I wrote a book

I wrote a book. 

Not the book I imagined myself writing. I wanted to be the vibrant, funny voice of Latina moms everywhere, like a Mexican version of Ree Drummond. Instead of chicken pot pie recipes, I would share the secrets of my yummy brisket tacos, or my Mama’s breakfast burritos or my Grandma Rose’s spanish rice. 

I would rather encourage young mamas with stories on the joyful grind of motherhood, hilarious antics of my five beautiful children and the snaps of my feisty Silky Yorkie, Coco Chanel.

My Yorkie vacillates from acting the part of a good canine citizen one moment, to her full-on Robert DeNiro-of-the-doggy-world behavior the next. One moment, she is sweetly greeting a young momma with four little ones in tow, and the next moment she is yelling at a fenced dog who dared to look at her sideways. You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me? Well, who the heck else are you talkin’ to? You talkin’ to me? Well, I’m the only one here. Oh yeah? Huh? Ok. I can hear the thick accent of Cesar Milan’s judgements echo in my head as I pull my naughty girl away from the fence in shame.    

These are the stories I wanted to tell. Instead, I am sharing a story I never asked for. 

I am the mom of a Prodigal Son. 

This was not the God-assignment I wanted, and his was not just the run-of-the-mill Prodigal journey because his “journey to a far country” happened in our home. His was a furious, filthy trampling of pig slop, touching every area of our lives.

There was no handbook to help navigate my way through the crazy storm that descended upon our home. No support group or daily e-newsletter existed for suffering parents of spiritual wanderers. In fact, I came to understand these parents belonged a super-secret-sub-culture hidden in plain view. They walk among us in places of darkness and doubt, confused and disoriented.  Now we join their ranks. 

When the raising of godly children’s neat and tidy, airtight math equation goes awry, it is quite painful. While raising our little tribe, we held fast to the unspoken, always present, if-then statement, simply stated: If you raise your children in the Lord, then they will follow Him.  When this equation painfully drifts, the resulting journey produces shame and isolation. 

No amount of liquid foundation and powder can hide the tear-stained streaks of a mom waiting for her child to return home. No brand of mascara can revive the three lonely lashes that remain on her lids.

In 2015, I began to feel a stirring to tell my story. An elbow was nudging me deep inside to help lift the suffering of moms and dads out there. The temptation was to leave the painful situation in the past and remain hidden.  After all, our son is now restored and whole and healed. He is thriving in every way possible. Having successfully completed his education and fully engaged as a business owner, he found and married a Jesus-loving girl. He is faithfully and beautifully serving God and his family. Together with his wife, they recently welcomed their first precious baby son into the world. 

I'm writing to honor the goodness of God, by telling of the days and the miles and the moments of our journey. It's a wholehearted fist pump at the end of a finish line and a starting line of our son's beautiful, God-honoring life. I write to bring glory to the God who did it all.

My desire is not to expose every detail of our beloved son's story, but rather to paint with broad strokes, from our vantage point, as it intersected with our lives. I've attempted to strike the balance between over-sharing and giving enough detail to show that Jesus can do above and beyond all we can think or imagine in the most impossible of situations. He can move beyond the reach of our greatest prayers. He can bring beauty for scorched-earth ashes. It is my hope to share this story with humility, grace, and dignity and from a place of wholeness, healing and hope.   

I want to preserve and honor the journey. 

I want to reach out and hug you, the parent who is suffering the blows of wanderings. I want to tell you to never, ever give up on your child, because God never will. For every friend who is at a loss for words, watching their loved one drift in the devastation, I want to remind you of the power of community and the truth of God’s promises. My hope is to strengthen and affirm your waiting season.

I want to comfort you with the comfort of the God of Luke Chapter 15.  The One who never gives up looking for lost sons and daughters. The One who is willing to climb through muddy landscapes and hoist a filthy lost sheep on his shoulders back to safety. The One who turns house upside down and cleans every square inch, including all the dusty corners in pursuit of a single lost coin.  The One who keeps his eye steady on the horizon, undignified running shoes laced, watching for a priceless lost son.    

I’m incredibly committed to provide a safe place for prodigal parents. I want to touch your heart by exposing mine, as together we trust in Jesus. More than anything, I want to be a trustworthy guide. I want to pull in tight with kindness and understanding and grace, and point your hearts toward the hope found in Jesus alone. Jesus is the hope of the world, the hope for your heart, and the hope for your child’s future.   

I want to encourage you to never give up on your child. Ever.  

Back in the day, I received countless church casseroles upon the homecoming of each of my newborn babes, and they were deeply appreciated in those early sleep-deprived days.  Unfortunately, there is no Meal Train for parents who spend sleepless, worried nights waiting for your prodigal. This book is my 9x13 covered in foil and prepared for you in hopes of extending warm, compassionate comfort, handed over your threshold to prop you up with support and nourishment. 

Someone is crying tonight. Someone is standing at a deli counter, waiting on their order of thin sliced roast beef, with tears streaming down their face, as the deli worker gently hands a paper tissue meant for samples over the counter. I have a box of Kleenex in one hand and I’m extending the other to hold yours. Let us, parents of prodigals, grab hands and hold on with the most tender of holding.