Last weekend the thing I swore would never happen to me as a parent actually happened. We were at a science center in Columbus, Ohio, and we lost Amelia. We lost her. And that obviously only happens to really irresponsible parents who pay no attention and just let their kids do whatever, right? WRONG.
She’d never been lost before. And what breaks my heart the most is that now she knows what that feels like. To feel like you’re not where you’re supposed to be, and you’re not quite sure how you ended up there. She was carrying her go pro, documenting every moment of our day. We had to break through a huge line of people to get to the other side of the museum and she turned away just long enough to capture something that by the time she turned back the line had closed back up and we were nowhere in sight. I know all of this of course, because every moment of this entire ordeal was perfectly capture on her go pro – the panic, the tears–every moment of the worst parenting moment I’ve had to date…..we get to have for the rest of her life
True to form, as soon as we realized she was gone my husband casually strolled over to guest services. Meanwhile, I didn’t know this because I was running around yelling her name like a crazy lady until a worker approached me to see what was wrong.
We’ve all had days when we’ve felt like that. When we’ve felt lost. Some days we feel more lost than others. Maybe that describes how you’re feeling today. It’s when we have days when we just don’t know how to get home that we should seek God most to allow Him to guide us. There is no place that’s too far away for God to find us and reach us.
There's a story in the book of Luke that reminds us that a shepherd will always leave his flock of sheep in order to find just one who is lost. The last verse in this passage gives us this reminder: "In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!"
When you’ve wandered away, God will always find you, as long as you keeping looking for Him. He isn’t content with saving just a few people. He loves each of us so much that he wants to save us all. Feeling lost can falsely convince you of things that aren’t true, you can start believing lies that are simple not true. I’ve been there. I’ve been so sure I didn’t deserve God’s grace, and I’ve been 100% convinced that He has grown so tired of me. But there’s no truth to any of that.
No matter what you’ve done, or how unforgivable you think the mistakes you’ve made might be, don’t think for a second that you don’t matter, because you do. If you’re feeling lost, He will find you and He won’t grow tired in doing that again and again. God is patient, He is kind, and He doesn’t judge us based on our faults.
Those seconds of not knowing where Amelia was turned into some of the worst thoughts and assumptions about where she was and what had happened. I listen to way too many true crime podcasts so truly the scenarios playing over and over in my head were just awful.
All in all, the whole ordeal only lasted about four minutes, but it felt like an eternity. But we found her. I’m not sure I have ever experienced the kind of relief and joy I felt in that moment, and to think that there is a God that wants to experience that same joy and relief when we come running back to Him after being lost....that's almost just too much for me to comprehend.
If you’re wrestling with doubt or struggling to feel like God is close to you, tell Him that. Acknowledge to Him when you feel lost because He’s so ready to welcome you with open arms, and reminders of the sacrifice He made for YOU, not just me, or him, or the people in your life who you think deserve it more. Jesus died on the cross so that each of us could find a way to never feel lost and know that he will always leave the other 99 to find you.