So here is the Part 2 of my interview with author, Melinda Inman. AND the book giveaway!
According to Melinda's author profile on Goodreads and Amazon:
“Melinda Viergever Inman was raised in the tornado capital of the U.S. - Wakita, Oklahoma, of ‘Twister’ fame. There her parents met. There her roots were sunk in a storytelling family. During years of relocation, tragedy struck. Wounded and heartbroken, Melinda forsook her roots and ran from herself and from God. A journey of trial and heartache brought her home again. A prodigal now returned to her secure foundation, she writes with passion, illustrating God's love for wounded people as he makes beauty from ashes. Refuge is her first novel. Melinda shepherds women in church and in prison ministry. She writes inspirational material and bible studies. With her husband and family, she is involved in a church-planting ministry in India.”
Part 2 of our interview includes Melinda's concept of being a "prodigal," what it is like to be the parent of a prodigal and how the term "prodigal" actually can apply to all of us.
I have to say that I love the insights she shares that apply to parents, but especially to moms who are involved in ministry.
Would you be willing to expand a bit on how you would describe yourself as a prodigal?
I am a wounded and broken woman. Events happened in my young life that scarred and shaped me. I write to people who have experienced similar hurts. Most people don’t get through childhood unscathed. Since the first of January I’ve been sharing blog posts that introduce myself to my readers. The stories are there at http://melindainman.com/blog/. On January 17, 20, 24, and 27, 2014, I have scheduled four consecutive posts that deal with the assaults that changed my world, how I responded by running away from God, and how the Lord has brought me back to himself. These first two months of 2014, I am sharing my life story in short blog posts two to three times a week. These accompany my life story video, which will soon be on my website. All the details are there in polished and visual form. I hope they comfort and encourage others who’ve been through similar trials.
How about your son? Were you already involved in ministry (either by writing or otherwise) when you would say your son became a prodigal?
First let me reassure the reader that I share nothing about my children without their permission. All of them are adults, and we have discussed my parameters for writing and interviews.
My husband and I have six human children. We are human. Every human is a sinner, and every sinner struggles with sin in their own individual way. All humans are prodigal in different degrees. A prodigal is fighting against God in some way, either because of circumstances beyond their control that have caused them to doubt God’s love or because of some entanglement in sin or both. Our natural tendency is to run away from God rather than toward him. I know I do, and it’s been by constant humbling and learning to rely on Jesus that I’m growing.
My children tend not to use “Christian-ese” when they talk about their lives. So they rarely use the word “prodigal,” preferring to talk more specifically about their attitudes and actions. To simplify I asked if I could use the term “prodigal,” and my two sons who felt that term applied to them individually said I could. They also said I could share their names, but I prefer to allow them to tell their own story. Both have returned to the Lord, love him, and are growing in godliness. I wrote Refuge as one of them was still running from God. I wanted him to know that God loved him and would forgive anything and everything he had done. I want everyone to know that—that is my core message. That truth changed my own life. It is what I proclaim.
Each son’s battle, like mine, was very personal and unique to them as was their return to the Savior. One had his difficult years starting when we were in the middle of our family decade of calamity. We were all staggering and beaten down by our life events, and it was difficult for us to perceive his pain clearly. The other had his hard years when we were in a position of leadership. My husband and I stepped away from some duties to be more available to him for encouragement day or night.
When we examine the father in the story of the prodigal son, he shows love in several ways. He lets go. He prays—watching for the son’s return. He waits. And he runs toward his son with open arms, not knowing that repentance is going to come out of his mouth. We try to love all our children like this, regardless of their circumstances. But because of our immaturity, it’s hard to love unconditionally. To have a God-like love, we had and still have a LOT to learn.
We have to release our own hypocrisy and legalism. We have to apologize for our mistakes in parenting, even for things for which we’d already asked their forgiveness. We have to help them to understand that our love for them is not performance based. We have to show it in our words and actions. We are growing in loving unconditionally and learning to trust God to do the work.
The most powerful tool we have as parents is to pray. One of my “prodigals” told me that when I talked about his need to repent, it made him resist the Holy Spirit who was already telling him the same thing. I certainly didn’t want to get in the Holy Spirit’s way, so I shut my mouth and never brought it up again! This opened my eyes to my pride about my part in their repentance. I tend to be arrogant. I wanted to bring this about myself! That’s prideful! God is the only one who can grant repentance. We take our hands off, we wait, we love, we watch, and we pray. We let God work. And he gets all the glory when he has won them.
Is it hard for you to share about your own children when you are involved in ministry?
Yes! There are so many lessons I’ve learned from my children, and I want to tell them all! Most of my growth has been produced by mothering them, by learning to love more selflessly, or by going through trial involving them, etc. But most of them are very private people. If some powerful fact about my transformation cannot be shared because my child doesn’t want it discussed publicly, I will not write or talk about it. If I’m ever in doubt, I ask them. I seek to respect their boundaries. But I had to learn this through many mistakes. When they were younger I told too much as I asked for prayer for our family or because I wanted people to understand our plight. As they grew older, they voiced their displeasure. I listened. Writers have to be very careful to respect the wishes of those they love.
Thanks, Melinda, for allowing me to interview you! I can't wait for the release of your book, Refuge. (March 25)
And speaking of book....I will have a signed copy of the book to give away! And the winner is......
Congrats, Amanda! Thank you for participating in the giveaway through the blog and facebook.