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Offering Hope to Families Experiencing Drug Addiction (Part 2 of 2)

Offering Hope to Families Experiencing Drug Addiction (Part 2 of 2)

Mac Owen and his wife, Mary, discuss their turbulent past marked by his hard core drug addiction, and how they came to experience God's grace and healing, which has not only restored their lives but has led to a recovery ministry for addicts and their family members. (Part 2 of 2)
Original Air Date: November 7, 2018

Preview:

Mac Owen: Well, you know, we hear people especially in Colorado now, say that marijuana is not a gateway drug. And that’s fine if people wanna believe that, but for me it was. And everybody that I ever knew that was on meth, started with marijuana.

Jim Daly: Right, right-

Mac: (laughs) So-

Jim: … I think the evidence is pretty strong that it is.

Mac: … right, right.

End of Preview

John Fuller: That’s Mac Owen, describing his own painful and nearly destructive journey with drug addiction. And, uh, Mac and his wife Mary are back with us today on Focus on the Family. Your host is Focus president, and author Jim Daly, and I’m John Fuller.

Jim: Uh, John, we had a powerful conversation last time with Mac and Mary, who grew up right in the middle of the drug revolution that gripped this nation during the ’60s and ’70s. And even though they came from loving Christian homes, uh, they were drawn to a party lifestyle at that time. And would leave their youth group, uh, to join their friends in drinking and smoking marijuana, and even experimenting with harder drugs. Uh, that was a normal part of their everyday life. But underneath all of what they considered fun and getting high were feelings of guilt and shame. Especially for Mary who had been taught since childhood about giving her life to the Lord and following him day-to-day. Uh, tragically, I think many Christian families struggle with these same issues now. There’s a growing momentum in the US to legalize drugs, especially marijuana. And we’re already seeing the harmful consequences in traffic deaths, overdoses, and simply what, uh, marijuana can do to your apathy. You’re just not motivated to get out there and pursue productive lives.

John: Hmm. Well, we are hearing from a lot of parents who are rightly very concerned about their teens and young adults who are at risk. And of course, we’re here to help if you’re dealing with this kind of an issue. We have Christian counselors who are available to pray with you and direct you to resources. And, uh, the number to call to reach them is 800-232-6459. Or we’ll have a link for our counseling team at focusonthefamily.com\broadcast.

Jim: The good news is there is hope. And Mac and Mary have documented their story in a book called, Never Let Go: God’s Story Of Healing Hurting Lives. And we wanna pick up the story right there. And let me say Mac and Mary, welcome back to Focus on the Family.

Mac: Thank you.

Mary Owen: Thank you.

Jim: Um, l- let’s go here, uh, we mentioned last time, that you almost died of an overdose. Uh, uh, tragically, you had mixed two drugs. Paint the picture of what happened, because this again, as we said last time, is one of those moments where God got your attention obviously. The last was when you, uh, went to get drugs and you had your two daughters in the car. And that just made an impact on you about the danger of it. Describe what happened here, where you felt like this could be the end.

Mac: Well, most addicts have a fairly grandiose type of thinking. And, um, if a little bit is good, then a lot must be better. And so, at this point in my addiction, I had moved to doing something I said I would never do, and that was injecting drugs.

Jim: Hmm.

Mac: I was scared of needles, I said I’d never do that, but a friend introduced me to it, and I thought, wow, this is really good. And so, it took me to that next level. And then another friend said, “You know, if you do meth and mix a little cocaine with it, it’ll even be better.”

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Mac: Well, I did that, uh, and unfortunately, people in the addiction end of life don’t realize that we’re not dealing with Dal Pharmaceutical-

Jim: Right.

Mac: … we’re dealing with people who make this stuff in a bathtub somewhere.

Jim: Right.

Mac: And so, I got some drugs, some cocaine and some meth, mixed it together, and, uh, at the point I injected it, uh, my heart, I could feel it just stopping.

Jim: Hmm.

