The before-and-after love that saves

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I heard the text come in. Picking up my phone, I saw that my oldest son had messaged me. “I made it onto their social media cover,” he said, and there on the screen was an image. It showed a smiling, happy, young man, face alight. My heart inside my chest squeezed tight, and I could feel my own smile forming. That precious, precious son…

For those of you who have followed me here and on social media, you will know the story. (And if you don’t know it, you can hear me tell it by clicking HERE. At Thanksgiving, this small, caffeinated American mom shared it with Bo Snerdley on his radio show, the Rush Hour, and it spoke to many hearts.) Now, today, I gave thanks.

What came to mind, looking at the photo, was a different image. Three years ago right now, this man was lost in a world of drug addiction. He was homeless, wandering about in the hell of the streets, and that’s when his father stepped in. “I have to go look for him,” he told me one day. “I just want him to know his value to me. I have to know that I tried.”


In preparation for the trip, he pulled the last known photo he had of our son. It was an image I could scarcely bear to look at, for it was a mug shot from his most recent arrest. The face in it was somber; the affect was flat, and the weight of sin and hard living was visible. He printed a stack of flyers with that face and beneath it, these words. “Missing:  *___ Schrock (also known as _). Call with any information,” and here he’d put his number.

I will not recount again the traumatic events of that six days in the Texas heat. To this day, my husband cannot speak of it without strong emotion welling up and liquid love leaking down from his eyes.

But back, now, to the picture that came in a text. It showed him at his church. In one hand, he held a Bible. On his shirt, these words, “I am free.” And on his face, that wide-open grin that I mentioned. The epitome of health and light and life and redemption, the embodiment of so many prayers, was before me. What a blessing. What a miracle. What grace.

I share this today to encourage those of you who are still in the waiting room. You, just like I, have no guarantees of the kind for which you are desperate. There is no way to know for sure how it ends. No control over what happens next. No promised “finish date” on this fiery trial. There’s not.

However, you have all the guarantees you actually need. God will be with you in this thing, and He will be with your loved one. That’s the first.

Second, you are safe and secure in His hands. So is your loved one.

Third. No great faith here is required. A mustard seed’s enough (and this is such good news).

Fourth. If you will commit yourself into God’s hands, He will bring good from this hard thing, far more than you can imagine. From this vantage point now, I can look back and see the beginnings of what it was good for, and so, my friend, will you. It is worth it.

The God that is with you and your kid now is the God that was with you and your kid before, and He’s the God that will be with you and your kid after. You can rest in His love. It will save you.

Oh, the precious before-and-after love of God. You can see it in the face(s) of my son. May you feel it. May you know it. May you believe it.

Take heart,

The small, caffeinated American mom

“There’s no actual reason for despair. It only looks like it.” – Rhonda


    1. Let waiting do its perfect work. You will never be sorry; you will always be glad that you did.

    1. The Valley of the Shadow of Death is a very narrow corridor. There’s only room to walk it single file. The good news is that a Shepherd walks before us, a Shepherd walks behind. And one day we will come out of that valley into an open, spacious place.

  1. With tears in my eyes, I understand! I have been there and can testify, God is so good! He hears our prayers!

    1. Thank you more than I can say for your prayers and encouragement over the years. You have given the comfort which you first received. A wonderful example!

  2. Well, what a joy welled up in my heart as I saw the recent photo of this precious guy! This family has been SO SPECIAL to me through many years! I even have the title of Grandma by all four guys…so to SEE the new oldest who has been drawn back to be a Christ-Changed Man,I could not hold back the tears of joy! All praise to OUR FAITHFUL GOD!

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