The Lost & Found

I once was lost, but now I’m found

feeling lost

In her book, Becoming Myself ~ Embracing God’s Dream of You*, Staci Eldredge says that on our journey to becoming who we were really created to be, we get lost now and then.  I know that is true, because I have been lost several times.  Each time I gather my bearings and get set back on track,  I think it will never happen again – I’ll never be that far away from where I should be again.

“The road of life is filled with many tempting parking places.” – seen on my high school music room chalkboard…I may have been the person who wrote it there

I thought that was a hilarious quote when I was a teen-ager.  But it hasn’t been the parking places that have gotten me off-course so much as my need for speed and the desire to get a move on – even before I know where I am really supposed to be going.

I got lost in the late 80s, then again in the early 90s (really lost).  I got slightly off course in my late 30s and ended up in outer Siberia in 2006!  And {true confession} I have been trying to find my way back to civilization in this most recent year or so.  I got lost.  Again.

And so – I LOVE this, yes, I do.

“For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”   Luke 19.10 NLT

And I think of those paintings of Jesus with that one lost lamb in His arms and I realize I have always thought that meant He’d come for you before you were one of His actual followers, but then – you better stay in the flock.  I thought each sheep got one pass for being found.  Now I know – He comes and finds us every. single. time.

jesus and the lambclick image for source

His eye is on the sparrow – and I know He watches me

Not too long ago, in a time of deep soul-searching, pain and regret, I was questioning the love of God at all for me.  Why would He, how could He (?) when I can make such a terrible mess of things, hurt people I love the most and somehow manage to ruin His entire plan of salvation for the whole earth by my ineptitude?  (ego, anyone?)…I was having one of those snot-filled, Bible-clutching, for-such-a-worm-as-I moments declaring my utter worthlessness to God.  My thought was – well, He is surely finished with me now.  I won’t have more chances, He’ll discover what I always knew – I wasn’t worth saving to begin with.  I have let Him down, for good.

Oh, it was ugly.

Suddenly, a very clear picture was in my mind.  I won’t say it was a vision, except that I can still see it vividly and  I do feel the God of the Universe imprinted something into my heart for good.  I like to share it so my friends can remind me when I start feeling melancholy and sorry for myself –  when I go off-track again.

Here is what I saw, in full-color:

A mom with a toddler entering a Target store.  She puts the toddler on the floor for just a second with the instruction to stand right there while she gets the seat ready and cleaned and hoists her bag into the back of the cart.  The toddler looks at her and down the aisle.  And of course – that baby girl takes off down the main aisle between Health and Beauty and the grocery side.  The mom calls out, the little girl looks back,  but keeps going, passing aisle 6.  I see the mom disentangling her hand from the straps she had been preparing in the seat for the little girl’s safety.  I see customers strolling nonchalantly in front of her as she tries to break free and go.  The little girl looks back, passes aisle 7, then aisle 8, then darts to the left.  But the mommy knows exactly where she is, for in spite of all going on in that store, even though people were in her way – her gaze never lifted from her tiny treasure who was running madly down that store  aisle.  That was her girl, her baby and she pursued with gusto.

And I saw that scene in my mind’s eye and with it came the understanding.  She had told that baby girl to stay right near her.  But when the little one took off, she did not say, “Well – that’s fine.  If she is not going to obey she can just go then.  I am going home.  I don’t need this.”  No – the mom watched, and stayed focused, never losing sight and went to get her daughter.  I think of the old hymn,

“O Love that will not let me go…”

Sometimes we do run out ahead.  Sometimes we take off like a bat out of hell to go do good things, things we think will please God and we have darted to the right and then to the left and then when we crash we think we’re alone, but the loving gaze of the Father has been on us all along.

He imparted to my heart that day – where are you going?  I’ll go there.  If you turn right, I’ll turn right.  If you go left, then I’ll follow you left – I am not going to lose sight of you.  I have got you in my sights regardless of which way you go.  Where do you want to go, Jeanie?

Scandulous, I thought!

Even if I make my bed in hell

My heart was pounding with this image of a small girl and her mommy in Target – wondering if I had concocted some imaginary view of Almighty God to make myself feel better, but His word confirms this for us:

Where could I go from Your Spirit? Or where could I flee from Your presence? If I ascend up into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol (the place of the dead), behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning or dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there shall Your hand lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.  Psalm 139.7-10 AMP

I love how the NKJV translates verse 8, “If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.”  Talk about a love that does not let go!

So, be encouraged…

Feeling lost?  Did you get a great idea and take off down the aisle trying to move mountains for the Kingdom and finally end up in a place you can tell you don’t belong?  Are you through trying to justify how you got here and willing to admit that your personal GPS failed you and you need directions?   Can you admit you are desperately, wholly lost and need rescuing?

I have so been there.  So just stop for a minute, and listen.  He has not wiped His hands of you.  The scar remains – the signifying mark of His dying and undying love for you.  He has not cast you into utter darkness for disobedience and He totally, completely knows how to get you back to the narrow road.  You are just lost.  Listen:

“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” Isaiah 30.21 NIV

And just like that! *snap of the fingers   You are found.  And that is some pretty amazing grace.

{{Learning to trust Jesus, learning to love Him because He first loved me, Jeanie}}

becoming myself staci eldredge

*CLICK HERE: Becoming Myself ~ Embracing God’s Dream of You, is available for Kindle for only 99-cents through February 19, 2014.  Get it! 

7 thoughts on “The Lost & Found

  1. So good… About your Target vision – here’s what I find the most indescribable, when we take off down the aisle, God’s heart lurches like ours does at the thought of losing our child. He stops everything He’s doing to track us down immediately because nothing else is MORE important in that moment than getting to His son or His daughter. Just like nothing else would be more important to us. How do I matter that much to Him?

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