A subject near and dear to my heart is the prodigal child. When a child wanders from or outright denies their faith. When a child makes choices that are contrary to the way he was raised. When a child breaks a parent’s heart. When a child chooses the wrong path in life. These are issues I haven’t seen addressed nearly enough in the church at large. And any books written on this subject you’ll never find on the Best Seller list.
In fact, I would go out on a limb as to say that it’s a bigger problem than many Christian parents care to admit. How many prodigals are out there we know nothing about? How many untold stories are kept protectively inside the walls of our homes? How many people would dare to raise their hand and admit that yes, my child, has left their first love? Or perhaps never really loved Jesus in the first place?
These are tough issues faced by believing parents. But they are REAL issues that happen to REAL Christian families.
Not that long ago, someone posted something on Facebook that grabbed my heart and wouldn’t let go. It was an observation made by James K. A. Smith, a philosopher, who said: “[Your children are] going to break your heart. Somehow. Somewhere. Maybe more than once. To become a parent is to promise you’ll love prodigals.”
I’ve been in a fairly long broken heart season with one child in particular. There are glimmers of hope but we’re still a long way from victory. All three of my children—at one time or another to one degree or another—has broken my heart. Did I know that in signing up to be a mom, I was promising to love a prodigal? No way. But love has been the conduit to showing grace…to getting through those sleepless nights…to accepting less-than-ideal circumstances…to not giving up hope.
Starting Monday, November 14th, I will be writing a series on parenting prodigal children. If you know someone struggling with a child, please share. But really, any parent could benefit from this series because we never know what the future will bring. My hope is that it will provide insight and instill courage to those dealing with a prodigal.
I don’t claim to have all the answers—especially since I’m still dealing with these issues. However, I’ve gone through enough “stuff” to have learned some important lessons. I’m still learning. But when we face these battles together, when we hold each other’s arms up, the journey becomes a little less treacherous. At the very least, we don’t feel so alone.
You, my friend, are not alone. There are more prodigals out there than you think….