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My shame was well-deserved; hers was not. To say that I felt remorse, regret and guilt at my failure to recognize her condition is a monumental understatement. My heart burned with the pain not only of my daughter but also of my heavenly Father as I realized how little I really knew my own child. How little of a genuine relationship I shared with her. How much I had wrongly assumed about her. The lies I had agreed to believe about her life and her attitudes. I had somehow lost touch with my daughter to such a degree that she couldn’t take her greatest crisis to me for help and counsel and comfort. In effect, when she needed me the most, I was no longer there. Paige, too, was heartsick at hearing Bethany describe what had happened. As her mother, Paige had always been there to protect her children and felt grieved to the core that this time, she hadn’t. She wanted to reverse time, to go back and protect her daughter from all this suffering.
 
Such was the shock and surprise at the night’s events that I had to step back and consciously calm myself in a moment of prayer and sacred Scripture reading. Accepting my failures, I was determined to learn, grow and improve in my God-given role as Bethany’s earthly father. I began the process of rearranging my schedule, my priorities and my life to a substantial degree and began asking God to show me what I could do to help repair the wounds in my daughter and in our home. Over time, that prayer for healing, wholeness and restoration would be answered in a most unusual way.
 
This excerpt taken from Road Trip to Redemption, (c) Brad Mathias 2013. Used with permission from Tyndale House Publishers.

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