The story of the prodigal son is simply a story until it becomes your child. As parents, we want nothing more than to see our babies grow into adult children who chase the Father’s heart. Although we have the grace of God to lean and depend on, it still becomes a painful circumstance when your child chooses to run the other way. If you are a parent who has (or are currently) experienced having a wayward child, then be comforted by the following words.
4 Things I Wish My Prodigal Knew
Although it was hard, I had to release you.
One of the hardest things to do is actually release your son or daughter to live the life they desire. Especially when it is apart from how they were raised. Something we can learn from the parable of the prodigal son is the father lets his son go. We must allow our children to step out on their own journey and allow them to make their own choices. In most cases, it is through hardship that some of the best lessons are learned.
I never stopped praying for you.
If there’s one thing the parents of prodigals are doing, it’s praying. Sometimes, it seems to be the only way to make it through a day without an overwhelming feeling of emotions. From having a safe return to finding a better place in life, the prayers for prodigals are ongoing.
I would/will receive you back with open arms.
The father of the prodigal son showed us an incredible act in grace, love, and mercy by receiving his son’s return the way he did. It may not always seem like the right thing to do, but extending those characteristics can have an impact more than we think or know. Showing the love of God shows prodigal children that it is okay to mess up in life. As adults, we do not have it all figured out and still mess up as well. Even though the situations and circumstances may be different, we would still expect God (and others) to receive us as well, right?
I want to point you to Jesus Christ.
Raising children in a Christian home always comes with a bit of resistance from the outside world. However, this doesn’t mean that there is one set right way to raise children who will not veer off from the faith. The best we can do is always seek to point our children to Heavenly Father and build them on a sturdy foundation of truth. This is also where properly showing God’s love and grace is important. And the best way to do that is through your own life.
How to Stay Strong in the Midst of Parenting a Prodigal
The things above are what we’d like our prodigals to know, but if you’re actively walking this road, allow me to offer some closing thoughts of encouragement.
God will take care of your children.
Even though we feel like there’s always more that we can do, we have to ultimately have trust and faith that God will care for our children more than we ever could. Whether it’s your eldest son or (once) little girl who has decided to live a life contrary to how they were raised, trust God. We can see in the famous parable that although the son went a little wild, he still had the protection of one greater than his earthly father. If that were not the case, we would be reading about a very different ending.
Rely on the Holy Spirit.
The living Spirit of God is alive and well and able to the heart of your prodigal child. He is very capable of recalling to your child’s remembrance the words and ways of Christ. Continue earnestly in prayer and rely on the Spirit to do His part in your child’s life.
There is an end to the tough times.
Although the prodigal son most likely returned home when he did because he ran out of money and food, it was still an opportunity for him to return to his roots. Look forward with the expectation that your child will return to you and the godly ways instilled within them. Also know that there are other parents in similar situations. Reach out to them (or a support group) for strength and accountability.
Final Thoughts On Things I Wish My Prodigal Knew
Sometimes the best thing you can do is let your prodigal child live the life they think they want. Continue to be there for them and make sure other family members are supportive as well (this can be difficult at times). While this can be a hard time for you, remember that it can also be just as hard (if not harder) for your child. Lean on the prodigal son story for encouragement and faith that things will turn out according to God’s plan.