their problems at the door and check out or they can tell us about their problems without fear of judgment, criticism and a truckload of overwhelming suggestions of how they could of, would of, should of. It doesn't matter.
Just come home. I have food. I have a place to sleep and rest. I have books and a tv. I have ears. I have a shoulder and a warm hug. If the world has been cruel to you. If you've made mistakes. If you are tired and weary. If you are lonely. If you are scared or sick. Even if you don't have a reason, but just want to. Come home.
When I was young and fresh out of my parents house, I would go over to my mom's house. It was a joke between us that I was there to shop mom's pantry. My mom never complained. She never said I couldn't take something. She got out a bag and let me fill it up. Now mind you, I didn't just grab everything off the shelf. I respectfully asked her about each item, but she never said no. I could always come hungry and she would always make me a meal. I could sit and chill, go for car rides, anything. My presence was always welcome.
My dad has always been my emergency bail out. Ha ha. For real though. I can/have always called my dad for any situation and he has always been there to either talk me through a situation or to handle it himself. Whether it was talking me through walking down the many aisles of Menards so that I can pick out the correct screw that my husband sent me to the store for or it was calling up the Ford dealership to give them that he doesn't appreciate them scamming his daughter. My dad has fixed my cars, gotten me money when I need it, let me move home a number of times, gotten me rides when my car ran out of gas, paid my bills for me. Even more recently, when our power went out for a number of days and I was on a mad search to find a generator I called my dad to see if he could find me a generator. He was willing. It ended up that we didn't need it and that need will be forgotten until the next time we go for days without power (it happens a lot to us for some reason lol) but what sticks with me is this. My dad was ready to make moves for me.
Jesus tells a story in Luke 11, about a young man who goes to his father. The young man requests his portion of his inheritance and takes off. He finds friends and they party hard until the inheritance is squandered away. Not shockingly, the "friends" disappear. The young man, is poor. He finds a job tending pigs. He is so hungry that he wants to just have a bit of food that the pigs are eating, but no one feeds him.
Then one day, he is done. He thinks to himself that even his father's servants are better fed than he is. He determines he is going to go home and beg his father to let him be his servant. He starts off on the road, but to his surprise he doesn't have to beg. His father has been watching for him to return home. His father runs to meet him. Gives him new clothes, feeds him and throws a party. Joyful that his son came home to him.
This is God. Maybe you made mistakes. Maybe you are sick. Are you weary? I've been weary. Covid. Pandemic. Racial injustice. Mental health. Government. Do all of those words trigger you? Maybe you don't know the reason, but you just want to come home.
Whether you walked away from God or just slowly drifted away, you can come home. Jesus tells us to think about this in Matthew 7:11. Imagine a parent, who is not perfect, knows how to treat their children well. God is our Father and He is perfect. He will treat us even better than our imperfect parents. He will provide for us. Care for us. Comfort us. He is a good Father and He wants you to come home.
He isn't going to make you beg or plead for His good favor. He isn't going to berate you or punish you. You won't have to spend years paying Him back. He is a good father. He is waiting for you. He's watching. When He sees you running to Him, He will meet you. He will comfort you. He will throw a party for you. The angels will dance! There is going to be one grand celebration for you. But first you have to come home.
All of this seems a little unimaginable I know. That we would be able to just walk back in to His arms and He would welcome, but I have to tell you this. I have been the prodigal daughter. Not once. Not twice. But three times I have walked away from my relationship with God.
The first time, I was tired of waiting. I didn't see His plan. So I took control of my own life and made decisions. I walked away.
The second time, I was hurt by a leader I thought I could trust. I mean, it was a down right ugly hurt. They took my pain and my sorrow and instead of leading me through it. They demoted me. Shoved me, my feelings and my life to the side. Made me feel less than. I walked away again.
The third time, I was tired. I was weary of pushing and shoving and feeling alone. Everyone wanted me to do it their way. No one wanted to hear me. So I just walked away.
Each time I came back. This last time was the hardest. I won't lie. I had made verbal out loud commitments in front of people. My pride kept me back for awhile. I figured those people were watching me and judging. Who knows, maybe they were. Maybe they still are. But there is something I have learned this last time around. Something I understand more than anything else. None of that matters to God. What matters is that I came home.
I have to tell you my relationship with Him is stronger now than ever. Maybe it is because I am a parent now and have a better understanding of a parents love. It for sure isn't perfect, but I am learning as I go. I feel so much more freedom because I truly understand that He just wants to celebrate that I am home. He is here for me. Whatever I could ever ask or think or need. He is here. He has given me a new life, a new smile, a new heart and a new passion.
He is here for you too. It doesn't matter how long it has been. Whether you made the decision to walk away yesterday or ten years ago. Whether you intentionally walked away or just drifted down the wrong road. It doesn't matter if you are or are in a hot mess. It doesn't matter. He is watching. He is waiting and watching. He isn't going to force you. But He just wants you to come home.