Mac: And I f- I was on the bathroom floor, just laying on the floor, could not get up. After about 15 minutes, I crawled into the living room, crawled up on the couch and sat there f- or laid there for about the next two hours until Mary came home. And at that point, I had- I realized that I wasn’t going to die, or didn’t think I was, but in that period until Mary came home, that two hours, I thought the whole time I was gonna die.

Jim: Hmm.

Mac: But again, at that point, that’s when God in his clear, small voice-

Jim: Right.

Mac: … said, “What are you doing? What are you doing?” And I heard that, but I still chose not to really listen to it. I heard it but I didn’t listen to it, if that makes any kind of sense?

Jim: Oh, it does, yeah, I get that. And I wanna make sure people listening, this isn’t about lifting up the life of, uh, a drug addict at all. I mean, uh, this is a breaking process-

Mac: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … that you’re going through. Let me ask the question that probably in your recovery program that you lead, um, is often a question that an addict will ask, “Why am I doing this to myself? Why?”

Mac: And- and to that there is not a good reason, or a good answer to that question. Other than the fact it starts out fairly innocently.

Jim: Just a good time.

Mac: Good times with some good friends, and then before you know it, it ends up at a place where you can’t stop. It- you- your body… And- and I don’t… This is my own belief but I don’t believe this is a disease, I believe this was a choice that I made. But by this time in my choice of using drugs, my body was saying, “You can’t live without this,” because it had become a part of every one of the cells in my body.

Jim: Yeah.

Mac: And so my body craved it, and so, I needed more and more. So, again, it wasn’t that you know, that thing where I woke up one day and said, “I’m gonna be an addict.”

Jim: Right.

Mac: That almost-

Jim: Nobody does that.

Mac: … no, nobody does that. And it- it almost happens unaware and overnight.

Jim: Yeah.

Mac: You wake up and you- your body craves it so bad.

Mary: Well, I think some people fro- from us being in recovery for so long, all the stories that we’ve heard, a lot of times people will start smoking part of this or drinking or whatever it is that they start doing, is because they have this pain. There’s some kind of pain in their life that they wanna numb. And this numbs that pain where they don’t have to think about it anymore. But then, all of a sudden, that little bit they did that doesn’t work anymore, so they have to take a little more to numb it again. And that’s kind of how it starts.

Mac: Right, it is to, uh, escape that pain that they’re feeling, maybe something happened in childhood, et cetera.

Mary: Yes, yes.

Jim: Mac, you then… Uh, Mary’s going to church, you have an encounter with your daughter I think-

Mac: Mm-hmm.

Mary: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … it was Callie.

Mac: Yeah.

Jim: And she said something… I think she was only four years old-

Mary: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … if I remember the story correctly. Describe what went on and how this was now the third, uh, uh, event that I’m aware reading the- the book.

Mac: This was the third and breaking point in my life. Um, where I had been awake for a week-

Jim: Oh geez.

Mac: … and that’s, I mean, literally, had not been asleep-

Jim: Hmm.

Mac: … for seven days. It was a Saturday night, I came in early probably five or six o’clock in the morning to go to bed Sunday morning while they went to church.

Jim: Right.

Mac: And so, I came and got in bed, just hoping that they would leave me alone, not say anything to me, and just- I- I just really at that point, knew I needed some sleep. Well, our youngest daughter Callie came in the bedroom as Mary was getting ready in the bathroom. I’m laying in the bed, Callie comes in, stands beside the bed and looks at me but talks to her mom. And said, “How come daddy doesn’t do anything with us anymore?”

Jim: Hmm.

Mac: “How come daddy doesn’t go to church with us anymore?” And in that moment I heard that, but Mary, who was at this point a classic co-dependent, and didn’t wanna ruffle the waters in any way, uh, said, “You need to leave your daddy alone, he’s been working hard, he needs some sleep.”

Jim: Hmm.

Mac: And she said, Callie said, “Well, if he’s not going to church, I’m not gonna go either.”

Jim: Hmm.

