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Focus on the Family Broadcast

Connecting Spiritually With Your Spouse

Connecting Spiritually With Your Spouse

Dr. Greg and Erin Smalley share today about their own struggles and joys in connecting in marriage. They emphasize having first of all, a relationship with God, which enables true spiritual connection with one's spouse. The Smalleys outline some great practical ways in which spouses can better relate on a spiritual level.
Original Air Date: April 10, 2015

Jim Daly: Erin, let me ask you what you think of the term soulmate.

Erin Smalley: You know, I really feel like soulmate is really a… it’s kind of pure fantasy. It’s an illusion. Because really, spiritual connection between a couple is real.

Jim: Mm.

John Fuller: Mm. Well, soulmate is used so often, it seems, and there are a lot of different, uh, perspectives about it. We’re gonna unpack what it might mean and how you can have a close, intimate relationship with your spouse and be more spiritually connected in the way that Erin was just saying. Uh, this is Focus on the Family with Focus president and author Jim Daly, and I’m John Fuller.

Jim: John, I’m looking forward to the program today, because this is the tune-up kind of program, where we, particularly in the Christian community, um, need to think about our marriages and need to pay attention to them. And I’m guilty of sometimes letting that go. Jean and I, we get on a- a pace, a certain track, where we’re busy. We got the kids going different directions, and you know, we accept a little bit of laziness when it comes to working on our marriage. And I think many, many of us are in that boat. And today we want to just remind you that it is important to work on it, and put some tools in your hand so you can do it.

John: And our guests are Greg and Erin Smalley. They’re both on staff here at Focus on the Family. They’re authors and speakers about a variety of subjects, and one of their specialties is talking about marriage.

Jim: Uh, Greg and Erin, let me welcome you back to the program.

Erin: Always a joy.

Jim: (laughs).

Greg Smalley: Thanks for having us.

Jim: Okay. I want to start with a funny story, because this is one I remember. You guys have so many good stories, but you were just married, and I- I’ll have you fill in the blanks, not very long, and you, uh, had a- an assignment that Erin had given you, Greg, to do the laundry.

Greg: (laughs)

Jim: What happened with the laundry story?

Erin: (laughs).

Jim: (laughs).

Erin: Yes, Greg.

Jim: Yeah. Uh, he’s looking a little red, for the listeners. Uh…

John: (laughs)

Greg: We- We had a minor argument-

John: (laughing)

Greg: … right before Erin was leaving to- to go out the door.

Erin: Mm-hmm. I was heading out to work in the morning and it was a Saturday.

Jim: How long had you been married at this point?

Erin: Maybe six months.

Jim: Okay, good.

Greg: So we were very experienced-

Jim: Yes.

Greg: … by then.

Erin: Yeah. And we were bickering, picking at each other, and I got to the front door with my work stuff in hand and I took one step out the front door and popped my head back in and made one more smart comment and off I went.

Jim: Okay.

Greg: So I’m just standing there in our little apartment after she’s now had the last word, and this just irritated me. ‘Cause I had so much more that I was really ready to say-

John: (laughs)

Greg: … but she’s gone. So I was getting all of our laundry together, and the way that I did it is, uh, we lived up on the fourth floor. On the first floor underneath us was the laundry room. I hated carrying that big, you know, basket full of laundry, and so what I did is I just bought a big mesh bag, I’d put all of our laundry in and I just would drag it out, put it on the railing and then just drop it to the ground. So I get this all, you know, stuffed in, I’m dragging it outside. I’m so mad at her. And as I put it up on the railing, I see her walking on the… on the ground floor.

Jim: And what did you think about?

Greg: Well, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be funny if, as she walked by, I dropped it near her?” And then she would kinda, you know, jump and look up and I’d be like, “Last word that! Haha!” You know, thought it was a great idea.

Jim: Good ice breaker.

Greg: It made… It’s- Thank you. See?

Jim: (laughs)

Greg: It all made sense in my mind. So, when I let the laundry bag go, um, my aim was on or off, depending on your perspective, but I hit her.

John: Oh.

Jim: Okay.

Greg: Literally.

Jim: So you’re not an engineer.

Greg: Yeah. Not- Not at all. You wouldn’t want me in the air force.

Jim: And what did you think, Erin, when you were hit by this flying bag of laundry by your inflamed husband upstairs?

