Focus on the Family

Focus on the Family with Jim Daly

How Godly Moms Can Raise Godly Sons (Part 1 of 2)

How Godly Moms Can Raise Godly Sons (Part 1 of 2)

Rhonda Stoppe and her son Brandon provide practical advice and encouragement for moms raising sons. The pair discuss discipline, equipping sons for independence, talking in ways that sons will listen, and giving boys a vision for manhood. (Part 1 of 2)
Original Air Date: July 25, 2023

Woman #1: When I found out that I was having a boy, I was really excited, but also nervous.

Woman #2: Having three sons, there is never a dull moment.

Woman #3: Out of the blue they’ll just grab you and hug you and say, “I love you, mom.”

Woman #4: Always, um, activity and roughhousing.

Woman #5: It’s exciting for a while because you’re the most important woman in his life, but you also know that sometime in the near future, you’re no longer gonna be that woman.

John Fuller: Well, if you have one or more boys growing up in your home, you can probably relate to those comments. We’re gonna explore the world of moms and sons on this edition of Focus on the Family. Thanks for joining us. I’m John Fuller, and your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly.

Jim Daly: John, I’m all in on this broadcast because Jean and I, well we live this, uh, mom’s raising sons to be men. And poor Jean had an all boy household, right? She had me-

John: She couldn’t escape.

Jim: … and then Trent and Troy, and I think her best thing was to get away and spend time with her two girlfriends in Southern Cal, whom she met in kindergarten.

John: Huh.

Jim: And, uh, isn’t that fun? So that was her female time (laughs).

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: “I got, I gotta make a trip to go see the girlfriends.” And, uh, Jean did an amazing job with our boys and, uh, she would agree that raising sons have certain challenges ’cause they don’t think like their moms-

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … they think differently.

John: Yeah. Quite a bit.

Jim: Like, “We’re gonna go outside and climb a tree and fall out of it, or, you know, jump on a bike with no helmet.”

John: Lot of action.

Jim: A (laughs) lot of action.

John: Lot of action.

Jim: Well, the goal is today to help moms do a better job in raising their boys to be become men. And I’m looking so forward to it with our two special guests.

John: Yeah. We’re very pleased to have Rhonda Stoppe here, uh, back in the studio. She’s an author and a speaker, a podcaster, a pastor’s wife, and she has a real passion to help women grow in their faith. And, uh, she and her husband Steve, have four adult children, some adult sons in that mix, and 15 grandchildren, which is awesome.

Rhonda: Woo, woo.

Jim: (laughs).

John: Uh, one-

Jim: Grandma just lit up.

John: (laughs) one of Rhonda’s adult sons, Brandon is here with us. He’s a worship pastor in Modesto, California. Very accomplished singer-songwriter, and he’s married to Jesse. They have four very young children. And today we’re gonna talk about a book, uh, Jimmy mentioned the title. Rhonda wrote this book called Moms Raising Sons to Be Men: Guiding Them toward their Purpose and Passion. We’ve got details about the book and our guests, uh, on the website that’s

Jim: Rhonda, Brandon, welcome.

Brandon Stoppe: Hey.

Rhonda Stoppe: Thanks.

Brandon: Thank you.

Rhonda: So good to be with you again.

Jim: It’s good. Yeah, it’s good to see you. And, uh, man, this is a fun show because I do think, uh, moms think quite differently from their boys. Did you have some of those experiences?

Rhonda: Yes. (laughs).

Jim: Give us one.

Rhonda: Who are you?

Jim: Yes (laughs).

Rhonda: You know, when they’re little, man, you just have the visions of, “It’s me and you buddy and Mama’s boy, (laughs).” And, “Oh, you’re just mama’s little guy.” My, my daughters who are amazing, I have two daughters also.

Jim: That’s the next book.

Rhonda: That… Yes, (laughs). You know, they’re, they’re, you think, they think like you, they’re women, they’re gonna turn into women. So you know that. But this little soft face-

Jim: (laughs).

