Prodigals

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I was on my way home from work when my wife called. She had picked up our 17 year old daughter from work. There had been an argument over some questions my wife asked her and she jumped out of the car and informed my wife that she was tired of our questions and our interfering with her life. She was not coming home, moving out.

And that is what she did.

We should have seen it coming. It was not the first confrontation but you always want to believe the best about your child.

There were many questions that went through our minds over the next days weeks and months. Most beginning with “why”. Along with the questions, emotions. Denial, anger, frustration, disappointment fear (big one) sorrow, loss.

And you remember. The day she was born so tiny and helpless. Her first steps, her smile and laughter. Her first day of school standing there with her little back-pack trying to look brave, an image captured on film and in your mind forever. Her first play at school, the first tooth she lost. The hugs and her telling you “You are the best mommy and daddy ever I love you so much”. The times you went fishing and camping, the times she wanted to be anywhere you were. Sitting with her when she was scared of the storm,  planting a tree in the front yard, when she went to the altar and gave her life to Jesus and the joy you felt as the tears ran down her face and she said “Daddy I asked Jesus into my heart”. The first time she saw the ocean, her first dance, teaching her to drive, all the firsts, all the memories…..

And you remember the time you didn’t take to spend with her, the busyness that you allowed to steal precious moments, never to be gotten back. It is easy in times like this to blame yourself for what has happened, to think “If only I had done or not done  this or that, if I had been more strict, less strict. And in many ways you are right. If only…

The truth though is that the one thing God will not control is our will. Not mine, not yours, not my daughters. It is a gift He gave us that at it’s best brings tremendous blessing, and at its worst a horrible curse.

C.S. Lewis said;

“God created things (people) with free will. That means creatures which can go right or wrong. If a person is free to be good they are also free to be bad. Freewill though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes any love or goodness or joy worth having. Of course God knew what would happen if we used our freedom the wrong way: apparently He thought it worth the risk”.

It has been two years since our daughter left home. Early on in our journey I read a story about a another child who left his home

 Once there was this man who had two sons. 12 One day the younger son came to his father and said, “Father, eventually I’m going to inherit my share of your estate. Rather than waiting until you die, I want you to give me my share now.” And so the father liquidated assets and divided them. 13 A few days passed and this younger son gathered all his wealth and set off on a journey to a distant land. Luke 15:12-13

Many of you have read this story, how the son wasted all his father had given him in wild irresponsible living. Broke and hungry he found himself feeding pigs, with not even enough to buy food. Broken and alone he decided that being a hired hand for his father would be better than where he was.

” So he got up and returned to his father. The father looked off in the distance and saw the young man returning. He felt compassion for his son and ran out to him, enfolded him in an embrace, and kissed him”.

But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him” Luke 15:20

Prodigals. All of us were at one time. Some of us still are.

It has been over two years since my daughter went on her journey. Like the father who kept watching for his sons return, I keep watching for her return.

It’s been said that the waiting is always the hardest part. For a parent watching a child go through a prodigal journey this is especially true. As hours turn into days, and days turn into months, and months turn into years, a parent can become frustrated. “It has not changed, it will never change”, we’ll say to ourselves in sorrow and sometimes anger. In these times our feelings become a terrible enemy. But we must keep praying and watching as the father in Luke 15 did—waiting for his beloved child to return. Be still and know that He is God and is able to bring her safely home.

Father it is amazing to me when I realize that Your love for my daughter is even greater than the love I have for her and that the depth of your feeling for her goes even deeper than my own. I am comforted to know that you care for them and that they are always before you. As I watch my daughter and her prodigal journey, I know that though she is now far from you that she is not out of your sight. Lord, help me to persevere in prayer for her—trusting in your ability to bring her safely home.

 

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9 thoughts on “Prodigals

  1. Sorry about your journey. My husband and I have a prodigal son. We know where he is, but must sit on the sidelines praying for his return to The Lord. The hardest part has been the ongoing grieving when he makes poor life choices, some which could destroy him. But you are right about how God allows us that privilege of choosing and also of how much He loves prodigals. I will add your daughter to my ever-growing prodigals prayer list. Blessings

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    1. Thank you so much for your encouragement and for praying for our daughter. Yes it is hard to sit and wait. I have a book that I would recommend. The title is:
      “Prayers for Prodigals” 90 days of prayer for your child- by James Banks. It has been such a blessing to read, written by someone who understands the struggles of our children and our struggles also.
      I will pray for your son as well. Look forward to reading your posts.
      Thanks again

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  2. I feel the pain of your loss having three prodigal children myself. Your response to your loss is amazing and one I wish I could have read when my children went away, I might have handled it better. It’s never too late, and I will now try to view it all with a different mindset in order to pray better. Bless you and heavenlyraindrops.

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    1. It took many days to come to that place of resting in God. In fact it has only been in the last few months that I could be at peace and not deal almost constantly with fear and the “what if’s”. I had to deal with my own disappointment and anger and put the focus on my child and not me. What could I do that was best for her, and prayer has been a big part of that. It is hard to pray for someone when you are angry with them. And it is not a one time thing there are still days that I struggle with my emotions.

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      1. It is hugely painful, a place of never ending grief, no closure, hope that tends to run out from time to time. It has taken many years for me to be able to pray for my eldest in this, so angry have I been at all that has gone on and the ripples that spread far and wide from her behaviour. I have come to a place of peace with it, in the main. The enemy often tries to remind me of the injustice of it all, but I have learnt to overcome him in that area. I fear for my children, most especially my eldest..the verse “you reap what you sow” comes to mind whenever my thoughts turn to her and I am needful of asking Father for her enlightenment in this area. We spoke about peace in our small group last night. The peace of God…so many verses in the bible to encourage us to work toward that place, where nothing will interfere with it.

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  3. Reblogged this on amanda lannon and commented:
    Although it is great to know I am not alone in this painful process, I would never wish the experience upon another. I found this so helpful and hope to attain the books recommended in order to help my prayer life in praying for my children.

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