Lies and betrayal replaced bedtime prayers as my precious ballerina daughter transformed into a rebellious stranger. Throughout high school she tested home rules, but college life offered additional freedoms too hard to resist. Following graduation, she moved in with her boyfriend and walked the path of a prodigal.
As she turned away from me and God, my heart shattered. I blamed myself and questioned my abilities as a Christian mother. Guilt, shame, and depression enveloped me. I cried and begged God for answers. Through the silence, I prayed.
I prayed like my daughter’s life depended on it because I believed it did. As Satan spoke lies into her life, I prayed truths. I inserted my daughter’s name into forty scriptures and prayed forty truths. Over and over, for four years.
Dear Lord, I pray my daughter will trust in You with all her heart and not depend on her own understanding. Guide her in seeking Your will in all she does, and show her which path to take. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Dear Lord, help my daughter to become a new person in Christ. Please remove her old life and let a new life begin. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
God hadn’t given up on her and neither would I. He loves the lost and proved it on the cross. They hold a special place in His heart as described in Luke 15. Love stories of lost coins, sheep, and children.
I wish I could share it was easy to pray and trust God. But I can’t. I failed most days. Frustration became a constant companion due to God’s silence. Prayer upon prayer, year after year. Had God heard me? God, how long do I wait and watch for her return? As long as necessary.
One November day in a parking lot, I answered my phone and heard miracle words. “Mom, I want to come home.” I listened as tears fell. My prodigal daughter wanted to start over. She wanted to come home.
In that parking lot, I experienced the power of a great God. I discovered the immense joy of an answered prayer that only God could orchestrate. He moved in my daughter’s life as only a powerful God could. I witnessed God being God. Parking lot praises began.
But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. (Luke 15:20)
Perhaps the father cried as he embraced his son during the precious reunion in Luke 15. I cried, prayed, and dusted my daughter’s bedroom in anticipation of her return. The father offered a robe, ring, and sandals as welcome home gifts. I placed fresh sheets on her bed and hung a gold wreath in her room to celebrate the holidays and happy homecomings.
She arrived broken and apprehensive with boxes, bags, and furniture. Lot of hugs accompanied the new hurdles we faced. Coming home didn’t translate to being healed. We needed to rebuild our relationship and earn trust again. More importantly, she needed to find her way back to her Heavenly Father. Much time and patience were required. God granted both to us.
On her first night home, my daughter asked me to pray for her. More miracle words. I prayed for wisdom and strength for our unknown future. And I praised God for being a God who hears and answers prayers, even in parking lots.
For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found. So they began to celebrate. (Luke 15:24)