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Boone and Me: A Foster Adoption Story

Boone and Me: A Foster Adoption Story

Cecil Stokes, a successful TV producer and director, describes how his life and perspective changed dramatically when he adopted his son, Boone. Joined by Boone for this inspiring conversation, Cecil discusses the joys and challenges of adopting from foster care while highlighting the need for more Christians to get involved.
Original Air Date: November 4, 2019

Opening:

Excerpt:

Cecil Stokes: “And after hours of grilling and good cop-bad cop social workers, the good cop stood up and said, you know, “We’re gonna give this a try.” She said, “No one has ever fought for this child in his entire life, and you’re fighting for him without ever even meeting him.”

End of Excerpt

John Fuller: Cecil Stokes is our guest today on Focus on the Family, and he’s joined by his son, Boone Stokes. Your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: Hey, John, well, I am so excited about the story we’re going to share today. It’s a story of hope, resilience, redemption. And a reminder, if you don’t know, November is National Adoption Awareness Month.

So we’re sitting down with a single dad and his son Boone, who was adopted from foster care. And again, their story – it’s going to melt your heart. As you’re listening, to give you some context to the conversation today, um, pray for those kids who are in foster care. Right now the number’s at about 440,000 children that are in the system. And again, there’s more if you add Canada to that as well. And they are desperate to find a good foster home to be in while their birth parents work out issues. Or it might be that the state has terminated parental rights and they’re actually waiting for an adoptive home. And it’s one of the things that we do here at Focus on the Family through our Wait No More program. We’ll talk about that a little later. But pray specifically for these children and for the adults that need to be prompted, particularly in the church, to do something.

John: Yeah, and I think, Jim, as we’ve talked about here in the broadcast, if you’ll just go to God and ask him, “What’s my part,” he’ll show you some starting steps to get involved in caring for the fatherless. Um, so Cecil and Boone live in the Charlotte, N.C., area. Cecil is a TV and film producer. And his son Boone likes sharks, dinosaurs, Legos and reading. And we are so glad to have them both here.

Body:

Boone Stokes: Yes.

Jim: It’s great to have you here.

Cecil: Thank you.

Jim: It’s fun. Cecil, let’s start with you. When you turned 40, just for the listeners to get some context here, you’re living what some might think is a dream life, walking the red carpet, a successful TV producer. How many TV shows have you produced?

Cecil: Five hundred and thirteen.

Jim: (Laughter) That is a lot of work.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: But you had one unfulfilled dream. And tell us what that dream was.

Cecil: I’ve always – since I was 12 years old, I wanted to be a parent. I wanted to be a husband. And it didn’t happen in a traditional way.

Jim: Yeah, and you wanted to be that dad, specifically.

Cecil: I did. I wanted a son. And when I was in college, I remember God telling me I would have a son. And so I knew he was coming, but I didn’t know when…

Jim: That’s pretty specific. That’s amazing.

Cecil: …It was beautiful.

Jim: Now, you were in and out of relationships. Again, painting that picture for the listener, what were your 20s and 30s like?

Cecil: Well, there were very few relationships because I wanted a godly, nurturing wife. And I wanted a woman who wanted also to adopt because I had known pretty much my whole life I wanted to adopt, um, instead of having a biological child. So that narrows down the dating pool. So the relationships that I had were great relationships but none of them became fruitful.

Jim: I have to ask you, though, I mean, did that have to – had you thought about just having children? I mean, if you got married that would be natural, you could do both, right? You can have biological children, as well as adopting…

Cecil: I think there was something planted in my heart…

Jim: …Is that right?

Cecil: …That just told me there are a lot of kids in the world that need parents, and you’re going to be a good parent and you need to be together.

Jim: When we look at that statistic, you know, most people are blown away because they have no idea, about a quarter of that 440,000 number are available for adoption, so over 100,000 children within the foster system where parental rights have been terminated. There’s something like 350,000, 360,000 churches. I mean, we’re talking about one child every third church.

Cecil: That’s correct.

Jim: If three churches could adopt one child, we would have that need taken care of. How does that speak to your heart, given what God laid on you?

Cecil: That’s one of the reasons that we’re thankful to be here today, is it’s a very solvable challenge. And it’s a biblical call to every single person that we’re supposed to take care of the widows and the orphans in distress. And God plants the lonely in families. There’re so many verses in the Bible that sets us up that we don’t realize this is speaking to me. And it’s amazing.

Jim: Boone, I’m going to turn to you. And foster care can be really rough. I was in it. My mom died when I was 9. My dad wasn’t in our story at that point. He divorced my mom. But I was in foster care for a little over a year. And it was rough. Um, it sounds like it was rough for you, too, right?

Boone: Yes, it was.

Jim: How do you – how do you articulate it? How do you speak about it, your foster experience?

Boone: I feel like it was rough at times. My dad and I came up with this word, it’s called – it’s the beautiful and the brutal, so it’s the “brutiful (ph).”

Jim: The brutiful, I like that. Sometimes what I felt as that little boy was just overwhelming loneliness. I mean, I just felt like nobody understood where I was at. It was sad. Did you ever feel like that?

Boone: Yes, I sort of felt like I was just, like, nothing and, like, I was lonely and I was in this just dark pit.

