Focus on the Family Broadcast

Finding Healing From Sexual Assault (Part 2 of 2)

Finding Healing From Sexual Assault (Part 2 of 2)

Leila Sommerfeld and Kathleen Terrill openly share about the pain and devastation they've experienced as rape survivors, and offer hope to women who've been sexually assaulted as they discuss the healing and restoration they've found through the power of God's love. (Part 2 of 2)

 

Opening:

Teaser:

Mrs. Leila Sommerfeld: For years I would sleep with my gun by my bed, my car keys; I was determined to make a quick getaway. And of course, now I know Jesus is there. I know, but at the time I was so traumatized, I couldn’t even think about Jesus or God; I just wanted that gun. When my husband was out of town one time, I slept at the front door with those things, the gun and the keys.

End of Teaser

John Fuller: That’s Leila Sommerfeld, describing years of anxiety and fear that she faced after a traumatic event in her life. It was a woman’s worst nightmare. And she’s back with us again today on “Focus on the Family” as we return to a very serious topic. And of course, this isn’t going to be appropriate for young children, so please if you have some kids within earshot of this conversation, direct their attention elsewhere.

I’m John Fuller. Thanks for joining us today. Your host is Focus president and author, Jim Daly.

Jim Daly: John, last time we heard two incredible and heartbreaking stories about sexual assault and the long nightmare of grief, shame and feeling unworthy that many victims, including these two guests, experienced. Rape is a terrible evil and as we heard last time, it represents the worst kind of spiritual warfare that Satan can use to destroy people. Like that verse in John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” But here’s the good news. God’s hope can be found in the midst of all that pain and terror. Jesus goes on to say in that same verse, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

That was the experience of our guests. You mentioned Leila, John. Kathleen Terrill is another survivor who was willing to share her story with us. And I’ve gotta say, I so deeply respect these women for being courageous to open up their lives and offer a path of hope and healing to other victims. If you didn’t hear the program last time, get the download or CD of that or get our free “Focus on the Family” app, so you can listen that way. This is such an important program for the Christian community to hear and it’s important to share it with friends who may have experienced it.

John: Yeah, you can get the download, CD or our mobile app at www.focusonthefamily.com/radio. And as we said last time, I was able to meet with Leila and Kathleen in the studio and Leila is an author, life coach and former lay counselor and she teaches recovery for fellow victims. She’s written a book about her experiences and how God has healed. It’s called Beyond Our Control: Restructuring Your Life After Sexual Assault. Kathleen helps lead a ministry called Embrace Grace, which provides emotional, practical and spiritual help for young women and their families who are facing an unplanned pregnancy.

Jim: John, I was so disappointed I wasn’t able to be in the studio with you and I’m grateful for the job that you did, so thank you. Let’s get to part two of your conversation with these ladies on today’s “Focus on the Family.”

Body:

John: Kathleen, last time we didn’t get into it. There was some immediate pain and great difficulties for many, many months.

Kathleen Terrill: Yes.

John: You had the abortion. That was not the end of the trauma though, and the struggles. Describe for us the weeks and months after that, and how this pain followed you.

Kathleen: Yes, absolutely. Like I described before, in a world that no longer seemed real to me, my shame and my guilt were the only things that felt real, and I truly did cling to those, almost as my friends, because they felt real to me.

John: Now okay, I don’t understand that, so unpack that a little bit more. How could shame and guilt feel so comfortable as to almost be friends?

Kathleen: Yes. I immediately became extremely depressed, so I was diagnosed at a later time with posttraumatic stress. I was also dealing with depression. My life was most decidedly spiraling downwards. So, I began to use alcohol and I became a completely different person than the person I was prior to the sexual assault. Everything I knew about myself now looked different, sounded different, acted different. It really was like a completely different person altogether.

And the shame and the guilt, I clung to those. They felt alive to me, where the rest of who I was and who I had been seemed dead inside of me. And so, that shame and that guilt really did feel very, very real and authentic to me, and so I clung to those.

John: [I] cannot imagine. And Kathleen, it got so bad that you really started to contemplate suicide, at least on one occasion.

Kathleen: On one occasion, yes.

John: Tell us about that.

