I remember it like it was yesterday. I was lost. I had allowed myself to become involved in a relationship that was hurtful, demeaning, and had robbed me of my very self. I didn't know how to find myself again. The girl who believed the best in people was gone. I so desperately wanted her back.
Weeks before, my parents had made the six hour drive to pick up their shell of a daughter. I will never forget the phone conversation with my mother just the day before. So hurt and broken, but too proud or scared to tell her I needed her. But, thank God, she read between the lines and she asked a simple question, "Do you want to come home?". And I broke down in tears and all I had to say was "yes". She did the work for me. She made it easy for me to admit my brokenness. I will be forever grateful to my parents for their willingness to put the past behind us. To forgive and bring me home. No questions. No "I told you so". Just love and grace. I know it was hard. I know they were hurt. But they put it aside and brought me home.
Home was a place of comfort. I let my mom cook for me, do my laundry, even sort through the piles of unopened bills and mail. I let them take care of me. As much as they love me, though, they could not fix a wounded heart or bring peace to an anxious mind. They couldn't fill the empty spaces. I know they recognized this because after several weeks of watching me wander around the house trying to figure it all out, they suggested I go to the camp I had gone to all of my growing up years. I was too old to be a camper but I could be a counselor.
So, I packed my sorry self up and made the drive to camp. I remember it was such a pretty day and driving through the hills of Western Pennsylvania was like a breath of fresh air. I took deep breaths and tried to let my mind rest and enjoy the beauty around me. And when I pulled into the gates of the campground I felt my body begin to relax. I started to feel a sense of hope that maybe here I would find myself again. Maybe God and I would make peace with my past and I would find what I really needed. His grace. His love. His forgiveness.
And, as if God wanted to outdo Himself that day, I got out of my car and saw a familiar face. A friend. And as we started to talk I knew that I was supposed to be there that day. During that week, we talked and talked, and talked some more. We shared all of the things you can share with someone you may not see again for a very long time. But we did see each other. Less than a year later we were married.
God had brought me grace and forgiveness and love. But he also gave me a new beginning. He brought me home. Dean and I have had many places we call "home" over the years but we know that a house is truly not our home. Our home is in each other and our love for God. No matter where this life takes us we are always home when we are together. Serving our God wherever He puts us.
So, every time I see that familiar face I hear my heart telling me those precious words, "Welcome Home".