Mac: And that’s what I heard. In that moment, God told me I was not only killing myself but I was killing everybody I claimed to love. And I would say everybody that I loved, but if I really loved them would I be doing the things that I was doing? So, all this conflict was going through my mind right now, and I just said they just needed to leave. So, I just acted like I didn’t hear anything and just waited for them to leave.

Jim: Hmm.

Mac: When they left, God used that little girl that morning to break my heart.

Jim: Hmm.

Mac: I went outside immediately, got all my drugs, paraphernalia, everything, went outside and burned everything, ’cause I knew if I didn’t, I would use again. So, I said, I’ve just got to clear the house of everything.

Jim: Yeah.

Mac: So, I went and got everything out of there, came in and I started writing Mary a letter. And remember now, I still haven’t been asleep- (laughs)

Jim: Right.

Mac: … for a week. But I started writing her a letter and telling her everything that I’d done. And what I’d been doing and was there any way that she could ever forgive me and that we could have a normal life. I just remember writing all that stuff down.

Mary: And so, I left for church with the girls and I was just- I was crushed, because I thought- I thought I was keeping it a good secret from our kids. And that they weren’t knowing that me and their daddy weren’t getting along really well. And so I went to church that morning and the last song of, um, the day… Well, actually the sermon was on confession and how good it is for the soul.

Jim: Oh my goodness.

Mary: And I was like, oh man, I wish I could tell somebody what all is going on in my life. And the last song of the day is, It Is Well With My Soul.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Mary: And I thought- I couldn’t even sing it, and I said, it’s not well with my soul, it’s not well with our kids and it’s not well with Mac. And I just wanted to run out of the building.

Jim: Hmm.

Mary: And I cried the whole way home. The girls were singing church songs in the back of the car and just happy. And I get home and I see him sitting in his recliner, and he had this yellow notepad in front of him, and he’d been crying. And I hadn’t seen him ever cry before-

Jim: Hmm.

Mary: … since we’d been married.

Mac: Because real men don’t cry.

Jim: Right.

Mary: That’s what he thought, yeah. And so, um, he said, “I- I need to tell you something.” And so, he started telling me what all he’d been doing and I was just- then I was like, “I’m just thankful to know what is going on with you.” I said, “Let’s call our pastor and let’s get some help now.”

Mac: And, uh, you know, I- I will say that that was the first time I could remember crying, really crying.

Jim: Yeah.

Mac: And what I found in those tears that morning was relief like, I’d never known in my life.

John: Hmm.

Mac: It just flooded over me.

Jim: Yeah. Wha- what- I mean, I think I understand the core of that transition, but if you can elaborate on it for me? I mean, was it the fear that you were going to lose your family? The fear that you were in many ways crushing your family? That your daughter would never know God because of your behavior, all of that, or what am I missing?

Mac: It was all of that, and the fear that I would be lost forever.

Jim: Okay.

Mac: That finally came into the picture.

Jim: Okay.

Mac: So, my daughter who got used to break my heart that morning, was the- the catalyst for me saying, not only am I gonna lose my family, I’m gonna lose me.

Jim: Yeah.

Mac: And so, uh, when Mary came home that morning and said, “Could we talk to the pastor?” My first response was, (laughs) “Well, I already told you I’m changing, what more do you want me to do?”

Jim: So, you thought that was a sufficient good first step-

Mac: Uh, I wrote a letter-

Jim: … now stick with me.

Mac: … and I said, “I’m changing, yeah, let’s go.”

Jim: And that leads into even the rehab. You entered a program-

Mac: Right.

Jim: … but you weren’t convinced that you really needed it, which is also, kind of addict behavior.

Mac: Right.

Jim: I mean, some people aren’t quite there yet. “I- I’m functional, I can do this. I’m making progress, don’t bug me.”

Mac: Praise God and the Holy Spirit, that Mary was being directed by the Holy Spirit. Because she stepped out of her co-dependency and said, “I don’t care what you said, we need to talk to somebody.

Jim: Oh that’s good.

Mary: Yeah.

Mac: And so, that’s when the pastor came over, uh, that afternoon, and met with us. And said, “You know, you don’t have to tell the rest of the church this.” Because again, I would show up at church enough that everybody thought I was a faithful member too-

Jim: Yeah.

