Lost No longer possessed or retained; having gone astray or missed the way; bewildered as to place, direction, etc.

Years ago, when our girls were young, we went on a camping trip with a group of friends.

One of the evenings, after dinner, everyone began to gather around campfire.  I had been inside our rental cabin, drying and putting away the last of the dinner dishes and now came out to join the fun.  My husband and our girls, had slipped outside earlier, while I was still clearing the table.  Glancing around to locate my little brood, I quickly spotted our older daughter playing near her dad, while he chatted with some friends.  But, where was our 18 month old daughter?  My eyes quickly scanned the camp.  Left, right, everywhere – I couldn’t find her.  She was nowhere in the camp.  In seconds the chilling reality began to set in…  My child was lost!

Somehow she had wondered away from our campsite.  A death gripping terror seized my heart. I couldn’t breathe.  My precious baby girl was out there somewhere, lost.  It was horrific thinking of her vulnerable tininess alone in the dark, away from my protection.

I tried to keep calm, but hysteria was climbing up inside me.  I ran from campsite to campsite, screaming out her name. Others immediately joined in the search and were calling for her as well.  The blur of concerned faces, only added to my fears.  It felt like I was spinning yet going in slow motion at the same time.  With every breath, I screamed out my daughter’s name.  Kristen!  Kristen!  Kristen!  No response.  My eyes squinted with razor sharp focus. My ears were fine tuned for the slightest sound of her voice. Nothing.  Everywhere I turned there was only silence and a deadly still blackness.  The absence of her voice was deafening.

Every worst nightmare of where she might be crowded my thoughts.  Where she could have gone?  Why would she wander away all by herself?  The river was swift and not that far from our campsite.  We’d spent the day there and she’d loved every minute of it.  Had she tried to go back there for more play?  I couldn’t bear to consider it.  Frightening images battered my brain as I recalled our nearby surroundings.  What if she was lost in the dense wooded area?  Wild animals surely lurked nearby…  I felt nauseated.  Time was running out.  I had to find her!

Minutes passed, yet it seemed like hours. The feeling of helplessness was tugging, trying to pull me under.

Then, suddenly, out of the pitch black, like an angel shining out of the darkness, a woman appeared walking up the dirt path, a tiny silhouette by her side.  I ran towards her as fast as I could.  When she got close enough for me to see, tears immediately began to cloud my eyes.  I could see enough to know she was holding my precious little one by the hand, bringing her back home.

The relief that poured over me made my knees want to buckle.  She was found!  She was with me and she was safe.  I scooped her up and buried my face into hers.  Hugging her so tight she couldn’t breathe, I didn’t want to ever let go!

Even now, though she’s grown with children of her own, the memory of that night still makes me dizzy.  The what if’s of that night, still draw immense gratitude.

She’s my daughter and daughters are irreplaceable.

It’s true of all of us, you know…  Whether we know it or not, the fact is each and every single one of us is irreplaceable.  The problem is, many times in life, it doesn’t feel that way.

We feel lost.

Our purpose gets lost. Our sense of direction gets lost. Our very self can feel so incredibly lost.  Somewhere in life, we took a wrong turn..  We wandered off.  We’ve been walking in the wrong direction so long, that we’ve forgotten, not only our way home, but who we really are.

Then one night, we finally stop long enough to find ourselves isolated – even in a crowd of people, we feel all alone. Lost.  We wonder how we got here and fear, in the darkness of our situation, we’ll never make it home again.

Do you ever feel lost in the dark?  Did you make a wrong turn somewhere along the way and now you’re in a place you never, ever wanted to be?  Do you feel you have no more choices and that this is the just the way your life always be?

And worse yet, do you feel like no one has even noticed or cares where you are?  That no one is looking for you?

I want you to know something. It may very well feel this way, but I promise you, it’s not true.  How do I know this?  Because He said so.  And He never lies.  You may feel lost and alone, but He sees you right where you are.  And not only does He see you, He’s there with you now.  You’re not alone.

He cares deeply.  Of course He does, you’re His child.

Have you ever stopped to really consider that?  YOU are precious to the One who created you.  You are so irreplaceable, that He’s not willing to let you go without coming after you.

It doesn’t matter how you got there.  Just like my baby girl that night in the dark, all you have to do is reach out and take His hand.  He’ll pull you up onto His shoulders and carry you home…

“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them.  Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?  And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home.  Then He calls His friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep!’”  Luke 15:4-6 

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