For a son who has turned away from his faith, who essentially has divorced his family and followed other gods, what is my role as Mother?
I've come to see, it's the same that it was this time last year. Only this year I'm humbler, wiser, needier, wearier, more gracious of others, more accepting of a lower road.
Isn't this compromise? Many of my past Christian brothers and sisters would have told me so. I'm not so sure. Since when did the path to glory, this life and all it entails, have to be ideal? It was never going to be that way. God the Father knows that and that, of course, is why He sent Jesus Christ, God the Son, to take the punishment for this sin and make the way to eternal life.
As a Mother then, do I parent each day knowing they may not follow Christ, they may rebel and turn away? That all I have shielded them from and all the paths I have painfully and sacrificially put them in they may not embrace? Well yes, and no.
Yes, my children may embrace other gods. Gods of this world, of the lust of the flesh and pride of the eyes. Other people, God haters. They may stumble and fall and even perish in places I never allowed them to be. I never introduced them to nor did I recommend to them. Places, people I cannot abide with today. Places that I don't believe in.
And no. No because it was always the grace of God that would save and sanctify them. Not me. As a passionate and kind and dedicated Mother, I'm gracious to myself but I realize I had some things wrong.
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
My role as Mother is to raise my children. To walk with and talk to and teach each one of them. To work out my walk with my own Saviour and Lord, Jesus Christ in front of them. The saving work is His. His alone.
I didn't need to be so focused on the outcome of their childhood faith. I needed to be more mindful of my own faith and witness and my own trust in Him and His ways. His timing and His purposes.
I haven't, I don't need to and I will not "give up on us".
Somehow my love for my prodigal has grown and matured. It's wider and deeper than it was.
With each child came a new love. At one time long ago, I wondered how I could love another child as I loved our first child. I didn't know. The Lord showed me. He grew a new love for a new child.
I have always told my children and they know that I love each of them "the most". And they understand that! My little one who strays knows that too. We have talks, deep and painful talks. Sometimes angry and hurtful talks, but more so now, frank and respectful talks. They know they are not a disappointment. They are loved. Their actions may disappoint. And they do. But they are not a disappointment. They are a passion. All consuming fiery passion. Never get in the way of a Mother's love!
This child will have a story. He will know whom he chooses in time to come. I see the Lord's hand on him. A guiding, protecting hand that stays the evil he walks in. That thwarts decisions yet lets rebellion play its part out to the full.
My goodness! How has this season shown me the fullness of the love God the Father has for me. I too was a sinner. I still am. Only, I'm forgiven in the beloved. Because of Christ's blood shed for me. My righteousness before God is Christ's righteousness imputed to me through this love of God through Jesus.
God loved me enough to make a way back to Him. The cross.
May I love my child enough to give them grace too. To wait and pray. I'm reminded of the words to one of my favourite Christian songs. I haven't sung this in years. It's come to mind this afternoon as I write this post. Praise Him! Enjoy:
How deep the Father's love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory
Behold the man upon a cross
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished
I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom.
Praise You. Holy, Righteous Father God.