Releasing Your Prodigal Child To God

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It takes every ounce of fiber in you to refrain from intervening. You must be willing to let go of her as she self-destructs because it’s what she wants. Out of love for her, you behave in the very manner that is so repugnant to you: you do nothing.

For eighteen years it has been your responsibility to do: with her, for her,because ofher. Your duty, as you perceived it, was to stay involved in her life. Your duty, now, as she perceives it, is to stay out of her life.

When did it all begin to change? When did she suddenly decide that she didn’t need the very mother to whom she used to cling? That child that would rather die than hurt her mother– where is she now?

You wonder if you held her too closely. You doubt your judgment in telling her how special she was: maybe it was too much for her to live up to. Loneliness covers you like gauze as you wonder who it is she tells her secret dreams to. You hope she still has dreams.

You think you must have felt it coming: that time when you would have to set her free; but you thought it would be more amiable. You agree that every person has the right to self-determinism; but as you watch her acting out her lack of self-respect, you realize you only believed that in theory.

You remember how you talked of her future with expectant hearts. She had so much going for her. You thought you had happy productive days planned. Did she find something more desirable — something she was more comfortable with than success? You search for clues that would have allowed you to see how much she hates herself, but none come forward.

You try not to show your repulsion as you look at the sleazy dress that almost covers her amply endowed breasts and buttocks. A lump lodges in your throat as you try to find those beautiful soft, brown eyes amidst the purple and green eye shadows packed on her lids. You’re repelled by her tattoo-covered legs, and you’re relieved she doesn’t offer to kiss you with those blood-red, over-lined lips.

You remember how she used to sit on the floor with her head in your lap so you could stroke her soft, shiny brown hair. What provokes this memory is looking at the teased, gelled, punked-out mess that sits atop her head in flagrant defiance.

She informs you she has a right to live her own life no matter how shabby it is. Her declarations of independence spew out like venom and head straight for your heart. You wonder who is this person is as her once-radiant face now contorts into the ugliness of anger.

Is this the same child whose face lit up as she sang “Jesus Loves Me,” who memorized scriptures voluntarily? Is this the same girl who seemed to understand spiritually mature principles of scripture at a young age?

Friends who hardly spoke to you before, now find it necessary to report when and where they’ve seen her–and with whom. What makes them think you want to be reminded of her dissolute lifestyle?

Now you know what a cornered animal feels like. You cannot step in and fix things as you’ve always done — she won’t allow it. For her sake, you won’t even try. It would only make her more dependent on your judgment, on your experience, and you cannot deprive her of her own experience.

You dare not send her any messages that cause her to believe she’s incapable of being her own person.

No, any intervention at this point, would only prolong the inevitable: she would find it necessary to tear away from you later, perhaps then, tearing bigger pieces of both your hearts.

Now you wait for her to find herself — to find you again. You pray it happens before she destroys the child you love. You wonder how long it will take, and if you’ll still be alive.

And then you remember that Isaiah 54:13 promises that your children shall be taught of the Lord.

And you are reminded in Philippians 2:6 that He who began the good work in [her]will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.

And you realize that, like Hannah who kept her promise to God and turned her only son over to Eli and his wicked sons, you have to trust God to protect your child, even in the midst of a wicked world.

You ask yourself if God is still in control, and you determine He is even if it doesn’t feel like it. You lie down and sleep the sleep of peace knowing you have planted The Seed, and God is able to do the rest.

You rest in the Sovereignty of One who loves her even more than you do.

(c) 2009 April Lorier

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