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Focus on the Family Broadcast

Finding Peace Through Forgiveness

Finding Peace Through Forgiveness

Author Gil Mertz and Focus on the Family Vice President of Parenting Outreach Daniel Huerta discuss the importance of finding inner peace by forgiving others – particularly family members – for past abuse and neglect.

Original Air Date: September 23, 2015

Opening:

Jim Daly: I wonder if any of you like me had a very difficult family member when you were growin’ up. It could be a parent, step-parent, even a sibling. If so, stay tuned. Today is the day that you could find healing in that relationship.

John Fuller: This is Focus on the Family with your host Focus president, Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller.

Jim: John, today’s guest is Mr. Gil Mertz. He’s an author and a speaker who experienced what you might call a watershed moment in his relationship with his aging father. But we want you to hear him tell that part of the story. So, let’s just get to the message and afterward we’ve heard what Gil has to share we’ll talk to one of our counseling staff about how you can use these principles in your own life.

John: This is a real important program and here now is Gil Mertz, author of Forgive Your Way to Freedom on today’s episode of Focus on the Family.

Body:

Gil Mertz: Not long ago I got a phone call from one of my sisters, that our father was about to die. I was living about 2,000 miles away at the time and she wanted to know if I’d be going to the funeral. And my response to my sister was, “What would be the point?” I hadn’t spoken to my father in 10 years. I had no relationship at all with my father.

It wasn’t as though I was angry at my dad or he was angry at me. We just had no use for each other. I never met Grandpa Mertz. The only time I ever met my grandfather was at his funeral. I was a little boy and they said, “This is your grandpa.” Okay. I figured grandpa must’ve lived a long, long way away. That’s why we never saw grandpa. Turns out grandpa just lived a few miles from where 11 of his grandchildren lived.

What I did learn about my grandpa was, that he was a very violent man, very angry. Had a terrible temper and was a … just a mean brute. And that taught me a lot about my own Dad. Now I’ve tried to give my father a lot of grace. Raising 11 children in a small house would test the soul of any man. I also know that my father had a horrible model in his father.

But I also know that every one of us come to a point in our lives where we have to make a choice. I’m either going to continue to recycle the pain of the past, or I’m gonna choose a new path. Let me just say about my own father, I believe that he did the very best he knew how, but he chose poorly.

During my growing up years, my dad was also very angry. He basically had two setting—anger and rage. And you never knew which one was going to explode. It was just … it made for a very difficult home life. And as a young child, I reasoned, I must really be a bad kid to have a father who was constantly disappointed, constantly angry, constantly frustrated and constantly violent with his children.

When I became a young man, I just began to drift apart from my father. I played in 40 football games that he never came to. My graduation he didn’t come to. My wedding he didn’t come to. I remember him calling me the day of my wedding to say, “I have to work tonight. I just wanted you to know; it wasn’t that I didn’t care.” Where would I get that idea?

Father’s Days were always very … a big challenge, because you know, you’d go at the store and you’d see all of these Father’s Day cards that said, “To the best Dad in the world.” And I usually just chose a blank card and filled something in and sent it to my Dad.

But I remember one Father’s Day I went all out, because the Lord kinda revealed to me, that you know, despite my flaws, I’m an honest man. Where did I learn to be an honest man? I learned that from my Dad. I’m a hard worker. Where did I learn that work ethic? I learned that from my Dad.

And there were a number of other things that I began to realize that I actually had learned from my dad. And so, I put together a little sheet that said, “Seven Treasures I Learned From My Father.” And I sent it to him. And I never heard back from my Dad. I never knew if he even got it. That was the last time I had any connection with my Dad.

Ten years had passed and now he was about to die. And to be honest with you, I was okay with that. If I never spoke to my Dad again, that was fine with me. But it was not fine with God and God began to convict me that I needed to talk to my Dad before he died.

Now (Chuckling) I strongly resisted that. There is no way I wanted to reopen those scars and pull away at the scabs in my heart. Why would I want to go through all of that? No, God, let’s just leave it the way it is.

