By Stephanie R. Reck
This article is written primarily for prodigal parents who are on the journey of having a prodigal child. The definition of a journey is the act of traveling from one place to the next. Sometimes when you are traveling there are places that you have never been before, rough roads, and there are times your destination takes a little bit longer than you hoped.
As a prodigal parent, I would like to share with you some things that may bring you comfort. No one ever hopes their child will be rebellious and turn from the things of the Lord. Most Christian parents have this dream that their children will follow the Lord and serve Him. It is devastating and heart-wrenching to watch your child make poor choices that will hurt him or her.
Many prodigal parents feel all alone and ashamed of their child’s behavior. It is also common for prodigal parents to experience guilt, depression, sadness, and grief.
There are times that you may feel like you are on a roller coaster ride, as your child hurts or has another consequence come upon them for their behavior; you can feel the sadness of all this. There will be moments when you feel hopeless and full of despair.
Friends and family who have not gone through this journey may not always understand what you are going through. They mean well, but sometimes their comments can hurt you more.
It can be a very lonely journey. Most parents bask in their child’s achievements, but a prodigal parent oftentimes remains silent when other parents are glowing about their children.
Holidays, and particularly Mother’s Day and Father’s Day can be quite difficult. It can be a reminder as to what you are missing in your life and the rawness that you have in your heart. You do try and smile and pretend you are okay, hoping that no one can see through your pain. You wonder if anyone knows the suffering you feel.
Then there are those days where you are at peace with your prodigal. You feel strong and hopeful. However, without warning; you can be thrown right back into the despair.
You can feel like there may be something seriously wrong with you. How could anyone experience this range of emotions? You wonder some days, will this journey ever end? Will I ever see my son or daughter turn from their rebellious ways? Will I be able to push through another day again?
I believe we can talk to God like a friend, and that is just what I do. I tell Him exactly how I feel. I no longer shove my hurt and pain away, but I bring it to the One that can do something about it. After I talk with God as my friend, I pray to Him like my Father. Sometimes during this I cry, I weep, and sometimes I sit still before Him. It is okay to tell God how you feel.
Here is my poem expressing to God how I feel about my prodigal son:
Lord, you see my pain and my tears, You know my fears. I am tired and weak, But your face I will seek. Where else can I run but to you? This journey has been quite the ride, And I often feel afflicted on every side. My hope is in you! I feel angry and sad, and Sometimes I feel mad. Is it over yet, Lord? My heart is overwhelmed with grief, But I know you will bring me relief. My hope is in you!
Our hope is in Jesus Christ, not our child! Hold on tightly to Jesus, cling to Him. He has heard every prayer concerning your child. He has seen every tear you have cried. IF YOU NEED TO CRY, THEN CRY. IF YOU NEED TIME TO YOURSELF, THEN TAKE TIME TO GET REFRESHED. ENJOY YOUR LIFE AS YOU ARE ON THIS JOURNEY, AND LET GOD TAKE OVER WHERE YOU ARE NOT ABLE TO!
Share your story with me as a prodigal parent. I would love to hear from you and share support and prayers. Blessings to you as you go through this journey. You are not alone!