Cell 121: How to Respond When Your Child Goes to Jail with Lori Boruff


Lori Boruff, CathyKrafve.comHave you ever had “your own personal nine-eleven moment”? A personal nine-eleven is what my friend Lori Boruff called that crisis moment when she knew her son was arrested. When a child goes to jail, the pain is excruciating. But, in Lori’s case, there’s nothing but victory now.

The Painful Moment When a Child Goes to Jail

When they arrested her son, Rusty, leading him away from their home in handcuffs, Lori’s life direction changed instantly. Yet, she says, “God had plans for her family and “it was a good direction even in that painful moment.”

Many Families are Suffering

Sadly, I know many good families with parents who love their kids who are suffering because of a conviction. I’ve been praying about who could come on Fireside Talk Radio to answer questions about how to handle the sorrow when your child goes to jail. I wish I didn’t need this information. 

Lori is a nationally known speaker and one of three partners in Christian Communicators. I believe in answer to specific prayer. So, when I attended the 2018 Christian Communicators Conference and met Lori, it couldn’t be a coincidence. One of the things she shared with us was the way time in jail transformed her son, Rusty Boruff.

“Rusty spent many years as a homeless addict who eventually found himself sitting in Cell 121. He spent a year of his life behind bars and met Jesus there,” according to One Eighty, the ministry her son started to help others who’ve been to jail. By the way, the folks at One Eightyare very kind about answering questions, if you need someone to talk to in that intense moment.

Praying for A Child in Jail, Especially about Grief

In the midst of crisis, Lori began to pray for him from Psalm 121 once she saw the number on his cell. Now the leader God always intended, Rusty helps others rebuild their lives after incarceration through One Eighty.

Lori believes strongly that grief can be a crucial factor in making poor decisions that lead to arrest. She tells of her lightbulb moment as she listened to story after story. Blink! Could grief be the common denominator that sets a son or daughter onto a self-destructive path? Yes, says Lori. Parents need to be alert to signs their child is grieving.

If you know anyone who is going through this process, you will want to share Lori’s wisdom on our podcasts.

The Stress on Marriage

How did Lori hold her marriage together in such a strained moment?

“It came back to knowing that God loves my husband more than I do!” she laughs, and she prayed, “‘God, you’ve got him; I’ll just work on my heart.’” In retrospect, Lori says the crisis brought them closer and closer because she wasn’t “working out of a wounded heart all the time.”

What the Church Can Do

What can the church do to comfort those who are in shock because their child has been arrested?

“One of the most hurtful thing is to ignore it,” she says, “I loved it when we’d get a card in the mail.” You may not need to say just say the perfect thing, but acknowledge the hurt that is happening.  Lori suggests asking a simple, tender question: “What part of your heart is hurting?”

For myself, I want to say that you are not alone. Since we hear confidential stories all the time at Camp Krafve, we know people often feel alone and isolated. The truth is so different, though. Please don’t isolate yourself. You’ll be amazed at how folks want to help, if you just reach out.

We want to hear from you…

How have you found comfort in a crisis? Has someone encouraged you when you felt you were isolated and rejected? If your child has been arrested, how did your church offer you true help?

May I pray for you?

Dear Father in heaven, You love our children even more than we do. This week again we cried when we heard of another arrest. Have mercy on us, O Lord. Thank you for Rusty and Lori and their testimony of Your loving care in the midst of sorrow. You established order and gave us the law as a way to find Your Son, Jesus. In heaven and on earth, You reign. Your judgment is righteous and merciful. We turn to You for mercy. Oh, how we love You. In Jesus’s name. Amen.

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Cathy Krafve, Texas Columnist, Speaker, Radio Host, and “almost” Author focusing on fellowship in Marriage, Family, and Community, invites your stories, ideas, and questions at CathyKrafve.com. Truth with a Texas Twang.

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A Semi-retired Mom, Queen of Fun, and Coffee Cup Philosopher Cathy Krafve pulls in exciting guests from all walks of life who rejoice in deeply spiritual truths.

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