Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Soldiers of the Cross

The design and message for this blog is God-inspired. His words from Ephesians 6 prompted the picture. On the design underneath the pink bar called Pages is a section About Us; it gives a brief description of the MP history. Below is a detailed account about a brief period in my life and the beginnings of this blog.

In the darkened pre-dawn hour, while lifting weights to strengthen my spine and arms, I encountered a scriptural “light bulb” moment. “He trains my hands to make war.” Psalm 18:34 (NKJV). The literal image of training for battle convinced me of my calling as I found myself in God’s gym. “Without a doubt, God, you’re preparing me for a fight,” I shouted.

Lifting weights became a necessary chore after experiencing back problems, so I added it to my morning routine before work: coffee, prayer, devotions, and exercise. Following that enlightened time with God, determination flooded my soul as I stood resolute about my purpose in life. I must become a spiritual trainer so that God’s earthly army will be equipped to fight the good fight of faith.

God’s call is now clear when reflecting on my life, yet it took my dad’s death for me to recognize it. Numbly gazing at the church’s picture window during the funeral, I felt God speaking to my tearful soul while the congregation sang one of my dad’s favorite hymns “A Mighty Fortress is our God.” The words from the song filled my mind with a compelling message—God fights by our side with spiritual weapons if Satan takes everything away from us. “Is that what’s happening to me, God?” I asked. “First I lose my relationship with my daughter to a controlling boyfriend and now I lose my dad to death. How much do You think I can take?” Tears fell. “Help me, God,” my soul cried.

The summer of 2005 felt like hell on earth. My dad, pastor of a Lutheran church and loving patriarch of our family, was gone––dead. Our daughter nearly vanished as she allowed a boyfriend to control her life. Anguish triggered exhaustion, paralyzing me.

Aware of my despair, my friends and spiritual sisters began praying me through this wilderness season. At work when they saw my pain, they pulled me into a room and prayed. They spoke God’s words of healing and promise, enabling me to stand in the stormy circumstances. They stood by my side as I waited for God’s answers.

Through daily devotions my faithful God met me with the comforting love of a perfect Father. Unexpectedly one morning in February 2006, He gave me direction and purpose. Speaking to my heart, He said, “Deborah, you’re going to fight for my church.”  In an instant I visualized the letters MP on my sleeve. “MP—what’s that?” I asked. I immediately thought military police, then I concluded with mothers and prodigals. “Oh my, what is this all about?” I asked. Only later would I realize God enlisted me into military training that very day.

Allowing God’s call to infuse my mind startled me. Fight, I thought. I don’t even like confrontation, yet I clearly needed to help gain my daughter’s freedom. The notion gave me hope. “How do I enter this battle?” I asked. He answered me with Ephesians 6:11-13 (NIV). “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”

All of a sudden it became clear to me that Satan desires to destroy lives. His best attack on families is through children. With this realization, God began showing me mothers whose hearts were breaking over childrens’ damaging choices. I understood their pain. A wrestling spirit rose up within me and I yearned for a fight. Now aware of the battle happening in the heavenlies, the armor of God in Ephesians 6 became essential. I enlisted an army of mothers to suit up in prayer as I shared God’s teachings from Ephesians. Weekly we met before work ready for battle. The power of God galvanized a fighting spirit within our group.

God’s battle plan stood before me. “Stand firm” became my mantra. My memory released a hymn from my teenager years that became my motto, “Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus.” As a “soldier of the cross” God called me to “lift high His royal banner” and fight “till every foe is vanquished” and live it, not just sing it. He summoned me as His standard-bearer to set the course, wave the banner, and give the rallying cry—STAND FIRM.

His plan for my life advanced. Returning to visit my mom, I stumbled upon some of my dad’s religious resources and discovered a book entitled All the Women of the Bible by Edith Deen. My dad’s handwriting filled several margins of a section entitled “Deborah.” As I studied the Deborah of the Bible, I discovered her to be a warrior and a mother of Israel because she counseled people, judged disputes, and delivered Israel in time of war. Relying on God, she inspired many to trust Him. Gaining knowledge about the Deborah of the Bible confirmed my own purpose. My heart desired to console and empower others with the healing and strength I received from God through friends. 

God directed my path as I implemented His plan. Accumulating email addresses of friends and hurting mothers, I sent out prayer lists and uplifting devotions. My aim was to shower them with God’s promises while encouraging them to fight. We became mothers for prodigals or MPs, praying for lost children while watching over God’s Word to declare His promises for the next generation. As we regularly met, studied God’s Word, and prayed, our group increased and we recognized divine connections among ourselves. Changes began happening within our spirits and blessings occurred as we discerned new attitudes within our children.

Envisioning myself as a standard-bearer, I rallied side by side in prayer with these persevering MPs. Eventually as the email list grew, it became difficult to get messages out to the entire group. Someone suggested a blog. HA, funny God, you really do have a sense of humor. “I’m not even computer-savvy,” I said aloud. But God was directing this thing and He said BLOG. He even supplied a talented son of one of my new MP friends to create and design it. His mother understood our commission and relayed to him the meaning behind it all. Banner time!

The vision of a royal banner came to life on the blog—a purple standard with a sword and shield, defensive and offensive weapons declaring God’s promises over our children.  It is the banner that we raise as we pray together for our children. We fight with God’s Word and watch over it, contending with Him to remember His promises. Weekly I raise the standard with a posted message inspired by God, praying it gives hope to waiting mothers. 

Raising a standard and leading with the rally cry of stand firm is an awesome assignment from God, filled with encouragement and discouragement. At times I feel as though I’m serving alongside an army of women. Other times it seems I’m all alone. “Am I following Your plan, Lord?” I ask. He continually answers, “Look to me and no one else.” I know in my heart He is able to handle all situations, but my eyes search for visual signs. 

One day as I rummaged through a devotional book, a bookmark fell out. Bookmarks are a dime a dozen, but this one declared a confirmation. Colorfully pictured underneath the word CONFIRMATION lay a helmet, sword, and shield with a descending white dove. Beneath the picture were the quoted words from Ephesians 6:16-17. I suddenly realized that God’s been calling me a long time. Finally I’m listening! I remember receiving the bookmark 40 years ago on the day of my confirmation at church. God is so gracious to affirm for me a call that He sent out years ago. “Thank you, Lord, for Your persistence. May I serve You well!” I said.

Mulling over God’s plans, I stand amazed that He trains and uses me as His standard-bearer for a group of His hurting people. He carried me through my own painful experiences and called me to fortify wounded families. Confirming my mission, God faithfully strengthens me to lead mothers in fighting the good fight of faith as together we humbly go before the throne of God with prayers for our children. 


  1. Thank you for your faithfulness to this cause for Christ...your writing is so encouraging and so "spot on" for so many of us. You always remind us of enduring truths and the faithfulness of God. May the favor and blessings of our rich and mighty God overflow to you!