When did our children’s behavior become an extension of ourselves? Or am I the only one who seems to have a difficult time recognizing that my child is autonomous, able to make her own decisions and mistakes? When I speak to parents, especially those raising prodigals, I encourage them to analyze the parable Jesus told of the man with the wayward son. Once we recognize who the father represents in the story, I believe we’ll begin to cut ourselves some slack. Because honestly, parenting is crazy-tough, and we all could use a fair amount of grace in this area.
Today, Robin Patchen visits us again to share part two of her encouraging and insightful piece on what it looks like to entrust our children to Christ.
Trusting God With Our Children Part 2 by Robin Patchen
When my oldest chose drugs over our family, my husband and I let him walk away. But we didn’t forget him—not for a moment. No, we prayed and begged God to bring him home. At one point when I was praying, I felt the Lord’s words in my ears. “Do you trust me with your son?”
Did I trust him? Too many young people, many children of godly parents, get lost to drugs and alcohol—or simply lost to their own foolish choices. Some kids end up in prison, others end up homeless. Some run away and aren’t heard from for years. And some end up in the grave. There are no guarantees for any of us. Trusting God meant facing that my son could be lost to us for a time, or for good. But I knew I couldn’t fix it, and I believed God could. I was out of options.
I decided at that moment that I did trust Him with all my children. It was either trust Him or go mad with grief and fear.
My first-born’s story has been a testimony to God’s provision. He brought my son home. He went to rehab, he got clean, and now he’s studying to be a missionary with Youth with a Mission.
God’s plan for my son was not my plan for him. He rejected us and rejected God, but God never rejected him. God wooed him back, pulled him through, and turned him into this amazing, Spirit-filled young man with a burning passion for Christ. None of that would have happened apart from the rebellion that started it all.
So are we failures as parents, because our son landed in rehab? Or, are we good parents, because now he’s walking with God? Or, are we merely imperfect parents, doing our best—all anyone can be asked to do? God knows our faults and shortcomings, and He blessed us with these young people anyway. How they turn out is ultimately in His hands. No matter what happens, I will continue to trust Him with my children.
Robin Patchen is an award winning multi-published author, but only because she can’t pursue her other dream.
If time and money were no object, Robin would spend her life traveling. Her goal is to visit every place in the entire world–twice. She longs to meet everybody and see everything and spread the good news of Christ. Alas, time is short and money is scarce, and her husband and three teenagers don’t want to traipse all around the world with her, so Robin does the next best thing: she writes. In the tales she creates, she can illustrate the unending grace of God through the power and magic of story.
Find out more at Robin’s website, and connect with her on Facebook.
Twisted Lies: Hidden Truth Series Book #2
She thought they’d never find her. And then her daughter vanished.
Marisa Vega’s life as an adoptive mom in a tiny Mexican village isn’t what she’d dreamed while growing up in New York, but as the target of a man who’s convinced she stole millions of dollars from his financial firm, Marisa believes hiding is her only way to stay alive. When her daughter is snatched and held for ransom, Marisa must discover who really stole the money in order to rescue her.
Months after being kidnapped, tortured, and left with PTSD, Nate Boyle is ready to live a quiet life in rural New Hampshire. When the source of his breakout newspaper article—and the woman who haunts his dreams—begs for help, he gets pulled into a riddle that’s proved unsolvable for nearly a decade.
Can Nate and Marisa unravel the years-old mystery and bring her daughter home?
Buy it on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, B&N, and find it on Goodreads.
Amazing story Robin. We have an amazing God! Rejoicing with you and your family. Jennifer thank you for another excellent post.
Thanks, Kelly Anne. It’s been a journey–and the journey continues with my younger teenagers. Different struggles, but struggles nonetheless.
Hi, Kelly! I loved her post and the grace that permeated it! I loved that she shared so transparently!
Thank you for sharing an honest story of your son. I like that you let him walk away, and prayed for him. A victory for you. He came back to God. So what about when God hasn’t brought our wayward adult children home? I know how hard it is, my two sons ended up in rehab several times, and jail as well. Still I love them unconditionally and wait for them to return to God. We have a good relationship now as they are near middle age, but I still pray and trust.
That’s such a hard question, and I wish I had an answer. We were so fortunate that God reached Nick, and that Nick chose to hear Him, to obey. I wish there were an answer. I don’t have a solution for you. I only know that God is good, and He loves your boys (men) a lot more than you do, a lot more than you can comprehend. And He loves you, too. He offers us grace for our imperfect parenting, and believe me, as much as we try, my husband and I mess it up a lot. God offers grace for our kids’ continued foolish choices. Maybe it’ll be a long time before you see their freedom. My brother was on his deathbed before he, in his words, “opened the door to God again.” Those were among the last words he spoke, but he’s praising Jesus in heaven today. As long as there’s breath, there’s hope.
I find myself often saying about my younger teen children, “I want to see her [or him] turn the corner,” as if there’ll be one big, flashy change. But the Lord told me once, there are very few corners, just long curves you’ll barely notice. Only when lots of time has passed and you look in the rearview mirror do you even realize they’ve turned. So maybe your boys are navigating some turns you aren’t even seeing. As long as they’re on the road and God is with them, you can rest.
I doubt that helps much. I can tell you I recited Psalm 34:17-19 multiple times a day when Nick was lost in addiction. It’s still a favorite when we face other trials:
When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears
and delivers them out of all their troubles.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
but the Lord delivers him out of them all.
And this one I held onto as a promise, because my husband and I are righteous in Christ. It’s Proverbs 11:21:
“Be assured, an evil person will not go unpunished, but the offspring of the righteous will be delivered.”
They will be delivered. Take God at his word and remind Him of that one all the time. I know I did with Nick and do with my other children–who have struggles of their own.
I know you’re trusting God with your children, like I’m trusting God with mine. The Lord is sanctifying us through this and has a purpose for it.
If you’d like to visit more, feel free to email me at robin [@] robinpatchen.com.
Praying this minute for your boys.
I hope you found encouragement in Robin’s post. I’m not sure I can answer your question, except to say keep praying, which you are doing. But that has to be so incredibly hard. I’ll say a prayer for you and your kids right now.
Robin, thank you for sharing so transparently with my readers! I know many parents were encouraged.
So many people have come alongside us in our journey raising our kids, shared their triumphs and tragedies, and offered us advice. I can’t imagine not paying that forward. It’s an incredible blessing to me.
Thank you Robin for your reply. You’ve answered a comforting word for me which I will take to heart. We’ve applied the Word and continue to let go with love, but trust God. We have hope, even after so many years. I like the idea of the curve…yes, we’re confident there are little signs along the way that they are meandering but following the road. Thank you for your prayers.
Jennifer, your choice of a guest was right on time for me. I appreciate your prayers as the Holy Spirit brings leads.
Maybe you overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit today, Pirkko. God is our only hope, and praise Him! God is all we need.
I’ll lift your boys up in prayer again right now.