Kathleen: Never before had suicide ever crossed my mind.

John: Okay.

Kathleen: However, the pain had become so intense, one evening I was driving home, it was late at night and I was driving, and as I was driving, the pain was just overwhelming. And I heard a whisper say, “If you just end it now, you won’t have to live with this pain anymore. It will all be over.” And in that instant I came into agreement with that lie, that most decidedly was a lie. I said, “Yes, I don’t have to live with this anymore.” And so, I steered my car towards this giant light pole that I saw on the side of the road. It was right there. It was just enormous light pole.

John: This was on a highway.

Kathleen: This was on the side of a highway, yes.

John: So this was gonna be a high-speed impact.

Kathleen: Yes, exactly. And just immediately {I] said, “Okay, I’m going to commit suicide. I’m going to wrap my car around that pole and this will all be over.”

And so, as I’m driving my car and again, I’m heading straight for that pole, I come through an intersection that I should have turned left to head home to where I was originally going, but I’m heading towards this light pole. And in an instant, my car turned. The wheels on my car turned smoothly. There was no erratic driving. There [were] no screeching wheels, just this perfect smooth turn of the wheel heading back in the direction I should have been going.

John: Oh.

Kathleen: And as my wheels turned, I heard the voice of the Lord say to me, “Kathleen, if you will allow Me, if you will allow Me to come in to heal your heart, to heal the pain, all of this will not have been in vain. I have a plan; I have a purpose for your life; and you will help other mommies and babies.

Now to someone who’s in the middle of trying to kill themselves, it’s almost an unbelievable statement to hear God say something like that so clearly in that moment and to literally turn your direction of your life completely back to where you should have been going. And in that moment, again, one word from the Lord can change absolutely everything. One word from God can do what years of counseling can never do. And it was that one word from the Lord that really softened my heart and drew me back into His kindness to begin the healing.

John: So, you did go back home.

Kathleen: Yes. (Laughing)

John: And was there an immediate change in your circumstances, your heart, your well-being? Or was that just literally a turning point for you?

Kathleen: Um-hm, it most decidedly was, for sure, a turning point, literally and spiritually. And the process began there for me. It was that process where He took a piece of that wall that I had built around my heart and replaced it with His grace, and as He replaced it with His grace, it grew my trust that He was faithful to finish what He began.

John: And how did He do that? What kinds of things happened in the coming days and months?

Kathleen: Really it began with He and I together personally, my speaking with Him, reading His Word, putting on worship music again for the first time in a very long time, and just allowing myself to be exposed to Him to allow Him to come in and to speak to all of those hurt places.

And as I said, as I began to just trust Him a little bit more and a little bit more, it wasn’t this dramatic turn; it was a piece by piece. He was so gentle and so kind and willing to follow my lead on what I would allow. But as I allowed Him more and more access to my heart, the healing became more and more profound as I gave Him that space.

John: Well, only God can do that kind of restorative work, especially after so much pain.

Kathleen: That’s right.

John: And I hope that our conversation today on “Focus on the Family” is giving you some hope that even though He may feel distant, God is there; He can reach into your circumstances; He can speak to you. And we have resources, helps, a great team of caring Christian counselors here at Focus on the Family, and our number is 1-800 A FAMILY. 1-800-232-6459 or you can find help at http://focusonthefamily.com/radio.

And one of the resources we’re offering is a book written by Leila Rae Sommerfeld. It’s called Beyond Our Control, and you’ll find details about that. It’s an excellent book, and I hope you’ll get a copy for your church library, for yourself, just because undoubtedly you know somebody that needs to hear this kind of encouragement.

Now Leila, despite hope and encouragement, you indicated a few minutes ago that it’s been a long, long road of recovery for you. Describe how long, and you said the nightmares took 20-25 years to disappear?

Leila: Thirty, 35.

John: Oh my goodness.

Leila: Well, when I came to Oregon, I connected with a church that turned my life around. Well, it’s God that turned my life around, but if we have a teachable spirit, God can help us, but we have to surrender first. Surrender everything, our whole being to Him and have a teachable spirit.

