It is my great privilege to welcome Kathi Macias to my Window! Her latest release, My Son John is an incredible story that carries a very important message! I hope you will enjoy getting to know this very special lady, and I also hope that you will enjoy her novel as much as I did! Please, welcome Kathi to my Window!
Where was the idea for this story born? How difficult was it to convey a mother’s pain so realistically?
I originally conceived the idea about twenty years ago, though the plot was a bit different. I worked on the book for quite awhile off and on, but it was never the right time or the right publisher. Then it all came together as Sheaf House was launching its “edgy Christian fiction” genre. I knew that’s where My Son John belonged! Was it hard to write? Yes. I went through a lot of tissues in the process. And though I haven’t had to face such a horrendous situation as depicted in the book, I do have a lot of experience praying for a prodigal and finding my unconditional love stretched to the limits.
I’ve read that you have been involved with prison ministry. Can you tell us a bit about that and what role that experience played in your novel?
My experience in prison ministry had a huge impact on my understanding of how to write this book and what the mother was going through. I’ve ministered at women’s Bible studies at the county jail, prayed with prisoners on Death Row, interviewed inmates in some of the worst facilities in the country, and even edited the memoirs of one of the most infamous serial killers in our nation. A couple of those prisoners—Charles “Tex” Watson of the Manson Family and David “Son of Sam” Berkowitz (now known as “Son of Hope” as he serves as a chaplain behind bars)—taught me through their changed lives what it means to see the changing power of God’s unconditional love in action.
You include a huge list of resources for those who want to get involved reaching out to others. How would you encourage someone to begin this journey?
If you have a loved one who is incarcerated (or incarcerated yourself), or if you feel God tugging at your heart to get involved in ministering to those who are incarcerated, drop emails or notes to some of those resources listed in the book and find where you “fit.” There is an organization/ministry for every imaginable need, and God knows where you need to be.
I have volunteered at a resident rehab facility for almost two years now, and I went very unwillingly at first – following my husband. God has blessed our work there in spite of my reluctant spirit, but I’ve had to overcome a LOT of preconceived ideas about those convicted of illegal activity. Don’t you think that our judgment of others is one of the key stumbling blocks to loving each other unconditionally? Short of God’s hand in all of it, how can a person overcome their own opinions? I know for me, it has been a hard thing.
You say it’s been a hard thing for you, but YOU’RE DOING IT! That’s how we overcome those preconceived ideas and prejudices. In the book, the main character—John’s mother, Liz, whose own mother is murdered—has to get past those very preconceived ideas. She is ashamed to realize that as the wife of a prominent attorney, she has never given a thought—let alone a dime or a minute of her time—to get involved with her church’s jail/prison ministry, until her own son is one of those inmates to whom they minister. Loving the unlovely is never easy, but it is necessary. For, ultimately, without Jesus, we are all quite unlovely.
Drug addiction – particularly addiction to prescription drugs is rampant today. Do you think the general public understands the real cost in human lives that this has on our society today? Why or why not?
No, I don’t. Like Liz in the book, we imagine that drug addicts are high school dropouts with lots of tattoos and long rap sheets. That’s not always the case, as you point out. As a result, the cost to society, in money but more so in human lives wasted and lost, is growing exponentially. If the Church doesn’t step in to stem the tide, who will?
What exciting things is God doing in your life right now? Any parting words of encouragement you’d like to leave with your readers?
I am overwhelmed with God’s goodness to me! The older I get, the more I realize how much I need God’s unconditional love, for if I received only what I deserve, I would have been in hell long ago. But thank God His mercies are new every morning! Great is His faithfulness! And those are the encouraging words I leave with your precious readers this day: There is nothing you have ever done or thought or said that is too awful for God to forgive, and you are never too far from Him to come home again. His mercy and grace will reach you right where you are