Jim: In fact, you, um, as I know your story, you were dealing with some issues. I mean, you were angry. Families that took you in felt like you were unmanageable, that your anger and kind of what you’re emotionally – what you were dealing with emotionally, they couldn’t manage. And they’d call and have you off to another family. What did that feel like? And what – how were you processing that?

Boone: It was sort of just like – I was sort of, like, a frog lopping – I mean, leaping to a log, the log, the log.

Jim: Yeah, wow, that’s interesting.

Boone: Yeah.

Jim: And they’d – I mean, this is the sad thing – they’d bag up your – your stuff in a Hefty bag, right?

Boone: Mmm.

Jim: And you towed it to the next family, putting all your possessions in a trash bag.

Boone: Yes.

Jim: Man, we need you to have a suitcase, right?

Boone: (Laughter) Yeah.

Jim: That would have been nice. Cecil, um, I understand you had little support when you made your decision to foster adopt. I can imagine what people were saying to you. You’re – you’re not even married. You’re not equipped. I mean, what were some of the other things they would say to you? And how did you defend that?

Cecil: Unfortunately, you know, there’s this stigma about foster care that so many people think the children are broken or there’s something wrong with the children. And that’s not the case at all. You know, the birth parents are the ones that made choices that put the children in the position they’re in. So these children may have gone through a hard time and they may be acting out, but they need us just as much as we need them.

Jim: That’s a beautiful way to look at it. We – I don’t know why we think in those absolute terms. When a child is struggling, of course they’re going to act out emotionally. What tools do they have? I mean, they’re trying to communicate something, right? They’re trying to communicate, “I’m in pain.” And yet, it kind of messes with our adult sophistication (laughter) that – that they would be expressing themselves this way. And, you know, it’s – it’s a little uncomfortable. Speak to that issue of uncomfortableness. Why do we seek comfort and leisure over doing what God has called us to do as the Body of Christ?

Cecil: Well, it’s, you know, unfortunately, I think a lot of people take complacency of this is how it is. I don’t know that I’ve heard that call. Um, if you’ve read the Bible, you’ve heard the call. There’s something you can do.

Jim: I think it’s 52 times that God says, “Take care of the widow and the orphan.”

Cecil: Exactly, so there’s always something that can be done. Whether you choose to foster or adopt or provide respite or to support that family, everybody can do something.

Jim: Let me – let me dig in with you because you’re such an articulate young man. I mean…

Boone: Well, thank you.

Jim: …What grade are you in?

Boone: Well, I’m going into 6th.

Jim: OK, think of that, everybody. This guy’s is going into 6th grade. But you’re so good at expressing your emotions and what you feel. I really want people to hear from you. You know, the idea that – I would think that hopelessness that you must have felt that I may be in this situation till I’m 18 and then I’m out on my own, start there, kind of the feeling like maybe nobody will ever show up for me.

Boone: OK, so what I describe it as is, like, this big, like, creaking old house. And it’s just empty. And, like, it’s just dark. And there’s, like, no light, no sun, just constant darkness. And it’s just, like, you’re gonna stay in there for the rest of your life. No food, no water, no clothes, no shelter. It’s just – you’re there. It’s like an empty – just absence of everything around, just cities, nothing.

Jim: Absence of anything good.

Boone: There – there pretty much isn’t any.

Jim: Yeah, that’s the thing – that’s the emotion of it, isn’t it?

Boone: Yes.

Jim: Cecil, um, when you were beginning to think at 40, will I really do this, what were you thinking? Did you ever have self-doubt? Let me ask it that way.

Cecil: You know, I think it is in a lot of men’s DNA that, uh, we can do anything and that we’re superheroes. So no, I kind of liken myself to a 15-year-old that’s about to get their driver’s license, and they think they know everything and can handle everything.

John: What’s the worst that can happen?

Cecil: Yeah, exactly. I mean, you put them behind the wheel of a car and suddenly they fail their driver’s test. And when you, you know, spend months getting ready to become a foster parent or an adoptive parent, um, you – you’re gonna fail on a daily basis, uh, but there’s no turning around.

Jim: And, Boone, how did you feel when you heard that there was this guy, Cecil, that was thinking about adopting you because you hadn’t met yet, right?

Boone: Yes, we hadn’t met yet. But I felt like that was just, like, some way to cheer me up or something.

Jim: So you thought it was a trick.

Boone: (Laughter) Yeah.

Jim: Yeah, in fact, you’ve said, um, something that I think really grabbed my heart. You’ve said it this way, moving from foster family to foster family, getting your stuff put in that trash bag and moving onto the next home because that family didn’t know how to – how to manage what you were going through emotionally. And they were – you were angry. You were saying things and doing things, I’m assuming, that disrupted them, right? Is that fair? But you said, “It was like I’d been run over by a truck so many times I figured it wasn’t worth standing up because I’d just been run over again.” Is that a fair quote?

Boone: Yes, it is.

Jim: And in that regard, so you hear this man Cecil wants to adopt you but not wanting to stand up again. What was that describing?

Boone: Well, I would’ve pictured it as like – like a huge semi-truck comes over you again. Like, it’s like…

Jim: It’s gonna be one more brutal accident.

