Salvation of Family: Failing Parenthood #Memoir

Salvation of family members is a top prayer priority for most Christian parents. Today I’d like to share my struggle of feeling like a failure in this area of motherhood.

Click here to listen to the podcast version: One By One

I felt like I failed as a Christian parent. #memoir #ThursdayThoughts Click To Tweet

Salvation of Family: Failing Parenthood #Memoir by Wendy L. Macdonald for

Has envy ever dragged you down? Do you struggle with feeling too small for God to care about? I have.
I used to envy friends who were raised in church-attending families. I used to think it would have spared me the ridiculous roads I traveled in my younger years if I also had been brought up in the church. Instead, I was raised in an average home that spoke the name of the Lord in a manner that regularly broke one of the Ten Commandments.

And the reason I knew about those commandments

was because I went to the church my cousin’s family

invited me to attend.

  • I learned at an early age I was a sinner.
  • I learned the sinner’s prayer.
  • And I prayed it in my bedroom as I read through The Four Spiritual Laws booklet.

Salvation of Family: Failing Parenthood #Memoir by Wendy L. Macdonald for

It was easy to see my family lacked the joy of the Lord. I craved joy. I craved to know I was loved. For in my home, there were some heavy-hearted things going on that weighed my spirit down to dangerous depths.

I craved to know I was loved. #faith #recovery Click To Tweet

Depression sought me and caught me in its grip during my preteen years. By the time I was a young adult, I forgot about the sinner’s prayer I prayed, and I worshiped at the altar of my ego instead. I became bitter because the families at church seemed better than mine, and I decided I was too small for God to notice and care about. I walked away from youth group and church.

It was easy to do

because I was the only person in my family

who bothered attending anyways.

Years later, after I left a prodigal lifestyle, and after I was healed of eating disorders, I embraced faith and grew in my knowledge of the Lord.

He rescued me from the deep, and I was grateful for a faith that was no longer shallow.

Salvation of Family: Failing Parenthood #Memoir by Wendy L. Macdonald for

God rescued me from the deep of eating disorders. #eatingdisorder #Christian Click To Tweet

So when my body eventually healed enough to be able to conceive children, I decided my children would be raised differently than I had been raised. I knew I wouldn’t be a perfect parent, but I planned to love them so deeply there wouldn’t be a drop of doubt in their minds that I loved them.

More years flew by, and I found myself attending church alone again. For even though I had homeschooled my children, attended church with my children, memorized the Ten Commandments and more with my children, they all turned away from God. One. By. One.

Hypocrisy (including my own), cliques, bullying

and an internet full of anti-God messages

all contributed to their rejection of faith.

As a result, I found myself sitting alone on the pew struggling not to envy the families at church—just like I did in my youth. But this time I knew a bit more about what really goes on behind the doors of those I might be tempted to envy.

For as one of my children said:

“Wouldn’t you rather have a son who tells you he doesn’t believe

than have one who is faking he does?”


  • Fakers tend to be the bullies, the gossips, and the hypocrites.
  • They often grow up to be the judgmental legalists and Pharisees who make it hard for the outsiders to become insiders.
  • They are the pawns of the darkness that keep the Light at bay.
  • They care about their image while the image of God is as far as from their hearts as heaven is from hell.
  • They are the sons who stayed with the father and complained when the prodigal son was warmly welcomed home.
  • Their hearts are lukewarm. (And those of us who love our Bibles know how Jesus feels about lukewarm spirituality.)

Revelation 3:15-16 NIV says:

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot.

I wish you were either one or the other!

So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about

to spit you out of my mouth.

Salvation of Family: Failing Parenthood #Memoir by Wendy L. Macdonald for

And here’s where I learned to let go of any and all of my envy and excuses for my small thinking. Here’s where I share why we can stop doubting God and start serving God as we should.

  • We’re all sinners.
  • We’re all small.
  • We can’t earn, inherit, or purchase salvation.
  • We aren’t saved because we attend church each Sunday.
  • One by one we must admit we’re sinners, we must believe on the finished work of the cross, and we must call and trust on the name of Jesus in order to be saved.

One by one we come to the Son.

I can stop making excuses for envy or for staying small, and I don’t have to be silent because I came from a broken family and birthed a broken family; wholeness is only found in Jesus. He is the only one who got and gets it right.

We’re saved because He saves us.

We’re clean because He washed us with His Word—with His Blood.

  • Bedtime prayers and grace at the family table don’t save us.
  • Hanging out with believers doesn’t save us.
  • Staying home while the prodigal runs wild doesn’t save us.

We’re saved one by one at the foot of the cross of Christ.

