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You’re Special to Jesus

You’re Special to Jesus

Speaker Donna Linville discusses the power words can have to build others up or tear them down, and how God has helped heal her heart from the devastating words spoken to her during her youth.

Original Air Date: April 5, 1999

Opening:

John Fuller: The American novelist Ernest Hemingway said, “The world breaks everyone and afterwards, some are strong at the broken places.” On this edition of “Focus on the Family,” we’ll hear from a woman whose experience in school as a child almost broke her, but who found support and encouragement in an unexpected way to go on and flourish. Your host is author and Focus president, Jim Daly and I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, many, many children and even adults can go through a real struggle with self-worth and parents can exacerbate the problem for their kids or they can be a big part of the solution. I can remember playin’ football and I had the physical ability to be a good quarterback and maybe play college, but I didn’t have the emotional stability. I even knew it, but I didn’t know how to change it.

And my football coach, Paul Moro, really helped me in gaining confidence and that’s what I needed–greater confidence that I could run the play the way it needed to be run or run the team the way it needed to be run. We’re going to hear a recorded message from a woman who felt like she was worth nothing at a child and maybe you felt that way as a child and you’re still suffering some of the lingering effect of that. She was called names and picked on and she felt stupid. I guess they were convincing her that the things they were saying were true. But as we know, God doesn’t make mistakes and you’ll be encouraged as you listen to this story today.

John: And we’re gonna hear from Donna Linville. She and her husband, Gary, have been married for over 40 years and they serve at the First Church of Portsmouth, Virginia. She speaks around the world and it’s a privilege for us to share part of her story on today’s “Focus on the Family.”

Body:

Donna Linville: When I was a young child, I don’t know what happened to me. I’m laughing with you and I’m enjoying being with you, but there was a time in my life that something happened to me. And I’m looking at some beautiful young people here and I’m looking at them, young people that I know without a shadow of a doubt that God has something dynamite for you. But I don’t know what it was. I don’t know if it’s because my father moved to another state and I was about 10-years-old. I don’t what it was that happened to me as a little girl.

I’ve always been plump, and when I moved and went into a new school system there in that city, I was behind academically. And also, I was real plump. And so, I started going to school, and I was involved in classes that I didn’t understand. I was behind. I didn’t understand where they were, and before you know it, as sometimes children do, children started saying, “Hey, Big Mama; hey, Fatso,” when I was around 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15. But during that time, I started closing up. My mom and dad noticed that when I would leave the front door of our home, I became a very reclusive, shy, backward little girl. I made straight Fs, Ds.

And I begged mother every day of my life, “Mom, don’t make me go to school, please.” And oh, listen, I have had so many illnesses that I faked. I would just say, “I’m sick. “(Sound of pop) “But you don’t have a fever.” “I know I’ve got a fever.” I would fake every sickness. I said I’ve got a rash somewhere on my body. I know [there] is. (Laughter) They said, “There’s not a rash.” I said, Mother I’ve[been] around somebody that had measles. I feel the rash coming on the body.” “Baby, you’ve got to go to school today.”

But when I would go to school, they would say, “Donna, what’s the answer?” And in my mind and in my soul and in my being, I knew the answer, but I was so locked up and so shy and so inferior and lack of self-esteem, I would go, “Uh … I … I …” And they would go, “Uh! What’s the answer, class? Give Donna the answer.” And then I would start to go inward more and more.

But when I would come home, I couldn’t wait. I remember walking home from elementary school and … and from Mike’s school and I would run home. I didn’t have friends. I never played with anybody. I was just that really reclus[ive] little girl. But when I went home, I was loved. And when I got at home, we had a weeping willow tree in the back, and I dreamed, just like all those other kids did. I would say, “Star light, star bright, I wish I may, I wish I might.” And I would go to a youth meeting, or I would go to a service, and I would see somebody sing and in my private world and in my mind, I would dream. I would love to sing like that, or I would love to [to do this]; I would love [to do that]. Oh, no, no. I’m not good enough. I’m fat, and I can’t think right, and I’m stupid.” And so, when I left the front door of our home, I just lived in a shelled, broken, closed world.

Well, to such a degree that my school brought my mom and dad and I together, and my principal and my teacher told my mom and dad, [he] said, “Well, Mr. and Mrs. Shepard, we’re sorry to tell you, but we feel like your child needs to go to special education school and she’s not academically able to ever go any higher in school.”

