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Focus on the Family Broadcast

How to Help a Friend Who is Thinking About Suicide

How to Help a Friend Who is Thinking About Suicide

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data, suicide is the second leading cause of death among people ages 10-34. And even though suicide is pervasive, the stigma around depression causes many to suffer silently. Tune in to learn key warning signs and find out how you can offer hope to loved ones battling despair.
Original Air Date: September 15, 2022

Preview:

Dr. Gregory Jantz: It is worth staying in the game. You may not feel it today, you may not feel it tomorrow, but there are answers, so stay in the game.

End of Preview

John Fuller: That’s Dr. Gregory Jantz and he joins us today on Focus on the Family to address a difficult but important topic. I do hope you’ll stay with us as we discuss rising suicide rates and how you might be able to help a friend who feels hopeless. Your host is Focus President and author Jim Daly, and I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, the stats on depression and suicide in the United States are deeply concerning and should be to the church, too. Um, according to the CDC, suicide rates increased almost 35% uh, over the last 20 years.

John: Hm.

Jim: That’s high.

John: Astounding.

Jim: And one person dies by suicide in our country every 11 minutes. And I know some are saying, “Why would you cover this topic?” Because we need to. I think as the Christian community we should.

Dr. Jantz: Yep.

Jim: Be able to step into this gap and give spiritual, emotional, and physical reasons for why it exists and what are the ways for someone to find their way through this. Um, it’s difficult. Uh, even though this problem is pervasive, I think the point is, the stigma of depression has really stuck around. I don’t think we’ve dealt with how to help people, so they carry that guilt and shame. And oftentimes in the pews, suffer silently.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: ‘Cause they don’t wanna talk about it. Uh, depression is a complex web, and it can affect anyone at any time, young or old, humble, successful. It doesn’t matter. Today we wanna equip you to notice and step in when a friend or family member is sinking into despair.

John: Yeah, and if you know someone struggling, a loved one or a friend, a really good starting place is our website. At focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Uh, you’ll learn more about resources like Alive to Thrive, our free online curriculum to help you with teens who might be battling suicidal thoughts. Additionally, we have caring counselors here and we’d be happy to connect you with one of them. It’s a free service provided by our donor community and uh, the number is 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. And as I mentioned, our guest today is Dr. Gregory Jantz, a mental health counselor and bestselling author. He has written a number of books and one of those will form the foundation for our conversation today. It’s called So Much to Live For: How to Provide Help and Hope to Someone Considering Suicide.

Jim: Greg, welcome back.

Dr. Jantz: So good to see you both.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Jantz: Thank you, Jim.

Jim: You fell into the right profession. You just bring light into a room when you’re in it. And uh, what a great thing to be that counselor.

Dr. Jantz: Wow. Thank you.

Jim: And God called you to a wonderful profession.

Dr. Jantz: You know what, as I’ve gotten older, I feel more passionate, too.

Jim: Wow.

Dr. Jantz: I’m really… at this point, when we look about suicide rates and what’s happening in the mental health area of our country, I’m all about saving lives.

John: Mm.

Jim: You know, let’s start with the dimension. Some people don’t live in this space. They don’t understand the contours of depression and suicide.

Dr. Jantz: Right.

Jim: I’m shocked that the second leading, uh, cause of death among 10–34-year old’s, the second leading cause of death is suicide.

John: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Jantz: It’s hard to even, when we use the word suicide it’s an awkward word just to use.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Jantz: I have to tell ya, this book was never on my radar. I’ve written 40 books. To think about doing a book on suicide was nothing I ever thought I would do. And then I started to look at what is going on here, and I believe we need to address this.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Jantz: And if you zero those stats in even deeper, your 12–17-year old’s are some of our most vulnerable right now.

Jim: That’s so sad.

Dr. Jantz: And it is the second leading cause of death nationwide for that age group.

Jim: So let’s, uh, dig into that at bit. Um, just looking at the landscape.

Dr. Jantz: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Why is this on the rise? Why over the last 20 years, that stat I gave, why are we seeing more depression? More suicide?

