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Hope for Parents of Premature Babies

Hope for Parents of Premature Babies

Blogger and author Kayla Aimee discusses her experience with giving birth to her micro preemie daughter who was born at 25 weeks, and describes how, in the midst of her fears for her baby's survival, her faith and marriage were strengthened.

Opening:

Teaser:

Kayla Aimee: I felt very numb. Like I said, it happened so fast. It was a lot to process and I felt a little bit abandoned by God, like I’d waited so long to have this baby. I was so excited to be a mom and as soon as I saw her, I loved her so much. And then she was just taken away and I didn’t know what was gonna happen to her.

End of Teaser

John Fuller: That’s Kayla Aimee and she’s our guest today on “Focus on the Family” with your host, Focus president and author, Jim Daly. Welcome to the program. I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, today’s program is gonna be a powerful reminder that life and every breath we take is a miracle from God. On this side of heaven, we don’t know why some live long lives, some live shorter lives. That’s probably one of the most difficult questions confronting us as human beings.

Kayla Aimee has a powerful story that you’re gonna lean into I think. She’s a compelling author, a speaker, writer, blogger. And she will try today to help us answer those questions, “Why God?” And you can fill in the blank.

John: Yeah, Kayla is a self-proclaimed “spirited Southern girl.” I noticed (Laughter) in your bio you said you like sweet tea, so that places you’re definitely in the South. And she’s written a book called Anchored: Finding Hope in the Unexpected and you can find that at www.focusonthefamily.com/radio.

Body:

Jim: Kayla, welcome to “Focus on the Family.”

Kayla: Hi, thank you for having me. I’m excited to be here.

Jim: Let’s start with a word of hope. I mean, that’s a good place to start as believers particularly. But speaking to that person who right now has a faltering faith because of circumstances they’re goin’ through. I don’t know what it will be, maybe a divorce. It could be a prodigal or it could be health issues like you faced in your family. What does hope look like to you?

Kayla: Well, you know, we took the title of the book Anchored from Hebrews 6:19, which says, “We have this hope as the anchor for our soul, firm and secure.” And so, for me it really came out of a time in my life that was so chaotic and so overwhelming with this fear and anxiety and not understanding what was happening, not being able to really process what we were going through.

And the only thing that was constant in the middle of all that was that God was unchanging. That was the only thing that didn’t change when everything else in my life was kind of falling apart.

Jim: And I think for the person that doesn’t know the story yet, we’re going to unpack your story, but for that person who is saying, “Well, she sounds like a hopeful person,” let’s get into your story. You and Jeff, you got married. How old were you when you got married?

Kayla: Twenty-three, we were babies.

Jim: Twenty-three, babies, that’s normal isn’t it? We were 25. How old were you?

John: I was 25 when we got married.

Jim: Yeah, I was 25. Boy, they’re marrying younger nowadays, John.

John: Lots [are]. (Laughter) A lot [are] gettin’ married at 19 and 20, yeah.

Jim: In that context, did you think about having kids right away? Or were you waiting? Did you even plan it?

Kayla: We had an interesting situation, because I had been told before we got married that it was very unlikely that I would be able to get pregnant. So, we didn’t know what our future with kids looked like. We hoped we would have them. We thought that if they came, we would be so happy.

But she was a little bit planned but unplanned. She came at a time we weren’t quite expecting it, but we were really happy because, wow, we managed to get pregnant.

Jim: That might explain why in your book you refer to pregnancy tests as cereal box toys. I think your husband, Jeff had to kinda restrain you from buying these things too often.

Kayla: Yeah, they’re not cheap.

Jim: Yeah, right, were you stocking up on pregnancy tests?

Kayla: Yeah, you know, when you want to see a positive plus sign, it’s so enticing, right? You just keep taking them and maybe next time, right? (Laughter)

Jim: It’s like you’re a winner.

Kayla: So, yeah, they really are like these little happy moments for women, except mine were always not blue, giving me the answer I wanted.

John: So, month after month you’ve got that disappointment.

Jim: Except this particular time it was positive and now you’re pregnant.

Kayla: I was, yeah.

Jim: And that’d be exciting.

Kayla: I took a bunch to make sure that time, too.

