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Focus on the Family Broadcast

Best of 2023: How Godly Moms Can Raise Godly Sons (Part 1 of 2)

Best of 2023: How Godly Moms Can Raise Godly Sons (Part 1 of 2)

In this best of 2023 broadcast, 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: December 6, 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 some time 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 be exploring the world of moms and sons on this Best of 2023 edition of Focus on the Family. And we’re looking forward to sharing some great content with you once more. I’m John Fuller and your host is Focus president and author, Jim Daly.

Jim Daly: John, earlier this year, we had a lotta fun in the studio with Rhonda and Brandon Stoppe. Rhonda is a ball of energy (laughs)-

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … and she’s passionate to help marriages and families be all that God wants them to be. And I, uh, may be biased, being the father of two sons, but this is one of my favorite topics to discuss because my wife Jean and I experienced this one. Uh, our boys, Trent and Troy, yeah, they were a handful, they were all those things that, uh, the introduction talked about. And I think if Jean were here, she would admit that sometimes she struggled to be the only woman in the household, and, uh, “What do I do next-

John: Mm.

Jim: … with all this energy?” But it’s, uh, all good, and our boys are grown up now and doing great. And we want to encourage you as we return to, uh, the wonderful conversation that we had with Rhonda and her grown son, Brandon.

John: And Rhonda is an author, a speaker, a podcaster, and a pastor’s wife, and she and her husband, Steve, have four adult children and, uh, their son Brandon is a worship pastor, very accomplished singer and songwriter, and he and his wife have four young children. Now, the basis for the program today is a book that Rhonda wrote called Moms Raising Sons to Be Men: Guiding Them Toward Their Purpose and Passion. And we’ll have details about the book and our guests at the website, that’s focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. And here’s how we began this best-of conversation with the Stoppes on today’s Focus on the Family.

Jim: Rhonda, Brandon, welcome.

Brandon Stoppe: Hey, thank you.

Rhonda Stoppe: Thanks. So good to be with you again.

Jim: It’s g- 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 (laughs).

Rhonda: Mm.

Jim: Did you have some of those experiences?

Rhonda: Yes (laughs).

Jim: (laughs) Give us one.

Rhonda: Who are you?

Jim: Yes (laughs).

Rhonda: (laughs) You know, uh, when they’re little, man, you just have visions of, “It’s me and you, buddy”-

Jim: (laughs).

Rhonda: … and, “Mama’s boy,” 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… Yeah (laughs).

Jim: (laughs).

Rhonda: You know, they’re, they’re, you thi- they think like you, they’re women. They’re gonna turn into women, so you know that. But this little soft-faced-

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 gonna happen (laughs). Boys are a little more of a wild card, what kinda 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?

Brandon: Mm.

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 cholic and he’s like, “Let’s just not do that again” (laughs).

Jim: (laughs).

Rhonda: And when Brandon was born, I remember a day I was like, “Get your shoes. Come one. 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… Anyone who has a firstborn girl knows that they tell you-

Jim: She’s running the house.

Rhonda: … what they’re thinking.

Jim: (laughs).

Rhonda: But she said, “Mom, I know you can’t wait till we’re grown so you can do whatever you want.” Wow-

Jim: Mm.

Rhonda: … I’m, I cry even when I say it now. The impression I was giving my kids was, “You’re not important.”

Jim: Mm.

Rhonda: “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.

Jim: And so you ended up getting involved with o- 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 (laughs).

Rhonda: … u- obviously you don’t remember how much work it is.” But my friend Gale, 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 motive 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 and, you know, don’t inconvenience me or make me look bad? It was eye-opening. And then I would say #oldladiesknowstuff, because these ladies were genuine. 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, now it has the power to help someone else and handing the baton to the next generation. That 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.

Brandon: (laughs).

Rhonda: (laughs).

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

Rhonda: (laughs).

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

Rhonda: (laughs).

Jim: Yeah, not at all.

Brandon: Um-

Jim: Answer correctly.

Brandon: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Rhonda: (laughs).

Brandon: 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.

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, we want to, um, display His glory to the world through our lives and through our choices.” So-

Jim: That’s pretty good.

Brandon: … I’m thankful, yeah.

Jim: (laughs).

Rhonda: I wrote that out last night, he did that very-

Jim: (laughs).