So, when I started going to this particular church, I had such a spiritual turnaround and a new love for God, a new love for Jesus, and I really wanted to love and serve Him, and I really grew. That next five years I really, really grew a lot spiritually and I realized how good and gracious and loving and patient [God was]. God had waited all these years for me to surrender so He could help me, and He never wavered.

John: Now you said the nightmares are gone. What helped [that]?

Leila: I don’t have any nightmares right now.

John: When did the fear start to subside and become something of the past?

Leila: The fear, it was just a slow process.

John: Okay.

Leila: It’s sort of like the body healing.

John: Now we heard Kathleen describe a very dramatic moment of God speaking to her. Did He speak to you in any particularly specific ways? Or was it just over time through His Word and through some inner healing?

Leila: Well, I believe that it was a process and over time. But when I asked God to show me where He was when this happened, and it was very, very clear that He was standing in that doorway and protecting my children, and protecting me. I mean I could’ve had a killer rapist.

John: Protecting your children during the assault, yeah.

Leila: He could’ve killed all of us. I had a gun; I didn’t know how to use it. (Laughs) But it was just a process and then when He showed me about the children being safe, it just really spoke to me, and then I really wanted to share the story so other women could be healed.

John: Yeah well, and again, your story’s in the book, Beyond Our Control. There was something in here that was absolutely incredible to me, and that is that you were at a clinic where perpetrators and victims were brought together for, essentially, a group therapy session. Describe that.

Leila: This was at Good Samaritan Ministries, they’re in Beaverton, Oregon, and it was the non-profit Christian mental health clinic. They also offer all kinds of classes. They have organizations all over the world. But the men that were in the class were mandated to be in some kind of group and so, the women had been victims at one time in their life, and of course the women sat on the other side of the room.

And one lady that had been so traumatized was holding the hand of the lady that was leading the group. So, we got a chance to hear their stories. We didn’t excuse them or condone them, but we heard the horror stories that they went through, a lot of them, the majority of them, about their childhood abuse and what happened to them.

John: Hm.

Leila: And so, then pretty soon I started to look at these men through the eyes of Jesus. I just thought, well, you know, Jesus loves them. This doesn’t mean what they did is right or anything like that and we don’t excuse it.

But I just began to understand that they had a messy life, too. And it was very weird to be holding the hand of a pedophile or something, because we held hands when we … we ended in prayer.

John: Leila, why would any victim want to go to something like that? And how did that experience change you?

Leila: I don’t think any victim wants to go, but once they do go, I think they become less fearful of those type of people, and I, again, they hear their stories and then they begin to have compassion, and it turns the hate into compassion.

John: Was it a pivotal time for you?

Leila: Yes, it was very much so. I’m glad I participated in that. And I have a couple stories in my book where they had gone through it and it changed them and I thought it was incredible.

I don’t know what it did to the perpetrators, but they did get to hear the women talk about the pain the perpetrators had caused and how they had suffered. And many of them were sincere in that they didn’t realize that the people suffer as a victim initially. And so that was very good for them to hear the other, the women’s or the victims’ stories.

John: Kathleen, I want go back to you and that moment when the car turned, supernaturally turned and the Lord said, “I’ve got something for you.”

Kathleen: Yes.

John: Fast-forward to what God did and how that became a vibrant ministry.

Kathleen: Absolutely. So I’m honored to be with the ministry Embrace Grace. At Embrace Grace we offer support groups for women all over the nation—actually as well as Canada currently and Africa as well. But we have support groups that are hosted in churches all over for women walking through an unplanned pregnancy and also for single young moms.

Kathleen: Um, and it’s such an honor that God’s fulfilled His promises; that those words he spoke to me in that moment of destruction, spoke life into my life, and as I’ve walked through the healing process with Him, I watched that promise come into fruition now.

What’s so interesting in Embrace Grace as well, it’s a small-group format with curriculum that we provide churches to know how to be the church in a pro-love way, to welcome these hurting, amazing young moms into the body of Christ for discipleship and mentorship, and how do we love on them and support them to become the best moms that they possibly can be?

There’s a ministry night that happens in the program called “Chains Night,” and it’s a night where we invite the Lord in to speak to areas of hurt or areas of chains or baggage that they might be holding onto in their lives, and invite God in to really heal and speak to those areas.

