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Finding Hope Again (Part 1 of 2)

Finding Hope Again (Part 1 of 2)

Kay Warren explains how childhood trauma and/or mental illness can make people susceptible to depression and even suicidal thoughts, and encourages us to focus on what Jesus accomplished on the cross, to seek comfort in Him, and to stand strong until we see Him. (Part 1 of 2)
Original Air Date: October 25, 2018

Opening:

Kay Warren: I want to bounce back and not be buried by life and by loss. I want to not only survive, but I want to thrive again. I want to live a hope-infused life, not a hopeless life.

John Fuller: Those are some great goals, but what if depression is dragging you down, and you don’t know if you will ever come back up again? Well that’s what we’re gonna be talking about today on Focus on the Family with your host, Focus President and author Jim Daly, and I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, Kay Warren is our guest speaker today, and I can’t think of anyone better suited to discuss this topic than Kay, who not only has struggled with depression herself, but also spent years trying to help her son, Matthew, battle his own depression – a battle they lost when he died by suicide at the age of 27.

John: That was a real tragedy, Jim.

Jim: It was, but the amazing thing is that Kay has found hope again through Christ, and she wants to share what she’s learned through this process. Kay is an author and speaker, and is the co-founder with her husband, Rick Warren, of Saddleback Church in Mission Viejo, California.

John: Here now is Kay Warren on Focus on the Family.

Body:

Kay: I want to talk to you day about resilience and hope because this is a world in which it’s really easy to become disappointed, to become disillusioned, to even sink into despair. So for me, I want to look at somebody who can show me how to get through some of the hard times. And the Apostle Paul is one of those people that is just one of my heroes. And in um, Romans 8:35, 37 to 39, you can listen while I tell you because he explains some of the things that he’s gone through and how he maintains hope. He says, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all of these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life nor angels nor demons, neither the present, nor the future, nor any powers, neither height, nor depth, nor anything in all of creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

If you were to pay attention and underline, there are 17 different things in just those few verses that Paul says, “Here are things that threaten to separate us, threaten to take away our hope, threaten to knock us down.” There are 17 things in just those few verses that he says, “I face these things.” 2 Corinthians 11 is another place where he gives us an even more specific list of what he’s gone through. He says, “I’ve been shipwrecked multiple times.” He said, “I’ve been beaten with rods and stones. I’ve been starving. I’ve been abandoned by my friends. I’ve been homeless. I’ve been imprisoned unjustly.” He says, “I’ve been persecuted. I’ve been accused of things I never did.” And still he says, “Nothing is going to separate me from the love of Jesus Christ – of God – that I found in Jesus Christ.” He says, “These things cannot drown out hope.”

So I want to just think about you today and give you an opportunity to make this very personal. I’m going to share with you where – these are personal things to me. There’s a little list in the middle of your outline, if you haven’t looked at that yet, that lists about six things, not 17, but about six things that I think can lead us, at times, to feel hopeless and helpless and overcome by circumstances.

So the very first thing there is a traumatic event. And if you’ve experienced any of these, you want to just – might want to put a little check by them or at least a mental checkmark to say, “Yep, that’s me.” A traumatic event – by that what I mean is something that happened to you when you were a small child. Maybe you experienced sexual abuse in your home. Maybe there was physical abuse. Maybe you saw physical violence in your home or you were a recipient of violence. Maybe you saw your mom or one of your siblings abused. Maybe you witnessed a traumatic event in your community or a natural disaster.

The psychiatrists and social scientists call that ‘adverse childhood events’. And we – they’re not benign. They’re not just oh, you know, that kind of stuff happens to everybody. When you, as a child, experience traumatic events, you don’t have the cognitive ability yet or the language or the words to be able, usually, to articulate how those things affected you. And so over time, they have found that when you’ve had traumatic things as a little kid, it can affect um, how you do in school. It can affect your emotional and mental health. It can affect whether you abuse alcohol or drugs, whether you abuse sex, whether you um, get into fights, into trouble, end up in jail. I mean, these adverse childhood events are powerful in our lives.

For me, I was molested um, when I was about five or six by the son of the church janitor where my dad was pastor – pastored the little churches in San Diego. And I still don’t really know how it happened, that as a child that young I got separated from them at church um, long enough for this to happen. But it did. And I know that that that childhood abuse scarred me, affected my views of sex and sexuality and my developing emotional nature. And it was one of those things that um, I’ve dealt with all my life, something that happened so long ago. And if you have experienced a traumatic event as a child, make a little check by that.

