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Finding Space to Connect With God

Finding Space to Connect With God

Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory share ideas on how you can find the space and the place to spend time nurturing your relationship with God. They reflect on some of their imperfections and the abundant grace God offers to cover those shortcomings.
Original Air Date: January 14, 2022

Preview:

Kathi Lipp: Failure is natural. Pain is natural, but when we stop going to God with it, when we trying to take care of things on our own, we only have so much reserve. And so this was just an opportunity to say, I need to make sure that God isn’t the extra at the end of the day, that that’s my sustenance. That’s what I need. And why do I k- have to keep learning that lesson over and over and over again?

End of Preview

John Fuller: Kathi Lipp joins us today on Focus on the Family, along with her friend and co-author, Cheri Gregory. Your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly, and I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: Uh, John, what does it look like for you to get away, like for a retreat?

John: Oh, well that would be like mountains and, uh-

Jim: (laughs).

John: … time with a book and no cell phone. That’s- that’s rest and- and relaxation for me.

Jim: You know what’s amazing? Jean just did a retreat with a handful of girlfriends.

John: Yeah.

Jim: And they got out to the mountains, and they were able to kind of relax and study the word pretty deeply. Not everybody has that opportunity.

John: No.

Jim: And that’s a great thing.

John: It’s okay.

Jim: But I love the fact that the timing of this, with Jean’s experience and our guests today, talking about how you can have that retreat environment without necessarily having to go spend a lot of money-

John: Hmm.

Jim: … or drive to the mountains or something like that. I’m looking forward to this discussion because we all need to think about our relationship with the Lord, where we’re at, where we need to go. And the best way to do that is silence, right, time to just think. And we’re gonna really help you better understand how to do that each and every day.

John: Yeah. I used to pray that God would speak, and now I say, “Lord, help me listen.”

Jim: Mmm.

John: Because I believe he speaks a lot more than I listen.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

John: So, I’m really glad that we have, uh, Kathi and Cheri here. They’ve been here, uh, a number of times before. They’re very popular speakers and authors, and they’ve written a book together. It’s a devotional titled An Abundant Place: Daily Retreats for the Woman Who Can’t Get Away. And we have copies here at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Well, welcome back to both of you.

Kathi: Thank you.

Cheri Gregory: Thanks so much. It’s great to be here.

Jim: Yeah, it’s so good to see you. You are always so cheery and so effervescent.

John: Mmm.

Jim: We love it.

John: Oh, that’s a good word.

Jim: Yeah, you like that?

Kathi: I- I love that word.

Jim: Yes.

John: (laughs).

Kathi: I don’t know that I’ve ever been called that before.

Jim: Bubbly.

Kathi: Yes.

Jim: But we love it. And you guys bring such great wisdom. Uh, let’s go there. You speak to a lot of women through the ministry that God’s given you. It, what’s the most common thing you hear from women, uh, about, oh, just the demands? I have a good friend who was just telling me she raised her girls in the ’70s and ’80s, and she goes, “I don’t really remember that part of my life.”

Kathi: (laughs).

Cheri: (laughs).

Jim: You know, I think I understand that, but that’s kind of how a lot of women feel.

Kathi: That’s- that’s exactly what my mom says. She does not remember the ’60s or the ’70s.

Jim: (laughs).

Kathi: And- and, you know, I think the number one thing that we hear from women is that they are overwhelmed. And in fact, we wrote a book about it. You g- we talked-

Jim: Right.

Kathi: … to you guys about it. And this devotional is a response to it because, you know, it, wherever you are in your life, whether you’re at home with kids, you’re working full time, there is so many demands on all of us.

Jim: Sure.

Kathi: And to have the opportunity to just kind of pull back and get away, it’s a luxury for a lot of people, but it’s also a necessity.

Jim: Yeah.

Kathi: So that’s what we were trying to figure out.

Jim: And in that context, I mean, it is good. Like Jean had a wonderful experience-

Kathi: Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Jim: … last weekend. And it w- was really enjoyable to her. She said she laughed a lot, she cried.

Kathi: Mm-hmm.

Jim: You know, the girls really bonded.

Kathi: Mm-hmm.

Jim: But for the woman that struggles carving out that kind of time because she’s so busy, can you really, um, seek the Lord and hear from the Lord without that kind of retreat experience?

Cheri: Well, you know, for some women, it, they’re at a stage of life where the, even the thought of getting away is more overwhelming.

Jim: Right, it’s more work.

Cheri: Because, yeah, there’s all the preparation that has to happen. And so to be able to carve that time out, to be able to set aside some time to, uh, pull together, um, some things to make it meaningful and retreat-like. Uh, you know, we like to, you know, pull together a blanket or a favorite drink, favorite scripture, to have a space, to have a place in the house for it. Uh, for me it’s a prayer chair, uh, where my family knows. Now the cat does not know.