Rhonda: … little boy is gonna turn into a man. It, it’s, it’s bewildering.

Jim: That’s interesting. You know, there is that thing that, that girls become women, it’s pretty natural. They know generally what’s (laughs) gonna happen. Boys are a little more of a wild card. What kind of men will they be? So you felt a little intimidated, you said in the book after having your daughter. Brandon was your second born, but he was your first son.

Rhonda: Mm-hmm.

Jim: So how did that intimidate you?

Rhonda: Well, I think just the idea, he’s gonna be a man. He’s going to be someone who raises his family, who’s a husband, who is a father, a provider. How do I teach him that? And my husband Steve is amazing and he’s got a great dad, but, you know, you’re 24/7 with your kids. How do I, how do I guide him toward that? And what does that even look like? And I remember not being the mom I wanted to be, uh, I, I wanted to be a, a mom. I quit corporate America to be a stay-at-home mom when Meredith was born. And then when Brandon was born, which by the way, I had to beg Steve for almost four years to have another baby ’cause Meredith had colic. And he’s like, “Let’s just not do that again.” (laughs). And when Brandon was born, I remember a day I was like, “Get your shoes. Come on, let’s go.” And he was little and I was going to do something at the church, you know, for, for ministry or whatever. And Meredith, who was a very articulate firstborn girl, and anyone who has a firstborn girl knows that they tell you-

Jim: She’s running the house.

Rhonda: … what they’re thinking, (laughs). But she said, “Mom, I know you can’t wait till we’re grown, so you can do whatever you want.” Well, I’m, I cry even when I say it now, the impression I was giving my kids was, “You’re not important. What’s important is what I’m doing out there for God, for the world, for the things I need to accomplish. Get your shoes, find your backpack. Get in the car, because we’ve gotta go do something that matters.” And I knew that’s not the impression I wanted to give my kids, but I really didn’t know how to change it. So I bought books to try to be a better mom. And the books made me feel guilty because I would make a list of what I was gonna change. But I soon realized the books didn’t have the power to change me. So that’s when I was like, I need to find moms that have walked this path ahead of me.

Jim: Right. And so you ended up getting involved with, uh, older women who had perhaps more experience and could help guide you. Was that through a Bible study or what, what did you do?

Rhonda: Well, uh, Steve and I were working with youth ministry in the church and you know, you watch how moms interact with their sons and their daughters and you see the, the couples that are still holding hands and the kids that laugh at their mom’s jokes and maybe roll their eyes, but they still, you know, wanna be with their parents and their house becomes the hub for their friends. And I’m like, I gotta know what they know. And so I just became friends with those women and asked them to help. So the first thing they did was invite me to a bible study, a precept, five hours of homework a week, Bible study. I’m like, “Ladies-”

Jim: “I have no time.”

Rhonda: “… o- obviously you don’t remember how much work it is.” But my friend Gail, she said, “Just do this one study. I’ll help you with the kids, whatever. Just do this one and see if it doesn’t change your life.” And it was the book of Philippians, which to this day, I love the book of Philippians. I have most of that book memorized because it was just so transforming for my life.

Jim: In what way?

Rhonda: I began to see my life through a biblical worldview. And I, you know, I grew up going to Christian schools. I knew scripture I could fill in all those Jesus, God, Holy Spirit, you know, Bible studies without cracking the book. But this was taking the time to wash my mind with the water of the word. And the word is quick and powerful and sharper than a two-edged sword. And it would reveal the thoughts and intents of my heart and make me discern my motives for why I want my kids to be good kids. Why I want to guide them toward the Lord. Or do I just want ’em to be good kids that grow up in, you know, don’t inconvenience me or make me look bad. It was eye-opening. And then I would say, hashtag old ladies know stuff because these ladies were genuine at this study here. They tricked me. You can’t talk three hours with grownups and free babysitting for my kids. And I can’t talk if I didn’t do my homework. Well, I’m gonna do my homework ’cause I’m not gonna not talk (laughs).

Jim: I can’t imagine that (laughs).

