Blindsided, a surprise attack, a shock. Have you ever experienced an unexpected hit?
You know, the kind where the earth moves under your feet and the sky tumbles down. When you have lost control. (And..not in a good way, Carol King.)
Sometimes it looks like betrayal.
Or perhaps it comes in the form of a devastating diagnosis.
Other times it has morphed into shocking behaviors, choices, decisions, or declarations.
Recently I heard about two different families who, “Never saw it coming.” Their worlds were rocked. Life moved from pretty normal to nightmarish.
The cause of the shake up? Their young adult.
So now what?
What is a parent to do? How is a mom or dad to act when their child has stepped off the expected path and is now walking the prodigal road?
Here are 9 ways to respond that may help families struggling with the heartbreak of being blindsided:
1. Love the rascal who has just delivered that sucker punch to your gut.
2. Be the vehicle which draws your child to the Lord rather than pushes him or her away.
3. Remind your child of his or her identity in Christ: Beloved, a child of God.
4. Avoid discussing “the thing” every time you are together.
5. Find ways to enjoy each other’s company.
6. Do not be cajoled into partaking in any activity or pressured into stating something that makes you uncomfortable or violates your conscience, convictions, or belief system.
7. Respect the prodigals right to believe or think differently from you. Expect the same respect in return. We can disagree and still love well.
8. Be the bridge builder in relationships to other family members and to the Lord.
9. PRAY. Pray boldly, without fear, for your young adult’s relationship with the Lord. After all this is the main issue, the “thing” isn’t really “the thing”. It’s just “a thing.”
“Father, draw my child to you. Do whatever it takes to bring him into your loving arms.”
No matter the issue we are facing, it is a distraction that could –if we allow it to–hinder our prayers. When discouragement, disappointment, depression, or despair begin to creep into our heart and mind–let’s fight back. We can use those feelings as a catalyst for prayer.
Remember… we serve a Great Big God. We have a savior who raised himself from the dead and walked out of his tomb on his own power. Nothing is too hard for our God; a God who sees everything. We have a God who is never blindsided.
Do not be anxious about anything,
but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God.
With faith, hope, and love,