Book Giveaway ~ Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children

It has been awhile, but I did a post that included an excerpt from  this book a couple of years ago… If you would like to read the post click  here…Peace That Passeth All Understanding.

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Here is an interview with Allison Bottke, author of Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children

I just happen to have an extra copy of this book that I would like to give away. So, if you would like to win it do this…

1. LIKE this post.

2. FOLLOW this blog.

3. Write a COMMENT.

Please do all three to enter. I will choose randomly a winner  on April 18th 2013.

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31 Days ~ Called Out of Darkness

Day 23 ~ Called Out of Darkness

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:” 1 Peter 2:9

Called out of darkness…how many of you were called out of darkness?

From the concordance darkness means: of night darkness; of darkened eyesight or blindness; of ignorance respecting divine things and human duties, and the accompanying ungodliness and immorality, together with their consequent misery in hell; persons in whom darkness becomes visible and holds sway.

I once was lost…and now I’m found…

I once was blind, but now I see…

He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.” Psalms 40:2

If I had Christian parents they would have been devastated, but they also would have rejoiced at what Jesus has done in my life. I don’t know that a single prayer was uttered for me during this time of darkness, but Jesus called me out of it.

Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the LORD Almighty.” Malachi 3:7

Father, you are very aware of what our prodigals are doing right now. For from the beginning of time men turn away from you and follow darkness. Father, right now, our children are living in darkness, making horrendously horrible choices that will effect their lives forever. We cry out to you, Father, for we of ourselves can do nothing. Please bring them out of the miry pit, the ungodliness, the immorality, this horrible wretched darkness that holds sway over them and causes such blindness. Father, we cry out to you today, please call them out of darkness into your marvelous light.

Quoting James Banks
“I ask for your light to fall on this path and lead him home.

Let him see your light from the distance and be drawn to you.

Even though now he sits in darkness, I ask that you will be his light.(Micah 7:8)

I praise you that there is no darkness so black that you can not show him the way out of it.

Bring him to the place where he can say, “You are my lamp, O Lord the LORD turns my darkness to light” (2 Samuel 22:29)” ~ James Banks

And Father…I pray for none of this middle of the road stuff. I pray when our prodigals come to their senses and see your Light…when they truly give their hearts and lives to Jesus, that there will be no turning back. That they will put the past behind them and walk forward…the past immorality, drugs, rock music…make it absolutely abhorrent to them.

Thank you, Jesus, for what you have done in my life, I know without a doubt that you can do it in any life. And I especially ask today, that you would visit the suffering parents. Please take them in your arms. Fill them with your peace, hold them tight so that they know you are with them in their grief. Give them a knowing that you are at work in the hearts of those they love and hold most dear, right now as we are praying.

Forgive us all, Father, for we are so prone to wander, so prone to be unbelieving and faithless.

We are called to show forth your praises, even the sacrifice of praise…

Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.” Hebrews 13:15

31 Days ~ Take Heart

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

I read these words several times this morning…Do we really believe this? These are words coming straight from our Savior’s mouth recorded by His beloved disciple John…

31 Days ~ Take Heart

These words are TRUTH. If He was to sit before you today and say to you…“In Me you shall have peace“. You might reply, but Lord, this is more pain than I can bear…

He would say, “Cast your burdens on Me, for I care for you. Be anxious for nothing.

In the world ye shall have tribulation“, Yes, Lord, this tribulation, this prodigal journey…it is so very painful…it is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with…

Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world“.

Be of good cheer…or as James says, “Count it all joy…” James 1:2

This just seems impossible…but Take Heart, Be of good cheer…”nothing is impossible with God” Luke 1:37

For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” 1 Timothy 4:7-8

OK, everyone, get ready for a spiritual boot camp!

I started afresh just the other day committing myself to physical exercise after healing from a broken toe. Walk/run 1 1/2 mile morning and evening and alternating cardio and core workouts everyday!

Guess what? Today I am sore…but it is the good sore and I do have more energy and I feel better mentally and physically…But what does the Bible say…physical exercise profits little. But that’s not the point Paul was making. Exercise is good for you , but spiritual exercise is FANTASTIC for you.

Could it be that we need to exercise our faith, that this suffering can be overcome, if we focus entirely on Jesus? Why would He say, “Be of good cheer“?, if it were not possible? Can we believe Him for this? Can we exercise our belief?

