Growing up a pastor’s daughter meant many things for me during the course of my spiritual life. This meant I had the important job of riding my tricycle around the church as my Dad locked up, bedtime consisted of my Dad explaining different religions as I fell asleep, and the majority of sleepovers included drawing a timeline of Revelation. Just the normal childhood, right?
Somewhere a long the way I decided I was tired of playing by God’s rules. Other options looked more apt to meet my most pressing needs and wants. I knew God’s commands. But I decided God would understand if I just needed a break from Him for a while. I had no idea how that decision would cause me to end up further from God than I ever imagined. Through what I call “the lost years” of my life, God relentlessly pursued me and never left me.
I have learned through my years as a counselor that I’m not the only one who fears coming back to God. The shame of sin keeps many people out of church and fellowship with God. Many times we rely on what other people think about us to conclude what God must think of us. Since we are human, and only know other humans, we have the propensity to attribute human characteristics to God. We conclude things such as, “If my Christian friends didn’t accept me because of what I’m struggling with, then that must mean God won’t accept me either.”
The great news is God is unlike anyone you or I have ever known! Isaiah 55:9 says, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.” God’s thoughts and ways are beyond our comprehension. His plan for us is big enough to include our mess-ups. God is not confined by time, place, or our decisions. His heart and desire is for us to come back to Him regardless of what we have done. We can become discouraged when we focus on our sin instead of God’s power. But the hope of the gospel is God loves to redeem people, in fact, He specializes in it!
My favorite story in the Bible is The Prodigal Son (Luke 15). The most powerful verse is Luke 15:22, “So he got up and came to his father. ‘But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.” When we desire to come back to the Father, God runs to embrace us. If you’re wondering if God wants you back, He does! God is not mad at you. God desperately wants a relationship with you. I never could have imagined how God could redeem my life after my “lost years”. I can say with confidence He wants to do the same in your life. Will you come back to the Father who loves you?
About the Writer:
Julia is a counselor at Meier Clinics where she specializes in treating teenagers and women struggling with eating disorders, depression, anxiety & self-harm. She is the Teaching and Creative Consultant for the Student Ministry at First Baptist Dallas and a professional youth speaker for Just Say Yes. Julia has served in student ministry alongside her husband for the past 7 years. Julia has a heart to see people experience the same freedom through Christ that she has experienced!