Question: Would you agree or disagree with someone if they told you having children is the single-most difficult endeavor you’ll ever, ever experience?
Then in the next breath, that same person will say, “But, having children is the single-most rewarding endeavor you’ll ever experience.”
To add to these lovely pearls of “wisdom”, God has taught me parenting requires a keen sense of humor. Otherwise, we’d all bail.
The teensy fact He blessed Hubster and me with three boys is hysterical. Case in point: Beloved Hubster’s the baby in a family of four. Nothing bothers him. I’m a very sheltered lonely-only and everything bothers me.
Enter three sons where chaos, comedy and confusion collide. Oh, but how we love, love, l-o-v-e them. Oh, but the stories we can tell.
(Infer what you wish from the frame. See that sense of humor???)
One story comes from a time when we were adding on to our home. The upstairs of our house was an unfinished attic full of potential. (Where were Joanna and Chip when we needed them??? www.hgtv.com , www.magnoliamarket.com )
If you could’ve seen the look on my Mother’s face when we told her we were buying a two bedroom house–she thought we’d lost our marbles….We assured her we’d be adding on soon.
Finally the day came for the addition to begin. Our construction guys, in order not to keep traipsing thru’ the first floor, considerately built an outside staircase for them to come and go, in addition to delivering a precious portalet smack dab out front by the driveway. We’re talkin’ TWO terribly charming enhancement’s to the exterior of one’s home.
Anyone care to guess which of these was the most fascinating object to our boys? Yep. Literally, every day after school, the boys would bust out of my mini-van, and line-up to use the “outdoor facility”. (Checkout the above moniker pictured: “honey bucket.”)
The story sweetens a couple weeks later, thanks to an embarrassing phone call from Woody’s teacher. Seems his class had gone on a field trip where honey buckets happened to be lined up. Woody proudly and loudly announced to his fellow classmates, “We have one of these in our front yard and I use it every day.”
Naturally his teacher thought he was fibbin’ and felt she should address this problem with his parents. “No, ma’am.” I said, my face turning twelve shades of crimson. “He’s telling the truth.” Then I had to explain about the construction, blah, blah, blah. (S’pose we’d better add that children can humble you faster than you can say, “Well I’ll be…”)
Psalm 127:3 reminds us, that at the end of the day,
“Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.” Yes, they are a blessing to us parents and to so many others.
Most of the time…
But…what about the tough times? My friend Olivia taught me a never-truer-than-this-statement: “You’re only as happy as your unhappiest child.”
This week, I highly recommend two resources if you have a prodigal in your family or in a friendship. One’s a book and the other’s a Bible study.
The book is Prayers and Promises for Worried Parents: Hope for Your Prodigal. Help for You by Robert J. Morgan.
Many of you have read other books by Rob. This one is another one not to miss.
He offers an acronym for CALM: “Choosing to Abide in the Lord’s Mercies.” He candidly shares the prodigal he and his wife prayed for is one of their daughters.
“Don’t give up on your kids,
never stop praying, and
don’t give in to discouragement,
for ALL discouragement comes from the Devil.”
He added, “During our own period of anxious waiting, one primary source of encouragement enabled us to press on: God’s reliable Word.”
Every chapter is full of helpful Scripture verses, many of which are promises to claim. Lamentations 2:19 is a favorite: “Pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord for the lives of your children.”
Rob adds, “During my child’s prodigal period, I also had to deal with my wife Katrina’s debilitating illness, the financial drain we took on with sending our kids to college, and the demands of a growing ministry. One day I searched out verses about strength. That’s when I realized I didn’t have to bear it all. The Lord bears our burdens and imparts His strength.”
“Oh Lord, You are my strength and my shield…
My strength and my song…
My strength and my fortress…
My strength and my power…
You are the strength of my life…”
(Psalm 28:7, 118:14, 18:2; 2 Samuel 22:33, and Psalm 27:1)
Rob includes one hundred and eight chapters, each only a page or two long, short, and succinct. They come under these helpful headings:
(I’ve highlighted and dog-eared almost every page! You cannot imagine what a helpful resource this book is.)
The other recommendation is a Bible study I can’t quit talking about, written by Kristen Sauder, God rest her sweet soul. Praying for Your Prodigal: A Journey Through Luke 15. It’s a workbook rich in lesson, application, and encouragement I’ve studied thru’ numerous times over the years for numerous prodigals. (www.furtherstillfamilies.org )
While I’m still praying for some prodigals, many have come to know the Lord. We’re seeing spiritual fruit in their lives. Praises and more praises. God is so very good-n-gracious.
Let’s close with this amazing quote from J.I. Packer:
“Patience does not just grin and bear things, stoic-like, but accepts them cheerfully as therapeutic workouts planned by a heavenly trainer who is resolved to get you up to full fitness.”
Lace up those spiritual shoes of yours and pray!
Press on, dear friends…
‘Til next time!