Focus on the Family

Focus on the Family with Jim Daly

Understanding Your Triggers for More Peaceful Parenting (Part 2 of 2)

Understanding Your Triggers for More Peaceful Parenting (Part 2 of 2)

In a follow-up to our highly popular program "Understanding How to Manage Anger in Motherhood," Amber Lia and Wendy Speake return to offer more practical advice found in their book Triggers: Exchanging Parents' Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses. (Part 2 of 2)
Original Air Date: July 17, 2019


Wendy Speake: One of the quotes from Triggers is, “Figure out what you mean to say before you say something mean.” And then I say, “Slow down, sit down and write down.” Like, actually, do the work. I mean, if we say we really, really value how we build our children up rather than tear him down then find 15 minutes when you’re not triggered and consider, with the Lord’s help – give me wisdom, Lord – what’s a better way to respond.

End of Excerpt

John Fuller: That’s Wendy Speake. And she’s back with us today along with her friend and co-author Amber Lia. I’m John Fuller. This is Focus on the Family, and your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly.

Jim Daly: Hey, John. It’s so good to have Wendy and Amber back with us. Uh, the switchboard here lights up when they’re on the broadcast because people are calling saying, “I want that book. I want that information. What did they say exactly about this?” And we know we’ve hit the nerve when you do that. When you react to what the guests are saying, we know we’ve delivered something good. And this is really directed for moms. Us dads can learn from this, as well. And I think if you didn’t hear the program last time, get a copy. Get a download. John will tell you how to do that in a moment, but, um, it’s worth it. If you want to be a better spouse and a better parent, this is the content for you. And we covered so much yesterday about a child’s temperament, those that are kind of disrespectful, the backtalk, real practical stuff. And, today, we’re going to continue with more of those examples.

John: Yeah, we’ll really dial into internal triggers – those things we bring to the party of parenting.

Jim: I don’t want to do that, John.

John: (Laughter) Yeah, a little self-introspection here.

Jim: Let’s talk about their triggers. (Laughter)

John: Well, we could we talk about maybe our spouse’s triggers. How’s that?

Jim: (Laughter) No.

John: Get the CD or the download. Get our mobile app so you can listen on the go. We’ve got those resources and the book Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses. It’s a great book. All of that at Or, if you need any help, our number is 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY.

Jim: Well, welcome back to Focus.

Wendy: Well, thank you for having us.

Amber Lia: Thank you very much.

Jim: It’s good to have you. Amber, I need that recap of what triggers are just so we set for the audience what we’re describing…

Amber: Yeah.

Jim: …And talking about.

Amber: Sure.

Jim: So, what are external triggers and internal triggers?

Amber: So, triggers are all the things that set us off, make us angry and frustrated.

Jim: We might call them a button.

Amber: Yeah, they are buttons.

Jim: Hot button.

Amber: They’re totally our button. Pressing our buttons, you know, making us irritated, whatever it may be. And there are lots of them as every parent knows.

Jim: (Laughter).

Amber: Wendy and I are talking about specifically 31 different ones in our ministry, but the external triggers are those things that your kids are doing – the things that drive you crazy. You know, it is the backtalk. It’s the sibling rivalry. It’s the messy rooms that they have. It’s all the things that just that they are doing that we think are reasons for us to get angry about. And then the internal triggers – those are the things that are a little more subtle, sometimes they’re harder to pinpoint. It’s when we explode when they’ve done something kind of minor, but we realize we’ve had no sleep for three days. It’s the exhaustion. It’s the, you know, times of – of transition. It’s even our – our illness or trouble with in-laws can spark our anger with our kids.

Jim: Or maybe even those things in your own childhood…

Amber: Absolutely.

Wendy: Yes.

Jim: …That really wounded you when…

Amber: Yeah, it’s your past.

Jim: Yeah.

Amber: And those generational models for you. Those come out and we weren’t expecting them, but they trigger us.

Jim: Here’s an interesting one, and I think it’s a good place to kick off given our mutual faith commitment to Christ, right?

Wendy: Yes.