John: (laughs)

Erin: You know, in that season of our marriage, it wasn’t super surprising, sadly. (laughs) And I- I mean, I- I fell back and looked up and he was looking down. And so, I jumped up and I ran up the stairs, ’cause I was gonna maybe throw him off the balcony. (laughs)

John: (laughing)

Greg: She was… She was… I mean, literally. I’ve never seen her move that fast.

Jim: You have grown a lot since then. This was many years ago.

Greg: Mm. Yeah.

Jim: Um, and the- the reason I like that story is it- there’s a certain realness to it, a grittiness. Um, some people, even those of us that claim Christ, live in that, um, veneer, if I could say it that way. There may be a lot of good things going on on the outside, but when you close the door, there’s laundry bags flying-

Greg: (laughs)

Jim: … if I could use the metaphor. But let’s talk about that spiritual connection. Now that you’ve grown and you have really, uh, gotten over those obstacles early in your marriage, and you can certainly refer to that, but that spiritual connection, uh, and the importance of it, talk about that. Why is spiritual connection the ground floor for everything in your marriage?

Greg: There’s so many ways that I think people misunderstand this idea of spiritual intimacy between a couple. And for me it’s more than reading the Bible together, it’s more than memorizing scripture together, it’s more than going to church together. Those are doing kinds of things.

Jim: Those are functions.

Greg: Exactly. I think, you know, we’re human beings, we’re not human doings. And- And I think it’s that word being that- that really has helped Erin and I more than anything understand what it really means to have a spiritual relationship. I believe that real spiritual intimacy means that we understand that Christ is the cornerstone of our marriage. I love that verse in Ephesians 2:20, that with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone. So, He is our cornerstone, He is our foundation. But built upon that, I think it’s really about connecting all of your being; your heart, your soul, your mind, your strength, with your spouse as we pursue God together.

Jim: Mm.

Greg: See, to me that’s it. It’s not a bunch of these things that we do, it’s offering one another all of who we are. You know, the- the deepest parts of our heart, our soul, our mind, and our strength. And that has become the thing that we pursue together. How do I live that out? Versus just thinking, “Well, as long as we pray together, as long as we go to church together.” And I don’t think that’s what it’s about at all.

Jim: W- Well let me ask you this, again, for context. How many years in your marriage did it take for you to begin to understand that, and for the both of you? Did you kind of arrive at that point seven years in, 10 years in? What was your situation? That way I can hear it and maybe apply it to my own.

Erin: Mm-hmm. I would say that for us it- it’s- it became that we started to pursue God individually, you know, wholeheartedly. And then that really for me impacted my marriage relationship.

Jim: How? What were… What was going on spiritually for you that impacted your marriage in the… in the material sense? In the physical sense?

Erin: Because what ended up happening was that I was expecting Greg to meet so many needs in me that really he wasn’t created to meet. That really those were things that only God could be doing in my life. So, as I grew in my faith in the Lord, then I- I was free to love Greg without these unrealistic expectations. And I think many women, because we get so much from relationships and people and places and things, that… you know, that we’re looking to all these things to fill us, versus allowing God to fill us first and foremost and then we come together. And when he’s doing that, I’m doing that, we come together and, wow.

Jim: You know, I appreciate what you’re saying. I’m trying to get a handle on what… And again, normal is what? As Patsy Clairmont says, it’s only a setting on your dryer. Right?

Greg: (laughs)

Erin: (laughs)

Jim: So- But I’m trying-

Greg: I don’t do laundry, so I wouldn’t know.

Jim: (laughs) Yeah.

Erin: Yeah.

John: Not anymore. (laughs)

Jim: Erin forbids you from doing laundry.

Erin: Yeah. No. I do the laundry, he does the dishes.

John: (laughs)

Jim: But- But I’m trying to… Is this three years into your marriage, is it seven years into your marriage? There are couples, I’m sure, that are 10, 20 years into their marriage, maybe more, that they still haven’t come to this conclusion of spiritual, um, depth will provide what they need and then the- they’re free to love each other.

Erin: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Uh, talk to me about that context. Where were you when you began to really understand God in your marriage?

Greg: You know, it’s not a linear, straight line pursuit. It’s a journey that’s messy, that steps forward, steps backward. I mean, I- I tell you, the- this was the most painful part of our marriage for me in the beginning. And I could tell you that we struggled with conflict, but privately, deep inside my soul, I felt like such an utter failure when it came to connecting with Erin spiritually. And for me, I- I think what was going on is that, you know, my dad, Gary Smalley, he is such a spiritual giant in my mind. But boy, back there that cast such a big shadow that- that I never ever felt like I could measure up to that ever.