James says, “But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” James 1:4

I’m suggesting here that we need to take this walk…this spiritual exercise…seriously. We need to take Jesus at His word, for it is TRUTH. We need to exercise focusing on Him every hour, every minute…if need be…

I believe Him and I know when I surrender, and truly TRUST Him with my life that He gives me peace like a river. Like rivers of living water that heal, that nourish, that wash the cares away…

Praying for you today…for a time of refreshing, a time of healing…a new determination to focus on Jesus…to let Him take care of a seemingly impossible situation…to trust Him totally.

Could it be that not only is He dealing with our prodigals hearts in bringing them to salvation, but He is also dealing with our hearts to bring us into His Peace and Rest?
Photos by Clear Angle

31 Days ~ Prayer Makes a Difference

Day 8 ~ Prayer Makes a Difference

The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16It is because of what Christ has done in us that we can be called righteous. He is our righteousness. And because He is TRUTH and the Word is TRUTH, we can trust that what James says here is true.

And if that is the case we have a very powerful advantage in fervent prayer, because it avails much.

James Banks uses a different translation…”The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”He says, “Your word tells me that the prayers of a righteous man are powerful and effective – and this means that even my prayers are, because of what you have done for me. Jesus has become for me my “righteousness, holiness and redemption“. (1 Corinthians 1:30)”

 So,  let’s keep on praying and believing. We may not see with our physical eyes a difference, but I know that our prayers are effectual. Looking back on my situation…I didn’t see any hope. In fact the only hope that I had was that as believers we are to hope, and I felt that not to hope would be unbelieving. Yet, God was working it all out behind the scenes. When he opened the curtains to reveal His glory, I was astounded. It really was as if this nightmarish black curtain fell over us, and 6 years later the curtain lifted…the nightmare lifted and now it is a dreamy mist almost unreal…the secret place of the Most High. Yet, He is there all the time…

Remember…Prayer makes a difference!
Praying for you today…

A Way Toward Healing and Freedom

One of the most wonderful things about this little booklet When Disappointment Deceives is how it presents a simple answer. Often times we forget the simplicity of the gospel of Jesus Christ when we are entangled in webs of deception. As Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress remembered the Key of Promise, we also have a key to unlocking the dungeon of despair…

This is the fourth and last part of this series inspired by a booklet that has been a great blessing to me…If you would like to read the first post in the series, click here.

Quoting from the booklet, When Disappointment Deceives, “We’ve all been wounded deeply by the lies that come to us in our disappointment. Ultimate healing won’t occur until we get to heaven ~ Revelation 21:4. Then “there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain.” But for now, healing occurs when we realize how we’ve been deceived in our disappointment and allow God to show us what is true. Finding the truth heals by freeing us from the prison of deception and releasing us to be the people God intended us to be.

God wants us to heal and set us free from the power of the evil one’s lies, both past and present. He doesn’t save us from our sins, give us a new nature in Christ, and then just leave us at the mercy of Satan’s deception. The apostle John wrote, “ the reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” 1 John 3:8

Remember one of the devil’s primary works is to mislead us with deception. That is how he causes the greatest harm. The good news is that Jesus came to put a stop to it – in a deeply personal way. He wants to meet with us in our hurting and deceived hearts and speak truth that brings healing and freedom.

He says to all of us who have accepted Him as our Saviour, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock” Revelation 3:20. We first invited Him in when we trusted Him to save us from the penalty of our sins. Now the Lord wants further access into those places inside of us that are disappointed and misled. But He won’t come in unless we invite Him as we did the first time He met us in our hearts.”

I don’t know about you, but when I read these words they took hold of me… I have been a Christian for almost 35 years… I have been walking on this prodigal journey for 6 years now… I have run from my pain, I have run from my Savior… I cried out to God in my deep suffering a couple of years ago…my heart was so broken for my situation and others who were experiencing the same excruciating pain. I asked God to take his scalpel and do a surgery on my broken heart… and He gave me peace then, and He used my pain to comfort others, but there were still times when it would hurt again, when I would go through another disappointment or fear.

Not once did I simply think of asking Jesus to come in and heal my heart… to invite Him in to heal me. And when I read the words in this booklet it seemed so simple. Instead of running from my pain and my Savior, trying to comfort myself with my hobbies and other activities to get the thoughts out of my mind, I decided to turn to Jesus totally…to be still…to ask Him to heal me…to cry and give Him my pain.

