You’ve said you put off writing this book for years. Why is that?
In truth, I was embarrassed. It was just so much easier to let people think I’d always been a Christian, that I’d always been faithful to God’s plans for me, that I’d never left the church. But that wasn’t truth. And I eventually felt this strong nudge from God saying, “It’s not enough to just receive my grace and be quiet about it. It’s time to tell.”
So this book is your story?
Actually the book isn’t truly memoir. I do tell my story, but only as a backdrop It takes up very little of the pages. Instead, it’s about things I’ve learned about prodigals that would be helpful to families who are dealing with a prodigal of their own. The first big section deals with all the myths surrounding prodigals. We do a sort of mental “clearing the junk off the table.” Myths like: Perfect Parenting Makes for Perfect Children, I Can Rescue My Child, It’s My Fault—Says So in the Bible. The other big section is a list of Dos and Don’ts to help parents provide better, healthier, less damaging responses to the challenges that this child is bringing to them. Things like Do Advise, Don’t Badger; Do Focus on Boundaries, Not on Behavior. It’s a book that will not only give parents encouragement, but will give them things to do.
What’s the last thing you’d like to share with these parents?
God’s not done yet. Don’t give up hope. I was an atheist for 13 years before I could even begin to consider that my worldview was faulty. And one of God’s biggest delights is to take people’s ugliest situations and make something beautiful out of it. So hang on and watch what God can yet do.
|Engaging Today’s Prodigal: Clear Thinking, New Approaches, and Reasons for Hope|
Carol Barnier is a popular Christian conference speaker. She is the author of four books, including Engaging Today’s Prodigal, dozens of articles, and a frequent radio guest. Her objective is to have the wit of Erma Bombeck crossed with the depth of C.S. Lewis, but admits that on most days, she only achieves a solid Lucy Ricardo with a bit of Bob the Tomato. Follow her blog at Carolbarnier.com or her free on-line community for parents with highly distractible kids, www.SizzleBop.com.
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