About Me

donniefishingThis is a story of my self I told my mom and she wrote it.The feeling of terror creeps back into my life. This time it is my son, not my former husband. However, the same elements are in place—the gun, the ever-present fear. I sit at my kitchen table and stare at the shards of light dancing in my coffee cup. The coffee is cold now. And the night wears on my nerves as I wait for my son to come home.
I cup my hands around the mug painted brightly with yellow daisies. When he was little, my son gave it to me for my birthday. He was always bringing me flowers. Usually, they were clenched in his small fist. Showing a toothless grin, he would say, “These are for you, Mama.” I would get down at eye-level with him and hug him. Then I would take the wilting wildflowers from his hand and place them in a jelly jar on my kitchen table.
I pour the cold coffee into the sink. My heart seems to be breaking as I remember the last few months. My teenager’s anger erupted over the least thing.
“This bike is no good” I remember him screaming as he slammed the 10-speed again and again into the ground until it lay in a crumpled heap. He had used the money he worked so hard for to buy the bike. But for some reason it wouldn’t work properly, and he became angry.
I cringed at his foul language—and I feared his hostility. One day in an angry rage, he rammed his fist through the door leading to the basement, and he shattered the mirror in his bedroom. His drinking was becoming a problem, but I didn’t know how to stop him.
The anger was so terribly familiar. His father had the same anger. It seethed for years under a cool exterior until he finally exploded and threatened my life with a loaded gun. My former husband’s life ended abruptly. He committed suicide while in a jail cell for threatening his wife. Now my son had stolen a gun from our bedroom closet, and the same anger boiled inside him.
I watched my husband Jim pace the living room floor. His brow furrowed in worry. “Where is he?” he asked.
I shrugged and glanced at the digital clock on the television. I, too, was exhausted from worrying. “It’s 1:30, and we still haven’t heard from him,” I said.
Many times I’d heard the phrase “Let go and let God.” I had worried for months over how to handle my son. Maybe it was time to turn my wandering son over to the Lord. This time, though, I knew I had to leave my child in God’s hands instead of taking him back.
I sat at the kitchen table, bowed my head and prayed. In that one moment I felt a complete peace wash over me as I turned my son over to the Lord.
“I am putting him totally and completely in God’s hands,” I told my husband. I crawled into bed knowing God was in control. Later, I felt my husband slip into bed.
Later. the ringing phone jarred us awake. Sleepily, I answered.  The police officer on the other end informed me that once again my teenager had broken the law and was in jail. This time he had started a fight with a bouncer in a hotel lounge. When the security people found the gun on him, they called in seven or eight police cars. I was relieved to learn the gun was unloaded, but it didn’t make the charges any less serious.
I have been praying about this,” my husband said after I hung up, “and I feel a real peace about what I’m about to say. I don’t think we should bail him out of jail again.”
A lump stuck in my throat. I swallowed over it. I knew, after all the times my son had been jailed for drunk driving, that my husband was right. But it was hard to turn away from my own flesh and blood. Yet I had to put my trust in God, and this time, I would not waver.
When my son called the next morning asking us to put up bail, my husband simply said, “We are through bailing you out of jail. This time you’ll have to get out on your own.” My husband sighed as he hung up. “He’s mad.”
I often wondered how a parent could not come to a child’s rescue. I had to learn the hard way that if I continued to get my child out of trouble, he would never take any responsibility for his own actions. And he would continue to get into trouble.DonnieHallA few days later my son came home. He didn’t speak to either of us except to say, “I’m moving out.” He and a friend loaded his car with my son’s belongings and left.
Several months went by before I heard from him again. He drove into the driveway, and I saw a blonde-haired girl by his side. He was smiling as he and the young woman walked into the house. The four of us sat down in the living room and talked. I was delighted to learn he wanted to get married. Although I had some well-founded apprehensions about his past anger, I certainly hoped he and his future wife would be happy.
As the days, weeks, and months flew by, I began to see a profound change in my married son. The angry young man who left our home seemed to melt away as he became involved with his new family. Eventually, to my great happiness, he turned his life over to God.
At one of our first Christmases together after his marriage, my son drove to the store with my husband. The cab of the truck was almost silent except for the radio playing softly. My son broke the quiet with an unexpected question. “Can you ever forgive me for the pain I put you through?” he asked.
My husband smiled and put his arm around him. “I’ve already forgiven you.”
I thank the Lord for bringing my wandering son home. And I thank my husband for having a forgiving spirit and welcoming my son home with compassion, just as the father of the biblical prodigal son did.
Oh yes, and my son still brings me flowers. That same Christmas, he brought a gorgeous poinsettia and set it on my kitchen table. Like a small child he said, “These are for you, Mama.”
Nanette Thorsen-Snipes has published articles, columns, and reprints in more than 50 publications and 45 compilation books including stories in three Guideposts book anthologies, the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and devotions in The New Women’s Devotional Bible.My Prodigal Son
By Nanette Thorsen-Snipes
© 2005