The Prodigal’s Mom

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Several years ago, while I was away on a business trip, I received a call from my eighteen-year-old son, Kyle.

“Hey, Mom . . . guess what?”

Without giving me a chance to hazard a guess, his excited voice continued.

“I might be moving to Canada.”

Now to put things into perspective, Canada is a twenty-four hour plus flight, excluding stopovers, away from our home in sunny South Africa, way down at the bottom of the globe.

“Oh really,” came my chilly response. “I don’t think so.”

We’re all familiar with the parable of the Lost or Prodigal Son 

We’ve read the story and heard endless sermons about the father’s anguish or the older brother’s jealousy. But how many readers of this popular parable have stopped to spare a thought for the prodigal’s mother. I hadn’t. Until now.

Maybe his mother had already passed on from this life—the scriptures make no mention of her, and how many of us even pay any mind to the fact that this capricious young man could have had a mother. Perhaps she doesn’t feature because of the way ancient middle-eastern culture viewed their women. Perhaps it’s just because the father is really the central figure of this story.

Whatever the reasons why Jesus didn’t bring her into this tale, I’m convinced that the Prodigal’s mother was there all along. If we could read between the lines, we’d probably see her standing in the shadows, cringing at the mistakes she knew her son was about to make, trying to talk him out of his foolish ways, weeping before God to intervene and knock some semblance of common sense into her headstrong child.

I know I did.

And God did exactly that, but not in a way that we, as Kyle’s parents, would ever have thought to pray, nevertheless, in a way the Father knew would work a life-changing miracle.*

Doubtless the Prodigal was nothing more than an ordinary, willful teenager, determined to act upon an impulse, a momentary desire, regardless of the opinions or advice of those older and wiser―much like the teens of today.

Oh, we tried to caution our eighteen-year-old to look at the bigger picture, cautioning him that life cannot always be looked at through rose-coloured glasses. The result and unfair response: “You don’t support me in my dreams for the future!”

Nothing could have been further from the truth.

Like the Prodigal’s parents, I knew I had to let go and let God

Like the Prodigal’s parents, I knew I had to let go and let God, but the thought of my youngest setting off for a distant country pained me. I had visions of him squandering his earnings. Images where he, thankfully, does not literally live among the pigs, but has so much to learn about how not to live in the sty. Who would be there for him in this foreign country, urging him to learn how to pick up his clothes, pack away his washing, tidy the dishes, clean his own room?

His world was tinted with snowboarding shades and the hue of Raybans™ to match his designer job (the one he didn’t yet have). My mind, on the other hand, swam with concern over what he would eat and how he would cope when loneliness struck.

I prayed . . . 

My prayers, as I’m sure were the Prodigal’s parents, were that:

  • this whim would blow over (and it did). At the time, however, it was my deepest desire that if my son did get to Canada, he would prosper and not fail.
  • I prayed if God did open the door for him, that, hard as it would be, I’d send him off with tears and my blessing.
  • And I prayed that if it wasn’t the Father’s will, and he still chose to rush down this road of daredevilry, that when he finally came to his senses, he’d remember that home would always be a sunny spot at the bottom of his world.
  • I prayed he’d never forget that he could always come home to his father―and mother―who’d be waiting for him at the end of his journey. I’d be there, as I know in my heart the Prodigal’s mamma was, stoking up the fire and placing the fattened lamb on the spit.

God answered my prayers

* Soon after the Canada whim, God took Kyle to Cape Town for a year, a two-hour flight away from home. There his spiritual life blossomed, resulting in him dedicating his life to God in missions. Today, nearly six years later, he does live far away from home (and has for half that time)—first in Finland, and now in Hungary, doing full-time mission work.

Do you have a Prodigal son or daughter you’re praying for, waiting for?

Entrust them into those beautiful, nail-scarred hands—they’re the only hands that are able to keep them from falling, able to bring them back home again.

Marion Ueckermann

Marion’s passion for writing was sparked when she moved to Ireland with her family. Her love of travel has influenced her contemporary inspirational romances set in novel places. Marion and her husband again live in South Africa, but with two gorgeous grandsons hanging their hats at the house next door, their empty nest’s no longer so empty.