And so often we hear [that] the numbers are staggering of how many women are now in an unplanned pregnancy that have had a sexual assault or some sort of trauma along this line in their history. And so, it’s just amazing that God uses even that to bring healing into their lives to prepare them to be the best moms that they can be with their new babies in the future.

John: Well, you both are such an example of what Paul wrote about in 2 Corinthians chapter 1 when he said, “The very comfort we’ve received we pass on to others.” And that pain in your life has not been without purpose in God’s hand. That’s a beautiful way for Him to take that moment when He speaks to you and to start to grow something and now you’re ministering to women with unplanned pregnancies, many of whom are coming from circumstances that you yourself experienced.

Kathleen: Absolutely.

John: Wow. Well, I’d like to spend our remaining time just talking through some practical things. For instance, for a woman who experiences an assault, what are some very practical things she should do? And this would be for single women, for daughters in the home, for wives who are perhaps hiding a secret. What encouragement do you give them in terms of practical steps after an assault?

Kathleen: Step one, call 911. Step one is get the authorities involved. You’re not meant to walk this path alone, and there are resources in your community and your body–the church body–that needs to come alongside you and support you. You do not need to hide in shame. You do not have to isolate yourself.

Shame, like I said before, withdraws us, but God’s love draws us out into a beautiful place. So step one, call authorities, file a report, make sure that you’ve not cleaned up any evidence that could be used and needed in a future case.

Leila: And go to the hospital, because if you go to the hospital and they do a rape exam, they put together a rape kit, and they have everything in there that would, if the person who did that can be convicted.

And yes, don’t change your clothes; don’t do anything; just go. And nowadays, at least in Oregon, we have the Sexual Assault Resource Center [which] sends an advocate. I was an advocate for about three years. And they’ll send somebody to the hospital. It doesn’t make any difference if it’s 4 in the morning; someone from there will show up to be supportive of that person.

And also, if you go to the hospital, rape is a crime against the state, so the state will pay for any expenses at the hospital. They do ask the women to come back. They check them for STDs or AIDs. They have them come back in six months, check them again, and the state will pay for all, and for some counseling, they will pay for that.

John: Okay, but Kathleen, there are so many women who are thinking, I cannot do that.

Kathleen: Uh-hm, that was me.

John: I can’t call 911. I can’t tell anybody. Talk to their fears and help them understand why they must.

Kathleen: You deserve to be fought for, don’t have to hide. You’ve done nothing wrong. When God looks at you, I think the first thing He would want to say to you is, “I’m so sorry,” that, that is completely against the Father’s heart for you, and He longs to just wrap you up in His arms, to hold you close, and to comfort you. So you have no reason to fear, nothing to be afraid of. Again, this was not your crime; you did nothing wrong. And allow others to come around you, to equip you to be able to walk through this process so that it doesn’t take 10 years or 30 years for you to come to the healing place that God wants to bring you to.

John: Leila, you indicated that writing down was a pretty powerful thing for you, writing down some of the aspects of the trauma.

Leila: Yes.

John: Why is that so significant for a woman to actually take a pen and a paper or on a computer write down what she’s experienced and what she’s feeling?

Leila: A person, when they write it down, [it] gets their emotions out. To just talk, your emotions don’t come out because you’re holding back. You know, you don’t want to embarrass yourself in front of people.

John: You’re protecting yourself.

Leila: But you start writing, and in my book we do have about four writing assignments for the women. They don’t have to do it, but they usually all do it. And when you come to that, then you want to say, “Okay, how did that make me feel?” Now you go into, “Well, it made me feel ashamed,” it’s just getting those feelings out on paper [that] just amazes them. And some of the women have written two or three pages where they thought [they hardly had] anything [to write], just whether getting what has happened to you in a negative way on paper allows you to get your emotions out and say, “That made me feel dirty.” Or “My heart was shattered. My spirit was broken.” Now you’ve got that out, [it starts] cleaning you and healing you.

John: Exposing that part of your life to God allows Him to shine light on that darkness?

Kathleen: Absolutely. Absolutely.

John: I think you both would encourage women who have been assaulted sexually to choose to heal. I can understand where a woman would have a hard time doing that. Speak to that.