Jim: Um, a crisis of faith or even losing sight of your relationship with the Lord. You know, that discipline of just spending time with him, praying to the Lord, et cetera. It – it can be an internal trigger – right? That you’re – you…

Wendy: And it’s not always a big crisis that we recognize has happened. Um, you know, every season of our lives we have different challenges. And what I’ve seen in my own life from the time I was 5 when I put my faith in Christ because my mom told me that Jesus wants to live in my heart. I mean, that was the depth…

Jim: That’s all you need.

Wendy: …Of my theology at 5.

Jim: (Laughter) That’s a start.

John: Yeah.

Wendy: And then at 9, I was at camp and someone said, “Hey, you know, Jesus died for our sins. You have to ask for forgiveness, and He’ll forgive you your sins. And then He comes and lives inside your heart.” And I was like, “Oh, shoot, I missed that step.” And to me, that’s such a picture of how we keep growing in our understanding of faith. So, sometimes we just get to a place of saying, “I didn’t know, God, that I needed You so desperately in this season.” And I – I’m reminded of, uh, the verse that says, “Consider it pure joy when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance…”

Amber: Yes. Mm hmm.

Wendy: “…And that endurance will have its perfect result. You will be mature and complete, lacking nothing.” And so oftentimes, our lack of faith is simply not knowing we needed faith.

Jim: Wow.

Wendy: In this season to that degree. And I remember going to the grocery store – this is after I had all three of my kids – and I was in a crisis. I was worn out. I was, um, hormonally imbalanced. I mean, I was not doing well, and I’m sitting in the parking lot. And I’m crying. I think the term is ugly crying because it’s not pretty.


Wendy: And you don’t look pretty…

John: This isn’t just…

Wendy: …For quite a few hours afterwards if you do it right (Laughter).

John: This is the tears. This is…

Jim: Husbands have to do something at this point, right?

Wendy: But I was by myself.

John: …Deep sobs, right? Yeah.

Wendy: The boys were at home. And I went into the grocery store. And, um, I went up to the butcher’s counter. And I – the – the butcher didn’t look at me.

Jim: I’m a little worried already here.


Wendy: He did not look at me. And he just said, “Hey, what can I get for you?” And I said, “Salmon for two adults and three kids that won’t eat it.”


Wendy: And he started – he started getting it and, again, hasn’t looked at me yet because I had just been ugly crying.

Jim: Oh, yeah.

Wendy: So, I did not look that wonderful. And he says, without looking up, “So how are you doing today?”

Jim: Your eyes were all puffy.

Wendy: And I take a, you know, pause. And he looks up at me and sees (laughter). And I said, “Not so great. But it’s just another chance to trust God more.” And I kid you not. He started crying – like, projectile tears. Paul – he had a badge that said, “Hello my name is Paul.” Paul starts crying as he’s, you know, wrapping up my salmon. And he says, “Do you think that’s what they’re for? Do you think that’s what the hard days are for?” And I started crying again. I’m like, “Yes, Paul, that’s what they’re for.” And so sometimes that crisis of faith is that we need the nearness and the help of the Holy Spirit in a way we have not needed them before. And that’s why we can consider it pure joy because guess what we get by the end of that crisis? We get more of Jesus.

Jim: Amber, you had a little different story in that regard. Um, you call it, I think, a legacy of generational sin. I mean, so I don’t know if that environment was different from Wendy’s drastically but…

Amber: Yeah. Well, you know, I grew up – my parents came out of a really strict religious separatist cult when I was growing up. My brother was…

Jim: OK, that sounds tough.

Amber: Yeah (laughter). My brother was born into it. I was born shortly thereafter. And, um, my family was excommunicated very suddenly one night and never saw most of their family ever again, to this day.

Jim: Oh, my goodness.