Rhonda: But what these women did is they revealed the highs and the lows of their life. You know, they didn’t just tell me the stuff they did right, they told me the stuff they did wrong. And I always say, I can write a letter to my younger self and it does no one any good, but if I write it to the next generation and I teach more powerfully for my failures than I do my successes-

Jim: Absolutely.

Rhonda: … right?

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Rhonda: Now it has the power to help someone else and handing the baton to the next generation. That’s really why I wrote Moms Raising Sons to Be Men.

Jim: Yeah. And this is the part of the program where we get to test that theory. So Brandon, I’m gonna get you in here-

Rhonda: (laughs).

Jim: … and, uh, just wanted to ask you directly, so what kind of mom was your mom? And remember she’s sitting next to you.

Brandon: (laughs). Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I’m not in the between a rock and a hard place at all.

Jim: Yeah (laughs). Not at all.

Brandon: Um-

Jim: Answer correctly.

Brandon: Yeah, yeah, yeah. You know, my mom, uh, man, I just, I’m so thankful for her-

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Brandon: … and I’m so thankful for the example that she was for us growing up. And even for me, um, I know that even the way that I chose my spouse was, uh, highly influenced by the way that my mom raised me.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Brandon: And, um, I’m, I’m thankful for her. And honestly, I think everything that she did, she always pointed me to Christ. And she always pointed me to, um, not just being a good person, or not just being a, a well-behaved young man, but it was always backed with, “Hey, we do this ’cause we honor Christ. And when we, when we pursue things in life, we pursue things in life because we wanna honor Christ and we want to, um, display His glory to the world through our lives and through our choices.”

Jim: That’s pretty good.

Brandon: I’m thankful. Yeah.

Jim: (laughs).

Rhonda: I wrote that out last night. He did (laughs) very well. Very well.

Jim: No, I mean, it’s part of it.

Rhonda: I’ll buy you something (laughs).

Jim: I mean, nobody, nobody knows you. Uh, you know, like your, your spouse or your kids, they see it ev- they see everything, right. They know what’s happening at home and all that kind of thing. So that’s a, a good statement that you’ve made about your mom.

Brandon: Yeah. What I’ve appreciated about her is she’s been genuine in the home and outside of the home.

Jim: Yeah.

Brandon: She’s the same person-

Jim: Yeah, that’s good.

Brandon: … which is huge.

Rhonda: A little bit crazy in the house, a little bit crazy outta the house.

Brandon: (laughs).

Jim: Now, you wrote, you wrote in the book that your ministry, uh, became or came in the form of being a mom to your kids. Describe that. You saw that as your ministry.

Rhonda: And, and that was really as a result of spending time with these older women.

Jim: Okay.

Rhonda: That was a result of being in the word and studying scripture and finding the highlight reel of the moms in the Bible and seeing how God called them to the ministry of raising the next generation of spiritual leaders or the ones that failed and didn’t do it. You know?

Jim: So give us some of that reel.

Rhonda: Okay.

Jim: What does that look like?

Rhonda: Oh, okay. Well, let me see. Okay. Let’s talk about Jochebed. ‘Cause I, I love Jochebed. She was a mom at a terrible time in history. And, you know, we’re, we’re raising our kids in a pretty difficult time in history. And moms might say there’s never been a worse time to raise a child than, I think Jochebed might argue that. It was her third child. And Pharaoh had, you know, most of you that know this story, Pharaoh had passed a law that these babies that were being born, the male babies were to be put to death because he was concerned they were gonna overthrow Egypt. There were so many Hebrew babies being born. So Jochebed hid him for three months, and then when she could hide him no more, the scripture says she came up with a plan to put him in the basket, in the bull rushes. But where did that plan come from? God just calls us to do the next thing. And he doesn’t give us charts and graphs how it’s gonna work out.

Jim: Or certainty.

Rhonda: Or certainty.

Brandon: Yeah.