Jim: Did you ever talk to him about that?

Greg: Um, we had conversations about it. The problem was, see, I had such fond memories of getting up in the morning and I would find my dad on his knees.

Jim: Huh.

Greg: You know, just praying. And as a young husband then I thought that that’s what I needed to do. I needed to be up early in the morning, on my knees. I needed to be leading my family in a certain way, like he did, doing devotional. I mean, it just… I just… I so admired that. That was such a good thing.

Jim: Uh-huh.

Greg: I- I loved that. I love those memories. I- I just never felt that I could measure up. I had another mentor in my life. So my dad, Gary Smalley, another guy named Gary Oliver, same thing. I mean, I’ve never met a- a bigger prayer warrior. Um, I would see he and his wife, uh, getting up in the morning early, praying together. And they had these two spots in their house that was just reserved for their spiritual warfare together early in the morning. And amazing. I couldn’t even remotely get close to that. And so, I thought there was something wrong with me. I remembered feeling like such an utter failure that what- what it did to me is it paralyzed me and thus I became very passive. And so, I didn’t do anything.

Jim: Well, you’re saying something that a lot of men are gonna connect to, which is that feeling of spiritual paralysis.

Greg: Yeah.

Jim: Um, so often in homes today, and what we hear here at Focus on the Family from married couples, uh, particularly wives that are struggling, as you said, Erin, with those expectations, especially around that area of family devotions, my husband taking the lead spiritually. I feel like, you know, he gets home from work, he’s tired, he tunes into sports and news and weather and he just doesn’t take the- the lead here. Therefore, I’ve gotta do it and I’ve got my own things going on. There seems to be a lot of friction in that area, but it is that spiritual paralysis. Ha- How does a woman, a wife, interact with a husband who seems nonchalant, he’s not connecting there? Um, and what’s happening for that woman as well?

Erin: You know, that is very typical, for women to look at what their husband isn’t doing versus what he is doing. Because I had great expectations around what this was gonna look like. You know, I was marrying Gary Smalley’s son and he was gonna lead these phenomenal devos for me and guide me spiritually. What I didn’t account for is I’m a pretty strong willed wife. And, you know-

Jim: Did you know that?

Greg: When you say pretty you mean-

Jim: (laughing) Careful.

Greg: Oh.

Jim: Let me just do a counseling session here. I will counsel you not to say that.

Greg: (laughs)

Erin: Yeah.

Jim: But did you know that going in?

John: Mm.

Jim: I- I- ‘Cause I find even for Jean and I, it’s so funny, ’cause she doesn’t perceive herself as strong, but she is. She’s a strong, empowered person and she’s got her own way of thinking about it and… But I don’t perceive that she sees herself that way.

Erin: Yeah. I don’t know that I recognized that early on. I do today (laughs).

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Erin: And the- I think the other thing that played into our relationship was I was a newer Christian when we got married, and so I was wholeheartedly pursuing God. And so, it- as I was doing that, Greg is working and in school and, you know, trying to make it all work over here. I had more time. I was at home with our first child and going to Bible studies and being mentored by older women and… You know, so it really was that I was growing and learning, that I expected him to be doing the same thing. Which really wasn’t fair, because his life looked much different than mine.

Jim: Mm.

Greg: You know, we didn’t talk much about this.

Erin: Mm-hmm.

Greg: Again, I was this… I sorta showed up very passively. And because I had these high expectations of what I should be doing, it just shut me down and we just sorta drifted along. Uh, having great, fun times and there were a lot that we were doing. I tell you, Jim, that the freedom for me, I’ll never forget this, is when my dad… he- he was one of those moments to where he kinda… he didn’t literally grab me, but he might as well have kinda grabbed me, take m- you know, his hands with my cheeks and just kinda stare at me. And he said, “Son, the way that I live out my faith is gonna be very different than yours.” He says, “Here’s what I see in you.” He said that, “I watch you love your wife and your children unconditionally, that I see you serving them, I see you sacrificing for them, I see you providing financially. I see you protecting them.” He says, “I- I see how you guys walk through conflict, um, in a biblical way. I see, you know, you asking forgiveness when you screw up.” He said, “That is- is you living out what God has called you to do.” And what he did, the gift that he gave me, was that he expanded my view of what it means to be a spiritual leader. Whereas I thought I was to simply… that I had to do a devo, or I had to initiate being on a committee at church or something like that-

Jim: Kinda like the tasks.