Kathi: (laughs).

Jim: (laughs).

Cheri: Rafiki does not respect my retreat time.

Jim: Hey, we could take care of that cat for you.

John: (laughs) Yeah.

Cheri: But my family knows that if I’m in my prayer chair, I, you know, don’t bother mom unless there’s blood or something like that.

Jim: (laughs).

Cheri: And so to be able to create that space and time-

Jim: Yeah.

Cheri: … rather than waiting, okay, someday I’ll get away, someday I’ll get away. Well, two, three, four, five years can go by. Whereas to be able to do that, we believe on a daily basis, to carve out that little bit of time is so important-

Jim: When you-

Cheri: … and can really lessen that, uh, that feeling of overwhelm.

Jim: And just for that specificity, how much time is that for you?

Cheri: You know, sometimes it’s five minutes.

Jim: Right.

Cheri: Sometimes it turns into lingering for a half an hour or an hour or more, but I don’t want to get hung up on the time, because so many-

Jim: Yes.

Cheri: … at least those of us who are recovering perfectionists-

Jim: Yeah.

Cheri: … we get hung up on the time.

Jim: Right.

Cheri: If it’s not an hour, it doesn’t count. And it’s like any time with God totally counts.

Jim: Right.

Cheri: And also the person who’s like, “I’m not even gonna bother to try if I can’t do it right,” find that space, create that space, do it for a little period of time and it’s gonna grow. Mm-hmm.

Jim: Yeah. And you’re not saying it, you know, for that retreat experience, that’s a good thing. That’s good to carve out that time.

Cheri: Yeah.

Jim: But how to have that experience more frequently, which would be good.

Cheri: Mm-hmm.

Jim: So that your faith is deepening. That’s what you’re saying. And it doesn’t take a lot.

Cheri: Yeah. It’s not either or, it’s both.

Jim: Yeah, that’s good. Um, let me ask you Kathi, you- you have an acronym, SPACE, uh, that really helps people to learn meditation and scripture application. Uh, what’s the, uh, acronym stand for? Describe it for us.

Kathi: Yeah. So, what we’re asking is for space. And I think, you know, as women, we really desire space in our lives, whether it’s in our schedule-

Jim: It’s like the number one commodity.

Kathi: It really, really is.

Jim: (laughs).

Kathi: And so we took that, and we just said, “Okay. What is a daily ritual that we can put into our lives that will just take a few minutes but can help us go deeper with God?” And it’s that consistency, you know. It’s that daily consistency. So, S is for speak. So, this is just, if you’re taking a portion of scripture, reading it aloud three times. And three times may seem a little weird. And I’m not trying to say, you know, do something ritualistic. This doesn’t, you know, make … There’s no magic number, but for me, to really meditate on it three times, I can really start to take that portion apart. Um, ponder. Sit quietly. Why is God bringing this verse into my life right now? Like is there something going on in my life? Is there something specifically I need to be listening to? So just giving some opportunity. I love what you said, John. You know, it’s, you know, God speak to me. Well, I need to listen. I, that’s what I need, is I need to sit and be quiet and listen. Act. Is there an action that God is asking me to take? Is there something that I need to be doing that I’m not currently doing? Or is there something I need to be stopping that I am currently doing? Um, commit. What has God committed to do? I think this is so interesting, to think about it like, what does God say his commitment is in this word? Look for what the scripture reveals about God, who he is and what he promises.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Kathi: And then finally, express. I take a moment to express to God, you know, how this verse is hitting me, what I’m learning, how it makes me think and how it makes me feel.

Jim: Yeah. That’s well said. Uh, Cheri, let me ask you. It, this is a devotional basically, and we want to highlight a few of the stories, and certainly we’re not gonna cover it all. So, for the listener, for the viewer, you’ve got to get a copy-

Cheri: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … because there’s so much good stuff in here. But you, uh, used, uh, a certain type of grass to get an illustration.

Cheri: Yes (laughs).

Jim: Is it kudzu or which g-

Cheri: It’s called Kikuyu grass.

Jim: Kikuyu, okay.

Cheri: And-

Jim: I gotta get my grass knowledge built up here.

Cheri: (laughs).

Kathi: (laughs).

John: You don’t want this one though.

Jim: (laughs).

Cheri: I know. I live on an old boarding school. Um, it’s an old military base that’s become a boarding school. And, uh, we were doing some renovation on our house, and we opened up, uh, we took out this windowsill, and there was literally grass growing inside the wall, like sprouting out-

Jim: That’s crazy.

Cheri: … everywhere. It was bizarre. It was like something out of a horror film, because there was clearly no- no light on the inside. And it’s, it turns out it’s this really invasive kind of grass and it’s considered a federal noxious weed.

Jim: That doesn’t sound good.

Cheri: No.

