Saturday, June 12, 2010

Waiting for the prodigals...

Sorry for re-posting this. I posted it a about a week or so ago, and I took it down because I thought it was pretty terrible to tell people about how I really felt. I didn't want to be a bad witness. But... I don't want people to get the wrong idea about the Christian life. It isnt' perfect. We aren't perfect. And yes, sometimes we feel things or even do things that we wish we hadn't. We still have struggles. And that is exactly why we need a Savior. Not because we have it all together... but because we don't.

Luke 15:11-32 tells the story of the Prodigal Son. It is by far one of the most beloved stories in all of Scripture. Not only does it show an incredible picture of God's forgiveness... it also shows how God does not condemn or judge us when we return to Him. It is a story that tells of His amazing love for us.

Here is my prodigal story...
When I moved out at the age of 17... I took my mother with me, and she is still with me today. Wasn't my plan. But that's how it turned out. Now... Don't get me wrong. She spent many years babysitting for me. About 12 years. And believe me, that was not an easy task. As I look back now that I'm older, I see what a great sacrifice she made and how hard it was for her. But she would have never refused. Oh, how she loved me!

For the longest time, I couldn't say that. Sadly, my human side was in control for many years and I resented having to care for my mother. A horrible thing, I know. I was a spoiled, selfish, brat who only thought of herself. And at times I'm sure I thought she 'owed' me for taking care of her. But, oh.... how wrong I was. Had I been my own child I probably would have said 'No way!'

I spent many years trying to make my mother happy before I realized it would never happen, and it really wasn't my place to make her happy. (Another story, entirely!) Anyway, I think even then I was only trying to make her happy for me, not her. Does that make sense? Keeping her happy meant that I didn't have to deal with anything. But yet I did.

It's hard to admit, but I think I resented my brother and sisters as well. You see... she didn't live with them. She lived with me! I was the one who did everything for her. I was the one who drove her where she needed to go, I was the one who paid her doctor bills and took care of her. I was the one to deal with all of her moods. Me, me, me!!! (See how the selfish part kicks in?!)

I used to get so upset when she had extra time, money, or just stuff to give because the first ones she would think of were... yep... my brother and sisters. What was I? Wasn't I right in front of her? But yet she never thought of me. I felt as if she thought I didn't deserve it. I spent many years with hurt feelings. It was like nothing I did would ever be good enough. Yet my brother and sisters whom she never saw were always on her mind. And so came the many years of trying to please her.

Jump ahead a few years...

My oldest son has a hard time walking with the Lord. But it seems he has an easy time of going in the wrong direction. Over the last, maybe eight years, he has been the one who takes most of my thoughts, time, strength and energy. Well, he and my mother. But of all my children, he is the one I seem to think about, talk about and worry about the most. And it has come at a price. Ask any of my other children and I'm sure they will tell you that I spent most of my time concerned with my oldest son. I feel as if I've neglected my other children, deprived them in some way. And I have always felt guilty about that. Still do at times.

But God... (don't you just love those words?)... BUT GOD... in His wonderful mercy and grace, has brought healing in my heart. From the past and the present. The Prodigal Son is the story He used to show me. And this is how...

My mom has been to the doctors several times this month and it has caused me to really think of my life with her. I was worried she was very sick... she is quite fragile in her older age. And the thought of her preferring my siblings over me was heartbreaking. Not that I want to be preferred above them... I just want to be thought of as much as they are. I want to know that I matter to her. As I was praying for my mother before her doctor appointment, I was flooded with an overwhelming feeling of grief. What if something happens to her? Did she spend her whole life disapproving of me? How sad that at my age, I still have doubts of my mother's love for me. But God saw my heart. He heard the prayer that I could not pray. And He answered me.

All of a sudden... I knew! I knew! I finally knew why my mother's thoughts were always of my siblings. I finally knew why I spent so many years concerned with my oldest son. They were the Prodigals! And we were waiting for them to return! My mother didn't need to worry about me... I was right there in front of her. She knew I was safe. She knew I was cared for. She saw me every day and she KNEW. Just as I knew all of my other children were safe, and doing well, and making good choices. I KNEW they were ok... so I could take time to look for the one who wasn't there.

This was my heart before...

28"The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29But he answered his father, 'Look! All these years I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!'

Yep... that was me.

And this is what God showed me...

31" 'My son,' the father said, 'you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' "

How great is our God! There is nothing like family. I pray we all will keep looking and waiting for our prodigals to return.

Thanks for reading...
Mary Ann :)


Daenel T. said...

Wow! Such a powerfully written message. My mom and our church always referred to me as the "prodigal daughter" because I was the rebellious one. Although I don't always walk the straight path, I know that the prayers of my church family is forever with me and that it is because of the effectual, fervent prayers of those who love me that I am no longer "dead" but alive in Him.

Mary Ann said...

Amen! Isn't it great knowing that we have people praying for us? What a precious gift... God is good! Have a blessed day, Daenel! :)


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