Second thing that I would say that a category of things that can cause us over time to maybe lose hope or lose our ability to cope with things are strained relationships. And I’m thinking there, in particular, of those really primary relationships – a relationship within your family, a relationship in a marriage, a really close friendship that goes through terrible, terrible conflict that’s disruptive.

Um, we’ve told our story so many times through these years. Rick and I’ve been married almost 43 years. But they’ve not been easy years. We have struggled a lot and had a lot of conflict through the years. We’re so very different – so much so, in all honesty, that if we did not – both of us – believe that the vow we took before our family and God, you know, nearly 43 years ago, we would have divorced. There have been so many times, honestly, that I have, in my journal, written “I can’t do this. I can’t do this. I can’t say ‘I’m sorry’ one more time. I can’t ask for forgiveness one more time. I can’t offer forgiveness. This is just – we are too different. Ugh! I can’t do it.” That’s the honest truth.

So serious marriage problems throughout the years, how about you? I mean, has there been, in your marriage, just a lot of difficulty or a primary relationship conflict in your family with parents or siblings or a deep friendship that’s just come through some ruptures? If so, make a check there.

Serious health problems is another category where a lot of us have – have lived and are continuing to live. For me, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and melanoma. I’ve had both. And um, without early treatment and the – the treatment that I’ve gotten through the years, either one of those would have killed me. You know, breast cancer and melanoma, they’re going to kill you if you don’t get the treatment that you need. And so I remember when I was – after I was diagnosed with breast cancer 14 years ago standing in front of my mirror at home looking at myself going, “I look exactly the same, how can there be an alien inside of me trying to kill me?” And if you’ve ever had a cancer diagnosis or some other really serious health condition, you can probably relate to that sense of “I am in a battle for my very life.” And it can be difficult and challenging and take you to the limits of where you’ve struggled ever before in your life.

Crushing disappointment could be a category that you’ve experienced. For me, I would say this is the least of these categories that I’ve struggled with. I wouldn’t classify what I’ve gone through um, in some ways as crushing disappointment. But I’m talking about things like um, you planned your whole life. I mean, since you were a little kid, you knew the career that you wanted. You knew the direction you were headed. You dreamed of this career and it didn’t happen. And you didn’t get those opportunities. Or it didn’t come your way. Or maybe you were – you thought you were going to be a professional athlete. And man, you worked so hard as a kid. You were preparing for this sports career and maybe you got injured. Maybe you just didn’t get the offers. Maybe it just didn’t happen. And inside of you there’s that sense of dissatisfaction of something that was crushing that you really wanted. Maybe you got married and you thought within a few years we’re going to have kids. That’s what happens, right? You get married. You have kids. This happens to everybody. Only it didn’t happen for you. And so there’s that crushing disappointment of dreams not realized.

I don’t know what that might look like for you. For me, it was much simpler than that. It was I just wanted to be somebody incredibly special and I didn’t have a lot of confidence in myself and saw myself as very inadequate and really not worth a whole lot. My big career goal was (laughter) as a young child was to be Miss America (laughter). So you know, I’m not totally crushed that it didn’t happen, but um, but there was, for some of you, man, this is real. This is real for you. There is – you live with a disappointment. You might check that off.

An unchangeable circumstance – if you’ve been around here, you know that our son Matthew lived with mental illness, and he was diagnosed with mental illness – with depression – at 7. I didn’t even know children could have mental illness. I didn’t even know that was a real thing. But it was. And his lifetime then was just a constant, felt like series of another diagnoses. It was, you know, depression, and then ADHD, and then panic disorder, and then early onset bipolar and then suicidal thoughts and ideation. And by the time his teenage years, major depressive disorder, and body dysmorphic disorder, and OCD and borderline personality disorder. Oh, my goodness, how he struggled and suffered. And despite our best efforts to help him, to help him manage, maybe – could he be cured, can something be done – it became an unchangeable circumstance in our lives.

And for you, it may be a mental illness. It may be – maybe you were in an accident and – and you lost a limb or you lost the use of a limb. Or – or you’ve had a stroke and you’ve been left with your body just doesn’t work the way it used to. Or maybe there’s been some other thing that – maybe you’re a caregiver of a child who has a serious physical illness and it’s unchangeable. And sometimes in those places of unchangeable circumstances that just won’t budge, we can become overwhelmed and lose our hope and lose our ability to keep going.

