Welcome Home: Christ, A Coffeeshop and A Calling

It was Sunday morning, and in a panicked frenzy, I slipped on a dress and hopped into a Lyft to make it to church on time. I didn’t know why I was going — it’s been years since I stepped into the church doors — but I knew I had to go. God started to thaw out my heart, and in place of the ice was a seed growing, eager to experience God and meet other people who wanted to know Him too.

My excitement, however, did not shield myself from the nervousness that soon ensued. I haven’t seen my church community since I was in high school, with the occasional pop-up engagement or pregnancy announcement on social media. What were they going to think of me once I stepped out onto campus again? Would I even be remembered? I started plotting an escape plan just in case, my finger perfectly positioned to change the address on my Lyft app.

Yet, like so many earthly fears and concerns, it didn’t stand a chance when faced with the complexity of who God is. Stopping at the coffee shop before service started, the barista smiled at me as he handed my coffee as he said the words, “Welcome home.” I walked closer to the main building, and was stopped multiple times by friends running towards me, embracing me in bear-hugs until I couldn’t breathe.

Service started, and I ended up sitting alone. I asked God to re-center my thoughts and keep my heart open to anything he wants me to know, and before I knew it, I found myself breaking down. I couldn’t sing the lyrics because my throat was choked up. I started to feel again. My walls that I so carefully constructed crashed down. Tears started freely flowing down my face and for the first time in months, I got a taste of what freedom was supposed to look like. The years of darkness and death and decay was suddenly disrupted by a burst of light, of warmth, of astonishing hope.

Soon, the pastor led an altar call, and despite all my human hesitations, I started to feel energy in my legs and a pull towards walking forward and committing my life to the One who committed Himself to me.

It was as if after years of waiting, God was whispering “Welcome home.” He saw my clothes tattered from a long travel. Instead of judging my scars, He pulled out His hands and showed me His. He didn’t scold me for the dark places I’ve been — He pulled out His map to show me where He wanted to take me.

I don’t have a Master’s degree in theology and my voice does not boom thunder and bring people to awe. To be honest, I don’t even know what makes me qualified enough to write this blog post.

Yet I will remain confident in this: God is faithful to His children. I never want to go back to the place I once was in. I never want to stoop as low as I did and compromise my standards as low as I once accepted.

Against all odds, I am alive. I am loved. I am protected. And for the first time, I’m home.