Saturday, October 14, 2017

     A long, long time ago, back when the dinosaurs roamed the earth, I was sitting in my therapist's office and he was, once again, trying to explain to me the necessity of taking care of myself instead of fighting harder for my prodigal's sobriety than he was. After chasing my prodigal, unlike the Father in Luke 15: 11-32, I had spent a decade of trying every possible way to save our prodigal from himself. I was frenzied with anxiety, struggling to function in my own life, and ignoring every good and perfect thing that God was sending my way. Like unopened Amazon deliveries, I was not home to enjoy the blessings of our other children, our life, and our blessings. 

     All of my efforts simply wore me out, weakened my faith, and led me to the therapist's office, asking how I could change my prodigal's life.

     It was there, Dave asked me to consider letting go, letting God, fully surrendering my prodigal to God, and trust God to save him and turn his feet back home. After several unsuccessful sessions, Dave finally used an analogy, that although I am not a football fan, I know enough about football to recognize truth. Dave said, "Diane, it's like a quarterback in a football game. The quarterback is an essential player, significant enough to want to go out to each game healthy and prepared. You are like an injured quarterback that keeps going out to the game, day after day. Now tell me, Diane, have you ever seen a Coach send an injured quarterback out to the field to finish the game? No, when a quarterback is injured, he is taken off the field until such a time he is 100% again. In fact, the quarterback and every player is responsible for the care of their bodies. In your case, you have not taken care of your body, mind, or soul for such a long time in an impossible effort to change someone else. It is admirable, but not effective; in fact it is harming you, and everyone you love, with out a whisper of hope that it will work." 

     Stunned, I wanted to leave the room. Didn't he know how hard I was working, how much I needed our prodigal to come home for his banquet? 

     But his analogy made perfect sense. He had my mind. It was my heart and my shattered soul that would need some spa-ing! 

     As I began stepping back in to my life, I revisited the characteristics of God. I studied each of His names, I needed to reconnect with the One who could save my prodigal. I began to trust Him and began to put the pieces of my shattered faith and soul back together. 

"...but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:31

      As every mother knows, it is a mother's heart that is the last to come to the table of surrender. Willful surrender did not come easy for me, but the more I spent time on my faith muscle, the more courage I gained to trust God, to give my cherished child to God once again. He had been dedicated as a baby, he grew up in a family of faith, and I knew he was God's gift, on loan to his parents, for just a short time. I learned that     

     Research suggests it takes 66 days to create a new habit. While my default response to our son's prodigal journey and reckless, wayward living remained the same (panic, jump in, try to fix, and then pray) for a little longer, the longer I intentionally practiced spa-ing for my soul, the more determined I was to be effective and do what would work. I stopped trying to move the mountain of despair and began being still. 

Will you meet me at the Spa for The Soul today....stop crashing into that mountain, Be Still and know...that God has you and your prodigal in the palm of His hands. 


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

When you are the one who is lost....

I first discovered Christine Wyrtzen in the 1980's. She was singing at our Church in MN; I was there and listened to the most beautiful, comforting, Jesus filled voice for little more than an hour. While Christine comes from a gifted, musical family, she also writes with the same elegance and grace I heard her sing. I encourage you to follow Christine on all social media, you can find her on Facebook by clicking here and her website, Daughters of Promise. Sign up for her daily devotionals and be blessed! 
This is Christine's post from 10/10/17, it is for any of us who, while we await the return of our prodigal, get lost in the struggle of the journey.

