We are thrilled to have our friend Judy Douglass as a guest writer today at Mothers of Daughters. She has a brand new book called “When You Love a Prodigal” available now where books are sold. This week she is hosting a FREE Webinar. The link to sign up is at the bottom of this post!
I’m a strong-willed, stubborn person. From the beginning. Just ask my family.
When I came to Christ at age 15, I made a purposeful exchange: “God, I choose your way, not mine.”
I thought it was settled. But by the next day I discovered that I would be making the choice—my way or God’s way?—every day, sometimes many times a day.
And so it has been. Apparently my stubborn self-will is deeply ingrained. Many times God has waited patiently for me to open my hands to let go of my way. Sometimes he applied a small crowbar to my clenched fists to precipitate surrender.
Wanting my own way seems to have been passed on as well. My first daughter looks like me (only taller, thinner and more beautiful). And has a fair amount of my temperament. Her only daughter looks like both of us, and is determined to rule her four brothers. You don’t get to choose what you hand down to your children.
God in His mercy and kindness sent me some help: a 10-year-old boy. That boy, coming from a troubled past, challenged my strong will daily, for many years. I lost my way in his waywardness.
Loving a prodigal revealed the depth of my desire to have my own way. My appeals to God often demanded or cajoled or bartered. Surely He would intervene and rescue our son—and us—from this agonizing journey.
God listened and received my prayers with love and grace. Then He reminded me that He had a better way.
The children of Israel had a similar problem. They were stubborn and self-willed. In Isaiah 30 the Lord Himself lays out a litany of their refusal to choose His way, of their ongoing rebellion, of their rejection of His plans.
Am I Willing?
Then He says these amazing words:
“In repentance and rest you will be saved, In quietness and trust is your strength. But you were not willing…. “(Isaiah 30:15).
Yes, that applies to my rebellious loved one. But I believe in this case God was speaking to me. Even yet I think I know what is best. Still I want God to do it my way. I don’t want to live with this pain. I don’t want to lose my child. I want to be free from fear and anxiety and hopelessness.
My Father offers rest and repentance, quietness and strength, what I need for this journey to surrender.
But too often, I am not willing. I want it my way. The less painful way. The easier way. My fingers are tightly clasped. Surrender seems unacceptable.
Slowly I learn: God’s way really is better than my way. He is patient but determined. He wants me to become the person He designed me to be. He wants me to be ready to do the good works He has prepared for me.
And just perhaps, this loved prodigal who has taken me where I did not want to go, who has revealed my own stubbornness, is the means by which God will accomplish His good purposes in me.
Am I willing?
Judy is the author of a brand new prayer resource called “When you Love a Prodigal.” She is offering a free webinar on Wednesday September 18 to discuss this powerful new resource.
Judy Douglass is a writer, speaker, encourager, advocate. She loves to encourage God’s children—especially His daughters—to be and do all God created them for. She partners with her husband, Steve, to lead Cru/Campus Crusade for Christ globally, is the author of six books and speaks all over the world. Her latest book, When You Love a Prodigal: 90 Days of Grace for the Wilderness, chronicles lessons learned on a prodigal journey. Known for her “realness,” Judy writes at www.judydouglass.com. You can find her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @judydouglass417. She has three children and nine grandchildren.