Grief is simply loss, spelled differently.  But grief is grief.  It doesn't necessarily take a death
of a loved one to cause you grief.  Many things can cause it, including the actions of a
wayward child. When you lose something you value, you grieve.

Over the last few weeks I have received numerous prayer requests from parents who are
grieving over their rebellious children.  With a rebellious child, you grieve over the loss of
control, as well as the loss of your dreams that you held in high hopes for that child. It’s
a different kind of grief, but it's still grief and your heart aches to the core.

The bonding process is a miraculous event. After my birth of my first grandchild,  my
daughter stared into her firstborn's eyes and made the comment, "I never had any idea you
could fall in love with someone so fast."

We spend so much time bonding with our children as they grow, yet, never in any child-
rearing books is there ever any instruction on how to let go. Bonding is a piece of cake.
Letting go tears out your heart. But in every home, there comes a time to let go.

When a child goes off to college, the parents have to let go. When a child marries, they
have to let go. The parent-child relationship changes. This doesn't mean we love them
less. It simply means we have to turn loose of some of the apron strings and let them fly on
their own.

The mommy-bird and the daddy-bird have to eventually push the baby-bird out of the nest
so they can learn to fly.  If not for this push, the baby-bird would never be able to make it on
its own, and mommy and daddy-birds don't live forever.  At some point, the baby-bird will be
on its own anyway, without its parents.  So this is a process of life that is very necessary.  
Just as necessary as teaching a child how to tie his shoes and cut up his own meat.

Sometimes, a child decides to leap from the nest too early. He isn't ready to fly and he isn't
ready to take on all of  life's responsibilities on his own. Only, the child doesn't know that.
What if he's extremely rebellious and nothing the parent does seems to matter?   What if he
gets involved with the wrong crowd?   With drugs?   With other illegal activity?   What if he
ends up in jail?   Who is really in control here?   What can a parent do?

For those of you who are facing similar circumstances and are at a loss, I want to offer you
some things to think and pray about.  I dont list them lightly, as I have been in similar shoes.
You see, I have walked many miles in these shoes. My son left the nest early and joined a
rather nasty flock.  The drug culture lured him with quick money, fast living, a fantasy
lifestyle, and false friends.  He ended up with HIV and he eventually ended up in prison.

I had tried everything. Literally.  Finally, I was forced to accept the fact that my son was
making his own choices, and thus, he had to face his own consequences. I couldn't fix
things for him any longer because when I tried, it only reinforced his rebellion. There came
a time that I finally realized I simply had to let go. Totally.  It didn't mean I loved him any
less, it just meant I had to let go. To keep my sanity during this loss, I had to accept some
realities.  I'll share them with you now.

First, remember that you are not your child's parent for only 18 years.  You are their parent
for life.  This isn't a test and you aren't graded as passing or failing parenthood if your child
screws up before he's 18. There WILL come a day when this will be behind you.  I promise.

Second, know that you are not alone.  Millions of parents are facing similar circumstances
and are just as grieved as you are.  Many have children in even worse circumstances.
Remember that as long as your child is still breathing, there is still hope.

Third, consider how much you love your child. Yes, you have been angry and frustrated,
but you do still love them.  Grade your love for that child on a scale of 1 to 10.  Now, think
of God's love. Where does His love for your child rank on that same scale?  If you ranked
His love as a 10, then you have the wrong scale. God's love does not fit on the same scale
as your own love for your child.

God is love. He created love. His love is pure and perfect. He loves you and He loves your
child more than you could ever dream of loving that child.  He not only loves them so much
more than you do, but He can love them in ways that you and I cannot even fathom.  For
you see, He knows your child from the inside out, and will love them from the inside out.  
We can't fully grasp that concept because we are incapable of that depth of love. Only God
can love like that because He IS love.

When I reached the end of my rope, realizing I had no options left, I knew there was only
one thing left for me to do and I did it fervently.  I prayed.  I still pray for my son daily, and
this is my prayer:

Dear God in Heaven,

You love my son more than I, which is unimaginable to me, for I can't picture anyone loving
him more than I do. I know you are a God of Love and that because you created Love, my
mortal brain cannot understand all of your ways. I also know that you love him from the
inside out. You love him in ways I cannot and in places I cannot. You can reach him any
moment of any day and speak to his heart and soul when my words don't even seem to
reach his ears.

I lift up my son to you, Dear Lord. Take your loving hands and accept him into your care.
Lift him up from me so that I can not intervene in your Divine ways as you work a miracle in
his heart.  Speak to him in ways that I cannot. Bind my hands that I cannot pull him back
from you until your work is complete. Give me the strength to endure, and that peace of
knowing that you are in control. Thank you for your abiding faithfulness and for hearing and
answering my prayer. I ask these things in Jesus' name. Amen.

Letting go is never easy. It's even harder when everything inside of us tells us to hang on
tighter. A dear friend once told me, "Sometimes we have to let go, so God can do his thing."
There is some substance to the old saying of "Let Go and Let God".  I'm not saying it's
easy, but if you will continue in your prayers, God will give you that strength.

In my case, miracles certainly didn't happen overnight, but now that I can look back with
some hindsight, I can see that miracles are happening. The son I thought was lost forever
has been returned to me. He now looks at life with a new perspective, one of truth, and one
of reality. Okay, so it took more than 30 years, but miracles DO still happen!

God never said we would have a life without trials. But He did say that we would never
have to go through them alone. He will walk beside you every step of the way if you let Him.

May God bless you through your trials as He has blessed me during mine.
When you're grieving
a wayward child ...
© Ferna Lary Mills
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