Prodigal Series Day 1: Younger Son, A testimony

Y’all, the Lord has put this series on my heart to write for months already!  The content was originally shared July 2022 as a 3-part sermon series at my home church.  The focus: the parable of the prodigal son.  The effect: perspective shifts, convictions and a new appreciation for a very, very old story. 

Now I know what you may be thinking: “What can I possibly learn from this parable that I don’t already know? It’s so basic: sinful son leaves home, returns, and is accepted back by the father.”  But is it really that simple?

I PROMISE that it isn’t.  By spending the next three weeks together in this story, as Jesus told it, you will learn things you didn’t previously know, and the Spirit will reveal biblical truths that were previously imperceptible. We will spend one week focusing on each of the main characters: the younger brother, the older brother and the father.  Sound good?!

Now, before we dive in, I want to share the redeeming tale of another prodigal.

This person was born into a typical Christian home and was exposed to God’s love from the time they were born.  They went on family retreats for vacations and sang in the choir.  They were a straight A student through 16 years of Catholic school, and proudly walked with their dad as he graduated from law school. 

However, for brevity’s sake, let’s fast forward to their teen years. This is when a decade-long string of poor decisions really started. This is also when they walked further and further away from the God of their childhood. At this time, they began drinking, first socially, but then every day.  By their late teens, a second life their father had been leading was exposed, and that was right around the time he was disbarred.  Simultaneously, their mom was diagnosed with breast cancer for the first time.

Despite the world rapidly changing around them, they got a full academic scholarship to college…but the daily drinking continued…a modest inheritance from their grandfather was squandered, in full, before college’s first semester came to an end. Without money, drive, or a relationship with God at this point, they were suffocating by their own internal and external turmoil.

Poor decisions ensued. I think you get the idea. Before ultimately leaving college (and their full scholarship) to get a job for cash in a restaurant, they were diagnosed with major depressive disorder. They often thought that if they just disappeared no one would notice or care.  This person would end up with several other diagnoses as a young adult, including Anxiety and PTSD. 

By their early 20s, they shut out those who cared for them the most.  They didn’t want others to see how far they were falling. At one point, a pastor told this person that nothing of value ever came out of their mouth.    

They moved back home after leaving college, but their mother’s heart broke as she watched her child destroy their body and waste their mind.  The mother told them to change their lifestyle or move out.  The individual left, but not before their depression and the enemy took full hold of them and convinced them that ceasing to exist was the best for everyone.

God had different plans, but it took a few more years for this person to start to embrace what those plans could possibly be.

You see, several more years of selfishness and disregard culminated in unexpectedly expecting.

In that moment, the solid childhood foundation of knowing God’s love flooded back.  This person knew that if God intended the child to be born…the child would be…and God, Jehovah Jireh, would provide.  In that instant, priorities began to shift and a longing to know God better overtook this person’s heart and mind. 

This person suddenly couldn’t get enough of Him! The new little family moved out of state where they didn’t know a single person. Bit by bit, God replaced old parts of their life with Him. He placed godly women in this person’s life and provided examples of how someone could walk with Christ while navigating marriage and parenting. They began to engage with Christian mom groups and the local church. They went on mission trips and saw people hungry for the Word.  They wanted that, too.

Slowly but surely,  depression was replaced with joy, and indifference transformed into passion. Netflix was replaced with CS Lewis and psychological thrillers were replaced with Tim Keller and Kyle Idleman. 

There was an insatiable desire to learn everything they could about God. The more they learned, the more their heart changed. At some point, they started to feel led to share, both the information they had been acquiring and the life changing relationship they had been experiencing with God. After all…what good is knowledge and experience if either remains merely in one’s memory, especially if such an intimate relationship with God could actually change someone’s life?! 

This person stopped drinking.  They went back to college and finished with a 4.0.  After having two more children they went on to get their masters, again with a 4.0, and later began to get their doctorate, but pressed pause on that only because the Lord redirected their path…get this…toward seminary!

They still had their share of messy life to navigate, even after turning toward God, but they did so with a blessed assurance that God was in control and would provide.  And God did provide…each and every time. I know.

It was a long and windy road for this person, but it ultimately led to them being able to sit in this coffee house today and type these words to you.

It was me.

I once was lost, but I have also been found, and I am His.

I’m still very much a work in progress as I grow as a person and in my relationship with our God, but I can’t wait to see what he has in store!   I let Him change me and hope you’ll let Him, too.  His way is better. I promise!

Now that you’ve heard a bit more about how God has worked in my life, and my journey of finding my way back to Him, let’s meet back here, same time same place tomorrow, and we will learn about someone else who was lost and found.

All my love,


Accompanying Playlist

Did you know I created a worship playlist just for this series?!

Celebrate a good, good Father who is always calling and welcoming his children home!

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