But the Holy Spirit continued to torment me until I agreed to go see my dad. Well, I agreed to see my dad on three conditions. Have you ever done that with God? “I’ll obey You Father, as long as You do these three things for me.” Well, the three conditions I made, was No. 1, I’d like my son to go with me. I would love for my son to be able to also say goodbye to his grandfather that he hardly knew. And to be honest with you, I was a coward and I really wanted his moral support.

The other condition that I had was, I said, “Father, I would like to look my dad in the eye and say to him, ‘I forgive you.’ But I know what would happen. My dad would become very angry and defensive and we’d get into a fight and is that the last conversation I want to have with my dad before he dies? No, God, it would be better just not to go there.”

The third condition that I had was that I would like my dad to look me in the eye and at least once in my life before he dies, to say he loved me. Well, I was 45 at the time. He had never done that before. Why would he do it now? And so, I decided that I would go see my dad.

I called my son and said … and I kinda put it this way. I said, “Jamie, I’d like to go see my dad before he dies. You wouldn’t want to go with me would you (Chuckling)?” Well, much to my surprise, he jumped at the chance and said, “I would love to go with you, dad.”

So, I bought my airline ticket, flew to Saint Louis. Rented a car. We took the four-hour drive to go see my dad. Actually the night before, I called my dad for the first time in 10 years to make the appointment.

And so, after 10 years of silence, my dad came to the phone. My heart is beginning to pound. Now what am I gonna say to my dad. I said, “Dad, this is Gilbert.” He said, “Yeah.” “Well, dad, I’m in town. I’d love to see you tomorrow. Would that be okay?” He said, “Yeah, if you want to. That’s up to you.” “Yeah, I want to, dad. When can I see you?” He said, “Well, I go to therapy at 11. Why don’t you come around 10:30?” I said, “How about if I come a little earlier, dad? Why don’t I come around 10?” He said, “Well, again, that’s up to you.” “Okay, dad, well, I’ll see you tomorrow.”

And I hung up the phone and I was furious with God. He didn’t care whether I was gonna come or not. And I said to God, “I knew this would happen. I knew if I put myself in this place, that this was going to happen. And this is just such a waste of time. This is gonna be a miserable trip the next day.” And about that time, my anger turned into self-pity. And I just began to cry before the Lord.

And I said to God, “Why is it so hard for my dad to love me?” And in that moment, God came into that room in a way that was such an incredible blessing. God has revealed Himself to me in ways that I needed in that moment. Usually God is my best friend, who loves me despite all of my issues. There are times when God is my guide, my leader. There are times when God is a strong disciplinarian when I’ve needed that. But in this moment, God was my agape Father. He was my daddy.

And I felt God’s arms surround me and God spoke to my heart, “I am your Father and I love you with all my heart.”

Program Note:

John: Today on Focus on the Family we’re listening to Gil Mertz and you can get his book, Forgive Your Way to Freedom, when you make a generous contribution of any amount to support the work here of Focus on the Family, call …. 1-800-A-FAMILY. That’s 800-232-6459, or donate and request that book at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

End of Program Note

Gil: I had the most peaceful night’s sleep that night, but I wound up going with my son the next morning. We arrived at the facility where my dad was waiting to die.

And so, we finally got to the door and I felt my son’s hand on my shoulder. He said, “Dad, are you okay?” I said, “No, I’m not okay. I’m terrified. I have no idea what’s gonna happen inside that door when I see your grandpa. But I can tell you this, son, there is no one in the world I’d rather have going in there with me than you.”

We were met at the door by my dad’s roommate and he greeted us with a big toothless grin from Missouri. And he said, “You must be Gilbert.” And I said, “Yes, I am.” He said, “Here’s your dad!,” just like that. (Laughter)

And there he was, the only man I had ever feared, the biggest man I’d ever known in my life and now he was just this frail, dying individual in a wheelchair. And I was immediately moved with compassion. Walked over to my dad; gave him the … just the kind of traditional greeting. We sat in a … in a visitor’s center there and just small talk, but words weren’t coming. I didn’t have really many memories at all that I could exchange with my dad.