“Inviting God into the disappointed and deceived regions of our hearts is a deeply personal and unique process. Sometimes it occurs alone in our private moments of prayer and reflection. At other times it happens in the presence of a caring friend or spiritual advisor. Some of us experience healing suddenly, while most of us come to know it gradually. God will ask many of us to revisit a wound more than once to bring a deeper sense of healing. “

So, there it is…so simple. Do not delay in your pain, do not run from your pain, but open the door of your heart and ask Jesus to heal the brokenness.

And remember it may not be instantaneous, but the healing will begin…

A brief summary of Jeff Olson’s steps that he shares in his booklet…

WAKE UP
“Recognize what is actually happening to us in our disappointment and admit that we’ve played a supporting role in making things worse (even though we do not fully understand it).“

SURRENDER
“Before we can give God greater access to our wounded hearts, we must surrender to Him by giving up our commitment to self-reliance and humbly present ourselves helpless and vulnerable to Him…

Surrender is putting to death our enemy within, the sinful flesh that wants to be in control. Sometimes life can hurt so much that we are willing to take over and do anything to end our pain. Surrender, however, is giving up the right to escape our pain through false comforters.”

RECOGNIZE OLD DISAPPOINTMENTS
“Once we surrender to God, the old disappointments that misled us will start to make their way to the surface.”

SPEND TIME IN DISAPPOINTED PLACES
“It isn’t easy for any of us to spend time in the places where disappointment has paid an unwelcome visit. We will be tempted to cover it over with anger and soothe it with a false comforter. Many of us would prefer to shove our disappointment back down and pretend that it no longer exists. But we can’t invite God into parts of our lives where we won’t stay ourselves. Healing can occur only if we remain in them.”

INVITE GOD INTO UNHEALED PLACES
“We also need to ask God to come into those unhealed places inside of us and surround us with His presence and truth. We need to ask Him to help us see more clearly the lies we are holding on to that we’ve learned in the midst of disappointment…and to speak to us in our place of need.”

LISTEN TO WHAT GOD IS SAYING
God can speak to us in many different ways. It may be a still small voice, it may be a sense of His presence, a peace that passes all understanding. “ But He can also speak to us through other people, music, books, movies, a card or letter from a friend, and many other sources.”

“We must evaluate any idea or impression that comes to us by comparing it with the truth of the Bible. And we need to reject anything that contradicts or draws us away from the wisdom of His written Word and the love of Christ…If what we hear leads us to feel discouraged or feeds a bitter attitude, it is not from God.”

I hope that this message will bring you to a place of healing from the pain you are suffering, as it did for me. I highly recommend getting this little booklet, or reading it online… discovery series booklets

How Do We Respond to Lies

After writing this third part in the series beginning with Disappointment and Deception, I felt uncomfortable posting it, until I realized that I have responded to my prodigal situation in almost every way this little booklet describes. So, dear readers, as you follow on here, whoever you are, rest assured that you are not alone, if you find yourself saying…’This is me!’…

There is HOPE,  though, and I can’t wait to publish the fourth part of the series titled A Way Toward Healing and Freedom. Until then…

When I cry unto Thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me.”-Psalm 56:9

In any disappointing or hurtful situation, we should first cry out to God. In the above verse we are assured that our enemies will turn back when we cry out to God for help. How comforting to know that deception cannot overtake us if we turn to God- for He is for us, not against us.

But how many times, in this vulnerable state of disappointment, do we respond in accordance to lies that we have believed?

Quoting from the booklet “When Disappointment Deceives” by Jeff Olson:

“Unknowingly, many of us have agreed with the lies we’ve been told about life, ourselves, and God. We hang on to them as if they are true. Once we accept a lie, that’s when it starts to control us.”

Jeff Olson points out many different ways that we process disappointment, choose the wrong response and accept the lies. To summarize:

HIDING ~
Some may become withdrawn, hoping that others will not see them. Or, in an opposite way, become boastful or use a broad intellectual vocabulary to cover their hurt and make themselves appear as someone they are not in order to keep others from seeing what they presume are flaws in themselves.

By any chance do you see either one of these reactions in your prodigal? Unconfessed sin and guilt often times will cause a prodigal to hide from his parents by withdrawing from them.

On the other hand the shame and pain that the prodigal experience brings to parents may cause them to withdraw from friends and family.

HOLDING BACK~
Some respond to disappointments by holding back love and desires. Some may try and protect themselves from further hurt by closing up, and not letting anyone come close.

“For those of us who are deceived into believing that life is just one long series of letdowns, it seems that the only way to keep from being disappointed again is to limit our desires and take pleasure in very little.”

