As I have taken the first few steps on my journey of parenting an adult, I have realized that my spirit and my heart are fighting a constant battle. The heart wants to make it all better. I tend to lead with my heart which I’m learning is not necessarily in alignment with what the Bible tells me.

Mercy and grace are some things that I want in my everyday life, that I have in my everyday life. God’s mercy and grace is upon us. That said, I struggle with smoothing everything over in the name of mercy and grace.

An episode of “That 70’s Show” comes to mind. In it, the parents finally catch the kids behaving inappropriately and the father brings down the hammer. Nailing windows shut, doing bed checks, sitting guard over curfew at the doors. The whole process brings about absolute misery in the house. Finally the mother announces that she wants her house back, her life back, and to do that they are going to pretend like nothing wrong happened and everyone is going back to normal. Then within a few seconds, everything goes back to normal and the credits run.

How I wish my life was like a television show.

Except you can’t pretend like nothing happened. You can’t parent with your eyes closed and you certainly can’t force everything to go back the way it was.

In Jesus’ parable of The Prodigal Son, we are reminded that it is always possible to come home. The father held his arms open wide and with such devotion and love announced a feast to celebrate the homecoming of his wayward child. A true testimony to God’s love for us and his grace.

Notice however that when the father addressed his other son, who was upset and concerned, the father assured him that he remembered that he was always with him. That he had never left him and that all the father had was his. While the father welcomed home his wayward son, he wasn’t ignoring the consequences of the son’s actions.

This is a reminder that regardless of what choices we make, we can always go home, we can always get a fresh start, but we aren’t free from the consequences of our actions.

When I dig into the subject, it’s hard as a parent. Having one child come to you and demand their inheritance, which is given upon one’s death typically, must hurt. I can’t imagine standing before my parent and basically wishing they were dead so that I could have money to do as I wanted. But this is the reality that the father had.

Instead of saying, “no, go clean out the camel shed and think twice about being rude,”the father gave his son what he asked for. Again I can’t imagine that father watching as his son left — my heart breaks just thinking of it.

Yet we are all that son in one way or another. We have all stood before God, our Father, and shamed him. We have asked for things that aren’t ours, done things that we knew better than to do… and yet his arms are wide open and his grace is good.

We will constantly find ourselves on the wrong side of this parable. Because while God gave us free will and forgiveness… he does not protect us from the consequences of our actions. We reap what we sow.

These are the battles we face in life. So as a parent, I have to base my approach on how our Father deals with us when we are wayward and disobedient… I need to follow what my spirit tells me versus what my heart says. My spirit says to hold strong to the Lord in my time of need. That everyone has to learn their own path. That you can love someone and not approve or accept their current path. Just like the father in the parable, you can send one out with love and know that one day, they will repent and return to the fold.

My spirit says that one day we come to our senses and return to our Father’s fold… just like the Prodigal Son.

— Kalynn Brazeal is a conservative, Christian wife/mom/country girl carrying around an MBA, several decades of business experience and a strong opinion. Now living in the remoteness of North Dakota, she continues to share her column on life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and cake. She can be reached by email at kmbrazeal@icloud.com.