But I knew that we had some kingdom business to take care of and we were running out of time. So, I said, “Dad, could we go to your room, so I could sit down and we could just have a little private time together?” So, I wheeled my dad into his room and he had three things hanging on his wall and that was all that he owned in all the world. There was a picture of all of his daughters. There was a picture of all of his sons. And there was a picture that said, “Seven Treasures I Learned From My Father.” I guess he did get that.

I walked to the door, closed the door, locked the door. And I walked over to where my dad’s wheelchair was and I sat down right in front of him. And as I did, I saw something I never thought I’d see from my dad. He was now afraid of me. I don’t know if he thought I was really gonna tear into him or just what he thought, but I actually saw him kind of cower.

I took my dad’s hands and I didn’t plan this, but I just started crying and I began to kiss his hands. And I took his hands and I put ‘em on my face, so he could feel those tears. I said, “Dad, this is the last conversation we are ever going to have.” And he said, “Well, if [what] the doctors tell me is true, yes, this will be the last time we ever talk.”

And so, I said, “Dad, what do you think of me?” And he paused for a moment and he said, “Well, I think highly of all my children. There there’s Sue and Virginia.” And I interrupted him. I said, “No, Dad, I’m not asking you what did you think of all your children. I really want to know, Dad, what do you think of me?”

And he squirmed a little bit more and he said, “Well, I know you’ve been in the ministry a long time. And I know you’re a hard worker.” And he kinda leaned back in his chair as though, “I passed the test. That’s … that should be enough.”

But it wasn’t enough. I said, “Dad, I’m not asking you what I’ve done. I really want to know what do you think of me?” And he sat back in his chair and I could tell he didn’t have an answer. And I so, I looked at my dad and I said, “Last week I turned 45, dad. And I’d never once heard you say that you loved me.” He said, “You know, my father never told me that he loved me either.”

But I continued and I said, “Dad, you need to know that I have really struggled in my life because I never heard you tell me that you loved me. Because I just concluded, dad, that I must just be unlovable.” [Emotional] I didn’t mean to hurt him with that, but it did hurt a lot and he reached over and he put his hands on my cheeks as I continued to cry.

I said, “Dad, in my life, I’ve had a lot of people say some very nice things to me, but there is no one’s approval that means more to me than my father.” And you fathers who are listening to me now, that is so true of your children. He took a deep breath and he said, “I realize that I really failed you as a father.” And I looked my dad in the eyes and I said something to him that I waited 45 years to say. I said, “Dad, I forgive you.” And He wasn’t angry. He was genuinely set free by that pronouncement.

And then my dad looked at me and he told me something I had waited 45 years to hear. He said, “Son, I love you.” We both leaped up and just held each other and began to weep. My son, who had been seeing this whole thing, got up from the bed and put his arms around both of us. And the three of us just wept together.

And folks, I’m tellin’ you what happened in that moment was the lifting of a generational curse right there in that room. God had done exactly what He said He would do.

As we were leaving, I stood at the door and I looked at my dad, laughing with my son. And it was such a bittersweet moment. It was bitter because of all of the years that were wasted that we’ll never ever get back again. Oh, but it was sweet to see that lasting memory of my son and my dad, having that exchange together.

I walked over to my dad and I reached out my hand and I said, “Goodbye, Dad.” And he took (Weeping) my hand and he pulled me down to where he was and he said his final words to me. He said, “Never forget that I love you.” I planted a kiss on his head and I said my last words to him. I said, “I promise, Dad, I will never forget.”

And I turned and walked away, got outside the door and I leaned against the fence and oh, it was a thunderstorm of tears. I cried harder than I think I’ve ever cried in my whole life. My son came over and he embraced me and I’ll never forget what he said. He didn’t say, “Dad, I love you.” He said, “Dad, I know that you love me.” And I took him by the shoulders and I said, “Oh, son, do you know that? Do you know how much I love you?”