Greg: Yeah. That what it did is it- it gave me a perspective that- that all the things that I was doing for my wife and for my family, that that was a part of me being a spiritual leader.

Jim: Yeah.

Greg: And I think it just… It freed me.

Jim: Yeah. Uh, Greg, I can appreciate, uh, you know, that moment. That had to be, um, profound for you, and you described it that way. But Erin, I’ve gotta ask, you know, uh, for so many wives in this illustration, when the husband comes home and feels, you know, “Maybe I am doing a better job than I realize,” um, how did that make you feel? Were you connecting to that? Or did you have suspicion about it?

Erin: Mm-hmm. You know, I don’t know that we ever had, like, a formalized discussion about this, but just as we continued to learn, and I know for me, as I continued to learn and expand my understanding of this… ‘Cause as a young wife I didn’t understand that. I had expectations that were up he-… you know, way up high-

Jim: Right.

Erin: … and didn’t understand that as a young man he was gonna grow into this role and he was gonna mature and morph. And really I married the potential of what he could become. My job is to encourage that and to look for what he was doing. And so, as I grew, you know, he had this conversation with his dad. As I began to understand what a spiritual leader was, I began to look for those things. Versus before I was looking for what he wasn’t doing, therefore I saw what he wasn’t doing. And so, as I expanded and opened my mind to, you know, those deep conversations he has with our kids, you know, just in the everyday moments, they’re huge. Because that’s what our kids, you know, hold onto. They know that that’s- that’s their dad’s heart and their dad’s teaching to them. Versus my kids know they can come to me when they- they want me to pray on the spot with them. They know that, you know, mom is gonna do that. Because in my more traditional ways, that’s what I do. He will pray with them, but then he will talk to them in everyday terms. So, I think for me it was an expanding of my mind as I understood that there’s more to this than my original thoughts and my-

Jim: Yeah.

Erin: … original definition of what a spiritual leader is.

Jim: Uh, let me ask you this. Um, so often in a marriage commitment there are ebbs and flows, mountains and valleys. Um, talk to us about that. You both kind of were in the valley at the same time. Describe what that was like, what it felt like, and how you found a way up above the clouds.

Greg: For me it- it happened when, uh, that spiritual mentor that I was telling you about, Gary Oliver, when his, uh, first wife was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Jim: Mm.

Greg: Um, I believe in prayer, I’ve always believed in prayer. Uh, I’ve never seen one person prayed over more in my entire life. I literally remember a conversation I had with God just going, you know, “God, I know that’s a pretty bleak diagnoses, but God, I mean, You say that when we pray and persistently pray, um, that You will move and you will act upon that. And You really don’t have a choice here. I mean, You- she has to be healed, or everything You say wouldn’t make sense to me.”

Jim: Mm.

Greg: And I’ll never forget that day that- that I got the word that she had passed away. And I just slipped into a very dark… it actually, I mean, lasted months and months and months, a very dark season. That I couldn’t reconcile this. It just shut me down and I- I didn’t have any desire to pray with my wife, with my family. It just… I- I- I pulled back from all of that.

Jim: Huh.

Erin: Mm-hmm.

Greg: It was a tough season. As you can imagine, it had a huge impact on our marriage.

Erin: Mm-hmm. Well, because during that season, I lost my mom and, like, two months before, Carrie Oliver passed away too. And it was several deaths all in a… Just, it was a very dark season of loss. And Greg was distant and, I could tell, distant from the Lord. And I was also crying out to God, just going, “God, where are You?”

Jim: Mm.

Erin: “Amidst all of this loss, um, where are You? Because You sure seem quiet.” And kind of went to the same place of just going, “You know what? You said You’d be here. Where are You?” And, you know, and between talking to the Lord and Greg and, you know, you know, trying to find scripture to help Greg, but also trying to pull myself out of this- this dark-

Greg: And I’m like, “I don’t want-

Erin: … place.

Greg: “Don’t- Don’t throw scripture at me. I know it all and it-

Erin: Yeah.

Greg: … didn’t work.”

Jim: Wow. Yeah.