In all honesty I struggle with this one. Because of the pain and suffering I’ve gone through with one prodigal, I find myself pushing away my other children in fear of the same rejection. It isn’t at all fair to them. I consistently have to face that fear, realize it is a lie, and ask Jesus to take that burden from me.

TURNING TO FALSE COMFORTERS~
False comforters can be things like food or hobbies – things that are not inherently bad, but if we are running to them to get our mind off things we do not want to think about, or for the comfort we should be getting from the Holy Spirit, we will not receive the healing that we really need. That healing way deep down in our hearts can only come from God, so what we are actually doing when we turn to false comfort is delaying the process of healing.

BITTERNESS~
Bitterness is another way of dealing with disappointment. Bitterness towards others for the hurt they have caused only brings grief to yourself and the Holy Spirit. Forgiveness is the antidote, and as Jesus said, “Father forgive them; for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34. Bitterness only causes division and strife…

Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another , even as God for the Messiah’s sake hath forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:31-32

But people can also turn their bitterness towards God…

“If we think He doesn’t care about us, we blame Him for our disappointing circumstances, and then we resent Him for doing nothing about them.”

I’d like to say that I have never done this, but I have. I blamed God for what happened to our family…for the temptation that took hold of my prodigal, for not answering my prayers. I’m sorry to my Father, my Savior, for EVER feeling this way… His ways are not our ways, and our ways are not His ways. Isaiah 55:8

Humbling myself, I learned what little faith I had, what little trust I had, what little patience I had. What does Abba Father say that He is teaching us through our sufferings? To be more like Christ…to be patient …”But let patience have its perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, lacking nothing.” James 1:4

He is the Potter. He knows exactly what this clay needs. He knows exactly how hot to make the kiln to fire the pot, when to put it in and when to take it out…so that it is a perfect work.

He knows the exact, precise detail to bring you to perfection. Do you believe this?

GIVING UP~
“Disappointment can eventually wear us down to the point where instead of staying bitter, we give up…At times, we can become so exhausted by disappointment that we just want to quit a marriage, a friendship, or a career… Even though we may never fall into a state of severe depression, many of us quietly resign ourselves to the fact that this is the way it’s always going to be.”

The good news – there is A WayToward Healing and Freedom. That will be my next post.

“It’s possible to trust in Jesus as our sin-bearer and receive forgiveness of sins, yet live much of our lives imprisoned by old lies of disappointment. Many of us have been deceived for so long that we just can’t talk ourselves into believing the truth. On our own we can’t free ourselves into believing the truth. On our own, we can’t free ourselves from the slavery of deception. We need divine help to reinterpret the lies we’ve been taught in the midst of disappointment.”

Again, if you would like to read the booklet booklet yourself or the PDF version, go to discovery series booklets.

