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Preparing for the Empty Nest Years

Preparing for the Empty Nest Years

Marci Seither offers soon-to-be empty nest parents practical advice for helping their children transition to adulthood while preparing for their own transition to life without kids at home.

Original Air Date: August 27, 2018

Excerpt:

Mrs. Marci Seither: It’s like that chrysalis moment. You know, the kids are kind of like those little caterpillars. And then pretty soon, they harden up, and you can kind of see the transformation. You see their wings starting to change. And pretty soon – and I was watching this one day after a science experiment with our kids. And one by one, the caterpillars started coming out of their chrysalises, and they had these wrinkled little wings, and they started flapping them. And one caterpillar was struggling. He was really struggling. And it was so tempting to just reach over and want to peel that off of the butterfly, but if we did that, it would kill it. It would never get to where it was supposed to go. And so, I just sometimes think that that’s actually what the Lord does for us.

End of Excerpt

John Fuller: That’s Marci Seither, and she’s our guest today on Focus on the Family. Your host is Focus president and author, Jim Daly. And I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, today, we’re going to talk about empty nest and how you launch your children well. You’re kind of living the dream right now, right?

John: Well, I’m launching kids…

Jim: (Laughter).

John: …But maybe not necessarily well.

Jim: How many have you and Dena launched?

John: It depends on your definition.

Jim: Well, because count – you know…

John: For the moment…

Jim: …How many live outside the home?

John: Okay, I got at five adult kids, and all five of them have moved out at some point in time.

Jim: Have moved back.

John: A couple of them have moved back in.

Jim: Okay.

John: Even just this past week, one of them came back, which is good. It’s rich. We like that, as long as it’s not, like, forever.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: Well, that’s part of the thing we want to talk about today. Um, Jean and I are on the precipice. You know, Trent and Troy are coming up to bat as they launch themselves. And, uh, this’ll be really interesting for us. So, no matter where you’re at in that parenting journey, if you’ve got little ones, you’ve got to start thinking about this stuff. How are we going to launch these kids well? And if you’re in the middle of it, like John or Marci, our guest, uh, this is the time to tune in and take notes.

John: Yeah, there’re – it’s interesting, Jim, because there are a lot of parents that really have some angst about what it’s going to be like for them.

Jim: Are you speaking from…

John: And…

Jim: …Experience here?

John: No, no. I can only dream of having the empty nest one day.

(LAUGHTER)

John: But there are a lot of emotions there. And, uh, Marci is a mom who writes, and she’s really captured a lot of her story, of having six kids, most of whom have left the nest. She still has some in the home. Her book is called Empty Nest: Strategies to Help Your Kids Take Flight. And that’s the basis for our conversation today.

Jim: Marci, welcome to Focus on the Family.

Marci: Thank you so much for having me. This is really a thrill.

Jim: I’m hoping people are, like, leaning into the radio or the podcast, however they’re listening right now, because this is really important stuff. Jean and I – I’m thinking about this when I lay my head on my pillow at night. How are we going to launch Trent and Troy well? There are some strategies you can think about, right? You’ve done this with five of your six kids.

Marci: Mm-hmm.

Jim: What’s the number one thing we’ve got to be mindful of?

Marci: I would have to say the number one thing to be mindful of is to know early on that you are a steward of your kids, not an owner of your kids.

Jim: Huh.

Marci: That makes a huge difference because it changes how we feel about our kids’ goals and aspirations. When we want to take ownership, it’s really hard to let go of something that we own versus something that we are just raising for the Lord.

Jim: Let me press you to give me…

Marci: Yeah.

Jim: …Some adjectives because I’m sure parents – we get a little, uh, blinded by what’s ownership and what’s stewardship because, you know, we care about our kids. Describe for me those little adjectives that help describe an ownership-oriented parent and a stewardship-oriented parent.