Salvation of Family: Failing Parenthood #Memoir by Wendy L. Macdonald for

We’re saved one by one at the foot of the cross of Christ. #JesusSaves #devotional Click To Tweet

One by one, I will keep sending up prayers on behalf of my family, on behalf of my friends, and on behalf of the fakers. One Sunday at a time I’ll sit in church alone while my loved ones wander pretty much the same way I did in my youth. And one by one I’ll trust God to do the same sincere work of grace He did in me—that only He can do anyways.

No stumble, no sin, and no stain is beyond salvation’s refrain.

Romans 3:22-24 NIV says:

This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.

There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

and are justified freely by his grace

through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

One by one we must come
To the cross of the risen Christ
For salvation comes through trust
In the Lamb who gave His life
One by one we must believe
In the God of love and grace
For we can’t earn salvation
Because Jesus paid our way.

~ wlm

No stumble, no sin, and no stain is beyond salvation’s refrain. #hope #Jesus Click To Tweet

Salvation is the best gift anyone can receive; when did you believe?

Who do you give the glory to when someone in your family puts their trust in Jesus?

Saved by Grace Blessings ~ Wendy Mac

Salvation of Family: Failing Parenthood #Memoir by Wendy L. Macdonald for

P.S. This week’s HopeStreamRadio podcast I produced goes perfectly with this post. Something Beth Moore said on Twitter inspired me to confess one of my secret sins. Click here to hear: Secret Sins

16 thoughts on “Salvation of Family: Failing Parenthood #Memoir

  1. I could just see you in a pew wanting to have a “perfect” family, Wendy. But your son is right that it’s best to be honest about faith rather than faking it. I love that you’re deep-rooted in your love of God now and have broken free from your eating disorder. Hugs.

    1. Thank you, dear Christy. The joy and freedom I gained during my recovery has given me a passion for encouraging others to pursue it in any way they need it. When someone says they’re in a 12-Step program or something similar, I jump up and down inside. When someone comes to know the Lord, I leap even higher. 🙂 Blessings & hugs for 2018.

  2. Your words ring so true Wendy. I look on the church platform every Sunday and see “church people” – children and grandchildren of missionaries, pastors or of saints 60 years deep in living for God. Not me.

    But, you know the Lord showed me something recently. I have been forgiven for more sin than they all have ever committed or will ever commit. So, who am I to judge? The same mercy & grace that covered all of my sins is the same mercy & grace that keeps them from committing the same sins. All in all God is just. Blessings.

    1. I hear you, David. And amen to “all in all God is just.” I’m grateful for grace that makes a place for all who repent and trust in Christ. I’m also grateful for these words of Paul’s that remind me it’s all about Jesus.
      Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst. 1 Timothy 1:15 NIV
      Blessings for 2018.

  3. A powerful post and podcast, Wendy. You make so much good sense, and your humility and openness are a blessing to me. Thank you for sharing. Yes — with humility comes wisdom, and that humility is often brought about when we make mistakes and realize our own human failings. Well said. Yes, God is a God of love and grace. And forgiveness. I am beyond grateful.

    1. Thank you, dear Cynthia. I’m also “beyond grateful for the love and grace of God.” Our world is thirsty for both. Thankfully, my fumbles draw me to His Living Water, or I’d die of self-inflicted dehydration of the soul. I need Him every hour.

  4. I have this prayer for my adult children too. Thanks for writing on the topic, Wendy. It’s tough, but I appreciate your honesty and down-to-earth discussion.

    1. Thank you, dear Sharon. I suspect you’re like me in being proud of your family but also desirous of knowing you’ll all be together forever on the other side of heaven too. The love in our mama hearts propels our prayers.

  5. I know the realization of my need for salvation and a personal relationship with Christ didn’t come as the result of what someone told me, it came by way of the Hoy Spirit burdening my heart. There are three things I believe about God: He created us, He loves us, and He wants us with Him for eternity. I pray that your loved ones will be receptive to His call. Thanks for sharing.

  6. I understand this. Last night I drove home from work in the dark crying and praying out loud to the Lord, There are some things I can’t share on facebook. My posts there are always sincere as I am “in the moment” when I post them, but each day there are other moments when I feel the pain of so many things very sharply…sharply enough that I cry out to the Lord.

    God bless you, Wendy <3

    1. I can’t help but believe those “crying and praying out loud to the Lord” prayers are the most powerful. I’ve seen amazing things come from them. They’re spontaneous cries from the heart prompted by the Spirit. God cares. He’s at work–always. xo Blessings, sweet friend.

  7. Well said, Wendy. Prodigals touch our hearts like nothing else can. When the hopes and dreams we have for our children is snuffed out we find our hope in God alone. Maybe that’s the point. Praying for your prodigals as I pray for mine. – Karen

I love a word in season... please feel free to add an apple to the bowl.