John: We’re featuring Kay Warren today on Focus on the Family. And you can get her book related to this topic. It’s called, Choose Joy: Because Happiness Isn’t Enough. It’s available when you call 800-A-FAMILY – 800-232-6459. Or donate and request the book at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. When you’re online, look for information about our free suicide prevention resource called, Alive to Thrive. Alright, let’s go ahead and continue now with Kay Warren.

Kay: And then painful loss. Matthew died by suicide four and a half years ago. Mental illness finally took a toll that – that he couldn’t do any other day. And if you’ve never lost a child, you would probably look at somebody else who’s lost a child and say “Kay um, four and a half years, come on. You need to move on a little bit. Come on. You gotta – you gotta rally here. You can’t – you can’t still be in deep grief.” And I would tell you, for me at four and a half years, it feels like the blink of an eye. And if you can say that – maybe thinking you’re saying the right thing trying to encourage me, I would just tell you, “You don’t know what it’s like to lose a child.” And anybody who’s ever lost a child knows it’s a grief that you struggle for the rest of your life to get through. But maybe you didn’t lose a child, but you lost someone so dear to you – so dear to you. And that deep, deep pain, you wonder if you’ll ever really be happy again.
So if you’ve experienced a traumatic event or events in your childhood or a serious health concern or a painful loss or a crushing disappointment or something, check those boxes because here’s what I want to say about this. How do we survive the hard times? There are some of you that checked every one of those boxes and you could have checked about 10 other boxes had there been other options because you’ve gone through a lot. Some of you only checked one box, and maybe it was the one ‘strained relationships’ because I don’t believe that you haven’t, at least, had some relationship in your life that was very strained and caused you some heartache. So whether you’ve gone through a whole lot in your life or you’ve gone through something a little bit less intense, some people will face those things and be tanked by the one. And over here there are people who may face incredible difficulties and they’re able to get up. They’re still standing. What makes the difference?

Well, studies have shown that the people who survive, but not only thrive in the face of trauma and conflict and life-threatening illnesses and crushing disappointments and circumstances beyond their control and painful, devastating losses are not necessarily the people we might think. It’s not the wealthiest. It’s not the most intelligent. It’s not the most highly educated. It’s not the people of any race or gender. It has nothing or very little to do with those things. It has everything to do with how resilient you are inside of you – inside your spirit.

Resilience means able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions – strong, tough, hard, buoyant – floats, irrepressible – can’t keep them down, flexible, pliable, supple, durable, able to become strong, healthy or successful again after something bad happens. These are the people who can rise from the ashes. These are the people who can bounce back. These are the people who are still standing no matter what has happened.

Well, let me just give you a little, you know, story of resilience that you can maybe relate to. A few Christmases ago, my son, Josh, wanted one of those remote control helicopters that you see in, like, SkyMall magazine or something, you know, that has all these weird little things that you can order. And so he really, really wanted this little remote control helicopter. So of course, his wife got it for him. And he’s flying it around our living room. And it’s so cute, almost looks like just a giant bee. You know, this thing’s flying around through our house. And it hit a wall. And it hit the wall, fell to the ground, completely shattered. I mean, that thing was not resilient. He got about five minutes’ worth of pleasure out of this little remote control helicopter.

But at that same Christmas, our grandkids all wanted Legos – girls and boys. And so there’s Lego sets all over the place in our house. And I just want to tell you that Legos, I’ve decided, are the most resilient thing in the world because if you have ever put your knee on one of those Legos, it’s in the carpet as you’re searching for all the ones that fell off the table, or stepped on a Lego with your bare foot, you know that you will never be able to kill the Lego. The Lego will kill you. They are the most resilient things ever made.

Well, so scientists look at this and they say, “So is resilience genetic? Is it just the people who, somehow in their genetic line, passed on resilience from generation to generation and so those are the people who can survive and thrive when things get really, really rough?” And the truth is even though there might just be, you know, a shade of an advantage to some people who have a genetic predisposition to resilience, what they really have concluded is that resilience is a set of skills that can be learned. Woohoo! That means that the rest of us can learn resilience. And I want to learn it – it can be taught – because I want to bounce back and not be buried by life and by loss. I want to not only survive, but I want to thrive again. I want to live a hope-infused life, not a hopeless life.

