Late have I loved you, oh beauty so ancient and so new. You were within me while I was outside of myself, searching for you. You shone yourself upon me and drove away my blindness. You breathed your fragrance upon me...and in astonishment...I drew my first breath.

Your prodigal may also be looking for himself in all the wrong places. I hope your reunion with your loved one will be sooner rather than later. I add my prayers to your own, that your prodigal may come to the end of himself, find God who has been waiting patiently for him, and draw in that first breath of true understanding. During these years, when our influence over our children is lessened, the transition can be painful. But even when our parenting influence wanes, fortunately God—the only perfect parent—still pursues.  

Carol Barnier has so much more to say on this topic in her new book, Engaging Today’s Prodigal—Clear Thinking, New Approaches, and Reasons for Hope, where she provides numerous suggestions for preserving a relationship as well as encouragement for parents during these very challenging days. Using her own story as a pastor’s daughter turned atheist, she shares the lessons she learned on her way back to faith. You may have heard her recently on Gary Chapman’s popular marriage program, Focus on the Family’s Weekend Magazine, or Moody Radio. Visit her at

Publication date: December 19, 2012