I shared a meal recently with someone who just needed to talk. She admitted that her heart had shut down. One storm after another had overtaken her but for a while she believed things were manageable. There was more right than wrong so she stayed optimistic. She believed in her natural problem solving skills. Eventually though, things fell apart with most every family member. She wept as she admitted that she had lost her voice, lost her hope, and lost her fight.
What’s missing from this picture is a mention of God. Prayer, faith, and strategy, are absent. It’s not that she doesn’t know God. She does, but her prayers are way too sporadic. Passivity means that she has abdicated the outcome to stronger forces she doesn’t have the will to fight anymore.
When the enemy comes in like a flood, I don’t have to stand back and wring my hands over the invasion. When sickness overtakes a family member, I can do more than watch. When bad news is announced, I can do more than listen. When sin dominates another part of the house, I can do more than worry. When a family member succumbs to depression, I can do more than offer platitudes. When the bank account is depleted, I can do more than expect destitution. God will raise up a standard and He will use me to be His temple of faith and praise.
If you’re lying down because you feel hopeless, get up. If you’ve lost your voice, get it back. If you’ve stopped praying, fall to your knees. The language you need is the language of the scriptures. If you have a mouth that can read the Word of God out loud, you’re not wordless. No parent need cry themselves to sleep with hopeless tears when God gives them scriptures to address every single thing that assaults their household. God’s child is meant to walk the house and pray scripture out loud. Faith is revived as God’s promises are spoken. They are the battle cry that declares war on God’s adversary.
What happens when the enemy hears scriptural pronouncements of faith, when God’s Word assaults his ears? He is reminded of his limits and flees. Know this ~ he will try to re-group, only to be met again by the the child of God who knows that the secret is persevering. Let that be you. Have a word ready for his next act of aggression. His Word will drive out the despair like the slow drip of a life-giving IV and it will revive you. God’s glory comes to rest but not without my full engagement and cooperative effort. There’s a reason scripture trembles in our hands. It’s wonder – not fear. No one need live in the pit of nothingness.
Lord, I’m praying for the one whose hands are limp and whose tongue is silent. Nudge them to pick up their sword. Help them conceive a strategic plan to take back what the enemy has plundered. Lead them to scriptures for every area of defeat. Give them a voice to speak them out loud. Let the enemy know that You are raising up a standard against him with a resurrected son and daughter. Amen

'Christine Wyrtzen is a recording artist; author, speaker, and host of a nationally syndicated radio program.  She has been known for 39 years as a musician and writer with 19 albums and 5 books to her credit.  She has been nominated for a Dove Award and long admired for her ability to communicate with a poetic bent.'

Thursday, April 09, 2015

When YOU become the prodigal...

The journey of loving a prodigal can be painful and isolating.

I have made many mistakes. I have wrestled with
God as I resisted surrendering my prodigal's journey to God alone. I have chased my prodigal on his journey and in the process have inadvertently created collateral damage.

In my despair, I finally surrender my prodigal to God.

And then, I take him back.  Sound familiar?

Truth: We, alone, are not the savior of our prodigal.

Truth: As long as we fight harder for his/her life than he/she does...we do no good, inadvertently                    enable, participate in the squander of our prodigals life, and most likely, become absolutely
           hopeless. I know, I've done it.
Truth: There is no shame in chasing our prodigal; we must only learn and return ourselves. It is when             we stop and "return our HOPE in the Lord" that our "strength will be renewed. [We] will soar              on wings like eagles; [we] will run and not grow weary, [we] will walk and not be faint."                    (Isaiah 40:31)
Truth:  Our tears are not in vain! But it IS TIME for a RESPITE as we wait on the Lord.

           Click Respite to visit Partners In Prayer for Our Prodigals' 
Spa for the Soul  
  • Resolve to stop chasing your prodigal
  • Engage healthy, biblical principles as you await your prodigal’s return
  • Surrender your prodigal’s journey to God
  • Pray: Stand in the gap on behalf of your prodigal
  • Invite others on your journey-do not isolate-gather and offer support
  • Trust God’s promise and power
  • Equip yourself, emotionally, spiritually, physically and mentally—for you have a banquet to prepare—what a banquet it will be! 

YOU ARE NOT ALONE on this journey. Join us on Facebook, The Prodigal Hope Network. 
Commit to engage in one healthy behavior, just for you, each day. 
Take time to pray and spend time in the Word so you will, once again, trust God's promises and power. 
Daily, surrender your prodigal's journey to God...and then get out of the way. Let God complete the good work in your prodigal's life. 
Go to your the ONE who stands in the gap on behalf of your God will not destroy your 'land' (Ez. 22:30) 

Monday, April 15, 2013

"Transformed By Tough Times" by Steve Reed 
A book about tough times usually implies that the author has had some personal experiences that connect to that topic. Where did the book start for you? 