Well, I can’t say everything that there is to say about resilience in the time that we have, but I want to give you what I would say are – are three things that you need to know about resilience. But I want to give you the biblical definition, which the Bible uses the term perseverance or endurance when it – what you and I might call resilience. In Romans 5:3 it says this: “We also rejoice in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance – perseverance, character – and character, hope.” So there’s this process that we can all go through. It doesn’t say here that some people rejoice in their suffering and therefore, they learn perseverance and therefore, hope. It says we. It’s talking about all of us, which means it’s within the reach of every one of us to go through hard times and to develop perseverance, resilience. And through that, develop character that allows us to become different people. And that through that we have hope. That’s a process I want to be a part of.

So let me give you these three things that I would say about resilience that I think will help you in facing whatever you’re going through today. The first is this: life is harder than you ever expected. Life is harder than you ever expected. For those of us who live here in the West or the Western part of the world, we have somehow got it in our brains that life is supposed to be easy. It’s supposed to be comfortable. It’s supposed to be stress free. Everything is supposed to come naturally and without a lot of effort and relatively painless.

We have these amazingly high expectations of what life is supposed to be like. And when the wheels fall off the bus in our life, when the carpet is yanked out from underneath us, when we step on that banana peel and go sliding and fall flat on our faces, we are shocked, I mean, shocked. And then from that shocked place we become angry. And from that angry place we end up with confusion and disillusionment as though life was supposed to be easy, and life was supposed to be relatively painless and life was supposed to be comfortable. And when it’s not, we don’t know what to do. And we say things like how could this happen to me? Why did this happen to me? Why did this happen to us? And we’re shocked that life is hard.

And for the rest of the world, you know, for those of us who live here, we have it – like I said – in our minds that – that life is relatively easy, but for the rest of the billions and billions of people around the world today, they know that life is hard. Let me just give you a couple of examples here of what I would call first-world problems and third-world problems.

So a first-world problem would be this, I go into my walk-in closet, (laughter) and I look at the racks of shoes – and I’m not going to tell you how many there are – but I look at the racks of shoes in my walk-in closet and I say to myself “Hmm, I wonder which pair of shoes is going to go best with my outfit today?” That’s a first-world problem. A third-world problem would be this, “My one pair of shoes was stolen last night.”

A first-world problem is, you know, I’m really struggling with my finances. I don’t think I’m going to be able to afford cable for the next couple of months. A third-world problem is when someone who is an indentured slave says, “I wonder how long it will take me, how many years it will take me to pay off this $10 loan.”

You guys, the Bible is crystal clear about how hard life really is. Job 5:7 – the man who lost everything, was the prototype for suffering, says, “Yet man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward.” You think of a fire pit at Doheny beach where you’re – you’ve lit your bonfire and the sparks, you know, they fly upward. That’s just what they do. That’s what they’re going to do. And in that same way, life is hard and we’re born to trouble. Jesus said in um, John 16:33, He says “Guys, in this world you will have trouble.” He doesn’t say, “You know, some people are going to have some hard times. Some people are going to really face some struggles.” He just says, “In this life you’re going to have trouble. You’re going to have problems.”

Sometimes people find life so hard and so overwhelming and so debilitating that they end up taking their lives. As you heard, today is World Suicide Prevention Day. And you probably don’t know this, but about almost a million people in the next year will take their lives around the world, 44,000 in the United States. It’s the number 2 cause of death for people between 10 and 34 in the United States. I mean, it’s a problem. And the people who die when they take their own lives are not wanting to die. Most of the time it’s just because things have gotten so hard that they can’t see a way out. They can’t see any other way for the pain to stop.

And the Bible is so real about this too. Job, this man who lost his family, who lost his home, who lost his crops, who lost his livelihood, was covered with boils on his body from head to toe, in terrible pain. This man that’s in the Bible talks about being at that place of just not wanting to live. Job 17:11-13, he says, “My days have passed. My plans have failed. My hope is gone. My friends say ‘night is daylight.’” They – they really don’t get it. “They say light’s near, but I know I remain in darkness. My only hope is the world of the dead, where I will lie down to sleep in the dark.” Oh, man, that’s a man in despair.

And the first way to build resilience in your life, to rebuild hope again, is to accept that life is harder than you ever thought it was going to be. Start setting more realistic expectations for yourself. Just know that profound difficulty is the way we roll on this broken planet. It is what life is. Don’t get freaked out when things aren’t as easy or as simple or as uncomplicated as you thought they were going to be. Anticipate change as our normal human experience. Change is the normal human experience. And when you can start from that platform of ‘life is harder than I thought it was going to be’, you’re on your way towards resilience.