Marci: I think the difference is in an ownership situation, which it’s so hard because you have this baby that you are in charge of taking care of, they can’t take care of themselves, and it’s all about you helping them from day one. And then all of a sudden – and you’ve had all this time to what to expect when you’re expecting and nine months to prepare. And then when they get ready to launch, you have nothing practically. They just leave. And it’s really…

Jim: You don’t have joy?

Marci: You do have joy.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: I’m gonna have joy is in my future.

Marci: You don’t have…

Jim: And by the way, I love my kids.

Marci: You don’t have a thick book to help you walk…

Jim: Yeah…

Marci: …Through those…

Jim: …That’s fair.

Marci: …Steps, you know.

Jim: That’s fair.

Marci: And so, um, when you have an ownership situation, I think it’s the parents who really have a hard time letting go. Those are the helicopter parents who just want to kind of impose, like, this is what we’re going to do, this is what you’re going to do. And the failure of their kids is so scary because they are going to reflect that as failure on themselves.

Jim: Yeah, we want to get into that because I think that’s huge.

Marci: Yeah.

Jim: But what are those emotions and thoughts we face when we’re launching our children? Speak as the mom. I mean, what are those feelings like? What do you think about failure? Do you think about the fact their grades weren’t good enough in high school? How are they ever going to succeed in the (laughter) world? I’m not speaking from experience here.

John: You have a friend, right?

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: I’ve got a friend. No, what are those thoughts that you’re, uh, contemplating, you know, when the 18th, 19th birthday arrives, and they’re actually heading off to something – college or vocational school, whatever it might be?

Marci: Well, I think it’s good to be knowing in advance that it’s going to be a transition for you because sometimes I think that kind of catches us off guard – that this is a transition for your kids, but it’s a transition for you, as well. And I know that’s the part that caught me off guard, and that’s why I wrote the book because I thought I need something when our first kid leaves. I don’t need to know what to do with the spare room when the last one leaves.

Jim: (Laughter).

Marci: I need to know – I need to know how to handle this empty hole in my heart when this kid leaves. And we had actually two leave close to each other because we had one go into the military, and Emma ended up graduating early and going to Saipan for six months. So, we had back to back leaving, and I wasn’t really prepared for that. And I wasn’t prepared to help our kids with that. And so, I think, just as far as, um, strategies is to just prepare yourself that this is going to be a transition. And I think sometimes we feel like anything that makes us feel uncomfortable is bad, but that’s just life.

Jim: So, what you’re saying – and I want to make sure I’m hearing you correctly – that there’s a grieving process.

Marci: Yeah.

Jim: When your child is leaving, you’re grieving the status quo’s changing. And you’re not going to be seeing them at the house. You’re not going to be maybe having dinner together once or twice or more times a week. And that is a grieving process for an engaged parent, whether they be the mom or the dad.

Marci: Right. And so, just to be able to acknowledge that. And it’s a joyful time, but it is also a grieving time. And you have kids who are going to go off and do wonderful things, and then – and this is one of the things I had told somebody was – you have kids that you’re going to cry over because you miss them so much. They’re not going to be there for dinner. They’re not going to – it – movie night will never be the same.

Jim: Because you click with them, and you love being around – you enjoy their company.

Marci: Right.

John: Mm. Yeah.

Marci: And then you’re going to have, sometimes, kids that maybe there’s some stress, which is a natural tension. Um, if you’ve ever learned about mommy eagles, they feather their nest really well when the babies are born. And then as the babies get older, they start kicking out all the fluffy stuff.

Jim: Making it less comfortable.

Marci: Making it less comfortable.

Jim: A little prickly.

Marci: And so, that the babies can perch on the edge. And so, you have those times where there’s some stress there. And that’s also a unique pain – the fact that that pain will be gone, too, or the stress of…

Jim: Yeah, the stress of the responsibility of the parenting.

Marci: Right. Right.

Jim: In fact, finish the story of the eagles because I – if people don’t know that story, eventually the parent eagle will push the baby out of the nest and…

Marci: Right.

Jim: …Uh, help them learn to fly very quickly.

