To say the movie, Taken, was heart-wrenching would be an understatement. Jase and I just finished watching it and my head hurts so bad from sobbing, I can barely see straight. I was prepared for the emotional charge of a child getting kidnapped. Even though it is my greatest fear with my own children. I was prepared to hug my children tighter after watching this movie. I was prepared for the movie’s focus on the horrible crime of sex slavery and the pigs running it all, or, at least, as much as I could be prepared. However, I wasn’t prepared for the self-pity. I wasn’t prepared to finish that movie and sit still, baffled, as to why I wasn’t rescued as a teenager. I wasn’t prepared to finally be in a position where I feel I can turn to God and say, “Where were you? Why weren’t you fighting to save me like this father? Why did you let all of those horrible things happen to me?” I didn’t think I would wonder, yet again, why my parents seemed so quick to give up on me as a teenager.

To me, this movie is very similar to the Prodigal Son story in the bible. I have always loved that bible story because of the reminder of a father that loves so unconditionally. It always hits right home for me since I was a teenage runaway. I ran away twice when I was fifteen. The second time, I was on the streets for ten days and I witnessed, took part in and fell victim to horrible things. I was scared and alone and addicted to drugs and to the mentality that my life at home was worse than the hell I was putting myself through on the streets. I came home after enduring way too much. I walked through the front door of my house and dropped to my knees, in painful and heaving sobs. Begging my parents, as I had the first time I ran away, to bring me to a counselor. I went into my room and was shocked to see everything I owned, packed in boxes. Even the sheets on my daybed. My dad said that if I had been gone one more day, my stuff would have been sent to the Salvation Army. To this day, I don’t know if he was trying a Tough Love approach on me or if he had meant it. Either way, I long SO MUCH to believe that, like the Prodigal Son story and like this movie, Taken, I had a Father in heaven just rejoicing that I was home. I get teary-eyed every time this bible story is shared because I wish I would have been welcomed home like that. I wish I had a parent run to greet me with open arms. I wish I would have been fought for and tracked down and risks would have been taken. Just to show me that I was loved and forgiven.

I don’t dwell in self-pity too often or for very long but I’m thankful for it tonight. I’m thankful for the reminder of how my children should be shown love… unconditional love… no matter how bad they’ve messed up.