Amber: And so, it – you know, being raised in this sort of unofficial, uh, deprogramming wasn’t the easiest thing. You know, my parents had a lot of dysfunction. You know, they didn’t know what even the secular world was like very much. Much less how to handle, um, their own feelings of grieving and loss and all of that. And I have such sympathy for my parents because, man, they did a great job considering everything that they came out of. And the Lord was so gracious to save them and – and get them into a solid Bible-teaching church by the time I was only a few years old. And so that was really my saving grace – and really, for all of us. But there was a lot of dysfunction and tension and anger. And there was yelling. And there were a lot of things that were tumultuous for me growing up. But because I knew the Bible so well, I understood what my life was supposed to look like as a parent when I became a parent myself. But then I started struggling with a lot of those same things. And it seemed like it was this sort of generational dog on my heels, you know, that I couldn’t kick away or get rid of. And I was really agonizing over that.

Jim: Yes.

Amber: You know, that this is what I didn’t want. You know, I wanted something different for my children. And the Lord was so kind to me that He allowed me to just really have a moment with Him when my kids were real young. My husband had left for work, and I just said, “Lord, I don’t want to be like this anymore. This has to be the last day that it’s this bad. Maybe tomorrow won’t be perfect, but it needs to get better.” And so, I really just had a conversation with the Lord where I yielded – um, not to perfection, but to the Lord perfecting me little by little. And that was a turning point in my life. And now it’s just such a joy to me that I get to share that hope with others because I know it’s possible even if there’s a generational sin or a generational pattern or model that you’ve experienced growing up. And the thing that’s so critical to know is that there is no generational sin that is a match for the God of all generations.

Jim: Oh, yeah.

Amber: He is our God. He is over it all. He is able, and He will help you. And my story really is proof of that.

Jim: Yeah. Wendy, let me turn it to you because you also have experienced depression. That’s not unusual for – for moms.

Wendy: Right.

Jim: I mean, many moms – postpartum and all kinds of things.

Wendy: It’s very, very common.

Jim: Speak to that because, even as a woman, a believer in Jesus, you’re going to encounter these worldly pitfalls and that certainly would be one.

Wendy: Sure.

Jim: My wife, Jean, is right there with you. She’s gone through those struggles as well. But speak to how, uh, you climb out of that mess and how you rely on God to help you.

Wendy: Yeah. You know, that term climb out of the mess or climb out of the pit.

Jim: Right.

Wendy: It’s a real common term. And yet God’s word says that “When we cry out for Him, He reaches down, and He lifts us.”

Jim: That’s better. I like that better.

Amber: Mm hmm.

Wendy: And that really is…

Jim: I’ll lift you out. Yeah.

Amber: Yeah.

Wendy: Yeah. “I will put your feet upon the rock, um, in a spacious place. I will give you a firm place to stand.” It goes on to say, “And I will put a new song in your mouth. A hymn of praise to our God. And others will hear and see and put their faith in Him.” And that to me is my depression story testimony, which is where He took me from and where He brought me to. And every time I share it, I just feel like that’s the new song in my mouth. And I also love the idea of if He replaces our old song, this depressed lamentation, um, how did that song sound with my children?

Jim: Hmm.

Wendy: When I was in the midst of so much soul sadness, what were my words like? I did not – we talked about this briefly yesterday on the broadcast that sometimes, when we’re having an internal struggle, the kid’ll come up and do something that’s just childish. But what it is is his or her behavior is the straw that breaks the mother’s back. And depression can feel so weighty that anything that’s just childish breaks the mom’s back.

Jim: Yeah.

Wendy: And so, I think I had to get to a place first where I recognized that depression was not a sign of – that I wasn’t spiritual enough. I think that that’s a false…

Jim: Or failure.

Wendy: …Theology is, “But God I’m abiding in You. You’re abiding in me. Your spirit should look more like this in my life. Why am I still sad? Where is the joy?” And the Lord just spoke to me and said, “Your body, your hormones, your life experience – this is hard right now. You need more of Me. I will bring you out. You keep calling to Me. You keep eating healthy foods. You don’t need caffeine. You don’t need sugar. You need good sleep. Um, you need intimacy with your husband. You need a walk around the block.” And so, as I was pursuing my relationship with the Lord, trusting Him to lift me out of the muck and the mire, I was also doing things. I was learning to do things. And this is very hard. We actually – Amber and I – just last night…

Amber: Yes, we were.