Marci: Yes. So, that’s a natural thing. And I think, um, at that point, you know, the mom eagle has had the all the downs, she’s had everything in there, and then pretty soon, she starts kicking out the cellphone, and she starts kicking out the paid car insurance, and then she starts kicking out the gym membership. And pretty soon, the little eaglet, who now is shaving…

Jim: Has to pay for everything.

Marci: …Has to pay for everything.

(LAUGHTER)

Marci: And so, um…

Jim: That’s the human version of that.

Marci: Yes.

Jim: That’s good. I like that. You know, you had a wonderful story – uh, you and your husband – about a tree that had fallen. And it is a beautiful illustration. If you take anything away from this discussion today, this is going to be the story. Explain what happened and what you and your husband learned about parenting with that episode of a fallen tree.

Marci: Well, my husband and I lived in Northern California, and he had a sawmill. And he was hired to come to somebody’s home. They had this huge tree in their yard, and they wanted the tree cut down so that they could use – have that milled up for their lumber package to build an addition to their house. So, it seemed like a perfect full-circle story. And John went, and he cut the tree down, and it was totally useless.

Jim: And why?

Marci: When he told me that the tree – they were just going to have to probably end up just chipping it and burning it, I was shocked because what he said was that it’s the tight rings that cause strength. And the tree, because it had no – it had no issues with having to get water. There was no other trees around it. It was all – it had all the sunshine it needed. It was…

Jim: So, it was never stressed.

Marci: It was never under any stress. It had everything it needed. And so, then the tree grew big. It grew lush. From the outside, it was the perfect tree. But on the inside, all the rings were really far apart. They were very widely spaced.

Jim: And that makes for a weak piece of wood.

Marci: That’s right. Because when we are under stress, that causes that tight ring, and it is that tight ring that gives it the building structural stability. And sometimes I was thinking about that with our kids and how sometimes we want to do whatever we can to avoid stress. And…

Jim: It’s almost the parenting objective today.

Marci: It is. We want to do whatever it is that relieves the stress or relieves any discomfort. We want to make sure that they have everything they need.

Jim: Yeah.

Marci: And yet, then we also pray, on the other hand, just help them be useful. Well, in doing so, sometimes we have created an environment where there is no tight rings. And it is in those tight-ring years that, really, we learn the most about our kids, about ourselves. And I know when our son was – he was going to Afghanistan. And I remember looking at my husband and telling him this is a tight-ring year. And so…

John: And this was in the military.

Jim: I love that language.

John: Yeah.

Jim: I love that language of the tight rings. I mean, I’m – Jean and I, we’re going to start praying that way. Lord, help us to provide tight rings for our kids. But in that context with your son leaving, he had announced he was going to join the Marines. He did it. And he was off to combat, right?

Marci: Yeah, he was in the 27 Fast Company. And, um, there was over 20 guys that did not come back from his tour. And it was a difficult situation. There was actually a time where we didn’t hear from our kids for over – it was several days where nobody heard anything. And it was kind of a place where there was no ground support, no air support. It was back in the Wild West. And, uh, we actually saw something on the news that came through that said that there was two men down who were machine gunners from that unit, and names would be released once the families were notified. And you have to wait.

Jim: Just wait.

Marci: And you’re just thinking, as you’re folding laundry, is this my tight-ring moment? Like, is this the time? And do I have what it takes to go answer the front door if the black sedan shows up, or will I run screaming out the back door? Like, your tight ring is the thing that really, in the end, lets you know that God is still in control. And as much as we love our kids, we have to trust that God loves them more. As much as we want to hold our kids, we have to trust that God’s hands are bigger than ours. And I think if we think that we’re going to go through life without any tight-ring years, then you can pretty much guarantee that you will be just like that tree. You’re not going to be structurally sound and neither are your kids.

Jim: Yeah.

Marci: And the other thing is sometimes your kids make decisions apart from you, when they’re grown, that cause you’d have a tight-ring year, even if they don’t. And you have to accept that as being okay as well.