Boone: …It’s like – like a bird walks out in the middle of a truck and then it’s too late. It’s sort of, like, I just would’ve got hit again.

John: Hmm.

This is Focus on the Family, and we’re talking to Boone Stokes and his dad, Cecil Stokes. And your host is Focus president Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller and let me just share that we do have a foster care ministry here at Focus – called Wait No More.

And through Wait No More you have an opportunity to make a difference to give a suitcase and a bible and a stuffed animal to a child in foster care, boy or girl, just like Boone. And to give them some respect and some care. Donate today at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast, or, by calling 800-the letter A- and the word- FAMILY.

Jim: Cecil, when you saw Boone’s file, you immediately felt called to be his dad. Now that’s kind of wow, really? Why? What caught your attention? And, I mean, some people would say, “What, you heard the voice of God.” What happened?

Cecil: Um, I had only had my license for about two weeks. And the foster care system was in such need, I was getting emails everyday of these children are available. And none of them struck a chord in my heart. Um, and when I received the one about Boone, it may have been the longest profile of all of them. And there were so many behaviors listed. And as I read it I just heard God say, “This is not who he is.” And…

Jim: What were those labels like? I’m – I’m sorry, but it’s important for people to understand that. I totally get it because I was in foster care. But how did they describe these kids? Use the words.

Cecil: …Anger management issues, defiant, dangerous, you know, so many descriptions. And I knew that’s not who he is. And I even believed in reading the words some of those things had never even happened but maybe had been used as excuses to get him out of a home. But I just – God comforted me. And he just said, “This is not who he is.”

Tell us about the letter you wrote, um, to kind of push that forward to the caseworker.

Cecil: It was explained to me that I had been rejected because Boone’s last two placements had been single dads who said they wanted to adopt, and they just really didn’t want to try the same thing for a third time.

Jim: So it kind of fit what wasn’t working, and the social worker didn’t want to do that again.

Cecil: Correct – lively.

Jim: And often – yeah, thinking for Boone, that she didn’t want or he didn’t want to put…

Cecil: Correct. And I asked my social worker. I said, “I feel very strongly this is my child. Can I write them a letter?” And she said, “I’ve been doing this for 20 years, and I’ve never heard of that, but, you know, I’ll deliver it.” So I wrote an email about how I would not allow him to grow up with labels, and I had already contacted the elementary school nearby and signed up for tutors so he didn’t have to repeat a grade again and had already gone and bought shark sheets for his bed because I’d read in his profile that he loved sharks. So…

Boone: That’s (inaudible).

(LAUGHTER)

Boone: Preach it (inaudible).

Jim: You know, you shouldn’t love sharks.

(LAUGHTER)

Boone: Well, if I…

Jim: ‘Cause they can bite you (laughter).

Boone: If I don’t, they’ll bite me.

Jim: (Laughter) There you go. That’s another way of looking at it. But that is so fantastic, that advocating for someone you had not met yet.

Cecil: It is. And honestly, I did not know this at the time, but this is how God pursues us.

Jim: Yeah.

Cecil: He will do anything for us. He’s a rescuer. He’s a redeemer. He’ll do anything for us.

Jim: Wow.

Cecil: And so we sent that letter, and the very next day, I got a call to come into the office. And after hours of grilling and good cop-bad cop social workers, the good cop stood up and said, you know, “We’re gonna give this a try.” She said, “No one has ever fought for this child in his entire life, and you’re fighting for him without ever even meeting him.”

Jim: That is awesome.

Boone: That’s amazing.

Jim: OK, Boone mentioned the brutiful days. (Laughter) I love that – that word, smashing beautiful and brutal together. What does that mean – from both of your perspectives – what were the brutiful days like? What was going on in the first couple of weeks or couple of years?

Cecil: It was – it was brutiful. There were days that I would end up face down on the floor crying after Boone went to bed. And there were days when Boone would scream, “Give me the phone, I’m gonna call my social worker and get a new family.”

Jim: OK, but why?

Cecil: Well, you know, in the 10 homes Boone had been in and his birth family, no one had really ever tried to give him structure. And he had never had any kind of consistency. There weren’t any rules. So when he comes into a home where I know what’s best for him or I hope I know what’s best for him, then it just – it became tough.

Jim: So give us an example of how that played out. You would say, “Boone, you don’t get to eat anything you want. You can’t have 18 sodas a day.”

Cecil: Yeah, it was. I mean, you know, coming in and asking for a certain soda and a TV show that I won’t even watching as an adult, but he had been allowed to watch at 7 years old. And so it just became a huge difference in what he’s gonna eat and when he’s gonna go to bed and, you know, what kind of activities we’re gonna have during the day and how much electronics we’re gonna have. There was just, you know, so many new things all at once. And honestly, there were hundreds I wanted to identify, but I knew if I had that many we were gonna fail. So I just tried to choose the top, you know, five or six for us to work on in the beginning.

Jim: OK, so in these brutiful days, Boone, what were you feeling? I mean, I’ve always been able to watch this TV show. I’ve been able to eat what I want to eat. You can’t tell me what to do.

Boone: I felt like, honestly, I came into this stranger’s house. I do what I do for, like, several years, and then all of a sudden this, like, wall caved in on me. And I’m like, “What the heck? I can’t do what I do anymore?” And it was sort of strange at first. But then I sort of started to see why.