Wendy: …We were talking about how hard it is to prioritize taking care of ourselves physically because…

Amber: Yeah.

Wendy: And it’s hard to talk about because this isn’t about if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.

Jim: Right.

Wendy: This isn’t about mani-pedi, not that there’s anything wrong with having a manicure or a pedicure. But this is about, “How come I can get my children in for their dental appointment but not myself?” I can feed them their multivitamins but not my – my own.

Jim: Right.

Wendy: Um, so, I found that, for me, physiologically, I needed to take care of myself to be emotionally stable. So, I went to a nutritionist. I went to a naturopath. I had some supplements. I spent a lot of time in God’s word and in prayer. He did the lifting. But physiologically, I also started taking better care of myself.

Jim: So, everything felt better.

Wendy: I felt better.

Jim: How long of a journey was that?

Wendy: You know, before I recognized what the problem was, it was a long journey. It was multiple years. And I really think that that was the number one problem with my short-tempered responses to my kids is – I did not have the bandwidth to help them because I was so anxious and depressed and tired and overwhelmed.

Jim: And that caused. Yeah. And that caused…

Amber: Depleted. Yeah.

Jim: …The internal triggers that we’re talking about.

Wendy: Right. So, I can’t handle with your – your childishness…

John: Hmm.

Wendy: …Because I’m struggling.

Jim: Moving from – from that kind of, uh, overwhelming blanket feeling of depression…

Wendy: Yes.

Jim: …The modern-day stresses. Let’s talk about those, Amber. Uh, what are they? How do we build a bit of a shield around those stresses? Um, it’s probably epidemic for moms at this stage where moms are feeling so stressed out. It can be kids are involved in too much stuff. How do we pull ’em back so we’re all healthier?

Amber: You know, kids are involved in too many things. We’re involved in too many things. We also just have the pressure of seeing all the things that we’re not a part of…

Jim: (Laughter) Right. Oh my goodness.

Amber: …You know, on Instagram or social media. It’s, like, I’m already too busy. But I also see all these other things that other people are doing. And maybe I should be doing those. Or, you know, there’s so many opportunities for us to have the fear of missing out as well as feeling like just this fear that we are doing too much.

Jim: Right.

Amber: So how do we land, you know, in the middle of all of that, hopefully. But I think it is key. You know, Wendy was just talking about, you know, being intentional with the self-care. I think we do have to be really intentional when it comes to stress because it is hard on our bodies. And God wants us to take good care of our bodies with exercise and those kinds of things, too. But it’s also just recognizing that, for me, when I’m really stressed, I have to make my time with the Lord a priority. When I start snapping at my kids and I realize that I’m overreacting because I’m stressed out…

Wendy: Yes.

Amber: …There’s too much going on. We can do those practical things and honestly look at our calendar and say, “OK. You know, we tried to do two different sports this season. That wasn’t really working for us. We were running around too much. As a family, we’re going to all do theater next season, or we’re all going to do soccer, so we’re all in the same place at the one time.” And there’s some practical things that you can do to help de-stress. But I also feel like there’s nothing in my spirit that helps me more than honestly to just go into God’s word. And I personally like to read in the Psalms when I feel stressed out because it’s just this collection of beautiful poetry and prayers. You know, King David – he’s there writing his little heart out, you know?

Jim: (Laughter) That’s right.

Amber: I mean, with tears and just – and sometimes you just have to get that out emotionally and talk to the Lord about it. So, I will – often when I’m stressed, I’ll also do what I – I just say, “OK. I’ve got to start doing my – my mini prayers throughout the day so that when I start to feel anxious, to me, that’s a signal.” It’s not a signal to get irritated and lash out at my child. It’s a signal that I just to need to stop and pray, you know, and just say, “Lord, I’m feeling my anxiety rise. I’m feeling like I’m not a good mom because I just saw that Susan took her kids to that play that I said I was going to take my kids to, and I haven’t done that. And now I’m stressed. I got to try to figure out how I can afford that or how I can fit it…” We just need to stop all those things and just say, “OK. I’m one mom. I’m doing – I am the best mom for the job because God gave me these kids.”