And he said, “Dad, you tell me all the time. Of course, I know that you love me.” And I said, “All right, son, you heard your grandfather say that his dad never told him he loved him. And his dad and his dad and his dad. This generational curse ends right here, right now, with you and with me. Swear to me, son, that when you give me my grandchildren, that you will surround them with love and nurture and they’ll know how loved they are.” And he said, “Of course, dad. I swear to you I will.”

Well, my dad did succumb to his cancer. That was our last conversation and I have never forgotten his words, that he loves me. Today, we have three grandchildren and I love to roll on the floor and wrestle and play. And I love to hold ‘em in my arms and tell them over and over again, that “You are so smart. You are so handsome. You are so good and above all, you are so loved.”

[I] love to take ‘em places and buy them things, but the greatest gift that I can give my grandchildren is that they will never, ever feel the scars of their grandfather. That curse was lifted the day I forgave my dad.

Closing:

John: A message of hope from author and speaker, Gil Mertz on today’s episode of Focus on the Family.

Jim: John, this has been such a touching look at how we can all reach out and make peace with a family member who has caused us pain, whether that’s physical or emotional pain, maybe both. And I really appreciate Gil’s willingness to be so vulnerable in what he shared today.

You know, it’s interesting, the last time we aired this message, we heard back from several listeners who wondered why Gil didn’t try to lead his dad to the Lord, in that final conversation they had, before his dad passed away. We thought that was a great question, so we followed up with Gil and he said this:

“Ironically, my dad attended church every Sunday and would consider himself a Christian. I’m satisfied that he was at peace with God at the time of his death.”

John: Well that’s great to hear….. and really is wonderful for our listeners who were concerned for that man’s soul! But it makes me wonder: how can you go to church every Sunday and express to your kids say “I love you”? That’s really hard to wrap my head around.

Jim: I think that really demonstrates the power of modeling – as Gil said, his dad had a terrible role model in his father – Gil’s “Grandpa Mertz” — who was apparently a very angry and abusive man. And as Gil said earlier, Grandpa Mertz lived just a few miles away, but they never met! So Gil’s dad really had no ‘blueprint’ for how to be a great parent. And you know what? That’s a great rationale for Christian counseling! That’s where families can get the help they need to end this kind of generational dysfunction.

When we first aired this message I think four years ago, we thought it would be a good idea to add some insight from one of our own counselors, to ‘round out’ this presentation from Gil. So we invited Danny Huerta [(h)WHERE-ta] into the studio to answer a few follow-up questions. And before we share his insights, let me just remind you that we have an incredibly gifted group of almost 20 counselors here at Focus, who respond to over 2-thousand requests for help each month. Please pray for them! They’re deal with some very difficult issues that people are calling and asking for help with.

John: They are an amazing team. And Danny Huerta is now the Vice President of our parenting outreach, and he’s doing an outstanding job. I get to work with on the Focus on the Family Parenting Podcast. Let’s go ahead and dive into the recording as Jim asks his first question of Danny.

Jim: What are some things that a person can do, maybe their loved one, who is estranged, is gone; they’re deceased. It makes it difficult to reconcile, almost well, impossible. Or maybe that loved one is not willing. What do you do in that situation where there’s no receptivity maybe because of death or because they don’t want it? What does a person do to find some peace?

Danny Huerta: Jim this is hard. You gotta want the peace more than the revenge. And it’s really something that is difficult for people to do because of the distortions of our emotions. When clients come in sometimes I’ll put these glasses on that distort everything, and I say, “What can you see?” and they say, “Nothing.” And I go, “Whenever you have intense emotions, whenever abuse has been done to you, you can’t see. And so, you want to regain your sight, your life, and that’s the purpose of us entering into this.

Jim: How does a person do that?

Danny: The first thing is accepting the story, the narrative of their life. What has happened; writing down the abuse, the detail.

Jim: Acknowledging it.

