As parents of adult children, we often wonder: will my children make good choices when they are out on their own? How can I let them go when I’ve held them close for so long?
How do you trust God and not worry when you see your child making unwise decisions? How can you know when to say something and when to let your child work it out on their own? How can you trust that all things will work out for the good when it all looks so bad?
I know what it’s like to release a child into the world and still care deeply about everything they will face in life. With the staggering statics of young adults leaving the church, we have to engage in warfare like never before. Don’t give up hope for that prodigal son or daughter. We condemn ourselves and grieve over our children’s choices not understanding that they have to go through their own process just like we had to go through ours.
There is nothing more painful as a Christian parent when your child says with their words and behavior, “I reject you, your values and your God.” We desperately try to nudge our child back in the right direction, it can seem as if our world is coming to an end. Thus, we must come to grips that our prodigal child as gone astray.
What does prodigal mean? In Luke 15 The Parable of the Prodigal son, a wayward son who was selfish, and broke fellowship with his father to live an extravagant lifestyle. If you haven’t read the story of the Prodigal son, I highly encourage you to read it.
Here are some perspectives you should maintain as a parent:
Keep loving. No matter how rebellious your child may be, you will always be their mom—the only person in the world who will love them like no other person can and without strings attached. This is powerful, so it is important for your child to see the love of Christ through you because that is what will eventually draw them back.
Prayer. God is fully capable of getting your child’s attention. Remember, He loves them even more than you do. Stop trying to be God in their lives, and “let God be God in their lives.”
Connect. Your child may be refusing to even speak to you, and self-preservation kicks in. You are tired of reaching out and always getting shut down. You must continue to find ways to reach out even in the midst of angry words and negative behavior. You can speak kind words. You can build up and encourage.
Establish boundaries. Although you want restoration and reconciliation, if you have a disrespectful child living under your roof you must not tolerate such behavior. You have authority in you home. Any child living under your roof needs to have the rules clearly communicated to them and warned that consequences will result if the rules are violated.
Get help. Moms, this is so important. You shouldn’t be isolated with this situation and attempt to deal with your prodigal child alone. You need prayer, emotional support, spiritual wisdom and counsel of the leaders (pastors, elders, ministers) of your church. Don’t let shame or pride keep your from seeking wise counsel. Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety (Proverbs 11:14).
Although you are praying and waiting expectantly for a prodigal son or daughter to return, be prepared for it to not happen as quickly as you would like. The ultimate hope for any Christian parent should be that God reaches and touches our child. All our efforts to raise our children to follow Him are in His hands. We are stewards over our children for only a short period of time, as they become adults we must let go, but it doesn’t mean we stop praying….