Jim: (laughs).

Cheri: And, you know, one of the things about writing devotionals, and, um, is that it gives us a chance to think about these little experiences in our everyday life and to really listen to what God is telling us about them. And so, you know, I didn’t pay much attention to it, and then I feel the Holy Spirit tapping me on the shoulder and saying, “There’s a life lesson for you here, Cheri.”

John: Mmm.

Cheri: There’s a lot of things in your life that become like Kikuyu grass, you know. There’s that Christmas season, where you were just gonna do a few things and then the calendar exploded, or, you know, there’s you just gonna do this little bit in the house, and then suddenly it’s a home renovation. And so it became this- this metaphor for boundaries.

Jim: Mmm.

Cheri: And realizing that on my own, I will say yes to everything.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Cheri: I’m interested in so many things. Everything looks so good.

Jim: Yeah.

Cheri: But one of the things about Kikuyu grass is it grows underground, and then it jumps up, and you realize it’s invaded everywhere and taken over. And, um, that’s what these-

Jim: Those are the yeses.

Cheri: Those are the yeses-

Jim: Mmm.

Cheri: … that sprout up and take on that life of their own, that end up growing inside your wall, where you’re like, wait, I didn’t agree to thi- … I said yes to this tiny thing, and then suddenly people say I’ve said yes to everything.

Jim: Let me ask you this, and Jean has done a far better job than she used to.

Cheri: Mmm.

Jim: But one of the, one of the observations I would have had, you know, 10, 15 years ago, is it’s this like ricochet effect, where she said yes to too much.

Cheri: Yeah.

Jim: And then she is condemning herself-

Cheri: Yeah.

Jim: … for not having time to do the yeses.

Cheri: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And it- it’s like this bang, bang, bang, bang.

Cheri: Yeah.

Jim: The- the guilt.

Cheri: Yeah.

Jim: That I can’t do all the yeses, but I should be able to do all the yeses.

Cheri: Yeah.

Jim: How do you, uh, kind of unpack that for your own health?

Cheri: You know, I, uh, my tool is really a little bit strange, but I’ve started a journal, and I literally titled it I Was Wrong. And it’s because when I take the time and I ask God for wisdom and say, “Okay, Lord, of all of these possibilities, which ones are invitations from you, and which are possible invasions from these noxious”-

John: From others (laughs).

Cheri: … “weed like things in life, that the yeses that I’m not supposed to be saying.”

John: Yeah, wow.

Cheri: And so then I keep record of, okay, I wanted to say yes to this. And here’s the thing. Sometimes I’m like, I want to do it anyways. Even if God’s like, “This is a noxious weed.” Fine, I’m gonna do it anyways. Well, then I have to journal-

Jim: (laughs).

Cheri: … and be like, “It turned out terribly.”

John: (laughs).

Jim: Yeah.

Cheri: It was a very bad idea again-

Jim: Yeah.

Cheri: … to disobey God. I should have listened. And it’s very humbling.

Jim: Yeah.

Cheri: It is so, it, to see in black and white, all those times where I was like, “I’m gonna say yes. It’s gonna turn out okay this time.” And it turns out, no, it’s more of this Kikuyu grass, and it’s choking the life.

Jim: That’s good. That’s a good analogy.

Cheri: Yeah.

Jim: Kathi, you- you speak to the issue of entitlement-

Kathi: Mmm.

Jim: … and how to, um, overcome that. Uh, w- uh, w- describe that, how you s-

Kathi: Yeah. So, I, we both apparently have very strange practices.

Cheri: (laughs) Yeah.

Kathi: Because one of the things that I have come to need in my life is a lot more gratitude. Can we just all admit the past couple years have been hard?

Cheri: Mmm.

Kathi: For a lot of people-

Jim: Sure.

Kathi: … in a lot of different ways. And I realized I was getting this real root of entitlement in my life. Life shouldn’t be this way. It shouldn’t be this hard. I should be able to do the things I want. All this kind of stuff. And I realized that I was not a really nice person to live with and I needed to make some changes and that I needed to say thank you, I needed to be actively pursuing gratitude in my life. But we were in lockdown. And so what-

Jim: (laughs).

Kathi: … I finally started doing was I’d go out to the chicken coop each morning, and Brie would always l- we … All of our chickens are named after cheeses.

Jim: (laughs).

Kathi: Um, you can tell the priorities in our house.

Jim: You know, you know cheese doesn’t come from chickens.

Kathi: I do know that, yes.

Cheri: (laughs).

Jim: I was just making sure.

Kathi: Right. Okay. Yes. I’ve got that anatomy and cooking down. Um, it’s safe to eat at my house.

Jim: Right.

