When God Brings Your Troubled Child Home, but Not the Way you Expected

by | Jan 31, 2016 | Uncategorized, what you can do | 2 comments

“God has answered prayers and brought our daughter home to us – but she has AIDS!”broken2

“My son is back, but he’s seriously ill with cirrhosis of the liver. He might need a transplant.”

Hopes were shattered. You prayed and prayed and waited and waited for your child’s return from “out there”. They indulged in wild living, stubbornness, and pride. You’ve held on for a good outcome. For a long time.

You begged God for their protection.

For light consequences.

For as little pain as possible.

To be spared from bad things.

You did your best to trust Him. To let go. To detach in love. To stop enabling, over-helping and rescuing. Sometimes you succeeded. Other times you didn’t. It’s been rough.

Then it happened – they finally returned – but, you never expected them to come home like they did. Sometimes we don’t get a happy ending.

Daughters get pregnant and sons get their girlfriends pregnant.

Beloved off-spring commit crimes. Get arrested. Go to jail or prison.

They become alcoholics and addicts.

They prefer same-sex relationships; marry their partner and have or adopt children.

They’ve suffered tremendously with untreated mental illness.

They cut and burn, break their bones and many other things you feared.

What brought them home?


Coming the end of themselves. Dead ends. Their neediness drove them back into your arms – and to the arms of God.

You see, as strange as it may sound, there can be beauty in brokenness.

How? Because of the good that can come from it.

Addicts can find sobriety; self-injurers no longer hurt themselves; the gender confused make peace with their sexuality; ex-cons start new lives; captives are set free. Salvation. Renewal. And the terminally ill can die in peace – reconciled to their Maker and to you.

Hard, Yes. But it’s an incredibly beautiful thing when the lost are found. When wanderers come to their senses and return to God and family. Forgiveness. Inner healing. Wholeness. It can take your breath away.

There’s a song that moves me every time I hear it. For some it’s a love song, but for me it’s the testimony of a former prodigal who found beauty in their broken. Titled The Broken Road, here are a few phrases:

God bless the broken road and led me straight to You.

Every long, lost road led me to where you are . . .

Now I’m just running home, into your loving arms.

You can listen to it here.

If you’re parenting path has led you down a broken road, take heart. Something beautiful might be around the next corner.

I hope these scripture verses will be speak to your brokenness today:

“. . . when my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”  (Psalm 61:2)

“. . . weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”  (Psalm 30:5)


Repairer of Broken Lives,

When we’re burdened and weary over our child, don’t let us despair. Remind us that somehow, some way, You can use all the pain to bring them running back to Your loving arms. Don’t let us forget there can be beauty in our broken, shattered places. We give all the pieces to You.

In the Name of Jesus.









  1. Penny Alexander

    I am so thankful to find this website. I have 2 addicted sons, one to alcohol and one to drugs.

    • Tom and Dena Yohe

      Dear Penny,
      We’re so sorry you need us but are so glad you found us. I emailed you today and sent the information you asked for, but wanted to respond here, as well. We understand some of your pain, though each of our stories are different – yet similar, yes? We share the same pain and loss, guilt and shame. I hope you have a supportive community around you. Check out some of the books on our Books tab at the very top of the homepage on our website. There are several there that may help you.
      I pray you take comfort in knowing that you are not alone.
      “When the earth and all its peoples quake, it is I who hold its pillars firm (Psalm 75:3).”
      May the Lord God Almighty reassure you of His presence and hold you steady as you walk this shaky path.