Greg: That- That’s how I felt.

Jim: No, it’s real.

Erin: But I can… I can remember clear as day, I was driving down this one road, this one windy road in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, and I- I literally… I was driving and I just went, “You know what, God? Reveal Yourself to me.” I mean, I was desperate. I was just in this dark place of, “God, just show Yourself to me.” And lo and behold, the next week… We had been praying for adoption for… We’d been praying by name for an Annie for years, for seven years, and never would’ve tied the two together. But literally, after driving down that road, crying out to God, “Reveal Yourself to me,” the next week is when we found out about this little girl in China whose name happened to be Annie.

Jim: Mm.

Greg: And- And here’s what’s cool about this story. So for me, as Erin’s going through this, I’m going through my own dark season, just wrestling with God around prayer, and God, what- what does it mean, and- and all of that. We were working at John Brown University and there was a set of stairs, concrete steps, that separated, kinda, the upper campus, lower campus. Hundreds of them. And I re-… I’ll never forget where I was. I was just thinking about the Lord and just my relationship with Him and just my frustrations, and I just… I broke down. I start to cry. And no-one else was there and I just kinda sat there on the steps and just wept and wept and wept, and it was such a breaking moment for me. Because the verse that really came to mind was Romans 8:26 and 27, basically saying, as we pray, the Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf with groans, with words that we can’t express. And- And that was the breaking moment. I mean, that- that’s the cool part of how God is so patient and He just walked with me and- and used that verse. Because I can’t make sense of why she died and why God didn’t heal her when all these people prayed, but it didn’t matter. And that was such a… it was a moment of- of just real breaking. Of just saying, “I just wanna… I’m gonna be obedient.” And- And I kid you not, I’m not making this up, it was the next day that a friend of ours came into my office, and Erin was there with me. And as she was just saying, he told us about this little girl that he had held in China. And as he told the story, we found out that her name was Annie, the very name that we’d been praying for for seven years. And I believe that why all that happened the way it- it happened was that really, truly the only way that we were gonna be able to adopt this little girl e- e- was gonna be because I was able to lead my family through prayer. And see, and I wasn’t at a spot where I was even willing to do that, and I had to be broken. And once that happened, I’m telling you, just the timing is so eerie, but it’s so God. And we spent as a family the next year and a half praying every single day that we’d be able to adopt this little girl.

Jim: Well, and the word that comes to my mind is faith. That’s what faith is.

Greg: Yeah.

Jim: Um, faith is, um, hoping in those things that aren’t seen or experienced.

Greg: Yeah.

Jim: And that’s what it’s about.

Greg: Y- You know, looking back on that, you know, w- what I appreciate is Erin gave me the room to walk through that with the Lord. She didn’t try to intervene. I guess you’d throw me a verse every once in a while.

Erin: I tried to support and encourage you.

Greg: And I think that’s the key.

Jim: Yeah.

Greg: That in those moments, that if- if my only ability to connect with God is because I’m married, or somehow through our shared faith, that is such a recipe for disaster. We always tell people, in a marriage there’s three entities that you have to protect and nurture, and that’s you, your spouse, and your marriage. In other words, I have to have my own spiritual relationship with God independent from my wife. I can’t be dependent or I’m in trouble. And the same with her. Is if she’s waiting for me to lead, that is so not biblical. And she has to cultivate her own spiritual relationship and then we have this opportunity to come together and nurture our- what we have together.

Jim: Mm.

Greg: And I think that’s to me the- the key. When- When God said that He created marriage… I love in- in Malachi… I love this verse. It’s my very favorite marriage verse. Malachi 2:15 out of The Message version. Listen to this. “God, not you, made marriage. His Spirit inhabits even the smallest details of marriage, so guard the spirit of marriage within you.” That can mean lots of things, but one of the ways that I look at that is my job is to guard that Spirit. Him, God. Guard that- that relationship that we have together. So, I need to be strong spiritually, she needs to be strong spiritually, but then we have this amazing opportunity to connect that way within our relationship.

Jim: Mm. Let me get your response to this. It caught my attention. It said, “Marriages that lack spiritual connection almost always create pain and loneliness.”

Erin: Mm.

Jim: Okay, I know that just took a number of wives particularly, because they feel they’re in a- a marriage that feels spiritually dead.

Erin: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Um, they’re going through the routines. Um, they know it’s right to stay married, they know they love the Lord, and they love their husband out of obligation perhaps.