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2017-02-16T00:44:06+00:00 November 4th, 2016|Categories: Parenting, Prayer, Testimony|Tags: , , , , |12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. donevy July 10, 2014 at 3:18 pm - Reply

    Marion, These are very good thoughts. We have seven children, and odd as it may seem our youngest (the one that reads over my shoulder ) has been the hardest. We had the first six in ten years so they were really close. Most of them left ‘two by two’, or in a close environment. The youngest was born ten years after the sixth, and he’s kind of like an only child–no one to send him off with. All of my kids are somewhat niave and trusting…not good in today’s society. Probably never has been good in any society, actually. LOL Appreciated the good thoughts. Donevy~

    • Marion Ueckermann July 11, 2014 at 5:00 pm - Reply

      You’re a brave woman, Donevy, raising seven children. I don’t think I would have managed with more than the two sons I have, although they were fairly easy to bring up and didn’t give us too many gray hairs.

      And yes, being naïve and trusting, although wonderful characteristics, definitely causes us as parents to be concerned that our children will get hurt.

  2. Lisa Harris July 10, 2014 at 5:22 pm - Reply

    What a great reminder. I’ve never thought about the prodigal’s mom, though I’ve prayed many times for my kids and that they will follow the path God has laid out for them and will continue praying. It is so hard to let go, but what a joy when you see those seeds that were planted years ago begin to take root.

    • Marion Ueckermann July 11, 2014 at 5:01 pm - Reply

      Raising children keeps us on our knees, Lisa, but what a joy to seem them grow up and grow in the Lord.

      Only with God’s help can we say, “Job well done! Mission accomplished.”

  3. Sara Goff July 10, 2014 at 7:08 pm - Reply

    Beautiful post, Marion. Letting go takes incredible inner-strength!

    • Marion Ueckermann July 11, 2014 at 5:03 pm - Reply

      Absolutely, Sara. But by God’s grace, we can let go. It’s incredibly satisfying to look at your children and know that God has answered all those years of prayer.

    • LeAnne Hardy July 12, 2014 at 9:27 pm - Reply

      They are always your children, aren’t they? Even when they are grown. My biggest battles for trust have come since they left home.

      • Marion Ueckermann July 16, 2014 at 1:22 pm - Reply

        So true, LeAnne. That’s when we really have to let go and entrust them into God’s hands.

  4. Shirley July 11, 2014 at 7:10 am - Reply

    Thanks Marion. I really can’t use the word prodigal, but when my eldest, my beloved daughter, left South Africa and flew off to the jungles of Venezuela I felt distraught. She was going to be a missionary, along with her husband, and they took with them my only two grandchildren (at that time) aged 4 and 2. There was almost no internet connection and we had very little contact for the next several years. That was very hard, especially as I contracted cancer within a few weeks of their departure. But hey! The Lord stayed in control. They survived and so did we. And we’re looking forward to seeing them TOMORROW as they make their way from Benin, Africa, to spend two weeks with us. QUESTION: How to people cope with prodigals (or other MIA kids) without the Lord???

  5. Marion Ueckermann July 11, 2014 at 5:08 pm - Reply

    Shirl, I’m only just starting out on a road that you’ve been travelling for many years. At least our kids are going to give us many years of writing fodder … and gray hairs, although thankfully neither of us have gotten to the gray hairs part yet. Are we just tough, or do we have good hair color products?

    One has to wonder how people cope with raising prodigals without God. Even if they do seem to manage, where is their story at the end of the day? Will they ever have one to tell? Will their circumstance have a happy ending? With God, we can be assured that He works all things out for our good.

  6. Marcia Lee Laycock July 11, 2014 at 9:24 pm - Reply

    Oh Marion, I can so relate … seeing my 21 year old daughter board a plane for Bangladesh was one of the hardest moments of my life. But God taught me – and her – so much about trust in that time. Great post. thanks.
    Marcia

    • Marion Ueckermann July 11, 2014 at 11:03 pm - Reply

      Marcia, it’s so hard to wave them off into the unknown, but it’s incredible the peace that God gives us despite that circumstance. And isn’t entrusting them into His hands the best gift we could ever give them?

      I think you’d like my personal blog, A Pebble in my Pocket – A Journey into Missions. It’s as much my story, as it is Kyle’s.

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