Jim: And how did that connection happen for you? That’s a remarkable thing for a young man to be able to say, “OK, I get what my dad’s trying to do.”

Boone: Well, the reason why I got it is because I would say, “Jesus told me,” and I’d say, “My dad’s love showed me he was trying to help me and not hurt me.”

Jim: That’s – that’s a really critical observation, Boone. I’m proud of you for that because a lot of biological kids don’t capture that. They don’t understand. They just think Mom and Dad are being mean to me. They won’t let me stay out late. They won’t let me fill-in-the-blank, whatever it is. So I applaud you for catching that. That’s wisdom. Good job.

Boone: Well, this isn’t just a hat rack.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: For some people it might be.

John: Is there a way, Boone, that your dad spoke to you that was different than other people had spoken to you that got to your heart?

Boone: Well, he was always generally calm. And if he was upset, he would have a reason to be. He wouldn’t just go out screaming about, like, “You did this and now I’m going to get mad for no reason.” He – if he got mad, he had a reason for it. And he talked to me about it. And he shared what he was feeling at that time.

Jim: Oh, that’s good. So that bond of trust began to develop.

John: Trust.

Jim: Yeah, so good. Cecil, speak to that parent, um, a foster parent, an adoptive parent or maybe a biological parent who is struggling. They’re in the trenches, those rough years. Where’s the balance between that disciplining that you talked about and displaying grace to a child who’s acting out? Because what you’re applying is actually true for every one of us as parents.

Cecil: It is. It’s just parenting.

Jim: It’s parenting. And again, it doesn’t matter the origin of the relationship with the child – biological, non-biological. Um, speak to that hurting soul who’s struggling.

Cecil: You know, I read – I’m rereading a great book right now. And one of the first examples in the book – if you are adopting a child, you know, at 4 years old or 5 years old or 8 years old, think in your head, you know, I had this child at birth. And at 4 or 5, they were kidnapped, and they were gone for three or four years. And now they returned. How am I gonna treat them? And there’s a certain element of reentry that you have to be able to adjust to and transition with. But at the same time, know what’s best for their future and what they need to accomplish to get to that future. So you just have to keep that affection and discipline balance.

Jim: And I so appreciate that. I mean, that’s actually – that’s grace.

Cecil: It is.

Jim: That’s what you’re saying is that there needs to be grace.

There were days that were very hard. You’re describing them. I mean, we’re catching a full picture of that. But you also had those beautiful moments. And I want to make sure we amplify those, too. I mean, Boone, your hand just goes on your dad’s shoulder. That’s great. Specifically, there was a day that Boone had a new smile, and it caught your attention. That – that intrigues me. What was it?

Cecil: You know, when he arrived, I’m – first of all, they arrive with something called a life book. And so they may have 10 or 12 pictures of their first eight years of their life.

Jim: Right.

Cecil: So I started taking about 400 pictures a day…

(LAUGHTER)

Cecil: …So that he was gonna have, you know, anything he needed for the future.

Boone: Yeah.

Cecil: And I noticed in all of them the first several weeks, he just has the stiffest, most straightest smile. And then after he was with me probably about for three weeks, I was walking by the bathroom one night as he was getting out of the shower. And I just mentioned him. I said, “Hey, do you want me to help dry your hair?” And he said, “Sure,” which right then shows a huge level of trust to allow me in. And I had to ask that question. And I went in and just toweled off his hair and then wrapped the towel around him. And when I looked down at him, he had this smile I had never seen in three weeks before. And I asked him, “Where did that come from?” And he just looked at me, and he said, “No one’s ever done that for me before. No one’s ever helped me before.”

Jim: Wow. Wow.

Cecil: And so in that simple, simple act, it revealed who he really was.

Jim: Boone, how would you describe that? What were you feeling?

Boone: I was just feeling, like, amazed. Like, someone had actually, like, helped me before, like…

Jim: Somebody cared.

Boone: Yeah, like…

Jim: Wow. That is something. You know, we mentioned November is National Adoption Month.

Cecil: Mmm hmm.

Jim: And it – it’s good to highlight this because people don’t know where to get started or what to do. And I want you to speak to that person, Cecil, who feels unqualified to be a foster parent, or an adoptive parent or just be engaged with the system to bring some of God’s peace to a very chaotic environment. Uh, what would you say to them?

Cecil: First of all, you have to seek God with all of your heart. You have to ask God, you know, “What is my role in this?” And you can start with an easy orientation class at a local, you know, county department of social services. You can check into Wait No More and find the resources that you guys have with Focus on the Family. And if you do not feel like you are called to do this, there are so many ways to support families…

Boone: Yes.

Cecil: …in your church or families in your community that have taken this step.

Boone: Yes.

Jim: It’s so true. There are so many families that have taken the bold step of fostering or adopting out of foster care, and they just need a little bit of help – do the laundry for ‘em, something like that. I think everybody can do that, right?

Boone: Right.

Cecil: Here’s what we really need. I’ve met so many foster parents, and there are some who are in it because there’s a check attached to having a foster child in your home. And they’re not really pouring into that child. And there are some who are in it who are not raising them the way that they need to be raised to love God. So we have to, as the church – Christians have to stand up and take this on as our mantle. This is what we have to do.

