From the first time you set eyes on your child you love him or her.
Right or wrong, weak or strong, your emotions are weaved into their lives.
You have so many hopes and dreams for them,
so many plans of how it could and should be.
But for some of us there comes the prodigal child.
The one who seems to challenge their boundaries and your patience?
They are the children that seem to question you right from the first.
They are the “why” children as this is a question you will ask many times throughout their lives.
The extra grace required child.
It’s hard being the parent of such a child.
In Christian circles we expect a certain standard of behaviour from our children.
The prodigal doesn’t conform to these structures.
For whatever reason you have a child who is bent on going his or her own way.
Talking as one who has a prodigal son it is tough and hard work.
The first lesson I learnt on this road is that when you have done it all leave it to God.
IF you have put the love, prayer and time into this child and they for whatever reason choose the path of trouble, then all you can do is pray.
Let yourself of the hook. It is not your fault. Quit doing the maybes.
You know the statement that starts or ends with
“Maybe if I had done this or that, or maybe if I hadn’t done such and such”
This kind of thinking only leads to false guilt and condemnation .
There’s an awful lot of guilt that can attach itself to the parent of a prodigal.
Lesson 2- Trust.
Learning to trust god and his plan for your prodigal child.
We all say “All to Jesus” until we come to the bump in the road.
You have to come to a place of saying “I trust you with my child an their destiny is up to youGod”
Being the mother of a prodigal means going through different phases of thinking and acting.
At first you are ashamed and keep quiet with most of the details.
You bottle up all sorts of negative emotions till they come surging forth one day.
Slowly you emerge from this self-imposed cone of silence.
You start to share, sometimes too freely, with one and all about your problems.
It seems to be a time of letting it all out.
Out of the cupboard come all the dreadful secrets.
From one extreme to the other.
Lesson 3-finding a friend to do battle in prayer with you.
Next you learn just what to share and too whom.
Most people cant handle the truth and so a watered down version is helpful.
Only those dear friends who hold your prodigal up to god are aware of the intimate details.
I have found the statement “He’s working on his testimony” a good answer.
It says it all and if they really want to know more they have an opening to ask.
It is putting a positive slant on your situation.
It’s all about putting your trust back in god even in how you talk about the prodigal.
Lesson 4-Asking god for something to hang onto.
A very wise friend who’s son was a heroin addict told me this one.
Ask God for something to help you hang on to in the bad times.
For me it is the image of my son when he is saved and off drugs.
This is what God gave to me one bad day when I needed some sort of lifeline to hold onto.
So go ahead and ask your father for your own lifeline.
Finally we come to the last lesson and maybe the hardest.
Lesson 5- Remove your hedge of protection and let god in.
When we pray a wall of protection around our prodigal,
we can inadvertently keep god from working in his or her life.
In short we cover them so fully with our prayers that we stop God from having his way in their lives.
When I realised I was doing this I had to start to pray the hard prayers.
“Lord, do what you have to do to bring my child to you”
This is a hard prayer for a mother to say.
It could mean just about anything.
But once again it comes back to trusting god to know what is best and to work all things for good for you and yours.
I am still on the long road of the prodigal and have many more lessons to learn.
One thing I can be certain of is this “God loves me and my prodigal”
“Suppose a man has a hundred sheep.
If one of them strays does he not leave the other 99 on the hillside and go in search of the one that strayed?
And if he should find it, I tell you this: he is more delighted over that one sheep than over the 99 that never strayed.
In the same way it is not your heavenly father’s will that one of these little ones should be lost.”