Dear Son, We all miss you. My heart aches with the knowledge that your choices have led you down this awful road that ended in a detention facility. I would do anything to fix your life for you, but I know that only you and the Lord can do that. I pray that your time in there will help you understand that real happiness can only come from doing what is right. Please know that we love you and are praying for you. Love, Mom P.S…Pray
My tears blurred the words on the page before me. In all honesty, I didn’t know what to say, didn’t know what to do that could fix things. The mother in me wanted to just make it all better, but I knew that this was something I couldn’t fix. My sixteen year-old son would have to do this on his own, with God’s forgiveness and help.
I hadn’t slept in so long. Exhaustion became normal as deep-rooted anxiety kept me agonizing and praying for my child. He was lost and very far off the path that he needed to be on. My pain was so all-encompassing, it felt a lot like grief. I guess in a way it was grief – for the son that I once knew who I could no longer see.
Big blue-green eyes, filled with mischief and humor, my thoughtful, kind little boy grew to be a teenager I never dreamed he would be. His choices brought him to a darker and darker way of living. I watched as he changed before my eyes, becoming unhappy, angry, and spiraling steadily downward. It was tearing our family apart, tearing my heart to shreds. I felt an overwhelming sense of guilt that I had made mistakes in raising him that brought him to this kind of life. Now all I could do to reach him was occasional visits and mail, which they allowed him to read, then took away.
Each day I began a new letter, tucking it into a card with a funny joke or a spiritual message. I prayed hard to know what to say, to know what my Father in Heaven would have me tell my son that would make a difference. With each letter, I felt inadequate in my words, but always ended with the same post script. “P.S…Pray”.
I received one letter from my son while he was incarcerated. “Dear Mom, I am so sorry for all the things I’ve done. I miss you all so much and I can’t wait to get out of here to start over. I love you so much. I’m reading my scriptures every day and I think this has been good for me. I needed to be here. I can’t wait to come home. P.S…I’m praying.”
Eventually, he was released and given probation. When he came home, my son had a new light in his eyes. He seemed focused and happy and appreciative. We welcomed him with open arms and soon his life was back on track.
And then he started slipping back into his old lifestyle again. At first it was little things, breaking small rules and charming his way out of things. But as time went on, I saw his whole countenance changing again. He looked dark, there’s no other way to describe it. His choices were allowing Satan to rule his life and once again, I knew he was very far off the path.
And so it went. For over a year, my child has slipped back and forth, in and out of trouble, each time with consequences that I hoped would be enough of a learning experience that he would finally learn. And each time he was in trouble, I prayed from the depth of my soul for some way to reach him, to help him. Time and again, I received the feeling that my son had to do this himself. All I could do was love him as Christ loves him, unconditionally. I repeatedly tell him how much I love him and how much God loves him and that would never, ever change. I know through prayer that this is the one thing I can do for him. And pray. I pray with him, I pray for him and I gently prompt him to pray.
I watch him struggle. It’s like watching someone try to swim for the first time, and not being able to help them. When he surfaces, I can see the light in his eyes, the hope and happiness that comes from living the way God wants us to. I pray harder and try to keep close with him, so that he never doubts my love.
One day we were talking about his time in detention. I asked him what it was like and he said it was one part like hell and one part like heaven. I asked him how on earth it could ever be like heaven and he said that with no distractions, nothing to do but read scripture and pray, it brought him closer to God than at any other time in his life. He told me how my letters made him so homesick, but he always looked for my little post script and it was like his compass. P.S…Pray.
We take it day by day now. We end each day with prayer as a family. I have definite hope that he will make it. He has so much good, so much potential to one day be a great man who walks with the Lord. He still makes mistakes, but one thing is constant throughout his life. It’s the thing I know makes a difference and the certain way to find the right path. I think it was the answer to my prayers for my child, the direction God gave me. It’s not the answer I thought I was looking for, but it’s the one God gave me.
Susan Farr Fahncke [email protected]
I am the founder and editor of 2TheHeart! I teach online writing workshops and especially love my group Angels2theheart! I am expecting my fourth child in May and still write when I find the time. This story will be featured in “God Answers Mom’s Prayers”, which I also helped edit! You can see this book and others that I either co-authored or contributed to on my web page: http://www.2theheart.com/susan_fahncke