In college, I was a kicker and punter at Oklahoma State University under a demanding head coach, Jimmy Johnson. (Football fans might recognize him as the coach for two college national championships in the 80’s and a couple of Super Bowls in the 90’s for the Dallas Cowboys). Just playing for Coach Johnson was tough enough, but my sophomore year, I got my knee bent backwards in a Junior Varsity game in Lincoln, Nebraska. When surgery and rehab efforts didn’t get me back to playing football, I eventually had to hang up the cleats. Looking back now, that experience made me more aware of how other people dealt with adversity and caused me to pay more attention to how I could respond when faced with tough times.

Your book transitions pretty quickly from your football days to life as a church planter and how that actually prompted you to write this book. How did that all happen? 

When football didn’t work out, I found myself drawn to ministry in a great church near the OSU campus. Charlie Baker, the pastor of that church, invited me and other college students to partner with him in creating a weekly worship service for students. In doing that ministry I fell in love with the church and decided to go to seminary and be a pastor myself. After getting married and going through seminary training, we eventually moved to Kansas City to start churches. For nearly 20 years we were involved in the roller coaster rides of starting five different churches in our region. Most days, I absolutely loved it. But in one of those church starts we had a train wreck that knocked me for a loop and out of a church that I loved perhaps more than I loved my wife and family.

So after that you went on an even deeper quest for figuring out what was happening to you?  

Right. With a new intensity I began to systematically search the scriptures to find some help for my pain. And I collected information and stories from others wiser than me and from many who had suffered greatly and come through with amazing faith and character.

You write about a day in Costa Rica that changed your life. What happened?  

After the break up from the church, I wound up going to Costa Rica on a mission trip with my parents. My parents, by the way, were missionaries when I was a kid and 30 years prior we had actually lived in Costa Rica. For me, going back was a fun, blast to the past. But more than that, the people there were cathartic for me. I was an emotional mess much of the time. And one day I must have cried with three or four people who needed to know Christ, but who were in pain. God used my pain and my weeping with others to both minister to them and to me. That day I discovered something about God’s ministry of tears and how sometimes He does more through our weaknesses and frailties than He does with our strengths.

So this is where your international ministry began? 

Yes. While in Costa Rica, a Guatemalan man by the name of Cesar Gonzalez invited me to come to his country and dream about ministries and churches for people in Guatemala who don’t like church. To hear the whole story you’d have to pack a lunch! But let me briefly say that Cesar would have been a mafia hit man if God hadn’t gotten a hold of him! With a little encouragement from some pastor friends in Kansas City, I took him up on his invitation, and for two weeks Cesar and I drove around the country looking at dozens of different situations and groups of people. Little did I know then, that 13 years later we would be working in over 55 locations covering Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. I mention this because I have learned a lot from believers from other cultures and have put much of that into the book. Many of us in North America aren’t aware that both Guatemala and El Salvador have been through recent civil wars. Many people there have shared first hand stories of unimaginable grief and heartache. As I have walked alongside them, my faith has been challenged and I have an increasing desire to not just mindlessly go through my tough times, but to actually think deeply and grow through my tough circumstances. As I’ve done a little bit of that, I think it’s time that I pass some of this on to others who can benefit like I have.

Where can people find your book?

For now it’s only available from the trunk of my car! Or, more conveniently, it can be ordered from the website Soon it should become available on Amazon and we hope to have a Kindle version available in the near future as well. By the way, before Christmas we finished taping the audio book and I can’t wait to unveil that in the next couple of months too.

You also have a companion Bible study available as well right? 

Yes! Thank you for mentioning that. I think I am about as excited about the study guide as I am the book. On the website, is a 24-session small groups Bible study guide that can be downloaded for free. It matches up to chapters in the book and then goes deeper with pertinent Bible stories and information related to the topic. Incidentally, when someone wants me to coach them through their own tough times, this is essentially the material I use. In early tests, we are getting positive feedback from groups going through the book and the Bible study together. Do check it out! 

AVAILABLE ON KINDLE ... as of today 
TRANSFORMED BY TOUGH TIMES is now available on Kindle 
Steve Reed has some specials going on during the book tour on his website at

Steve Reed is the Chief Encouragement Officer and Cross Cultural Catalyst for Daybreak International, a missions organization he founded that is dedicated to planting churches for the marginalized and forgotten peoples of the world. Currently, his two major projects focus on cowboys in Central America, and Kekchi Indians in the jungles of Guatemala. Those who know Steve best speak of his relentless encouragement and undying loyalty to people who face tough times. When not traveling in Central America, Steve comes home to Kansas City. He is married to Nola, and they have three young adult sons, a beloved daughter-in-law, and a grand baby on the way! 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wondering about wandering~

 Am I wandering too?

