What Lies Ahead: Forging a Life and Relationship: Return of the Prodigal, part 3

This is the third post in the Return of the Prodigal series.  If you haven’t read the first two posts, you can catch up on the Return of the Prodigal Part One: When You’re Standing at the End of the Long Road Home at http://lisamurrayonline.com/2015/07/return-of-the-prodigal-part-one-when-youre-waiting-at-the-end-of-the-long-road-home/.  Last week’s post, What Happens When God Calls You By Name, part two can be read here at http://lisamurrayonline.com/2015/07/what-happens-when-god-calls-you-by-name-return-of-the-prodigal-part-2/  This week we look at the road ahead and how we build a life and relationship.  I hope you enjoy!


I have these dreams that have been tucked away in my heart for some time. When the darkness steals in at night and I drift off to sleep, I often imagine what lies ahead. How he will grow. How he will build his life. I can close my eyes and envision a young, handsome man, growing strong and sure.


I dream that he stays, and that we build a life together.



I imagine a wedding out by the pond. There is a huge white tent covered with little white lights and there are the whitest white flowers you have ever seen. The coolness of the spring settles as the sun descends behind the willow trees. There is a beautiful girl all dressed in white and this man waiting for her, in love.




I imagine a life of lazy Sunday afternoons where the family converges after church to eat, relax and take a moment out of the week to remember they are family.


There are babies and smiles that bring so much joy. These are the things I imagine in my mind.


But these are my dreams. My dreams may or may not be his dreams. And my dreams may or may not be God’s plan for his life.


One of the lessons this life has taught me is that we as parents and step-parents are caretakers of these beautiful creatures for a season. For a season. Just as sure as the sun will rise over the pond out back and beckon to a new day, our children will grow up and they will carve out their own lives.


They will struggle. They will fall. They will laugh. They will succeed. And we will be there to celebrate with them, mourn with them, and encourage them every step of the way.


Yet this life is his life. This journey is his journey. He alone must discover his own destiny. He must find his own voice. He must forge his own faith.


How freeing to rememeber that I am not his god, nor am I his holy spirit.


I have found peace in recognizing that it was not me who began the good work, it was He who began the good work, and He will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus (Philipians 1:6, NASB).


The truth is, I don’t know what lies ahead.  As much as I’d like to at times, I cannot predict the future.  I cannot control others.  I cannot coerce outcomes.


This season leaves me with a  strange, welcoming calm.  I am finding my favorite place in his life.  I can gladly be his consultant, encourager and his cheerleader.  I can gladly offer a word of advice when it is requested.  I can even share a word of concern when I see a danger sign ahead.


And each day as I sit in the stillness of the morning while the cool breeze wafts gently and effortlessly through my soul, I will lift him to the Father in gratitude and say thanks for what has been — and for what lies ahead!


  1. This is such a perfect encouragement for me in this season of life, home with smaller children. Thanks so much Lisa for your wise words…I love this line: “I will lift him to the Father in gratitude and say thanks for what has been — and for what lies ahead!” You are so right. We have them FOR A SEASON, and while sometimes that leaves me bursting into tears, I remember today that it is good to look forward in hope, and to look up in thanks for both this season and the next. God bless you this Tuesday!

    • lisamurray

      July 28, 2015 at 8:46 AM

      I’m so glad you were encouraged by this post! Even with smaller children, it is so easy to hold our children tightly, perhaps a little too tightly at times, and to forget that we have these blessings for a season. The seasons that lie ahead are still beautiful – each season a blessing of its own, even the painful ones. For me, I must remember to lift them to the Father and release them to HIM!!! Blessings to you today, dear friend!

  2. Lisa, I literally felt peace settle in…
    How freeing to rememeber that I am not his god, nor am I his holy spirit.

    I have found peace in recognizing that it was not me who began the good work, it was He who began the good work, and He will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus (Philipians 1:6, NASB).
    Thank you for this post. How beautiful God weaves us together across the www. #Thankful for you.

    Hugs, Susan

    • lisamurray

      July 28, 2015 at 8:48 AM

      Always so honored to have you stop by! I am so glad you felt peace settle over you and glad that we get to be friends across all the miles! #thankfulrightbackforyou Blessings!

  3. Love, love, love this post! I feel exactly the same way about my daughter and was just thinking along these lines yesterday. How I long to protect her from every temptation that may come her way and to guide her into a softer, easier life than I’ve had. But I have to remember that my life and my mistakes are the platform for my testimony of God’s mercy, goodness and redemption. Who am I to deny my daughter the same? I instead must trust in His will for her life…whatever that will be.

    Dropping in from #IntentionalTuesday.



    • lisamurray

      July 30, 2015 at 7:51 AM

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this post! As parents, we are always tempted to protect, to guide, to “helicopter,” but we always have to remind ourselves that God is working in our children’s lives for His glory. We must trust God’s will for our children -whatever that is! Not easy. Blessings to you today!