Jim: Yeah. (Laughing)

Kayla: I broke my promise.

Jim: Poor Jeff, havin’ to buy these.

Kayla: –I broke my promise.

Kayla: I was like, “I’m sorry; I took all the pregnancy tests, honey.”

Jim: Yeah, you’d buy the whole stock full. So, you’re pregnant. You and Jeff are talking about it. Things are going relatively on course, right? You were normal in the first trimester, maybe a bit of morning sickness?

Kayla: Yeah, I was very sick. I had a lot of morning sickness, I was happy to have the morning sickness. I was so thrilled to be pregnant. But yeah, I had a completely normal pregnancy.

Jim: Then somethin’ started to change. What was goin’ on?

Kayla: There was just one particular day I just felt off. I didn’t really have a lot of big symptoms or anything like that. And Jeff and I were in the car driving home and it was about 15 minutes before my doctor’s office was set to close. And I was like, “Honey, I think I need you to swing in, just for maybe my peace of mind, but I don’t feel right.

Jim: How far along were you at this point?

Kayla: I was 24 weeks pregnant.

Jim: Okay.

Kayla: So, not quite past halfway through.

Jim: So, you did go to the doctor’s. What happened?

Kayla: So, just going in and I said, “You just stay in the car and rest. I’m sure they’re gonna tell me I’m being anxious.” And I went in and I said, “I don’t know what’s going on. I just feel off. Can you check me for my own peace of mind?” And my doctor said, “Actually you’re in active labor.” And you need to go straight to the hospital. I’ll meet you there and you might be having the baby.”

Jim: That had to kind of shock you.

Kayla: I was completely shocked. I didn’t even know that could really happen.

Jim: Right.

Kayla: Like I didn’t know that people had babies that early or if they did, I didn’t know that those babies could survive.

Jim: So, you got to the hospital and now you’re giving birth to a micro-preemie.

Kayla: Right, so they came in at that point, ’cause I was 24 weeks and that is the cusp of viability, where you as a parent and the doctors talked about, “Do you want to resuscitate the baby when it’s born? It probably won’t breathe on its own.”

Jim: You know, think about that. You’re saying that rather quickly because you’ve gone through it now, but in that moment, that had to be horrific, because here you are giving birth to your first child and yet, the doctors are having to tell you, do you want to resuscitate if there’s a problem, which there will be a problem. How far do you want to go? That had to be really conflicting emotions.

Kayla: I think it was so overwhelming, just that all happened so quickly. Our first thought was, you know, yes, we want to try to save the baby. And they managed to give me some medication and that kept me pregnant for a couple more days, so, in the hospital.

Jim: In bed, you couldn’t get out of bed I would assume.

Kayla: No, they had me turned almost upside down to try to keep me from having the baby in bed.

Jim: My goodness.

Jim: So, she’s born, your little Scarlette, as you named her. Give us those impressions when she’s first born. How much did she weigh? What did she look like? Were you able to hold her? What happened?

Kayla: So, Scarlette came exactly and I made it to 25 weeks and I went into labor again in the hospital and that time they couldn’t stop it. So, we had an emergency C-section, because she was so tiny that delivering her would have broken her the way she was positioned in my body. So, she weighed one pound, 8 ounces, so she fit in the palm of a nurse’s hand and she was so small that her arm was the size of my pinky finger. Her fingernails were the size of a grain of rice. She did not have a fully-formed body. Her ears weren’t formed yet. They just were like little holes on the side of her head. Her eyes were fused shut. She didn’t have eyelashes. She didn’t open her eyes for a couple weeks.

But she’s still just this perfect tiny little person and I did not get to hold her because they needed to work on her right away. So, they brought her up and positioned her on a scale right next to my head and let me see her and then they took her away.

Jim: I can’t imagine all the emotions going through you and your husband, Jeff at that time. Help me. Help all of us feel what you were feeling. I mean, were you saying at that point, “God, where are You?” Or were you just in the mode of coping and trying to say, “Okay, how do we get through this and what’s the prognosis?” Did the doctors say she had a 50-50 chance? Or what was goin’ on?

Kayla: Yeah, she had about a 60 percent of survival and then they told us that she was very likely to have either a lot of disabilities or be blind or deaf. So, we knew we were looking at a very, you know, difficult time going into that.

