To the Mom Wondering Where She Went Wrong


Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

Dear Mom, I see you there. Weary. Worried. Wondering where you went wrong. I know you worry about judgment, condemnation, and the whispers that you must have done something wrong. There must be something you did for your child to turn out this way. It’s bad enough you define yourself as the mother of a deadbeat, a drug addict, a dealer, a thief, a murderer….but the world does, too.

And, I know you hang your head in shame. Wondering the same things the world does. Asking the same questions.

Where did I go wrong? What didn’t I do right? I was a bad mom. I wasn’t there enough. I worked too much. Drank too much. Thought about myself too much. Focused on the church too much. I neglected my son, my daughter. And, look where it got them.

How do I know this? Because I am the daughter of a mom who asks the same questions. The daughter of a mom who wonders how her son turned out so different than she expected. One who wonders where she went wrong.

I have listened to the cries of my mom as she shares how her heart bleeds each time she hears the comments about my brother. About her parenting. About her failings. And, yes…in some ways she did fail. And, you probably have, too. Guess what? So have I.

I have also sat in the visitation room with you as you play cards, share stories, and love on the son or daughter you want so desperately to be able to come home.

I watch you as you leave each time. As you give a gripping hug. As you wipe the tears from your eyes as you leave the one you love more than life itself.

And, I know when you go home you will earnestly pray that your son, or your daughter will reach for and receive the redemption and grace of Christ. Just as I do when I leave the visitation room one Saturday each month.

Just as I pray my brother will feel God reaching him in the confines of his jail cell.

That he will know how deeply he is loved by me, by his dad, by his mom. By God.

Unconditionally. Despite flaws. Despite his sins. Despite his past mistakes.

That he will know he can turn away from sin and live a life that is blameless before Him.

That the world will accept that this gift is given to him, just as it is given to us.

That it is given to your son. Your daughter.

Given to a deadbeat, an addict, a dealer, a murderer, a thief.

Given to an absent mother. An alcoholic mother. A selfish mother. The single mother. The young, unwed mother. The mothers, who despite what they have done, love their children, and cry at night wondering where they went wrong.

Given to all who have sinned. Including you. Including me.

So, Mom. This letter is for you. I see nothing to condemn in this visiting room. Only what can be used for His glory. Keep praying for that wayward daughter. That prodigal son. The one the world has given up on. The one you may have wanted to give up on yourself, because you just couldn’t handle the judgment of all those around you.

He is watching. She is watching. I am watching.

And, Mom. You did just fine.

Your son will be fine.

Your daughter will be fine.

Because grace is given to all. Whether behind the walls of our homes. Or the walls of a prison. To us all.

So dry your eyes. Hold your head high, and stand tall in the face of the world’s criticism remembering that the God that has saved you, will one day save them, too.


A fellow daughter…and another mom who wonders where she may have gone wrong.

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