That Could Have Been Your Kids

Thank you, Andrea Merrell, for guest posting so I can be prepared to speak at the Women’s Event on Saturday at the First Baptist Church in Narragansett, RI! I love your book and your compassion and love for prodigals and the families who love them.

The Plight of a Prodigal

By Andrea Merrell



Blue lights flashed as I made my way to the drive-thru line at a local fast-food restaurant. The gas station adjacent to the parking lot was roped off with tape and blocked by several police cars. I fought uneasiness and the urge to keep driving.

When I reached the window to pay for my food, I asked what was going on. Thinking there might have been a robbery, I was shocked to hear, “Young guy went in the bathroom, shot up, and OD’d.

As I drove away, my heart broke and the tears fell. I didn’t know the young man, but I grieved for him—for his friends and family—for all the young people caught up in this destructive lifestyle. Perhaps my tears were also tears of joy and thankfulness. Whenever there is a senseless tragedy of this nature, I always hear these dreaded words: That could have been your kids.

And it almost was.

For several years, both my son and daughter were caught up in a lifestyle of drugs and alcohol. My husband and I did everything we knew to raise them in a godly environment, and this was this last thing we ever expected to happen. Statistics say eighty-eight percent of children raised in an evangelical Christian home will leave the church by the age of eighteen. Many will turn away from authority, parental values, and biblical teaching, losing their potential, their health, and their destiny—sometimes even their life. We just never thought it could happen to us. Suddenly we found ourselves dealing with not one but two prodigals and we had no idea what to do.

During those dark, dreadful days, there were tears, anger, frustration, exorbitant expenses, and many sleepless nights. It was only by God’s grace that my children survived. There were many times they could have gone to jail, been critically injured, or even died. Because I blamed myself, my guilt and condemnation caused me to doubt myself and even God. How could He possibly let this happen?

The truth is: even good kids rebel—and even good parents can end up with a prodigal.

Through this long journey, I learned God loves my kids even more than I do, and He is well-able to take care of them. My responsibility is to love them and pray His Word over them daily. Before I could do that with faith and confidence, I had to get my relationship with Him back on track by forgiving myself, forgiving my kids, and by learning to trust God with my whole heart.

The road was long and filled with potholes, but God was faithful. He protected my son and daughter, delivered them from the drugs and alcohol, and restored them to a right relationship with Him and with our family. The lessons we learned along the way were numerous. He gave us practical survival tips to keep our sanity in the midst of the crisis, and taught us how to stand firmly upon His promises.

If you or someone you love is dealing with a prodigal, know that there is always hope. Take it from someone who has been there—and survived.

Andrea Merrell Photo 10Andrea Merrell is Associate Editor for Christian Devotions Ministries and Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She is also a freelance editor and has been published in numerous anthologies and online venues. Andrea is the author of Murder of a Manuscript. The Gift, and Praying for the Prodigal. For more information visit or

On Monday, I’ll be visiting a women’s group in Connecticut who have been using Running from a Crazy Man in their small group! Several groups have been enjoying it and I’ve created a free download with Hints and Helps for Using Crazy Man with your small group! Find it here.

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