Each year on the second Sunday of May, we celebrate Motherhood in the United States. Countless families join together and honor Mothers on this special day. And yet, for many Mothers, this day is just one more day of heartache and silent pain for the children they have birthed and sacrificially loved are far-far-far away from home. Perhaps it’s rebellion, addiction, mental health issues or distorted entitlement beliefs; no matter the extravagant and reckless living—their children have walked away from their family’s values, their potential, their abilities and the future their parents relentlessly prayed for. The joy and pride of parenting have been replaced with fear and shame and the heart of the family is shattered as the isolation crushes all hope.
Often (who am I kidding—always), when we love a child who is a prodigal, it feels like there is simply nothing we can do. I don't know about you, but as a mother, it is nearly impossible to do nothing. It was hard for me to learn that although I was able to help my son as a little boy when he scuffed his knees, tumbled off his skateboard, or lost his favorite toy; as an adult child, I am no longer able to kiss him and make it all better. Hard? This is devastating. A mother’s heart beats to help her children:
It is the hardest thing I have ever had to do: surrender my desire for my son's well-being and future. That is, until I remembered Who I was surrendering him to.
When a mother prays for her wayward son,
No words can make clear the vivid reality of her supplications…
She does not really think that she is persuading God to be good to her son,
For the courage of her prayer is due to her certain faith
That God also must wish that boy to be recovered from his sin.
She rather is taking on her heart the same burden that God has on his;
Is joining her demand with the divine desire.
In this system of personal life which makes up the moral universe,
She is taking her place alongside God
In an urgent, creative outpouring of sacrificial love.
Her intercession is the utterance of her life
It is love on its knees.
~Harry Emerson Fosdick
When a child is a prodigal--we don't have to stop loving them; we simply must love them differently. It is a higher calling. To withhold what comes naturally, to surrender our child's future to their Creator, to let go of our maternal instincts and have faith in our God who shares in our love for our children is sacrificial love. I sacrifice my human nature—that I have the answers, that I have control over my child's decisions—that I must intervene. Conversely, it is when I intercede for my son that I practice real love—love on its knees.
On this Mothers Day, 2011, will you join me as we get busy and do nothing? This do-ing nothing takes courage! It requires great love but more importantly it simply requires what you already have: faith. Faith in our loving Heavenly Father....the One who understands our pain; after all, He understands prodigals--He's got a whole world of prodigals! Stand boldly with Him...in His desire for every prodigal. Give your child to Him--once again, over again, yet again, forever again. It is only when we stop chasing our prodigals that we find respite and our mother’s heart begins to heal.
•Resolve to stop chasing your prodigal
•Engage healthy, biblical principles as you await your prodigal’s return
•Surrender your prodigal’s journey to God
•Pray: Stand in the gap on behalf of your prodigal (Ezekiel 22: 30)
•Invite others on your journey—do not isolate—gather and offer support
•Trust God’s promise and power
•Equip yourself, emotionally, spiritually, physically and mentally—for you have a banquet to prepare—what a banquet it will be! (Luke 15: 11-32)