It Is Well With My Soul

Listen, please listen, to the glorious words of this song…

Now here is the story behind this beautiful hymn…
This hymn was written by a Chicago lawyer, Horatio G. Spafford. You might think to write a worship song titled, ‘It is well with my soul’, you would indeed have to be a rich, successful Chicago lawyer. But the words, “When sorrows like sea billows roll … It is well with my soul”, were not written during the happiest period of Spafford’s life. On the contrary, they came from a man who had suffered almost unimaginable personal tragedy.
Horatio G. Spafford and his wife, Anna, were pretty well-known in 1860’s Chicago. And this was not just because of Horatio’s legal career and business endeavors. The Spaffords were also prominent supporters and close friends of D.L. Moody, the famous preacher. In 1870, however, things started to go wrong. The Spaffords’ only son was killed by scarlet fever at the age of four. A year later, it was fire rather than fever that struck. Horatio had invested heavily in real estate on the shores of Lake Michigan. In 1871, every one of these holdings was wiped out by the great Chicago Fire.
Aware of the toll that these disasters had taken on the family, Horatio decided to take his wife and four daughters on a holiday to England. And, not only did they need the rest — DL Moody needed the help. He was traveling around Britain on one of his great evangelistic campaigns. Horatio and Anna planned to join Moody in late 1873. And so, the Spaffords traveled to New York in November, from where they were to catch the French steamer ‘Ville de Havre’ across the Atlantic. Yet just before they set sail, a last-minute business development forced Horatio to delay. Not wanting to ruin the family holiday, Spafford persuaded his family to go as planned. He would follow on later. With this decided, Anna and her four daughters sailed East to Europe while Spafford returned West to Chicago. Just nine days later, Spafford received a telegram from his wife in Wales. It read: “Saved alone.”
On November 2nd 1873, the ‘Ville de Havre’ had collided with ‘The Lochearn’, an English vessel. It sank in only 12 minutes, claiming the lives of 226 people. Anna Spafford had stood bravely on the deck, with her daughters Annie, Maggie, Bessie and Tanetta clinging desperately to her. Her last memory had been of her baby being torn violently from her arms by the force of the waters. Anna was only saved from the fate of her daughters by a plank which floated beneath her unconscious body and propped her up. When the survivors of the wreck had been rescued, Mrs. Spafford’s first reaction was one of complete despair. Then she heard a voice speak to her, “You were spared for a purpose.” And she immediately recalled the words of a friend, “It’s easy to be grateful and good when you have so much, but take care that you are not a fair-weather friend to God.”
Upon hearing the terrible news, Horatio Spafford boarded the next ship out of New York to join his bereaved wife. Bertha Spafford (the fifth daughter of Horatio and Anna born later) explained that during her father’s voyage, the captain of the ship had called him to the bridge. “A careful reckoning has been made”, he said, “and I believe we are now passing the place where the de Havre was wrecked. The water is three miles deep.” Horatio then returned to his cabin and penned the lyrics of his great hymn.
The words which Spafford wrote that day come from 2 Kings 4:26. They echo the response of the Shunammite woman to the sudden death of her only child. Though we are told “her soul is vexed within her”, she still maintains that ‘It is well.” And Spafford’s song reveals a man whose trust in the Lord is as unwavering as hers was.
It would be very difficult for any of us to predict how we would react under circumstances similar to those experienced by the Spaffords. But we do know that the God who sustained them would also be with us.
No matter what circumstances overtake us may we be able to say with Horatio Spafford…
When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul!
It is well … with my soul!
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Praying that this story and hymn will minister to you today.
Story from A Hymn and It’s History
It Is Well With My Soul sung by Chris Rice

Waiting For Your Prodigal by Marcy Hayes

An interview with Marcy Hayes, author and illustrator of Waiting For Your Prodigal: Daily Thoughts and Prayers…

I am so excited about your book, Waiting For Your Prodigal: Daily Thoughts and Prayers. There is such a need today to encourage and minister to hurting parents of prodigals. It seems as though no one really understands the devastation this causes in Christian families unless they have been through it themselves. What were the circumstances in your life that motivated you to write your book?

Marcy: My daughter’s very public and very humiliating divorce began a string of events very devastating to her, then devastating to everyone around her. (Still feeling effects today.) Part of the devastation for me was four small children on this journey with their mother driven by anger and rebellion. As my daughter made plans to move 600 miles away, my father died.
 
Six weeks later, she was gone, packed up and gone. It was Good Friday. I wrote in my journal, “There was nothing good about it.”
 
I had always kept journals where I talked to God, wrote down Scriptures and insights, and recorded prayers. Spirals and spirals of talks with God–I was searching for answers, searching my own soul, and waiting as parents of prodigals do.
 
I searched the Internet and searched bookstores for help–to hear from someone who had gone through my pain and found relief. I found only five books; only one was helpful. I was convinced that there were thousands of parents in my position, and I was baffled that there were so few books on the subject.
 
During that time of searching and waiting I picked up several of the spirals to reread the events of her leaving, my hurting, and insights God had given me. As I reread the entries, I was surprised to see the help I had needed was right there. God is so good.

I did not want to waste the words God had given me, did not want to waste the suffering. I wanted to help others, and I knew the books that could encourage a waiting parent were few.


Knowing the suffering you have gone through, and seeing the beauty God has brought out in you, and that you are giving to others should give us all hope, and encourage us as parents to comfort others as we have been comforted. One thing that I really love about your book is that you have a prayer for every day of the month, actually for 32 days. I find it very helpful to read and pray along with you for my prodigal and the other prodigals and families that I am praying for. What inspired you to set your book up this way?



Marcy: The prayers are very personal and many times confessional. I wrestle with God in that secret place. My heart is completely vulnerable, completely honest in the prayers.

Have you ever known that God wanted you to do something, and with sureness and some trembling you did it? This trembling sureness is why the prayers are in the book and included every day. I am sure the healing is in the prayers.

