Last week, I experienced an unexpected sort of homecoming. Upon arrival, on an extremely hot summer day, I was greeted by friends, my bags were taken from my hands, my neck was hugged and questions flowed about Chris and the girls as we walked to the car. I can say with certainty that after an early first flight out that morning and a long day of traveling, this warm welcome was just what I needed. My heart was immediately full.
In Luke 15:11-32, we learn of just how amazing a homecoming can be, but more importantly, we see how the love and grace of God can overcome anything. When the prodigal son has hit rock bottom, he returns home expecting to be a servant on his father’s land. Instead, the parable tells us he is welcomed home like a hero. What if we showed abundant love and grace like what was demonstrated to the prodigal son? What if instead of waiting for grace to be extended to us, we extended it first and always?
I know that there have been times in my life where I have been on either side of that story. Both as the recipient of grace beyond my expectations, and one who has extended grace when other more worldly emotions attempted to flare up. I have to remind myself that we all want a homecoming like that of the prodigal son. We all yearn to feel His love and see it in action. The only thing keeping us from that abundant love and grace is our own self.
Our expectations, our desire for perfection, our Pinterest worthy moments, our social media highlight reel are all just noise that can separate us from Him. Who said you aren’t enough? Who put this idea in our head that a party must look like a scene from a movie? Who said that your home should look like the cover of a magazine? These distractions only separate us from receiving His grace and spreading it to others.
Our own home is not picture perfect, but it is crazy perfect for us. Our family time is our own highlight reel, but it is not all sunshine and rainbows. Our life is real, it is complicated and messy and often crazy, but it is ours and the more we embrace the moments that make it up, all of them, the less the noise of the world will resonate so loudly in our ears.
This plaque rests in our kitchen and is my constant reminder:
Ask yourself this, what perspective shift needs to happen in your own world? Where do you need to take the lens off of micro and zoom out…way out? If the details are blurring your focus from Him, its time for a perspective change.
Sometimes this change comes in the form of a simple shift in focus or a reshuffling of priorities. Other times, it comes from an unexpected homecoming jubilee. You see, that homecoming was not a return back to my actual home, but instead to a community that holds a dear place in my heart. The brothers and sisters who greeted us, were from our home in Poteau, Haiti. They traveled for hours to greet us, remembered the names of my family members and welcomed me back like long lost family members.
When’s the last time you cleared out the distractions and reduced the noise to feel the tangible expression of God’s love? For me, sometimes I need that surprise wake-up call to remind me of God’s love, grace and power. Other times, I just need to take my lens off of micro and zoom way out to see His hand at work in this wondrous world. Give yourself permission to embrace the craziness of this world and focus instead on grace, for yourself and those you encounter.
What will you choose to see?
Written by Michelle Keown, Youth Ministry Assistant