Jim: Yeah.

Cecil: Because it’s not just about taking these children in and giving them a family and loving them. It’s showing them who Jesus is…

John: Yes.

Cecil: …Because that is the only thing that’s eternal.

Jim: You know, something I would love to see someday – wouldn’t this be exciting, Boone? – if The New York Times were able to run a headline that said, “Christian Church Wipes Out Waiting Foster Adoptions.”

Cecil: Amen.

Boone: Preach it, brother.

Cecil: (Laughter)

Jim: You want to change the reputation…

John: Yeah.

Jim: …Of the church in this country? That’s what we should be going for.

Cecil: That’s correct.

Boone: Yes, that’s…

Jim: That those 100,000 kids find homes and that we, if you’re not able to do the adoption or to be that foster kid, that we would circle our wagons around those families to help them profoundly – not just tipping, but profoundly help them to make sure that they not only, uh, survive, but they thrive…

Cecil: Mmm hmm.

Jim: …In what they’re doing…

Cecil: Mmm hmm.

Jim: …Kind of what you and Boone are experiencing.

Boone: Yes.

Jim: Cecil, this would be a good place right at the end to have you pray for these families who are thinking about, “What would be my role?” And I would just ask the listener to be open to it. You know, what’s bizarre is, on a weekly basis, we have about 6 1/2 million people listen to Focus on the Family. So right now there’s enough people listening that we could achieve that New York Times headline.

Cecil: Mmm hmm.

John: Yeah.

Jim: We really do. We have hundreds of thousands of people today listening. And wouldn’t that be great if it motivated us to do something?

Cecil: And the thing is, brand-new families…

Jim: Yeah.

Cecil: …Families that have their children off at college, they’ve got great experience…

Boone: Yes.

Cecil: …To be foster and adoptive parents, grandparents. I mean…

Jim: That’s right.

Cecil: …It’s – it – all age groups can be amazing foster parents and amazing adoptive parents. There’s not just one kind.

Jim: Yeah.

John: Yeah.

Jim: Well, I like that. Why don’t you pray?

Boone: Yes.

Cecil: Precious Lord Jesus, thank you so much for this ministry and for this amazing opportunity. Thank you for the treasure that is my child that I love more than anything in the world, and that you brought to me and that you brought me to him. And Lord, we pray for every person who is listening, and we pray, Lord, that you just prick their heart if they are to have a child from foster care. Lord, you already know that child’s name.

Jim: Yeah.

Cecil: And I pray you just begin whispering to them and showing them signs, helping them hear about it on the radio, at church, in magazines and books. Lord, just show them that this is the path they are to take. And Lord, we just pray that you will bring up a mighty warrior army of people to take care of these children.

Jim: Yeah.

Cecil: And be exactly what the Bible has told us that we are to be, Lord.

Jim: Yeah. Wow. That is so good.

John: Amen.

Jim: Amen. OK, we did the quick Google search. We have about 44 million empty bedrooms in America, maybe 1% of those we could fill up and take care of this (laughter). That’s incredible. If you feel God stirring your heart to foster or adopt or provide respite care to a foster family, give us a call, and we would love to answer your questions and provide that information so you could take the next steps. Um, get started in this journey. Let’s accomplish this in our generation.

Cecil: We can.

Jim: We can do it. And, uh, man, I hope you will seriously pray about it. Don’t you think that’s the right thing to do, Boone?

Boone: Yes, sir.

Jim: (Laughter)

Closing:

John: We’ll pray and then give us a call. Our number is 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. Or online we’re at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: For those of you who share our passion for helping kids like Boone— but aren’t in a position to foster or adopt—I want to invite you to join our Wait No More support team here at Focus on the Family.

As Cecil mentioned earlier, Wait No More is our ministry for children in foster care. Our team brings awareness to the needs of these children, and recruits people—like Cecil— who are interested in becoming foster parents or engaging the foster system.

If you can pledge $25 a month to support the efforts of Wait No More, our team is able to send a suitcase, a stuffed animal, and a Bible to a child in foster care who is waiting for a forever family.

And you heard us mention earlier that Boone used to use a trash bag to haul his stuff to and from each foster home—let me tell you, having a suitcase is a big deal to a child who doesn’t have much permanency in his or her life.

John: yeah, this is going to make a life impact so join the team and support Wait No More, such a wonderful program. We do want to thank those who are currently supporting us financially today, already — because your gifts have made it possible for over 4,000 families to pursue foster care, adoption, or to offer respite for foster parents! You can learn more about Wait No More and donate when you call at 800-232-6459. 800 the letter A and the word FAMILY. Or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for joining for Focus on the Family! I’m John Fuller, inviting you back as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ.

Today's Guests

Support waiting families and children

Help Support Waiting Children and Families

With your monthly gift of $25 or more, we'll send a suitcase, teddy bear and Bible to a waiting child! Not only is the suitcase functional, it helps a child make the transition to a foster family with dignity.

Recent Episodes

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Fueling Great Relationships With Others

Dr. John Townsend offers practical ideas on how to create incredibly meaningful relationships in every area of your life. He describes the types of people who are needed on your “life team” to help you grow – and others who need to be held at arm’s length, as you seek balance in your relationships with friends and colleagues.

