Tuesday, September 29, 2009

When You Love a Prodigal

I have a confession to make: I now Twitter! (@ProdigalHope)

And while I did not say, "I'm all a-twitter;" it certainly could be said! An amazing thing happened in the Twitterverse just a few weeks ago.

Without explaining the ins and outs of navigating Twitterville (in 140 characters or less!), I will simply say that God Twitters too!

I discovered a Tweep named @mcProdigal. His name caught my attention and I contacted him directly. In exactly 140 character I introduced myself as a mother of a prodigal and your Partner in Prayer for Our Prodigals.

I cannot tell you the joy I felt as I learned that his ministry--his calling--is sharing his prodigal experience with the world! Don't you just love when God works! @mcProdigal is a former prodigal. He writes beautifully of his prodigal experience--giving God his pain to use for HIS glory!

That glory, includes today, a letter of love Richard has posted on his blog, Prodigal Returns.
I chose my words carefully, dear partners in prayer, for as I read Richard's post, my heart was renewed with hope and healing for my prodigal and yours! I hope, that as you read his post below, you will feel the love of our God who is so faithful and good--God always wins!

"When You Love A Prodigal"

There’s a long list of things that children do that break the hearts of their parents. The way to shred the heart of a Jesus-loving parent is not, as you might imagine, to reject Jesus, at least not that alone.

I first accepted Jesus’ sacrifice for me when I was 12 in the Southern Baptist church my family attended. I held the new Bible they gave me with my name etched into it. I felt cleansed when I was pulled forth from the water of my baptism. For the next 15 years, God guided me from one mentor to another as I grew in love for Him. I eventually realized in college that my new friends were all Christian through no design of my own. Basketball appeared as the tie that bound us, but God was continuing to walk right alongside me in my journey. I discovered that there was a deeper walk through this group, a walk where spirituality mattered in every moment and every circumstance.

God called me into ministry; I would discover many years later that all of these college friends but one went into ministry as I did. I graduated college and immediately moved onto seminary. I departed for Dallas to attend Dallas Theological Seminary because it was the best seminary in all the land, the home of spiritual giants like Howard Hendricks, Charles Ryrie and Norman Geisler. I moved with no job, no money and no acceptance by the school. I hadn’t even applied yet to a school that must turn away most. God miraculously provided all I needed and my seminary career began.

I was exposed to minds, spirits and journeys that stretched me into understanding I had not known. I dreamed bigger than I ever dreamed. I pulled an index card off the school bulletin board that led me into a youth ministry position at a church plant. The parents loved me as the children embraced my unconventional approaches to …

And then there was none, the lights went dark, and the journey went tragically wrong. The way to shred the heart of a Jesus-loving parent is not to reject Jesus alone, it’s to be the guy described here as suddenly interrupted as the last paragraph. There is life, there is love for God, there is service to God’s people and then there isn’t.

A parent who loves a prodigal child doesn’t just have their God and faith rejected, they have their God and their faith crippled from the inside. They don’t have the luxury of wondering only why their child has chosen a different path, an opposing path, they must also embrace that their child was believing, doing, even leading the spiritual charge and then he wasn’t. A prodigal run hurts much more than the prodigal himself, it sucks the life out of his supporting cast in exact proportion to how much the cast members loves and believes in the prodigal. Who loves and believes more than a mom or a dad?

There are three very important things I want these long suffering moms and dads to know:

1. God pieced together all of my bad choices over 27 years into an array of help I can offer others as a prodigal returned. I have instant credibility with others who are hurting or making bad choices and hurting others or themselves. I don’t just have a ministry, I have real power in Christ to change lives as the Spirit leads me in a walk alongside prodigals on their journey back into the fold. God regularly delivers broken souls to me for this purpose; in every case so far, the person is struggling with something that I myself had to walk past to see God clearly again.

2. My mom and I are much closer than we have ever been. The last time I saw her we shared and “went Berean” for twelve consecutive hours as we searched for God’s will! This is a mom’s hope, isn’t it, that their relationship to their prodigal child would not just be restored but would be even better (by leaps and bounds).

3. In my absence and partly due to my prodigal run, God developed my mom into a spiritual giant! Moms and dads, do you long for your prodigal to view you this way? I love my mom with no bounds, a love that was perfectly marinated by a wonderfully loving God in 27 years of raging against Him, a love made now perfectly tender and intended to be shared only as exquisitely broken by the hand of a Master.

If you love a prodigal, I advise you to wait and to pray as God leads … but no one said when you see your prodigal in the distance that you can’t sprint faster than you’ve ever run. Your prodigal may return, admire you and be empowered to change lives.

God wins!!!!

Please plan to visit Richard's blog--leave him a comment to let him know that you are a parent of a prodigal. Let's lavish a banquet of thankfulness on this returned prodigal...and pray for him as he continues to walk in God's purpose for his life! Let's celebrate this prodigals return!!!

Oh what a day it will be when we celebrate the return of our own prodigals!


Linda said...

Prodigals keep us on our knees. We need to pray for one another's prodigals.

Dawn said...

I found him recently - amazing writer with an amazing story. How's your prodigal doing? I can't wait to talk to mine tonight.

Anonymous said...

I am praying for my prodigal, you provide hope to the weary mother. Charlotte

threadbee said...

Such a hopeful and inspiring story. God bless you, and all our dear prodigals.

Tammy said...

This brings me hope. Thank you for sharing.

Allison Bottke said...

I spoke with my son today. He calls regularly from prison. He shared how much he is praying for everyone around the USA who is a member of our SANITY Support Group Network. Imagine that, my son praying for people. God is so awesome. When these prodigal kids turn around, God can use them in some mighty powerful ways!

Partners In Prayer for Our Prodigals said...

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us"

Ephesians 3:20 in action!!!!

God is SO Good!

Karen said...

This was so very encouraging...thank you for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Heartwarming. Thanks for posting!

Robin in New Jersey said...

Wow! And it is true, wether it's a prodigal or those of us who are hurting or struggling. God allows us to go through the fire to make our experience credible in order to minister to others in need. (I hope that makes sense!)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing. I needed to hear that ... to hear the reconciliation to God ... and my hope for my sons.