Mac: … just because of my attendance.

Jim: You were just busy.

Mac: Yeah, I was- was a busy guy, you know-

Jim: Wow.

Mac: … and so-

Mary: He helped build the church building.

Mac: … Yeah.

Jim: Yeah.

Mac: And so, anyway, the pastor came over and said, “Look, you don’t have to share this with anybody else, but if you do-

Jim: Yeah.

Mac: … it might help somebody else that is struggling with addiction too.

Jim: Yeah.

Mac: And so, that night at- at our church, I went down for an alter call and I just told them, I said, “Look, I- I’m a drug addict and I need help.” And I really thought that they were gonna tell me, “We don’t want your kind around here.” But that’s not what they did, they said, “Well, you’re our first drug addict, we don’t know quite what to do with you, but we want you to keep coming back.” (laughs)

Jim: (laughs) That was good, good honesty on everybody’s part. Yeah.

Mac: Well, I- I heard that loud and clear too-

Jim: Yeah.

Mac: … I could keep coming back.

Jim: Right.

Mac: Not that they didn’t know what to do with me, uh, but there was a little lady there that did know exactly what to do. And she came up to Mary and myself and said, “Mac, I think you need to go to AA.” And I said, “Is that like a car club?”

Jim: Yeah. (laughs)

Mac: She said, “No, that’s triple A, you need double A, Alcoholics Anonymous.”

Jim: (laughs) Oh, man.

Mac: And so, uh, along with that, she also told Mary about a rehab that she could- we could go to and I could talk to her again. And I told Mary, I said, “I really don’t need a rehab, I’m gonna do better. But if you want me to go and talk to the guy, we’ll go and talk to the guy, but you’ll see, he won’t want me to stay.”

Jim: Oh.

Mac: But I got there and talked to the guy, and of course he did want me to stay. And I said, “Well, I’ve got to go home and get my stuff.”

Mary: Well, I knew he was gonna say that, so I packed him a bag and put it in the trunk-

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Mary: … ahead of time, he didn’t know.

Jim: (laughs)

Mary: And I said, “That’s okay, your stuff’s in the trunk.” (laughs) And he looked at me like, what?

Mac: Yeah.

Mary: And so he stayed.

Jim: Yeah, no, I mean, that’s great. And all of that takes courage. Uh, Mac, you mention in the book, uh, the friends that you had that didn’t, for whatever reason… And I would like to tackle this. They didn’t heed any warnings, they didn’t get off the- the highway of the drug culture. And what happened to most of them, if not all of them?

Mac: Most of them, uh, are not alive today, which is, um, pretty tragic. You know, because these were people that I grew up with.

Jim: Yeah.

Mac: But in this- this moment of clarity that I had when our youngest daughter came in and- Callie, and talked to me, I knew at that point, that I had to separate myself from these friends.

Jim: Yeah.

Mac: And you know, that’s easier said than done when this is the people you grew up with. And so, I stopped associating with any of my old friends, but from a distance, I watched them to continue to go down this road, to- of drug addiction. And sadly enough, many of them died because of it. Uh, you know, it was ironic though, that they didn’t think less of me for getting off drugs. As a matter of fact, in years to come later on down the road, when any of them had any problems, death in the family, whatever it was, they would always call me and say, “Let’s call Mac, because he’ll know what to do.”

Jim: You became kind of lik their pastor-

Mac: Right, right-

Mary: Yeah.

Jim: … to that group of people.

Mac: … that’s right.

Jim: Oh, that’s really interesting. And you know, you- you- I’m reminded of the beginning of your story when we first started talking last time, about doing this for fun, and going to the keg party. Mary, you described that, and these people were not judgemental, everybody just seemed to be having fun. But for those listening, especially those of us with teenagers, the- the need to open up that dialogue and talk about that journey and where it most likely will end with death and destruction… So critical to have that-

Mac: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … kind of conversation. Maybe this is a catalyst for that conversation. It takes courage, but, um, one of the reasons we wanted to have Mac and Mary on was because of the power of their testimony. This is the work of God in their lives and, um, we shouldn’t, uh, bury it or hide from it. We should celebrate the fact that they chose life, not death.

