I met so many lovely women last week at Allume... but more than a few were weary and worn out. Torn and tried over the struggles of late night feedings, bedtime struggles, balancing meals and laundry, figuring how to keep their marriage afloat and yes... those mothering a prodigal.
I've worn all those shoes before... the babies eventually use a cup, the toddlers go to their own bed, laundry will still find itself piled in the corners of my room and a marriage is always worth fighting (and sacrificing) for. And when it comes to parenting a prodigal... well... I've worn that pair too.
I know how hard it is, to be at a time that we have anticipated celebrating the flight of the adult child only to see them floundering. Not just struggling with their college grades, or who they are dating - though both can be a strong indication of a problem - but in personal decisions that way heavier on the scales... to watch them take steps outside walking in the faith we planted, and seeing them choose habits and behaviors that make us wonder where WE went wrong... what could we have done differently... where did WE fail them.
Hold on dear momma. Take a seat right here next to me.
I remember days of KNOWING my child is lying to me, and there is nothing I can do about it. I knew that he was choosing to not walk in faith, that he was making decisions that would affect the rest of his life, not just the rest of the semester. I saw him set God's will aside over and over (or choose to not even consider asking God to show him which way to go, what to do), to fulfill his own will, do what felt right or good to him and consider what his peers would tell him was acceptable for his life.
Peers who are not even in his life today... 5 years or so later...
Peers who would not have encouraged him to walk closer to God, because his sin justified their sin...
Peers who would not have prayed for him if it was his last breath... when I would lay down my life daily for any of my kids, any day of the year. I bled for them when they were born, and I'd do it again every day - if it made a difference.
But - and this is the really hard part - it won't make a difference. It wouldn't then, and it can't now.
And I want to tell you that although my son's circumstances changed, it wasn't anything besides prayers and God's grace that made a difference. No amount of MY bleeding would have changed it, or made it any easier.
Lots of tough love happened, through the pain I felt letting my son tear away from all I valued. All the blood in my body would not have been enough to change him; only the blood of Jesus could.
What secret formula did I pray to make it better, make him change?
Many days I took my tear stained face to walk around our neighborhood, and all I could do is whisper the name of Jesus, over and over, speaking it into my son's life. Over my son's defiant body as he lived, and slept, and everything else 400 miles away.
But the prayer, the one that really worked - it went something like this:
Lord, do anything you need to do to bring him back to You. He's yours. Take him and make him yours. And Lord, change him, change the circumstances, or change me.
And He changed me.
So the season of rebellion, defiance, sin. The horrid season of no sleep. Too much sleep. Too much hurt. It turned into a season of growth in my own life. My son's redemption spilled into my heart and caused revival.
It was the best change ever. For both of us.
(I'll write more about that next season of his life another time...)
Father... You made our children, and You know right where they are right now. I pray Father that You will make dreams and visions occur to draw them back to You. Lord, we give up our right to parent - do whatever YOU need to do, to draw them back to YOU - even if it means that we don't get to have a relationship with them - which would break our hearts - it's MORE IMPORTANT that they have a relationship with YOU.
Help me Lord! Make us to grow in You in new ways. Turn our hearts back to our first love - You. We are sorry if we have placed our children before our relationship with You. Draw our hearts back into a deeper love for You, to fall in love with You all over again.
God, as Creator, we know that each of our children were Yours long before You placed them in our homes. Call them to You. Don't let us interfere or interrupt the work that You are doing in their lives. Use us as a blessing to them, but not as a hindrance to their walk with You.
Change them Lord. Change the circumstances. Change us.