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The Wayward Child

The Wayward Child

Encouraging a Mom's Heart
By Vanessa Bonilla
“I know in my mind that God is good and that He saves, but I just don’t believe it.”
These words from my child pierced through my heart like a jagged sword, ripping me apart as it penetrated the deepest parts of my identity as a mother. My thoughts overwhelmed me:
“I definitely didn’t pray for her enough! I shouldn’t have stopped doing morning Bible studies with the kids! Why did I say yes to the ministry? This is the consequence of not prioritizing my home.”
I went into a spiral, losing myself in guilt and shame. Then, I remembered that God is not a God who shames us or hands us over to guilt. Rather, He is filled with grace and mercy. He quieted my spinning mind and drew me near to His heart. He gave me the space I needed to mourn the deception in my child’s mind, and then He reminded me that He has the answers.
Mom, if you are in the midst of seeing your child lost in false ideas, attitudes, or heart conditions, allow what God has spoken into my heart to encourage yours.
Pray for wisdom - As parents, we have so many decisions to make. We have to decide to enforce discipline or show grace, to loosen the grip or tighten it, to engage in conversation or remain silent. As the years go by, we sometimes get lost in the ocean of our decisions and can forget that every decision needs to be in obedience to the wisdom of God.
Moses is a great example for us as he led the people of Israel through the desert. In two instances, we see Moses going to the Lord for a solution on how to quench the thirst of the Israelites. In Exodus 17, God tells him to strike a rock and water will begin to flow from it. In Numbers 20, He tells Moses to speak to the rock for the water to flow. Unfortunately, Moses’ frustration got the better of him the second time around, and instead of obeying what God most recently said, he hit the rock. This disobedience to God’s instructions kept him from entering the Promised Land.
We have access to the wisdom of God, and we have the Holy Spirit to empower us to follow through. Let us not get comfortable in yesterday's directions and earnestly seek God’s wisdom for today.
Forgive again and again - After an altercation with my child, I often wake up the next morning holding on to the pain of yesterday's words. I cling to my hurt as if a cold shoulder or a glare first thing in the morning would be helpful to my wayward child. All my vengeance actually does is shine a light into the depths of sin in my own heart.
While I’m pouring out condemnation, my heavenly Father is pouring out grace. My Father is trading my sins for undeserved, unconditional grace. His grace frees me from the bondage of my sin, while I throw my child in a prison of shame. That realization brought me to my knees in repentance and moved me to show the forgiveness and mercy I have been shown.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19 says, “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.”
Let us pray as Jesus prayed, “forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven our debtors", letting go of both the wrong and the resentment.
Thank God - 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” It’s so easy to focus on the worst in a situation, but God wants us to refocus our attention on thanksgiving. Thank God for the strength He’s providing to keep praying, keep pushing and keep loving. Thank Him for loving your child and having grace and mercy in his or her life. Thank Him for the good times you share with your child and the memories you create. Live in joy and expectation, not defeat and worry.
Fellow mom, know that you are not alone. Let’s keep fighting this good fight, but let’s also fight right: on our knees. Remember God’s love for our children will always be greater than our own. He loves them, knows them, and wants what’s best for them, so let’s trust Him.
Helpful Additions to Your Quiet Time:
Music: "Truth I’m Standing On" by Leanna Crawford 
"Believe For It" by CeCe Winans
Book: Praying for Your Children by Elmer L Town and David Early
Journaling: 10 ways I can show love in the midst of pain
  About Vanessa: Lives with her husband, Eli, in Brooklyn, NY where she homeschools their five children. Vanessa is also the Children’s Director at her church, and she loves fire pits, friends, and spending time with her family.

1 comment on The Wayward Child

  • Nicole Schrader
    Nicole SchraderJune 09, 2022

    Dear Vanessa,
    I know your struggle and pray as you pray for the salvation of your children. I learned, as my own children grew, that they needed a Savior just as I did and God’s plan for their lives is not my plan. He calls us all to come! We pray for ears that hear, eyes that see, and soft hearts to receive the good grace we don’t—none of us—deserve. Keep hoping. Keep praying. Keep sharing your faith transparently with your children. I will pray with you. Thank you for sharing from your heart. Nicole

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