I was so homesick, and I begged to come home from my first semester of college; it was not what I had envisioned. Leaving familiar and finding myself with a challenging roommate only added to my longing for home.
My boyfriend (later husband) was back home, and so was my heart. I had justified in my mind that I was not cut out for dorm life, but convincing others was another story. Desperate and heartbroken, I pleaded my case throughout my first semester.
I was allowed back home without any sympathy, and I wasn’t embraced with grace.
I didn’t fulfill expectations.
First, I had blown what was desired of me, and I returned, experiencing the let-down of what I hadn’t achieved.
Second, my family members’ plans had to be both changed and rearranged.
Finally, I had to apply to a new college and figure out how I would commute without a car. Honestly, I started to feel that I had indeed screwed up and affected everyone’s lives. Guilt and shame began to cloud my thoughts.
Have you ever really blown it? Have you failed to meet another’s expectations?
Those closest to us have a habit of reminding us of our lack of achievements and past failings.
Embracing the Grace of God
In Luke 15:11, Jesus tells the parable of the lost son.
The younger son decided that he wanted his fortune now instead of waiting for the death of his father, which was a pretty arrogant and heartless act on his part. He was greedy for what he would eventually get, but he didn’t have the patience to wait. This action was a public embarrassment. Who gets the inheritance before death?
The son packed up and went away to spend his money in wild living. Soon, a famine descended, and the young boy was broke. He was forced to get a job with pigs and was so desperate that he licked his lips at the pigs’ food.
Pigs were considered “unclean” for eating; even feeding them was a disgrace. The young son fell so low that all he wanted was what the pigs ate.
The son reminisced about his father and his past life and decided to return to his dad, even offering himself as a servant.
As the young son returned to his former home, his father saw him. The father became excited and ran to him. This gesture was against everyone’s expectations. Wouldn’t we have been mad and greeted our son with the silent treatment?
Instead, dad threw a party, dressed his son in the finest, and embraced his son with grace.
The Grace We Long for
Isn’t this our longing? No matter what bad decisions we make, or how far we journey from home, we can always come back home and be received with love?
But in reality, this isn’t what we find in our sinful world. We are often welcomed with rejection, hard feelings, and burnt bridges. It is no wonder that we are afraid to return after we’ve journeyed far from home and made huge mistakes.
When we make mistakes that feel unforgivable, we wonder if God could ever actually accept and love us?
Can I let you in on a joy-filled promise? This father in the parable, it’s actually our Heavenly Father. When we return, God rejoices. However far you’ve journeyed, whatever low you find yourself in, He will embrace you with grace.
His mercy and grace remove and replace all your mistakes, guilt, and shame.
Whatever low we fall to, God’s grace pours in not only to raise us up but give us hope to continue.
Why Grace Should Change a Christian’s Life
What are the gifts of grace?
- Jesus’ death on the cross made us right with God.
- When we were at our lowest, God came to save us.
- Not guilty is God’s verdict to us.
- God draws close to us, and we have a friendship with the Creator of the Universe.
- The same power of the Resurrection is available to us.
- We triumph over sin and death through Jesus.
- As our sin increases so does God’s grace to cover it.
- When we stumble, God lifts us back up.
- We have a new life and can leave our sinful old selves behind.
- New freedom awaits when we commit to Christ.
- We should deserve death, but through Jesus, we have eternal life.
Embrace Grace and Overcome Your Past
We need our Father because we often journey away again and again; however, grace envelopes us each time.
The shame of anxiety– forgotten.
A parenting mistake- erased.
Addiction– never remembered again.
(Add in what past regret and mess you’ve made.)
Grace is amazing, isn’t it?
The son in the parable didn’t deserve it, and neither do we, but this is the gift of grace.
Have you journeyed far from God? Do you think He won’t accept you?
Here’s a surprising truth: at our worst, He accepts us. He treasures and loves us. He is running to us, excited and ready to embrace us. Even when our hands are empty, and we have nothing to give Him, he embraces us with His grace.
This is great news, isn’t it?
A life changing transformation starts when we realize that we can do nothing but embrace this grace. Although we’ve run far, God waits for our return to give us gifts that we don’t deserve. God’s whole mission is here, in a nutshell: we waste and wander, yet He waits and weaves our past into something that changes us and glorifies Him.
Are you wondering if I finished college? During my four years of college, I married the sophomore year and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree. My daughter was born five months after I graduated. God’s grace embraced me.
What past mistake is God nudging you to let go? Will you accept His gift of grace?