Rhonda: … he did very well. Very well.

Jim: No, I mean, other than-

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

Brandon: (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 kinda thing, so that’s a, a good statement that you made-

Brandon: Yeah.

Jim: … about your mom. U-

Brandon: 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-

Brandon: (laughs).

Rhonda: … little bit crazy out of the house (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. W- 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 are 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, then I think Jochebed might argue that. It was her third child, and Pharaoh had, you know, most of you that know the 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 bulrushes. 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 made 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, implanting as much truth-

Jim: Mm.

Rhonda: … 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.

Jim: And the heartache of-

Rhonda: Yeah.

Jim: … letting him go-

Rhonda: ‘Cause 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.

Jim: (laughs).

Rhonda: And Miriam said, “My mom can nurse the baby,” and everybody’s happy. It’s like, she was heart-wrenched to have to let go of that basket.

Jim: Yeah.

Rhonda: I 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 cha-

Rhonda: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … an older child-

Rhonda: Sure.

Jim: … and, you know, trained in the Pharaoh’s court-

Rhonda: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … and all those things. 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 our 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.

Jim: Yeah.

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

Jim: Mm.

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, 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.

Jim: Mm (laughs).

Rhonda: (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: Mm.

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

Jim: Yeah.

Rhonda: And he said, “It would be like me and Kylene 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.”

Jim: (laughs).

Rhonda: (laughs) I’m like, “I know.” But the Lord just made it so irresistible that he was to be ours.

Jim: Yeah, that 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-

Rhonda: Yeah.

Brandon: … seven? Around-

Jim: So how did that-

Rhonda: He came into your life around six, but-

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: You’re a 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, it was just huge. Um, and yeah, I was excited to have him round, have a big brother around. We’d, we’d wrestle more than I wrestled with anybody (laughs), and then-

Rhonda: Yeah.

Brandon: … he’d pin me down.

Rhonda: Sisters on both ends.

Brandon: Yes.

Rhonda: (laughs).

Brandon: Yeah, he’d pin me down and he’d do a, he’d do this thing where he would stand over me and, like, he would, like, put his-

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 just-

John: Big brother stuff.

Brandon: Yeah, yeah.

Rhonda: (laughs).

John: Big brother stuff.

Jim: You are a calm spirit, man.

Brandon: Yeah, yeah, I was.

Jim: “Yeah, he’s tortured me. I loved it. It was fun.”

Rhonda: (laughs).

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

Jim: No, not at all.

Rhonda: (laughs).

Brandon: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Jim: I learned how to fight (laughs).

Brandon: Maybe if you didn’t have it, and then all of a sudden you had it-

Rhonda: Yes. Yes, yes.

Jim: Yeah.

Brandon: … you would appreciate it more.

Jim: There you go, okay. Fair enough.

Brandon: So I was, I was really excited. It was really cool just having him part of the family. Obv- 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 very excited.

Rhonda: Grocery- grocery bill went, yeah (laughs)-

Brandon: Yeah, yeah.

Jim: But you think generally positive?

Brandon: Yeah, yeah.

Jim: That’s a good experience.

Rhonda: Yes, that’s right.

Jim: It doesn’t always work out that way.

Rhonda: No, it does- I do remember, um, Tony… You know, when kids haven’t been loved well-

Jim: Yeah.

Rhonda: … they’ll either underachieve or overachieve. He’s our overachiever, um, and he has done well. It’s wor- served him well.

Jim: Yeah.

Rhonda: But he-

Brandon: I did wanna do everything-

Rhonda: Yeah.

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

Rhonda: Yes.

Brandon: (laughs).

Rhonda: 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, kinda nudging Brandon to do the sing- 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 Steve and I had to pull Tony aside, and said, “He’s not you. We love who you are, we love what you’ve accomplished, we wanna- we’re cheering you on and 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.

Brandon: Mm.

Jim: That’s good observation-

Rhonda: And I mean, they were-

Jim: … and communication.

Rhonda: … best men at each other’s wedding, and I mean they’re-

Jim: Yeah.

Rhonda: … 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?”, or “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.

Jim: Oh, totally.

John: Yeah.

Rhonda: Yeah.

John: Yeah, things slip out. So-

Rhonda: Mm-hmm.

