Walking with the Prodigal {Guest Post}

April 25, 2016

Hello dear friends! We are so excited to once again have our friend Stephanie sharing honestly about her experience with her adopted child. We were touched last fall when Stephanie shared her story of "How Foster Care Wrecked My Life" and we know you will be blessed by reading her story of what it's like to love our kids through the good and the hard.  

It has been three years ago this month that we brought our teenaged foster daughter into our home. I wish I could sit down with each of you and share with you the journey we have been on. It has been a journey of pride and humility, desperation and fulfillment, joy and sorrow. It has been a journey of soaring on the wings of optimism and wallowing in the valley of defeat. We had no idea how to parent a teenager with a traumatic past. BUT GOD (don’t you love those words?) knew exactly what HE was doing. 

We adopted our precious girl 11 months after she came to live with us. We poured our love into her as much and as often as we knew how. We knew she had spent 15 years without the love and structure of a Christian home. We were constantly on our knees and before the throne for mercy and help as we sought the best way to love and discipline with grace. We love her just as fiercely as our biological children. In our hearts, there is no difference.

In spite of all of this, we suspected she was planning on leaving as soon as she turned 18. Though she said otherwise and continued to make plans for jobs, schooling, and mission trips, she left 3 days after her 18th birthday. She left at night, without a word. It has been seven weeks.

To say my heart is shattered doesn’t even begin to describe the feelings this momma is having. I am grieving. Grieving because I miss my daughter. Grieving for a life that could have been. Grieving because maybe I didn’t love her hard enough to make up for her past, knowing I never could.

I don’t know if you know a prodigal, but I’m sure my prodigal thinks she is walking her chosen path alone. Ah, but she is not. I will walk with her, day by day, on my knees. I will bring her before the Father every day, asking him to do what only HE can do; change a heart.

As I have been praying that, God is doing some changing in my own heart. I am learning the following things (some of these things, I thought I had already learned!):

  1. Nothing about this journey has surprised God. He saw it all when he called us into foster care, when he called us into loving those who have been traumatized. As a friend once told me, “Has it ever occurred to you that nothing ever occurs to God?” I love that! God still has the same plan for our sweet girl. Nothing has changed. We just didn’t realize everything we were getting into when we promised to love her forever. 
  2. I know God hears my cries; he inclines his ear toward me (Psalm 116:2). I have the ear of the Creator of the universe! 
  3. The Holy Spirit intercedes for me (Romans 8:26). Haven’t you been there, not knowing what to pray or how? 
  4. “I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?” Psalm 56:11. Enough said. 
  5. The prodigal father in Luke 15 watched, prayed, and waited. He was probably a wealthy man but did not chase after his prodigal or try to influence him to come home. My husband and I will do the same. 
  6. The prodigal son “came to his senses” (NASB). I believe that our daughter will too. She has seen and heard much in her three years with us. God has been real to her, scripture and truth has been shared with her. I’m trusting that God will bring remembrance to her mind of those things. 
  7. God is faithful! He is faithful in the scriptures; he has always been faithful in my life. To remind myself of his faithfulness, I have written down those times in my life when I have seen him move, and I trust him to move again. 
  8. The most important thing by far that I am learning is how to lean on Jesus Christ, my rock. This is a moment-by-moment thing. Some moments I’m trusting well; others, well, not so much.

Is any of this easy? I’m afraid not, Friend. I spend a lot of time crying out to God and leaning on him. But I know that is the best place to be.

Stephanie Bruce is a daughter of The King and resides in Hendersonville, TN. She is married to her knight in shining armor, and together they seek to make much of Jesus and what HE has done in their lives. She says, “My life really is a fairy-tale story with a happy ending, complete with dragons, a prisoner set free and my knight who loves me more than he loves himself!”

Are you looking for more resources? Have you checked out our books?
Our newest book, 100 Daily Acts of Friendship for Girls, is written specifically for girls ages 8-12 as they navigate friendships in upper elementary and middle school. With a scripture, short story, reflection questions and 50 fun activities to do with you or friends, it's a wonderful way to encourage your daughter, niece, granddaughter, God daughter and her friends to build healthy friendships from an early age.

And our adult friendship devotional, The One Year Daily Acts of Friendship is a perfect compliment to our book for tweens. With a daily scripture, story, and friendship prompt, its encouraging and slightly challenging (in a good way!) as you find, keep, and love your friends.   

We've also written two kindness devotionals, The One Year Daily Acts of Kindness and 100 Days of Kindness. They tell the story of how our families embarked on a one-year journey of kindness, and include our successes, failures, and the encouragement you need as a family to incorporate kindness into your own life.

We would love to walk alongside you in encouragement, inspiration, and community. You can follow us on Facebook and Instagram as The Ruth Experience or sign up for our monthly newsletter (no spam, ever), here.

If you already have one of our books and love them, we'd so appreciate it if you leave a review on Amazon. 

We're in this together,

Kristin, Kendra, and Julie


  1. You guys are always in our prayers. Your words have helped strengthen me in dealing with our own prodigal. Thank you for opening your heart.

  2. Love this momma's heart! Thank you for sharing this hard journey with us.

  3. This is a good word for even the biological prodigal. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  4. I was so moved by your post, especially this part ..."I’m sure my prodigal thinks she is walking her chosen path alone. Ah, but she is not. I will walk with her, day by day, on my knees. I will bring her before the Father every day, asking him to do what only HE can do; change a heart."

    Such love. Such faith.

    Yes, our Savior can move mountains! He is mighty to save! He is a heart-changer!

    I prayed with you tonight.

    The hymn, Softly and Tenderly, came to mind. The words, "Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling...Come home. Come home. You are weary. Come home." Praying for godly people to be around her wherever she is and for her to hear His soft and tender voice.

    1. OH, Loralee! Thank you so much for your sweet words and especially your prayer for our girl. I KNOW GOD led me back to The Ruth Experience this morning as we received some disturbing news last night from our sweet daughter. Thank you, thank you, thank you!