I felt very numb. Like I said, it happened so fast. It was a lot to process and I felt a little bit abandoned by God, like I’d waited so long to have this baby. I was so excited to be a mom and as soon as I saw her, I loved her so much. And then she was just taken away and I didn’t know what was gonna happen to her. So, I was just kind of left there. I wanted Jeff to go be with her, so I asked him to go to the NICU with her, so I was laying there alone in the delivery room, just thinking like, “I feel so alone right now. I don’t know where God is in this.”

Jim: So, literally in just a few hours, I mean, you go from this probably strong relationship in Christ, this belief in God. Then you have this difficulty and now questions start to arise and they didn’t abate. I mean, you now go into months of languishing, not knowing. Move into that period of time. How long was Scarlette at the hospital?

Kayla: Scarlette was in the NICU for almost six months.

Jim: Every day, I mean, you never brought her home.

Kayla: Yep, she never even went outside. She didn’t even get her first breath of fresh air.

Jim: She was in an incubator, correct?

Kayla: She was; she was in a little incubator. She was in critical condition for about four months of that time and she was a little over a month old before I was even allowed to hold her.

Jim: I can’t imagine living in that moment with that kind of tension, really that you’re expecting your little one to pass away and you’re just hoping the next ding will occur.

Kayla: Right.

Jim: I mean, that is intense.

Kayla: It was. It was very heavy. It was a very dark heavy time and it really showed me, I think, how very fragile and how very beautiful life is, you know. I was so thankful for every moment that I had to spend with her, because I didn’t know when my last moment with her was gonna be.

Jim: And you’re kind of probably feeling guilty in some ways, even having to think that maybe she won’t live.

Kayla: Right. I felt like maybe it was my fault.

Jim: Yeah.

Kayla: You know, like I was her mom. I was supposed to protect her and so, delivering her early brought up a lot of feelings of guilt.

Jim: Is that a common feeling for women who have issues in delivery and with the child maybe born with special needs or something, that sense of guilt. If I had done something differently I may have been able to love my child more so or prevented this? You felt that.

Kayla: I think so. Even if you don’t have a preemie, I think as a mother, it’s a little bit ingrained in you to sort of feel like, what can I do to give my child the best chance and the best options? And could I have done something differently, no matter what the circumstance is.

Jim: I mean, for you, too specifically, because your situation was, you just simply as a mother couldn’t carry your baby to term, that must have added some guilt to it, like a defect in you was creating this.

Kayla: Right, I felt like my body was broken, you know.

Jim: Yeah. How did you reconcile that? How did you pray? How did you seek the Lord to say, “Lord, why are You lettin’ me down? Why am I letting myself down? Why am I letting my baby down?”

Kayla: Yeah, I was a little angry about it. I felt like the Bible says, “You’re fearfully and wonderfully made.” And I thought, “Well, if I’m fearfully and wonderfully made, then why did my body almost kill my baby?” It was a very raw emotion for me.

Jim: In addition to that, you’re in NICU where you’re seeing other parents lose their child, right? I mean, that’s a very tough area.

Kayla: And that was hard for me, because you would hear the alarms go off and you would pray just instantly, like “Oh, dear Lord, please don’t let that be my baby.” But then that means that it’s someone else’s baby and that is an awful tension to live in.

Jim: I can’t imagine.

Kayla: So it was just a lot of times trying to live right in that moment and be faithful for those tiny moments, because the big picture was a little too much for me to handle.

John: Well, Kayla Aimee is our guest on “Focus on the Family” today and her story is chronicled in the book, Anchored: Finding Hope in the Unexpected. And we’ve got that and a CD or download of this conversation at www.focusonthefamily.com/radio or call us if we can help you with these resources or other helps, 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY.

Kayla, you mentioned the tension that you were living with. How was Jeff handling all of this? I mean, your world is spinning. There are so many abnormal things going on. How was he handling the situation and was he asking God questions?

Kayla: Yeah, I think for him is he had this whole other burden, because he had to emotionally support his wife, who’s, you know, falling apart over here. And then also the medical bills that we were experiencing were just mounting and mounting. And so, he’s the provider of our family, so he had this crushing burden of the medical debt and supporting me and watching his first child and his only daughter go through all of that at the same time.