Kathi: Uh, but, you know, Brie would always l- lay the first egg and I would just say, you know, “Thank you, Brie. This- this egg is gonna be amazing in tomorrow’s breakfast.” And it seems so ridiculous, but I realized as I was practicing gratitude with the lowly chickens, I was actually increasing it in other parts of my life.

Jim: Huh.

Kathi: I was noticing what God was doing in my life. I was noticing the abundance he had given me in other areas. I was being more grateful towards my husband. I was being more grateful towards people on the internet. Miracles abound, you know. I just realized this simple act of saying thank you, uh, to every situation was helping me find the good.

Jim: Mmm.

Kathi: Where before, I was purposely looking for the problem.

Jim: Well, and what you’re saying there is attitudes are choices.

Kathi: It-

Jim: We choose to have that attitude.

Kathi: I can’t choose my circumstances.

Jim: Yeah.

Kathi: I can choose how I can respond to my circumstances.

Jim: Absolutely.

John: And I like how in the book, you- you said, see how many times you can thank others for something, even if it begins with a chicken, I guess.

Kathi: Yeah.

Jim: (laughs).

John: I was with my daughter last night, and I thought, she is so nice to the waitstaff here.

Kathi: (laughs).

John: Well, she is in the food service industry herself.

Kathi: Oh.

Cheri: Oh.

John: So she’s super attuned to-

Kathi: Yes.

John: … people that aren’t grateful, that are entitled and cause problems. So, this is good stuff. It’s, uh, very, uh, practical. And our guests today on Focus on the Family are Cheri Gregory and Kathi Lipp, and they’ve written this terrific devotional, An Abundant Place. And we’d invite you to contact us to get your copy. Our number is (800) the letter A, and the word FAMILY, or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Cheri, in the book, uh, Abundant Place, you talk about your quirky house.

Cheri: (laughs).

Jim: So, I don’t know, it’s obviously not the abundant place, but what- what’s up with your-

Cheri: Oh, this is one of my favorite stories. This one I actually, comes from about like 10, 15 years ago, when we first moved there. When we first moved to the, um, boarding school where we live, we moved into a barracks, a former Ar- Army barracks. And so it was like-

Jim: Where every wife wants to live.

Cheri: Exactly.

John: (laughs).

Cheri: Like 1940s. Uh, but I mean it had a view of the Pacific Ocean, panoramic views.

Jim: Okay. That’s good.

Cheri: So, we lived in barracks. We had this view. And so we were leaving. And Kathi and Roger were gonna come stay for a little bit. And as the time got closer, I thought, oh, there’s a few things I need to jot down for her about this house.

Jim: (laughs).

Cheri: I ended up with a five-page typed list of things she needed to know, like, you know, that the hot water and cold water in the shower were opposite. Or if you used two appliances in the kitchen, you’d throw the circuit breaker. Or there was a particular window if you opened, it would fall out into the bushes, and you’d have to run outside and pick it back up again.

John: It’s starting to sound like a horror film.

Cheri: It, you know. And so-

Jim: Well it’s a polite way of saying don’t come.

Cheri: (laughs).

John: (laughs).

Cheri: I- I just thought, you know, and so she emails me back and she’s like, “Your house scares me.”

Jim: (laughs).

Cheri: And I’m like, she’s a writer. She should know the difference between scary and quirky. Come on.

Jim: (laughs).

Cheri: Like for me, all of this was normal. And I realized, this was one of those times the Holy Spirit tapped me on the shoulder and was like, “What else has become normal for you, Cheri?” What would be like if you made a list about yourself and what people have to get used to when they get to know you and do life with you, you know? This house didn’t get this way overnight. It was over time. And I suddenly thought, if I were to make a quirk list of things that I expect people to adapt to, it would be really, really long. And my natural reaction to that sort of thing is I’m gonna fix it. I’m gonna go buy a ton of self-help books, and I’m gonna overhaul my character in a few nights, and then I’ll be back to being just fine.

Jim: Mmm.

Cheri: And really made me realize, no, this is the kind of thing, where just like I did, after they visited, I made a fix it lists, and I handed it over to our landlord.

Jim: (laughs).

Cheri: That is a reminder to me that I need to hand over my fix it list for myself to God.

John: Hmm.

Cheri: That I need, let’s see, what is that word? A savior (laughs). Not myself, not more self-help. And, um, sometimes, you know, even professional help, whether it’s a spiritual guide or a- a mentor or, um, a counselor to help, you know, really drill down into things.

John: Mmm.

Jim: Uh, Kathi, what was going on when you decided to make pancakes? A- we’re getting hungry, right, John?

John: I envy them, yes.

Cheri: (laughs).

Jim: Eggs and pancakes.

John: And cheese.

Kathi: So many egg stories, I know.

Jim: I’m ready to go for lunch or dinner.

