I Am a Leader for Christ . . . I Am the Mother of a Prodigal, Part 1

How well I remember sitting one day with a group of fellow Christian leaders sharing prayer requests for our children. As I listened to their requests for safe, successful mission trips and fruitful youth group excursions, my own weary heart broke once again. You see, my prayer needs were so very different. The cry of my heart was for deliverance from darkness for one child, for freedom from addiction for another . . . for God to rescue and to save these two beloved children of mine. I did not share my requests that day.

The Lord had much to teach me.

The pain and fear of something going desperately wrong with your child takes you to a level of brokenness and utter dependence on the Lord that few things can.

A Mother's Heartbreak

The love of a mother's heart is fierce and our desire is deep for our children to not only know the Lord, but to passionately love and walk with Him. But what if the reality of our lives is a child furiously running from God rather than walking toward Him? What if the child we love so desperately is rejecting the truths we have taught and the Jesus we have tried to live out in front of them? What if our child is a prodigal?

Oh, the heartbreak is relentless. The loss of relationship—agonizing. The despair over their lifestyle—devastating. We are desperate to break through to their hearts as a painful sense of failure grips us and shame envelopes us. For a woman in Christian leadership, these feelings can be especially deep. If you are in that place today, my heart is with you sweet sister, and I want to encourage you.

A Yielded Life

One of the most compelling things that happens in this walk as the mother of a prodigal is what the Lord is doing in your own heart. The pain and fear of something going desperately wrong with your child takes you to a level of brokenness and utter dependence on the Lord that few things can. The result is a yielded life that God can work in and through. My prodigals have been true gifts in my life as the Lord has powerfully changed me through the experience of loving and battling for them.

I pray your heart will resonate with mine to embrace the gifts of a yielded life . . .

My prodigals have been true gifts in my life as the Lord has powerfully changed me through the experience of loving and battling for them.

We will come face to face with our own weakness and our own need for forgiveness. In doing so, we will also grasp a greater understanding of giving and receiving grace.

  • Women in ministry will know the truth of the power of prayer and of God's Word.

    This truth is lived out as you come to fully understand that the battle for your child's life will be won in no other way. No matter our love or our efforts, we simply cannot change a heart. Prayer and the power of God's Word transform a life as nothing else can (Isa. 55:11, Heb. 4:12, James 5:16). The full impact of this truth alone reorients your life and your response to the tribulations we face in this world.

  • God will challenge and deepen your humility.

    God is giving you an opportunity to be "poured out like a drink offering" for the sake of the gospel. In a place where a mother's heart can become mired in a sense of failure, we learn to lay aside our pride, yield to His mysterious ways, and determine to be more concerned for His glory than our comfort or our relief.

  • Full surrender must become the position of our heart and all that we hold dearly in our hand.

    We will come face to face with our own weakness and our own need for forgiveness. In doing so, we will also grasp a greater understanding of giving and receiving grace.

  • Faith must grow into an unshakable trust (a settled quietness, a confident hope, no panic) especially in the face of things that we don't understand (John 13:7).

    In that place of trust we learn that HE IS WHO HE SAYS HE IS! He is Almighty, Redeemer, Comforter, Provider. The circumstances in front of you, no matter how dark, no matter how confusing, do not change His character. "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever" (Heb. 13:8).

    But, oh, how He is changing us . . . conforming us to His image.

  • We must stand in the truth that God is sovereign and does nothing without purpose.

    The "hard" in which you are living is part of the Lord's planned story for your child—and for you—and has eternal purposes only He understands. We want to fight against this road; He calls us to surrender it. We want to fix, to intervene, to rescue. He asks us to do what He has taught us to do—pray, claim, and stand on His Word, then trust His sovereignty, get out of His way, and let Him work.

    We fear that our child's behavior may destroy "God's plan" for his life. God reminds us that no plan of His can be thwarted (Job 42:2). Maybe, just maybe, we have a plan of our own for our beloved child (or possibly for ourselves) that we need to lay down to His greater design.

    We may be concerned that this trial could hinder our ministry. On the contrary, I believe the Lord intends to enhance and deepen it.

    "I know the plans I have for you [and for your child], declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope" (Jer. 29:11).

Soak in this promise of God, and be encouraged. Jesus tells us to watch with Him and pray (Matt. 26:41) as He works all of these things together for our good and for His great glory!

The next edition of the Leader Connection will feature Part 2 of "I Am a Leader for Christ . . . I Am the Mother of a Prodigal."

We've updated our articles on leading small groups. Have you explored these Revive Our Hearts leader resources that will equip you to effectively disciple other women in the ways of the Lord?

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About the Author

Kathy Davis

Kathy Davis

Kathy Davis has been leading women for over twenty years through the ministries of Bible Study Fellowship and Community Bible Study. In 2011, God called her to minister to those with prodigal loved ones out of her own heart-wrenching experience. Kathy started a ministry called Mother's Heart, which serves as a safe haven of encouragement and prayer support to women with prodigals. Kathy lives in Columbia, South Carolina along with her husband, Chuck, and is mother to four adult children and one daughter-in-law. Kathy finds refreshment digging in her garden and following USC Gamecocks sports.

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