You maybe notice the tone of the writing is serious. There were times in writing this I wanted to be humorous; I am by nature one who finds humor in life. More than once I felt the Lord caution me not to exaggerate, not to be funny, and not to be flippant. Prayer is serious.

I did not notice until the book was almost published that I address the Lord differently, almost every day (e.g.) ”All Knowing Father,” and “Precious Redeemer,” and “Good Shepherd,” and “Father of Great Promises.” God must have a purpose for this, because all the different names surprised me but delighted me too.

Quoting from your acknowledgments you say, “I thank One who told the story of the lost son; then wrote the story in my life.” It is hard to be thankful for hurtful things that happen to us, yet I know that most Christians come out of their tribulations being thankful. How did you get to the place of acceptance and thankfulness?

Marcy: I can’t honestly say I am thankful for the pain itself (the fears, the losses, the rejection, and even the shock of it all), but I am thankful for the way God ministers to us in the midst of our pain. God sent me a friend ten years younger than I am who was also a friend of my daughter. This woman had been a prodigal herself. Her words and prayers and advice were like gold.

God gives us more of Himself in times of pain. Oh, there have been plenty of nights full of tears and wondering why this and why that–but when God gives us extra portions of Himself, there is joy. My minister asked me, knowing all that had happened, how it was that I was so happy.

Finally, I have been thankful for the task of writing this book. If God was going to send me through something difficult, I did not want to waste any part of the experience if it could be used for His glory. And that is my hope–that God will use this book in the lives of people who need His grace and mercy, because we know this is certainly a time of need.

Most people do not understand what parents of prodigals go through unless they have been there themselves. Persecution seems to go hand in hand with a rebellious child. This can make life even more difficult and hurtful for parents who find themselves in this situation. Could you share with us your views on the attitude people have towards those experiencing this tribulation?


Marcy: You are right that most people do not understand what parents go through, because I remember dismissing prodigals as kids that just had a wild streak. I remember a short, red-haired and red-faced man from my childhood who raised a daughter near my age. When asked to pray, he would end his prayers in his Irish accent, “…and Lard, be with our children, wherever they are.” I just thought he had the misfortune of having a daughter with a wild streak.

I rather like the “wild streak” view, because nobody is pointing fingers at the parent of the child gone wild.

When I thought about “other people” and my views on their attitudes, I compiled the following list:

1. The prodigal’s friends who encourage her on a destructive path tell her what she wants to hear. An attitude that by-passes truth and makes a person feel good is reckless. Scripture tells us that the way that “seems” right to a man leads to destruction.

2. The therapist is not always helpful. Psychology does a good job identifying character flaws, but it brings no resolution. What it brings is a lot of blame. Therapists blame parents for just about everything. My view on this attitude is that it fuels the anger of a prodigal and makes her into a victim rather than an overcomer.

3. The people who point fingers at parents and take the attitude that controlling parents drive children away are far from the truth. My attitude on this subject is that there are NO PERFECT PARENTS. There are as many prodigals from parents who were busy and neglectful as there are prodigals from doting parents. I would like to add that God, as our Father, has thousands of prodigals-whole nations. His first two children, Adam and Eve, rebelled.

4. People who will pray with the parent of a prodigal and commit to praying for the prodigal are the most valuable asset in a parent’s life.

5. Parents of prodigals imagine a huge number of people out there with stable families who look at a prodigal situation with scorn. Imagining people who do not understand and who judge us leads many parents to “hide in shame.”


What advice would you offer a parent who is faced with the pain of the prodigal experience?

Marcy:

1. Pray. Pray with others. Seek those who will pray for your child. Pray persistently. Turn every thought of fear into a prayer. Turn every wounding thought into a prayer. Turn Scripture into prayers. And BELIEVE; don’t just worry on your knees.

2. Do not hide in shame. This is a great opportunity to give and receive all that God has for you.

3. When you have the opportunity to show demonstrative love to your prodigal, do it.

Your book is full of encouragement, incite and sincere prayers that I’m sure would comfort anyone who is struggling with a prodigal. Where can your book be purchased?

Marcy: I am convinced that every family at some point has a lost son, daughter, sibling, or spouse. When Christians face rebellion and conflict in their own families, they seek wisdom and help from someone who has walked that road.

