A Hope-filled Story of Transformation

by | Jun 29, 2020 | hope | 10 comments

Today we are a little over halfway through 2020. What a year, right? If you’re a parent in pain due to the behaviors and choices of your son or daughter, this might not be a good day. You may be running out of hope. I have something special for you. The true story of God’s faithfulness in his pursuit of a wayward son. A former prodigal and his mom got together to write this for parents who are weary and need some hope. They gave me permission to share it with you. This is what God could do in your child’s life–a gift of hope.

Meet John

Let me tell you about John. You may see similarities here to your own child. John is the son of Christian missionaries. He made a decision for Christ when he was five. He rededicated his life at age twelve and was baptized at seventeen. However, when he was eighteen, he decided to live life his way. He chose to deny God to justify his choices.

photo cred. pexels

These choices led him out of his parent’s home, first to live with friends, then on the streets.

He never blamed his parents for his choices or their consequences, “You guys have done nothing wrong. These are my decisions. I feel like I need to do this.”


A Search to Find What Was Missing

Eventually, John joined the Army. A few years later he got married . . . his parents found out on Facebook. Over time, he made many bad choices that led to several addictions. After a few years, his marriage ended. This was a huge life change which led to him on a search to find self and what he was missing.

God brought about him reconnecting with an old friend whom he desired to have a relationship with, but she shared that if he wasn’t walking with the Lord it was a deal-breaker. A month later John called his mom and told her, “I’m having a crisis of ego. It is my ego that is keeping me from God.”

This faith-filled mom questioned his motives but of course, she wanted him to pursue God. She gave him some advice that a wise woman had given her many years earlier:

Wise Advice

“If you don’t make a decision because you think your motivation could be wrong, then you’ll never make any decisions because your motivation could always be wrong! Connect with God and pursue whatever He is calling you to do. And if you think your motivation may be wrong, ask Him to change it. You can’t steer a parked car . . . you have to start in a direction and then let God steer you.”

Soon after that, John chose to come back to God and his transformation began.

The change has been amazing: he has connected with a good church, joined a men’s small group, and is being mentored by an older gentleman. He’s also reconnected with a former middle school friend who is now a strong believer. This friend directed John to some excellent resources that answered many of his troubling questions regarding Christianity being rational and the Bible being valid. He now sees where “science and God really do go together.”

God has met John in a profoundly personal way showing him:

  • He was God—true and powerful.
  • He can have “unbridled joy in His presence.”
  • That His Word is unfailing, steadfast and living, teaching him different things each time he reads it.

Total Surrender

John chose total surrender, “…not just supplementing my life with God.”

He has a passion for the Bible. He’s choosing forgiveness, for himself and for others. He’s facing challenges but facing them with faith and trust in God. He’s connecting with God. Listening and obeying have become a way of life.

His mom shares, “What a joy for us to watch this transformation in our son’s life! We couldn’t be more proud! He has taken a hard road to Jesus, but we’re confident the Lord wastes nothing and will use all his experiences for his glory. God truly is doing a mighty work in John’s life and in all of our lives!”

Hope from the Bible

This Bible verse has become special to John and his family. They hope it will for you too as you pray and wait for a miracle of transformation in your child:

For My thoughts are not your thoughts,

Neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.

… So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth;

It shall not return to Me empty,

Without accomplishing what I desire…

Isaiah 55:8-11

A Note from Dena: Never stop praying and bringing your requests to God. John’s parents never knew if or when their prayers would be answered, but they never gave up. Persevere! 2020 could be the year of transformation for your child–and for you!

Recommended book: Secret Life of a Fool, Andrew Palau

*** Are you free on Wednesday nights for the month of July? Do you need some encouragement and want to be with other parents going through similar things with their children as you are? 

Then please join me for the online study of my book You Are Not Alone every Wednesday night  in the month of July from 7 – 8:30 PM EST through July 29th. If there’s enough interest, after a break we will start again in September.

Interested? Send me a personal message or go to our Hope for Hurting Parents Facebook page. Look for the event and you’ll find the information you need to register. I’d love to have you join me for the next 5 weeks!

*[Today’s blog is from the archives.]



  1. Lisa

    Praise God! Thank you for sharing this wonderful true story. What an encouragement for all parents praying for their children.

    • Tom and Dena Yohe

      Thank you for your comment, Lisa. I’m so glad you found it encouraging!

  2. Andy Malloy

    Thank you! I needed this. Your daily emails always find me at my lowest point and turn my focus back on God and not worrying about my son.

    • Tom and Dena Yohe

      Andy, thank you for your comment. It is my prayer that my emails will continue to do that for you. It’s only the work of God in our lives that can help us focus on him instead of on our beloved children.

  3. Cheryl

    Thanks for sharing. Very encouraging for me.

    • Tom and Dena Yohe

      Thank you for letting us know, Cheryl. We are so glad and pray the Lord continues to comfort and strengthen you each day as you wait for transformation to come for your child.

      Warmly in Christ,

  4. Terri

    Although we have 4 boys, all adults now, they all have been raised in church, they all have made bad choices. One in particular is at a crossraods today, he is searching and although he swore he would never return to God he is at this point looking for a change. Please pray for Devon he is at rock bottmo and needs God so very badly.
    thank you.

    • Tom and Dena Yohe

      Terri, we are so very sorry for the choices your boys have made and all the pain we know it’s brought into your lives. May God do whatever it takes to bring Devon (as well as your other dear sons) to the place where they are ready to surrender so that they can live in the abundant fullness you intended when you created them. While you wait, I pray John’s story gives you fresh hope!

      Warmly in Christ,

  5. Laurie

    That story gives me great encouragement as my husband and I have walked and continue to walk through some very hard days with our children. Our three children too we were raised in a Christian home. Our 22 year old daughter, Abi is serving a 5 year prison sentence as a result of crime she committed when experiencing a psychotic break. She has stabilized mentally, but after an initial time of trusting Christ, she has grown very distant from the Lord. Our two younger sons have been very affected by it. Our oldest son Zach is now an atheist and is very passionate about it and wants to argue every day about it. It has been very stressful for us. Our youngest is walking with the Lord, but has struggled with a lot of anxiety and is having a lot of trouble making decisions about his future. I find the emails you send so encouraging as we daily pray and trust our children to their heavenly Father who loves them so much more than we do.

    • Tom and Dena Yohe

      Laurie, Thank you for your openness in your response. We are grateful that you found this post and so many of the emails encouraging! We are sorry you have had to endure so much. May God bless you and your husband with His strength. And may you both grow to know Him more intimately in this new year.

      In Christ, Val Bush