  4. Beautiful message for parents.

  5. Lisa, I was starting to feel a little uneasy as you shared your dreams for you son, then you awoke from your dreamy state to the reality that we don’t get to write their stories. Our children are both grown and are fine followers of Christ. We are so grateful, but they follow their own drum beats. They aren’t copies of us. Before he was old enough for school, my son had definite ideas about what he wanted to wear, and my daughter didn’t want me playing with her hair. I quickly learned they were individuals, not dolls! That is a lesson every parent needs to learn. I’m glad you shared it!

    • lisamurray

      July 31, 2015 at 7:14 AM

      So glad you read past me dream-state into the reality. Sometimes reality is hard for parents – it doesn’t fit the mold they want or envision for their children’s lives or their lives. Our children do follow their own drum beats – and that is a good thing! We simply have to learn to hold them loosely and release them to God, to work and to do in their lives His good pleasure. They were His before they were ever ours! Blessings to you today!

  6. Lisa, I’m with Susan above. So freeing to remember we’re not the Holy Spirit! As I read this, peace drifted over my soul. What a beautiful message of trust and relinquishment! So good to remember that our dreams are just OUR dreams. My son is leaving home for college in August! #LiveFree

    • lisamurray

      July 31, 2015 at 7:17 AM

      I always love having you stop by! I’m so glad you enjoyed the message of trust and relinquishment! It’s much more enjoyable and peaceful to watch God work in our children’s lives! Praying for you as your son leaves for college! Blessings to you, friend!

  7. So beautifully put, this heart for your young one. Trusting God with the lives and choices of our sons and daughters is an act surrender. You show that so well in this post. A pleasure to catch the 3rd part of this series I’ve enjoyed so much. Linking at Thought-Provoking Thursdays.

    • lisamurray

      July 31, 2015 at 7:19 AM

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this series! This is the culmination and heart of the matter – to remember that I cannot be God to my children. I must surrender them to God and trust that He has them safely in His hands. Blessings to you!

  8. I love this! I have two sons and your words about being a caretaker for a season really touched me. The actual part of parenting when you have to set them free can feel like part of us is going with them. I am finding this new season has so much goodness in it but for this mom I am still learning to completely let go. Blessings!

    • lisamurray

      August 1, 2015 at 8:13 AM

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this post. Letting go is the hardest part of the parenting process and it is ongoing. There are moments when I recognize that I am starting to cling too tightly and I have to remind myself to release him to God and trust that God is working in his life. Blessings to you!

  9. I love this, Lisa. We are not the one who began the good work. God is the Author and the Finisher. What peace there is in knowing it is all in His hands. Thank you, Lisa, for sharing your heart at #IntentionalTuesday on Intentionally Pursuing. : )

    • lisamurray

      August 1, 2015 at 8:14 AM

      Yes, Crystal! There is peace knowing that my son’s life is in God’s hands. I can trust Him. He is working, even when I cannot see. Blessings to you today, friend!

  10. Thank you Lisa. I have had countless struggles with more than one prodigal son. One has found his identity in Christ and my heart rejoices, the other is still wandering and my heart aches. Your words are a soothing balm to my soul and exactly what I needed to hear today. I will never loose hope.

    • lisamurray

      August 1, 2015 at 8:18 AM

      So glad to have you stop by and share today! This parenting thing is so much more difficult than I ever imagined. We want so much for them, but they ultimately have to determine their own course. God is at work, will continue to be at work . Keep praying, keep loving, keep hoping! Love you!!

  11. Thank you for your comforting words. I have a child with special needs and I am constantly worrying about school and his future. I really should give it to God and pray to be the best parent I can be. Stopping by from the Sharefest!

    • lisamurray

      August 3, 2015 at 7:53 AM

      So glad to have you here! Raising a child with special needs is one of the greatest challenges for a parent! What hope to know that God is still in control of your child’s life and future! There is no guilt or condemnation – only grace for all of us! Blessings to you!

  12. Just read this post as I am struggling with a 17 year old daughter who has just announced she is bi sexual – all my dreams hopes etc have been smashed to dust, I am grieving for the hopes and dreams that I had for her life …, BUT I am not God, I have to let him do his work in her, I have to trust him to look after her and protect her, I will always be her mum and love her and be there for her this is not what I wanted for her life but I have no control. I have to let her go … Thank you for your words – I know I have read this years after the original post but want to thank you. I have just ordered your new book, because goodness me do I need peace at the moment ….
    Thank you

    • lisamurray

      July 29, 2016 at 8:00 AM

      Walking with and loving our children through such difficult and challenging circumstances is never easy. There have been times I thought the struggle of what to do would get the best of me. Yet in truth, the greatest peace I found was not in fighting with my children, not in trying coerce them manipulate them, but to hold my beliefs, my values in love and allow God to do His work in their lives. It doesn’t mean that I enable them, but it does mean that I step back and allow God to intervene. So glad you stopped by here today. Hope you love the book!

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