Jim: Boy, that’s putting a shudder through a lot of parents right now that, you know, be expecting the Lord, particularly, to put tight rings in you and in your children because those tight rings, like a tree, make you stronger.

John: Yeah, and our trust is in the Lord. I so appreciate the wisdom from Marci Seither. And you can get her book Empty Nest: Strategies to Help Your Kids Take Flight over at our website. We also have a CD or download of this conversation as well. That’s focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Or call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY

Jim: Marci, you touched on this a moment ago, and I promised to bring it back up. And this is the idea that we, as parents – we tend to gain significance through our children.

Marci: Mm-hmm.

Jim: If they’re well-behaved, if they’re on the honor roll – I mean, we have bumper stickers that say my kid’s an honor roll student, right? And we love that. We love when our children are achieving and their living life well. And I think especially, uh, in the Christian community, we want to see good behavior, good grades, all those things, and we take a lot of pride in that. Where does that become unhealthy, uh, in this moment when you’re trying to launch, when you’ve taken that kind of personal interest in the development of your child – rightfully so? I mean, you’ve tried to help them in mind, spirit and body. And now you’re saying bye.

Marci: Yeah, that’s a tough one. And I do just have to say I think we put it on ourselves. And especially with social media, and everybody looks good, everybody acts good, everybody’s doing just the right thing, we’ve got our kids and just the right activities. But sometimes we are gonna fail. And that is – we’re human, and I think we can learn from that. And, um, our kids are also going to – they might not get the grades that we thought they were going to need to get into the top schools. But if you ask them, that might not actually have been their goal all – all, uh, along. So, I think that’s really important to think about what is the value for our kids? Where is it that their strengths lie? And one of the things that my husband and I used to think of is it’s so easy to focus on their strengths and really push for that, but it’s so important to know that every strength has a weakness. And if they can learn to master their weakness, that will help them develop their strengths. So, in helping our own kids – but for us to take it personal, that is really hard because when things don’t go well, we wonder what we did wrong, where we went wrong. But when things go well, we think, oh, look what we did right.

Jim: Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: And it’s completely natural…

Marci: It is.

Jim: …To have that. Uh, let’s put the focus on the parents for a moment. So, the children are launching. Um, what is important for the marriage to survive? I think, uh, I’ve referred to this several times over the last year or two. I think it was a Wall Street Journal article that talked about the graying of divorce and that women are filing at a much higher rate as empty nest years come, uh, because they have lost their significance, and they don’t love their husbands anymore. And again, that’s a generalization. I get that. But that was the article – the graying of American Divorce. What is happening in that moment? And what can couples do to stay together and remember there’s more to life than child rearing?

Marci: Um, I think one of the things for moms – especially, like, we did homeschool our kids until they were part way through school. And it’s very easy to not have everything kind of run together. But it’s very important, I feel, for especially moms, who are with their kids day in and day out, to have things that they are also growing as well in their own way.

Jim: When you say that, what’s the thing? Like, hobbies or what do you…

Marci: Yeah, whatever it is. I mean, you can – just to stay interesting. I know when our daughter was getting married, I said, “Okay, can I tell you – so us Seither women, here is what the secret for a good, um, healthy marriage.” And Emma was like, “I don’t want to hear this.”

Jim: This is your daughter Emma.

Marci: Yes, I said…

Jim: Yeah, “Stop talking to me.”

Marci: Yeah, stop talking to me right now (laughter). I said, “You have to stay interesting. If you’re not interesting for yourself, you’re not going to be interesting for your spouse.” And I think sometimes, especially moms, it’s really easy when that becomes your identity to just be so immersed in your kid’s identity that you lose yourself in that and to not be growing something besides that. Whether it’s hobbies or whether it’s just, um, academics there’s something you can always be learning or doing. And it’s healthy for your kids and several years ago, my sister signed me up with her to do a triathlon. And…

John: Oh.

Jim: (Laughter) Good for your sister.

Marci: Yeah.

John: Nice of her.

Jim: If my brother ever did that to me, I’d kill him.

