In the 20-year journey of waiting for our prodigal daughter to return home to the Savior, many times I found myself totally spent of energy, exhausted and discouraged from the myriad challenges of Wendi’s deteriorating life. “How long, oh Lord, how long?”
A glimmer of hope triggered by any small, positive action or word by Wendi would send my spirit soaring, like a kite, to the heavens—only to be cruelly dashed to the ground a short time later as the grip of sin drew her into even deeper snares.
Up . . . down . . . up . . . down . . . my emotions soared and plummeted like a grossly mismanaged kite . . . that is, until midway through this two-decade-journey the Lord reminded me that Wendi’s struggle was not mine to “figure out” or manage. Her behavior sprang from a spiritual void in her soul; and until Jesus captured her heart, nothing I could do or say would change her behavior. Only the Holy Spirit had the power to reach into her hardening heart and change her life.
When I truly came to understand that fact, I let go of the strings by which I was trying to manipulate Wendi’s life, giving Jesus total control of this wind-buffeted journey. I had to relinquish control every single day. Whenever I tried to take back control, I’d consciously surrender Wendi back to the Lord: “Please reach into her heart, Dear Lord . . . awaken her soul . . . bring her home,” I would pray. Of course, as a mother, I’d help and guide when I could—but the burden of accomplishing her turnaround was lifted. That was God’s job.
My responsibility was to Pray, Lean, and Trust:
PRAY – The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working (James 5:16 – ESV)
LEAN – Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you (Psalm 55:22 – ESV)
TRUST – Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass (Ps. 37:5 – KJV)
Guess what! I have discovered in the years since Wendi’s return to the Savior, that Prayer, Leaning, & Trusting is just as crucial for me today as it was during that 20-year prodigal trial. I still find myself battling a propensity to fly the kite of life all by myself; yet, I’m happy to say that I now more quickly and readily turn things over to Him. I’ve crashed too many life-kites.
Do you have burdens? . . .
Worries . . . fears . . . pain . . . ?
Are you discouraged . . . saying, “How long, oh LORD?”
Then perhaps you can find rest in your difficulty (as I finally did during Wendi’s rebellion). Learn to Pray, Lean, and Trust your heavenly Father as you hand-over that burden to Him.