Dr. Jantz: Three things we’re seeing more of right now. In the last 2-1/2 years, coming through a pandemic, coming through all the time we’ve been g-, going through (laughs) and, uh, we’re seeing, uh, increase in depression, an increase in anything related to anxiety and anxiety disorders. And thirdly, addiction. Addiction rates have never been higher. When I say addiction, that includes, uh, alcohol. Alcohol sales are meeting all-time records. Isn’t that just a crazy thing to even say?

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Jantz: Uh, prescription drug misuse and addiction. I think we need to talk about digital addiction.

Jim: Sure.

Dr. Jantz: Pornography. So any form of addiction has skyrocketed as well. So, all-time highs of anxiety, all-time highs of depression, and now addiction, followed now, the aftermath of that is increase in suicide rates.

Jim: Yeah. You know when you look again at the big picture, Greg, um, a country that has so much.

Dr. Jantz: Sure.

Jim: And of course, in Canada, I would consider them our cousins.

Dr. Jantz: Yes.

Jim: They, too, like the Western culture.

Dr. Jantz: Right.

Jim: I mean, there’s just been so much blessing in so many ways. Why when we have so much that our daily needs generally are met. I realize that some struggle in that space.

Dr. Jantz: Sure.

Jim: But generally, people can eat. People have shelter. And in that environment where it’s positive in meeting those basic needs, we have these emotional, uh, traumas.

Dr. Jantz: Right. And trauma is a good word for it, Jim. Here’s what we know. Right now, uh, psychologists are using a new term called foreshortened future.

John: Hm.

Dr. Jantz: So that means that our generation right now tend not to have hope for their futures. A foreshortened future. So there’s apathies at an all-time high, and the attitude is what does it matter? And then we mix in everything that our younger generation is going through in social media, uh, cyber bullying, everything that’s wrapped into social media. We have a generation that has no hope for their future. That’s the feeling.

Jim: Yeah. That’s the bottom line. And, you know, again, I saw a loneliness index that they’ve been keeping now I guess for 20 years or so.

Dr. Jantz: Yes.

Jim: So you would think in a culture, again, that’s so well connected, seemingly, loneliness is at a record high. Again, you’re connected digitally but you’re not truly connected in the way we were made by God.

Dr. Jantz: Jim, you’re right on. The more time you spend online and thinking you have connections, actually the higher your loneliness score is.

Jim: Yeah.

John: Hmm.

Dr. Jantz: So you’re really not connected.

Jim: Yeah. Professional help, obviously, is a good thing, and we try here at Focus on the Family to stress that.

Dr. Jantz: Yes.

Jim: For the Christian community, especially, because some hold back thinking, you know, God will take care of this.

Dr. Jantz: Right.

Jim: And that can be true, and that’s a wonderful thing. But sometimes it takes a friend or family member to step in the gap as well. Um, speak to the role a friend and family member can play with a person with depression or suicide ideation.

Dr. Jantz: Exactly. You know, one of the things that we tend to get afraid of is even using that word suicide, or even using the word depression. And I just wanna acknowledge, if you’ve been family member of you’ve had a loved one or it’s in your circle of friends, somebody has taken their life, that has such a huge ripple effect. There’s a grief that’s, uh, difficult to even explain that you go through.

Jim: Right.

Dr. Jantz: Uh, when you have a loved one. And so to deal with somebody who you think is contemplating suicide, it is a very difficult place to be. So I just wanna acknowledge the awkwardness of that, and to even have a conversation. And if you live with somebody, you could feel real exhausted yourself.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Jantz: It’s like I feel like I’ve tried to do everything to help them, they’re not getting better, what do I do? And you feel helpless.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Jantz: And so that’s, just acknowledging family members can be in a real difficult place.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Jantz: Here’s what you need to do. Here’s some things to always keep in mind. Stay in relationship. Stay in relationship with that person. Uh, don’t be afraid to bring up the topics. Tell me. Here’s a question you can ask. Please tell me. I love you; I care so much about you. Will you tell me more about how bad is the struggle? Have ’em talk to you.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Jantz: Uh, one of the things that people who are struggling is they, they may not know what to say, but they need to talk about it. So keep an open door. Don’t give up on the relationship. Hold back from giving those simple answers (laughs) you know, like, why don’t you just shake, shake this off. Or we, we wanna fix it for them. Uh, though we need to pray for wisdom. K? Lord, God, give me the words what to say. Uh, but stay in the game with ’em.