Rhonda: And he led her to let go of that basket. And I think of moms that have to let go of a child that maybe has to go visit a biological father with a stepmom that’s not a godly influence or has to have their kids go to a public school and they have no other option. She let this child float right into the arms of a woman who, pharaoh’s daughter. I mean, they worshiped cats. I just went to, uh, a field trip with a bunch of my grandkids to an Egyptian mummy museum and it hit me afresh. This is the culture, the religion, and I don’t know why it’s gonna make me cry that Jochebed had to say, “Here, here’s my son.” And fortunately Miriam followed him and, “Hey, I know someone that can nurse that baby.” And maybe she got to nurse him for four years, maybe. And what would she be doing during those four years telling him about the God of, of Israel singing songs about the God of Israel and implanting as much truth in that short time. And then she had to let him go and be raised in the courts of Pharaoh.

Jim: Yeah. I mean that’s a, that’s a, a deeper way of looking at that story for sure.

Rhonda: It’s real.

Jim: Yeah.

Rhonda: Yeah. Yeah.

Jim: And the heartache of letting him go.

Rhonda: Because what do we read? “Oh, and he was a beautiful child and when she could hide him no more, she put him in a basket and it went down the river (laughs) and Miriam said, ‘My mom can nurse the baby’ and everybody’s happy.” It’s like she was a heart wrench to have to let go of that basket.

Jim: Yeah.

Rhonda: Can’t imagine.

Jim: Well, and still there was risk, and I’m sure in many ways she was cut off as he became a child, an older child.

Rhonda: Right. Sure.

Jim: And, you know, trained in the Pharaohs court and all those things.

Rhonda: Yeah.

Jim: But a mother’s heart’s, a mother’s heart. You and your husband, you actually did something with a young man, a boy who needed help. Tony, I think is his name. Describe what you did and how you took him in.

Rhonda: So we planted a church in Austin, Texas, and we literally went from zero to 200 teenagers in one summer in the house.

Jim: How old was he?

Rhonda: He was 15.

Jim: Oh, wow. Okay.

Rhonda: And our house was just packed with these kids. And Tony was one of those kids. He came to Christ. Uh, I don’t have, there’s a little bit of his story in the book, but a lot of it’s his story to tell. But came from a very difficult family and he needed a family. And Steve had been in youth ministry for 18 years. We met a lot of kids that needed a family.

Jim: Yeah.

Rhonda: But the Lord just so impressed on our heart that Tony should be ours.

Jim: Hmm.

Rhonda: So he moved in with us. He became Brandon’s big brother. He became our oldest.

Brandon: Yeah, yeah.

Rhonda: Right. Which they say don’t adopt and have them be the, you know, the oldest.

Jim: Right.

Rhonda: And Tony’s now, he graduated from A&M University. I think I heard somebody yell, whoop right there (laughs). He went into the Air Force, became a fighter pilot. Uh, he just retired as a lieutenant colonel-

Jim: Wow.

Rhonda: … from the Air Force. Married a godly woman, has two precious kids that love the Lord. He lives in Hawaii and we were there visiting, and he and his wife, who is a doctor, go every Saturday to the other side of the island to minister to homeless kids.

Jim: Hmm.

Rhonda: And he was telling his pastor this, that he’s the age that Steven and Rhonda were when they took Tony in.

Jim: Yeah.

Rhonda: And he said, “It would be like me and Colleen taking one of these kids home with us.”

Jim: Yeah.

Rhonda: And Tony came home and he looked at me, he goes, “Y’all were crazy (laughs). ‘I know.’” But the Lord just made it so irresistible that he was to be ours.

Jim: Yeah. That’s amazing. Brandon, uh, being that son and here Tony comes into the home.

Brandon: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And you’re the oldest boy at that point until Tony.

Brandon: Yeah.

Jim: How old were you when Tony moved in?

Brandon: Was I seven? Six, seven?

Rhonda: Yeah.

Jim: So how did that.

Rhonda: … he came into your life around six.

Jim: How did that feel? And over the years-

Brandon: I-

Jim: … how did it feel?

Brandon: … I was overjoyed.