So, for him it was also a really heavy process and there’s not quite as much support for men in that situation as there is for women. So, I think he felt very lonely and alone during all of that.

Jim: I can relate to that. I think, you know, men again, we’re just seen as separate from that whole environment of birthing and you know, we just get to be on the sidelines more or less.

Kayla: Yes.

Jim: And it would be hard, very isolated. You’re feeling isolated and he’s feeling isolated.

Kayla: Right.

Jim: And in fact, it takes a toll on marriages, doesn’t it?

Kayla: It does and at the time we ended up having to live separately, because we were at a hospital that was several hours from our house. So, he had to go to work every day, while I stayed at the hospital. I was living there with the baby, so we weren’t even together during what was the hardest time for us. So, it became difficult for us to lean on each other. I think we felt like maybe we didn’t want to overburden one another, instead of coming together and leaning on one another. And so, yeah, it really was a time that tested our marriage a lot.

Jim: I noticed in your book, you mention a stat that really took my breath away; 97 percent of married couples in this situation don’t make it.

Kayla: Right.

Jim: Ninety-seven percent!

John: Wow.

Kayla: It’s a lot and I can see why. It’s this huge thing. When we got married and we said our vows, we thought like we will face everything that life hits us together. And we didn’t ever imagine or envision that what was gonna be difficult was gonna be something that came from us you know, something from the inside out.

Jim: Right, well and also that sense that you could manage it, ’cause in your ’20’s, you’re not thinking there’s anything life’s gonna throw you that you can’t manage, right?

Kayla: Right, yeah, we were a little naïve then.

Jim: Everything’s out in front of you.

Kayla: Like we’ve got this.

Jim: What were some of those things you began to do to rebuild your relationship with each other?

Kayla: I think that we started focusing on trying to make sure we were being vulnerable with one another, giving intentional time to one another and really just almost kinda, “starting over” is not the right word, but coming back together.

Jim: You know, so often as a new parent, you’re learning on the fly, whatever that might be. You know, you get maybe Focus on the Family’s Baby and Childcare book, (Chuckling) I don’t know. But you’re trying to learn these things. And in that environment, you must have really struggled on what can you do? How much mothering can I do while you have all these nurses doing so much of it? Did you come to a point where you didn’t know what to do? How can I help my child?

Kayla: The beginning was like that, because as a first-time mom, navigating new motherhood, you really don’t know what you’re doing at all. You’re just livin’ on a prayer, hopin’ that you’re gettin’ it right.

Jim: Right.

Kayla: And so, when you start that in the NICU process, there’s these other medical professionals who have like degrees. (Laughing)

Jim: They know exactly what to do.

Kayla: They know what they’re doin’.

Jim: Yeah.

Kayla: And so, it’s so very intimidating.

Jim: It has to be.

Kayla: I was afraid I would break her. We had to be so gentle with her. We weren’t even allowed to touch her. You know, how you go to stroke your baby. You weren’t allowed to touch her like that ’cause it could rip her skin. We only had 10 minutes every four hours that we could look inside the little isolette she was in to change her diaper. And so, they had to teach me how to do those things so we wouldn’t hurt her. So, mostly I just sat next to her and read her books. But I felt very displaced in my motherhood. I didn’t get to hold her. I didn’t get to do all of the things that you do when you first have a baby. So, I felt like I didn’t belong. I didn’t really know where my fit was.

Jim: Yeah, there was a moment though when you asked the nurse if you could change her diaper. You were shocked by the answer, right?

Kayla: Yeah, she was like, “Honey, you could’ve been changing it. You just needed to ask, you know. You just needed to tell us you wanted to.” I said, “I didn’t know. I thought I might break her.”

Jim: Yeah. There was another situation where they were missing something with an IV that you noticed. I mean, I would think that’d be very intimidating, where you’re challenging the nursing staff and the doctors, but what was that situation?