Jim: Yeah. No, that’s really good. I, I’m thinking, Greg, how often, uh, we in the Christian community, again, you know, if we break our arm, we go to the orthopedist. Right? They set it. Um, I did that with Trent. He (laughs) was roller skating.

Dr. Jantz: Yes.

Jim: He broke it. And, uh, you know, and other ailments like that. If we’re prone to diabetes, we take medication. We pray, we ask God to take that away, or whatever the illness might be.

Dr. Jantz: Mm-hmm.

Jim: It seems easier for us to attack that when it’s physical.

Dr. Jantz: Right. Mm-hmm.

Jim: It seems more difficult for us as Christians, again, to attack it in the emotional space. And let me set the question up this way. Uh, Christians that I’ve talked to that feel like if they’re depressed or they’re feeling suicidal, they feel guilty about that. If God loved me, you know, why wouldn’t he take this away from me? This is the most horrible feeling a person could feel.

Dr. Jantz: Yes.

Jim: So why, how can they co-exist, that I’m a Christian and I feel depressed?

Dr. Jantz: We need to remember that the fear and the despondency, and just that sense of despair, when you enter into despair, you’re no longer thinking rationally. You, you will feel unlovable, like God doesn’t love me, my life doesn’t matter. And my life doesn’t matter to those around me. And so those suicidal thoughts start to lie to you. It’s a lie from the enemy and it starts to say things to you that are not true. So we need to remember that. Despair brings distorted thinking.

Jim: Hm.

Dr. Jantz: And so that’s where we don’t make good decisions. Um, so if you’re filled with suicidal thoughts or anxiety, you’re either frozen. You can’t, I can’t make a decision. Or you’re really impulsive. Uh, neither is good.

Jim: Right, right. And that’s why you need to recognize those signs. Um, address the common misconception that suicide is always linked to mental illness.

Dr. Jantz: Yes. And actually, um, when we use the term mental illness, it means a lot of different things. So when we think of mental illness, sometimes even the word like psychosis or a person that may have a serious mental disorder, uh, we know that that doesn’t represent most of the suicides, surprisingly.

Jim: Huh.

Dr. Jantz: So, um, what we do know is, it’s a person that’s maybe had a lot of trauma. There’s been despair. There could be significant grief. They’re afraid of a future crisis in their life, and they see no way out. Remember, despair feels like I have no way out.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Jantz: So that’s more common than having quote, a mental illness.

Jim: You know, it’s interesting with scripture where the Lord says, you know, fear not.

Dr. Jantz: Yes.

Jim: I didn’t give you a spirit of fear. There’s so much power in that, but, you know, again, to a person that’s experiencing that anxiety or that fear…

Dr. Jantz: Right.

Jim: I could only imagine it feels like they’re trying to build a bridge and they don’t have the lumber or the brick to put in the bridge.

Dr. Jantz: Yeah.

Jim: How do they address?

Dr. Jantz: Yes.

Jim: Where, where do they go find the ability to create that mental bridge?

Dr. Jantz: Where here’s a promise we have. I think of II Timothy 1:7 that says, The Lord hasn’t given us a spirit… as you just said, Jim, uh, a spirit of fear. So that tells us fear, there’s a spirit of fear, uh, but of power, good, love, and a key word here, sound mind.

Jim: Hm.

Dr. Jantz: How do I re-establish, what’s the building blocks for a sound mind? Well, one of ’em, I can’t live in isolation. I cannot do this alone. Uh, when I’m overwhelmed I wanna isolate. I tend not to make good decisions in isolation, um, so I need to move away from isolation, and if you’re living with somebody and this is what they’re struggling with, um, you need to talk to them. One of the myths, and you, you led this so nicely, but one of the myths is, if I say anything about suicide or ever use that word, I’ll give them ideas. That is clearly a myth.

John: Hm.

Dr. Jantz: You may wanna open the, the door of communication and say, “Have you ever thought about taking your life?” And I know that’s a big question, but so open up that door.

Jim: Huh.

