The Lost Sheep

I have to confess. I’ve turned from God. I’ve looked at the cross and decided I wanted better. I’ve read about the love He has for me and chose not to believe it. I read about His mercy and scoffed. I read about His grace and laughed. I read about the death of Jesus and didn’t bat an eye. I closed the Bible and decided I had better things to do. I decided my way was much better. My way didn’t make me humble myself and look stupid. My way doesn’t require as much risk. My way lets me lash out in anger, run in fear and be as selfish as I want. This worked for a while. I felt accomplished winning, dodging risks and taking whatever I wanted. I hurt people, threw away relationships and brought destruction with me everywhere I went.

Then someone did that to me. I was the one that got hurt. My way lets me be angry, react poorly and burn bridges violently with no consequence. My way also leaves me with a broken heart and an uncontrollable aching inside that is suffocating me to death. I move into auto pilot and can no longer breathe. The pulsing behind my eyes grows stronger every minute and the ache grows deeper whenever I look at my phone and feel rejected. I sit and wait for an apology, a hello, anything but it’ll never come and the aching feels endless. It’s a growing abyss of dark swallowing everything inside of me.

I’m useless.

I deserve this pain.

I’m worthless.

I’m not worth fighting for.

I sat at a critical moment for so long and didn’t realize it. I was standing on the edge of giving up on God for good. I almost took the leap to my own death, prompted by the temptations of this earth. The edge looked so good. My vision had become so clouded by anger, fear and pain that I could no longer see death for what it was. It had become a sweet escape, my path became the safest path, and I had no use for a God that wasn’t everything I wanted Him to be. My mind became too much and I couldn’t accept the faith that I had once had. The questions could no longer be settled in my heart and I became restless. The edge was comfortable and I was okay standing there spouting out words of hatred about a God that I had once devoted my life to. I could question everything about the God I once loved with everything I am. I was spitting in the face of the God that had saved me all the times that I couldn’t save myself. I didn’t even feel bad about it.

Today, I drove to the store to pick up medication. The rain gently tapped on my windshield, the radio was white noise and my vision stayed blurry. I had no desire to see, feel, think or hear anything so I tuned it all out. I drove on auto pilot responding only to the voice of my GPS guiding me through a part of town I hadn’t driven through before. I walked in like a zombie, picked up my medication, forced a smile and thank you and got back in my car, grumbling about the rain. I started my car, enjoyed the heat and wiped a few drops of rain off my glasses. I pulled out of the parking lot and my ears became suddenly aware of an old song that I had used to sing at the top of my lungs, worshiping God.

“What treasures wait within your scars. This gift of freedom gold can’t buy.”

No. I refuse.

I argued with my heart as it began to beat to the rhythm and my soul hummed along to the familiar tune. I refuse to be brought back in so easily. If God wanted me back, He was going to have to work for it. I’m not caving that easily.

“Find me here at your feet again, everything I am, reaching out I surrender.”

Never again.

My pride kicked in. I puffed my chest up and refused to let my favorite line of the song pull me back in.

“Find me here at your feet again, everything I am, reaching out I surrender.” The song repeated the same verse but louder, more passionate.

My thoughts remained quiet and I sang along. The words came out easily since I had sang them a hundred times. I knew this song by heart, knew exactly which parts touched me the most and when I usually cried. I didn’t cry this time but the song felt comforting. The next song that came on once again forced me to listen. It was a song I hadn’t heard in a while but was one of the first Christian songs I had ever learned to sing along to. It was a song that had reminded me of my own pride long ago and reminded me of how big God is.

“What do I know of holy? What do I know about wounds that healed my shame? And a God who gave life its name?”

Nothing. I know nothing.

“What do I know of holy? Of the one who the angels praise? All creation knows your name, on earth and heaven above, what do I know of this love?”

Nothing. I know absolutely nothing.

I winced in expectation of the biggest, “I told you so”, from the big man Himself. I knew I had nothing waiting for me but a scoff, eye roll and crossed arms. I had been so prideful, so rude, so despicable and empty. For what? A couple of arguments I wanted to win? The desire to look good? I had been mistaken. I hadn’t found freedom in the world, only more pain. When nothing harsh came, I peeked open one eye to see my God standing behind me with His arms wide open and a gentle smile on His face. He beckoned me away from the edge and into His arms of love. There is no condemnation, no “I told you so”, no shame of any kind, just plain love. The familiar warmth of my God’s loving arms makes me wonder why I had ever walked away in the first place. The world is cold and harsh; I’m without a jacket or shelter. In God, I find everything I need even with a hurting heart. I find peace that overwhelms the pain, a quiet that calms my chaotic mind, and a small flame being kindled back to life. I inhale fresh air and exhale the prideful bitterness stored in my heart.

This ends my confession of pride. Now as I look at my phone and don’t see the name I want to see, I won’t feel rejected because I am in better hands now. I won’t have to win every argument because grace is stronger than anger. I won’t have to look good because my beauty is found in Him. God left His herd of sheep to find the lost one, and I am so thankful to be home.

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6 thoughts on “The Lost Sheep

  1. Alison, you have an amazing gift for seeing people in their pain, reaching out and pulling them out of the pit and standing beside them. For someone to know they have support makes all the difference. Your boldness to speak into peoples life is inspiring.
    This is why Luke 15 is my favorite chapter of the Bible – it tells stories of the lost being found. I hope you can hang on to a hope that just as you reach out to others, God longs to reach out to you.
    Love you!

    Like

  2. Such a great post. I feel like I can relate. I have never taken faith seriously, I’ve never had a relationship with God. But lately when I’m at my low points I think that maybe it will help. I just don’t know where to begin.

    Like

    1. Thank you so much. May I offer suggestions for starting points? The Bible is an intimidating book to jump into. If you wanted to give it a shot, this is where I would go:
      -Matthew. This book of the gospel lays out the story of Christ and walks you through His life, journey, death and Resurrection.
      -Psalm 23. This is my go to psalm when depression has me trapped.
      -Lamentations 3. This chapter touches on the pain that we feel and reminds me of the good that can still be found in God.
      -Romans 8. This chapter speaks on freedom we find through Jesus.

      I hope these suggestions helped a little. If not, let’s keep chatting. 🙂 Much love to you, sister.

      Liked by 1 person

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