Jim: He chose you.

Amber: He chose me. And so, I don’t need to be stressed. You know, God tells us, “Cast all of your anxiety on me.” He says, “You know, roll those burdens onto Him.” You know, we need to leave that stress at the foot of the cross. I go into the Psalms. I, um, read those really intentionally. I pour my heart out to the Lord. And I ask Him to take the anxiety. Take the stress away from me, Lord. Help me because I don’t want to attack my children.

Jim: Yeah.

Wendy: Right. And that’s the trigger. That’s why it’s a trigger. Stress is one of those things that, if you feel stress, you pass stress down. I mean, you really do, or you dole it out.

Amber: It effects everybody.

Jim: Oh, sure – how you react. Although…

Wendy:  So, He says, “You can either give it to Me, or you can give it to them.”

Amber: Yes, good one.

Wendy: “But you’re going to give it to someone.”

Amber: Yes.

Jim: Well, and here’s the other reality. You can’t live a stress-free life.

Amber: No.

Jim: The world we live in creates some level of stress.

Amber: That’s right.

Jim: What you’re talking about is how to manage it…

Amber: How to manage it.

Wendy: Yes.

Jim: …In the upper end of it…

Amber: That’s right.

Jim: …That we shouldn’t live there. We can’t live stressed out.

Amber: Right.

Jim: But you’re not going to live stress free…

Wendy: Right.

Amber: No.

Jim: …’Cause stress is just part of it.

Amber: It is.

Wendy: You know, this is – this is very much, um, I think, a natural segue to one of the other internal triggers, one of my biggest, which is multitasking.

Jim: (Laughter) Yeah.

Wendy: And, um, I had…

Jim: That’s a trigger, multitasking?

Wendy: That is. Well, not for some people. I mean, there are a few people out there that, man, they can do it like a boss. And then they have kids, and they’re like, “Wait a minute. I thought I could do all the things.” You know what? Your kids need naps. You need to slow down your pace. So that can be a trigger. For me, ever since I was young, I was aware that I didn’t do lots of things at the same time well.

Jim: Interesting.

Wendy: I learned when I was in high school. Um, let me see. It was my junior year of high school, and I was going to a performing arts high school that was an hour drive away. And so, it was a big commitment to get there. And I wasn’t getting home until late at night. And I was missing youth group. And I wasn’t getting the dinner time…

Jim: Homework done.

Wendy: …With my family. I mean, so the things that were priorities weren’t getting done. And, um, my back went out, as a 17-year-old. And, uh, I just wasn’t doing well. And my parents said, “Why don’t you come back to the local school for a semester and, um, just kind of get healthy?”

Jim: Yeah.

Wendy: And what it was was it was too much on my plate.

Jim: Yeah.

Wendy: And then I experienced it again in college. I remember calling my mom saying, “Why can’t I do as much as everybody else? Everybody else can take a full course load and work a job and be in a theater show and do this, and I can’t.” And she said, well, then drop a class. And I said, “But I would be such a failure to drop a class.” And she said, “No. You would be a failure if you don’t drop a class and then you fail the class. That’s what a failure is.”

Jim: Boy, that’s good guilt management.

Wendy: Yeah. I know right?

Jim: Yeah.

Wendy: And so, I – I went into the office, and I dropped a class. And I wasn’t the only one there doing it. And, um – and I was able to do really, really well. I got straight A’s that semester. So, the lesson for me is I could do a few things exceptionally well. But as soon as I take on too much, I do lots of things poorly.

Jim: Well, and here – here’s the equation that is so difficult. A mom feels guilty when she’s doing too much because she’s not doing it well.

Amber: Yeah.

Jim: And the mom feels guilty when she has to say no…

Amber: That’s right.

Jim: …To providing the cookies to the home room.

Wendy: Yeah.

Jim: I saw…

Wendy: I’ve gotten much better…

Jim: I saw Jean…

Wendy: …And not feeling guilty about not bringing the cookies.

Jim: But this…

Wendy: I have gotten really good at that. (Laughter)

Jim: Yeah, but you had to get there, right?

Amber: Yeah. That took time.