Jim: Really?

Brandon: I was so excited.

Jim: And you shared a room with him even.

Brandon: Yeah. Shared a room with him.

Jim: Well, your generous spirit.

Brandon: Yeah. I, you know, I looked up to Tony in so many ways.

Jim: Yeah.

Brandon: And I think even being a youth group kid and being around him, um, just this, the idea that he was gonna all of a sudden be living with us and be a part of our family was just huge. Um, and yeah, I was excited to have him around, have a big brother around. We’d, we’d wrestle more than I wrestled with anybody and then he’d pin me down.

Rhonda: Sisters on both ends.

Brandon: Yeah.

Rhonda: (laughs).

Brandon: He’d pinned me down and he’d do, uh, he’d do this thing where he would stand over me and like, he would like put his index-

Rhonda: Torture you (laughs).

Brandon: Yeah. He’d put his, his index finger on my forehead and just like, tap, tap, tap, tap. But I loved it. I was like, big brother stuff.

Rhonda: (laughs).

Jim: Yeah. Yeah.

Brandon: Big brother stuff.

Jim: You are a calm spirit man (laughs).

Brandon: Yeah. Yeah. I was just-

Jim: “Please torture me (laughs). I love it.”

Brandon: Yeah.

Jim: “It was fun.”

John: You were a younger brother. Did you like that stuff, Jim?

Jim: No, not at all.

Rhonda: (laughs).

Jim: I learned how to fight.

Brandon: May, maybe if you didn’t have it and then all of a sudden you had it, you would appreciate it more.

Rhonda: Yes. Yes.

Jim: There you go.

Rhonda: Yes.

Jim: Okay. Fair enough.

Brandon: So I was, I was really excited. It was really cool just having him part of the family. O- obviously there was a lot more going on with like family dynamics and things that my parents were aware of, uh, putting him in the family like that. But, um, I was super excited.

Rhonda: Grocery, grocery bill went way up (laughs).

Brandon: Yeah. Yeah.

Jim: But you think generally positive?

Brandon: Yeah. Yeah.

Jim: That’s a good experience. It doesn’t always work out that way.

Rhonda: No, it doesn’t. I do remember, um, Tony, you know, when kids haven’t been loved well, they’ll-

Jim: Yeah.

Rhonda: … either underachiever or overachieve, he’s our overachiever. Um, and he has done well, it’s wor- served him well, but.

Jim: Yeah.

Brandon: I did want to do everything-

Rhonda: Yeah.

Brandon: … that he wanted like me to do (laughs).

Rhonda: Yes. But Tony was like, valedictorian, football-

Jim: Yeah. Fighter pilot-

Rhonda: … all the things.

Jim: … my goodness.

Rhonda: And he started when they were young, kind of nudging Brandon to do the same, the things. And Brandon was a different kid. Brandon was a musician and he had different passions. And we can talk about that in a little bit. But Steven and I had to pull Tony aside and say, “He’s not you. We love who you are. We love what you’ve accomplished. We want, we are cheering you on. We want you to keep going, but you’re not the standard. So if you start telling Brandon that he needs to do the same thing you are to be affirmed, to be successful, that’s, that’s gonna be hard on Brandon. So we’re gonna celebrate both of you and your differences.”

Jim: That’s great. That’s good observation.

Rhonda: And I mean, they were best men in-

Jim: Communication. Yeah.

Rhonda: … each other’s wedding and I mean, they’re, they’re very close.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Rhonda: But I always tell, you know, sibling rivalry, how do your kids grow up to be best friends? Celebrate their differences. Never say to your kid, “Why aren’t you more like your sister? Why aren’t you more like your brother?”

Jim: Yeah.

Rhonda: And we all know not to say it, but it’s so easy to even imply it, right?

Jim: Oh, totally. Yeah.

Rhonda: Yeah.

John: Yeah. Things slip out-

Rhonda: Mm-hmm.

