A few weeks ago, in one of my Facebook groups, a woman put out a call for prayer because her teenager left home before turning eighteen and they were hanging out with dangerous crowds. My heart immediately jerked and I wanted to lunge forward and give her a hug, because I know the feelings all too well.

I know the fears which rise up and the faith which grows in the journey. Her child returned, but I know many do not.

Below are words which poured out that day, modified for all of you who know the pain too. Whether you are a mom or dad, no doubt you worry about what choices your children make and no doubt you wonder, will they come to know the Lord as you so desperately desire them to?


I hear your heart, dear mama and dear papa. I am praying and my heart aches with you.

One of my sons left home at 17. It’s hard to see them go and even harder when they are making poor choices. I will pray for you now. If I may, I’d also like to offer a little encouragement. I hope this comes across with the care with which it is intended.

Every time you think of something which starts the fear to set in, remember to pray.

Remember to ask God to help your heart trust in Him because He created your child and He has plans for them. They don’t always make sense, but they are always intended to bring about good purposes in some crazy way.

Remember your prayers are never all for nothing, they are always all for something. No matter what the enemy says or how long it takes or what the outcomes may be, you are their parent. Your prayers matter.

Remember your child has their own choices to make and none of his choices make you a bad mom or dad.

Remember that if we didn’t each have our own choices we wouldn’t learn and we wouldn’t know how to truly love and be loved. God’s desire is to draw your child into a loving relationship with him. Sometimes that means allowing hard and scary circumstances. Even so, God is there. Pray they come to know His love and His presence.

Remember your Father God is their Father too. He can work out very hard things and very poor choices towards His glory still.

Father, I lift up the moms and dads to you now who know this hurt. I lift up their children to you with all these sisters-in-Christ here. Open the eyes of our children and soften their hearts to hear your voice.

Use this time to strengthen broken families in ways they can not even fathom today. Use this time to work your good in each heart and your glory over the whole situation.

Comfort and encourage those who love this child. Bring others around their children who can make a kingdom impact in their heart, ultimately for you. Amen.

I know this is terribly hard, I just want you to know God is in control. Whether or not we like what happens, He is never out of control. My now 19 year old was in his third or fourth vehicle accident and could have killed someone or himself, again. My mama’s heart wants to be scared often, but God continually reminds me of what I learned through fostering.

You see, when I cared for 13 kids in 15 months, and we had up to 12 in our home at one time, I had a lot of chaos, uncertainty, and destructiveness to deal with. When kids would ask me, “Are we going home? Are you going to adopt us?” my heart would break and I prayed and prayed, “God, what can I say to them?”

I was reminded over and over again that I just don’t have ultimate control over the decisions they make or the decisions others make which will impact their lives. I had to trust and lead by example so they would leave my home with some nuggets of our good God. Nuggets of knowing God was with them and they could trust him.

I told them that God was sad when others hurt them. I told them I didn’t know what was going to happen or where they would be. But, I would love them the best I could while they were with me and that the one person who would always, always, be with them was Jesus.

At that, it was like a huge weight lifted and a burden in parenting shifted. I had to trust God with my children’s futures. I had to learn to show love and nurture their hearts the best I could each day, knowing it may never be enough.

Something broke for me then and I felt greater freedom as a mom as a result.

I empathize with your pain to the degree I can and I want you to know, God sees. I pray your heart feels His presence in a very real way today. I also pray you find a close group of others in your community who can walk this journey with you. Cry with you. Pray with you. Just be with you.

God knows. God is listening. No matter what the enemy tries to tell you otherwise.

Carry on brave mama.

Carry on brave papa.

[tweetthis]If your heart has grieved when a child left home, know your pain is seen.[/tweetthis]

[tweetthis]Have a child who left home? Are you worried & praying? I’m praying too.[/tweetthis]

An Open Letter Child Left Home