Do you know anyone who you’d call a prodigal? Someone who used to be filled with the light and power of Christ, but has somehow, somewhere along the way, lost the fire, lost their first love?

This could happen for any number of reasons: negligence, the attraction of the world, lack of understanding. Very often, however, it happens because of deep disillusionment. Hurt and disappointment can take a toll. They can punch a crater into a once-solid faith.

We sometimes lack understanding, lack compassion for these prodigals. We might judge their state of “backsliding”. Hopefully, we pray for them, though we don’t necessarily understand how they got where they are.

I’ve experienced some of this disillusionment, which led to a lengthy desert time. It was an unfamiliar landscape that I didn’t know how to navigate. Hurt led to avoidance which led to apathy for a while. Then God broke through in tiny rays of light, small whispers of hope. His presence was a healing balm, but the healing still took time.

In that situation, it’s just easier to put on a happy face and pretend everything is fine. It’s just too hard to explain. Too easy to be judged. It’s easier to close the door even to those who care about us since we’re sure they don’t understand what we’ve experienced and how it affected us.

As I walked through my own experience, I got the idea for the character, Travis, in my book Prodigals in Provence. I processed my hurt, grief, and recovery through his story. His counterpart, Bree, has her own problems.

My prayer is that his story, as well as that of Bree (the control freak), will encourage readers, touching those who know or love a prodigal or maybe are a prodigal themselves.

You can meet Bree and Travis when you read Chapter One. Go to featured books and you can click on the Chapter One button.

And reach out to the prodigal in your life, not with questions or judgment, but with listening ears and compassion. Put yourself in his or her sneakers. This will offer a loving hand as they struggle to come back.