Mac: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And that’s why we’re airing the program. And I know people can be critical that we don’t want to elevate drugs, and we don’t wanna you know, make that sensational. It’s not about that, it’s about teaching your teenagers particularly-

Mac: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … what it means to choose unwisely.

Mac: And I’m glad you used the word critical. I use the word vital-

Jim: Yes.

Mac: … conversation with our kids is vital, it’s life and death.

Jim: Yes.

Mac: Because that’s what’s at stake, not only their physical death, their spiritual death too. And if we don’t have a place in our homes where we can talk about anything…

Mary: Mm-hmm.

John: Oh yeah, that- it is so important to have a safe place, and the home needs to be that. Uh, Mac and Mary Owen are with us today, on Focus on the Family, sharing their dramatic story about drug addiction, and how God intervened to rescue Mac from almost certain death. Now the Owens have written about book about this experience called, Never Let Go: God’s Story Of Healing Hurting Lives. We’ve got that at focusonthefamily.com\broadcast.

Jim: Let me continue, the- the recovery time, uh, you unpacked your bag from the trunk, which was terrific.

Mary: (laughs)

Jim: Thank you Mary for thinking ahead, that’s incredible. But you did go through withdrawals. You started to feel the pain of that, meth is a terrible thing to withdraw from. And, uh, wh- describe what that was like, what was the onset like? How did it unfold for you?

Mac: Well, at first, I’ll say this. I was sleeping 16 hours a week on an average week.

Jim: Hmm.

Mac: When I got into treatment I was sleeping 16 hours a day.

Jim: Wow, yeah.

Mac: Yeah, because my body was just- it was just tired. And so, my biggest withdrawal was just finding a place where I could sleep.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Mac: And the- the- the hospital I was in, it was a medical detox so they gave me lithium so I- because they said at this point they were afraid if I just, uh, stopped cold turkey, that I could have some heart issues, you know, cardiac arrest, stuff like that. So, they gave me lithium for about three or four days, uh, and I just slept.

Jim: Hmm.

Mac: You know, and-

Mary: They wouldn’t let me see him for a week, because they said-

Jim: Is that right?

Mary: … yeah, because they said, “He is in critical condition that you know, he might not survive this.” Because they could not believe have much he had in his body that it- it could kill him.

Jim: Hmm.

Mary: And so they said, “We- he’s just got to rest, and we’ve got to give him some medicine. And so, we’ll- we’ll let you know when you can come see him.

Mac: … But now, I will say this too, we’re not gonna rule out how God and the Holy Spirit helped me through that withdrawal-

Jim: Yeah.

Mac: … uh, with our church family. This church family that said, “We don’t know quite what to do with you,” the next Sunday when I’m in rehab, they stopped the service, and wrote cards. The- the pastor-

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Mac: … at the time said, “We’re just gonna write a card. Everybody, I want you to write a card to Mac. So, on Monday morning I got 700 cards-

Jim: Oh my goodness. (laughs)

Mac: … saying, “We love you. Here’s our favorite verse, God’s pulling for you, you’re going to make it through it.”

Jim: Yeah.

Mac: And so-

Jim: (laughs)

Mac: … I had such a love and support from this church family, I believe that it was God and his Holy Spirit working through that to help ease my addiction pains.

Jim: Yeah.

Mac: Because I- this was a 30-day program, which I’ve come to find out that most 30-day programs are a great way to take your money, they’re not a great way to get you off an addiction, you know.

Mary: Well then-

Jim: … that’s my follow up question there, because so many, uh, programs, the- the person doesn’t achieve their goal, or achieve a goal of getting off of the drugs.

Mac: That’s why support is so vital.

Jim: Yeah.

Mac: It’s got to be, uh, if you don’t have support… And that’s why, uh, I only went 19 days. After 19 days in the program, I didn’t ask to leave, they said, “We think you’re ready to leave.”

