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Focus on the Family Broadcast

Embracing God’s Unique Design for Autism

Embracing God’s Unique Design for Autism

Karla Akins discusses the joys and challenges she's experienced in raising twin sons with autism, offering hope and encouragement to parents of autistic children.

Opening:

John Fuller: Imagine walking into a room and sitting down. And as you do, someone turns up the static on the radio on the other side of the room. And it’s full volume. And then someone else comes in. And they start flipping the lights on and off repeatedly. And a third person, then, starts talking to you. But they’re making these really strange facial expressions while they do so. And in the midst of all that chaos and confusion, you might – you just might be able to get a glimpse of what someone with autism experiences every day.

This is Focus on the Family, and you’ll hear about the impact that autism has had on one family and how God showed up in some really unexpected ways. Now your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly. And I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, I believe the parents of a child with a disability, not just autism but the whole spectrum of disability have a special place in God’s heart because it takes enormous effort and patience and compassion to care for these children each and every day. The Bible tells us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made and that every child is a unique gift from God. They’re not mistakes. That’s what we believe in the faith community – the pro-life community that God is at work even when things aren’t perfect, especially when things aren’t perfect.

And you know, that does beg the question, what about the rest of us then when we’re critical or even judge a special-needs family? It’s heartbreaking when you can tell what’s going on there, that child that’s really out of control in a grocery store. It could be far deeper than just a behavioral issue. And we do, as a culture, tend to lack patience, and as a church, lack patience for parents and their children who are facing these bigger obstacles. Here at Focus on the Family, we want to address this topic. And it’s for everybody, not just the parents of a child with autism. But we are going to explore today to help all of us better understand what that world is like.

John: Yeah. And as you know, Jim, when we adopted, we did not know that our youngest had autism. And um, he really has rocked our world. I mean, it’s been so unpredictable and so, uh, challenging day in and day out. But it’s also been exceptionally rewarding. And what you said earlier is so true. We hold onto that biblical truth that God’s fingerprints are on these kids. And so it’s not, “How do I fix this”? It’s a, “How do I understand what God’s doing?”

Jim: And in all honesty, it’s not easy.

John: No, it really isn’t.

Jim: It comes with a lot of patience, a lot of demand on your patience.

John: That you didn’t know you had, right?

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: Yeah. You find a new well. Well, we’ve invited Karla Akins into our studio. She’s an author, minister and speaker. She has nearly 40 years teaching experience in homeschooling, private and public education as well. Uh, Karla and her husband, Eddie, are the parents of five grown children including twin sons, Isaac and Isaiah, who have autism. Uh, Karla’s written a great book about her family’s journey called, A Pair of Miracles: A Story of Autism, Faith and Determined Parenting. Karla, welcome to Focus.

Body:

Karla Akins: Oh, thank you for having me. It’s very – I’m excited to be here.

Jim: I love that last line – determined parenting.

Karla: (Laughter).

Jim: I mean, we all want that as parents, right?

Karla: Absolutely.

Jim: Why is it extra special to have determined parenting when you’re the parent of autistic children?

Karla: Because it will take you on a journey that you never expected to go on. And the adventure never ends (laughter).

Jim: Never ends.

Karla: It never ends. There’s always something unexpected right around the corner. Um, families with autism can’t exactly be spontaneous. They have a lot of planning and determination that goes into every day.

Jim: Yeah. Let’s go all the way back for the listener so they can begin to paint a mental picture of what life was like for you before the twins were born – kind of, I would guess, in that normal category, just your normal family. And that day you received a phone call from a social worker, uh, describe what took place there.

Karla: We were foster parents. And we had already started the adoption-study process because we had been – had a placement before the twins in which we thought we were going to be able to adopt him but that God had another plan for that. So we got the call. And we had 30 minutes to decide whether or not to…

Jim: Think of that.

Karla: (Laughter).

Jim: Thirty minutes. I mean, what an odd parameter. Although, I understand it.

Karla: Well, it wasn’t for adoption. It was for foster parenting.

Jim: Yeah.

Karla: So, you know, I guess that eased us into it (laughter) in a way. And – but it was a big decision for our children because we wanted to make sure that they were up for it as well.

Jim: There were – describe your family then. There were three kids…

Karla: Well, we had our daughter, Melissa. She’s my stepdaughter and my son, Jesse, and my other son, biological son, Noah.

Jim: And they’re how old at this time?

Karla: Um, Melissa was 14. And Jesse was 7. And Noah was 2.

Jim: Okay. So you get the phone call. You have 30 minutes to make this decision about foster placement. Take us forward in the story.

Karla: So the social worker called us and asked if we could go to the NICU at the hospital to pick up one of the twins. They were ready to be discharged. And they needed us to go do a CPR class so that we could take him home. And then the other twin would follow later. And I called my husband. He was at the church at the time. And he came home. We talked about it. We prayed about it. And our motto, as a family, had always been that true religion is taking care of the orphans and the widows. That had always kind of been our thing…

Jim: Yeah.

Karla: …and then why we went into foster care and why we always felt a calling to take care of people that couldn’t exactly take care of themselves by themselves. It was like taking baby Jesus’s into our house. All of us have Jesus inside of us. And so we were ministering to children in the name of Jesus.

Jim: Hmm.

Karla: They were scared. The kids were scared because the foster placement we had had before had been from birth to 11 months. He was only supposed to be with us a few months.

Jim: Right. And at this point, you’re not totally thinking about adoption, or were you?

Karla: Well, we were, and that’s why the social worker chose us…

Jim: Okay.

Karla: …Because she wanted a home that would – if the things didn’t work out with the biological parents – and at that time, it did not look good – that we would adopt them.

Jim: Karla, let me ask you this question because people listening – perhaps because of Focus’s program, Wait No More, which encourages couples to consider adoption out of foster care. As you peel back the story – and we’re going to hear much more over the next few minutes – the question of why has to be answered. I mean, why – I know the scripture is there, but why take on so much burden? I mean, there’s got to be other people. I’m rationalizing what people think.

Karla: Well, in…

Jim: But tell me the why – the real why. I mean, this is hard.

Karla: Yes, most people don’t understand the why. And, in fact, we lost friends – many friends over this decision – Christian friends (laughter).

Jim: Why? Why would you lose friends?

Karla: Because they felt we already had a ministry as ministers. And then I’m a singer, and they wanted – you know, they just had other plans for me. But they’re not God. You know, I had…

Jim: (Laughter) Oh, man.

Karla: …To follow God’s calling. You know, God’s the one that called me to this, and I was abandoned at birth by my mother. I was raised by my dad, and I don’t know. God just put that desire in my heart to help children who needed a mom.

Jim: I mean, that – so your passion is born out of your pain? I mean, that…

Karla: Absolutely. Mmhmm.

Jim: …Is a typical situation. Move us forward now. The boys come home. There is some behavioral things you’re noticing. Describe that for the parent that may not know. What do those symptoms look like for the autistic child?

Karla: I noticed right away, and I must add that the twins also have fetal alcohol syndrome.

Jim: Mmhmm.

Karla: But I noticed right away that they just didn’t cuddle in. They didn’t, like – you know, a baby usually will just kind of relax and sigh into you when they’re getting their bottle or whatever. And they didn’t calm. They would scream 24/7. And this went on for several years.

Jim: Yeah.

Karla: Before their eyes were even open, they would scream. And they were never happy. As they got older, they didn’t play imaginatively. They didn’t know what a doll was for. They didn’t know what toys were for. They just screamed, cried and bit each other. Their backs were scarred from biting each other. And it was because of so much stress that they couldn’t modulate their emotions.

Jim: Yeah.

Karla: And I didn’t know about autism at that time. I knew something was wrong. Doctors just told me I wasn’t spending enough one-on-one time with them.

Jim: Yeah.

Karla: And then when I found out – when the doctor got the diagnosis that they had autism, he called me and told me I needed to consider giving one up because they both had severe autism. And I couldn’t possibly raise twins with autism…

Jim: Right.

Karla: …Which of course was not even an option.

Jim: Well, but let’s talk through that for a moment. Let’s look at the statistics. They were 4 years old when you…

Karla: Correct.

Jim: …Got the diagnosis, but listen, everybody, to these statistics. One in 68 children have autism. And for boys, it’s 1 in 42 – if you just look…

Karla: Right.

Jim: …At boys.

Karla: And I think the CDC just put out new statistics on that.

Jim: Yeah. So the point is it affects a lot of families.

Karla: It is. It’s affecting more and more families, public schools – I’m a public schoolteacher. I teach special education, and we’re seeing more and more autistic kids come through.

Jim: Yeah. So you get the diagnosis. The twins are 4 years old. How does the family respond? What – now at least you know what’s happening, why the behavior is there – the biting, the non-interaction, the different social behavior that you weren’t used to seeing in your other three children. How did that change the household? What did you begin to do? I mean, was there anything you could do?

Karla: Well, it was a relief to have an explanation for what was going on for one thing, and then I could research. You know, I thank God that I had the Internet at that time because, you know, I was on AOL back in the AOL days. And I could, you know, get what little bit of information was out there and understand their sensory needs and be able to design my home in a way that would help them understand their environment a little better. But it was hard. I’m not going to sugarcoat it. It was difficult for my other children. It was a lot of stress because the twins screamed a lot. Our voice levels in our home raised a little and – well, probably a lot. And, you know, it controlled – it actually controlled our days.

Jim: You know, the biggest challenge, I think, in that kind of environment – and I have not experienced this, so you need to educate me. And, John, you can jump in, too, because you and Dena have had this. You understand the diagnosis. It’s there. It doesn’t relieve, necessarily, the irritant of what you have to deal with as a parent all the time – the high-pitched noises, the out-of-control behavior. I think we want to get control of that. It’s normal – maybe for the protection of the other kids or whatever it might be. So it’s constant conflict.

Karla: Yes.

Jim: I mean, just constant conflict.

John: It’s intense conflict and intense emotional outbursts and behaviors that never, ever end. And so we’re still dealing with that on some level.

Jim: And the difficulty, I would think you have, is that you’re trying to always correct that behavior…

John: Yeah, you…

Jim: …To get to normal. And it’s not the goal. The goal isn’t to get to normal. It’s…

John: You just learn to manage and try to make it doable.

Jim: Well, in that regard – for those of us that are listening that don’t have that situation – describe the spectrum of autism, and then what does normal become for the family that has autistic children?

Karla: It’s a different kind of normal (laughter).

John: Hmm.

Jim: What’s that spectrum look like – behavioral spectrum?

Karla: The spectrum – it’s very wide. And the DSM – I don’t know…

Jim: Which is…

Karla: …Which is the…

Jim: …Diagnostic…

Karla: …Diagnostic…

Jim: …Manual.

Karla: You guys know the words better than I do.

Jim: It’s the diagnostic manual for…

Karla: Right.

Jim: …Psychological disorders.

Karla: They’ve changed it to where now all the autism diagnoses, such as Asperger’s, which is high-functioning autism people with high IQs that maybe even have savant. And like, Temple Grandin who’s one of my autistic heroes. Um, she’s a behavioral psychologist for animals or a behavioral scientist. She has a Ph.D. in animal behavior – all the way down to my friend who has a very severe son with autism. And she has several children with autism, and he’s 23, still in diapers, does not speak, does not do much other than flap his hands and rock back-and-forth all day. And he does not use silverware when he eats. You know, and it’s a very wide spectrum, so what worked for my family is not going to work for another family. And that’s one thing people need to understand is that every child with autism – once you’ve seen one child with autism, you’ve seen only one child with autism because it exhibits and has symptoms different in every person.

Jim: It’s really something. You had a psychologist who asked you about your long-term goals for your boys, which kind of, I think, took you back because you were thinking, “Long term? I just got to get through today.”

Karla: Exactly (laughter).

Jim: What – why was that question so provocative, and how did it begin to change your thinking?

Karla: Well, she asked me, you know, what was my hope for them? And I said, “Well, I really hope that they’ll be able to read and be able to function and give back to society.” And she threw her pen down, and she leaned over and looked me right in the eye. And she said, “That’s just pie-in-the-sky thinking, and you might as well get over that right now.”

Jim: Huh.

Karla: And…

Jim: Boy, that was the professional in your life…

Karla: Right.

Jim: …Who was not encouraging…

John: That’s the wrong thing to say.

Karla: I had a lot of professionals that had that kind of (laughter)…

Jim: Yeah.

Karla: …Interaction. But that’s one thing I – you know, I used a word back then – is that I just ignored protocols back then. I did not let myself be bound in by other people’s expectations and other people’s protocols. I really leaned into what God was speaking to my heart and what God would have me do for the boys. And that’s why they are miracles ‘cause they were severely autistic in the beginning.

Jim: Mmhmm.

Karla: And it’s only by God’s grace that the things that the Lord showed us to do for them worked for them. That doesn’t mean it’s going to work for someone else, but I just felt it was important to tell my story because, you know, God created them. And He knew exactly what they needed. And I knew that He had created all of us for acts of service. And that was really important to me, that the boys would know how to be servants and have servants hearts, and they do. They’re amazing.

Jim: That’s good. They’re how old now?

Karla: They’re 23.

Jim: Yeah.

John: Hmm.

Karla: So helpful. I – you know, I came to Colorado Springs on my own, and I missed my helpers.

(LAUGHTER)

Karla: You know, it didn’t work out for them to come with me this time. But they’re always looking for someone to help. They help people move. They helped someone move yesterday.

Jim: Uh-huh.

Karla: And they helped someone move – I mean, they’ve been helping people move the last few weeks. I guess summertime’s a good time to move. And they hold doors for people. They’ll come home and say, “Mom, God say go help Judy move boxes at storage unit.” And, sure enough, she’s at the storage unit.

Jim: Seriously?

Karla: Seriously.

Jim: That’s amazing.

Karla: It is.

John: Mmm.

Karla: And they hear God’s voice.

John: That is encouragement, and we’re listening to the story of God’s intervention as they learned about a diagnosis of autism for her twin boys. A Pair of Miracles is her book. You can get a CD of our conversation. And also that book, of course, at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. We naturally have other resources there as well. You can also call 1-800, the letter A and the word FAMILY if we can be of help.

And you just mentioned kind of the throw-down-the-gauntlet word from the professional. And you’ve had to ignore a variety of professionals.

Karla: Mmhmm.

John: You’ve kind of intimated that. What was the faith component of your determination like at those moments?

Karla: If I hadn’t had my faith, I don’t think I could’ve survived – because when they were small, I was just doing everything I could to get through a day – each day. So I didn’t have just them. I had my other children, too. My husband had – we had a ministry. My – we’ve been in ministry for 35 years. My husband just stepped down from full-time ministry to do other things in ministry but not pastor a church. And it was a lot, and most people did not understand what was going on at home.

John: What were your conversations with God like?

Karla: I fully believe in wrestling with God because I see examples of it in the Bible. And I was just honest with all of my feelings. I believe that God can handle it. It’s not like He doesn’t know what we’re thinking anyway. And I would just go – usually, I’d go in the bathroom and lock the door, and the kids would be pounding on the door (laughter). But I would just go in there sometimes and just slide down the door and cry and say, “God, I can’t do this.” I – you know? And I would feel bad and I’d say, “God, I’m sorry for adopting them. I’ve screwed up my family.” You know um, “the peace factor that you’re talking about is not here anymore.” And, “what have I done?” And, thank God I have a husband who is a rock, and he’d say, “Absolute” – I’d say, “I’m sorry. I am so sorry.” Because I was the one that instigated the whole adoption thing. But he was never sorry, and he never regretted it. He says, “Those boys are a blessing to us,” you know?

Jim: Yeah. Karla, that says a lot about Eddie…

Karla: Yes.

Jim: …uh, but here you’re pastoring – he’s pastoring a church. I mean, how do you – how do you teach the believers around you? How do you – I mean, ‘cause you’re learning as you go too. But how do you teach the Christians around you, especially as a pastoral family, when they’re looking at these kids that are doing things that are irritating? I don’t know how you managed Sunday service, but you know, to have them in the pew must have been a little uncomfortable. Maybe you found a solution, but help us understand what that world looked like ‘cause there’s got to be somebody at your church saying, “You’re not disciplining those kids correctly.” I can hear it.

Karla: Oh, we had one lady tell us that she was surprised God did not strike my sons dead for the way they acted during communion.

Jim: Oh, think of that everybody. I mean, I’m sorry that just makes my blood boil a bit. I mean think of that – it’s out of their control, it’s out of your control.

Karla: Yeah, and my husband…

Jim: What an insensitive thing to say.

Karla: …she says I’ve watched “Rain Man.” And I know that autism doesn’t do that.

Jim: ‘Cause she – yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: She thinks that’s the application of the one…

Karla: Well, you know, she just didn’t…

Jim: …to the many, and it’s all different.

Karla: …She just didn’t understand, so you learn to walk in grace…

Jim: Well, that’s very patient, thank you (laughter).

Karla: You have to learn to walk in grace. You do. And I had to learn to walk in forgiveness. And, you know, I’m the chiefest of sinners, myself. So God’s forgiven me of much, so I need to forgive as God has forgiven me. But to back up a little bit, when we were at a bigger church, they didn’t understand, and my husband was on staff. He was the youth pastor at this bigger church. And we were asked uh, by – the pastor asked me, “Well, do you think you missed God in adopting the twins?” Because they were such a disruption to our lives.

Jim: Wow.

Karla: And I looked at him, and it wasn’t as if I hadn’t thought of that myself, several times as I had told you before.

Jim: Yeah, but it’s a quiet place in your heart where you’re…

Karla: Yeah, it’s a secret.

Jim: …dealing with God. For your pastor to say, “You sure you got that one right?”

Karla: Yeah, and I…

Jim: ‘Cause of the discomfort.

Karla: Absolutely. And it was a discomfort for him because it didn’t fit the image of the church at that time.

Jim: Wow, yeah.

Karla: And this – you gotta remember, this was in the 90s where megachurches were really bursting, and image was a big deal.

John: Everything’s rehearsed.

Jim: Well, in fairness, I mean, this is all…

Karla: Everything’s rehearsed.

Jim: …This is a learning process for everybody.

Karla: For everybody.

Jim: But for us, as the Christian leadership, we need to have some understanding and…

Karla: And grace.

Jim: …and knowledge about what’s going on.

Karla: What I said to the pastor was, “Well, if I did miss God, it doesn’t matter now anyway.”

John: Mmhmm.

Karla: And I think about Peter jumping out the boat – I was willing to get out of the boat, and whether or not I was supposed to, I don’t know and I won’t know until Heaven. Um, but I know God’s grace is there for me. But that prompted me – I was very upset for about a month. And what had prompted that was that the boys had pulled down some paint on brand new carpet. Some paint was sitting on some sawhorses, and they had stuck the boys – they had isolated the boys in that room, and – for whatever reason. And my husband, you know, and I had to be out in the congregation because we were on staff, so we were expected to be seen. And I wasn’t able to be with – with the twins at times, so we were depending on other people. So that’s what prompted that. So I stayed home mad for about a month.

(LAUGHTER)

Karla: And I said, “God is just not fair,” and “How could they be that way?” And I remember distinctly, I was laying on my bed, looking at the ceiling and feeling sorry for myself. And He says, “Well, why don’t you do something about it?” I’m like, “Why should I do something about it?”

Jim: I’m already working hard.

Karla: I’m already, you know…

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: I can hear it.

Karla: …trying to do everything I can do. But it prompted me to start a program called PALS, and that’s an acronym for People Assisting Little Souls. And what I did was I trained adults and teens about autism or other disabilities for – because we had other children in the church with disabilities that weren’t being ministered to – to attend their classes with their age-mates, not be isolated in another room, but go with their age-mates, so that mom and dad could go and worship with their age-mates.

John: I appreciate that.

Karla: Sometimes it’s – that’s the only time Mom and Dad get by themselves. I mean, to this day, because the twins still live with us, sometimes the only time my husband and I get alone is we sit in the car in the driveway and eat popcorn and talk. You know (laughter), that’s our date because the logistics of trying to find child care where we live – because we live so rural, it’s very difficult.

Jim: And again, Karla, the point here is we’re all learning together.

Karla: Absolutely.

Jim: I mean these are things that are fairly new that medical science has revealed to us – that it’s not under their control. And there are things that we need to do to adapt to them and their environment and what they see, feel and experience, which is much different from the child who has these capabilities to be socially appropriate. And they don’t, oftentimes, and that’s part of the issue.

Uh, the twins today – how are they doing? I know they’re 23, but are they in a good place? And I think the bigger, next question is really, spiritually seeing God work in their lives and seeing them connect with God. Because again, distant people will look at that and say – like, your psychologist throwing the pen down, saying that’s pie in the sky when you talk about a relationship with Christ. I could see somebody saying, “That’s not going to happen.” Describe all of that if I can ask you to.

Karla: And actually, there’s been books written about how people with autism can’t be spiritual, but that has not been true for us at all. In fact, working with people with special needs, I’ve met spiritual giants.

Jim: Mmm.

Karla: And one thing I try to remind people is that their spirits is every bit as healthy as – as yours and mine. Their spirits aren’t damaged, you know. They’re perfect just as God created them to be in Jesus, and they accepted Christ on their own. We did not – it was their idea to get baptized. And they talk to God all the time.

Jim: Yeah.

Karla: And it’s kind of funny, though, because sometimes, if they want something, they’ll say, “I think God’s telling me I need a cookie.”

(LAUGHTER)

John: I wouldn’t necessarily say that’s not God.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: I can…

John: You’ve got to be open, right?

Jim: I’d give a healthy amen to that.

Karla: But they do have an inner dialogue with the Lord, and they do listen for His voice. And…

Jim: Well, to say, I think someone needs me to help them move, and you go…

Karla: (Laughter) Yes.

Jim: …She’s moving, that’s pretty insightful.

Karla: Well, and I share a story, I think, in my book about how we were on a road trip. We drove from – they’re wonderful travelers – and we rode from northeast Indiana all the way over to the state of Washington, and we had a tire blow. And the car didn’t move. I mean, it just did not move. All of a sudden, we just felt a wobble. And Isaiah said, “Mom, I see angel push our car and hold it still.” Not going to argue.

Jim: Right.

Karla: How do I know he didn’t see an angel?

Jim: Boy, there’s a statement. I mean, really, if what we believe is true…

Karla: So don’t…

Jim: …That’s not outside the norm.

Karla: …Tell me that they can’t be spiritual.

Jim: Yeah.

Karla: You know, they have spiritual eyes to see.

Closing:

Jim: Karla, what a great place to wrap this up – at least for the broadcast. I do want to continue and ask you some more questions on the website, and people can go there to hear the rest of the dialogue. But, again, some of the things with churches and how we deal with this. But what an uplifting way to end the conversation – with that comment about one of your little guys seeing an angel take care of you. That is the difference.

