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Home is such a lovely word. Regardless of our backgrounds and what our homes may have been in the past or are today, we all have a vision of what home should be. It’s a place of warmth and love and acceptance. And often smells like Mama’s home cooking!

I’ve thought of home a lot recently. My parents live in a lovely home that we purchased about six years ago. They were living in my grandparents’ home until DOT decided to widen the road in front of the house. Although it’s only been six years and my folks lived in other houses for much longer periods of time, this house has become home for all of us. There is plenty of room for the times we are all there together, and it has an open floor plan where we can all be together even when we are engaged in different activities.

When I reminisce though, it’s still sometimes odd to think that my grandmother never stood in that kitchen and cooked a meal. The driveway is not the place where my grandmother set out the wading pool and my brother, our cousin and I played in the water in our skivvies on hot NC days. The screened porch has now been enclosed and is not the breezeway where we sat and shelled peas, stringed beans, and shucked corn summer after summer after summer. And the yard doesn’t hold the beautiful fruit trees that were a source of great pride for my grandfather.

That being said, my family is not a family to look back, except with love and nostalgia. We always move forward together with lovely memories and we still share the same funny stories like the time my mother mowed down one of my grandfather’s fruit trees on the riding tractor. That one always makes us laugh!

As I read Luke 15 in The Message today, I noticed in verse 20 that when the prodigal was thinking of how to improve his poor situation, the first place he thought of was home. At the end of verse 20, it says that he practiced his speech and then…

He got right up and went home to his father.

He didn’t have any idea what would await him when he arrived. And I doubt that he even began to think of being restored as a son. But he knew his father well enough to know that even though there were consequences to face, he could go home again.

And that is what he did.

The testimony today is that we are blessed to know the Father who will welcome us home, love us, offer us healing, and prepare a feast for us. All we have to do is get right up and go home to our father. He stands waiting and there is nothing too big for him to forgive…even running over a prized fruit tree!

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Holly Barrett


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