Erin: Mm-hmm.

Jim: But it’s dry.

Erin: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And that catches them. There’s no spiritual connection.

Erin: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And it has created a place of pain and loneliness.

Erin: Mm-hmm. Or they’re married to someone who’s not a believer. And I’ve interacted with both types of women and I found for both that exact thing to be true. That the loneliness is there and there’s pain when there’s not that deep spiritual connection.

Jim: So the outcome is the same.

Erin: Yes.

Jim: That’s interesting.

Erin: Isn’t that interesting?

Jim: ‘Cause you’re not living your faith as a husband perhaps, or the wife.

Erin: Right.

Jim: I know the shoe can go on either foot. Husband or wife.

Erin: Mm-hmm.

Jim: But because their behaving almost like a nonbeliever-

Erin: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … their marriage reflects-

Erin: Yes.

Jim: … that attribute.

Erin: And, you know, it’s- it’s interesting, ’cause in The Wholehearted Wife we talk a lot about who you can control. You can’t control… I mean, the- the more that I hound Greg, you know, “We gotta be doing this devotion. We gotta do it this way. We gotta be in church. We got…” the more that he’s probably gonna resent me and push away from that. And so instead, there’s a different way to look at it in that I can control me and that I can focus on my spiritual relationship with the Lord and model that. You know, there’s that scripture that talks about that you’re gonna win your husband over to the Lord based on your behavior as a woman. And, you know, it’s- it’s that I can model a vibrant spiritual faith and that is gonna influence him. He’s gonna see that, he’s gonna notice that, he’s gonna maybe even desire that. And, you know… And then, you know, pursuing him in that connection and pursuing him to pray together, pursuing him to have spiritual discussions. You know, that it- there’s things that I can be doing, that I can control, that are about me. I can pray for him and allow the Lord to do the work in him that He wants to do, instead of me impacting the relationship in a negative way.

John: We’ve been listening to Greg and Erin Smalley today on Focus on the Family, and they always have such great insights and practical help for marriage in pretty much every and any season.

Jim: So true, John. And I appreciate their heart and the work they do here at Focus on the Family with the marriage team. They’re the ones that walk in every day thinking strategically. What does Focus need to do to help as many marriages as possible? And they give that hope, uh, to so many couples. And for you, the listener, let me remind you that Focus on the Family is here for you. This is our mission, our mandate, we believe, from the Lord. We’ll help you find the answers you need when it comes to strengthening your marriage. Whether you’re just starting out, or you’ve been together for a number of years and know that it could be better. Um, that is our goal. In fact, we have a great podcast that we recently launched with Greg and Erin. I know, John, you work with them on this.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: It’s called Crazy Little Thing Called Marriage and they cover a number of topics: intimacy, managing conflict, communication improvement, loving your spouse well. Who doesn’t wanna do those things as a believer? Um, you can find that on our website, or wherever you listen to podcasts. And we’d love to get Erin’s book, The Wholehearted Wife, into your hands. It’s a terrific resource that will help encourage you as a wife and remind you the impact you have in your marriage. In fact, if you can make a donation of any amount, we’ll send you a copy of Erin’s book, The Wholehearted Wife, as our way of saying thank you for being part of the ministry.

John: Yeah. Donate today as you can and, uh, you can do that at the website or just give us a call. When you donate, request the book and then, uh, be sure to look for the links to Crazy Little Thing Called Marriage, that new podcast with Greg and Erin. Uh, all the details are at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Or call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. Well, we hope you have a wonderful weekend and that you plan on joining us Monday, um, when we’ll hear from you. We have a collection of listener stories sharing the impact that teachers had on you, on the lives of their students.

Preview:

Woman #1: She helped bring me out of my shell. She helped me discover what a great artist I was.

Man #1: She taught me about being kind to others, about loving, uh, one another.

Woman #2: Because of her inspiration in my seventh grade year, I stayed playing basketball all through high school and into college.

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Walking With God Through Trials (Part 2 of 2)

Michele Cushatt shares her story of walking through difficult times and how faithful God was throughout. She explores ten practices—concepts such as lament, humility, contentment, and perspective—that will help you build and strengthen your faith so you can weather those stressful seasons with God. (Part 2 of 2)

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A Legacy of Music and Trusting the Lord

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

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Accepting Your Imperfect Life

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