Prodigal, you ask?
I have been asked a very interesting and important question, "What do you mean by Prodigal?" Great question! Important question! So important that I would like to post my reply here, in addition to my previous reply in the comment section.
One cannot define prodigal without referring to Luke 15: 11-32; the parable of the lost son. I did find, however, that prodigal is defined as "rashly or wastefully" in the dictionary. I appreciate the deeper spiritual lessons and blessing I find in Luke, consequently, I have used the parable of the lost son as the basis for the foundation of my blog.
H. Norman Wright, a psychologist and prolific Christian author has defined prodigal in the following manner:
"The word is used to describe someone who is extremely wasteful. In the biblical story of the prodigal son, the son wastes his inheritance and so much more. Prodigal children waste the values their parents have worked to instill in them. They waste their potential, their abilities, their health, their future. In some cases, they waste their lives. For the sake of our discussion, I consider a child who has rejected the value of his family to be a prodigal, even if that chld still lives at home, even if that child is 12 years old."
I am the Director of Care Ministries at my Church. Some time ago, I received a frantic phone call from a mother whose son had been incarcerated for beating up a prostitute. Her son had struggled with a drug addiction for years and was currently in jail for one crime while waiting to be charged with illegally selling drugs. She asked if I knew of any support groups for mom's whose children were wayward. Did I know of any other mothers? Surprise! She was speaking to another mother, whose son, while not in prison yet--was on a similar road to disaster.
We decided to meet on Friday mornings at 9:00 a.m., just the two of us, to support, encourage, and pray! I phone a few other women who had shared with me that their children were involved with drinking, drugs, and minor criminal offenses. They soon joined our Friday morning support group. Within a few weeks, it became apparent to me that we needed an agenda. This is where my research began.
Each week we would cover a topic that, while our children struggled with different issues in their "pig pens" (vv. 15, 16), were shared topics that we each needed help with. Issues such as "letting go," surrendering, tough love, isolation, fear, and guilt. When you have a prodigal, so much of your energy is spent on him or her; worrying, seeking answers, understanding, worrying, anxiety, sleepless nights, interupted nights, crisis after crisis--you dedicate all of your time trying to hold the prodigal's life together. Soon, each of these mother's realized--somehow, WE needed help holding ourselves together.
This was the beginning of Partners in Prayer for our Prodigals.
As with every support group, confidentiality is key to allow real, authentic sharing and concerns. I bring this same principle to my blog. This is why I will not, intentionally, give the details of my son's journey--ever. I am commited to share my perspective freely, but I feel that the details of my son's journey belong to him. It would be wrong for me to share the details--no matter how important to the message; it is his journey in and his journey out! I hope you understand why I can't be more specific; as I reviewed my blog archives, I found that I may infer from time to time--but I am careful to never give the specifics of what I call his "growing pains."
Pain is pain. Many years ago a therapist stated these few words to a group that I was participating in: Survivors of Sexual Assault. Some had been abused by their fathers, some a neighbor. Some had been molested--others brutally raped. All had emotional scarring, some had the physical scars to remind them. His first words to this group of survivors--was "Pain is Pain." He said this to assure us that although some of the women had endured different abuse than others, we all had experienced pain.
This is the same philosophy I incorporate while defining a prodigal. For some parents it is drug abuse, for others it is criminal offense. Many struggle with alcoholism and pre-marital, unprotected sex leading to sexually transmitted diseases or an unwanted pregnancy. Many receive middle of the night phone calls announcing their son or daughter is in jail. While each prodigal's journey is different: Pain is pain!
I was thrilled to be part of that eight women support group for more than a year. This February, with some prompting from my dear blogging friends Cindy and Lisa, I began part two of Partners in Prayer for Our Prodigals: my blog. As many of you do, right after I pray for my son's swift return home to the Father; I pray that our prodigal journey will bless, encourage, support, and enhance: that God will use it for His glory.
My son has been on this journey for nearly ten years. It is only God's timing that his return home began soon after I started this blog. While we were seeing baby-steps of growth and maturity, never in a million years did I expect such an immediate and rapid change in my son. Call me weak of faith--but seriously, I had become used to the abnormal ways of my son's life. As is the case with any dysfunction--abnormal....becomes our normal. Yet, with God--the ordinary becomes extraordinary! And He is bringing my son home.
So, thank you for asking the question. I love a good diaglogue. I love sharing how God works in a life; in the life of a mid-life, midwestern, menopausal mom who is simply trying to work things out. Prodigal, you ask? I may have a definition for you, but what I do not have--are the answers. I defer to to God on that. I promise to share with you from our prodigal experience, but I cannot promise to know more than that. What I do know is this, God is faithful and has never failed me yet! Even in the midst of painful experiences, He has brought glory out of the ashes; I am no longer a victim, I am victorious! This is why I stand firmly in the gap for my son--reminding God daily of His promises and His character! After all, in the parable of the lost son, guess who the Father represents?!?!? God runs to meet each and every prodigal--He longs for and has provided the way home for each of us! Define that? That's GRACE! That's MERCY! That's AMAZING LOVE!