John: Okay.

Marci: Yeah, well, that was before I saw the bike route.

(LAUGHTER)

Marci: So, it was a sprint triathlon, but it was at high elevation. It was at Donner Summit.

Jim: Oh, my goodness.

Marci: And so, I thought, okay, well, you know, I am a swim – I was a swim instructor at the time and a lifeguard.

Jim: Okay.

Marci: So, the swimming is okay. The bike riding, um, that…

John: How hard can it be?

Marci: I’ve ridden a bike once…

Jim: You can get through it.

Marci: …Or twice. And then, um, running, if I have to stop, drop and roll the last third of a mile, I still get the T-shirt, so I’m good with that.

Jim: (Laughter).

Marci: And so, um, I began training for this triathlon. And every day, I would get up really early, and I would train and train. And finally, the day of the race came, and I had all my gear, and I had everything set just right. And my daughter said, “Gosh, Mom, I just have to tell you, I’m really proud of you.” She said, “You’re not even all that athletic.”

(LAUGHTER)

John: Oh, how’d that feel?

Marci: And I said, “You know what? I’m really proud of myself.” I said, “You know, someday” – I said, “I want you to remember this moment right now – how you feel about me and how I feel about me. Because someday, you’re going to be a mom, and you’re going to have to do things that take you out of your comfort zone. It might not be a triathlon. It will be something different. But you’re going to have to stretch yourself beyond what you thought you could, and you’re going to just know that, you know, you’re going to be okay and get the T-shirt.”

Jim: And that’s a beautiful story about that connection. With respect to your husband, what are some of the strategies that you’ve deployed to stay interesting and be connected at that point of launch. Because again, I think particularly a mom can justify that involvement with the children. Listen, my whole goal is to help my child love the Lord, to do well academically or do well vocationally, whatever that may be, and to do well physically, you know, to be in good shape and not to eat stupidly. And that’s a challenge when you have all boys. But, uh…

Marci: Oh, yeah.

Jim: But, you know, you can really justify that over-involvement. So, how do you back out of that at the moment of launch and say to your husband, “Okay, hold me accountable”? Is that something you did? Did your husband say, “Okay, let me point out some things to you”? That could be a little…

John: That sounds, like…

Jim: …Dangerous.

John: …Really dangerous (unintelligible).

Marci: Yeah.

Jim: That’s a recipe for disaster.

John: (Laughter).

Jim: But, I mean, date nights, and let’s take a weekend, uh, sometimes moms fret over that kind of thing. Are you sure we can leave our 18-year-old? (Laughter) I mean, it’s true.

Marci: Well, we did tell our kids that they were allowed to tattle on each other if mom and dad were both gone. So, (laughter)…

Jim: There’s a strategy.

Marci: So, there was safety in numbers as far as that goes. But I think the biggest thing that you have to think of is long term. And if you’re wanting your children to have a good, healthy marriage, you need to be doing that as well. And so, my husband and I were in a 21-piece Glenn Miller tribute band for a while.

Jim: Whose idea was that, by the way?

Marci: Um, he was a saxophone player.

Jim: Oh…

Marci: So, it was him that got…

Jim: …Okay.

Marci: …Recruited. And then I ended up joining as a vocalist. And so, we did that for a while when we were in northern California. And…

Jim: So, find a common interest.

John: Yeah.

Marci: Yeah.

Jim: It could be hiking, something a little less rigorous…

Marci: Yeah.

Jim: …Maybe.

Marci: Yeah. Just do something different, um…

Jim: Yeah.

Marci: …With each other.

Jim: That’s a good idea.

John: Marci, like you, we have six kids. And as I noted at the top, there is, um, an element of fluidity to how many kids we have in the home depending on the week. Um, what’s your advice for parents when a child says, “Hey, can I come back for a while?”

Jim: And is it – let me just add to that. Is it different at 24 from 34?

Marci: Well, our 34-year-old hasn’t moved back in. So, um – but he’s 31, so we still have a couple of years, I guess, for him to…

Jim: Well, I’m being arbitrary.