John: … so. Well, today we’re talking to Rhonda Stoppe and her son Brandon Stoppe. And we’re so glad that you’ve joined us for Focus On The Family. The book that really is the foundation for a lot of our conversation, uh, was written by Rhonda. It’s called Moms Raising Sons to Be Men: Guiding Them toward Their Purpose and Passion. And you can stop by to learn more or give us a call 800, the letter A and the word family.

Jim: Rhonda, I appreciate, uh, pointing out the good moms of the Bible, but you also pointed out some of the bad moms. And I, I appreciate that because you learned so much.

Rhonda: Wait, maybe that should be my next book. Bad Moms of the Bible (laughs).

Jim: The Bad Moms of the Bible.

Rhonda: Oh (laughs).

Jim: Yeah. Well there’s plenty. Jean and I, we, you know, we started reading together the Old Testament. You get in there, it’s a lot of manipulation and, uh, deception and-

Rhonda: Isn’t it?

Jim: … from the parents.

Rhonda: Mm-hmm.

Jim: I mean, it is kind of amazing-

Rhonda: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … that God chose some of the least likely people to be the, the subject matter for the Old Testament particularly, but New Testament too. But point out some of the, uh, the things we can learn from those that made mistakes.

Rhonda: And doesn’t that just give us hope? Because, you know, my trademark is no regrets, woman, because I help women build no regrets lives and break free from regrets that hold them back. And moms have regrets. But there are women in the Bible that God gives us hope even when they did not do what they should do, have done. We’ll talk about, um, Rebecca and Jacob.

Jim: Yeah.

Rhonda: She was a manipulative deceiver and we all know the story. She was pregnant, there was rumbling in her belly. They didn’t have ultrasound, but she’s like, “Something’s, something’s crazy in there.” And then God reveals to her, “You have twins and the older is going to serve the younger.” So when they’re born, they grow up and then one day it’s time to receive the blessing and it’s supposed to go to Esau. And mom hears and goes, “Oh no, no, no, no, no, no. God told me I’m gonna get involved ’cause I gotta help God with what he promised.” And at what cost? She never, as far as we know in scripture, she never saw Jacob again. She didn’t bounce his little baby boys on her knee or her little baby girls as far as we know. They talk about that the dad was still alive when Jacob comes back. But you never hear of his mom again. How heart-wrenching and yet what damage did it do in her marriage to her husband and her who she deceived her husband and it now was influencing her son Jacob, who also was a trickster. And we see that lived out in his life.

Jim: Yeah. You, you believe a mom’s decisions and actions today with, uh, her children have that kind of impact. Sometimes it’s hard to connect Old Testament stories like that to modern day life. What’s that application look like today for a mom?

Rhonda: Psalm 103:17 says, “But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him and his righteousness to children’s children.” Wow. That is just amazing to me because it doesn’t say to those that live perfectly, it says to those who fear him, to those who honor him, who, those who wake up every day and say, “Lord, I wanna live in obedience to you today. I wanna walk in a manner worthy of my calling.” As a mom. I know I have been called to the ministry of motherhood. You know, they, moms these days, they pee on a little stick, they put the picture on social media so everybody knows they’re expecting and they go buy all the cute maternity clothes and they decorate the, you know, nursery. And that’s how they prepare for motherhood.

Jim: Yeah.

Rhonda: But they don’t prepare for the ministry of motherhood.

Jim: Rhonda, let me ask you this though. And this is an observation I’ve seen with Jean and other moms that, that we know, um, sometimes we can overcomplicate it a little bit what you just said there in the scripture. I mean, live righteously, be righteous and these things will flow to your kids and to your grandkids and hopefully to your great-grandkids.

Rhonda: Mm-hmm.

Jim: But sometimes we think the formula needs, there needs to be more instruction, that we need a 30-minute devotion that needs to start with 10 minute song. Then we’re gonna have, you know, 10 minutes of Bible reading and then we’re gonna have confession and we’re gonna roll that into a wrap-up song. And that feels better than just living life and talking about God and demonstrating God’s presence in everyday things. Speak to that fear that sometimes performance, you know, if we’re not performing well, that somehow we’re gonna let our kids down and they’re not gonna get God because we’re not behaving or performing the way we need to.

