Father in Heaven, I pray that the words written here touch many hearts and turn our eyes heavenward. In Jesus name, Amen.
Hia table family! I’m so glad to have you here. Well you know the drill… grab your beverage and some sort of snack and let’s chat.
So I am in the stage of life now that almost makes me an empty nester. My son is almost twenty-one years old and my daughter is nineteen. My son is out on his own and my daughter is very busy with school and work so she’s not here much these days. As the days… weeks… months… roll by, I’m reminded of the story of the Prodigal son found in Luke 15:11 – 32.
Verse twelve says “and the younger of them said to his father ‘Father give me the share of property that is coming to me’ and he divided his property between them.”
I often wonder why the younger son wanted his inheritance early. I mean it seems to me that both sons had everything they needed and probably most of what they wanted. They were expected to pull their weight, so to speak, but they had it made!
What drove this young man to get impatient and demand his share now? Im going to go out on my imagination limb here and say that this Father probably wondered where he went wrong with this son. He gave him everything he thought was needed and wanted. He taught his sons the value of hard work. He provided for them. He even set up an inheritence for both his sons to take care of them even after he was gone. What more could a parent do right?
Yet, I can’t help but think this Father questioned what he could have done differently so his son wouldn’t have been so greedy and selfish. Have you ever questioned these same things? I sure have.
Our kids are not always going to make the decisions we would like them too. We’ll teach them one way and they will sometimes go another. These choices can make a parent feel like they have failed. “I didn’t raise them this way” or “I don’t know where they got that line of thinking from” or “how could they go against everything I’ve taught them”… any of these sound familiar?
My kids grew up in a christian home with regular church attendance and vacation bible school and even attending our church school for many years. So I guess what I’m getting at is we did “all the right things”, right? It’s funny what we deem “all the right things”. The bottom line is they are not born with a manual. No doctor or nurse is standing at the check out desk asking if we’d like to purchase an extended warrantee or refund policy. We go home with our new born babies and… wing it!
I know we as parents make many mistakes when raising our kids and we can look back and find ways we would have done something differently. But the reality is we can’t go back. We have to focus on what we did right and also pray for our kids. As long as we did the best we knew how to do, then we leave the rest in God’s hands. We must release the guilt for those times we look back and see how to say this right or not over-react on that occasion or should have disciplined a little more firmly over that incident. If we’ve offered love and security, and this will look different for many people, then we have to let God take the reins from there.
My kids haven’t always made choices that I agree with and I’ve asked all the afore mentioned questions of myself. But I’m learning that once my kids enter adulthood, my involvement in their choices is very minimal. God isn’t going to hold me personally responsible for the choices of my children when I have done my best to teach and guide them in their youth.
Are you carrying guilt or fear or a sense of responsibility for the choices your kids have made? May I share the end of the story of the prodigal son with you?
Verse twenty says “and he arose and came to his father but while he was still a long way off his father saw him and felt compassion and ran and embraced him and kissed him.”
This son who demanded his share and then made EVERY poor choice possible, came around to see just how good he had it and went back home. Home to his father. Don’t miss that the father had been watching for him. The only way he could have seen his son “a long way off” is if he had been looking for him. Look for your child. Pray for your child. prepare for your child to come home. But don’t hang on to guilt over decisions your kids make when you’ve done all you know to do to be a loving parent.
You’ll notice too that this father didn’t give a long list of “I told you so’s”, he just embraced his son, wept over his son and kissed his son. Above all, pray for your children. I feel like prayer is my greatest weapon against the shiny temptations of the enemy. I encourage you to read this story in full and glean all the jewels it has to offer. Blessings to all of you.