Kathi: You know, you know, it’s- it was a- a couple of years of a lot of hard things, and we were just, you know, I was getting through it. I was spending time with God. These challenges were coming up. But after a lot of hard time, you know, it’s easy for things to drop off your routines. So for me, exercise always goes first. That’s always the easiest one to get rid of, because nobody’s gonna notice, right?

Jim: (laughs).

Kathi: And then, you know, maybe some other healthy habits. And then what I’ve noticed is that if I am not taking really good care of myself, that it’s very easy for me to find excuses to be too busy to meet with God. And I’ve gotten into those places. And I can fake being okay for a really long time.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Kathi: And this morning, I was just, I was going to do pancakes. We had had a hard week. I make great pancakes, put a little vanilla in. They’re amazing.

Jim: Mmm.

Kathi: I know, I’m making you hungrier.

Cheri: Mmm, mm-hmm.

Jim: Yeah.

Kathi: And I tripped over the dog. Uh, the carton of eggs went everywhere on the kitchen floor, and so did I. I just, I sat there on the kitchen floor, and I just cried.

Jim: Mmm.

Kathi: And I cried, and I cried, and I cried, and I scared the dog. You know it’s bad when you cry so much, you scare the dog. And it was, I realized that I had been trying to handle too much stuff on my own, and not … Failure is natural. Pain is natural. But when we stop going to God with it, when we trying to take care of things on our own, we only have so much reserve. And so this was just an opportunity to say, “I need to make sure that God isn’t the extra at the end of the day, that that’s my sustenance, that’s what I need.” And why do I k- have to keep learning that lesson over and over and over again? You know, I’m a woman in my 50s, and sometimes, I- I’m just being honest, sometimes the, I get to the end of the day and I’m like, “I’ve spent no time talking with God today.” And here’s what I know. When I talk with God, my, uh, everything, it doesn’t get necessarily get easier in the moment, but I know that there is healing taking place.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Kathi: And why do I want to skip the healing? Why do I let my brain convince myself I’m too busy to be with the most important thing in my life? And so this was just, uh, a devotion about unpacking those feelings that we often feel, as humans, as women, that life is too busy to do the most important thing.

Jim: Yeah.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And I think it’s probably rooted in our sin nature, right?

John: Mmm.

Kathi: It, yeah, absolutely.

Jim: The enemy in our own flesh works against us spending that time with the Lord.

Kathi: 100%.

Jim: That’s part of it. Hey Cheri, I want to ask you about the strawberry farmer, because that really helped you in your fruitfulness, uh-

Cheri: Yes.

Jim: … understanding. What happened there?

Cheri: You know-

Jim: It’s all about food, girls, you know.

Cheri: (laughs).

Kathi: Yeah, exactly.

Jim: Right, great.

John: There is a definite theme.

Cheri: (laughs) Um, well we do live just outside of Watsonville, California, which has, uh, lots and lots of strawberries get g- um, grown there. And so we first moved into the house we’re in now, and these entire flats of strawberries would just show up out of the blue. And we were like-

Jim: Like on your porch?

Cheri: Yeah, on our front porch.

Jim: That’s pretty cool.

Cheri: Like I would take them in, and … Oh, absolutely. We made jam and strawberry shortcake. But I’m like, what’s happening? And it was just the local farmer’s way of sharing his bounty.

Jim: Oh, that’s great.

Cheri: And it was wonderful and delicious. And so strawberry season, at least where we’re at, is March through October, and waiting for strawberry season is the other six months of the year. Um, but, you know, there’s a, uh, verse in Psalm 1 actually that talks about bearing fruit in season. And w- waiting for strawberry season was a really great lesson for me because I love being productive. It’s always been the way that I have determined my worth.

Jim: Mmm.

Cheri: I’ve never been popular, but I have been necessary.

Jim: Oh, man.

Cheri: And in order to stay necessary, you have to always be producing. And so I realized, I have mistakenly associated fruitfulness with healthy spirituality, and assumed that if I wasn’t producing fruit, it meant that I was either spiritually dead or something, you know, far worse than that. But God designed us to have seasons of fruitfulness and seasons of fallow. And it was wonderful to realize, well, just a second. The scripture actually says that whatever they do, and this is those who are, who are following God’s ways, prospers. And to realize that I don’t have to always be productive to always be prospering.

Jim: Wow.

Cheri: That even though the rest, and of course the, the Sabbath is a symbol of- of the kind of rest that we need, um, even that is something that God has given to us. And- and when it comes down to it, fruitfulness is his gift to us. I- I kind of got mixed up, like all the fruit producing was, I thought was me giving him a gift, and it’s like, no, no, fruit is always his doing, just like the rest is also his doing, so.

Jim: Well, I love that idea of there-

Cheri: Yeah.

Jim: … is a time for production and a time for taking care of the soil.

Cheri: Yes.

Jim: Getting it ready for production.

Cheri: And- and those of us who are producers-

Jim: Yeah.