Dr. Jantz: They need to talk about it.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Jantz: Now, if they say yes, and they say, “Yeah, I, I, and I have a plan.” Okay, we need to talk about what to do then. But don’t be afraid of asking that question. That could be opening the door of hope.

Jim: Yeah. Uh, eh, while we’re here at this point, I think it’s important for you to identify those stages of that downward spiral.

Dr. Jantz: Sure.

Jim: What are they?

Dr. Jantz: Well, a stage of a downward spiral would be I isolate, I withdraw, I move away from others. I may, uh, start to put even things in my life in order. Times you may be living with a person who’s been severely depressed, but then it seems like all of a sudden, they’re like doing better, and it seems like there’s a sense of relief. Sometimes that’s an indication that, uh, they start giving away things, they start putting some, quote, putting their life in order because they made a decision to take their life.

Jim: Huh.

Dr. Jantz: And then when they do that, we look back and go, “What did I miss?” And so if you’ve ever been involved in this, you can do a lot of self-blame. You can look back and go, “What did I miss?” And then we get into this, “I should’ve known more.”

Jim: Oh yeah.

Dr. Jantz: Uh, and we can blame ourselves. I can tell you, once a person has made that decision, that’s their, it’s a decision they’ve made, unfortunately.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Jantz: And you think about our words, the matter of life and death, and we can speak life over a person, and we need to do that, but what they have decided, they decided.

Jim: Yeah. It, it, it’s, uh, you know, if a family hasn’t gone through that…

Dr. Jantz: Yes.

Jim: we’ve talked about Jean’s brother who committed suicide on the broadcast so I’m not sharing anything that I shouldn’t, but that was one of the residual effects, I mean, the way the family beat themselves up for not preventing it. And that can be a heavy weight of guilt for the family members.

Dr. Jantz: Oh, yes.

Jim: If something happens.

Dr. Jantz: I wanna caution against the self-blame, but you can, ’cause you’re grieving, and you go what, what did I miss? What should I have done differently? And you can be in that, just keep cycling that over and over and you can create a lot of depression for yourself. Um, so we need to be really set free of that self-blame.

John: Yeah. And this is Focus on the Family with Jim Daly and, uh, our guest today is Dr. Gregory Jantz. Obviously a very heavy, sensitive topic, but we trust you’ll give us a call if we can be of any help to you along the way. Uh, if you’re dealing with struggles or you have a loved one who is in a tough place, like Dr. Jantz has been describing, our number is 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. Or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. And while you’re there, be sure to look for Greg’s book So Much to Live For: How to Provide Help and Hope to Someone Considering Suicide.

Jim: You, you describe a woman named Sheila in your book, uh, So Much to Live For, which again, what a great, positive title.

Dr. Jantz: Mm-hmm.

Jim: But, um, it kind of fits this description. Uh, describe what Sheila went through.

Dr. Jantz: Well, Sheila’s situation was she had been depressed for a very long time, but then we saw a suddenly, relatively sudden change in mood, which means it looked like she was getting better, and then we kind of stopped being so concerned.

Jim: Ah.

Dr. Jantz: And she was one that, in this case, had begun to make a plan. So my point is, don’t be afraid to keep asking the questions. Now, it’s not the only question we ask.

Jim: Right.

Dr. Jantz: Um, but, um, stay in relationship. See where they need to have help. Uh, we want to be an instrument of help but we’re not the one to solve everything.

Jim: Right. Um, let me turn to the risky behavior side of this, too.

Dr. Jantz: Sure.

Jim: ‘Cause I, and I would suggest, and you can correct me, but I would think this is seen in boys and men where if they lean in this direction all of a sudden, they can start, I mean, just crazy stuff, mountain climbing, rope climbing without tethers.

Dr. Jantz: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Um, and again, I’ve seen some of that in our own family where those people that are losing that will to live decide, okay, I’m just gonna, you know, risk it all, and can do that in more recreational ways, driving too fast, you know, in a sports car.

Dr. Jantz: Mm-hmm. Yes. So sometimes when they’ve made a decision to kind of tease the idea and they start to increase risky behavior.

Jim: Right.

Dr. Jantz: It can be any form of risky behavior. Um, I’ve seen people, they’ll start walking across a busy street, you know, in front of cars.

Jim: Like baiting fate.