Loving a prodigal who is wandering into difficult and perhaps even dangerous territory is beyond difficult.  It is not for the weak at heart! Over the years, I have wondered about my own prodigal's wanderings so much that I failed to understand...I, too was wandering.

You see, when we walk out of the God's will and purpose for our life--yup, we're wandering. Right?

This afternoon, as I read a friend's first novel, "From Pharaoh's Hand," beyond the joy I felt for C H Green, I experienced a check in my spirit. "From Pharaoh's Hand" is a compelling story of a teen-aged prodigal, Elizabeth, and the dire consequences she faces in her wandering~all restored by God's powerful grace and love. I identified emotionally with Beth's parents, John and heart understood their angst and despair. And yet, C H Green did not allow John and Carolyn to live in that state of paralyzing fear; no, my friend, Cynthia Green reminds the reader that even when the circumstances of our prodigals life seem impossible, our God never changes and is the God of the possible! Oh, the prayers of Beth's parents in this book were desperate pleas, but they were prayers girded in complete surrender. They did not trust anything about their daughter's wandering, but they trusted their God...who never fails.

How often have I lost myself while trying to micromanage my prodigals journey? How many times have I stopped living...oh I functioned, but I stopped walking in God's will for my life at that very moment...because I was unable to move forward without my prodigal. Anyone know the feeling? 

Then there are life's diversions, things we may do to overcompensate for our desperate need or things that help us stay in denial of our prodigal's waywardness. I've been there--I resemble that sentence! I, too, have been outside of God's will and purpose for my life--all while pleading for God to bring my prodigal home to Him. Oh the irony.  Oh the web the enemy weaves--how insidious is it that the enemy not only has a stronghold on our prodigal, but when we forget to continue to live and walk in God's purpose for us...yup, you knew it was coming--we, too, are wandering.

So as I continue to wonder about wandering...I want to begin walking boldly in the right direction--back into God's purpose for my life-each and every day forward.  How about you?  Do you feel lost in despair?  Are you tired from the spiritual battle of loving a prodigal?  Are you weary from the enemy's assaults?  What can you do today and the days to follow to strengthen your resolve to stop wandering...and step back into God's purpose for you today?

Is it a commitment to attend a Bible Study? Prioritizing daily devotions and time spent alone with God? Perhaps finding an accountability partner who will help you stay in your own life and stop wandering into your prodigal's journey or those nasty diversions and paths of denial?  Have you surrendered your prodigal's journey to God? Is it time to surrender again?  CONFESSION TIME: I am amazingly predictable at taking back what I have surrendered to God, which only leads me further away from God's will. Will you join me and take one step at a time to God's will for you today? Maybe it's just taking a walk and pondering purpose.  Maybe it's just practicing one of your spiritual gifts this day. Let's each find just one way each day to reconnect with the unique YOU that God created you to be.

It is important to wonder, to ponder wandering, not just our prodigal's wandering, but our own. For until we do, I suspect we will only continue to wander.  Loving our prodigals does not require that we step out of God's will and purpose, in fact, we are a stronger advocate for our prodigals as we stand in hope and live victoriously, boldly walking into each day that has been ordained for us before we were even born (Psalm 139:16)! Re-read the Parable of the Prodigal today (Luke 15: 11-32) with a focus on the father. Let's stay in our lives, our very purpose, so we will be fully prepared and equipped to throw that homecoming banquet one day. We MUST NOT change course and follow our prodigal's wanderings, or we risk missing what God has in store for us, ordained by His Will. I'm ready to redirect my path, how about you? Sing with me....Thy Word is a light unto my feet and a light unto my path~ Let's remember and never forget, His Will for us does not change although our life circumstances may change...let's redirect our focus to God's unchanging and perfect Will for our lives and step boldly, with confidence into abundant living. When we stop wandering, we role model the way home for our prodigals! BONUS!!!!!