Cheri: … it feels like laziness.

Jim: Right.

Cheri: But what I realize is when it’s not time to produce fruit, it’s time to grow deeper roots.

Jim: Yeah, that’s so good.

Cheri: And to really get into the living water.

Jim: Mmm.

Cheri: And so, I still struggle with it. I haven’t overcome it completely, but in, I’m- I’m getting much more at peace with those times that look barren, that look like, oh my goodness, like lazy is one of the worst possible words in my family, but it’s like, no, I’m just gonna trust that the fruit will come in its season.

Jim: You know, given that, Kathi, I wanted to ask this question, because so many women are gonna identify with this, and even that head thought of lazy, it fits this.

Kathi: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And that’s the- the destructive self-talk.

Kathi: Oh my goodness.

Jim: And you mentioned that. And how-

Kathi: Yeah.

Jim: I mean, again, how does a woman get into a better spot?

Kathi: Yeah. Well, you know, weight is something I’ve struggled with my entire life. You know, I was a 10-pound baby. I had no chance, you know. It was, it’s some- it’s just been a struggle my entire life. And it’s something that I have repeatedly failed at. And let’s be honest. When you failed at something so many times, um, it’s very hard to say, “No, I’m gonna do it again. I’m gonna do it again. I’m gonna do it again.” You know, Proverbs 24:16 says, “Though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble while calamity strikes.”

Jim: Mmm.

Kathi: And, you know, I- I love that idea of getting back up again, again and again and again. And we only fail if we’re not willing to try again. And so what I’ve had to do with my own self-talk, because let’s just say, you know, we- we are in, everybody in this room is in the public eye to a certain extent, and people feel very free to comment on every aspect-

Jim: (laughs).

Kathi: … of our lives.

John: Mm-hmm.

Kathi: And it, we have to figure out whose voices are we giving weight to.

Jim: Yeah.

Kathi: And I’ve also come to understand, one of the most important decisions I can make is who am I doing life with. Am I doing life to please people on the internet or am I finding those women who have failed seven times, but they keep-

Cheri: Mmm.

Kathi: … getting back up? And those are the people I want to hear the stories from.

Jim: Yeah.

Kathi: Those are the people I want to do life with.

Jim: Yeah. And it’s really good. Yeah. Roger, your husband-

Kathi: Yeah.

Jim: … lost his mother not long ago.

Kathi: Right.

Jim: I’m sorry to hear that. Uh, you share a beautiful tribute-

Kathi: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … that happened. Explain what went on.

Kathi: Yeah. So, it was heartbreaking. You know, she was a woman who was full of life, and she loved her three boys tremendously. And we just, we couldn’t figure out what to do to … We couldn’t have a funeral. We couldn’t be with his brothers. We couldn’t be with our family.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Kathi: And so what we decided to do instead was, um, Betty was known for her love of butterflies. Like her boys always knew, if they couldn’t figure out what to get her for Christmas or her birthday, buy something with a butterfly on it.

Jim: (laughs) That’s good.

Kathi: She would be fine with it. And, um, so we decided instead of buying a trinket or something, because we live on a mountain, one of the best things that we could have done was to plant a butterfly garden.

Jim: Mmm.

Kathi: And so, uh, there are certain flowers that attract the butterflies. And it was just our opportunity, you know, she loved the representation of butterflies because she had been through some really hard things in her life, and butterflies represented new life to her.

Jim: Being able to change, the metamorphose.

Kathi: Being able to change.

Jim: Yeah.

Kathi: Being able to do something different than what you did before. And as women, you know, it’s so easy to get stuck in a place and not make changes in your life that are for the good, that are pursuing God. And she was such a great example of being able to pursue God in her life.

Jim: Mmm.

Kathi: So, we planted a butterfly garden, and we’ve got a little sign that says, “Betty’s Butterfly Garden.”

Jim: (laughs) That’s good.

Kathi: And, um, it’s our reminder-

Jim: That’s sweet.

Kathi: … that God has a new plan and new hope, and Betty is now with the people she loves so dearly, her husband, her sister. And that there is always a new hope for those of us who believe in Christ.

Jim: Yeah. And that- that’s a great place to end today, that there is great hope in Christ. That is the hope.

Kathi: The hope.

Jim: And the- the lessons that you’ve learned and the way you’ve put this into the devotional is great.

Kathi: Mmm.

Jim: And I just can’t wait to get it for Jean. I want Jean to-

Kathi: Mmm.

Jim: … participate. She had such a great experience at that retreat, but it’s something that women can enjoy regularly, and that’s the key theme that both of you have brought today. Thank you for being with us.

Kathi: Thank you for discussing it with us.

Jim: It’s so good.

Kathi: This has been so much fun.

