Joel 2:13

Friday, February 24
Julie Hinz

Return to the Lord your God,
    for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
    and he relents from sending calamity.

After college, when I was free to make my own decisions about church and faith, and no longer bound by the rules of my parents’ home, attending church became a periodic activity. I did not need their faith. I needed my own. I knew there was more to faith than I understood, but the constant reminder of my sin became a barrier that reinforced my unworthiness and my deep sense of being unlovable.

It was during this time of self-doubt and unworthiness I encountered the God around which my faith is now centered. I was lovingly scolded by a friend: “I get that you don’t believe this, but you are loved. At some point, you’re just gonna have to accept that as the truth. I’ll remind you until you can believe it for yourself.” That moment echoes in my head. I had been truly seen. My friend acknowledged of my state of being and invited me to explore those hard feelings. It opened the door to honest and open questioning and learning while being safe in the knowledge that I could return and still be a beloved child of God.

It was through this friend’s constant reminder that I finally came to know a God who loved me, who wanted to walk with me, who loved me beyond measure. A God who was not angry at my wandering but loved me and my questions and doubts, who welcomed me back time and again not because I was worthy or had learned some valuable lesson in my wandering but because, to God, I had always belonged with him.

No matter how many times I wander away or find myself lost and distant from God, the door is always open for me to return, and the path back is always clearly marked so I can return easily to the arms of my Savior.

Blessed Lord, thank you for your constant invitation to return to your loving embrace no matter how far we seem to wander. Amen.


  1. marnierourke says:

    Dear Julie,


    div>Thank you for sharing your story. I


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