Friday, May 17, 2013

Road Trip to Redemption by Brad Mathias

About the Book:

Brad Mathias thought everything in his family was fine. A busy, contented dad, he had vaguely noticed that Bethany, his middle child, had become withdrawn and moody, but he assumed it was part of being a “teen” and didn’t look any deeper.

Until the night God spoke clearly to Brad and his wife: Ask her to reveal what she has hidden. They did—and learned the secret Bethany had been carrying, one that rocked their family to the core. In a desperate attempt to reach their daughter and to reconnect as a family, Brad and his wife piled everyone into the car and embarked on a wild, crazy, seven-thousand-mile, what-are-we-thinking trip across the country.

As they drove, they realized how far apart they’d drifted, found unexpected blessings along the way—and journeyed together from pain and loss to recovery and redemption. In this book, Brad shares stories from the road about God’s grace, gives practical tips on what he learned about reconnecting as a family, invites you to consider your own epic journey as a mother or father, and calls you to trust wholeheartedly in the amazing love God has for your kids.

My Thoughts:

This is what I love about reviewing!  Sometimes I get to take a peek at books I'd never normally pick up and read, simply for the sake of letting readers know what's available in the publishing world.

If you believe in accidents, then you must change your mind.  It was no accident I signed up to review this book.  Much of what Brad shares in the early pages, about his inability to reveal his true self in his marriage and about parenting out of fear...I totally could relate to it.

Our oldest daughter tossed everything we'd ever taught her about God, faith and the right way to walk with Christ and left home in a fit of anger at 18.  I tried everything to reach her: anger, tears, guilt, manipulation.  I prayed every prayer I could think of.  I begged others to pray.

Then one day God whispered to me, "Deena, when she comes back, she will never leave Me again."  It took a friend pointing out the obvious to give me hope and a new way to live.

God said 'when'... not 'if'.  And I was able to let go, and just enjoy my daughter for who she was and where she was.  Eight years later, a random conversation about our current president sparked a renewed interest in the things of God, and she was baptized to demonstrate her renewed faith in April 2013.

All that to say, I get the message of this book.

The first part of the book chronicles the journey of Brad's faith, his marriage to Paige and the early years raising their three children.  It pivots on the discovery of Bethany's, the middle daughter, life changing event, and how they struggled to find their way through the darkness.

Part two tells the story of their road trip, and you'll see some amazing sites along with the Mathais family.  Some of them may even change your life and the way you relate to God.  I know they've had an impact on me.

It isn't an easy book to read.  Some of the lessons are hard, like looking in a mirror and realizing "Oh, I didn't know THAT'S what I looked like."  But the beauty of the book is that it isn't a road map, a how-to, or a list of 'things to change as a parent'.

It's merely a testimony of one family's journey to genuine and life-changing faith in the God of the universe.  Not everyone who has a crisis of faith in their family will take a seven thousand mile road trip to gain restoration.

Maybe some should.

But everyone who reads Brad's book will learn something about themselves, about their relationship with God, with their spouse and with their children.  And you'll never read the Book of Ezekiel the same way again (that's my favorite part---well, that and the moose).

I received a copy of "Road Trip to Redemption" by participating in the Tyndale Blog Network.  Highly recommended.

Happy Reading!



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