Wendy: I did. I did. Absolutely.

Jim: I saw that with Jean, too. I mean, she wanted to be supermom.

Wendy: Yeah, sure.

Amber: Well, when I saw that Wendy was taking store-bought cookies to the class, it made me feel like, oh, I can…

Jim: Revelation.


Amber: …I can take store-bought cookies…

Jim: Even I can do that.

Amber: …To the class.

Wendy: Absolutely.

Amber: Thank you, Wendy.

Jim: Yeah, those Costco cookies are pretty good.

Wendy: Or send – be the person that signs up for the napkins.

Jim: Yes. (Laughter).

Wendy: You know, there is that person. There’s a list on what you can bring.

John: Somebody needs napkins.

Wendy: Why do I think I need to do the homemade and my friend Susie can do the napkins? No, you know what, I’m in a napkin season. Thank you very much.

Amber: Yes. (Laughter)

John: I appreciate that word season, too…

Amber: Yes.

John: …Because that is part of life, isn’t it?

Amber: Yeah.

John: …The parenting journey doesn’t happen all at once. There are different seasons.

Wendy: Well, and I want to keep coming back to the idea of triggers. You know, if I – what in the world am I doing if I’m staying up late making homemade cookies for the class but I’m losing my cred with my kids because of the stress?

Jim: Yeah, right. (Laughter)

Wendy: What is my priority? I would much rather be calm and send napkins.

Jim: It is foggy, and that is where you need clarity. And that’s what’s so good about what you’ve done in your book Triggers. Let me touch on this issue of transition. John, you just mentioned it.

John: Hmm.

John: The kind of seasons is the term you use. But, Amber, you went through a transition period that was tougher than you expected, what did you come out with that experience? What was the experience?

Amber: Well, my family, we ended up moving – my husband and our kids, to a little town about three hours north of Los Angeles. And we thought it was going to be really wonderful that we were going to have all kinds of just, um, wonderful experiences in the country. We were going to raise chickens. And…

Jim: Was this Modesto?

Amber: We were going to slow down. It was San Luis Obispo.

Jim: OK.

John: That’s very pretty.

Amber: Yeah, it was very beautiful, but it was slow. And it was small town. And it was very different from what I was used – fourth generations, you know, being born and raised in the big city in LA. And we loved it there. Our time there was such a huge blessing, but it was also the hardest time of my life in the last 10 years – 12 years – because I had these three precious little boys and I didn’t have any of my family or friends around anymore and…

Jim: Oh, so you were cut off socially.

Amber: Yeah, I was cut off socially and even just having somebody to help me, you know, to watch a kid for a second while I take another to the doctor or, you know, who’s sick. There just wasn’t that help that was practical around me at that time. So, these times of transition they can be a move, they can be a job change. It could even be your spouse’s transition that they’re going through.

Wendy: Yes.

Jim: Yeah.

Amber: Different season of life. It’s not even your transition, but that can create, you know, the stress and the pressure and all of that. And sometimes when we get into those places, it is easy to become triggered toward our children and very easy to get exasperated with them because nothing in your life feels like it used to. And so again, it’s these triggers. It’s not about fixing our situation or changing that, it’s really about drawing us to the Lord. These are opportunities for us to draw near to the Lord and say, “OK, I recognize that this is at a – a time of transition. Things are really out of control. I don’t need to be really out of control.”

Wendy: Yes.

Jim: Right.

John: Mm hmm.

Amber: “I can rely on the God who never changes in the midst of all my changing seasons right now.”

Jim: Well, and there’s two – to me, there’s two questions as we wrap up. One is for the mom who feels like maybe she has a 17 – 18-year-old senior and maybe a 15-year-old, 16-year-old sophomore, junior. I mean, they’re coming to the end of the nest time.

Wendy: The season.

Amber: Yeah.

Jim: What would you say to her because she might say, “It’s too late, I’ve blown it.”

Amber: Yeah. No.

Jim: “I’ve always reacted out of my emotions, I haven’t…”

Amber: Yeah.

Jim: “…I didn’t know how to change that behavior.” What would you say to that mom?

