A Mother's Thankful Prayers

My son hadn’t spoken to me for two years, not since I divorced his dad. Prayer was all I had to help me find a way back into his life.

By Sheryl Smith-Rodgers, Blanco, Texas

As appeared in

Tomorrow was Thanksgiving, but I sure didn’t feel grateful. Dragging myself around the kitchen, I pulled my chocolate-swirled cheesecake out of the oven and set it on the counter to cool.

Not even its sweet aroma could get me in the holiday mood. It just made me think of my teenage son, Patrick, and how much he used to love digging into a thick slice. But he wouldn’t be at the table at my parents’ house. He didn’t want to have anything to do with me.

He had been giving me the silent treatment for nearly two and a half years. He was 15 when his father and I divorced, and he blamed me for it. The day I moved out, my daughter, Lindsey, came with me. Patrick didn’t. He didn’t even say goodbye. Whenever I called, he barely spoke.

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He blocked my e-mails. I invited him over for his favorite, sloppy joes–he ignored me. The only time I saw him was when I caught a glimpse of him driving his pickup truck around town, or when I dropped by the feed store where he worked.

I’d hoped that he could put aside his anger for Thanksgiving–didn’t he want to tease his little sister and fill up on turkey with cornbread dressing? But instead he volunteered to work at the store for his boss.

Patrick and I used to do everything together. I hadn’t gone back to work after he was born. I’d strap him in a pouch on my back when I took long hikes in the woods. I pulled him around in a little red wagon until we wore out the rubber wheels.

I baked for his holiday parties at school, read aloud to his class and chaperoned their field trips. After all those years of being such a big part of my son’s life, how was I supposed to be satisfied with getting tidbits about him from his sister?

Lord, I miss Patrick so much, I prayed. Can’t you help me be his mom again? Friends suggested buying him little gifts, or offering to take him out to dinner. I tried everything. But each attempt seemed to push him further away. Like the last time I’d seen him, a few weeks back…

That afternoon, fed up with all the ignored calls and e-mails, I’d driven to the feed store and found his pickup truck unlocked. I climbed in and waited for him to get off work. He can’t ignore me here. Maybe we can finally talk, I thought.

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But when Patrick came out and saw me in the front seat, his expression turned stony.

He slid behind the wheel. “Can you get out, please?” he said. It was more a statement than a question.

“Can we talk, Patrick?” I pleaded.

“I’m going to say it once more–please get out, Mother.” I shook my head. “Then do me a favor and lock both doors before you leave,” he snapped, sliding back out, slamming the door behind him. He climbed into a friend’s car and they sped away.

I sat there for a moment, shaking. Then I got out, pressed the lock button and slowly shut the door. Why did it feel like I was closing the door on a lot more than his truck?

No wonder I don’t feel thankful, I thought now, washing the cake batter from my bowls. What was it that my pastor had said last Sunday? He’d started out quoting I Thessalonians, “In everything give thanks.” Everything?

“Instead of asking God for things you want, try thanking him for what he’s given you,” he’d suggested. Okay, I thought, as I put the dishes in the rack to dry, what blessings had I overlooked in my desperation to reconnect with my son?

I could be thankful for all the time I’d spent with Patrick as he was growing up. I could be thankful that he was a good kid, that he was working hard in school, that he had some close friends.

I could be thankful for Lindsey and how supportive she’d been, and for the strong relationship she had with Patrick. I could be thankful that we were all healthy. There was a lot to remember. I decided to add thankfulness to my prayers.

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Your Comments (7)

I saw a site just a few days before that says about God and they try to say that God does not exist. learn more Now I am going to put a comment and with the comment I will show them this site. They deserve to see the power of God.

I saw myself and my son in this story. I, too, had a falling out with my son. It has been four long years. I never gave up hope. I prayed and talked to God about the situation. I sent cards, called, sent emails with no response. After reading this story, at 3 am, I said I can send an email with just general talk. I had finally given my son back to God in April,2013. I sent the email and I received a positive response.

I praise God and give him the glory due. Thank you for putting this story online. It was God talking to me. I never stopped trying. Libby

My son hasn't talked to me in over 6 years. His reasoning just doesn't add up. I love and miss him very much but I don't know what to do. i have reached out and been counselled by both lay and faith based therapists. He never responds when I write him or call him. I just don't know what to do and I feel like I am suffocating. Please help, this is killing me.