John: Oh, 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 Toward Their Purpose and Passion. And you can stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast 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 learn so much.

Rhonda: Oh wait. Maybe that should be my next book, Bad Moms of the Bible (laughs).

Jim: The, 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-

Rhonda: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … and, uh, deception and-

Rhonda: Isn’t it?

Jim: … from the parents. I mean, it is kind of amazing 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 that 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 du- 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 was like, “Something’s, something’s crazy in there.” And then God reveals to her, “You have twins, and the older’s 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-

Jim: Mm.

Rhonda: … and goes, “Oh, no, no, no. No, no, no. God told me. I- 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.

Jim: Hm.

Rhonda: 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 kinda 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 who love perfectly, it says to those who fear him.

Jim: Mm.

Rhonda: 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 i- this is an observation I’ve seen with Jean and other moms, uh, that we know. Um, sometimes we can over complicate 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. But sometimes we think the formula needs, there needs to be more instruction, and we need a 30-minute devotion, it 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 then 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 our heart, soul, mind, and strength. The more that we fall in love with God, as- And I remember meeting people that loved 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 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 lotta times, let’s say you’re the home school 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 outta there, but you’re not fellowshipping with other moms. You’re missing an opportunity for your own heart to be revealed. And then I have friends in my life, we call them, Brandon knows, they’re, they’re his other mothers, that they, we’ve been friends with for-

Jim: His other mothers (laughs).

Rhonda: … three years. And we invite each other challen- 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 (laughs). 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 not, I’ve not known a man.” And I love that God lets her question. You know?

Jim: Mm.

Rhonda: 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.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Rhonda: 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.

Jim: Mm.

Rhonda: Old ladies know stuff. She was older, she had John the Baptist in her womb. “The mother of my savior us 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, uh, Joseph believed her ’cause an angel told him. And then she took Jesus with Joseph to the, uh, temple to have him confirmed, circumcised, all the things that, that they do at that age. And Simeon shows up, an old gentleman, and he takes that little baby 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, uh, happens to. I mean, there’s God’s ways, right? He’s literally orchestrating that Anna walks by and hears that.

Jim: Mm.

Rhonda: Anna spends 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, 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, “This is my will”? God sends people in our live 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.

John: Hm. Some wonderful insights from our guest, Rhonda Stoppe, and her son Brandon on today’s episode of Focus on the Family. And, uh, we’re reviewing one of our most popular programs from 2023, and hope you’ve been encouraged by what we’ve shared this far.

Jim: Well, there’s a lot more to come, John. We hope you’ll join us for part two of this really important discussion next time. The Stoppes will share a powerful story about a health crisis Brandon went through, and how Rhonda as mom had to essentially give up her control of her son’s future and lay it in the Lord’s hands. This is really good stuff, and stuff that will equip you for your parenting journey.

John: Mm. Well, contact us about getting a copy of Rhonda’s book, Moms Raising Sons to Be Men: Guiding Them Toward Their Purpose and Passion. It really is a wonderful resource. There’s so much more detail in the book that we just couldn’t cover in today’s show. So make a donation of any amount to Focus on the Family, and we’ll send you Rhonda’s book as our way of saying thank you for supporting families. Call and get that resource, uh, our number is 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY, 800-232-6459, or stop by focusonthefamly.com/broadcast for details.

Jim: And when you get in touch with us, I hope you’ll consider becoming a financial partner with Focus on the Family. We’re already looking ahead to the marriage and parenting needs of so many families in 2024, and over the next 12 months, we estimate more than a half a million parents will access Focus resources as they navigate major changes like a new baby, or the transition into puberty, or helping their teen become an adult, or maybe even leading their child to the Lord. Plus, we anticipate equipping more than 400,000 couples to build stronger marriages, and helping another 100,000 singles prepare for marriage and spiritual growth in the new year. There’s a lot going on and it’s our goal to give these families hope, and we can’t do that without your support. So please, donate now, and your gift will be doubled thanks to a matching gift campaign that we have going right now with Friends. It’s a great way to invest into the future of the family when you give generously to Focus on the Family.

John: We welcome your support and you can donate when you call 800-A-FAMILY, or online at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller inviting you back as we hear more from the Stoppes about moms and sons, and once again, help you and your family thrive in Christ.

Today's Guests

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

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