Back in January, I selected Perspective as my word-for-the-year. As the founder of a ministry outreach to parents struggling to set healthy boundaries with troubled adult children and the mother of a troubled adult child currently serving time in prison, it can be easy to lose perspective. Easy to lose sight of what—and Who really matters in the big picture of life.
As the New Year approaches, I feel called to shift my focus from Perspective to Prayer. To pray with intention, purpose, and expectation—for fellow parents, their struggling adult kids, and of course, for my own son.
When our children “officially” become adults, the pendulum of legal responsibility might change, but the responsibility of the heart never does. We love them with every fiber of our being regardless of the choices they make. We ache for their security, and we long for them to find their purpose and appreciate their gifts and blessings. We desperately want them to feel the peace, joy, grace, and love of God.
Our assignment to pray for our adult children has no expiration date. Moms and dads everywhere continue to go to their knees in passionate prayer for their kids regardless of their age or the state of their relationship.
I love my adult son, and I have many joyful memories of our times together. However, I’m one of many parents who have struggled for years with how and when to apply tough love. I’ve tried to fix, rescue, and change my son—to no avail. I’ve watched him hit bottom and bounce more than a few times. I’ve talked, cried, and prayed with him through inch-thick security glass, prison bars, and salty tears. I have felt the bitter sting of guilt, shame, fear, anger, and despair as a parent. In these desperate places, I’ve grown closer to the God who loves me—and my troubled adult child.
It doesn’t take a village to reach God. It takes one heart willing to stop for one minute to pray. One heart that is open to say, “God, please give me direction and peace. Please hear the longing of my soul. And God, please be with my adult child and keep him safe.”
We serve a God whose love, grace, goodness, and miraculous power are only a prayer away.
You may be blessed with a strong and healthy relationship with your adult child, or you might be in pain or quiet desperation. Either way, you can rest assured that God can and will show you His face and His love. We must believe unequivocally that God will hear and respond to our prayers for our children—in His time and according to His purpose.
But how can we ask God to give hope, peace, love, or direction to others when we ourselves are hopeless, restless, guilty, or lost? We can pray effectively for our adult children only when we pray effectively for ourselves. The two go hand in hand. Scripture teaches us that the prayer of a righteous man avails much.
We strengthen the bond of our relationships with our adult children when we come before God with prayerful, humble, repentant, teachable, and righteous hearts.
I invite you to join me in doing that now.
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it” (Isaiah 30:21 NIV).
Father God, thank You for the gift of Your Holy Spirit—the Spirit of truth. I’m so thankful I can lean on You with all of my heart, mind, and soul—even when I don’t understand.
Thank You for Your still, small voice, which heals my heart and transforms my life.
Jesus, help me to apply the “T” Step of SANITY and TRUST the voice of the Spirit. That will bring me closer to You and help me understand Your will and purpose for my life. May I hear Your voice clearly as I seek the truth, especially regarding my relationship with my troubled adult child. I think my relationship with my son is getting better, but I believe with more intentional prayer and enhanced discernment, it can become great.
God, help me find strength to make wise choices. Convict me of Your will for my life in all things. Give me a discerning mind, a kind heart, and a teachable spirit as I trust in You to tell me the way to walk and then joyfully walk in it. ~ Amen
Allison Bottke is a bestselling inspirational author whose international outreach includes over 34+ published non-fiction and fiction books, including the bestselling, award-winning Setting Boundaries series from Harvest House Publishers. Book one in her current series, Setting Boundaries with your Adult Children, has hit #1 in the Amazon.com “Parenting” category several times and is still being heralded as a landmark resource for parents and grandparents. The long-awaited follow-up to that book, How to Connect with Your Troubled Adult Children released in February of 2019 to critical acclaim. Allison’s weekly Podcast, SANITY Support with Allison Bottke will launch in late 2019. Over 500,000 copies of Allison’s books have been sold. Visit AllisonBottke.com