Kayla: That was one of the biggest lessons that came out of this process for me, was I really felt like God had given me this empowerment during that time and a confidence that I did not have going into the situation. And I had seen that her catheter, it looked like it was bent. And they told me her kidneys are shutting down. She’s not passing fluid. She’s not gonna make it if she doesn’t pass any fluid. And I said, “Well, I think it might be ’cause her line is bent.” And they said, “No, that’s not what it is.” And I said, “Yeah, I kinda feel stupid—

Jim: Right.

Kayla: –like I’m not a medical professional.” But then later when the doctor came, I told him, I said, “I just really think that’s what it is.” Like I have this strong conviction that, that was the problem with my baby, even though I knew nothing about any sort of medical equipment. And he said, “Well, if that’s how you feel, you’re mom; we’ll trust your instincts. We’ll do it.” And they did it and do you know that, that was the problem and she got better.

Jim: Yeah.

Kayla: And that’s not anything that had to do with me.

Jim: But that must have given you a good sense that, okay, now I’m in my role.

Kayla: Right.

Jim: I am the one lookin’ after my girl.

Kayla: After that I felt like I had some ownership, you know, like okay, this is my job now is to be her advocate. I can’t hold her, but I can advocate for her and I can trust that, you know, I’m being guided in the right direction here.

Jim: Kayla, we’ve, I think, done a good job painting the picture of what you were experiencing and to a degree what Jeff was experiencing and what your little girl was experiencing. Where was God in all this? Where’d you start that dialogue? When you would sleep on that couch or that little bed they set up for you in her room, night after night, week after week, month after month, were you saying, “God, where are You?”

Kayla: All the time I was. I just kept thinking, I feel like my faith has been whittled down to this one very core thing, which is that God is still here. And maybe that’s all I know right now, this one tenet of my faith, that God, when we are havin’ a hard time being faithful, He remains faithful to us. And that is kind of what carried me for a while, just knowing that it’s okay if I can’t handle everything, you know, because in my weakness is when He is strong and so, I’m just gonna be weak right now. I’m just gonna be weak and trust that what I believe about God to be true will be true for me. And then I saw it come to fruition in that.

Jim: You know, Kayla, I think for some listening, they may still be in a bad place, a dark place. They’re still asking God, why and they haven’t come through the other side or they’ve come through it and it’s not the side they wanted to come through. Maybe they lost their child. I’ve had a relative go through that situation. What do you say to them?

Kayla: Yeah, that is a hard question, because I think people want to be well-meaning and say something encouraging and helpful. And you know, what I normally try to say to people is, “I’m so sorry that this happened to you and I am praying for you,” because sometimes we just need other people to come alongside and do what we can’t do. When it’s too hard for us to say the words and it’s too hard for us to say the prayers, I think it’s helpful to know that other people are doing that on our behalf and loving us that way.

Jim: Were there some things that people said that helped you and some things that people said that were not helpful?

Kayla: Yeah, I think people really meant well when they would tell me things like, “Everything happens for a reason,” or “God’s got this.” And I would always think it; I wouldn’t say it out loud because I’m a very polite Southern girl (Laughter), in my head I would think, “But I don’t like this reason and if God’s got this, then why is my baby suffering?” You know, that doesn’t answer any of my questions.

But the people who came alongside and said, “I’m sorry that this has happened. How can I help? What can I do? I’m praying for you. I want you to know I’m here if you want to just vent, if you know, what do you need?” That was helpful to me.

Jim: Did you ever feel like shaking your fist at God? Did it get to that point where you were really angry?

Kayla: Yeah, some people sent us some flowers, which is wonderful. Our house was just covered in flowers and everyone was so supportive. And I looked at all the flowers that were on our table and I thought, I can’t bear to watch all of these flowers die, ’cause I don’t know if my daughter is going to die. And so, I took the vases and I broke them on the back porch. I threw them. I was that angry.

And I think that, that for me changed my relationship with God, because before I felt like my relationship with God needed to be something where I was perfect. You know, I was walking really well in the faith and I was a good girl, right? I was a good Christian girl. And so, that sort of moment of being very raw in my emotion and believing that God loved me no matter what I was feeling, He was there despite the fact that maybe I wasn’t reacting in the way that I thought was, you know, a good Christian response. But I still knew God wasn’t gonna abandon me in that. It was very changing for me in how I pursued my relationship and my faith with the Lord after.