Closing:

John: We’re listening to a message from Kay Warren on Focus on the Family, as she said, it was given on World Suicide Prevention Day.

Jim: John, I just can’t imagine how difficult it would be to lose your son to suicide. We have had a suicide on Jean’s side of the family, so, unfortunately, I do understand the grief that comes from that type of death. And for those of us left behind, there’s also the guilt. Everyone asks, “How did we fail that person? Why did he or she think suicide was the only option left?” It’s a very difficult time for the entire family and the person’s circle of friends.

And let me say, if this program brought up some painful memories for you, please give us a call! We’d count it a privilege to pray with you and have a counselor call you back if that’s what’s necessary. You know, here at Focus on the Family, we’ve been dismayed by the rising rate of suicide, especially among young people, and we’ve developed a very helpful web-based resource called Alive to Thrive: A Biblical Guide to Preventing Teen Suicide. It’s a free 6 session program that is distinctly Christian – with lots of biblical principles. Alive to Thrive also includes video interviews with experts, and roundtable discussions on how to prevent suicide, and it’s designed to help you reach your children, tweens and teens. It also includes interviews with suicide survivors and provides hope to kids in that situation. Best of all, this is a digital resource that we can put into your hands today.

And let me say thank you to all of our financial partners who make it possible for us to even create and provide these resources to families who are hurting. We couldn’t do it without you, and I know lives are going to be saved because of you.

If you haven’t made a donation to Focus on the Family in a while, let me encourage you to give today to help prevent teen suicide and support parents who need help. Your generous gift will help us continue to provide critical parenting resources free of charge, including Alive to Thrive and our exceptional team of counselors and so much more. And when you give today, we’d like to send you a copy of Kay Warren’s book called, Choose Joy: Because Happiness Isn’t Enough. We’ll send that to you for a donation of any amount, as you support this critical work we’re doing here at Focus on the Family.

John: And you can call to reach us. Our number is 800-A-FAMILY – 800-232-6459. Or donate online and request that book, Choose Joy, at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.
Be sure to be with us next time as Kay shares how to find hope again.

Kay: You are not held captive by what has happened to you. You are not held captive. You can be free.

Today's Guests

Help prevent teen suicide!

According to the CDC, suicide is now the second leading cause of death for all Americans age 10-34. Your support can help save precious lives and allow us continue to make Alive to Thrive FREE for parents and youth workers. And when you give today, we'll send you a copy of the book Choose Joy.

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

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

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

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Newest Release - Episode 4: Sometimes the Choice is Hard

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

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

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

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Newest Release - Episode 3: The Power of a Picture

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

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

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

Play Video

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

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

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

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

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 6: Families Helping Families!

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

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

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

Praying Scripture Over Your Child’s Life - Part 2

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

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt

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

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

Praying the Scriptures Over Your Children

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

Effective Habits to Embrace in Parenting

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

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

Dr. Randy Schroeder

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

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

Simple Habits for Effective Parenting

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

The Spiritual Battle for Your Marriage

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

Tim and Noreen Muehlhoff Cropped

Dr. Tim and Mrs. Noreen Muehlhoff

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

Defending Your Marriage

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

Reigniting Your Passion for Jesus - Part 1

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

Headshot photo of author Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder

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

Revival Rising

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

Reigniting Your Passion for Jesus - Part 2

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

Headshot photo of author Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder

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

Revival Rising

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

Mothers and Sons: Being a Godly Influence - Part 2

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

Headshot of Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe

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

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

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

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

Identifying Triggers in Your Marriage - Part 2

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

Headshot of Guy and Amber Lia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Mrs. Debra Fileta

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

Are You Really Okay?

Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are

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

Embracing Your Role as a Spouse

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

Headshot of Kevin Thompson

Pastor Kevin Thompson

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

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

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

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

Sharing Your Faith with Grace and Purpose

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

Mr. Greg Koukl

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

Tactics front cover

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

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

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

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

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

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

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

Tantrums. Talking back. Throwing toys or food. Meltdowns. Slamming doors. Kids know just how to push your buttons. You’ve tried all sorts of methods, but nothing seems to work. In this book, Dr. Kevin Leman reveals exactly why kids misbehave and how you can turn that behavior around with practical, no-nonsense strategies that really work . . . and are a long-term win for both of you.