Jim: Well, Mac and Mary, uh, as we close today, I think we need those practical hand holds for parents and for individuals, who are- maybe are into drug addiction and they’re not even sure how to get out and what they can do. Uh, give us some of those practical, um, insights th- from your recovery program, and what you’ve seen with the people that you’ve counseled. What are some of those things that we need to be aware of for our own addictions as well as maybe our children or those around us?

Mary: Well- well, one thing that we’ve learned I think, through 30 years in recovery, is that everyone has some kind of hurt or hang-up or habit. You know, we’ve all been hurt, or we’ve hurt somebody else, or we’ve hurt ourselves. So, everyone has had some kind of pain at some point in their life. So, that’s what we love about the recovery program that we work with, Celebrate Recovery, is it deals with that through the 12 steps, Chri- Christ-centered 12 steps. And the eight beatitudes, we talk about each one of those, we have them as recovery principles. And so, it’s actually a family recovery ministry, where we have it for the children, age appropriate for teens, and then for adults.

Jim: Hmm.

Mary: And this is our new addiction now is seeing changed lives.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Mary: Because we see it every day.

Jim: Yeah.

Mary: And it- it’s just so exciting to see, where someone has come before. And it might not even be a drug addiction, uh, or alcohol, or, um it- it could be, um-

Mac: Anger, co-dependency.

Mary: … yeah.

Mac: Yeah.

Mary: Gambling, whatever, you know, any- or just abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse.

Jim: Something that takes you away from God really-

Mac: Yeah, right.

Jim: … and take- takes you away from a healthy relationship with-

Mary: Yeah.

Jim: … the Lord, in that- in that regard. And, uh, you know, again, it’s just one of those expressions of the human failing, right?

Mary: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Uh, in the fallen world-

Mac: Right.

Jim: … the sin nature that we possess.

Mac: And our nature is, when we have people in our lives, a child, uh, an uncle or whatever that has these problems, we’ll send them somewhere, they’ll get help and then they’ll be okay for us to be around.

Jim: Wow.

Mac: My suggestion is, find a Celebrate Recovery and go with them.

Jim: Hmm.

Mac: Because if they’ve got this hurt in their life and you don’t wanna be around them, then they’ve also put hurt in your lives that you need to deal with too. And so, Celebrate Recovery is in over 35,000 churches now-

Jim: 35,0000 churches, that’s great.

Mac: … in the United States, you know, and then 23 different languages it’s been translated in. Because like Mary said, everybody’s got something hurt, habit, or hang-up.

Jim: Yeah. You know, Mary, uh, and this is good to- to mention, I mean, you’re watching Mac go through his issues over years, right-

Mary: Mm-hmm. Yes.

Jim: … since you were a teenager. And- and you participated, pulled away, participated, pulled away. Began to pray, work on your own life with the Lord, yet you still needed some help too.

Mary: I did.

Jim: It’s been mentioned several times that-

Mary: Yes.

Jim: … co-dependency.

Mary: And I didn’t even know what co-dependency was at the time. I thought being a Christian meant saving others from themselves. And so, whenever he turned his life around, I was like- “Oh, it’s so exciting,” I thought. So, anybody, when we started a recovery ministry before we knew about Celebrate Recovery we had started another one. And I wanted every person to have what we had. So, I started- I- I had major control issues and I didn’t even know it. Because I thought if I can just fix them, or tell them what they need to do, then maybe they’ll get their lives straight.

Mac: Yes.

Mary: And then when I s- I finally realized you know, I can’t be anybody’s Holy Spirit, all I can do is work on myself, and say what worked for me and go with that.

Mac: Yeah.

Mary: You know, instead of trying to fix others.