Kathleen: I think the Father is so gentle that again His heart for us is redemption and restoration. Those are His specialties. He’s an expert at that. And choosing to heal really can be as simple as just saying, “I’m hurting, God, will You help me understand this?” It can start with just a simple acknowledgement. Talk to Him about all of your fears. Talk to Him about what you’re feeling and where those hurts are coming from. He’s not afraid of anything that you have to say. He just wants you to allow Him to be invited into those spaces.

Again, God’s the epitome of a gentleman. He will never force Himself upon you as your perpetrator did. He is a gentleman; that is His nature and His character, His–absolute, beautiful, pure love for you. And when we invite Him in, He, again, He’s gentle; He’s kind; He takes His time. He’s going to slowly—or quickly, depending on how the pace you set—come in and begin to heal all those areas of your life. So there is nothing to be afraid of here. He’s going to be so gentle with you.

Leila: And many women choose to not heal because what has happened to them becomes their identity, and some of them want to hang onto it even though they’re in a lot of pain. But we talk about that in class, and I said when you choose to heal is when the healing begins, and turn this over to God and talk to God and say, “God, I want to heal and I’m willing to listen to You and You show me the path.” And that’s when the healing begins is when they choose to heal.

John: Well, Kathleen Terrill and Leila Sommerfeld, thank you so much for being with us and for being so very honest about a deeply personal and painful chapter.

Leila and Kathleen: Thank you for having us.

John: God showed up and He’s done a remarkable healing in your life, hasn’t He.”

Leila and Kathleen: Uh-hm, yes.

John: And I believe that through the past couple of days of programs, He’s going to reach many, many women on his behalf through you stories Thank you for being so courageous to share with us.

Leila and Kathleen: Thank you.

 

Closing:

Jim: This is “Focus on the Family.” I’m Jim Daly. What we just heard was the conclusion of a conversation with my colleague, John Fuller, that he had with two women who experienced sexual assault. I am sure there are some listening right now who wonder why we needed to address this difficult topic today. The fact is, we don’t talk about this enough and there are too many women and men who have suffered from this kind of trauma and abuse.

Where are they going to go for counseling and the deep healing they’ll need to rebuild their lives in Christ. As Kathleen and Leila shared, many victims suffer in silence. This is one of those things that you’re embarrassed to talk about. It brings shame and they don’t know what to do to get out of that darkness and despair. The month of April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and it’s so important for us in the Christian community to understand the trauma that victims experience and how we can serve them better.

One resource I recommend you get is Leila’s book, Beyond Our Control, which is full of so much hope and practical hope for both survivors and for their family and friends. As a matter of fact, I’d love to send you a complimentary copy of this book when you send us a financial gift today. That’s how important it is. If you can’t afford it, still call us. We will get this book into your hands, because I believe in the message of healing that it contains.

John: Ask for your copy of Beyond Our Control when you call 800- A -FAMILY; 800-232-6459 or donate and find a copy at www.focusonthefamily.com/radio.

And please consider how you can support the ministry of Focus. We want to be one of these rescue stations for women and men who have nowhere else to go. That’s why we have Christian counselors on staff and many other resources and tools for hurting families. Your generosity makes this work possible and we can’t do it without you. If you’ve benefitted from Focus resources or one of the programs we’ve aired in the past, can I ask you to help us in the same way? Help us help others so that they, too, can get the healing they need in our Lord Jesus Christ.

John: And you can donate at www.focusonthefamily.com/radio or when you call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY; 800-232-6459.

Now in addition to Leila’s book, ask for a CD or the download of this two-day program, which includes more content than we could share on this broadcast.

And coming up next time on “Focus on the Family,” Carey Casey wants to inspire grandfathers to be champions for your grandchildren.

Excerpt:

Mr. Carey Casey: When it really gets down to it, we have to look at this thing called “legacy.” And that’s gonna live longer than us. We have to be about something that’s bigger than us, that will live longer than us.

End of Excerpt

John: I’m John Fuller and on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for listening and do plan to be with us again next time, as we help you and your family thrive in Christ.

Today's Guests

Beyond Our Control

Receive Leila Sommerfeld's book Beyond Our Control for your donation of any amount!

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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!