The Thanksgiving season didn’t go quite how I planned after sending my son a text…”love to have you over,” and received no response. How quickly a hurt momma wants to just cancel the day and crawl into bed until the next day. Does this sound familiar? If so, I’m sorry. I would like to tell you that it gets better soon. That your prodigal child will finally hit rock bottom and realize that they need you in their life. They have to go through their own process, mistakes and life experiences….and we have to let them.
This Christmas season, I want to remind you that while you are praying and waiting, life doesn’t stop. Life keeps going, and you have to still walk out your purpose in God. My son is doing his own thing, and though I feel the effects of a sense of loss, I still have many reasons to be thankful, especially for the hope I have through Jesus.
While you wait and pray
Just like the father in the parable (Luke 15:11-32) we wait for our prodigal child to come to themselves. While we wait, we learn in the process. You learn:
- You are going to need God to give you wisdom and strength to get through this. The Word of God will give you peace about the situation. The verses that have given me the most comfort is “all things work together for the good of them that love God and are the called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).” This promise of God comforts me in knowing that it will all work out for the good. The Scripture says, to train up a child in the way that they should go (Proverbs 22:6). If you put the Word in them, now believe God!!
“Do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known unto God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).” This promise of God’s peace guarding my heart helped me get through the hardest days and nights. Pray and mediate on the Word to receive peace only God can give.
- It may not be your fault they’re acting prodigal, but don’t push them further away. Trying to force the Bible or church down their throat will only repel them further away from not only you, but God also. We see with the parable of the prodigal son, the father extended grace and mercy. So, when they do return don’t throw their mistakes in their face or talk about the bad decisions, let God deal with that.
- Don’t expect everyone around you to understand what you are going through, if they’ve never been through it with their own child. Instead, give them specific things they can be praying for, such as your child’s salvation, or restoration of the relationship.
- Don’t be afraid to talk about it. When I finally got over my pride and embarrassment and shared my story with others, others began to reveal their own prodigal child stories. It didn’t make it hurt any less, but there is comfort in community.
- Use wisdom and discernment when it comes to giving advice. You will get a lot of well-intended advice but weigh it against the Word of God before acting on it.
- Choose your words wisely before calling your child or sending them a text. Your words have power, the power to build up or to tear down.
- Don’t allow envy or hurt make you jealous of other mother/child relationships. Be happy for another mom when she talks about how proud she is of her child, while trusting God to work in the life of yours.
- Restoring a strained or severed relationship takes time and will never be the same as it was before. Moments have been lost and life happened—for both sides. It will feel different than before, so don’t push for “the way things used to be.” Be open to a new normal.
During the wait for my son’s return, God kept taking me back to the parable of the prodigal son. The father never stopped waiting for his son’s return. Take note: He didn’t go after the prodigal son, he simply waited for his return.
So, he got up and started back to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity. He ran and threw his arms around him and kissed him warmly.” (Luke 15:20)
You may not be able to envision your story ending like this. You may be harboring a lot of hurt, resentment and maybe even some guilt. But extend forgiveness, even if you never get an apology. I’m thankful that my relationship with my son has been reconciled, but the healing progress has been a process.
I hope this helps someone.