Try to Stop Me! Hanston native corroborates with his mother to write about prodigal journey
When teenage Jonathan Miller of Hanston, Kansas, pushed past his mother's outstretched arm as she was trying to block him from joining friends in mischief, he couldn't have guessed that his words would some day be the title of a book.
"Try to stop me!," he said as he, at 6' 4" towered above his mother, smirking. Neither she nor her husband Paul were successful in stopping him. A broken neck and a broken heart more than a decade later, would. By then, Jonathan was living half a continent away in sunny Florida.
"I didn't have to write a long testimony for our book," Jonathan says. "Just go right down the list of the Ten Commandments, and I've pretty much done a thorough job breaking every one of them, and I was proud of it--proud and arrogant!"
It was when Jonathan came home for Christmas several years after the accident that he invited his mother to write a book with him. "It's a bit different from many other testimonies in that it doesn't major on the details of the pits of darkness," Vernell says. "Rather, the major focus is the surprising, transforming work of the Holy Spirit in the middle of crisis." She goes on to say that the sensational allure of sin can't compare with the exquisite and compelling peace of Jesus Christ.
Jonathan's testimony is that Christ's peace can only be received by an humble, repentant heart. In his experience, the place of relinquishment was found amid the dangers and trials of his prodigal journey. So this isn't a book for those who are looking for cheap and easy thrills. It's for those who long for something infinitely, indescribably beautiful and eternally satisfying.
If you feel like you're standing on the brink of disaster in your life and have little hope that you'll ever experience joy again or know someone who is, this just might be the book for you. It may engage you in a wrestling match between your soul and the Savior, and it may leave you strengthened for your own journey.
Jonathan and his mother do not shrink from addressing the hard questions of morality, sin, suffering, doubt, and unbelief. They never claim to have all the answers; but with humor and wit, they may make you question your own answers! You may even laugh with them along the journey!
Their story magnifies the Cross and puts the prodigal journey into Biblical perspective. In addition, it includes a final section, especially for those who still might be on a detour.
"I'm a born again believer in my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!." Jonathan says. "Without Him, I would have never ever made it this far, and I am so thankful to Him for giving me the best family a man could ask for! I can't brag about my love of Jesus, because I fail Him daily. But I CAN brag about God's love for me, because He NEVER fails!"
Jonathan is quick to give special acknowledgement to his beautiful and loving wife, Fallon, for helping "fine tune" him into the man he is today. He loves being a dad and wouldn't trade that for the universe, he says. Jonathan is a business owner in Florida, and his wife is a highly acclaimed nurse. They enjoy spending time outdoors with their family, travel, and Florida life in general.
Try to Stop Me! was not written in a day nor in a year, but was garnered from journals that span more than a decade and from Jonathan's correspondence and emails. Vernell wrote her first book, Anywhere With You, after she and her husband Paul returned from three years of agriculture and missionary service in Mexico. Her second book, Meditations for Adoptive Parents, won an Angel Award for Excellence in Media. This, her third and Jonathan's first book, is offered to families whose life has taken an unexpected detour.
Vernell's early walk of faith, as told on pages 19 and 20 of the book, began on a farm in the rural Mennonite hamlet of Goessel, Kansas, and then was nourished in the warm-hearted United Methodist Church in Lebanon, Kansas, the center of the continental United States, where they moved when her father accepted a teaching position there.
She and her husband Paul wanted their marriage to reflect the covenant relationship between Christ and the church. When they prayed for children, however, they never could have imagined the wild ride which was in store for them. "Hold onto your stomach!," Paul once instructed Vernell as they faced another trial.
The wild rides through the rip-tides of teenage rebellion caused Paul and Vernell to depend upon the Lord and His provisions in surprising ways, but today they gratefully relate that their former "beloved prodigal" and his lovely wife often are the ones to encourage them! Jonathan has worn a number of professional hats from chef to construction truck driver to business owner. He is eager to follow wherever the Lord leads.
Try to Stop Me! and Meditations for Adoptive Parents can be purchased at the Christian Bookhouse in Dodge City and at Everything Under the Son in Great Bend, Kansas, or from PrairieView Press, Box 88, Neche, ND 58265 1-800-477-7377