Giving up Sugar, Tasting God's Goodness

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

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

Mrs. Wendy Speake

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

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

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

Tantrums. Talking back. Throwing toys or food. Meltdowns. Slamming doors. Kids know just how to push your buttons. You’ve tried all sorts of methods, but nothing seems to work. In this book, Dr. Kevin Leman reveals exactly why kids misbehave and how you can turn that behavior around with practical, no-nonsense strategies that really work . . . and are a long-term win for both of you.

Loving Your Spouse Through the Seasons of Marriage - Part 2

Debra Fileta has identified the four seasons of marriage that correspond with our natural seasons – spring (new life and new love), summer (things get hot!), fall (showing our true colors), and winter (long days ahead). In this interview, she will help couples better understand the four seasons of healthy relationships, what to expect during each one, and how to carefully navigate them for a stronger marriage.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Debra Fileta

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

Love in Every Season: Understanding the Four Stages of a Healthy Relationship

Every relationship goes through four life-changing seasons: Spring. Summer. Fall. Winter. Each season plays an important role in taking your relationship to the next level. And depending on how you navigate each season, your relationship will either flourish and grow, or it will slowly die. Whether you’re single, dating, engaged or married, join licensed professional counselor and relationship expert, Debra Fileta as she takes you on an eye-opening psychological and spiritual journey through the four seasons that she has observed in every healthy relationship.

Reconciling Faith and Science in a Medical Crisis

Dr. Lee Warren is a neurosurgeon who has faced many heavy challenges in his life – from serving in the Iraq War to removing deadly brain tumors to experiencing the loss of a teenage son. He’ll share about his difficult quest to find answers to some of life’s toughest questions, while holding onto his faith in God and the sure hope of heaven

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Dr. W. Lee Warren

Dr. Lee Warren

W. Lee Warren, M.D., is a brain surgeon , inventor, Iraq War veteran, and author of I’ve Seen the End of You: A Neurosurgeon’s Look at Faith, Doubt, and the Things We Think We Know, winner of the Christian Book Award®. His previous book, No Place to Hide, was included on the 2015 U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff’s Recommended Reading List. Dr. Warren has appeared on The 700 Club and the CBS Evening News, and his writings have been featured in Guideposts magazine. His Dr. Lee Warren Podcast, which is heard in more than 60 countries, helps listeners use the power of neuroscience, faith, and common sense to change their lives.

Cover image of Dr. Lee Warren's book "I've Seen the End of You"

I've Seen the End of You: A Neurosurgeon's Look at Faith, Doubt, and the Things We Think We Know

This gripping inspirational memoir grapples with the tension between faith and science—and between death and hope—as a seasoned neurosurgeon faces insurmountable odds and grief both in the office and at home.

Praying Scripture Over Your Child’s Life - Part 1

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

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt

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

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

Praying the Scriptures Over Your Children

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

Mothers and Sons: Being a Godly Influence - Part 1

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

Headshot of Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe

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

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

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

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

Identifying Triggers in Your Marriage Part 1

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

Headshot of Guy and Amber Lia

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

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

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

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

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

What to Do When You're Not Okay - Part 1

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

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Mrs. Debra Fileta

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

Are You Really Okay?

Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are

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

Navigating a Toxic Culture with Your Daughter - Part 1

As a pediatrician, Dr. Meg Meeker has seen thousands of girls come through her office through the years. They struggle with eating issues, sexual identity, social media…and many other challenges in this toxic culture. Dr. Meeker will encourage parents to invest love and time in their daughters and develop their character to give them the best opportunity for a bright future, all rooted in a spiritual foundation. The discussion also includes healthy feminism vs. toxic feminism

Mrs. Meg Meeker

Dr. Meg Meeker is a pediatrician who is widely recognized as one of the country’s leading authorities on parenting, teens and children’s health. With appearances on numerous nationally syndicated radio and TV programs, her popularity as a an expert on key issues confronting families has created a strong following across America. Her work with countless families over the years served as the inspiration behind her best-selling books which include Strong Fathers, Strong DaughtersStrong Mothers, Strong Sons and The Ten Habits of Happy Mothers

Cover image of Dr. Meg Meeker's book "Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture"

Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture: 11 Steps to Keep Her Happy, Healthy, and Safe

Meg Meeker has been a pediatrician for more than thirty years, is a mother and a grandmother, and has seen it all. She knows what makes for strong, happy, healthy young women–and what puts our daughters at risk. Combining that experience with her famous common sense, she explains the eleven steps that will help your daughter–whether she’s a toddler or a troubled teen–to achieve her full human potential.

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!