“The Prodigal” Belong Lesson Parent Cue (Part 2)

What many parents want the most, what they desire when their children become adults, is to have a close relationship with them. They desire to be friends with their adult children and still be a part of their lives. But what does it take to get there? Because the reality is that not all of us adults have a great relationship with our parents. How can our relationship with our kids be different? One way is to make sure they know that there is a place they can always come back to.


By Sarah Anderson

I am a new mom. And like any parent learns when first beginning to navigate the uncharted waters of parenthood, the first few weeks, even months can often feel overwhelming. From the very beginning, you feel like you are at the cusp of something big, something huge when this little life enters the world, crashes in your world. All you want is so desperately to get it right, to not mess up, to raise up and grow a child who could one day achieve greatness—or at least stay out of trouble with the law.

Since becoming a mom I have found that my mind is full of ideas of what I hope my son becomes, what I hope he experiences, and what his dad and I can offer him. I could fill pages on what I wish for him. There is so much I want to impart to my little boy while he lives under my roof and under my care. And quite honestly a lifetime doesn’t seem long enough to make sure I give him all I have to give, teach him all I think to teach and show him all he deserves to see.

See, I know the days that Asher and I have where he lets me hold him and rock him will pass too quickly, and the day will come when he smells more like little boy than little baby, when time with his friends is valued more than time with me, when he barely lets me in his room and will hardly let me graze his cheek with a good night kiss. I know that the days we have together will pass quickly—some uneventfully, and others more dramatically. And I know he will grow and change slowly becoming a young man that will one day be released into a world that seems far too big to support him now, but may seem far too small to contain him later.

But the other night, as I was rocking Asher, and being soothed to sleep myself listening to the lullaby playlist his dad and I made for him before he was born, I found the culmination of all my hope and anxious anticipations for my little boy in a few lines from a song. Singer/songwriter Andrew Peterson sang:

“I love you today and I love you tomorrow

I love you as deep as the sea

I love you in joy and I love you in sorrow

You can always come home to me.”

(“You Can Always Come Home” by Andrew Peterson, from Slugs & Bugs & Lullabies)

Listening to a simple rhyme in a simple song, it hit me, more than any other time before; that there really is only one thing I want to make sure Asher takes with him. And this thing doesn’t change, not from tonight, as he curls up in his little footed onesie and still eighteen years from now in a cramped and filthy dorm room. There is one thing I want to make sure he knows beyond a shadow of a doubt—regardless of his age and where he lays his head at night.

He can come home to me. No matter what.

I know it can be easy to promise something so big when the one being promised to is still so little. He doesn’t yet know how to break my heart, disappoint me, challenge me or defy me. But I want him to be sure of this—I want him to rest in this and be confident in it and have unbridled hope— that he can do any of those things—and more—and believe my love and my acceptance hinges on nothing other than the fact that he is mine. And for that reason alone, he can always come home.

I love playing this song for Asher as he starts to fall asleep. I love that one of the last things he hears each night is that there will always be a safe place for him to land—come what may. But I know it doesn’t mean a whole lot if the way I love him, parent him, guide him and direct him is not done with that message at the crux. The day in and day out interactions with my baby boy are sending a message loud and clear, more than a sappy song played once a day does. And so, I find myself working every day to make sure that the way I talk to him, the way I spend time with him, the way I hold him, the way I comfort him, and the way I play with him sends a greater message than some aptly sung and well-written words can.

And for the days when I parent more out of frustration than grace, exhaustion than patience, confusion than certainty, I will keep the playlist from Asher’s early days close by, and maybe every once in awhile play him a song that conveys the message my parenting may fail to do every now and again. For those days, I hope he hears the lyric louder than my failings:

“I love you today and I love you tomorrow

I love you as deep as the sea

I love you in joy and I love you in sorrow

You can always come home to me.”

© 2010 Orange. All rights reserved.


We hope this resource will inspire you to have some great conversations with your kids this weekend and beyond.


J. Paulo Lopes

Youth Ministry Team



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