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  • Writer's pictureEve M. Harrell

Parenting a Prodigal- Removing the Mask

Updated: Mar 2, 2019

My pastor spoke directly to my heart yesterday. He spoke aloud what I have been crying to the Lord for five+ years, but afraid to say in public.

I am grieving.

He spoke the truth that I could never share aloud. It was mine and God’s secret, only He knew the tears I have shed over the loss of my son. Why have I been so afraid to share the truth? Why do I hide behind the mask? Oh sure, I’ve hinted at it now and again, blogging over the bits and pieces of my heart’s cry and God's comfort through the trial. But sharing the gut-wrenching cry of my soul? That was never an option. Honestly, is it even fair for me to display my pain? I mean, many women will never hug their child again on this earth, what makes me think that my story is worth sharing? I should just buck up and wipe my tears right?

But, I think God has a message for us all, and His love letter to us lays it all out. . .

He sees our tears, in fact He holds each one in His bottle:

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. Psalm 56:8 NLT

And when he took the scroll, the four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp, and they held gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. Revelation 5:8 NLT

We are never alone- He walks with us through our challenge, giving us strength the entire way.

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:28-41 NIV

Do not fear I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10 NIV

He calls us to love and encourage one another. He created us for community and wants us to walk through life’s trials together. In fact, my testimony has been written specifically to give God glory and to help another who will walk this same path.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:4 NIV

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2NIV

My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life. Psalm 119:50 NIV

My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God. Job 16:20 NIV

I’m considering writing a sequel to Confessions of a Helicopter Mom. Or perhaps it should be called a prequel? That would make more sense. I have had several women tell me that Confessions was a blessing, (thank you Father!) But, they wanted to hear more. They wanted to hear the real life day-to-day struggle of this mom challenged with letting go.

That means I have to remove the mask and face the grief and all that goes with, doesn’t it?

YUCK . . . .

The question is, how much to share?

Should I confess the envy I have harbored over those whose students are graduating college, getting married, having children? Should I detail the worry over the outcome of my Prodigal’s decision? How about the guilt and shame felt as I’ve questioned every decision I’ve ever made as a parent? Should I even touch on the fear of walking into a prison and being stripped of every piece of dignity I thought I had? Perhaps I should share the anxiety over his heart and his safety that I shakily lay at the feet of Jesus every single day?

I guess the real question is, can my struggle help someone else who is walking this path? Perhaps that is the real reason God entrusted me with this experience?

For certain I will share the moments when I heard His still small voice encouraging me that He was in control and I was not alone. Oh and I have to tell the stories of those sent my way to encourage and pray over me- the specific friend who taught me to “Be Still”, the one who taught me to pray and trust God’s promises, the one who invited me to a parent support group. I will most definitely share the reminder from a friend that God’s grace is for him and ME! I cannot hold back the life-calling to pour into students, leading me to consistently pray that NOT ONE MORE be caught up in the enemy’s lie. My story would be incomplete if I didn't share how God built my faith and healed my heart through this journey. I must share about this incredible gift God blessed in this intense desire to write. Oh and while we haven't reached our "Happily ever after" quite yet, I will definitely share God's handiwork as we are given the beautiful opportunity to see our son returned to us.

Second Chances are for us all. God is so good!

The Lord is stirring something within me again. I know I am not the only one that is grieving.

Perhaps, it’s time to take off the mask.

On this truth I stand- God is holding us all in His Hand.

Father, thank You for Your promises. Thank You that while the world shakes and is uncertain, we can be certain that You will never falter. Your Word is sure, You are faithful and Your promises are ours. Today Father, I lift up every mom, dad, wife, husband, sister, brother, son, daughter, every grandparent, and yes every friend that has lost a prodigal. I pray for their hearts that You will comfort them and grant them peace. I pray for their strength that You will help them to persevere as they trust You. And I pray for their faith that You will remind them that You are at work in the wait.

In Jesus’ Name


Perhaps there are some of you out there that would like to join me in sharing your story?

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