Parents of a prodigal child. This is an issue heavy on my heart. I won’t share our specific experience because the story is not mine to tell, but I will share with you some of the things I have learned over the last several months. This may help you or someone you know.
A prodigal child can come from any household and the child’s decisions and course cannot always be blamed on the parents. There are many outside factors that play into the path of a prodigal child; friends, social media influence, media influence, family influence and many more. A family can seemingly do everything right; attend church, have both a mother and father at home, teach by example, discuss bad choices, learn from hard times, etc. and all of this can be cast aside by the prodigal.
Over the last few months I have learned that prodigals, those with drug problems, mental health issues, etc. can come from all walks of life. I have seen them come from the homes of Pastors, police officers, teachers, stay at home moms, broken homes, wealthy and poor households, educated and non-educated families, it simply does not matter.
There are a few facts that I have observed; the pain experienced by the families of prodigals is real and deep, the pain experienced by the prodigal is real (usually) and in most cases, the family is not to blame but feels real guilt examining what they could have done different. The most difficult thing a parent can do is to let go, but it is needed for healing.
The reason for this message is to let people know they are not alone in dealing with a prodigal child. It is o.k. to grieve for that child. It is o.k. to get mad at that child. Keep in mind through all your feelings, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. There is help. Whether it be in the form of books like The Hurting Parent or Prayers for Prodigals, spending time in prayer alone or with others, attending a small group addressing the hurt of parents of prodigals or some other resource, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Most importantly, you are not alone. Society is used to seeing families post on social media and the image of the family there is generally a snapshot of a perfect family. I will tell you there is no such thing as a perfect family. We all have our challenges and as parents we have our pain, doubt and guilt. Spend time every day praying for your family, your prodigal and yourself. Ask for discernment, wisdom and the love in your heart to do and say the right thing for your prodigal. Reread Luke 7 and the story of the prodigal, it will bless you and give you hope.
This mess just may become your mission. God bless you and your prodigal.
A few resources for parents dealing with prodigal children: