Custom CSS of Section contains Conditional Preview for See Life Campaign Elements

Share Your Story Header CTA is Shown by Optimize Experiment in FOTF Container

Focus on the Family Broadcast

Experiencing God’s Grace in a Special Needs Family

Experiencing God’s Grace in a Special Needs Family

Sandra Peoples paints a picture of what life looks like for many special needs families and how the church can better reach out and minister to these families.
Original Air Date: January 18, 2022

John Fuller: Sandra Peoples knows firsthand what it’s like to have a family member with special needs, and her experiences have really shaped her life. She’s got encouragement for you today on Focus on the Family as we observe sanctity of human life week. Thanks for joining us, your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly, and I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, according to the last census, almost one in five families, one in five, that’s 20% in the US includes someone with a disability, ranging from autism to Alzheimer’s. Uh, that’s a significant number and so there are families who need hope, and they need help, and they need to know that they’re not invisible to the rest of us

Jim: Maybe you have felt that way. You are that family-

John: Mm-hmm

Jim: You’re that one in five. We need to do a better job of offering this families encouragement, and help, and hope, and that’s the core of the discussion today.

John: Yeah, I’m really glad we’re having this, uh, conversation. I’m looking forward to talking to our guest. Sandra Peoples is, uh, really a leading voice in the disability community. Uh, she serves as the special need’s ministry consultant for the Southern Baptists of Texas convention and is the inclusion coordinator for special needs families in her own church. Sandra has written a really insightful book; it’s called Unexpected Blessings: The Joys and Possibilities of Life in a Special Needs Family. And we have copies of that here at the ministry, uh, at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Sandra, welcome to Focus on the Family.

Sandra Peoples: Thank you. I’m so excited to be here.

Jim: Well, it’s good to have you. You’re coming up from Houston.

Sandra: I am, yeah.

Jim: We have great friends in that area-

Sandra: Yeah.

Jim: And we love Houston.

Sandra: Oh, it’s a great place.

Jim: It is. It is. Sandra let’s paint that picture for the listener, uh, of who you are, um, give us an idea. You’re working in the church. Why is this need about special needs families so important to you?

Sandra: Well, I have been a member of a special needs family my entire life. My older sister, Sybil, she’ just 14 months older than I am, and she has Down syndrome, and so, uh, as her younger sister, I have never known life outside of a special needs family. We grew up in a small town in Oklahoma, and because she has Down syndrome and that’s one of those visible disabilities, we were pretty well known in our community. In fact, I was often referred to as Sybil’s sister (laughs)-

Jim: Right.

Sandra: Instead of as Sandra. And so, we… Because we were so close in age, we went to school together, right there, right… All my high school years were, were spent with her as well. Um, being her sister really shaped who I am, and, and who I was. I remember the first time I heard somebody make fun of somebody with a disability. I, I mean, I remember where I was standing on the playground, remember every detail about it, and in that moment, I had to decide, am I going to stand up for her, and for other people with disabilities, some of whom can’t stand up for themselves, or am I gonna try to just fade in, and look just like everybody else, and, and be just like my peers? And so, growing up as her sister shaped so much about who I am now.

Jim: Well, and it’s so important. What was your decision in that moment, and how old were you? 13?

Sandra: No, I was 7.

Jim: 7.

Sandra: I was in elementary school.

Jim: Okay, wow. Okay.

Sandra: I remember it really clearly.

Jim: So she was just the grade in front of you?

Sandra: Yeah, and she… And so I remember being on the playground, and these two friends, and they, they made fun of… They were kind of mimicking what a person with a disability would act like. And, and, uh, and they used the R… We call it the R word. We don’t normally say it, it’s retarded. It’s now-

Jim: Sure.

Sandra: Not used. It’s alw-… Usually used as an insult now, and so I’ve, I thought… Well, and even at that point, I thought… I didn’t know that was a bad word. I didn’t know that was a word that you used to be mean to somebody else-

John: Mm-hmm

Sandra: I thought it was just a label. Um, ’cause you know, this is in the ’80s, and, and so I had to say to my friends, “That’s not okay.”

Jim: As a 7-

Sandra: “You’re… This is not”-

John: Hmm.

Sandra: “How we speak kindly to each other. This is”…

Jim: (laughs) Wow.

Sandra: “My sister and her friends can’t”-

Jim: Yeah.

Sandra: “Always stand up for themselves”-

Jim: Yeah.

Sandra: “Against this kind of talk, and this kind of ac-… It’s not okay.” And, and what’s interesting (laughs), the very first adult that I heard make fun of somebody d-… With disabilities was one of these girls’ moms.

John: Ah.

Sandra: And so, you-

Jim: Oh my goodness.

Sandra: So you knew where it was coming from.

Jim: Wow.

Sandra: It was something she heard at her home. Uh, but it was-

Jim: Yeah. And-

Sandra: That is not okay.

Jim: Again, that’s such an amazing thing that you had that upbringing, you know, that it was part of who you are.

Sandra: Yeah.

Jim: Not just part of your family, but it is part of who you are.

Sandra: Right.

Jim: Your sister, who has Down syndrome, she’s part of who you are-

Sandra: Yeah.

Jim: In that way. And y- you know, what I have found so often is people that grow up in those families where there is a special needs child, um, they’re really pretty sensitive-

Sandra: Yeah.

Jim: Obviously, and you were like that. And I, I think that’s an amazing positive for people who grew up in families that, you know, have that situation.

Sandra: Yeah. I agree.

Jim: What did the doctor say about Sybil? Uh, there was some, uh, profound thing.

Sandra: Yeah.

Jim: Um, what happened, and give us the circumstances.

Sandra: Yeah, so she was born, uh, in 1977, just a couple of days after Christmas in the small town where my parents live. Now, she was their first child, and so they… There was no indication through my mom’s pregnancy that there would be anything different about her, so when she was born was the first time that they knew they would have a child with a disability. So she not only had Down syndrome, she had an intestinal blockage, and so nothing that she ate would process through her body. And so the doctors took her from the small town in Oklahoma where we lived, to Oklahoma City, where there were better hospitals, and a, a young doctor took my dad into, like, a janitor’s closet and said, “Look. Your daughter has two issues. She has this intestinal blockage that’s fixable by surgery. She also has Down syndrome, which will affect her and you every day for the rest of your life. The intestinal blockage will, will kill her. And so, if you don’t want to have a daughter with a disability for the rest of your life, we won’t perform this surgery.”

John: Hmm.

Sandra: “We will just let her die naturally from this intestinal blockage and, and you guys can have more kids, and you can go on as if this didn’t happen.” And so, you know, it’s my parent’s first child, there’s this whirlwind of going to a different hospital, and being in the janitor’s closet, and I, I just can’t imagine being faced with a decision like that, just hours after your first baby’s been born, and my dad said, “No. We believe God has a purpose for her” (laughs)-

Jim: Right.

Sandra: “And has a purpose for her being in our family, and of course we want you to perform that lifesaving surgery.” And they did, and… But it’s just… That story has stuck with me. When we’re talking about the value of somebody’s life, thinking that because of a disability their life has less value-

Jim: Right.

Sandra: Than any of the rest of us, even though they are fearfully and wonderfully made with a purpose, just like any of the rest of us are.

Jim: I mean, it, it so demonstrates, uh, a worldly view versus a spiritually directed view-

Sandra: Yeah.

Jim: You know, God’s view which is what we want to do as Christians, and so it’s awesome your mom and dad saw that. I’m kind of appalled at the number of times I hear about medical professionals, and I know they’re trying their hardest, they’re trying their best, and they’re laying out maybe the worst-case scenario, sometimes scaring-

Sandra: Yeah.

Jim: Those moms and dads into making what I would consider as a Christian, a, a poor choice.

Sandra: Yeah.

Jim: But man, it happens all the time.

Sandra: It does.

Jim: And it’s so overwhelming to hear of these doctors that pull their patients, or their… The parents of that little baby into a closet to say, “Hey, do you want us to let this baby die?”

Sandra: Yeah.

Jim: It’s, it’s not uncommon.

Sandra: It’s not. And you’d think… People with Down syndrome, if you ask them about their lives, they report a, a higher happy rate (laughs) than even the rest of us.

Jim: Right.

Sandra: I mean, they are happier with their lives than the rest of us tend to be. And so, you’re eradicating, eliminating people who are pretty happy, generally, with-

Jim: Yeah.

Sandra: Who they are, and, and-

Jim: Yeah.

Sandra: What their lives are like.

Jim: Sandra, let me… Let me move now to… I mean, again, people are gonna drop their jaw when they hear this. You’re raising this family, you have your sister who has Down syndrome, you grow up, you know, being a champion for those people who have some, you know, limiting factor in their life. And then your second son, James, uh, he’s born and what’s that situation?

Sandra: Well, he’s born, and we go a couple of years, and everything is, is pretty normal. We… Everything’s just right on. We have an older son, there’s… They’re two years apart, and so we started seeing after James’ second birthday, we started seeing some delays, uh es-… Like, in his language. And we thought, “Well, big brother talks a whole lot, and so little brother just doesn’t get the chance”- (laughs)

Jim: Right, you’re trying to figure it out.

Sandra: “To talk so much.”

Jim: Yeah.

Sandra: Yeah. And so we just kept… But we just kept noticing, and he even lost some skills. Uh, he lost some words he knew that he couldn’t say anymore, and then when my husband, Lee would get home from work, he wouldn’t go greet him, he wouldn’t-

Jim: Mm-hmm

Sandra: Make eye contact, and, and so, we… My husband was a pastor in Pennsylvania at the time, and so that’s where we lived, and we had a good friend who was an occupational therapist, and, and she was seeing these things, right?

Jim: Mm-hmm

Sandra: She’s a professional, but she was very kind and gentle with me-

Jim: Sure.

Sandra: And and didn’t bring him up until I said something to her. And so at James’ three year well visit, I was very honest with his doctor about the things that I was kind of trying to hide or excuse up to that point. And, and she said, “Well…” Like, she asked him questions. “Are you a boy or a girl?” Well, he couldn’t answer that question, and, and just the more she asked, the more I thought, “Oh, is, is this what he should be able to do?” (laughs) The gap was bigger than I realized, and so she referred us to the school system for some testing. That took some months, uh, and so it was finally November of that year, and, and we sat in this school room, in these little, tiny chairs and he met with a psychiatrist, an occupational therapist, and a speech therapist, and they did some activities with him, and then they walked out. And they walked back in, and they said, “We believe your son has autism.” And, uh, my husband and I are both there, Lee and I are both there, and, and for me, I thought, “Oh. This makes sense.” Right.

Jim: Mm-hmm

Sandra: We’re seeing these deficiencies, there’s a label for them. That means there will be help, and so some things… It’s kind of like a, a puzzle fell into place for me. Uh, but parents react differently. Lee reacted differently than I did, it was more of a shock because I had been doing this research, and so, together we had to keep going, and, and figure out what that meant for our family. I, I mean, you, you walk into this building with your son, with your family. You walk out and you have an autistic son, and you are a special needs family. That changes everything.

Jim: Right.

Sandra: It changed the way we spent our money, because now we had to pay for therapies. It changed who was in our house. We had this carousel of therapists and people coming in. It, it could have changed our… Lee’s position as a pastor if that church wasn’t willing to care for a child with a disability-

Jim: Right.

Sandra: He would have had to find another job. Uh, it changed David, our older son because he became the special needs sibling like I had been-

Jim: Right.

Sandra: My whole life.

Jim: Right.

Sandra: Um, and I knew, right? And I… Like, I knew the challenges that we would-

Jim: Yeah.

Sandra: Face because I had faced them.

Jim: One of the things that you observed, I’m sure with your sister, but also now with your son James, I mean, people can say the most crude, rude things even in the church.

Sandra: Even in the church.

Jim: Give us a couple of those examples, especially if you’re in a family that doesn’t deal with this, you think you’re being kind, and you’re really being very insulting, if I could be that blunt.

Sandra: Yeah.

Jim: But share those with us.

Sandra: Yeah. There was one time we, were still at our church in Pennsylvania and another church came to help, and we were doing a potluck together. And potlucks are really stressful (laughs) because I’m juggling these plates, and Lee, as the pastor, is trying to talk to everybody, and James, he was so… He was four or five at the time, so he’s got his hand in the desserts, you know, so I’m juggling all this. So we finally sit at the table, and James is with me, and the lady across the table, who I don’t know. She’s at a different church. She looks at him and she says, “Is he gonna grow out of that?”

Jim: Wow.

Sandra: And I, I thought… I wasn’t sure. Like, and I said, “Do you mean his autism?” And she said, “Yes. What did you do to make him like that?”

Jim: Ugh.

Sandra: Those were the words-

Jim: Yeah. Wow.

Sandra: She asked me.

Jim: There’s a guilt heap.

Sandra: It is so hard. And, and especially when you’re young, and new to the diagnosis, you’re just so tender. You’re so tender.

Jim: I’m sure you wanted to cry-

Sandra: Yeah.

Jim: Burst into tears.

Sandra: Yeah. And I, I was speechless, and I thought, “Well, there’s nothing I did.” It reminds me of John 9, when the, the disciples and Jesus are walking, and there’s the man who was born blind. And the disciples stop Jesus, and they say, “Who sinned? Was it this man or was it his parents that made him be born blind?” And Jesus said, “Neither. None of the above.” (laughs)

Jim: Right.

Sandra: This man exists to glorify God. And that… The fact that the gospel writers include that, for a parent like me, brings so much comfort, and hope-

Jim: Mm-hmm

Sandra: Because I can say, “There is no guilt. There is no shame. There’s nothing I could have done differently. There is as much of a purpose for James’ life as there is for David’s life, or my life, or Lee’s life. This, this wasn’t an accident, this wasn’t anything I caused or didn’t cause. He literally exists, like the rest of us, to bring Glory to God.”

Jim: Mm-hmm

John: This is Focus on the Family with Jim Daly, and our guest is Sandra Peoples. Uh, what an affirmation of God’s design for every life. Um, Sandra has captured a lot of this energy, and passion, and, uh, these Biblical perspectives in her book, Unexpected Blessings: The Joys and Possibilities of Life in a Special Needs Family. And, uh, contact us today, we’d be happy to send a copy to you. Uh, our website is focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Our phone number 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY.

Jim: Sandra, I think this is a good spot for the folks, the parents who are listening, um, to hear from you… Okay, I just had that experience yesterday. How do you counsel them not to absorb that guilt and shame?

Sandra: I think we have to, again, look to Scripture, which brings us this hope and comfort. Maybe if you’re a new special needs parent, you don’t know how much Scripture has to say about disabilities. And it, it took me awhile to consider autism a good and perfect gift. At the beginning, I felt like I was waging war against it. I have to put him in every therapy and and pay for every solution that could come our way, especially when they’re so young you don’t know what their future could look like. And then I thought, “Somehow in God’s economy, it is for His good, it is for my good, is is for big brother David’s good. It is… It’s for the good of our church”-

Jim: Yeah.

Sandra: “It’s for the good of everybody who encounters him.” And so if you’re a new parent and, and you just… You’re trying to figure out what this means for you and your family, you have to just reflect on, on God’s goodness, and how that didn’t stop when you heard a diagnosis.

Jim: Mm-hmm

Sandra: It didn’t stop in that moment. It continues. It’s new every morning, like His mercies are. We have those nights where our kids don’t sleep, they’re up until 3, or they get up at 3 and they don’t go back to sleep, and, and you think, “Where’s the goodness in this?” And it’s in God.

Jim: Oh, yeah.

Sandra: Every moment, every… As He sustains you, as He comforts you, just as He does in every situation that we read about through Scripture. There, there’s nobody in Scripture who didn’t suffer in some way.

Jim: Yeah.

Sandra: We think we’re the first.

Jim: Yeah.

Sandra: We think we’re the first to get bad news.

Jim: Yeah, and let’s zero in in these last few minutes about the church itself, and, and, you know, I have many pastors who are friends, and I would think some of the most isolated people that are, you know, in the church are the families with special needs kids because the rest of the community doesn’t know how to embrace them, or behave around them, frankly.

Sandra: Right.

Jim: You know, the-

Sandra: Yeah.

Jim: Outbursts that might occur in, in the sermon, or what… You know, and there’s just ways to work these things out. And you’ve made this your life’s pursuit now.

Sandra: I have.

Jim: So, describe for us kind of that environment. I think if you’re the four out of five, you don’t really understand what’s going on. And unfortunately, there’s a lot of impatience amongst us that may not have to deal with this every day.

Sandra: Yeah.

Jim: So, you know, inform us. Tell us the real deal.

Sandra: Yeah. It’s interesting because if you ask pastors, “Is your church accommodating? Is it-”

Jim: Of course.

Sandra: They’ll say, “Of course.” (laughter) They’ll say, “We have a ramp, or we… You know, whatever they do.” Well, well that, that does meet the needs of a certain population-

Jim: The ramps helpful.

Sandra: The ramps helpful. I’m not saying don’t have a ramp, but it doesn’t meet the needs of my family of origin, or my family now. And so… And I know it’s overwhelming when you think of every person with a disability who could possibly walk in your church, how would you meet all those needs? It’s overwhelming but, but you don’t have to make that decision. You just meet the needs of the families that do walk in the door, and you say, “There are ways that we can love this family and serve this family.” So, like, specifically with James, with autism, he’s got, uh, sensory issues, like a noise sensitivity, and so our church has noise reducing headphones, and they’re available to anybody who needs them, and, and fidgets, which is becoming popular for lots of kids now, little, like, pop things that they pop. Those help kids with disabilities, ADD, ADHD, lots of different things. They can focus better when their hands are busy, so we have what we call buddy bags, and we have noise reducing headphones in there, little fidgets, and so families can pick those up, take them into the service with them, and it helps their child be able to sit through the service longer. And really, it changes the perspectives of those around them, so there aren’t as many judgmental looks, or-

Jim: (laughs) Right.

Sandra: Insensitive comments because they see us show up, and they understand James is going to act differently, and there’s a reason for that, and then they’re able to give more grace to us, and the next family who comes in the door.

Jim: Yeah, I would imagine it also becomes a magnet for those families.

Sandra: It does.

Jim: When they find out there’s a church available that is not judgmental about their situation, that is willing to work with them-

Sandra: Yeah.

Jim: To… They want. It gives me tears thinking about this. Those parents want those kids to hear about the Lord as much as those of us that have healthy kids, right?

Sandra: Yeah. Yeah.

Jim: And if we don’t do things to help them, I mean, think of that barrier-

Sandra: I know.

Jim: For those parents-

Sandra: Yeah.

Jim: You know, they can’t come to church ’cause they’re embarrassed their kids are disrupting things, so let’s find a different way. There is a church in Florida that I heard about, and what they did was they matched an adult with the, the families-

Sandra: Mm-hmm

Jim: So when they came in the door, there was an adult volunteer from the church that would meet with the family real quick, say, “I’ll take Johnny.”

Sandra: Yeah.

Jim: And they would walk them to the, the class-

Sandra: Yeah.

Jim: And they would sit in the room. There’d be five or six adults in there with these kids-

Sandra: Yeah.

Jim: That have special needs-

Sandra: Yeah.

Jim: And sit there.

Sandra: Yeah.

Jim: And just be there for them.

Sandra: That’s great.

Jim: And the teacher would do her/his thing, and if they needed help, a distraction, this adult would engage them-

Sandra: Yeah.

Jim: And then connect the parents with them at the end. I think that’s a great example-

Sandra: Yeah.

Jim: Of what to do, but-

John: Mm-hmm

Jim: So few churches are, are able or willing, I guess, to do this.

Sandra: Yeah. And it could-

Jim: And that’s what you’re talking about.

Sandra: Yeah, it is. At our church, we have something very similar to that. We have, we call it our buddy ministry. We also have sensory rooms, so for a kid-

Jim: That’s great.

Sandra: And then we have, uh, for our teenagers and young adults, we call it reverse inclusion, and so they are… The class is designed for them, and then we invite typical teenagers to be in there. And so, we have from every level, from our little, tiny kids to our adults, opportunities for them to be fully engaged in our church life.

Jim: Well, and that is again, so good, and… For the pastors listening, I mean, maybe that’s one good reason to get the book Unexpected Blessings because, uh, you frame some of this and what can be done-

Sandra: Yeah.

Jim: So that’s wonderful. And I guess in that context, Sandra, you know, talking about, uh, the pastor, or the associate pastor, what they might be able to do. Again, you’ve given your life to this, now, and you’ve lived it your entire life. Um, what would you say to them about how they can be of greater help to that community of families with special needs?

Sandra: Yeah. A, a big part of that is just being willing to ask questions, just to have that family in your office, get them in there, say, “What would help you be more comfortable on a Sunday morning? What can we do? We’re willing to do whatever we can.” I, I feel like God builds His church in a way that there are people there, you likely have special ed teachers, therapists, and they’re members of your church, and it hasn’t even occurred to them, “Oh, I could use my skills in this church setting.” I mean, at our special need’s ministry, our volunteers, our helpers are teachers-

Jim: Right.

Sandra: They’re therapists, they’re family members, they ha-… They grew up with a cousin with a disability, and so they know what life is like.

Jim: They don’t panic.

Sandra: They don’t panic. Yeah.

Jim: (laughs) Right.

Sandra: Nothing phases them.

Jim: Yeah.

Sandra: Uh, and so just asking questions, praying that God would provide. Uh, He wants these families there. And especially, I can say this as a sibling, if our small church in Oklahoma hadn’t welcomed Sybil, they wouldn’t have welcomed me. My life would have been completely different if they hadn’t served our whole family well. And, of course, this is in the ’80s when you’re not just Google searching-

Jim: (laughs) Right.

Sandra: “How do I help this family.” They just had to do their best, and, and we had a whole group of special needs families that grew up in this church. And out of the five families, three families have people in full time ministry-

Jim: Right.

John: Mm.

Sandra: Music minister, church planner, special needs ministry consultant, and you think that’s because our church loved us so-

Jim: Right.

Sandra: Well, before it was even popular or cool to do so, (laughs) they-

Jim: Right.

Sandra: Did the hard work, and that changes a generation-

Jim: It does.

Sandra: It changes all of us.

Jim: Sandra, let, let’s end on this question. The, um… You know, we’re talking about the practical need meeting of these families to welcome them, to do what you can, to create, you know, volunteer programs, and all those kinds of things to help. And that’s all good, but understanding the unique pressure of these families, too, these tired parents that are getting up at 2:00 in the morning, and maybe not getting back to bed because their child is, isn’t capable of, of going to bed at that time.

Sandra: Yeah.

Jim: They just have to slog through it. And they’re probably now so tired that they don’t explain it anymore-

Sandra: Yeah.

Jim: They just sit there and, you know, they just look bewildered. That’s a whole ‘nother level of encouragement that we need to provide, so speak to that, the bewildered parent that is doing their best, they do have this… A child with special needs. It’s exhausting, it’s all consuming. Some days they don’t know what to do.

Sandra: Yeah.

Jim: How do we go even further to help that family?

Sandra: Yeah, I think this is what is so beautiful about being in a faith community. There’s a refrain throughout the Old Testament that I think churches would benefit from doing more of, and it is remember and tell. Remember what God has done and tell others. And so when I walk in as a special needs family, and I am honest about what my hardships are, I remember God’s faithfulness in every moment, and how He has-

Jim: Yeah.

Sandra: Met me time and time again. When I hear from another family who’s been from… Been through something, what… May- maybe it’s a mental illness and not a physical disability, or a cognitive disability, and I hear God’s faithfulness from their lips, they’re telling me how faithful God has been, then when I get up at 3 in the morning, I think, “Oh, God was so faithful to this sister at church. I know He’s gonna be faithful to me.” I can borrow (laughs) some of her faith, and it gives me encouragement. I love… I love to say we have 100% success rate over hard days. Not a one of them has taken us out yet, (laughter) no matter how early I got up, or how many phone calls I had to answer, or fights I had to have with insurance, or whatever it was, God was faithful every minute of every day. And when I tell other people that, they respond with their own stories of faithfulness, and it strengthens the whole church. That’s why I think if you’re a church that you look around and you don’t see a special needs family, or people with disabilities, you’re missing out on a lot of encouragement. We comfort others with the comfort we have received-

Jim: Yeah.

Sandra: And that’s contagious. That, that changes a whole church, and that… And how other families can walk in, and they think, “Oh, I don’t have to pretend to be perfect here.”

Jim: Right.

Sandra: “I don’t have to pretend that, that there aren’t some hard things going on in our family because I can see that there’s hard things going on for everybody.”

Jim: Well, and, you know, again, this is just my observation, some of the healthiest spiritual people that I know are the families that are, you know, dealing with a child of special needs-

Sandra: Yeah.

Jim: ‘Cause there is unconditional love-

Sandra: Yeah.

Jim: They are doing everything they can do. Um, typically my experience has been they are amazing people-

Sandra: Yeah.

Jim: That get it.

Sandra: Yeah.

Jim: And they’re nice to hang out with-

Sandra: Yes. (laughs)

Jim: ‘Cause they’re, you know, they know humanity, right?

Sandra: Yeah.

Jim: Sandra, this has been so good. Thank you for your life’s work.

Sandra: Yeah.

Jim: I really mean that. Thank you. I’m so blessed to get to know you, and to meet you, and talk with you.

Sandra: Thank you.

Jim: For your sister, Sybil, and defending her when you were seven years old. (laughter) My heart just goes out to you, that’s so terrific. And then carrying it right through. I’m not gonna tell you, I don’t know your age, but (laughter) I won’t mention that again.

Sandra: Yeah.

Sandra: Yeah.

Jim: But, I mean, just that idea, and then with your son, James. I mean, for you and Lee, and just God bless you, and, um, you know, for the folks, for the listeners, I think this is a great resource, Unexpected Blessings, uh, and what a great thing to know yourself. Get a copy for your pastor at church and start talking about it. Now here’s a little clue, my brother was a pastor. Don’t go to the pastor and say, “Hey, pastor, I think you should do something.” Do it yourself-

Sandra: Yeah.

Jim: for the church. Do what Sandra’s done, uh, just start welcoming families that have children with special needs, and then just absorb as much as you can about how to do it better and better. What a great place to start. And if you can make a gift of any amount to Focus, we’ll send you a copy of the book as our way of saying thank you for being part of the ministry.

John: Yeah, your donation, uh, enables us to reach out and encourage parents in situations like this, and equip those around special needs families. Uh, Sandra’s book does have a lot of great Scripture in it.  It includes questions at the end of each chapter, so you can kind of work through, and process, and have conversations either as a family, or maybe with your small group or your circle of friends. It’s a great book for any life struggle, really. And, uh, again, it’s called Unexpected Blessings: The Joys and Possibilities of Life in a Special Needs Family. Stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast or call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller inviting you back as we once again, help you and your family thrive in Christ.

 

Today's Guests

book cover for unexpected blessings by Sandra Peoples

Unexpected Blessings: The Joys & Possibilities of Life in a Special-Needs Family

Receive Sandra People's book Unexpected Blessings for your donation of any amount!

Recent Episodes

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Overcoming the Heartaches of Life (Part 1 of 2)

Raised in Hollywood, California, Sheri Rose Shepherd grew up in the five blended families created by her oft-divorced parents. Despite finding success on the beauty pageant circuit, she struggled with bulimia and suicidal thoughts. An ex-drug dealer’s prayers helped Sheri Rose find a relationship with Jesus Christ, where she found healing for her emotional wounds, and a way to minister to other women with similar pain. (Part 1 of 2)

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Equipping Your Kid to Resist Pornography

Josh Glaser and Daniel Weiss describe why “the talk” about abstinence isn’t enough to guide your kids in our pornographic world. They offer wise habits and guidelines for technology use.

You May Also Like

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

A Legacy of Music and Trusting the Lord

Popular Christian vocalist Larnelle Harris reflects on his five-decade music career, sharing the valuable life lessons he’s learned about putting his family first, allowing God to redeem a troubled past, recognizing those who’ve sacrificed for his benefit, and faithfully adhering to biblical principles amidst all the opportunities that have come his way.

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Accepting Your Imperfect Life

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

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.

Play Video

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!

Play Video about see life episode 4 normal version

Newest Release - Episode 4: Sometimes the Choice is Hard

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

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 3: The Power of a Picture

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

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video about see life episode 5 normal version

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

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

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 6: Families Helping Families!

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

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Praying Scripture Over Your Child’s Life - Part 2

Jodie Berndt loves to pray for her children. She’s been doing that for the past thirty years. Now she helps other parents to talk to God, asking for the salvation of their kids, and for wisdom, self-discipline, purpose, a future and much more. She offers fun and practical encouragement that moms and dads can put to work immediately in their daily lives as they prepare their children for a life in Christ.

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt is a public speaker, a Bible teacher, and the the author of 10 books. Find out more about Jodie and get some free resources (including printable prayer cards and calendars) at her website, jodieberndt.com.

Cover image of Jodie Berndt's book "Praying the Scriptures for Your Children"

Praying the Scriptures Over Your Children

You will discover how using the Bible to shape your desires and requests opens the door to God’s provision—and frees us from things like worry and fear in our parenting! This expanded edition of the bestseller features updated content on issues like technology and identity, and comes with new material designed to invite children into the family prayer circle. Purchase now and receive 10% off your product.

Effective Habits to Embrace in Parenting

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

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

Dr. Randy Schroeder

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

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

Simple Habits for Effective Parenting

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

The Spiritual Battle for Your Marriage

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

Tim and Noreen Muehlhoff Cropped

Dr. Tim and Mrs. Noreen Muehlhoff

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

Defending Your Marriage

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

Reigniting Your Passion for Jesus - Part 1

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

Headshot photo of author Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder

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

Revival Rising

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

Reigniting Your Passion for Jesus - Part 2

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

Headshot photo of author Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder

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

Revival Rising

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

Mothers and Sons: Being a Godly Influence - Part 2

Rhonda Stoppe describes her early motherhood challenges of raising a son, which was intimidating to her. She found help through group of older women mentors. She urges moms to see their role as ministry in shaping sons to be good and godly men. Rhonda outlines several practical suggestions to moms about spiritual training, how to communicate with boys, and supporting the father-son relationship as a wife.

Headshot of Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe

Drawing upon 35 years of experience as a mentor, pastor’s wife, and homeschool mom, Rhonda Stoppe offers encouragement and guidance to women as an author and public speaker. She is popularly known as the “No Regrets Woman,” as she is especially passionate about helping women live life without regrets. Rhonda’s books include Moms Raising Sons to Be MenReal Life Romance, and The Marriage Mentor, which she co-authored with her husband, Steve.

Cover image of Rhonda Stoppe's book "Moms Raising Sons to be Men"

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

Mothers of boys have the special calling to shape future men of God. Popular speaker Rhonda Stoppe, mom to two sons, knows this opportunity is a challenge, a joy, and probably the most important work of a woman’s life. Drawing from years of experience, this inspirational resource will revive the faithfulness and fortitude a woman needs to partner with God as they shape the character and heart of a future godly man.

Identifying Triggers in Your Marriage - Part 2

They were both convinced they had married the wrong person. From almost the very beginning of their marriage, Amber and Guy Lia experienced various tensions and personality clashes related to house cleaning, backseat driving, workaholism, and intimacy. In this two-day Focus on the Family broadcast, Amber and Guy discuss how they bravely faced the triggers head-on, and committed to working on their own relationships with Jesus. As you listen to the Lia’s story, you’ll feel hope that you, too, can see real marriage transformation!

Headshot of Guy and Amber Lia

Mr. and Mrs. Guy and Amber Lia and Mrs. Jean Daly

Amber Lia is a work-at-home mom, blogger, public speaker, and co-author of two best-selling books. Her husband, Guy, is a former TV, feature film, and VFX development and production executive who has worked on popular TV shows and films. Guy and Amber own Storehouse Media Group, a faith- and family-friendly TV and film production company based in Los Angeles,

Cover image of the book "Marriage Triggers" by Guy and Amber Lia

Marriage Triggers: How You and Your Spouse Can Exchange Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses

A husband-wife team offers practical advice for married couples to end the cycle of reactionary arguments by examining the most common issues that trigger disagreements and apply God’s Word to radically transform relationships.

What to Do When You're Not Okay - Part 2

Life can be pretty stressful. Between work, relationships, and other obligations, the pressure builds, and we lose sight of who we are. Counselor Debra Fileta helps you better understand your emotions, assess your mental, physical, and spiritual health, and intentionally pursue a path to wellbeing. In dealing with anxiety, depression, and panic attacks, Debra understands the importance of self-examination as well as the benefits of seeking professional help. She offers biblically-based advice, tools, and encouragement to help you get on a path toward healing and wholeness.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Mrs. Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage. Debra resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, John, and their four children.

Are You Really Okay?

Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are

In Are You Really OK? author and licensed counselor Debra Fileta challenges you to get real with who you are and how you’re doing spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically so you can recognize where you need growth and healing.

Embracing Your Role as a Spouse

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

Headshot of Kevin Thompson

Pastor Kevin Thompson

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

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

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

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

Sharing Your Faith with Grace and Purpose

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

Mr. Greg Koukl

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

Tactics front cover

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

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

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.

Play Video

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! 

Focus on the Family

Thank you for submitting this form. You will hear from us soon.