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Simple Habits to Embrace in Your Marriage

Dr. Randy Schroeder has counseled thousands of married couples and has discovered simple tools that help couples avoid divorce and build a thriving marriage. In this broadcast, he describes practical habits to help couples navigate expectations in marriage, build emotional closeness, and resolve disagreements.

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How I Found God Through My Abortion Journey (Part 2 of 2)

Cynthia Wenz shares her incredible testimony of discovering God’s love and forgiveness. As a teenager, Cynthia lived recklessly and strayed away from the Lord. By age 29, she had three abortions, numbing herself from the reality of killing her children. After realizing her mistakes, Cynthia became pro-life and experienced many years of turmoil and grief before undergoing post-abortion recovery. She now advocates for pregnancy resource centers across the nation. (Part 2 of 2)

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Avoiding Shame-Based Parenting

Psychologist Dr. Kelly Flanagan discusses the origins of shame, the search for self-worth in all the wrong places, and the importance of extending grace to ourselves. He also explains how parents can help their kids find their own sense of self-worth, belonging and purpose.

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Becoming a Clutter-Free Family

Joshua Becker discusses the benefits a family can experience if they reduce the amount of “stuff” they have and simplify their lives. He addresses parents in particular, explaining how they can set healthy boundaries on how much stuff their kids have, and establish new habits regarding the possession of toys, clothes, artwork, gifts and more.

Loving Your Spouse Through the Seasons of Marriage - Part 1

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.

How a Former Abortion Doctor Became Pro-Life

As an abortion doctor at Planned Parenthood, Dr. Patti Giebink believed she was helping women. Later, she began reading scripture and God gradually changed her heart on the abortion issue. Patti tells the story of her long journey from abortion doctor to pro-life and encourages listeners to share the message of life with compassion.

Headshot image of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Dr. Patti Giebink

Mrs. Patti Giebink

Dr. Patti Giebink is an OB-GYN who serves on the board of the Alpha Center, a well-known pregnancy center located in Sioux Falls, S.D. She also travels intermittently to work in mission hospitals in Pakistan and other countries. After completing her medical training, Dr. Giebink worked for Planned Parenthood from 1995-1997, during which she was the only abortion-provider in the state of South Dakota. She eventually experienced a radical change of heart on the issue of abortion after receiving God’s grace, forgiveness, and love, and she is now a passionate advocate for the pro-life movement.

Cover image of the book "Unexpected Choice: An Abortion Doctor’s Journey to Pro-Life"

Unexpected Choice: An Abortion Doctor’s Journey to Pro-Life

Unexpected Choice is told from the perspective of a doctor who actually performed abortions through Planned Parenthood. The book chronicles her journey from being a pro-choice physician to someone speaking on behalf of the pro-life movement.

Navigating a Toxic Culture with Your Daughter - Part 2

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.

Cherishing Your Spouse Every Day

Do you love your spouse, or do you truly cherish them? Gary Thomas encourages couples to make a daily effort to go beyond the ‘duty’ of love, and combat the natural inclination to drift apart, by choosing to see the best in their spouse.

Mr. Gary Thomas

Gary Thomas is an international speaker and best-selling, award-winning author whose books include Married SexSacred Marriage and Sacred Parenting. He has also written numerous articles for several prominent national magazines. Gary and his wife, Lisa, reside in Texas and have three children. You can learn more about Gary by visiting his website, www.garythomas.com.

cherish front cover

Friends, Partners, and Lovers: What It Takes to Make Your Marriage Work

“Most marriages survive by gritting teeth and holding on. But marriages can and will not only survive but thrive when husbands and wives learn to cherish one another.” Those are the powerful words of bestselling author Gary Thomas in his newest book–Cherish. And in a world desperate for marriage redemption, it is needed now more than ever. Thomas shows that although there are a countless number of marriages consisting of two people just going through the motions, there are real ways this pattern can be reversed: when husbands and wives learn to cherish one another in proven, loving, and everyday actions and words.

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Newest Release - Episode 2: Heroes Providing Hope

Discover the amazing work our PRC’s Directors, Nurses, and Volunteers are making in their communities! You’ll see firsthand testimonies of a PRC in action, and that there are other options outside of abortions! You’ll also discover how your family can support your local PRC!

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!

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Newest Release - Episode 4: Sometimes the Choice is Hard

Hear real life stories of parents who have made the decision to choose life even though the circumstances were overwhelming. You’ll see why “ALL” life is precious to God and why choosing life is always the right decision!

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!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 3: The Power of a Picture

Have you ever wondered what a baby looked like in the womb? With today’s technology, Moms and Dads can see the baby’s heartbeat, facial expressions, and movements! You’ll find out why more women choose life once they hear their baby’s heartbeat and realize it’s a real living human!

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!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 5: It’s Going to be Amazing!

After a couple has chosen life, hear the heartwarming stories of children that culture would have cast aside, yet are making tremendous impacts in their communities. Whether the diagnosis was adverse or the circumstances were difficult, these stories will inspire you to come along side of families who have chosen life!

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!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 6: Families Helping Families!

So, after all you’ve seen through the SeeLife ‘21 Episodic journey; what can you do now? We’ll share how you can partner with some amazing organizations that are making significant impacts in the pro-life movement! You want to Celebrate Life!