Well, so in that room with the school principal and everybody sitting there, I just was stunned by it. And we got in the car, cause see, I didn’t say nothin’. I didn’t ever talk. I never talked. Got in the car. My mother was quietly, silently [crying], tears. I remember in the backseat, I saw tears going down her cheeks. And all of a sudden, I saw the greatest fan club in my life turn her head. She said, “Sweetheart, you’re brilliant. You’ve got it in you, Baby. It’s gonna come out.”

Well, the school said you can’t go any higher in school until you have physical tests done in a hospital and you have to go to a school psychiatrist. Well, they took me to the hospital and was admitted in the hospital and they did tests on me. Thank the Lord, they found grey matter. I was happy about that. (Laughter) There was some up there. And when it was over with, all of my physical attributes were okay, eye up. Now I was still a little plump, but for academics’ sake, physically I was okay.

Well, then they took me to the school psychiatrist. Oh, boy. They would give you all these numbers, 1, 9, 3, 8, 7, 4, 3, 8, 4. Repeat them. (Laughter) 1, 9, 8, 3, 7,8, 4, 9, backwards. (Laughter), 9, 8, 7, 4, 3, 1, or 1. All right. Turned and look at his paper. Well, mine was nice. They weren’t that harsh with me. I looked at scribbled stuff. They said, “What do you see in this?” “A scribbled mess.” (Laughter) No, there is a picture in there. “I don’t see a picture in there, but I know there is one in there.” Grass, ‘scribbleness.’”

And well, I went through it. We built blocks. I love block playing. Since then I’ve really enjoying playing with blocks, but (Laughter) they want you to play with blocks and they want you to add and subtract and they want you to look at you and they say, “How are you feelin’ at this moment?” “Good.” (Laughter) “Are you mad at anybody?” “Uh-um, not that I know of.” “Is there a reason why you’re plump like this?” “Uh-hm.” (Laughter) “What is it?” “Food.” (Laughter and Applause) “Do you have a deep thing in here against your mom and dad?” “No, I love ’em.” “Have they done somethin’?” “No, never have; they love me.”

Well, that’s not it. That’s not causing you that, right? I don’t know what it was. They dug around inside of me tryin’ to figure out and they were wonderful. They really were kind to me. When it was all over with, the reckoning day was comin’. I remember drivin’ up in front of that psychiatrist or psychiatric ward, whatever it was. We got out. We sat in that room. My mom, dad and I and he said something. He said, “You know, Mr. and Mrs. Shepard, Donna, something has happened to you. I don’t know where you were locked inside of you, but something’s locked you up. But Mr. and Mrs. Shepard, inside of her is a butterfly that wants to fly. She wants to come out. For my side of it and everything’s fine, she can go up to another level.”

Well, I come out of there. I was so ecstatic. I was, “Mother!” (Laughter) I didn’t do that, ’cause I was quiet I went (softly) “Mother, oh, good.” They hugged me and I said, “I can go up higher. Well, I went to summer school, had three tutors that summer.

But let me tell you what happened that summer about my biggest fan. Mother came home, and she said, “Now, next year you’re going to high school, and you’regoing tobe different.” I said, “Mother, how can I be different?” She said, “Next year, this September, Donna Sue, I cannot wait.” My mother’s real demonstrative. She said, “You’re gonna be the ooh! God is gonna change you. I said, “How?” Oh, I couldn’t wait. (Laughter) [Size] 22 down to a 10? Oh! In two months I tried to lose 50 pounds. Last week (Laughter), I went on a no-fat diet cookie deal. I gained! I didn’t know you were only supposed to eat two at a time. (Laughter and Applause) I don’t know about you all, but there [are] not enough cookies in that thing. (Laughter) There [are] only 12. Twelve is enough for one meal, so I gained.

But anyway, I was thinkin’, I was gonna lose that summer, but I noticed something. Every day, starting the end of May, I noticed that my mother didn’t eat supper with us. “Oh, Mother, come and eat with us.” She said, “Oh baby, you’re gonna change. God is doin’ somethin’ inside of you.” And I was tryin’ to figure out what it was.

And then the next night, I would hear somebody in the living room saying, “Jesus. I don’t know what it is.” My mom is a nursing supervisor, retired nursing supervisor. She worked all day long. But at night she would come home, and she said, “Lord, I don’t know what it is that has got my child closed up that she cannot be all that You always wanted her to be. But God, please, break it.”

You see, she had been convinced like I am convinced, that not one creation that God has created, thatHe does not want you toan excelling flying eagle. God has in His mind a purpose and plan for every child, every teenager and every adult in here.