Jim: And so helpful. I’m telling you, if- if these are places where you have struggled, that, uh, destructive self-talk, the guilt for finding space to make sure you’re in a good spot, um, you need to get this devotional so that you can keep the positive things moving toward Christ. And if you can give a gift of any amount, uh, we’ll send you a copy of the book as our way of saying thank you for being a part of the ministry, and we’ll help more couples, uh, do even a better job in their marriages, in their parenting, and that’s what it’s all about. So, thank you.

John: Yeah, donate as you can, and get a copy of this book. And, uh, you can also set up a time for one of our counselors to give you a call back. Cheri mentioned, uh, maybe sometime somebody from the outside, uh, can speak into your life, and we have some great, caring Christian counselors. Our number is (800), the letter A, and the word FAMILY. (800) 232-6459 or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Well, we hope you have a great weekend, and that you plan to join us again on Monday, as we hear from Carey Casey. He’ll have an inspiring message about racial unity and Christian love.

Preview:

Carey Casey: You can preach. You can have all of the wonderful thoughts and reason. They will know that we are Christian by our love.

End of Preview

Today's Guests

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An Abundant Place: Daily Retreats for the Woman Who Can't Get Away

Receive Kathi and Cheri's book An Abundant Place for your donation of any amount!

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Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

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Tantrums. Talking back. Throwing toys or food. Meltdowns. Slamming doors. Kids know just how to push your buttons. You’ve tried all sorts of methods, but nothing seems to work. In this book, Dr. Kevin Leman reveals exactly why kids misbehave and how you can turn that behavior around with practical, no-nonsense strategies that really work . . . and are a long-term win for both of you.

Loving Your Spouse Through the Seasons of Marriage - Part 2

Debra Fileta has identified the four seasons of marriage that correspond with our natural seasons – spring (new life and new love), summer (things get hot!), fall (showing our true colors), and winter (long days ahead). In this interview, she will help couples better understand the four seasons of healthy relationships, what to expect during each one, and how to carefully navigate them for a stronger marriage.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage.

Love in Every Season: Understanding the Four Stages of a Healthy Relationship

Every relationship goes through four life-changing seasons: Spring. Summer. Fall. Winter. Each season plays an important role in taking your relationship to the next level. And depending on how you navigate each season, your relationship will either flourish and grow, or it will slowly die. Whether you’re single, dating, engaged or married, join licensed professional counselor and relationship expert, Debra Fileta as she takes you on an eye-opening psychological and spiritual journey through the four seasons that she has observed in every healthy relationship.

Reconciling Faith and Science in a Medical Crisis

Dr. Lee Warren is a neurosurgeon who has faced many heavy challenges in his life – from serving in the Iraq War to removing deadly brain tumors to experiencing the loss of a teenage son. He’ll share about his difficult quest to find answers to some of life’s toughest questions, while holding onto his faith in God and the sure hope of heaven

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Dr. W. Lee Warren

Dr. Lee Warren

W. Lee Warren, M.D., is a brain surgeon , inventor, Iraq War veteran, and author of I’ve Seen the End of You: A Neurosurgeon’s Look at Faith, Doubt, and the Things We Think We Know, winner of the Christian Book Award®. His previous book, No Place to Hide, was included on the 2015 U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff’s Recommended Reading List. Dr. Warren has appeared on The 700 Club and the CBS Evening News, and his writings have been featured in Guideposts magazine. His Dr. Lee Warren Podcast, which is heard in more than 60 countries, helps listeners use the power of neuroscience, faith, and common sense to change their lives.

Cover image of Dr. Lee Warren's book "I've Seen the End of You"

I've Seen the End of You: A Neurosurgeon's Look at Faith, Doubt, and the Things We Think We Know

This gripping inspirational memoir grapples with the tension between faith and science—and between death and hope—as a seasoned neurosurgeon faces insurmountable odds and grief both in the office and at home.

Praying Scripture Over Your Child’s Life - Part 1

Jodie Berndt loves to pray for her children. She’s been doing that for the past thirty years. Now she helps other parents to talk to God, asking for the salvation of their kids, and for wisdom, self-discipline, purpose, a future and much more. She offers fun and practical encouragement that moms and dads can put to work immediately in their daily lives as they prepare their children for a life in Christ.

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt is a public speaker, a Bible teacher, and the the author of 10 books. Find out more about Jodie and get some free resources (including printable prayer cards and calendars) at her website, jodieberndt.com.

Cover image of Jodie Berndt's book "Praying the Scriptures for Your Children"

Praying the Scriptures Over Your Children

You will discover how using the Bible to shape your desires and requests opens the door to God’s provision—and frees us from things like worry and fear in our parenting! This expanded edition of the bestseller features updated content on issues like technology and identity, and comes with new material designed to invite children into the family prayer circle. Purchase now and receive 10% off your product.