Marci: Okay.

(LAUGHTER)

Marci: So, I think the biggest thing is that parents need to set boundaries for any age because it is still their home. And so, you need to – like, just because they were gone – like, we had a son who was in the Marines. And then when he came home, he still needed to let us know if he wasn’t coming home.

John: Hmm.

Marci: You know, like, he didn’t have a curfew.

Jim: So, he stayed with you for a while till he got…

Jim: Yes.

Jim: …Back up on his feet…

Marci: Right.

Jim: …Found a job and those things.

Marci: Mm-hmm. But so we still had some household rules that we adhered to, even though, um, it would be different than when he was younger.

Jim: Now, that can include you have them pay some rent, you have them pay some food costs. I mean, you have them responsible. Back to the eagle’s nest, right?

Marci: Mm-hmm.

Jim: These are the feathers you’re pulling out. Have you deployed this strategy?

John: Well, yeah, we have a – we have a rental form…

Jim: (Laughter).

John: …That I’ve drawn up for my kids. And I’ve actually shared it with other parents. And you have to have that conversation, in my experience, before the child moves back. Otherwise, months go by, and it gets awkward. It’s like…

Jim: So, have you ever served an eviction notice?

John: Uh, no.

Jim: (Laughter).

John: We just make it highly uncomfortable to stick around. How’s that?

Jim: No, I mean, those are good things to think about.

John: It’s good to get on the table at the front end of the situation.

Marci: Right.

Jim: Absolutely.

John: Yeah.

Jim: Marci, I don’t want to in the time together without the description you gave in the book about helping the siblings cope with the loss of a brother or sister who’s moving out of the home because it changes the dynamic of the home. And you mentioned when Nathan, I think – your son was leaving – you found solace in roller coasters. (Laughter) Now, I’m not sure how all that fits together. Please tell me.

Marci: Well, sometimes life, first of all, feels like a roller coaster, especially when you have six kids. But, um, I have to say when our oldest ones were leaving, there’s something – when you can do something together for all the kids – that was one of the reasons I wanted to go to a theme park with all the kids, so that we could all enjoy something together. And that was a difficult time because our youngest was only – he was going into first grade…

Jim: Right.

Marci: …When his oldest one was leaving.

John: Leaving the house.

Marci: And so, it’s so important to have family memories that will be retained by everybody…

Jim: Huh.

Marci: …Even though the memory’s going to be a little bit different. It’s really important to create family memories that will be intact for each of those family members as the time goes on. Um, when Nathan would graduate from boot camp, we would keep that as that celebration. We wouldn’t combine it with other celebrations. Or, um, when he came home from the service, we would make sure that we had some family time only before all the friends and families came.

Jim: Uh, what are some of those emotions that siblings can have, I mean, that you have to be mindful of as a parent. Because sometimes you can – you know, you’re so busy and distracted that you don’t see that maybe the middle child or the youngest child, like in your case, a first-grader, is missing their older brother.

Marci: Yeah, I think that that caught me off guard. I was expecting – like, I took up stress knitting when…

Jim: Stress knitting?

John: Stress knitting.

Marci: …Stress-knitting when…

John: (Laughter).

Marci: …Uh, Nathan joined the service and Emma left. And, um, I – everyone got scarves that year. I mean, people I didn’t even know got scarves.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: Mailman, everybody.

Marci: Yeah, everyone. I even asked my husband, is there a needle recycling program? And he’s like, “Not those needles, honey.”

Jim: Right.

Marci: So, I mean, he would just hear the click, click, click. And, um – but I think that we need to be prepared to have some time that we can help our younger kids. And there was a time when our youngest son was – he was in first grade, and Nathan had come home and then left again. And then he had come home, and he was getting ready to leave again. And our first grader was in a charter school. And the teacher said, “I’ve never had this happen, but he’s not reading anymore.”

Jim: Huh.

Marci: He had started going backwards…

John: So, he regressed.

