Loving My Prodigals
Since first learning about it as a youth, the story of the prodigal son has been my favorite parable. Never could I have ever dreamed that I come to live it.
My three children are prodigals. Why? Only they know the answer to that question. For whatever reason, they have chosen to not tell me. The only answer I am able to come up with is sin; plain, old fashioned sin. For whatever reason, they chose to abandon the path of blessing that The Father had put them on when he gave us to each other when he created our family before he laid the foundations of the world.
Surely when they were faced with the truth they would return to their mother. Surely when the facts were plainly laid out for them in a way that was clearly non-refutable they would realize the error of their ways. Surely once they saw that the false charges were done away with they would come home to their mother. Surely when the lies were exposed for what they were, they would return to the home they had been given as an answer to the prayers they prayed when they were in foster care.
No. They chose a life with no parental love, a life with no parental guidelines, a life modeled after the life of the prodigal son.
How did the prodigal’s father go on? How did he get up every morning? How did he go about his everyday life? How did he handle all those special days – birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, holidays, family events?
I cannot begin to count the number of times I cried, the number of times I begged God to bring home my prodigals. At times He did allow me to find where they were living so as to send a card. He allowed me to learn of the birth of my younger daughter’s two children, with her son born on my 30th wedding anniversary. He gave me the gift of seeing my son in his high school graduation cap and gown before I was “thrown out” of the venue. He surprised me with allowing me to whisper “I love you. I forgive you.” in the ear of my oldest daughter as we walked past each other in our local grocery store.
These, as well as a few other gifts, were given me by my Heavenly Father so as to sustain me as I was forced to move out of our family home, as my MS deteriorated, as my life became increasingly more difficult. More than these, He gave me the gift of His Word, His promises, His peace. “For He who began a good work in you, will complete it.” “He will restore the years the locusts have eaten.” “Fear not, for I am with you.” “All things work together for good to those who are called according to His purpose.” “He has a plan for me, one with a hope and a future.” …plus many, many more promises were breathed into me as I cried out to The Father.
We do not know how long the prodigal’s father watched for his son. What we do know is that when the prodigal “came to his senses” and went home to be what he thought would be his father’s servant, from a long way off his father saw him – and ran to him. This was unheard of in those days. Not only did the father run to him, as far as the father was concerned his son was home. His son was home.
I am not able to run, in fact I am barely able to walk, but I am watching. Oh yes, I have continued to do what I was called to do (math professor). I have continued to serve God in the places where He has called me to serve. But more importantly, I am being the mother to my prodigals in the ways I can be until they “come to their senses.”
How can I be a mother to my prodigal children? Prayer, loving them, leaving them to God in order to allow him to work in their lives, never giving up on them, loving them, seeking after them when possible (e.g. parable of the lost sheep), knowing that God will bring them home at the perfect time, loving them. I may not have a gold ring for their finger or a fattened calf for a banquet, but what I do have some things with which to welcome them. Since the day they ran away I have bought Christmas gifts and graduation gifts. I have taken care of the things they left behind when they ran away. I even wrote a book telling our family’s story, the story of my love for them. This is the way given me to tell them the truth when they are ready for it, a way to help others, the way The Father was using my nightmare for our good and His glory.