Dr. Jantz: Yeah, so they’re testing the notion. There are those who will get so close to doing something very drastic, they’re testing the notion. Now, the warning is, the more often I do that, at one point I will make the decision.

Jim: Mm-hmm. One of the difficulties, and we’re kind of dancing around it a little bit, it, you know, you, this is such a hard topic, and it’s hard to be direct, and to really ask those questions. My problem would be, you know, every morning, hey, how are you doing?

Dr. Jantz: Mm-hmm.

Jim: What’s going on emotionally.

Dr. Jantz: Right.

Jim: Give me a scale of one to 10. That can be a bit of a drag, too, if I’m listening to myself, but that question was pointed to me, “Man, Dad, you gotta start every conversation like that?”

Dr. Jantz: Yeah.

Jim: So how do you manage all that?

Dr. Jantz: That’s why we, sure, and that’s why we never wanna do it alone. We always wanna engage others in the process. So that’s where the professional help, that’s where we have other loved ones.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Jantz: That’s where we have a team of three to five people who are our inner circle. They’re praying. We’re seeking wisdom. But but it can’t land only on one person. Now if you’re a loved one and you’re living with a loved one in this struggle, I understand. There’s a caregiver fatigue here. You’re waking up with anxiety ’cause you don’t know how are they gonna be today.

Jim: Right.

Dr. Jantz: And so, that’s a tough one to walk. When I say stay in relationship, it doesn’t always mean I’m asking the same question every day, um, but I am really learning to trust myself, trust that God-given intuition, that if something seems amiss, I say trust yourself.

Jim: Hm. Yeah, that’s good.

Dr. Jantz: Yeah. And it may be, “Do you have an appointment today? Or what’s on your schedule for today?” Always look to the future. If they say, “Yeah, I have an appointment at 5 o’clock today and I plan on being there.” Okay, that’s a good sign.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Jantz: But always look to the future.

Jim: No that, that is really good. (laughs)

Dr. Jantz: Yeah.

Jim: The, uh, the idea of being direct, though, how do you, how, you know, that again can be a little delicate balance. So if you’re noticing those things, how do you encourage the loved ones to be as direct as possible?

Dr. Jantz: Well, I always preface it with a statement of affirmation, and it may look like, “I love you so much, I so care about our relationship. Is it all right if I ask you a couple questions today?”

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Jantz: So you’re affirming them, and then you’re getting permission to ask a couple questions. And you’re gonna say, “Really, tell me how you’re really doing. I know there’s been a big struggle, but let me know, how are you really doing?” They may have a hard time putting it into words. If it’s a teenager, you know, their famous word is, “I’m fine.” (laughs)

Jim: Yeah, about everything.

Dr. Jantz: (laughs) I’m fine. I’m fine.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Jantz: Don’t you know? I’m fine.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Jantz: But you stay in relationship with them. And sometimes if it’s a teenager, take ’em out for a walk. Have a conversation. Create some physical movement while you’re engaging with that teenager.

Jim: The other delicate point in this relationship, let’s say you do notice some things.

Dr. Jantz: Yeah.

Jim: You are concerned about it. You’re doing everything you can to stay in tune, I think that’s a pretty good word, so you’re not overbearing with it.

Dr. Jantz: Yes.

Jim: You’re just in tune, and then you begin to think, okay, some professional help, a Christian counselor.

Dr. Jantz: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Pastor. It would be good for this loved one, or this friend to encourage them to talk with that person. That can be a really delicate discussion. How would you suggest a person, uh, do that?

Dr. Jantz: “Can I come along side you and find somebody that I believe could be of real help right now?” And so we’re gonna ask permission, and then you’re gonna kind of say, “You know, I’m gonna work on this with you but we’re gonna find somebody.” Uh, and you know, it may be you’re takin’ ’em to the first appointment, uh, and maybe it is somebody in ministry. Maybe it is a pastor, but we’re going to begin to build a support group of three to five people.

John: Hm.

Dr. Jantz: Now, one of the things we haven’t mentioned yet, it could be really important that we look at, is there some significant trauma? Are there medical issues? Uh, a person who’s been given a tough diagnosis, for example, they may, uh, be at a place where they need, uh, to really deal with that medical diagnosis. You know, just that word cancer can be really scary, and people start to think, okay, is it worth living?