Rhonda: Your performance will not draw your children to your savior. Your performance will become a religious action. Your kids may grow up and say, “My mom, my dad, they were a good person, but their religion’s not for me.” But when they see us, which Jesus said the priority of life protos, is to love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. The more that we fall in love with God, ask… And I remember meeting people that love Jesus and I’d be like, “I don’t love him like that,” but I would say I loved him, but I knew I didn’t. And I asked God, “I wanna love you like that. Show me, convict me, make me desperate to love you like that.” And then fellowshipping with others that love Jesus like that. Iron sharpens iron. And when I get bumped, what comes out of me reveals my heart. So, you know, a lot of times, let’s say you’re the homeschool mom and you don’t really do anything socially with anybody else except your family because you’re doing a really good job in your house doing your thing. And maybe you go to church on Sunday and you’re out of there, but you’re not fellowshipping with other moms, you are missing an opportunity for your own heart to be revealed. And then I have friends in my life, we call them Brandon knows though they’re his other mothers that they’ve, we’ve been friends with for-

Jim: His other mothers (laughs).

Rhonda: … 30 years. And we invite each other challenge… Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. If I’m anxious or fearful or judgmental or gossiping, stop me. Tell me. I will do that for you also. And that to me is a valuable part of being in the ministry of motherhood is be with other moms that see it like that and wanna live like that.

Jim: Yeah. Now, uh, in the context of Mary, uh, she did so many things correctly. I mean, she was a teenage mom, but what do you derive from Mary as a mother?

Rhonda: Poor Mary. She was so little. She was so young. And this angel Gabriel, here’s crazy writing in the margin of your bible, God’s ways. He sent Gabriel to her when she was alone. When she was all by herself. Joseph wasn’t with her, her mom wasn’t with her. “You’re gonna have a baby, you’re a virgin.” And she was like, “Wait a minute.” And she says, “I’ve, I’ve not known a man.” And I love that God lets her question, you know, she’s not being faithless or rebellious. She’s just like, “I, I gotta wrap my head around what you’re asking me to do.”

Jim: (laughs).

Rhonda: And then at some point, and she knew scripture, she knew Messiah was going to come through a virgin girl. So when God asked her to do something, it was filtered through a lens of scripture that she already knew was sound doctrine. And she says, “Yes.” Of course Joseph doesn’t believe her and she leaves and goes to see Elizabeth. And what I love about that story is sometimes when God calls us as moms or in any area of our life to do things that are so much bigger than we can even imagine, he sends us encouragers. And Elizabeth was Mary’s encourager, old lady’s know stuff. She was older. She had John the Baptist in her womb. “The mother of my savior is here.” Can you imagine what relief young Mary felt when her cousin said that, “Like somebody believes me.” And then when she went back, of course she married and, and uh, Joseph believed her ’cause an angel told him. And then she took Jesus with Joseph to the, uh, temple to have him confirm, circumcised all the things that, that they do at that age. And Simeon shows up an old gentleman and he takes that little baby and out of her arms and he says, “Oy vey! (laughs) I can die now because God promised me that I was going to see the consolation of Israel before I died.” And I love also Anna walks by right in that moment. It happens to, I mean there’s God’s ways, right? He’s literally orchestrating that Anna walks by and hears that.

Jim: Hmm.

Rhonda: Anna spent the rest of her life as an evangelist saying, “I’ve met the Messiah.”

Jim: Working at the temple?

Rhonda: Yes.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Rhonda: But also I Simeon said basically, “Sweet girl, your heart’s gonna break. There’s gonna come a time when your heart is gonna just be pierced with sorrow.” Mary didn’t know Jesus was gonna be crucified. Mary had an idea that my son was going to be Messiah and be the king. They didn’t understand that he had to die.

Jim: Yeah.

Rhonda: How was Mary when she was standing looking at her son on that cross, did God use the words of Simeon to remind her, encourage her?