Program Note:

John: Donna Linville is sharing her experiences from her teen years on today’s “Focus on the Family.” And a CD of this presentation is available when you call 800-A-FAMILY or at www.focusonthefamily.com/radio. In fact, if you’ll make a generous donation to the work of Focus on the Family today to strengthen your faith, we’ll send that CD to you as a thank-you gift for your support. Let’s go ahead and keep going now as Donna continues her message on “Focus on the Family.”

End of Program Note

Donna: So that summer, all year, I’d be out there in the yard. My mom would come in. She’d say, “Whoa, you are going to be great!” And I’d go, “Good, great.” (Laughter) And so, here we were at the end of the year, summer. I go to school the first day, and my mother says, “It’s changed. God is going to change you.” So I get out at school, absolutely terrorized. I hated it. I got out, walked in my high school, and when I walked in that foyer, those kids that I’d gone to school with all those years [said,] “Hey, Fatso, you’re back again.” Oh, deep inside of me I thought, “Oh, it hadn’t changed.” “Hey, Big Mama, come on, you came. We heard you [were] done.” And, oh, I just was oh!

Well, at the end of the day, school was over with. I hid in the women’s bathroom. I wanted all the kids to leave. I didn’t want to see [anybody] ’cause I was so hurt that nothin’ had changed. It was the same. So, in our bathroom in that school of about 1,300 kids is the best acoustics you have ever been in. It’s a long corridor, big ceramic tile, an old school. And in my secret world, I loved to sing. I would go in my bedroom and just sing and pretend. Star light, star bright, I would pretend.

Well, in that bathroom, away, away from the school of children, of the kid’s area, I decided I’m gonna sing. Just me. So in there I was pretending again. [Sound of Singing] ‘Cause I would do that in my house. My dad loved opera, so I heard opera all the time. [Sound of Singing, Hitting High Notes] (Applause) Well, I walked down that corridor and I was going’ (Singing), you know, (Singing), when all of a sudden I heard “Cush-un.” “There’s somebody in here!”

I grabbed my books, and I ran. I started to run out when all of a sudden a woman came out. She said, “Hold it. What? Come here. What’s your name?” And I said, “My name’s Donna Shepard.” “Look at me. Look. Pick your face up. Look at me. What’s your name again?” I said, “Donna Shepard.” “Be in my office in the morning.” I said, “Well, what do you want me to do?” She said, “I want you to try out for chorale.” I said, “I can’t. I can’t sing.” “I don’t ever want to hear from your mouth again, ‘I can’t do something.’ Do you hear me?” She was a Marine sergeant. (Applause) I said, “Okay. What’s your name?” And she told me her name, and I said, “Okay.”

And I ran to the car, and my mother’s out there. She said, “How was it?” I said, “Well, everybody’s the same to me, but, Mother, this woman wants me to try out in the morning for chorale.” She said, “Oh, do, I want you to do it.” I said, “Mother, I can’t.” “Oh, yes.” “I can’t, but I’m not; I’m not; I’m not going to. I can’t. I can’t.” But when I went home and went in my bedroom and shut the door, I looked in the mirror and went [Sound of Crying/Singing] (Applause) in my secret world [Sound of Singing].

So the next morning I walked in there, trembling totally. And she said, “Sing a song.” I said, “All I know is a Jesus song.” “Sing a Jesus song, okay?” That’s how she was. I went (Singing), “Amazing grace.” But I didn’t sing like that. I went, “A-ma-zing-grace.” She said, “Higher, higher. Look at me. Breathe.” I went ,”Uhm.” She said, “Higher.” “Amazing.” “Higher.” “Amaz[ing].” “Higher.” “Ama[zing].” “Higher.” “Ama[zing].” “Higher” “A ….ha.” (Applause) She said, “Good. I want you the first chair, first soprano in my chorale.” “I can’t.” “I am tired of hearing that from you. Enough is enough. I never want to hear, ‘I can’t.’”

Well, I went home trembling. “Mother, I really can’t believe it. I’m first chair, first soprano.” She said, “Oh, Donna, that’s great.” Well, six weeks later my report card came. Well, before all those years, it was a death march. (Laughter and Applause) “I’m sorry.” Well, I brought that report card, and I went home. I said, “Here, Mother.” My dad and everybody [were] there. Gave it to my mother. Well, my mother’s real demonstrative. She looked at it. She went, “Oh! Oh, Shep! Oh, Shep! Oh!” My dad’s nickname was “Shep.” “Oh, Shep, Shep. Oh, oh, my Lord, my Lord.” I was on the honor roll. (Applause) “Oh, Shep, oh, oh, my baby, my baby, oh, my baby.”