Danny: Acknowledging it, yes, absolutely, looking at what has happened and looking at it as part of their story, whether good or bad. Then the second one is deciding, “Can I forgive, should I forgive, or could I?” and really if we look at it, should you? Maybe not. Could you? Absolutely. And so, let’s not get stuck in the “should” and let’s look at the “coulds.”

Jim: What do you mean should forgive? As a Christian, I read must forgive.

Danny: Absolutely, but the emotions tell you otherwise.

Jim: Is it a timing question? That maybe right now I don’t have the capacity to forgive? I would think a person has to work toward that forgiveness, maybe not today, but at some point.

Danny: You first put your will toward that, because that’s something you want, and then your emotions follow eventually. The third step that I’d tell somebody to step into is, to understand the other person’s life as their own, separate from yours.

Jim: Empathy.

Danny: Empathy, right. Letting yourself go into their world and understanding why they did what they did? And how has that impacted my truth? And that’s the fourth step we go into. What are the truths that have been lost in this? What lies have you chosen to believe about yourself, and other people? Is trust gone? Do you trust anyone? And do you want truth; do you want freedom? I mean, what are the truths that are there?

And then the fifth step, the most powerful one, is how can we find purpose and meaning in the abuse, and in the forgiveness, the process of forgiveness? And one of them is, you’re giving a gift to yourself of being able to live, living freely and accepting the gift that you’ve been given, as well, which is forgiveness from God, forgiveness from others. They’re in the same sentence.

Jim: And Gil’s story that we just heard, I mean, he broke the generational curse, really—

Danny: He did.

Jim: –of his grandfather abusing his father and his father not ever really expressing love for him.

Danny: What a great story. I don’t know if it brought tears to your eyes, but it did to me.

Jim: Well, and especially it does because I didn’t have that kind of dad. And for me and my boys, to be able to tell them I love them every day and to do the things I do with them, I have done it too, I have changed the course and I think that is the call of every man, to make sure that he is doing that job and really, the call of every person, every mom, too, to not carry that bitterness and that anger into your relationship with your own children. We’re all gonna stumble; we’re all gonna make mistakes, but can you in that moment, go to your children and say, “I’m sorry; I blew it?” And if you can do that, your kids will be okay.

Danny: Oh, yeah.

Jim: They’ll feel it. Thanks for being with us.

Danny: Thank you Jim; thanks for having me.

Closing Voice Track:

Jim: They’ll feel it. Thanks for being with us.

Danny: Thank you Jim; thanks for having me.

John: Some really practical advice from Danny Huerta, and he’s a good example of the kind of people that make up our counseling department. They here you they listen they offer biblically insights, they’re compassionate no matter what you are dealing with. If you need help, give us a call and schedule a time talk to one of those counselors.

Jim: Well, by God’s grace, we’ve got an amazing team, and if you have any issue you’d like to talk through, just give call us during business hours. We’ll have a counselor call you back as soon as possible, spend some time with you on the phone, and then refer you to a like-minded counselors, hopefully right there in your area.

We receive over 25-thousand counseling calls per year – that’s a lot of hurting people asking for help! – and we are listener-supported. So consider helping us, and others, with a generous gift. And when you make a donation of any amount, we’ll send you a copy of the very practical book Gil Mertz has written, it’s called Forgive Your Way to Freedom: Reconcile Your Past and Reclaim Your Future. That’ll be our way of saying “thank you” for supporting the ministry and helping others.

John: And you can do that when you call 800 the letter A and the word FAMILY – 800-232-6459 or donate online and get Gil’s book at www.focusonthefamily.com/broadcast .

Well next time we’ll have Karen Ehman ([EE-muhn]) and her husband Todd provide some encouragement for your marriage!

Teaser:

Mrs. Karen Ehman: And we have known people in our life who’ve become Christians in part because they said they saw the gospel and they messed up but always forgiving keep showing up marriage. That’s what it’s about when you can keep that perspective in mind those bad times aren’t so bad anymore.

End of Teaser

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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! 

Focus on the Family

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