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Becoming the Father He Never Had

After his parents divorced, Randy grew up without his father's approval. He fostered an addiction to drugs, and after a short marriage and nearly 12 years in prison, he knew he needed to make a change. Read Transcript

My dad would tell me he was going to come come pick me up.

I'd pack all my stuff up and get ready to go and wait

for him on the swing and wait to see the dust cloud come up

the road.

Then, he wouldn't show up, and told me

I'd cry myself to sleep, you know?

Every little boy wants to be with his daddy.

NARRATOR: Randy [INAUDIBLE] was no different.

He needed to know his dad loved him.

His parents divorced when Randy was just four,

leaving that need painfully unmet.

The biggest thing that bothered me about the situation

was I felt like maybe he had moved on with a new family.

You know, he was superdad to them,

never got to be around him.

Just to be there and be my father, approve of me, love me.

NARRATOR: His mom remarried two years later,

and the family moved to a farm.

But Randy didn't feel loved by his stepfather either.

And when he did see his own dad, there was another problem.

He would take me to his, house,

and then he'd get drunk and pass out.

And I'd kind of kneel on the floor beside his bed,

trying to wake him up, you know, and he wouldn't wake up.

NARRATOR: By age 14, Randy had found a way

to cope with the chaos and rejection by smoking pot.

I think the biggest thing that it

did for me was kind of get me acceptance at school.

I could talk to girls without being with my head

down, my face red.

NARRATOR: Pot lead to other drugs and a search

for bigger and better highs.

Eventually, he found what he was looking for.

Once I tried meth, I fell in love.

I guess it was my first love ever.

It just made me feel like I was 10-foot tall and bullet.

You know, I could do anything and talk to anybody.

The story of most of my life was killing all my feelings

with drugs.

NARRATOR: Before he finished high school,

Randy did something he swore he would never do.

You take the best buzz you ever had and times it

by 10,000, and it still don't compare to the buzz

you get when you use a needle.

NARRATOR: Randy married at 19, and they

had a daughter, Caitlin.

But it was his addiction that ruled his life.

Deep down, sincere in my heart, I wanted to be with her

and raise that baby.

And I told her, OK.

I'll stop.

It's gonna be y'all.

You know, and I meant it.

And then I couldn't.

NARRATOR: He spent the next couple of years

dealing drugs, getting into fights,

and running from police.

Finally, Randy was arrested and given

20 years and a plea bargain.

I practically gave away everything

I ever loved for a needle.

So instead of dealing with that, I would lash out.

Hated everybody, and I guess I hated myself most of all.

His wife divorced him after two years.

The only contact he had with his growing daughter was by phone.

Those times were precious, but few.

Caitlin was eight when one of those calls

brought Randy to the end of himself.

She was fighting back tears.

It's like Caitlin, you don't have to be strong for me.

If you want to cry, you cry.

She broke down, and she cried uncontrollably

about 10 minutes, until the phone shut us off.

I was at my bottom.

I was hopeless.

I was facing a life sentence.

So I went to my cell, and I prayed to God,

don't let me die in prison.

Give me one more chance to be a father for my daughter.

When I sought out God, I meant it sincerely.

And the way that I lived was-- I was ashamed of that, you know,

and wanted to be forgiven for all of that.

NARRATOR: As Randy prayed and studied the Bible

with other Christian inmates, he grew

to have a better understanding of God's love for him.

It was kind of overwhelming, a sense of security.

You know, like everything is going to be OK.

I was relieved of the hatred and the anger.

And I kind of had love in my heart.

NARRATOR: Randy served nearly 12 years

before he was granted parole and reunited with Caitlin.

I don't think we let go of each other the whole time.

You know, we probably spent the whole day together.

NARRATOR: Randy's father died in 2016, but not before the two

had made peace.

RANDY: My dad was always there for as a friend

when I got older.

An unsaid, unspoken understanding that we

had forgiven each other.

NARRATOR: Randy is now married to Melinda,

and they have three boys.

Two of them are twins.


NARRATOR: What neither his dad nor anyone else could give him,

Randy has found in Christ.

RANDY: His Love, His mercy.

He's given me everything.

You know, I feel complete.

You know?

There's not a hole inside of me that

is filled with anything but God's love.

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