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Prodigal Parents at Christmas

by stephanie reck  
12/09/2015 / Holidays

Christmas time is supposed to be the most wonder time of year, right? Sure, it is but as prodigal parents we often feel the sting of exposed and raw emotions at Christmas. We are surrounded by happy families at church singing Christmas carols that remind of us that are loved one is not with us. If I can admit something, going to church this time of year is hard for me. I love Jesus and I do enjoy going to church, but certain times of the year are hard for me to attend such as Christmas and Mother's Day. It is a reminder to me of what is missing in my life. I know we are not supposed to attend church for those reasons, but I cannot help that my heart is somewhere else during these times. I have a momma's heart, and when I do not know where my child is or when or if I will speak to him, it makes it a little difficult to put on a smiling face and walk through the church doors. I go masking my pain, but secretly I want someone to ask me, "Are you okay?" Sometimes I wish others knew what I needed, but that would make them mind readers, but seriously I want someone to reach out to me during this time and just ask me, "Can I pray with you or how are you coping with the holidays?" I think having a prodigal scares people off for some reason, or at least that is what happens to me. Maybe they think they will "catch it" too, like it is a disease or something.

I have learned to not have expectations in others, but to place ALL my hope in Jesus; not people. People will disappoint you! If you are reading this and you know someone who has a prodigal child do not be afraid to reach out to them, call them and offer prayer. Prayer is what a prodigal parent needs most, and you can even just send a text or an email to say that you are praying for them. But the reality is most of the time prodigal parents feel alone, ashamed, embarrassed, and fearful others are in judgement of them. Many prodigal parents isolate themselves because they do not feel they have anyone that can relate to them, or simply others do not make the effort to reach out to them. Yes, I believe we should help the homeless, the orphans, the widows but I always believe God cares about ALL the hurting people and that includes prodigal parents. I know this time of year can be especially difficult on prodigal parents. We simply may not feel festive, but we can still have joy that comes from Christ.

As I write this, I am not sure if I will see my prodigal for Christmas. All the unknowns of having a prodigal. I want so badly to start Christmas shopping for him, but what do you buy a prodigal who is in the "pigpen?" Oh, but a momma's heart so wants to buy him all the gifts I believe will make things all better. You see I did that before, last Christmas I bought him so many wonderful gifts and now I cannot even tell you where they are at. He recently moved and I do not even have an address for him to send a Christmas card. In my mind, I believed this Christmas would be different, but I say that every year. I just want to be normal and have a normal family, but what is normal? I know I sound like a spoiled child, but I want grandbabies to rock and to pass my faith to. I want, I want, but what does God want? He wants me to surrender ALL to Him, and trust Him through it all. He wants me to cleave to Him when I feel let down and abandoned by others. He wants me not to try and figure out when my son will come home or how. These are some pretty dark days, and all nuggets of hope for my son are no longer there; but I will CHOOSE to live by faith not by my sight. It looks not so good for my son right now, and this momma hurts for the consequences of his choices. But now this season for me is about letting go. I can no longer bail him out, give him unsolicited advice or counsel, or anything like. Why? Because it has fallen on hard soil. I need a miracle! I need a Christmas miracle just like the birth of Jesus Christ was. All of my efforts are useless and my strength in this battle has ended. I understand that I have to fully let God deal with my son. Painful? Yes. Necessary? Yes.

No matter if you have been waiting for your prodigal child a year or twenty, it is still one of the most difficult encounters you can experience. It will test your faith and bring you to your knees more than anything else. You will fight against bitterness, anger, unforgiveness, jealously, doubt, depression, despair, and weariness. You will feel misunderstood and will be rejected by many (even Christians!). What a journey you might say, but what can God do through our pain? Can He use it for good? He tells us in His word that He will, "God works out ALL things for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes." Romans 8:28

Just yesterday, I had a friend call me to tell me she is," SO hopeful for my son." I REALLY needed to hear that. Please, reach out to prodigal parents especially during this time of year. If you are a prodigal parent and you feel alone or need prayer and encouragement, send me an email: [email protected]

I would love to connect with you and encourage one another. You can also find me on Facebook: or through my blog:

Scriptures to believe and trust even when it looks dark:

I have seen his ways but I will heal him. I will guide him and restore comfort to him. Isaiah 57:18

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved, you and your household. Acts 16:31

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them. He delivers them from all their troubles. Psalm 34:17

Jesus heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:13

I have set the Lord always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Psalm 16:8

When I am afraid, I will trust in you. Psalm 56:3

Even though I walk through the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff; they comfort me. Psalm 23:4

Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken. Psalm 55:22

Stephanie R. Reck, LMSW, LBT, BCCC
Founder of Hope Ministry
[email protected]
Hope Ministry, @2020
Author of, "Disciplining Your Mind 30 Days to a Better You!"

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