Jim: Yeah. The day finally came and as you said, they usually only mention that your son or daughter’s ready to go out of NICU, just hours before so that you don’t have expectations I’m sure. But it happened five months and five days later–all the roller coaster of that. What did it feel like when they said, okay, this is it? In a few hours you can take her home? Did it feel like a relief? Or did you feel scared? Or what did you feel?

Kayla: I felt both. The whole time I just had this dichotomy of emotions where I was like really joyful and really scared, because I realized I didn’t really know how to be a mom outside of the hospital. You know, I didn’t know how to mother my baby without a bunch of machines telling me that she was still breathing.

Jim: And professionals.

Kayla: Right, I had a nurse that I could call anytime. I was like, “Hey, can you take a look at this?” She’s just right outside the door. So, that part of taking her home was really scary, but at that point, we were ready to have her at home with us. I wanted to take her and put her in her room and let her live with us as part of our family.

Jim: And tell us about Scarlette’s condition at that point when you’re taking her home. You describe when she was born, her eyes were still fused shut. Her ears weren’t fully developed. What did you see in her after five months in that incubator?

Kayla: It was really fun to watch her grow. So, I think one of the silver linings of going through this situation was that I got to see her develop outside of the womb, so I was just like this witness to what the miracle of life looks like on the outside, which you don’t normally get to see that, you know.

Jim: Yeah, you got to see an inside view.

Kayla: Yeah, so that was really cool. And so, by the time we took her home, she was never a very plump baby. She was still kinda tiny, but she was six pounds. She had a feeding tube and some other little things we took her home with, but by that point she looked like, oh, cuddly little baby.

Jim: So, she was in the right phase really.

Kayla: Yes.

Jim: So, tell us today, how is Scarlette doing? How old is she?

Kayla: She is 6.

Jim: Six-years-old.

Kayla: Yes and she is doing wonderfully. All of the things that they told us, you know, that we should look for, that she was gonna be developmentally delayed, all of those sorts of things have not come to fruition for us. She’s a very happy, healthy 6-year-old. We did a lot of therapy when she was younger and now we’re out of all of our therapies and she’s doing great.

Jim: Would you say your relationship with the Lord, you said it was very different and changed. Are you, in an odd way, are you grateful for how you are having a deeper relationship with Christ, you and Jeff, even though you went through difficulty and Scarlette went through difficulty, as well.

Kayla: Yeah, you would never, you know, want your child to go through something like that, but I think it definitely changed me from a person who maybe followed the rules of religion to a person who had a relationship to the Lord.

Jim: That’s a big difference.

Kayla: Right and so, I feel a lot freer in my faith, because I don’t feel confined by, I need to be all these things for my faith to be right, because I feel very confident in the relationship I have with God and the love God has for me.

Jim: Kayla, this has been so good. Thank you for that honesty and revisiting something that had to be painful and expressing it in your book, Anchored. This is a great book of hope. Is that what you’re hoping for?

Kayla: I hope so. I hope that when people read it, they feel as though that they have someone coming alongside of them. No matter what you’re going through, I think you always have those times where we kind of question and so, I hope this is something that will make people feel like, okay, I’m not alone in this. I’m not going through this alone.

Jim: Well, if you’re in that spot and you need help, this is a great resource, a great tool and we have counselors who can help you, as well. So, give us a call. We are here for you.

Closing:

John: And of course, there are other circumstances in life that have you up against the wall. Our caring Christian counselors, as Jim mentioned are here and it’d be a privilege to go through some of those questions that you might be asking. Our number is 800-A-FAMILY; 800-232-6459 and you can find resources and help and you can actually connect with a counselor in your own area through our website. That’s www.focusonthefamily.com/radio.

And by the way, if you can make a generous financial contribution to Focus on the Family today, we’ll send a complimentary copy of Kayla’s book to you. It’s a great resource, as Jim said, for you or for someone you know and love.

Well, thanks again for listening. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team here, I’m John Fuller, inviting you back when Joanne Kraft addresses the issue of busyness in your family.

Clip:

Mrs. Joanne Kraft: We speak in the language of busy. We would meet each other and say, “Hi, how’re you doin’?” And then we start using that word as if it was something of value. You know, “Well, I’m so busy.” And then we start playing busy-mom poker.

