Judy Douglass and her husband, Steve, at first weren't too keen on God bringing a third child into their lives—especially a foster child with a history of family issues dealing with drug and alcohol abuse.
But as the Douglasses have learned over the years, you can't say "no" to a prophetic word from God, who said He would bring them a son; he would be a gift, and they would take him with them when they moved from California to Florida.
So, Judy and Steve took the boy on as a foster child into their Christian home. And after many difficult and sometimes heart-wrenching challenges with the boy through middle school, and a great deal of prayer, the boy began to settle down. He learned Scripture and gave his life to Jesus, but there were still more challenges ahead.
The child went back to his old ways of life and ended up in jail. The Douglasses knew they had a prodigal son on their hands, but they also knew that, with continual prayer and prayer from many others, their prodigal would come back to them. And he did.
Through the experience, Judy and Steve, both of whom were involved with Campus Crusade for Christ for years, developed a strong heart for prodigal children. An author of six books, Judy wrote a book called When You Love a Prodigal: 90 Days of Grace for the Wilderness, to help give families with their own prodigals a guide on their journey as God brings their wayward children home.
Judy is also the host of a new podcast, When You Love a Prodigal, on the Charisma Podcast Network.
"The message in the prodigal world is tough love," Judy told Dr. Steve Greene on a recent episode of Greenelines on the Charisma Podcast Network. "I keep seeing how many of them are so hurt and feel so rejected in the way that tough love is applied to them. There's very little mercy and grace because you have to be tougher or enable them. ...
"We needed to make the choice that would reveal to [our son] that God was still in his life. He needed to learn that we cared about him, but also about what he would become and what he would do. It took him a long time to learn about those things, and we did not begin to see much change until he was about 27 or 28. He started making better choices, and we've just had to keep extending love and mercy."
To find out more about the Douglasses' incredible journey with their prodigal, listen the rest of this Greenelines episode. Also listen to Judy Douglass' own When You Love a Prodigal on the Charisma Podcast Network.
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