This blog post actually began as a Facebook post. I decided to share it here after names began pouring in, both in the public comments and by private message. As new names continue to come in, I add them to my hand-written list in my distinctly girlish notebook. If you have a precious name you’d like me to add, you may leave it here, or you may access the “Contact Me” form on my website and slip it to me privately. Together, we can lighten the load.
One of the hardest battles a human being will face is that of a struggling child. Whether it’s physical, mental, social, or spiritual, nothing hurts quite like it.
For so long, my husband and I walked silently and, for the most part, alone through our journey with a prodigal son. If it had not been for a handful of older, wiser women that God placed in my path in those early years, I would have drowned. I know it. But God provided, and I did not drown. I survived.
Looking back, I know that one of the biggest, hardest parts of the journey is a horrid companion called Shame. It shouts and accuses. It blames and ridicules. It makes you feel like–well, like dirt. You’re embarrassed, humiliated and above all, plain terrified. You feel that your name is mostly Failure, and you feel that you are mostly alone.
I know that companion. I know that name. I know that feeling.
I learned that one of shame’s functions was to silence me, and the silence of shame brought isolation. When I finally got brave enough to begin naming my battle aloud to others, I was astounded to learn how very many other people were fighting the same battles. Were feeling, like me, isolated. Were feeling, like me, mostly failure.
What I’m going to say next is something that probably merits a blog post some day, but for now, I just want to tell you that while it’s been blood, sweat, tears, fears, and exhaustion, there is so very much good that this journey has wrought. There’s so much that our prodigal has taught us.
He’s led us deeper into the heart of God than we would have gone without him. He’s taught us more about the nature of God than we might have ever learned without him. He’s taught us to trust God and to live in hope and how to walk in a peace that passes all understanding. All of which we may not have quite mastered without him.
We are so very grateful for this son of ours and grateful for what he has given.
My purpose in writing today is to lay the ax to the root of a tree called Shame. I want you, parent of a prodigal, to know that you’re not alone. That it is possible to walk in supernatural peace. That it’s reasonable to live, every day, holding joy. That your name isn’t Failure, that Hope is alive, that God’s walking with you through the valley of a shadow called Death.
Today, I’m asking you to pray for our dearly-loved son. His name is Jordan.
Today, I’d like to pray for your dearly-loved, running kid. Feel free to slip his/her name in the comments below or in a private message. I will mention you both to God.
Warmly and in hope,
P. S. – I’ve decided to call this initiative the Prodigal Prayer Project, or #P3. It began with a mustard seed, a pen, and a small and simple prayer. A few loaves, a coupla fish, and folks are fed.