Mothers and Sons: Being a Godly Influence - Part 1

Rhonda Stoppe describes her early motherhood challenges of raising a son, which was intimidating to her. She found help through group of older women mentors. She urges moms to see their role as ministry in shaping sons to be good and godly men. Rhonda outlines several practical suggestions to moms about spiritual training, how to communicate with boys, and supporting the father-son relationship as a wife.

Headshot of Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe

Drawing upon 35 years of experience as a mentor, pastor’s wife, and homeschool mom, Rhonda Stoppe offers encouragement and guidance to women as an author and public speaker. She is popularly known as the “No Regrets Woman,” as she is especially passionate about helping women live life without regrets. Rhonda’s books include Moms Raising Sons to Be MenReal Life Romance, and The Marriage Mentor, which she co-authored with her husband, Steve.

Cover image of Rhonda Stoppe's book "Moms Raising Sons to be Men"

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

Mothers of boys have the special calling to shape future men of God. Popular speaker Rhonda Stoppe, mom to two sons, knows this opportunity is a challenge, a joy, and probably the most important work of a woman’s life. Drawing from years of experience, this inspirational resource will revive the faithfulness and fortitude a woman needs to partner with God as they shape the character and heart of a future godly man.

Identifying Triggers in Your Marriage Part 1

They were both convinced they had married the wrong person. From almost the very beginning of their marriage, Amber and Guy Lia experienced various tensions and personality clashes related to house cleaning, backseat driving, workaholism, and intimacy. In this two-day Focus on the Family broadcast, Amber and Guy discuss how they bravely faced the triggers head-on, and committed to working on their own relationships with Jesus. As you listen to the Lia’s story, you’ll feel hope that you, too, can see real marriage transformation!

Headshot of Guy and Amber Lia

Mr. and Mrs. Guy and Amber Lia and Mrs. Jean Daly

Amber Lia is a work-at-home mom, blogger, public speaker, and co-author of two best-selling books. Her husband, Guy, is a former TV, feature film, and VFX development and production executive who has worked on popular TV shows and films. Guy and Amber own Storehouse Media Group, a faith- and family-friendly TV and film production company based in Los Angeles,

Cover image of the book "Marriage Triggers" by Guy and Amber Lia

Marriage Triggers: How You and Your Spouse Can Exchange Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses

A husband-wife team offers practical advice for married couples to end the cycle of reactionary arguments by examining the most common issues that trigger disagreements and apply God’s Word to radically transform relationships.

What to Do When You're Not Okay - Part 1

Life can be pretty stressful. Between work, relationships, and other obligations, the pressure builds, and we lose sight of who we are. Counselor Debra Fileta helps you better understand your emotions, assess your mental, physical, and spiritual health, and intentionally pursue a path to wellbeing. In dealing with anxiety, depression, and panic attacks, Debra understands the importance of self-examination as well as the benefits of seeking professional help. She offers biblically-based advice, tools, and encouragement to help you get on a path toward healing and wholeness.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Mrs. Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage. Debra resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, John, and their four children.

Are You Really Okay?

Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are

In Are You Really OK? author and licensed counselor Debra Fileta challenges you to get real with who you are and how you’re doing spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically so you can recognize where you need growth and healing.

Navigating a Toxic Culture with Your Daughter - Part 1

As a pediatrician, Dr. Meg Meeker has seen thousands of girls come through her office through the years. They struggle with eating issues, sexual identity, social media…and many other challenges in this toxic culture. Dr. Meeker will encourage parents to invest love and time in their daughters and develop their character to give them the best opportunity for a bright future, all rooted in a spiritual foundation. The discussion also includes healthy feminism vs. toxic feminism

Mrs. Meg Meeker

Dr. Meg Meeker is a pediatrician who is widely recognized as one of the country’s leading authorities on parenting, teens and children’s health. With appearances on numerous nationally syndicated radio and TV programs, her popularity as a an expert on key issues confronting families has created a strong following across America. Her work with countless families over the years served as the inspiration behind her best-selling books which include Strong Fathers, Strong DaughtersStrong Mothers, Strong Sons and The Ten Habits of Happy Mothers

Cover image of Dr. Meg Meeker's book "Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture"

Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture: 11 Steps to Keep Her Happy, Healthy, and Safe

Meg Meeker has been a pediatrician for more than thirty years, is a mother and a grandmother, and has seen it all. She knows what makes for strong, happy, healthy young women–and what puts our daughters at risk. Combining that experience with her famous common sense, she explains the eleven steps that will help your daughter–whether she’s a toddler or a troubled teen–to achieve her full human potential.

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Newest Release - Episode 1: The Truth About Life!

In this episode, we will tackle tough questions like, “When does life begin?” and “What does the Bible
say about Life?” You’ll discover and understand the stages of pre-born life and that babies are more than
just a clump of cells!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!