End of Clip

John: “Busy-mom poker,” where you’re trying to one-up each other with that busy language. Well, Joanne will talk more about giving your family a break, Monday on “Focus on the Family,” as we once again, help you and your family thrive.

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How I Found God Through My Abortion Journey (Part 1 of 2)

Cynthia Wenz shares her incredible testimony of discovering God’s love and forgiveness. As a teenager, Cynthia lived recklessly and strayed away from the Lord. By age 29, she had three abortions, numbing herself from the reality of killing her children. After realizing her mistakes, Cynthia became pro-life and experienced many years of turmoil and grief before undergoing post-abortion recovery. She now advocates for pregnancy resource centers across the nation. (Part 1 of 2)

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Embracing Hope and Love After a Loss

Dr. Gary Chapman and Candy McVicar describe the grief process and offer practical help & comfort to couples who have experienced infant loss.

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Avoiding Shame-Based Parenting

Psychologist Dr. Kelly Flanagan discusses the origins of shame, the search for self-worth in all the wrong places, and the importance of extending grace to ourselves. He also explains how parents can help their kids find their own sense of self-worth, belonging and purpose.

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Becoming a Clutter-Free Family

Joshua Becker discusses the benefits a family can experience if they reduce the amount of “stuff” they have and simplify their lives. He addresses parents in particular, explaining how they can set healthy boundaries on how much stuff their kids have, and establish new habits regarding the possession of toys, clothes, artwork, gifts and more.

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.

Navigating a Toxic Culture with Your Daughter - Part 2

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

Mrs. Meg Meeker

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

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

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

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

Cherishing Your Spouse Every Day

Do you love your spouse, or do you truly cherish them? Gary Thomas encourages couples to make a daily effort to go beyond the ‘duty’ of love, and combat the natural inclination to drift apart, by choosing to see the best in their spouse.

Mr. Gary Thomas

Gary Thomas is an international speaker and best-selling, award-winning author whose books include Married SexSacred Marriage and Sacred Parenting. He has also written numerous articles for several prominent national magazines. Gary and his wife, Lisa, reside in Texas and have three children. You can learn more about Gary by visiting his website, www.garythomas.com.

cherish front cover

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

“Most marriages survive by gritting teeth and holding on. But marriages can and will not only survive but thrive when husbands and wives learn to cherish one another.” Those are the powerful words of bestselling author Gary Thomas in his newest book–Cherish. And in a world desperate for marriage redemption, it is needed now more than ever. Thomas shows that although there are a countless number of marriages consisting of two people just going through the motions, there are real ways this pattern can be reversed: when husbands and wives learn to cherish one another in proven, loving, and everyday actions and words.

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Newest Release - Episode 2: Heroes Providing Hope

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

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

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

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Newest Release - Episode 4: Sometimes the Choice is Hard

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

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

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

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Newest Release - Episode 3: The Power of a Picture

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Newest Release - Episode 6: Families Helping Families!

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

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

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

Praying Scripture Over Your Child’s Life - Part 2

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

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt

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

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

Praying the Scriptures Over Your Children

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

Effective Habits to Embrace in Parenting

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

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

Dr. Randy Schroeder

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

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

Simple Habits for Effective Parenting

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

The Spiritual Battle for Your Marriage

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

Tim and Noreen Muehlhoff Cropped

Dr. Tim and Mrs. Noreen Muehlhoff

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

Defending Your Marriage

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

Reigniting Your Passion for Jesus - Part 1

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

Headshot photo of author Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder

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

Revival Rising

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

Reigniting Your Passion for Jesus - Part 2

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

Headshot photo of author Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder

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

Revival Rising

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

Mothers and Sons: Being a Godly Influence - Part 2

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

Headshot of Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe

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

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

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

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

Identifying Triggers in Your Marriage - Part 2

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

Headshot of Guy and Amber Lia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Mrs. Debra Fileta

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

Are You Really Okay?

Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are

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

Embracing Your Role as a Spouse

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

Headshot of Kevin Thompson

Pastor Kevin Thompson

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

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

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

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

Sharing Your Faith with Grace and Purpose

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

Mr. Greg Koukl

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

Tactics front cover

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

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

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.

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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!