A Mother�s Journey
by Carol Hardy

Mostly when we plan a journey or trip there is some excitement in the planning and expectation of the places we have heard about and longed to see. Accompanied with the experiences - possibly the people we may meet along the way, people different from ourselves, tastes different from the usual and unforgettable vistas that stay in our minds eye for ever and a day.

Along the journey there is always those unexpected little detours that bring pleasure and excitement we didn't even count on and if we weren't tempted to take them would never have experienced the unexpected. My journey has been like that in so many ways.

1993 was one of those years - the start of a journey that I hadn't planned on and I am still on. The year was so significant my beloved father passed away our prodigal son returned home after of four years in the wilderness, 20 years of age, broken and a wreck. The four years of his wanderings was horrible we felt rejected, hurt, angry and helpless to save our dear son.

What had happened, what went wrong? We so desperately wanted answers and explanations during his four years of absence and seemed to hit walls at every turn. We did know that he was being influenced by a man old enough to be his father but to what extent was to be revealed further along the track.

Within days of our son's return he began to reveal his time away which had involved homosexuality, being involved with a pedophile, contracting HIV and drug use. This was all slowly released within the first year of coming home. It seemed one blow after the other.

Our son had committed his life to Christ at 14 and in such a short time it seemed to us that the enemy snatched him away for a time and then spat him out. After his return he was eager to get his life on track with Christ again and committed himself to the restoration process. Healing came slowly, one step forward and two steps back.

On one hand he wanted the things of God and was also drawn back to what had fulfilled him, even if it was dangerous and ugly. He had tried programs designed for same sex strugglers and many genuinely reached out to him but the struggle was so intense. Two years later we lost the battle and our hearts were torn to shreds again and it felt almost worse than at the beginning because this time we had been praising God for this miraculous event of his homecoming and then, to loose him again.

I was angry at God and told him so and remember saying quite plainly that God could be 'over there somewhere and I would be over here!' This didn't last long as I knew that I couldn't live without the Lord's presence in my life for too long. How cheeky I was actually forgiving the Lord for his lack of promise keeping at the time.

I was studying Counselling at the time, and needed to do a practicum so approached an Exodus Ministry in Melbourne, as they had been so helpful to us at that difficult time. There was no ministry set up for parents or siblings then and within months I felt the call to commence a support group for parents, which is still going. Who would ever have thought that 15 years ago God would have lead and guided me to such a place as this?

One of the greatest aspects of my learning and experience through these years is That God has taught me how to love unconditionally. Not my will but thine. There is a peace that passes all understanding. I am testifying to it.

Our son is not restored, is living with a partner of the same sex and has been for many years. He is living with a life threatening disease, is loving and lovable and I have an assurance that he is being kept. There is a peace within my heart that doesn't seem logical, why? Because on the outside my prayers seem unanswered, but inside (me) I am at peace.

I don't strive to save or change him. I have no agendas except to impact Him with the love of God; the love which has softened, accepted, affirmed, healed and restored me. And my one desire is to love in the same way.

These days I now direct a Melbourne-based ministry called Mosaic Ministries, which reaches out to strugglers and parents, through support groups and one-to-one counseling. One never really knows the twists and turns one will take on unusual journeys - the unexpected, the surprises the highs and lows but one thing I do know that "in all things God works for the good of those who love who have been called according to his purpose." Rom 8:28