Hello Tim. Family rifts can certainly be confusing and hurtful. We encourage you to also post a prayer request at OurPrayer.org, where a trained volunteer will pray for your concerns and struggles.

Submitted by Crystal Von Rosenberg (not verified) on December 28, 2012 - 04:30.

I want to share one miracle that unfolded in my life. My parents divorced when I was in the 4th grade & I would visit my father rarely after the divorce. I loved him, but he was very distant & also living a very unethical life.
I loved Jesusearly on & prayed to him. My sister, mother & extended familywere my world. I knew in my heart even as a child to pray for my father with his set of problems & my mother who suffered from severe depression. I had one sister, Jackie Ann & we were inseparable.
Life rolled on as it does & I had very little contact with my Dad for years. In fact, his life had taken a terrible downward spiral. He was on drugs & alcohol & doing horrible things with his life. I found out more about my dad's lifestyle really by accident from a student that I taught in high school. I lost contact with my fathe, had married & moved to Germany with my husband & 2 sons. I receive a phone call from my father, Blackie. He said in a weak voice, that he was scared & very sick. He then went on to say that the doctor's didn't know for sure what he had. But,they thought it was Guillian Barre'. He woke up & couldn't feel his legs & could not walk.I was a teacher & nurse so I had heard of it & knew it was very serious disease.
I told him immediately that I was so sorry to hear that he was so sick & that I loved him. At that very moment, the phone dropped to floor of Charity Hospital & I could hear the nurses & my grandmother yelling that my father had stopped breathing. I literally heard the entire code blue in my apartment,but I felt helpless for just a one moment.Then, my faith kicked in & I immediately asked God to help me & him. Remember, I was still on the long distance phone call.
It was such a painful but delicate moment.Because the only thing that I knew to do, was just to get on my knees on the wooden floor in Army housing & PRAY!! I asked God to help him right then,not because he deserved it, but because I did not want my Dad to go to hell! I also called CBN prayer partners & told them everything & asked them to pray with me. I made it to my father's bedside after the Red Cross got me there,but only to see my Dad in a coma & then he awakened & I saw his FEAR!
My sister, Jackie & I told my Dad that God was trying to get his attention for years & we were here to stand in the gap for him & ask God to help him right here & now. I told him that I wanted him to go to Heaven & not Hell.I told him that I knew of his terrible lifestyle in detail & that I loved him anyway & I told him that God did, too. Tears poured down his face, but he could not speak due to the breathing tube. Of course ,my sister & I were just so affected. I remember trembling as I spoke to him. I asked him to nodd his head if he understood what I was saying, because he was now on life support. I led my DAD ,with Jackie in the sinners' prayer & asked God to help him in all his health needs & to forgive him all of his sins. My sister, Jackie added to the prayer. He had been in a coma for a little while, so I was so glad he had awakened & we could talk with him. He closed his eyes & slept for a few hours. Jackie & I continued to pray & we held hands in the waiting room & I asked God to assist him through the night. He made it that night, but went on to be bedridden in a nursing home for the next 8 years. He suffered so much. It was so difficult to visit. I look back today regarding that night & I am so amazed that my sister & I made it to his bedside. That he even reached me by phone. I was thankful to GOD for helping me at that terrible moment to remain calm & do what I know that he needed. Also, that I could pray that prayer with him. It was a minute in time that seemed to be in slow motion for me & that I will never forget. I hope to see my Dad in Heaven. My advice to any person with a loved one in your life that you are worried about their salvation is NEVER GIVE UP. God has a plan. God allowed me to be there for my Dad & I am so thankful for that.

Its been 9 years since i divorced my son's father. Its been 2years since Brett has moved in with him. Our relationship has only been on going arguments and disagreements. My ex is extremly bitter that i left him. He had sued me almost the same day as when my son moved in with him. I have stooped to the low level and said horrible things about my boys father. It has just been ongoing for so long and very frusterating. He man wont leave me alone. Our son only sees the good guy he puts on in front of him. Plus he has given him a car and no rules at all at home. Brett really runs that household. It breaks my heart as we were once so close and now he has shut me out of his life. My younger son is starting to follow in his footsteps but still at home with me. How do i get my son vack?