Jim: Yeah.

Rhonda: This is my will. God sends people in our lives when the task of motherhood, the task of whatever ministry he calls us to is bigger than we can even wrap our minds around.

Jim: And that, uh, is part of the challenge that God doesn’t guarantee it’s gonna be easy.

Rhonda: Right.

Jim: And we’ve gotta end here, but we’re gonna pick the story up where Brandon, you had some difficulties.

Brandon: Yeah. Oh, yeah.

Rhonda: (laughs).

Jim: And we’re not gonna disclose them right now, but you gotta stick with us-

Rhonda: Well, Stay tuned.

Jim: … and, uh, come here part two because, uh, that was kind of your challenge, Rhonda, your Mary challenge, if I can call it that. So let’s come back next time and fill in the blanks for people that are going, “Okay, what happened?” Stick with us.

Rhonda: (laughs).

John: And we’d encourage you to hit the website or give us a call for a copy of this book that Rhonda has written called Moms Raising Sons to Be Men: Guiding Them Toward Their Purpose and Passion. Uh, it’s a terrific resource. It goes, uh, much more into detail on these stories and insights that Rhonda has and it’d be a privilege to send that to you for a donation of any amount to the ministry of Focus on the Family today. A monthly pledge, if you’re in a spot to do that, would really make a difference, Jim, that helps smooth things out for us on a budget matter-

Jim: It does, really helps.

John: … uh, budget basis. If you’re not in a spot to do that, a one-time gift of any amount, uh, certainly helps us make broadcast like this. So donate as you can and request your copy of the book Moms Raising Sons To Be Men. When you call 800 the letter A and the word FAMILY, 800-232-6459 or stop by

Jim: Rhonda, Brandon, we’ll come back next time and sorry to leave everybody hanging, but let’s do that and fill in the blanks. Can we do it?

Rhonda: Sure.

Brandon: Yeah.

Jim: Alright.

John: And on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family. Be sure to tune in next time as we continue the story and once again, help you and your family thrive in Christ.

Today's Guests

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

Receive the book Moms Raising Sons to Be Men and an audio download of "How Godly Moms Can Raise Godly Sons" for your donation of any amount! Plus, receive member-exclusive benefits when you make a recurring gift today. Your monthly support helps families thrive.

Recent Episodes

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Practical Ways to Celebrate Your Marriage

Jay and Laura Laffoon laugh their way through a conversation on practical ways to celebrate your marriage. This couple of over thirty-nine years talks about how to enjoy your spouse by improving your day-to-day habits and attitudes. Work, parenting, and the realities of life can keep couples from taking the time to invest in each other, so Jay and Laura advise couples about how to be intentional and connect more deeply.

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Moms and Anger: Understanding Your Triggers (Part 2 of 2)

Amber Lia and Wendy Speake discuss common external and internal triggers that can make mothers angry. They share their journeys overcoming their own triggers, like when their children disobey and complain, and when they have to deal with exhaustion. Our guests offer encouragement to moms and explain how they can prepare to handle their triggers in a healthier way. (Part 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Moms and Anger: Understanding Your Triggers (Part 1 of 2)

Amber Lia and Wendy Speake discuss common external and internal triggers that can make mothers angry. They share their journeys overcoming their own triggers, like when their children disobey and complain, and when they have to deal with exhaustion. Our guests offer encouragement to moms and explain how they can prepare to handle their triggers in a healthier way. (Part 1 of 2)

You May Also Like

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

A Legacy of Music and Trusting the Lord

Larnelle Harris shares stories about how God redeemed the dysfunctional past of his parents, the many African-American teachers who sacrificed their time and energy to give young men like himself a better future, and how his faithfulness to godly principles gave him greater opportunities and career success than anything else.

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Accepting Your Imperfect Life

Amy Carroll shares how her perfectionism led to her being discontent in her marriage for over a decade, how she learned to find value in who Christ is, not in what she does, and practical ways everyone can accept the messiness of marriage and of life.