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!

Praying Scripture Over Your Child’s Life - Part 2

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.

Effective Habits to Embrace in Parenting

To be an effective parent, you must be a leader in your child’s life, guiding with a gentle hand and setting a solid example. Dr. Randy Schroeder provides the insight you need to be a leader-parent. As he explores the foundational Rs—relationship, routines, responsibilities, and rules—you’ll better understand the role you play in your child’s life. You’ll learn great phrases to employ such as “Either/Or/You Decide” and “When You/Then You”. While there is no perfect parent, this nuts-and-bolts material will equip you to lead your child in a loving, confident manner.

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Dr. Randy Schroeder

Dr. Randy Schroeder

Dr. Randy Schroeder has spent more than four decades writing, counseling, speaking, and teaching. For nearly 25 years, he was Vice President of Student Personnel Services, Dean of Students, and a professor of pastoral counseling at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Ind. He’s also led a successful counseling practice helping individuals, couples, and families to thrive in their lives and relationships.

Cover image of Dr. Randall Schroeder's book "Simple Habits for Effective Parenting"

Simple Habits for Effective Parenting

Effective parenting is now within your grasp! With this inspiring how-to comprehensive book, achieve extraordinary results in raising a child to be self-assured, self-reliant, and responsible! You will be able to successfully lead and lovingly encourage your child toward a Godly life!

The Spiritual Battle for Your Marriage

God designed marriage to reflect His love to the world; and because of this, the enemy wants to destroy God’s beautiful design. Based on his book, Defending Your Marriage, Dr. Tim and Noreen Muehlhoff share about the reality of spiritual warfare against marriages, and how to combat the enemy’s lies with the truth of God. Couples will be encouraged that they’re not alone in the fight for a godly marriage and better equipped to be a shining example for the world around them.

Tim and Noreen Muehlhoff Cropped

Dr. Tim and Mrs. Noreen Muehlhoff

Dr. Tim Muehlhoff is a professor of communication at Biola University in La Mirada, California where he teaches classes in family communication, interpersonal communication, apologetics, gender, and conflict resolution.  Tim and his wife, Noreen, are both on staff with Biola’s Center for Marriage and Relationships  where he is a co-host of The Art of Relationship podcast. 

Defending Your Marriage

Is your marriage under attack? Sometimes it can feel like the world is trying to tear your marriage apart. Internal conflicts or external pressures might make you wonder if something sinister is going on. How can you tell if you’re facing spiritual opposition? And what can you do about it? Tim Muehlhoff provides a straightforward resource for protecting your marriage from the threats of the evil one. He looks at what Scripture says about spiritual warfare and how our everyday struggles have deeper spiritual realities. And he provides practical steps for guarding our marriages with the whole armor of God.

Reigniting Your Passion for Jesus - Part 1

For those of faith whose passion has waned over time, Kim Meeder will reinspire you in your relationship with Jesus Christ as she tells powerful, true stories about God that will spark renewed joy in your heart and encourage you to share the Gospel with others.

Headshot photo of author Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder and her husband, Troy, are the co-founders of Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch, a non-profit organization in Bend, Oregon, that rescues abused horses and pairs them with hurting kids for mutual healing. Kim is a popular motivational speaker and the author of a half dozen books including Hope Rising and Bridge Called Hope, which feature inspirational stories from her ranch.

Revival Rising

With enthusiasm that will set ablaze your passion to reach the hurting, Kim Meeder encourages you to let the holy fire of God’s presence fill your heart, soul, mind and strength. As your fear and pride melt away, those around you who are losing their battle for hope will be transformed by encountering His redeeming love in you. This–this is revival rising.

Reigniting Your Passion for Jesus - Part 2

For those of faith whose passion has waned over time, Kim Meeder will reinspire you in your relationship with Jesus Christ as she tells powerful, true stories about God that will spark renewed joy in your heart and encourage you to share the Gospel with others.

Headshot photo of author Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder and her husband, Troy, are the co-founders of Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch, a non-profit organization in Bend, Oregon, that rescues abused horses and pairs them with hurting kids for mutual healing. Kim is a popular motivational speaker and the author of a half dozen books including Hope Rising and Bridge Called Hope, which feature inspirational stories from her ranch.

Revival Rising

With enthusiasm that will set ablaze your passion to reach the hurting, Kim Meeder encourages you to let the holy fire of God’s presence fill your heart, soul, mind and strength. As your fear and pride melt away, those around you who are losing their battle for hope will be transformed by encountering His redeeming love in you. This–this is revival rising.

Mothers and Sons: Being a Godly Influence - Part 2

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 2

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 2

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.

Embracing Your Role as a Spouse

As a spouse, you have three roles to play—a friend, a partner, and a lover. On this one-day Focus on the Family broadcast, Pastor Kevin A. Thompson explores those different roles and challenges you to live them out by investing emotionally, physically, and mentally in your relationship. As friends, he suggests we learn to play and laugh together. As partners, he equips us with solid ways to handle conflict and communication. As lovers, he offers some thoughts on how to bring back the sizzle. He shares five keys to saving your marriage: humility, respect, mercy, communication, and resilience. You’ll be encouraged to intentionally invest in your marriage.

