Have you ever read a book that meets you right where you're at? Or one that God speaks to you so clearly that you know you have to do something! Anything!
While away on vacation I took the book, Road Trip to Redemption with me. It's the story of the Mathias family: Brad, Paige, Jessica, Bethany, and Caleb, whom are cruising through life when their middle daughter, Bethany, starts increasingly acting out and withdrawing from the family.
After much prayer Brad and Paige, feel a strong sense to go to her room and find out once and for all what is wrong. Much to their surprise she is laying in bed crying- not quite what they expected.
What Brad assumed was a teenager being rebellious and moody turned out to be anything but. When he walked into her room he expected a showdown with a rebellious teenager, not an emotional breakdown with a real, heart breaking reason for the cause behind it.
She dropped a bombshell on the family.( I won't tell you what, you'll have to read the book)
This led Brad and his wife, Paige on a soul searching discovery like never before. They realized they were doing all the "right" things as a Christian family but falling desperately short of reaching their children's hearts.
And leading their family in love.
This story hit home with me because I have two children ages, 8(bout to be 9 next month) and a 12 yr old.
I realized that I'm trying so hard to get things right and not mess up as much as possible so that maybe they will "get" it and grow up to be good, God loving people. My parenting style much like Brad and Paige's is based on fear instead of love.
I can't lead my family if I don't "get" it myself.
As Brad states in his book, "All my fathering attentions were based on my own fear of messing up their lives, of not living up to my role. I loved my kids, but the driving force in my relationship with them was fear, not compassion or grace or patience." (pg42)In dealing with the aftermath of Bethany's bombshell and seeking to help her and the entire family, Brad, whom has always loved to travel and has a penchant for adventure in the form of long-distance road trips, gets the idea to go on a seven thousand mile family road trip to Canada.
I know, I was thinking the same thing, a road trip like that would likely result in us strangling each other instead of bringing us closer together.
But, you never really understand the phrase "time flies" until you have kids. We have such little time to get to know them from the inside out. So, if a seven thousand mile road trip is what is takes to get the attention of your children's hearts, then I say go for it!
"I was trying to cram my faith into their heads when all that really mattered was what got in their hearts. I had missed the real target, mostly because I had been aiming at a worthless goal-creating a socially acceptable, outwardly compliant child rather than directing my kids to God himself, who could change them from the inside out."I would hope that after reading this book I'm more aware of what is really going on in my children's lives and hearts. To strive to not cram down their throats the gospel but live in out in front of them, so that they can see Jesus working in me each day.
Somehow I feel less burdened after completing this book to get it all right and less responsibility for the spiritual transformation of my family.
Now that I've finished the book I'm ready to take my own two-week road trip with my kiddos :) (almost).
Brad includes a few pictures from the trip along with some diary entries from each member of the family that are completely unedited and straight from the journals. Writing a book out of their experience was never thought of beforehand, but how cool is it that one did come from it?
And one that can be used as a wake up call to other families to stop just going through the motions and get real with those in your life.
If you are looking for a book to motivate and encourage you in your family, regardless if you have kids or not, I would strongly encourage you to read Road Trip To Redemption. The ways God shows up for this family on this trip in personal life-changing ways is amazing to read about.
Each family member had their own "God moment," that brought tears to my eyes as I read. Reading about those "God moments" affirmed to me just how much God sees, knows, and wants us to be with him on an intimate level.
Road trip, anyone? :)
Love well, friends- because I think that is the best thing you can do to reveal God to those around you.
*I received this book free in exchange for my honest review and opinion on the book. All opinions are mine :)
linked with: Fellowship Fridays and Family Fun Fridays, Thrive at Home