NazarethShepardThe clamor of the noon rush hour swirls around me.  I sit quietly and wonder…will he show?  Will he come?  Has he forgotten?  Did he even mean to come in the first place?

I break out of my daydream as I see his face beaming above the crowd.  He comes across the dining room as I whisper, “thank you Lord”.

OK, I can breathe again.

After so many years waiting when he didn’t come, it is hard to learn to trust again.  It’s new being able to expect that what he says, he will do.

On this day, my son’s sobriety is as new for him as it is for me.  We are both just learning to walk it out.  He is learning to trust God fully for his – one day at a time – sobriety.  I am learning to trust that God really has brought my prodigal home.

Oh how I missed him when he was gone – lost deep in addiction. My heart yearned for his return.  I think it must be like Jesus when he talks about how he loves the 99 sheep that are safe in his care, yet he must go to save the one who is still lost.

I’m the mother of 3 beautiful children.  My 2 girls never took this walk of rebellion. But then there was the one.  Like Jesus, I wanted them all safe.

And so it was.

All those years of waiting.

Knowing that free will reigns.

His life, his choices, his consequences.

Still I loved.

And oh how I prayed…sure that my knees would forever remain raw from the pleading.

Hmmm…do you think the heart of the prodigal parent resembles the heart of our Lord toward each of his children who are lost?

He intercedes, He prays, He hopes, He pleads on our behalf.

The purpose of lunch with my son?  To get his permission to share parts of “our” story as I begin teaching a new class at our church: “Setting Boundaries with Adult Children”.

You see it is almost impossible to tell my story without telling his.  They are just too intertwined. So, today I want to check in with him and make sure I don’t steal his story, step on his privacy or tell parts he is not ready to share.

Nick arrives at the table and gives me one of his amazing bear hugs – the ones that for so many years I missed. It is so good to have him back!  We order a way too big Italian lunch and begin chatting a mile a minute.  Getting caught up with his schooling, my work and all that is going on in our lives.  Then I begin to tell him about the class and how I want to honor his boundaries with my stories.

Abruptly he looks across the table and says, “Stop Mom!  I’m really anxious to hear all about your class but I want you to know one thing right now…”

“If any of my story can save even one person – don’t hesitate to share it!”

Softly, the tears roll down my cheeks.

In that moment, I can hardly take it all in.

In that moment, I know that everything has changed.

Hmmm…do you think the heart of God resembles the heart of the prodigal parent whose child has yet to come home – and whose story is meant to do great good in this world?


For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son,

that whoever would believe in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.

John 3:16

Thank you God for the gift of your Son.

Thank you God for the gift of my son…and how you are allowing us to use “our” story (raw, unvarnished and real) to do much good in the lives of others.

Happy Easter.