Waiting for Your Prodigal: Daily Thoughts and Prayers will give them the help and the hope their hearts need to hear:


· Prayers to pray when they do not know what to say

· Assurance that God is at work all around them


· Knowing the greatest part of the Father’s story

· Ways to heal while waiting

Waiting for Your Prodigal: Daily Thoughts and Prayers is a soft cover book, 88 pages in length If you would like to order one or two, amazon.com or any of the major book sellers have it available. If you want to order more than one or two, you can call the publisher Crossbooks or go to the websitecrossbooks.com.
 
Marcy Hayes earned a master’s degree in education and English from Northeastern State University. She has taught for thirty years and illustrated three books. Marcy is active in her church through music, Bible study, and prison ministry. She and her husband D. D. live in Oklahoma. They have two children and four grandchildren.

 

All illustrations belong exclusively to Marcy Hayes.

From This Time Forth ~Go Comfort Others

“It seems that this is one way he turns evil against itself using our healed-up but still-visible scars to help others whose wounds are still gaping open.”~ Joy from her blog   Joy in this Journey

“Sometimes God sends severe blasts of trial upon His children to develop their graces. Just as torches burn most brightly when swung to and fro; just as the juniper plant smells sweetest when flung into the flames; so the richest qualities of a Christian often come out under the north wind of suffering and adversity. Bruised hearts often emit the fragrance that God loveth to smell.” ~Streams in the Desert
A friend told me that they were not getting any tomatoes in their garden, and heard that if they shook their tomato plants it would help them to pollinate and give much fruit. I found this interesting as there is a lot of shaking going on in lives everywhere…
“Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out!” Song of Solomon 4:16
Perhaps there was not enough wind blowing on the garden to shake the plants. Winds or adversities in our lives, will they bring forth good fruit? I know that I was very shaken and still am by what happened with my prodigal. Is there good fruit in me? Is my bruised heart emitting a fragrance that brings comfort to others and delight to God? Is there good fruit in you?
I had a tiny box, a precious box
Of human love ~ my spikenard of a great price;
I kept it close within my heart of hearts
And scarce would lift the lid lest it should waste
Its perfume on the air. One day a strange
Deep sorrow came with crushing weight, and fell
Upon my costly treasure, sweet and rare
And broke the box to atoms. All my heart
Rose in dismay and sorrow at this waste,
But as I mourned, behold a miracle
Of grace Divine. My human love was changed
To Heaven’s own, and poured in healing streams
On other broken hearts, while soft and clear
A voice above me whispered, “Child of Mine,
With comfort wherewith thou art comforted,
From this time forth ~ go comfort others
And thou shalt know blest fellowship with Me,
Whose broken heart of love hath healed the world.
It may not feel like it, but your broken heart is pouring healing streams…
Let it flow ~ you have no idea whose broken heart you will help to heal…
I read a beautiful post the other day by Joy
A confirmation that God is doing an incredible work in our lives ~
One broken heart touching another…

Painting ~ Magdalene with Alabaster Box of Ointment
Giovanni Brilli (Italy)after Andrea del Sarto (Italy, b.1487, d.1531)

