The Prodigal Child: A love letter to Mothers of Straying Children

Of all the endeavors ever to be undertaken, parenting may be the hardest of all. It stretches us. Uncovers our own vulnerabilities. We don’t even realize how our fences come down, and we wear our hearts on the outside, tied to these little people who are part of ourselves.

We gain pounds and lose sleep. We take our focus off of our dreams and dream for them. We teach them what we know, live life on purpose with them, repent to them when necessary, and wear out the prayer rug or rocking chair or wherever it is that we sit with the Lord. Lord, make up for my insufficiency.

Twenty years of camp ministry under my belt, and my own brood of 9 children have been growing up in front of everyone who comes to retreats. I’ve seen you mothers who have children astray. There is hurt and there is helplessness. There are so many questions about how? And why?

I’ve prayed with my own aunt for several years. She taught her children so carefully. They have known the Lord, and walked away. One has come home. Two still have a life line. And that’s the love I have to send to you, mothers.

Proverbs 22:6 tells us,

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. ESV

Sometimes we read this, and we think, “How can this be?” If the Word says it, then it has to be so. But what of the child who has been given the truth and he strays? Did I not speak the truth often enough? Did I not say it well enough? What did I miss? How could I have done it better?

And I just want to encourage you that if you have trained your child in the way that he or she should go, if you have taught them how to understand that Jesus died for their sin and wants to forgive them, then they have the gospel of salvation in their hands. They may choose not to use it, or they may be saved but not currently walking with God, but they cannot depart from it. It will not leave them. They have this life line. They will always know how to come home.

I see you. I am with you and I am for you. And I’m not the only one. We’re going to take a stand, right here today, and pray for you and your children. You are so precious to the Lord.

Father, thank you for every precious mother out there reading today. Thank you for their sacrifice in loving their children and giving the best of themselves in order to begin this journey to the cross with their children. Thank you for our children who are safely in your hands, and thank you for those who are afar. Thank you that your Word never returns void, and that every child of every age who has understood their need to be rescued from the consequences of their sin, and know how to come to you through Jesus, has a life line that will never leave them (Isaiah 55:10,11). Please give these mothers renewal. Strengthen their hearts and fortify their hands. Begin to give them unspeakable joy in their salvation (1 Peter 1:8). Let that joy radiate for others to see your goodness and your grace. Give them peace that passes understanding, that they will remember that You, who are their compassion, are always present in the quiet recesses of their hearts. You bring them rest and you hold them in your hands. You bottle their tears (Psalm 56:8), and you have written them on the palm of your hand (Isaiah 49:15-16). Your loving thoughts toward them are more than all the sands of the shores… they are more than we can count (Psalm 139:17-18).

Lord, remind the children of your truth. If they are standing in the crossroads, apply whatever pressure is needed to nudge them to safety. If they have wandered from the fold, tuck them back in safely so that they will be preserved (John 10). Invite them all to move closer to you (Revelation 3:20). Give them signs and wonders to increase their faith. Let them understand the bubble of grace that you are providing for them to move through life within. Continue to send your word for them to hear so they can believe. Continue to confirm your word so that all may understand your justice, but see you for the loving and merciful Father you are. Send your angels to surround them and provide them with safety. Restrain the enemy, and drown out his lies. Give all of us perseverance, and lead us out of temptation. For yours is the kingdom and the glory and the honor for all eternity. In Jesus name, Amen

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