Prodigal children. The very word cuts a parent to the heart. So what do the mothers of prodigals do on Mother’s Day? We pray. We love. We cherish. We celebrate. We weep. We hold out hope and we persevere.

Judy Douglass is a woman after God’s own heart. She’s an author of many books including When You Love a Prodigal. She leads a Facebook group called Prayer4Prodigals. Judy is married to Steve and together they have led the worldwide ministry of CRU, have three children and nine grandchildren.

Steve and Judy have a son, Josh, who came to live with them when he was 10. The state had taken him away from his mom, a trauma he carried as a deep wound. There was a lot of pain in his past and even when the Douglass’ adopted him and loved him as their own, the pain of the past persisted. Judy shares how she fell in love with him — and on Mother’s Day she would long for just a card affirming that he loved her too. It didn’t happen. Josh was a prodigal for 15 years.

When asked what prodigals need, Judy said, “Number one: for us to do everything we can to maintain relationship with them. When they’re hurting or rebellious – they say horrible things, they leave us, they reject us – we can’t force them to be or do what we want – but we can control ourselves – and love them unconditionally, pray for them without ceasing, and extend grace.”

Reflecting on Romans 2:4 and I Corinthians 13, Judy talks about the three things we can do and also outlines the way unconditional love and grace work over time to woo prodigals home through God’s loving kindness.

  1. Love unconditionally
  2. Be patient
  3. Keep no record of wrongs

Along the way, Judy discovered the power of words. “everything that comes out of your mouth must be seasoned with grace.” She said grace puts out fires but sometimes our words or our tone can fuel the fire. She said, “realize your tone of voice can turn neutral words into destructive words,” and that “the words you say today will be part of your relationship with this child for the rest of your life.”

Join us on June 2 for The Prodigal Prayer Day.