Thursday, December 30, 2010

Enough of the goodbyes already!

As I stood at the airport security line last Sunday and watched my daughter, son-in-law, and new grandbaby pass through the screening process, my heart shattered into a million pieces. Saying Goodbye after a wonderfully long Christmas weekend together was harder than I had imagined. Oh--I understood logically--I would be seeing them again very soon, but in that moment, no amount of cognitive reasoning seemed to penetrate the pain I was feeling. Goodbyes are hard. If goodbyes are difficult when you have a healthy relationship, how much more difficult are goodbyes when you love a prodigal. The 'goodbyes' we experience when we love a prodigal cannot be so planned as a trip to the airport. They occur without notice or warning and the daily losses of hopes and dreams for them soon, far surpass the hope that your prodigal will, one day, be whole.

Saying goodbye to reasonable expectations.

Saying goodbye to hoped for outcomes.

Saying goodbye to the person your prodigal used to be. Should that "old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind?

At the end of yet another year, I think of goodbyes. Some are ready to move on from 2010...perhaps it's been a very difficult year. Goodbye and good riddance! Others can't wait to see what 2011 holds for 2010 was a very good year! Let 'er roll! But for parents who love a prodigal, the goodbye of another year of unanswered prayers leaves us battle weary and hopeless for the future. Will we ever "take a cup of kindness yet...for auld lang syne?"

As we take those first tenuous steps into a New Year, if you listen carefully, you may begin to hear the dim melody of "Auld Lang Syne."

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne ?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we'll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

And surely you’ll buy your pint cup !
and surely I’ll buy mine !
And we'll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.


We two have run about the slopes,
and picked the daisies fine;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since auld lang syne.


We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared
since auld lang syne.


And there’s a hand my trusty friend !
And give us a hand o’ thine !
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.

Do you hear the HOPE in the lyrics of this New Year's Eve Song? Now let me ask the real question: Do you feel the pain in Burns' rhetorical question? If you do, you probably love a prodigal.

It's always amazing to me that we can feel both the sting of great loss and the comfort of hope in the same instant. Yes, there is hope found in the words penned by Burns in 1788, but not the hope we will need to remain strong as we stand in the gap on behalf of our prodigals (Ez. 22:30).

Where does THAT kind of hope come from? The hope that overshadows the pain of our losses? The hope that sustains us during the much too long wait? The hope that soothes our aching hearts with each new goodbye?

Listen to Psalm 121 as sung by Paul Wilbur; let this become your theme song for the New Year. Let's choose to say goodbye to hopelessness, despair, and! the! shame! It is my prayer that you will be strengthened as you listen...grab your Bibles, turn to Psalm 121 and get ready to be empowered!

As you listen, think of those losses that leave you hopeless...grab a notebook...write them down. Write this verse directly underneath your list:

"Sustain me, my God, according to your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed." ~Psalm 119: 116

Dare, just for a moment, to think of your future; what have you been putting off as you've been commiserating with your goodbyes? What dreams would you like to reignite in 2011? You guessed it....write them down. Write this supporting promise directly below your dream list:

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

What about my prodigal, you ask? Turn the page and entitle this page: My Watchtower Promise:

"So there is hope for your descendants,” declares the LORD. “Your children will return to their own land." Jeremiah 31:17

Add to this page in RED letters Luke 15: 11-31

Stay on your Watchtower and stand firmly in the gap on behalf of your prodigal. Stop chasing after your prodigal. Surrender him/her to God; be like the Father in this parable--stay put! Anticipate your prodigals return and stay in God's purpose for your life. Stay in His bountiful blessings so you can throw that banquet!

Turn the page just one more time; here's our first To-Do list of 2011!

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." ~Romans 12: 12

Can you feel the difference THAT kind of hope makes?

Are you ready? Let's lift up our eyes from the goodbyes of this year and look to the hills~from where our help comes from!


debjdarby said...

Thank you for putting my feelings into words. I've been praying for our prodigal for 6 years now. The Lord has answered many of them with "YES"! There is still one huge battle to be won. I'm never giving up. I prayed for my step-son who wasn't raised to know the Lord, for 21 years. He is now a fine, Christian family man. His children are approaching teenage. Dear, Mighty God, PLEASE deliver them and all of our prodigals from the evil one in the name of Jesus. AMEN!

Dawn said...

Beautiful, my friend! Beautiful.

Warren Baldwin said...

I love Psalm 121. Great song.