Poem from Streams in the Desert

Heart Rocks Photos ~ me

I Am a Parent of a Prodigal – Name Withheld

This was an article posted in a magazine that I came across online. Warning…it will make you cry…
If I had it to do again, I would preach less and pray more.
-Name Withheld
If your children have consistently made wise choices, consider yourself  blessed, because the enemy has snatched many, many young people. My wife and I have wept a thousand tears and asked a thousand “why’s?” I am the minister of a growing Christian church. We are the parents of a prodigal. It hits you like a ton of bricks when you first learn your child has rejected virtually every biblical principle and value that you have spent years carefully modeling and teaching. When you discover that your son is doing physical, emotional, and spiritual damage to himself, you experience a pain most others cannot understand. Many members of our church have been so kind, so understanding, and so encouraging. Perhaps it’s because they have a prodigal child, or maybe some of them were prodigals. Whatever the case, they’ll never know how much their support and prayers have meant to us!
Problems Begin
Our nightmare began when our 18-year-old son dropped out of a Christian college after only a few weeks. We were unaware as this bright, talented, athletic young man jumped headfirst into an abyss of drugs, vandalism, and sexual promiscuity. He quickly became an easy target for those living in a dark underworld who prey on naive, unsuspecting, and yet seemingly willing victims. In just a few short months, he faced possible criminal charges, but due to the mercy of some of those in the judicial system, he was released into our custody. We wrongly assumed the nightmare was nearly over, but when his head began to clear of the drugs that had been in his system, he was left with guilt and shame, anger and bitterness. He felt scarred, used, and depressed. He struggled to break free of the destructive cycle that had trapped him. Instead of the prodigal leaving the pigpen and coming home, it seemed like the pigpen had been brought home to us. We faced the agonizing decision of if, when, and how to have our adult son removed from our home.
Some readers of this article have never had to face a decision like this. You will never see your child in a bright orange prison jumpsuit standing before a judge. You will never receive phone calls in the middle of the night from the police. You will never be cursed at or threatened by your child. You will never have your child steal from you or lie to you or sneak out of your home at night. You will never need to raise a grandchild born out of wedlock. You will never be forced to visit your child in a rehab center. You’ll never look for your child among the homeless people who live under bridges and overpasses, wondering if he is dead or alive. If your children have consistently made wise choices, consider yourself blessed, because the number of young people the enemy has snatched has become a national epidemic.
Don’t Jump to Conclusions
You might be speculating about what causes these young people to go astray. “The parents must not have spent enough time with their child.” “There must have been inconsistencies in their lives.” “They must not have taught them the Bible.” “They should have had them in a Christian school.” For years I might have said such things. I lived with a very legalistic, prideful attitude about parenting. I believed that if I did “A-B-C,” then my child would do or be “X-Y-Z.” If I got the formula right, then my children would turn out as I expected. But recently I’ve decided that how children grow up is more about human will and choices than parenting skills. If I had it to do over, I would preach to my children less and be on my knees praying for them more. No parents are perfect parents; we all make mistakes. But what if we didn’t? God is the perfect parent, and yet every one of His children at one time or another chooses to rebel against Him! Have we ever believed the father was to blame for the son’s rebellion in the biblical story of the prodigal son? On the contrary, it is abundantly clear that it was all about the son’s free will, exercised in his poor choices. Haven’t you known people who grew up in terrible homes who turned out good, and others who grew up in wonderful homes who turned out not so good? Our second child is a very committed Christian. Both children were raised in the same home. It’s interesting to note that the first seven chapters of Proverbs are directed to sons choosing wisdom and obedience, but only six verses in the entire book are directed to parents disciplining their children!
Only God knows the end of the story for our prodigal. Every once in awhile we get a glimmer of hope that our son will fully return to God. Many times I’ve wished I could just read the final chapter; then perhaps I’d sleep better at night. But we are learning to walk by faith, one day at a time. God is sovereign, and we have learned much about His grace, His patience, and His love that we probably would not have learned otherwise. If, at times, I seem distracted, I’ve asked the church to forgive me. If my voice breaks, they try to understand. And if someone is tempted to judge me, all I can say is, “Please don’t. My load is heavy enough right now, so would you pray for us, please?”
The Story Isn’t Over
After I wrote this article, my wife and I received a letter from our son that reinforced our reasons to hope.
Part of what he wrote:
“I moved out of the house when I was 18 thinking about how good life would be once I got my freedom, but just like the prodigal son in the Bible, I shared the trough with the pigs. I too saw all the world has to offer. I too realized that the life is sinful, cold, and unhappy without God or your family in it. “I want you to know that I am so happy to have two parents that love and care about me like you do. You have given me chance after chance, and have been so very patient with me. Thank you so much for caring about me and trying to understand all that I have gone through. I have seen the most evil that people are capable of, and I have seen that living a life of sin contrary to God’s will leads only to self-destruction and anguish. I have been living that kind of life long enough.
“I am willing now to take steps to rebuild a relationship with God, and I look forward to many good years ahead of us as our relationship as a family gets better. I don’t want to hurt or disappoint either one of you anymore. I only want now to try and be the best person I can be. Several years ago you lost a sensitive and good-hearted little boy to the sins of this world. I want to be that kid once again. I want my hardened heart to be free of the pains from my past so that I can be happy again. “I will try my best to do my part to make things better for our family. Your prodigal son may have physically returned to you a couple of years ago, but returning to you emotionally and spiritually will take some time. Please don’t ever lose hope in me. Just remember that I will always love you.”
Here are books recommended
by the author of this article:
• Parenting the Wild Child, by Miles
McPherson (Bethany House, 2000)
• Praying Prodigals Home, by Quin
Sherrer and Ruthanne Garlock (Gospel
Light, 2000)
• Prodigals and Those Who Love
Them, by Ruth Bell Graham (Baker
Book House, 1999)
• Relief for Hurting Parents: How to
Fight for the Lives of Teenagers, by
Buddy Scott (Allon Publishing, 1998)