When I was in first grade I accidentally ran away. By “ran away” I mean casually agreed to go to my friend Sam’s house without asking my mom. I remember Sam asking, “Don’t you have to ask your mom?” But I was certain she would have little concern. She liked my friend Sam. My sisters and I could be a lot to handle at such a young age, so she could use the break.
So I walked to my friends house instead of the pick up point where she was usually waiting. As I played barbies with my friend or whatever little girls do after a hard day of first grade, her Dad came into her room to say that my mom had called looking for me and said to get home. This was the point when I woke up from my fantasy world. I realized that yes, my mom would in fact be mad if I didn’t get her permission to go somewhere and my afternoon play date would have to be cut short because of my impending doom.
As I came to the house, I saw several neighbors and family members outside (the impromptu search party). As I caught their eye and made my way to the door, they looked away in pity at the child who would never be able to sit down again once her mother was finished with her. I walked into the house and my mom came quickly from the kitchen and as I braved myself for impact, she hugged me. She let me know she was worried and this wasn’t OK. The punishment came and was forgotten about not long after, but all I can remember is how relieved she was. It was easy to agree to Sam because I thought I had it all figured out. I knew how my mom would react. It sounded like fun to me so it was a win win. When in reality, my mom was worried about me.
I don’t know how many times I’ve “woken up” from my fantasy world and thought, "This is not where I’m suppose to be.” I look at the mess I’ve made and think this is it. God’s going to really pummel me for the list of mistakes I’ve made this time. There’s no going back. Joel 2:13 in the new living translation says "Don't tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.' Return to the LORD your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish"
It’s scary to find ourselves far from home, but we can’t beat ourselves up about the distance. We just need to make the right steps back to the God who loves us first. We may need correction to avoid the same mistakes later, but it’s coming from a loving God who just wants to hold you close. God loves us and no matter how far, He is always wanting us to come home.
Wake up and get home,