We desperately crave to be known and understood deep in our souls. Yet, we also struggle with wanting independence and our own way. We want to navigate our own journey and sometimes learn lessons the hard way. I think that’s why our souls find so much comfort in the parable of the Prodigal Son.

Having parented for two decades I find myself identifying with the father in this parable. I had to giggle at myself when I read verses 12-13, “The younger one said to his father, “Father, give me my share of the estate.” So he divided his property between them. Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.”

If I were to rewrite this, it would say,“so the younger son asked for his half, and the mom, out of her parental concern, asked 100 questions, warned of making foolish decisions, and then placed some healthy boundaries.”

Please tell me you’re giggling because you’d do the same! Apparently, the father divided the money and let him go. There seem to be no words or pleading from the father. He released control, allowed the son to experience his own journey, and learn some life lessons. Ooof….. that can be hard because we want to protect our loved ones from pain and hardship. We involve ourselves deeper and give ourselves more responsibility than we were meant to carry. This helps me understand free will in a deeper way and with a more tender heart. God has given us direction and truth for our own good, yet allows us to make decisions whether we make them good or bad.

We love the people in our lives and want to protect them. Sharing wisdom and truth is part of a healthy relationship. But we need to remember God has an individual calling and journey for each of us. Our responsibility is to share the truth in love. Then we pray and allow the Holy Spirit to work. Will those we love make bad choices sometimes? Sure! But the Holy Spirit will work in their life and our constant love will be a gift of grace.

When we release our control in others’ lives, we take ourselves and our desires out of the equation, and trust our Heavenly Father. Sometimes the journey back to Jesus is slow, but forgiveness is always immediate. God loves our loved ones more than we can comprehend and we can trust His plan and journey for their lives.

Bonnie Nichols

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