Marci: …Really fast. She’s like, “I don’t even know how to help him. Is there – maybe you should pray about what you should do over Christmas vacation.” And I just knew – I said, “You know what? I appreciate that. But I think that I – I can make a decision on this right now.” And I just said, “I think I need to just take his books home, and we’re going to – I’m going to catch him up, and we’re going to spend time together, and we’re going to process through this emotionally and educationally. And then he can join the class again next year.”

Jim: Did he open up to you in that way? Did he say, you know…

Marci: He couldn’t verbalize. And so, I think it’s really important for parents just to – it’s a case by case situation. You never know. And a first-grader can’t say, “Wow, I’m really nervous about Nathan.” But all of a sudden, things are going on, and it’s okay for parents just to say, “You know what? Clear my schedule. I’m staying home with you.”

John: Yeah.

Marci: And so, I stayed home with him. I called it full-contact phonics because he basically had to be touching somebody all the time.

Jim: Yeah.

Marci: He just needed that…

Jim: But that’s attentive. I mean, that’s knowing your child.

Marci: And then…

Jim: I like that.

Marci: Well, and then the following year – so, then he went back to school. He was all caught up. And then the following year, when Nathan was going to be going away again, um, Jack said, “Gosh, Mom, I’m feeling that feeling again.” I said, “You know what, buddy? We already processed through this. So, this time, instead of staying home for a half a year, I’m going to keep you home for one extra day, and we’re going to bake cookies for Nathan’s unit – the two of us – and then you’ll be ready to go to school.” It’s a hard situation. I think acknowledging that it’s hard for your kids…

Jim: Right.

Marci: …Is important because sometimes we want to internalize stuff, and we don’t acknowledge how hard it is for us.

Jim: Yeah.

Marci: And when we’re not honest about our own emotions, then that’s really hard to pass that on to our kids…

Jim: So true.

Marci: …That this is hard.

Jim: It is. And, Marci, you have done a wonderful job with this book Empty Nest: Strategies to Help Your Kids Take Flight. Um, it’s full of stories and full of great ideas about not only how to launch your children, how to stay connected in your marriage, how to be mindful of siblings and the grief they’re feeling with the loss of a sibling who’s leaving the home. And, uh, I love it. I mean, the timing’s right for Jean and for me because we are living the dream. It’s true for you, too, John. And I just think it’s a wonderful tool to put in – in your hands if you are living in that spot, too. And this might be you have 10, 11, 12-year-old. You’re – it’s going to come a lot faster than you realize. So, I would encourage you to get Marci’s book. You can get it here through Focus on the Family and, really, for a gift of any amount. Uh, that’s how much we believe in that resource, uh, to help equip you as a parent. Uh, if you can help us help others, we’ll send it along to you as our way of saying thank you.

John: Yeah, make a donation and, uh, help Focus on the Family reach others. And, uh, we’ll send a complimentary copy of Empty Nest to you. Just donate online at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Or call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459. Well, have a great weekend and plan to join us again on Monday as we hear from a pediatrician talking about the blessing of babies.

Teaser:

Dr. Robert Hamilton: For those who have children, if they – children fill your life with joy, delight, they lead you to new places in life you would have never gone before.

Today's Guests

Empty Nest

Receive Marci Seither's book Empty Nest for your donation of any amount!

Recent Episodes

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Fueling Great Relationships With Others

Dr. John Townsend offers practical ideas on how to create incredibly meaningful relationships in every area of your life. He describes the types of people who are needed on your “life team” to help you grow – and others who need to be held at arm’s length, as you seek balance in your relationships with friends and colleagues.

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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)

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Avoiding Shame-Based Parenting

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

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Becoming a Clutter-Free Family

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

Loving Your Spouse Through the Seasons of Marriage - Part 1

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

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Debra Fileta

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

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

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

How a Former Abortion Doctor Became Pro-Life

As an abortion doctor at Planned Parenthood, Dr. Patti Giebink believed she was helping women. Later, she began reading scripture and God gradually changed her heart on the abortion issue. Patti tells the story of her long journey from abortion doctor to pro-life and encourages listeners to share the message of life with compassion.