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Jantz: And so that’s a ra-, the irrational thinking.

Jim: Greg, I, I wanna make sure we pepper this with God.

Dr. Jantz: Yes.

Jim: That’s so important. I mean, God creates us, we believe in him, we accept his son Jesus as our Lord and Savior. This battle that can be there when you’re struggling in that spot. Lord, take this away. Lord, help me.

Dr. Jantz: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Um, again we asked that early on about the guilt that comes with that, but wha-, how does God view that and what are the characters maybe even in scripture? David seems to be somebody, King David, who struggled with depression at times. The Psalms seem to suggest that.

Dr. Jantz: Yes, but he…

Jim: So when you…

Dr. Jantz: Sometimes he seemed like he was up and down. (laughs)

Jim: Yeah, a little bit, yeah, manic and all those things.

Dr. Jantz: Right.

Jim: But when you look at those characters in scripture, how do you see God dealing with them and their own self-awareness about what was going on, even though they didn’t have the diagnostic tools that we have today?

Dr. Jantz: Right. Well, two words come to my mind. One, preserve. God preserved them. And then there’s the word prevail, that we’re gonna have victory. And you need to remember, when we’re dealing with mental health issues, there is Lord Jesus, preserve the life, and preserve the life and you have a plan for this life and it’s a good plan. And then prevail. Prevail means I’m gonna win over the opposing forces. And so that’s, I’m gonna have victory here. And you need to be speaking victory into that person’s life. Pray Lord, God, give us the wisdom to know what is it they need? What’s being missed? A lot of times a person who has struggled with lifelong depression or anxiety, there’s been a couple missing pieces to the puzzle.

Dr. Jantz: And, and, so Lord, show us what needs to be addressed here. And so I do see it. I see it like one big puzzle, we’re gonna keep putting the pieces in there, and God’s gonna help direct that.

Jim: Hm.

John: Hm. I, I’m thinking, Greg, as your speaking of that story in scripture of the four friends who let their, uh, friend down through the roof in front of Jesus.

Dr. Jantz: Yes.

Jim: Yes.

John: They were kind of doing what you were talking about. They were having hope for the future. They were having faith on his behalf, perhaps.

Dr. Jantz: Mm-hmm.

John: Uh, to bring him to the Master…

Dr. Jantz: I love that.

John: for healing. So really what I hear you saying is we can do this for somebody who is struggling, even if it’s uncomfortable for us, even if we don’t have a license, you know, we, we’re not counselors.

Dr. Jantz: That’s right.

John: We can be part of that circle of friends that will help this person come a little closer to Jesus and have some hope for the future.

Dr. Jantz: I can tell you this, and that’s exactly right. You will not regret living, you may not see the option right now, but we have worked with so many folks through the years who lived with a lifelong pattern of suicide attempts and suicide ideation, and they have been set free from it, and they will tell you, “Life is worth living. I am so glad I’m alive.”

Jim: Hm.

Dr. Jantz: And so, it is worth staying in the game. You may not feel it today, you may not feel it tomorrow, but there are answers, so stay in the game.

John: Hm.

Jim: Yeah, I think, you know, one of the phrases Jean often uses now when she’s helping friends, you know, jump in and make sure they’re diligent about looking at those around them.

Dr. Jantz: Yeah. Yeah.

Jim: And make sure they’re healthy, but she’ll say, you know, suicide ends up being a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

Dr. Jantz: And that’s really the truth.

Jim: Wow.

Dr. Jantz: Yeah.

Jim: I mean, that’s powerfully stated.

Dr. Jantz: Yeah.

Jim: And I think, you know, dips are gonna occur, emotional dips will occur, but that’s why we’re doing’ the program today. Uh, Greg, I, uh, the caregiver, what do you recommend for them to stay emotionally healthy, robust? What are the care factors for them to consider as they’re caring?

Dr. Jantz: Yes, very important. Sometimes a caregiver, Jim, forgets to take care of themselves.

Jim: Right.

Dr. Jantz: So everything from sleep to food and your own self-care. You’ve got to take care of yourself. It’s kind of like putting the oxygen mask on you first.

