Having a child wander from the faith can feel like a punch to the gut, especially if you did everything you could to raise them up in the faith. Lori Wildenberg reflects on her journey with a child in a season of wandering.

“There is a lot of grief with a prodigal. It stirs up feelings of guilt. We can often wonder if there was something we could have done differently.”

Lori says it can feel like you’re alone when your child is going through a season of wandering. However, statistics show it’s not really that uncommon.

“Most families of faith have at least one child who goes through a season of wandering.”

Prodigal parents often ask the why questions because deep down, they haven’t given up hope that they can fix their child.

“We’re almost hoping that if we could get an answer to our why questions then we feel like we could solve the problem.”

It’s tempting to ask the why questions, but Lori says there’s a better question we can be asking.

“Maybe rather than asking that, perhaps God is the one who wants to be in charge of fixing it, even though we would like to be. Maybe the question is how, not why? How can I respond to this difficult situation and how can I respond to my child in a way that demonstrate’s my unconditional love and honors God?”

Ultimately, as parents, we aren’t in complete control of the choices and lives of our children. It’s wise to not allow ourselves to get stuck asking the why questions, because they really don’t have answers. However, if we ask God, He will show us how we can respond to our children now.

Instead of focusing on why our child is a prodigal, Lori suggests parents focus on asking God how they can respond to their prodigal in a way that is honoring to God, leaving the results up to Him.


Lori Wildenberg is a national speaker, cofounder of the 1 Corinthians 13 parenting ministry, coauthor of three parenting books, and lead mentor mom for the Moms Together Facebook Community.

Key Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Featured Songs: The Lion and the Lamb – Leeland; Dry Bones – Lauren Daigle; Mighty Cross – Elevation Worship

Responding to your prodigal child

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