Headshot of Kevin Thompson

Pastor Kevin Thompson

Kevin A. Thompson (MDiv, Beeson Divinity School) is lead pastor at Community Bible Church, a growing multi-site church with four locations in western Arkansas. Every year he meets with nearly one hundred couples with a range of needs, from pre-marital counseling to navigating the most serious betrayals. A marriage and parenting conference speaker, he and his wife, Jenny, have two children and live in Fort Smith, Arkansas. He blogs at kevinathompson.com.

Cover image of Kevin Thompson's book "Friends, Partners & Lovers"

Friends, Partners, and Lovers: What It Takes to Make Your Marriage Work

With engaging stories and clear, simple language, pastor Kevin Thompson shows how to live out three distinct roles in marraige. Using solid biblical principles, he helps you and your spouse grow your friendship, be supportive partners through the good times and the bad, and develop a healthy and satisfying sex life.

Sharing Your Faith with Grace and Purpose

You can confidently and lovingly share your faith—you just need to learn some new tactics to do so! In this Focus on the Family Daily Broadcast, apologist Greg Koukl outlines the “Columbo” tactic of asking questions, the “self-defeating argument” tactic to find holes in your opponent’s arguments, and other specific methods for engaging in faith-building conversations with others. Greg pulls from his over 30 years of experience debating atheists and agnostics to help you share your faith with grace and truth.

Mr. Greg Koukl

Greg Koukl is a writer, public speaker and talk show host who’s spent 30 years advocating for and defending the Christian worldview. Greg has written or contributed to 15 books, including The Story of RealityTactics, and Precious Unborn Human Persons. Greg has published nearly 230 articles and has spoken on 80 college and university campuses in the U.S. and abroad.

Tactics front cover

Tactics, 10th Anniversary Edition: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions

In a world increasingly indifferent to Christian truth, followers of Christ need to be equipped to communicate with those who do not speak their language or accept their source of authority. In Tactics, 10th Anniversary Edition, Gregory Koukl demonstrates how to artfully regain control of conversations, keeping them moving forward in constructive ways through thoughtful diplomacy. You’ll learn how to stop challengers in their tracks and how to turn the tables on questions or provocative statements. Most important, you’ll learn how to get people thinking about Jesus.

Understanding the Root of Your Child's Misbehavior - Part 1

Often, children act out because they are used to getting attention through bad behavior. Dr. Kevin Leman offers advice to help parents transform their child’s behavior. He discusses the benefits of allowing your kids to learn from real-life consequences and describes the importance of understanding your child’s temperament based on his birth order.

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman is an internationally known family psychologist and an award-winning, New York Times best-selling author. He is also a popular public speaker and media personality who has made countless guest appearances on numerous radio and TV programs. Dr. Leman has written more than 50 books including The Birth Order BookHave a New Kid by Friday and Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours.

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

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.

Giving up Sugar, Tasting God's Goodness

As a latchkey kid, Wendy Speake turned to sugar for comfort. Every Friday, she would pedal to the candy show and use her allowance to fill her bag with candy. And one day, when she was older and a mom of three young boys, she came to realize that she was still “pedaling” away from her stress and using sugar as comfort, instead of turning to Jesus. She was joyless, worn out, tired, and in need of a change. In this interview, Wendy will challenge Christians to take 40 days to focus on fasting from something they turn to instead of Jesus for comfort. She invited people to break free from a dependence on sugar and taste the goodness of God.

Author Wendy Speake smiling as she holds up her book "The 40-Day Social Media Fast"

Mrs. Wendy Speake

With a background in Hollywood as a trained actress, Wendy Speake ministers to women as a bible teacher by applying the power of drama, poetry and comedy to the study of Scripture and real-life application of biblical truths. She has co-authored two books with Amber Lia titled Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses and their latest, Parenting Scripts: When What You’re Saying Isn’t Working, Say Something New. Wendy is also the co-author (with Kelli Stuart) of Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom.

Cover image of the book "The 40-Day Sugar Fast"

The 40-Day Sugar Fast: Where Physical Detox Meets Spiritual Transformation

Welcome to the 40-Day Sugar Fast, a fast that begins with us giving Jesus our sugar and ends with Jesus giving us himself–the only thing that can ever truly satisfy our soul’s deep hunger. On this 40-day journey you’ll learn how to stop fixating on food and other things you use to fill the voids in life and instead fix your eyes on Christ. Anyone who runs to sugar for comfort or a reward, who eats mindlessly or out of boredom, who feels physically and spiritually lethargic, or who struggles with self-control will discover here not only freedom from their cravings but an entirely new appetite for the good things God has for us.

Understanding the Root of Your Child's Misbehavior - Part 2

Often, children act out because they are used to getting attention through bad behavior. Dr. Kevin Leman offers advice to help parents transform their child’s behavior. He discusses the benefits of allowing your kids to learn from real-life consequences and describes the importance of understanding your child’s temperament based on his birth order.

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman is an internationally known family psychologist and an award-winning, New York Times best-selling author. He is also a popular public speaker and media personality who has made countless guest appearances on numerous radio and TV programs. Dr. Leman has written more than 50 books including The Birth Order BookHave a New Kid by Friday and Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours.

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

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!