I am the Prodigal Son. I was born, dedicated, baptized, confirmed - the whole nine yards into the Lutheran Church. At church things appeared good. At home was a different story. My dad was violent, and my mom not really knowing what she could do, did nothing. At the age of 3 my sister came into the world and things got better...for a time.
But then something changed and the bruises returned. My mom called it abuse, my dad called it discipline. I didn't know what to call it, but I knew what I felt; un-wanted, un-welcome, that I was a "problem" child, that I wasn't good enough, basically that I couldn't be loved. I don't remember how but eventually the cops got involved and took away my dad, but after a little while he came back and I was taken away into foster care. That was before my seventh year. My sister stayed at home though.
For the next 7 years I went through 11 failed placements 2 of those families got me twice. I was even put back in the home of my dad and then my mom, both failed. Each time I was removed those thoughts, feelings & fears were reinforced. One of the things my mother wanted for me was to be confirmed in the Lutheran Church, so at the age of 12 I was confirmed and then walked away from all that I thought was God, for I felt that He had abandoned me long before then. The summer after my 13th birthday, I was finally placed in a home that didn't give up on me, despite my best attempts. I didn't have a choice in the matter, so I went to the Catholic Church with them for the next 5 years. In school Kody Nolan, was the only one who never treated me anything less than one of his best friends, and we're still in contact today.
After graduating I moved back in with my mom, and tried going to college even though I didn't want to at the time. I only made it until Thanksgiving. Still avoiding anything to do with God, and for the next year pondering if everyone's life would be better off without me in it. There was still a lot of resentment & hatred between my divorced parents, and it's lesser now but still present today.
In August of 2016 I took an opportunity to move out of my mom's house, and find myself in Ames with two female roommates one has a boyfriend that had a poor influence on me, the other is Ashley. She starts going to Chi Alpha and Lifepointe and asks me to come too but I'm still avoiding God in the forms I understood or thought I did. Before Thanksgiving 2016 rolls around she brings a young woman back after a small group by the name Kendria Peterson, and I'm only half listening as she talks about what they do because my other roommate asks, until she mentioned spending time soaking in the Holy Spirit, and she explained to me what she means. Little did I know at the time but that was the beginning of my return journey home to the Father. I finally decided in February 2017 it was time to check out Chi Alpha, with no intention of going again after.
In April 2017 I went to Lifepointe Church and the first time going I surrendered my life to Jesus after encountering my Father in that moment. He said so much, but I only understood a little " You are a fighter, but you no longer need to fight alone. Call on me, Son. And I will fight for you." In August of 2017, I chose to profess my faith and new life in Christ through water baptism in front of my new family. There have been many ups and downs along the way.
And now almost a year after water baptism I truly believe that I've been baptized in the Holy Spirit for I have an intimate prayer language for which to converse with God. But that's still only the beginning...
So if there is anything I want to be taken away from my story is that you are loved, wanted, and welcomed by God and us, even if you don't feel it to be that way. Thankfully the truth is God will always be with you. You are never too far gone to come home for His Grace is Amazing!
And if I may be so bold, God was here in the beginning. He was here yesterday, He is here today, He'll be here tomorrow. So why wouldn't he be with us for all eternity?