Amber: You know, I just received a letter recently from a dad actually who was feeling that way.

Jim: Yeah.

Amber: Um, just really broken over the fact that he felt that he had blown it and there was going to be no opportunity for him to have a relationship with his daughter again. And, um, I just let him know that, you know, it is never too late to do the next right thing. You know, we can go and have a conversation with our kids where we just sincerely apologize for the things that we’ve done that we know were not right and take ownership.

Jim: That’s good in your 20s or 30s. I mean, when the child’s…

Amber: Yes.

Jim: …In the 20s and 30s, 40s, I mean.

Amber: Anytime.

Jim: Yes.

Amber: There’s – it’s never a bad thing to have a conversation like that where you go humbly to somebody else and you have that conversation.

Jim: Yeah.

Amber: You know, and you never know if that is going to receive it or not. But that’s between them and the Lord. Where the healing comes for us is when we’re able to go and have that conversation and apologize. And then we prayerfully hope that our child will be receptive to what we’ve said. And sometimes there has been a long history of – of woundedness there. I am convinced that when we continue to love somebody unconditionally and when we change, it may take them time to receive that, but I do believe that God will cause a breakthrough in those relationships. And so, we need to have hope. And that’s what Jesus has done for so many of us, isn’t it? So often we went in the other direction. We were prodigals. We ran away. And yet, what does Jesus do? He stood there. And He was our shepherd. And He left the 99 to go pursue us. And, you know, the Father of the prodigal son is there waiting at the end of the road…

Jim: Running.

Amber: …So happy to see them. And so, you know, that is Jesus’ desire for our relationships. So, let’s be prayerful about that.

Jim: Yeah.

Amber: Yeah.

Wendy: He promises that, behold, I’m doing a new thing.

Amber: That’s right.

Wendy: So, I think so often we feel like we’re the – we’re the tail end of a generational sin when, really, maybe we could be the head of something new.

Jim: Oh, yeah.

Wendy: So, let’s…

Jim: Absolutely.

Wendy: Even if it means that children are almost out of the nest or out of the nest, God didn’t say too late. I’ve been reading through…

Jim: He never says too late.

Wendy: He never says too late.

Jim: That’s a good point.

Wendy: Again, going back to the Old Testament and just watching over and over and over again how, um, how His children Israel sinned against Him. And then He’s just waiting for them to call out. And He – they call out. And He comes to the rescue.

Jim: Right. (Laughter)

Wendy: And then there’s sin again and so…

Jim: They turn their back on Him.

Wendy: We don’t need to, um, shame ourselves that it’s too late. He’s never been a God of too late. 
Jim:  And we’re grateful for that illustration. Amber and Wendy, thank you for being with us. I want to turn to the listener. This resource is one that you need. I think you’re connecting with this content and I know the content is right where many of you are living. Wendy and Amber have done such a wonderful job with their book Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses. I hope you will contact Focus on the Family to get a copy of this great book. When you donate a gift of any amount, we’ll send it along to you as our way of saying thank you. And if you can’t afford it that’s okay, we believe in the content that much that we know that others will offset the cost of getting this into your hands.

John: And let me remind you that we have counselors who can talk with you if you have deeper issues that just seem unresolved or you don’t know who to chat with, and, uh, we certainly would count it a privilege if we could tell you more about having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. That is front and foremost one of our key objectives here at the ministry, to help you better understand what it means to be a Christ follower.

Jim: And that is truly the key to help get your marriage and parenting on track, especially when it comes to the internal and external triggers that we’ve talked about today, and we are listener supported. We couldn’t do all we do without you. God is already at work reaching this amazing six and a half million people each week who tune into the Daily Broadcast with guest information and resources that do transform lives, and there’s about a million more through podcasts, John. How many more families can God reach through your support today? Be a part of the team. I don’t wanna cajole anybody, but let’s do this together. Let’s reach people for Christ and help them in their families.

John: Yeah, help us spread the word through these broadcasts. Donate and get your copy of Triggers when you call 800-A-FAMILY. 800-232-6459. Or, we’re online at On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller inviting you back and we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ.

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