I'm not sure what I sent just a moment ago, but I would like to submit my story of forgiveness. Not sure this is the right way to do it, but here goes-

This story has been told by many that have gone before me – the survival of the fittest. The fittest being those that have survived abuse at the hands of a parent or spouse, and have come out the other side with some semblance of being a rational person.
My dad was not a pleasant man to be around whenever he drank, which was pretty much every evening whenever he got home from work. He was pretty abusive to my little brother and me. Our older sister and brother were spared much of this due to the fact that they several years older than we were.
As a way of escape, I married right after high school. This was a mistake, resulting in more abuse and a divorce. Thankfully, I found my soul-mate when I married for the second time. He is a loving man, who loves God with all his heart. We have three daughters. However; try as you may to forget those instances of chaos, known as your troubled childhood, they have a way of haunting your life. You find yourself with regrets whenever you have overreacted in a situation with your own children, and then had to tell them, “I’m truly sorry.” The enemy tells you, you are just like your father, even though, you are determined not to be anything like him.
To complicate matters, our youngest child was diagnosed as having ADHD at an early age. Heaven knows, that as a parent you have enough drama to deal with, without adding this situation into the mix. The battle of wills was a daily occurrence. I constantly asked myself, will I survive raising this child. More importantly; will this child survive my urge to treat them as I had been treated?” There is an old saying – “there go I, except for the grace of God.”

My redemption came whenever I was twelve-years-old. My mother had dropped me off at church so that I could sit with two of my friends from school. As the preacher began to give the invitation for salvation, I suddenly felt the urge to move to the center isle and go up front where the preacher was standing. He starting by asking me the questions we must all answer for ourselves prior to receiving our salvation.
A couple of weeks later I was baptized during the evening service. My dad waited in the car for my mother, little brother and I to come out of the church after the service was over. It was like I floating on air. However, my joy quickly diminished when my dad began mocking me. I sat in the back seat crying all the way home. My mother told me that my grandmother had said that my dad had been treated pretty badly as a child himself. I call it “the generational curse,” one of the enemy’s favorite tools to destroy families.
Several years later my dad’s redemption came a few months prior to his death. He had fallen and had to crawl on his belly to the kitchen to pull the wall phone down to the floor, so he could ask the operator to call an ambulance to take him to the VA hospital. My sister called to tell me that he was in the hospital, and asked if I would go with her to see him. I reluctantly agreed.
When we walked into the room my dad said to me, “God has given me a second chance.” I stopped dead in my tracks because he had always belittled me each time I had attempted to tell him about God in the past. My sister and I stayed until it was almost time for his evening meal. He asked us to come back later that same evening.

During our drive back to the hospital, neither my sister nor I spoke a word to each other. God was speaking to my heart, asking me to witness to my dad. I prayed, “Lord,” I can’t, he has always rejected everything I’ve ever tried to tell him, even accusing me of not really having a relationship with you.” Still, I felt so strongly God wanted me to do this. As we approached the hospital I prayed,” Lord,” if this is truly your will, then you will have to give me the words to say to him because, I’m at a loss for the right words.”
My dad was in a ward which was a large room that had six beds surrounded with curtains that sectioned off each man’s area. To my surprise, the room was totally quiet whenever we entered his area. My sister was on one side of his bed and I was on the other. I quietly asked him if he believed in God. He replied, “I think that God exists, but how can he forgive me for all of the really bad things I’ve done in my life?”
I told him that if we truly ask for forgiveness, it says in his word that he is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and then place them as far as the East is from the West, to remember them no more. Then I led him in a simple prayer as he asked for forgiveness and salvation. I really don’t remember much of what I said after that, but I do remember my dad’s face softening as he asked to say the first prayer I had ever heard him pray in my entire life. He prayed thanking God for what he had done for him.
The moment he stopped praying the other men began to make noises, a phone began to ring and a nurse came into the ward. I went into the bathroom, locked the door, fell to my knees and began praising God for what he had just done.

After he had recovered enough to leave the hospital my aunt had requested her pastor go by and visit with him from time to time. This same man preached my dad’s funeral. I was elated to hear him confirm that daddy had truly changed. What the enemy meant for harm and destruction, God turned into triumph. I will see my father again one day.
Lana Brown, 3037 Woodruff Creek Dr., Sherwood, AR 72120