Karla: Absolutely.

Jim: I mean, we don’t know everything.

Karla: No.

Jim: I know we want to, and it’s part of the human ego to try to eat from the tree of knowledge – that, of course, we are all knowledgeable. But guess what, everybody? No way. God sees far more than what we can see. And sometimes people are wired in such a way that they can see things that normal people can’t see. This has been terrific. I really love your book – A Pair of Miracles: A Story of Autism, Faith, and Determined Parenting. (Laughter) You can’t get better than that. Thanks for the stories. Let’s continue online and go there. Can we do that?

Karla: Sure.

Jim: Okay.

John: And Karla, thank you. It was so good to have you with us.

Jim: John, I really want to get Karla’s book into as many people’s hands as possible – A Pair of Miracles: A Story of Autism, Faith, and Determined Parenting is exactly what so many people need. This book isn’t just for parents of autistic children, it’s a great story and a topic that everyone should be aware of. That’s why I want to send you a copy of A Pair of Miracles when you send a gift to Focus on the Family for any amount to help us do the ministry here. And that will be our way of saying thank you for partnering with us. So can we count on you for support today?

John: Yeah, you can donate and receive your complimentary copy of that book by Karla and find lots of great parenting, resources, articles, and downloads at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast, or call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459.

Well, coming up next time, an important reminder about how the parenthood journey is a lot shorter than you may realize.

Teaser:

Eryn Lynum: And after the ceremony, our pastor turned to each of us and he hands us a jar of 936 pennies. And so he told us then, that it represents every week you have with your child. And he challenged us…

Jim: 0 to 18?

Eryn: 0 to 18. Exactly.

Jim: Yeah.

Eryn: And so he challenged us to remove a penny every week to remind us that the time is fleeting and our days are numbered, as Psalm 90:12 says.

End of Teaser

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Forming New Habits For Your Marriage (Part 2 of 2)

Dr. Randy Schroeder returns once more to FOF to discuss habits you can integrate into your marriage! Jim talks to Randy about pursuing the daily essentials of affection in your marriage, promoting emotional closeness, and leaving and cleaving properly. (Part 1 of 2)

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Forming New Habits For Your Marriage (Part 1 of 2)

Dr. Randy Schroeder returns once more to Focus on the Family to discuss habits you can integrate into your marriage! Jim talks to Randy about pursuing the daily essentials of affection in your marriage, promoting emotional closeness, and leaving and cleaving properly. (Part 1 of 2)

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Trusting God When Times Are Hard (Part 2 of 2)

Crystal Evans Hurst shares fun stories about her family to make a serious point: only God has the right perspective on our life, especially when times are hard. We need to understand how being a child of God also makes us His responsibility, and what that really means in daily life. (Part 2 of 2)

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Abortion Survivors Tell Their Stories (Part 1 of 2)

Our guests share their dramatic stories of surviving the attempts to end their lives while in their mother’s womb, providing a stark and undeniable counter argument to pro-abortionists who argue that a fetus is not a living human being. (Part 1 of 2)

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Abortion Survivors Tell Their Stories (Part 2 of 2)

Our guests share their dramatic stories of surviving the attempts to end their lives while in their mother’s womb, providing a stark and undeniable counter argument to pro-abortionists who argue that a fetus is not a living human being. (Part 2 of 2)

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Changing the World Through Adoption

In a discussion based on his book Chosen for Greatness, Focus on the Family’s Paul Batura describes how adopting three sons has changed his life for the better, and highlights some of the amazing people in history who were successful not in spite of their adoption, but because of it.

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!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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.

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 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.

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!

Thank you for committing to pray for the pre-born!

Sign up below for your free seven-day prayer guide. This daily guide will help give direction to your prayers for the pro-life movement. We will be praying with you!