Mac: Well, you actually thought, when I turned my life around, that that was the point where everything was gonna be okay, and the white picket fence, where they’d come and play, and we’d have a couple dogs and all that stuff, and-

Jim: (laughs)

Mary: Yes, I- I did. Actually I thought-

Mac: … and if I just got myself well… (laughs)

Mary: … in fact, when I went to see Mac in rehab, when I was driving across the lake going to see him for that first time, I heard a voice say, “Uh, you’re going to tell your story.” And I about had a heart attack-

Jim: Hmm.

Mary: … because I thought, I’m not telling our story to anybody, he’s just gonna get well, and we’re gonna move on with our life.

Jim: Yeah.

Mary: And then I heard it again, “You’re going to tell your story to many, many people.” I was just- I couldn’t believe it, you know, I don’t know where this is coming from, but that’s not happening.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Mary: But look what God has-

Mac: You started going to meetings with me though too, and that was really-

Mary: … Yeah.

Mac: … instrumental in my recovery.

Mary: Yeah, yeah, at first you just went, and I thought, he’ll get fixed and we’ll be good.

Mac: (laughs)

Mary: But then he said, “Why don’t you come with me?” And so, I did, and once I started going with him, I- I started realizing, man, I’ve got some issues myself.

Mac: Yeah.

Mary: You know, I’ve- I’ve got to stand up for myself and say what I believe, instead of just-

Mac: Hmm. Well, we found other people that were inclusive too, not just the party people. We found people in recovery where ex- extremely inclusive group of people too. And they were having fun and they remembered what they did the next day, so-

Jim: Right. (laughs)

Mary: … (laughs)

Mac: … Yeah, and that’s a good thing.

Jim: It has been so good, and I know it’s going to help so many people to, uh, kind of capture them where they’re at, and make them think. Kind of like your daughter, you know, “If daddy doesn’t have to go to church, I don’t wanna go to church.” You don’t want that as a legacy.

Mac: Right.

Jim: And, uh, you certainly don’t want to see your teenagers go down that path either. So, this has been terrific, this is a reminder of what a person’s testimony, what a couple’s testimony can do to help change lives. Thank you so much Mac and Mary-

Mac: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … for being with us.

Mac: Thank you.

Mary: Thank you.

John: Well, we so appreciate your vulnerability as you’ve shared with us these past couple of days. And as a listener, I hope you’ve been encouraged by the conversation with Mac and Mary. And, uh, let me remind you that we have their book available. It’s called Never Let Go: God’s Story Of Healing Hurting Lives.

Jim: In fact John, I’d like to provide a copy of that book to anyone who is able to send a financial gift to Focus on the Family today, to help us do ministry. Uh, we need friends like you, who will support our efforts to rescue and strengthen families who are in trouble. And thanks to the generosity of our friends, uh, we’ve seen marriages saved and parents empowered to raise godly children, and so much more. But we need your ongoing support, so please be generous when you give to Focus on the Family today.

John: And you can donate and get a copy of Mac and Mary’s book at focusonthefamily.com\broadcast, or call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459. And if our conversation today has raised concerns about your own family, we do recommend you contact us to set up a time for a phone conversation with one of our caring Christian counselors. They’ll be happy to hear your story and pray with you and point you to resources in your local area. Call our number to get that started. Again, it’s 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. Coming up, a simple way to regain control of your busy schedule.

Preview:

Kevin Harney: Sometimes the most loving thing you can do is say no, so you can say yes to the right things and unleash that peace and that joy that comes from a balanced healthy life.

Today's Guests

Never Let Go: God's Story of Healing Hurting Lives

Receive Mac and Mary Owen's book Never Let Go for your donation of any amount!

Recent Episodes

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Simple Habits to Embrace in Your Marriage

Dr. Randy Schroeder has counseled thousands of married couples and has discovered simple tools that help couples avoid divorce and build a thriving marriage. In this broadcast, he describes practical habits to help couples navigate expectations in marriage, build emotional closeness, and resolve disagreements.

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

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

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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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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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. 

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Reigniting Your Passion for Jesus - Part 2

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Kim Meeder

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Headshot of Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe

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Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

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

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Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Mrs. Debra Fileta

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Pastor Kevin Thompson

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Mr. Greg Koukl

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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.

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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.

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Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

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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!