Well, when I graduated from high school, I graduated with honors, and you know how they nominate the “most friendliest” person? Well, I wasn’t the No. 1out of [all], but I was the [third] out of 1,300 [who] was picked as the “most friendliest.” (Applause) I was still chubby, maybe a little bit more chubby than plump, but when I walked down that aisle and got my letter and when I was offered a scholarship to a university,I decided that the Lord drew me another route. And that’s where I met this sweetheart at Bible college, my husband and I sing for Jesus now.

But when I walked down that aisle to get my letter, I told my friends behind me and in front of me. I said, If you hear somebody crying, it’s my mother.” But I remember walkin’ down this hall. We had about 370 in our graduation class. As I was walking down, behind me they said, “Hey, Donna, Donna.” What?” “I hear your mother.” (Laughter) “I hear her, too.” And you see, when I got up and got that honor letter, I knew who did it for me. The greatest fan in the world reached Someone that loves me more than her. And you know, mom, you taught me. It’s hard for me to believe that Jesus loves me more than you. It’s hard for me to be knowing that God; how much more your heavenly Father loves you.

And I am so glad that I will never hear from Jesus, “Hey, Fatso, you’ll never do nothin’. You’re no good.” I’m so glad, Jesus, You’ll never say that about me. You’ll say, “If I’m for you, who can be against you? (Applause) If I’m for you, who can be against you?” (Applause)

Oh, when moments of discouragement come, and yes, sometimes I feel that old feeling hit me again, but then, all of a sudden I think, “Jesus, I’m special to you. And God, one day I want to come home, and I want to come home,” and I pray instead of a T, Tupelo High School, I want to graduate with honors, H, heaven, heaven. (Applause)

And as an adult, I have found out that my mother claps every time in an audience like this, the first one. She’ll stand up. And I say, “Mother, everybody knows you’re my mother. Wait till the audience [claps].” She said, “If you don’t be quiet, I’m gonna get pom poms.” (Laughter) Total adoration.

But Jesus has in the clouds a cloud of witnesses that’s your fan club, that’s saying, “You can do it. I’ve already done it. We’re behind you. You’ve got a grandstand full of fans. You can do it. Come on up. You can do it.”

Closing:

John: Donna Linville, urging us to press on and to never give up hope. And by the way, her mother is now 94-years-old and still praying for her and encouraging her. And that kind of adoration is just somethin’ else.

Jim: Oh, it’s true, John. That is great and you know, the truth is, we could all use someone like that in our corner, praying for us and encouraging us. But as Donna said there, Jesus and those who have gone before us are pulling for us to thrive and to succeed spiritually in this life.

In fact, Romans 8:34 says, “Who then is the one who condemns. No one. Christ Jesus who died, more than that, who was raised to life, is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” And I’m sure there are millions of people who have identified with Donna’s story about being rejected and treated the way she was.

Thankfully, I wasn’t bullied like that, but I did see it happen from time to time and I tried to do my best to right those wrongs, but what a difference a praying mother made in Donna’s life. Young people who get bulled and made fun of can end up in all kinds of bad situations. Bullying and it seems to be on the increase with digital and all the other ways that a person can be bullied, but bullying can lead to drug abuse, alcoholism, early sexual activity or other social problems, maybe even suicide. We’ve heard of those situations, too.

We need to stay on our knees for our children and also to be their cheerleader, to encourage them, to be that important influence that lets them know we care about them and love them.

John: Well, it’s a great reminder for us as parents and teachers and mentors that God is using programs like this in people’s lives. And one young woman has let us know that this testimony has really connected with her and that God has brought her hope for the first time. And all through elementary school she was passed on to the next grade without really learning much. And now she believes God can bring new growth in her life and she’s asked us to pray for her and we’ll invite you to pray for her, as well.

And then please let us know what you thought of this presentation. We’d like to know how it’s impacted you. And when you get in touch, please know we’re offering a CD of the message by Donna Linville. If you’d like that or you’d like to consult with a counselor, our number is 800-232-6459; 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY or online we have these resources and more at www.focusonthefamily.com/radio. And please consider a generous gift to our ministry so we can reach out and produce programs like this and offer helpful resources like our counseling team’s insights and help. That’s only possible because you give generously. And when you contribute a gift of any amount today to Focus, we’ll be happy to send a copy of the CD of today’s broadcast to you as our way of saying thanks.

John: Well, on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, I’m John Fuller and I’ll invite you back tomorrow, as we once again, help you and your family thrive.

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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!