He came home at spring break. He looked terrible. We knew classes were not going well, but something else was up. He relished telling us about all the parties he went to, how drinking was a favorite pastime. At dinner one evening, he asked us “you smoked pot during college, didn’t you?” His dad never did. I explained that I tried it once and didn’t like it. He was looking for validation for his own waywardness.
I was sure he was using more than pot. I cried out to my mom, she thought I was overreacting. Because, of course, no one in our family could believe that this kid could go down this ugly path.
Next, he told us he wasn’t returning to school. He was dropping out. His dad tried to convince him that there were only a few weeks left and he was doing good in at least one class. Try to finish strong. He wouldn’t listen, his mind was made up. He’s always been a head strong kid, but would listen and weigh what we had to say, not this time. But he did listen to the dean who told him he couldn’t drop out. After being home for almost two weeks, he went back to school. Took his finals. Then moved back home.
This is the boy who told me when entering the secular, state-run school after one year at a Christian school, “Mom, everyone will know I’m a Christian. I’ll stand strong. Don’t worry.”
Now my worries were coming true. Though, I really didn’t think he’d fall this far. He was strong. That strong-headedness of his also played into his faith. There was no way anyone could get him to wander from Jesus Christ.
Two years prior at his high school graduation from our homeschool, I had commended him on becoming a wonderful young man of Christ. I was proud of his accomplishments but most importantly his walk with the Lord. He spent his first semester in Ireland and was on the worship team for chapel. When we visited in October, along with the other parents, he led chapel that week.
What had gone wrong?
We are still unsure of what led him done this path. What has caused him to move away from the Godly principals we raised him with. We do know that he did not seek out a Christian community. A body of Christ to build him up and help him walk the walk. He still does not go to church on a regular basis. And now, he is going to be a father. His coming home did not help even though we set up some strict parameters for being back in our home. It is heart breaking.
But there is hope.
I went searching for why these young adult kids stray. Why do they leave behind that strong faith they had as teenagers? I came upon a
book by Ken Ham and Britt Beemer, Already Gone. And, I found nuggets of hope:
- Of those 20-somethings that have left the church, 3/4 of them report high levels of belief in Biblical accuracy, authority, and history–they are still solid believers in Jesus Christ. They’ve just left the structured church, not their faith.
- 38% answered “yes” when asked if they plan on regularly attending church once they have children.
- The Bible is relevant to them, but the church is not. They need to be convinced that Christians in the church are living by God’s truth and living in a way that is relevant to their lives.
This last point, I actually asked my son. “Does this represent you…You find the Bible relevant, but the church is not relevant for you.” He said yes. It gave me a glimmer of hope. His actions were not Biblical. He was walking far away from the Savior he used to love and serve, but there was still something there. He admitted to me that he still read his Bible every night in bed.
Already Gone provided me with some knowledge and some hope. It gave me something to ask my son to open a door. And now that he is going to be a father, he has mentioned that he and the mother want to start going to church again. We’ve offered to visit churches with them and that they are always welcome to go with us, but they haven’t taken us up on it, yet. I keep praying and rest in the fact that he hasn’t completely walked away from God. He still believes and I just know deep in my heart that God will answer my mother’s prayer that my son will one day again be that strong man of God.
Now my daughter…..that’s another story!