Jennifer Maggio is considered a leading authority on single parents and womens issues. She is an award-winning author and speaker who draws from her own experiences through abuse, homelessness, and teen pregnancy to inspire audiences everywhere. She is founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries and writes for dozens of publications. She has been featured with hundreds of media outlets, including The 700 Club, Daystar Television, Moody Radio, Focus on the Family, and many more. For more information, visit thelifeofasinglemom.com.
I was recently having coffee with a good friend, and I was sharing of a choice that one of my children made that I wasn’t very happy with. I had taken that one incident in their life and turned it into a worst-case scenario. I began to cry and talked to her about my fears that my child would never get on track or that choice would lead to another and then another and eventually, the child somehow would spiral out of control and there would be no hope. The conversation went on and on, and by the time I was done, I was a blubbering mess. (I can be a tad dramatic).
My friend pulled up her social media later that day and sent me a post written by a young man whose life was forever changed by the King of Kings. I shook as I read it. It inspired me, and I knew it was written to inspire you, too. I want to share it with you here:
I woke up this morning, praying and thinking about the absence of the voice of a father in my life and how lost it left me – the dope, the crime, the search for identity, acceptance, and affirmation at any cost. I thought of the pain I endured and the pain I inflicted, just madness. I began to ask God, “Where were you then?” and He began to ask me “Why weren’t you listening?” He, then began to remind me of that voice, that voice I heard laying in bed 30 days into my first little vacation to the county prison. “If you don’t live my way, you’re going to live in this bed!” It was that same voice that would remind of the next, and what felt like million times afterwards, when I’d get arrested and wake up in that same place. “I told you so, just listen to me,” I would hear. Or the times I’d get myself into situations that I shouldn’t have walked out of, people with guns drawn and murder in their eyes…yet somehow, they ran, as if they had seen a ghost or an angel. And I was left with an “I’m still here.” Then, the final time, when I was at the point of giving up, on kicking my addiction, I was mistakenly given a court date that sentenced me to a rehab program instead of prison, and I was told, “It’s gonna be ok, I’ve got you.” I’m noticing now the voice of a father wasn’t what I was lacking, it was the ear of a son. He was always speaking, but I was never listening and yet he continued to pursue and love me. That’s a Father! And for that I’m forever grateful. God in His holy dwelling is a father of the fatherless and a champion of widows. (Psalms 68:5 HCSB) To all those out there who grew up without a daddy at home, listen up! Your Daddy in Heaven is speaking. He’s good. He loves you. – Chris
Chris praying with a new friend
As I was sitting there reading this heartfelt story of a life changed, tears streamed down my face, because my friend would’ve had no way of knowing that this young man, this twenty-something named Chris, was someone I had prayed for years earlier.
I didn’t know him, but I had been in a Bible study with his mother when she shared about how broken her heart was for her son. This guy made a miraculous turnaround in his life through the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and every chain that he lived in was broken. I’m sure the journey was long and there is much more to the story. But he went on to marry an amazing young lady and he graduated from a ministry school program in his local church, and he’s living a rich, full life for the Lord.
And the Lord was faithful to show me this story at a time when I needed some encouragement. Maybe you are there, today, and need that same encouragement.
I know there are single moms out there who will read this and cannot comprehend having your son or daughter go off track in their walk with the Lord. Maybe you are parenting young children, and it just doesn’t seem possible. Or maybe you have gone through those tough teen and young adult years, and your child simply never strayed. To God be the glory.
But there are others who are reading this through tears and you struggle with a teen or young adult who is off track. Maybe it is one or two bad decisions and you fear it could get worse. Or maybe there are many, many bad decisions and your child has become a full-blown prodigal. Maybe you are beating yourself up, as a single mom, wondering if it is something you did wrong or a thousand wrong choices you made. You fear that everything your child went through, and the father wound left by a dad who wasn’t around, will forever scar him or her and they‘ll never recover. You worry that although you pray day and night, you may never see the fruit, and that he is too far lost now. Maybe you fear that God doesn’t hear you or that prayers are falling on deaf ears.
Moms, don’t you ever stop praying. Don’t you ever stop praying, day and night, without ceasing, believing that the Lord hears your cries. Continue, even in the darkest, hardest moment, when there is no earthly evidence that your son will serve God, keep believing he will. Keep journaling and praying God’s promises over that daughter who has strayed. For the Lord your God is faithful. He will hear. He will see. Keep pressing, keep praying, keep pushing. God sees.
Editor's Note: Here is a prayer you can pray for when your child runs from God:
Lord, hear my cry. Help me in these dark moments to recall your faithfulness to me and my children. Help me trust that You will return my child back to You. Father, it is hard to imagine that my child will ever serve You- but You promise to always be faithful and to never forsake Your children! Lord, let that promise be true for my child. I pray today that my child would feel Your Spirit's leading and not turn away, but lean into You. Give me the strength to endure and help me show my child Your love at every opportunity. In Jesus' Name, Amen!
Jennifer Maggio is an award-winning author and speaker whose love for Christ motivates her to see His children living in freedom. She is Chief Executive Officer of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries, wife of Jeff, and mother of three children. For more information, visit www.thelifeofasinglemom.com.