A Mother and Her Masks: The Story of Prodigal’s Mother — 26 Comments

  1. “Challenges are fertile soil for soul growth.” So very true. I never gave thought to the prodigal’s mother. Your post changed that this morning, which I so appreciate. May us moms come alongside one another, encouraging, uplifting, and praying for our families for “there but by the grace go I.” Beautiful post, Maryleigh.

    • I remember when I first wrote this post – I had to take off the mask, and it was terrifying. It was only when I took off the mask and was honest with myself and those around me that God’s help could actually help me. That season, waiting for prayers to be answered, was a miracle grow season for my soul – an oasis in a desert of challenge.

  2. Yes, God gives us a community to help us through times of need – and too often we pretend we are okay when we’re not. And too often we judge the people in our community rather than extending grace and encouragement. Great post – thanks for sharing!

    • It is when we take off the mask that God helps us most – because we cannot really be helped until we are honest with ourselves and those around us. So glad you came by, Kym! ~ Maryleigh

  3. I don’t know why I have never thought of the mother in this story, Maryleigh. I appreciate you bringing a woman’s perspective into the storyline. This is so true, “Do not blame his parents…Sometimes it is hard to make the smartest “man” in the room admit someone else knows better.”

    • I find myself hoping that she took the journey to become more than what she was before he left. She could only do that by leaning into God. I have found that my heart learned to love better as it broke for a lost child.

    • How you say that, Michele, is powerful insight! Not just self-esteem but identity. Peeling away is such a good word, too! What a good Father we have who doesn’t want to leave us with misplaced identities!

  4. I have not ‘seen’ this through her eyes, or if so, I had forgotten. Thank you for bringing her clearly as she is certainly part of the WHOLE story. I had forgotten about Sanctified Together. I too published a few posts on that wonderful publication.
    Maryleigh, that wedding ring quilt is absolutely stunning. I found myself distracted in looking at the quilt by those two masked marauders peering over the top!!

    • Linda, Alisa Hope Wagner does a wonderful job encouraging writers in the blogging community. The opportunities she extended definitely felt like a God-messenger pointing the way with what I wrote. The wedding ring quilt was made by my aunt’s mother-in-law – every stitch by hand, probably with her church quilting group. Her name was Grace. She also made the most delicious baked apples! Those marauders are my granddaughters as we read The Wind in the Willows – and Frog and Ratty were going through the spooky forest! One of my very favorite memories!

  5. I have been thinking about the mother of the prodigal lately, wishing we had a glimpse into her life. I so appreciated your take. Wearing a mask is something we do to be safe, but it is not good for us in the long run. I have seen the church harshly judge mothers of prodigals, keeping them from teaching others because their over 20 some child abandoned the faith. This is wrong. We don’t hold a mother responsible for the actions of her adult children. I wish all mothers of prodigals could be vulnerable and get encouragement and prayers from other moms, but sadly, I have friends who have been judged for having a prodigal. Thankfully we know that God sees mothers of Prodigals in a different light, having mercy, love, and grace towards them.

    • I believe a mother of a prodigal’s heart breaks for not just hers, but for the lost – because she knows how desperately she sees her child in all the lost then – and wants them all saved. Maybe she should be teaching after all!

    • When we experienced infertility, I wanted to know what Rebekah, Sarah and Hannah thought. As my sons grew to men, I wondered what Rebekah, Samson’s mother and the prodigal’s mother thought about the challenges they went through and how they handled/responded. I guess that’s where God wants us to find the answers from him.

  6. Maryleigh, I really have no words to describe my feelings reading your post. No one ever talks about the prodigal’s mother, yet he surely had one. You speak of her as from knowledge of walking with a prodigal, for mothers of prodigals know these things, shame, disappointment, judgment…gossip. But you also bring something we rarely hear enough of with regard to prodigals: HOPE. With two prodigals, hope often seems so far away for me. But this, “Taking off the mask is a step of faith – and the first step in a new journey that have the potential to grow you into more than you thought possible. God wastes nothing.” hits home for me, I never thought that removing my mask was a step of faith, but maybe it’s time. Thank you Maryleigh for speaking hope into my life today!

    • I believe, my friend, God has a redemption story for each of them. I lean into that daily. I asked someone a few years ago, how do you live joy when your children struggle? She said, “God will give you, give them more than Satan has taken.” I am believing with you and praying with you, rejoicing in the story God has planned. No shame, my friend. Jesus never cast shame on the father of the prodigal!

  7. i was just thinking this morning what a mess humankind is as i am making my way through Genesis. there’s nothing new under the sun, is there. thank you for bringing the prodigal son’s family to the table this week, Maryleigh. i’m guessing we can all resonate in one way or another.

  8. “Have faith enough to take off the mask! God will take care of everything else.” I loved your post, and I have never pondered about the mom in the prodigal story.

    I once put on many masks to hide the pain, embarrassment, past, etc. Honestly, I still have to fight it; it’s almost as if it’s habitual. But God took me to a place where it was impossible to mask up, and I learned to remove it.

    Thank you for sharing on Grace and Truth. I have shared your post on my Grace & Truth Pinterest board in hopes that many will read your beautiful words.

  9. This touched my heart. For the mothers of prodigals and as the mother of a prodigal who still lingers just outside the house, I know too much about the struggle not to remove the mask. It is the only way to survive well and help others.

    Thank you for your beautiful, encouraging words.


    • How I love this: “I know too much about the struggle not to remove the mask” – Praying for your prodigal to come in, my friend! Shalom, Maryleigh

  10. I always like this story. So confusing the first time I read it, but came to know that no matter our faults we can be loved by the Father. The work continues and the prayers, but Love is there.

    • What a beautiful love Jesus reveals in this story. I don’t think I understood it until I lived it! Shalom, Peabea! ~ Maryleigh

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