Jim: Right. (laughs)

Dr. Jantz: So but keep up the self-care. And that means also keeping your mind and spirit renewed. Take those promises from the scripture, a favorite verse or two, put them on the old fashioned 3 x 5 card and I want you to carry those around. (laughs)

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Jantz: Pull ’em out occasionally. Speak God’s word out loud of truth, but you’ve gotta keep yourself renewed.

Jim: Yeah, that is good. Renewing your own soul by…

Dr. Jantz: Yes.

Jim: you know, reading the word. That’s so good.

Dr. Jantz: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Uh, Greg, let’s end with this question. It’s probably the most critical. Wha-, what encouragement would you offer those listening who are worried about a loved one?

Dr. Jantz: Yeah, and I understand the worry. Let’s acknowledge the very difficult place that you’re at. One advice is, uh, let’s not do it alone. It may be picking up a phone and, uh, making a phone call today, taking some kind of action, but let’s not do this alone. The other is pray for wisdom, that God will show you what does this loved one need? Because we wanna help supply the help meet those needs. And be patient. Be patient with yourself. God can be at work, the Holy Spirit is at work, a plan could be evolving and we’re not fully aware of it, so, but you are a part of the solution. Stay in the game.

Jim: Yeah, that is good. Hey, Greg, thank you for offering such great, uh, help and insight for people who are in a dark place, or people who are noticing others in that dark place, and let me turn to the listener, the viewer. Yeah, if that’s you, get a hold of us. I mean, everything is free. We’re doing this out of Christian compassion, and you get in touch with us, we can help you, we can connect you with a Christian counselor. We have a referral system that we can, uh, refer you to, uh, to a counselor in your area who can pick up that relationship. And we have a tremendous number of resources including Greg’s book, So Much to Live For, that we want to get into your hands. If you can join us in the ministry and be part of the ministry, we’ll send it to ya, uh, as our way of saying thank you for a gift of any amount, but we don’t want that to be the issue. Uh, if you need it, we’ll send it to ya. Just call us and ask for it, and we’ll get it into your hands trusting others will take care of the cost.

John: We’re a phone call away. The number is 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. Or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. And as Jim mentioned, we do have, uh, some tremendous caring Christian counselors here. We’d be happy to take your number, give you a call back, uh, at a time that works for you and make sure that, uh, you have that, uh, that conversation with them. Also, as I mentioned earlier, Alive to Thrive is our free online curriculum for parents and youth leaders working with teens. It’ll give you some great tools, and again, you’ll find that at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Greg, again, thank you for being with us. This has been really helpful, although difficult. Thank you.

Dr. Jantz: It is difficult, and there is so much to live for. I, I’m passionate about saving lives.

Jim: I know that.

Dr. Jantz: Yeah.

Jim: Thank you.

John: And on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team here, thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller inviting you back as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ.

Today's Guests

So Much to Live For Book Cover

So Much to Live for: How to Provide Help and Hope to Someone Considering Suicide

Receive the book So Much to Live for and the audio download of the broadcast "How to Help a Friend Who is Thinking About Suicide" for your donation of any amount!

Recent Episodes

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Forgiving Others, Freeing the Soul (Part 1 of 2)

Dr. Tim Keller unpacks powerful stories of forgiveness and shares Scripture to help you forgive those who’ve wronged you, as you gain a better understanding of all that Christ has forgiven. Dr. Keller takes you through the steps to forgiveness, including the need to forgive yourself, and how to lovingly confront others. (Part 1 of 2)

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Celebrating Advent as a Family

When the Christmas season rolls around, we often place expectations that it will be “the best Christmas ever,” but we end up disappointed, stressed out and exhausted. Josh and Christi Straub urge us all to remember the true meaning of the Advent season, offering ways to sidestep the stress by being fully present with family and reflecting on the joy of the season.

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Caring for the Forgotten Generation

Chaplain Bill Goodrich of God Cares Ministry describes the vibrant opportunity to befriend and share Christ with the elderly in your community. He shares his heart for this forgotten generation of precious people who deserve our love and attention.

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A Legacy of Music and Trusting the Lord

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

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Accepting Your Imperfect Life

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

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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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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

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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!