Headshot image of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Dr. Patti Giebink

Mrs. Patti Giebink

Dr. Patti Giebink is an OB-GYN who serves on the board of the Alpha Center, a well-known pregnancy center located in Sioux Falls, S.D. She also travels intermittently to work in mission hospitals in Pakistan and other countries. After completing her medical training, Dr. Giebink worked for Planned Parenthood from 1995-1997, during which she was the only abortion-provider in the state of South Dakota. She eventually experienced a radical change of heart on the issue of abortion after receiving God’s grace, forgiveness, and love, and she is now a passionate advocate for the pro-life movement.

Cover image of the book "Unexpected Choice: An Abortion Doctor’s Journey to Pro-Life"

Unexpected Choice: An Abortion Doctor’s Journey to Pro-Life

Unexpected Choice is told from the perspective of a doctor who actually performed abortions through Planned Parenthood. The book chronicles her journey from being a pro-choice physician to someone speaking on behalf of the pro-life movement.

Navigating a Toxic Culture with Your Daughter - Part 2

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

Mrs. Meg Meeker

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

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

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

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

Cherishing Your Spouse Every Day

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

Mr. Gary Thomas

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

cherish front cover

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

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

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Newest Release - Episode 2: Heroes Providing Hope

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

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

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

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Newest Release - Episode 4: Sometimes the Choice is Hard

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

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

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

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Newest Release - Episode 3: The Power of a Picture

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Newest Release - Episode 6: Families Helping Families!

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

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

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

Praying Scripture Over Your Child’s Life - Part 2

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

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt

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

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

Praying the Scriptures Over Your Children

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

Effective Habits to Embrace in Parenting

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

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

Dr. Randy Schroeder

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

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

Simple Habits for Effective Parenting

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

The Spiritual Battle for Your Marriage

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

Tim and Noreen Muehlhoff Cropped

Dr. Tim and Mrs. Noreen Muehlhoff

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

Defending Your Marriage

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

Reigniting Your Passion for Jesus - Part 1

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

Headshot photo of author Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder

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

Revival Rising

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

Reigniting Your Passion for Jesus - Part 2

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

Headshot photo of author Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder

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

Revival Rising

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

Mothers and Sons: Being a Godly Influence - Part 2

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

Headshot of Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe

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

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

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

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

Identifying Triggers in Your Marriage - Part 2

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

Headshot of Guy and Amber Lia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Mrs. Debra Fileta

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

Are You Really Okay?

Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are

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

Embracing Your Role as a Spouse

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

Headshot of Kevin Thompson

Pastor Kevin Thompson

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

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

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

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

Sharing Your Faith with Grace and Purpose

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

Mr. Greg Koukl

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

Tactics front cover

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

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

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

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

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

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

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

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

Giving up Sugar, Tasting God's Goodness

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

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

Mrs. Wendy Speake

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

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

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

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

Loving Your Spouse Through the Seasons of Marriage - Part 2

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

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Debra Fileta

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

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

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

Reconciling Faith and Science in a Medical Crisis

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

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

Dr. Lee Warren

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

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

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

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

Praying Scripture Over Your Child’s Life - Part 1

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

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt

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

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

Praying the Scriptures Over Your Children

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

Mothers and Sons: Being a Godly Influence - Part 1

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

Headshot of Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe

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

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

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

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

Identifying Triggers in Your Marriage Part 1

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

Headshot of Guy and Amber Lia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Mrs. Debra Fileta

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

Are You Really Okay?

Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are

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

Navigating a Toxic Culture with Your Daughter - Part 1

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

Mrs. Meg Meeker

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

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

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

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

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Newest Release - Episode 1: The Truth About Life!

In this episode, we will tackle tough questions like, “When does life begin?” and “What does the Bible
say about Life?” You’ll discover and understand the stages of pre-born life and that babies are more than
just a clump of cells!

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

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