From the time a pregnancy is confirmed, parents start having hopes and expectations about who their child will become. As he or she grows and displays preferences and talents, those dreams become more concrete.
No parent anticipates a child becoming a drug addict, or a rebel, or a thief.
Laine Lawson Craft, a best-selling and award-winning author, has three children who were all prodigals. In her latest book, “The Parent’s Battle Plan: Warfare Strategies to Win Back Your Prodigal,” she describes what she did in addition to prayer to see her children come home – and what others can do in the same situation.
“I began to look back and put the dots together of what I felt brought each one of my children uniquely healed, whole and free,” Craft said. “The biggest thing when I looked back was that I realized that I was not at war with my kids. I was in a war with the enemy after my kids.”
While Craft was fighting the battle for her children, she was on top of the world professionally and in ministry. She produced and published a magazine called WHOAwomen that featured well-known women of faith such as Dolly Parton and Kathie Lee Gifford and was in every bookstore in America and Canada.
“Here I was doing what I thought as a mother of three teenagers — what God called me to do — and at the very same time, my kids were in the pit of hell in different ways.”
Her oldest son, Steven, abused drugs and alcohol for more than 15 years. Her younger son, Lawson, was heavily into music festivals and also drugs and alcohol.
Her daughter, Kaylee, had extreme depression and had thoughts from the enemy that life would be better without her.
Even though Craft knew she was serving God and obeying Him to the best of her ability, she still wondered what she had done wrong for her children to end up in these situations. Craft was sacrificing a great deal to serve God, but the battle against the enemy never lessened.
“A lot of people think if you live right, do right, then everything else turns out right. That’s not true,” she said.
It took years, but the breakthroughs eventually came. Each child experienced the power of God in his or her life without direct intervention by Craft. Though all three stories of coming home were miraculous, Steven’s story was the most remarkable.
He was high on cocaine and trying to get a ride to yet another bar when he encountered an Uber driver who was also a pastor. The driver felt led to pray for him.
“My son said that the presence of God was so heavy in the Uber that he fell face forward to the floorboard. The presence of God enveloped the car. So Steven at that moment knew he had been touched by God, and it forever changed him,” she said.
Similar encounters with God occurred with her other son and her daughter and each one’s life was completely changed in a moment.
Though it was a happy ending for Craft’s family, she recognizes that for whatever reason, some parents don’t have the same outcome.
“One of the tragic parts of the spiritual war over our children is that there will be casualties of war,” she said. “Losing a precious child is the most difficult part of this journey. My heart breaks with every parent I meet [who has] lost his or her child in these battles. I can’t imagine how incredibly strong they have to be to carry on.”
No ‘magic bullet’
She also recognizes that her book isn’t a magic bullet.
“I wanted to make sure that I did not miss this for parents who have faced this and may be raising another child who may be struggling. I did not want to come across that if you do these things, the outcome you’re wanting happens. God’s will and God’s ways are often not ours,” Craft said.
Though her children have come back to God, Craft isn’t done fighting. She recently found out that she is going to be a grandmother for the first time.
“We must stay on guard for this next generation. We must be in hope and put all of these same principles [in place] for our grandchildren and our grandchildren’s children. These are principles that we can use as warfare against the enemy and find victory every day. But we will have to work at it. It is a battle and we will have to be warriors,” she said.
Craft is frequently asked, “Is my child too far gone to come home?”
“My answer always is, ‘You’re never too far gone. We have until our last breath, and one touch from God can change everything instantly.’ That’s the hope I give every parent today,” she said.
“Be sure and remember that no problem is bigger than God and that God can bring your prodigal home and heal your family.”
“The Parent’s Battle Plan” is available on Craft’s website at lainelawsoncraft.com or on Amazon. A bonus gift bundle is included through the website.