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Trusting God Through the Messiness of Life (Part 2 of 2)

Air Date 03/15/2018

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Bart Millard of the popular Christian band MercyMe discusses his troubled childhood, and he and his wife, Shannon, describe how the band's success negatively impacted their marriage. The couple offers encouragement as they explain how, with God's help, they've found healing from their painful past as they've persevered in their faith. (Part 2 of 2) 

 

Episode Transcript

Opening:

Excerpt:

“Dear Younger Me,
It’s not your fault-
You were never meant to carry this beyond the cross.”

Bart Millard: There’s never a moment in the life of a believer where God’s gonna ever say I’m disappointed in you, you’ve let me down, that he’s ever gonna walk out on me. Because there’s no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus and for me- and maybe not for everybody- but for me, man, that was the gospel as a-- in a whole. It’s how I needed to hear it for the way I grew up.

End of Excerpt

John Fuller: Those comments and that music are from the heart of Bart Millard. He founded the popular band MercyMe and he and his wife Shannon are with us once again on Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller, thanks for joining us. Your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly and we’re coming back to the second part of a conversation we recorded on a ship.

Jim Daly: John, last year we did something insane. We agreed to take the whole Disney Dream ship and, uh, it was 4,000 guests that we had on there. Let me again say thank you to everybody who came! It was so much fun!

John: It was a great celebration of our 40th, wasn’t it?

Jim: People loved it. And I’ll tell ya, the way the people that came engaged the crew; there were some amazing stories, wonderful Jesus-filled stories. And I just want to assure people; it was a great time in every way. And one of the highlights was having MercyMe on the ship and they did a great job with concerts and Bart and Shannon did a broadcast with us and that’s what we’re hearing last time and today. What a heartfelt couple. What Bart went through as a child-- if you missed it last time, get the CD or get the Smartphone download. It is an awesome testimony of a man who was broken as a boy and Shannon’s love-- they met as little children. That really was sweet. They met when they were in elementary school and what a beautiful story they have. Today we’re going to hear more of that story and how God led them to counseling and began to work on their hearts to heal them from the past and ignite hope in the future. I think many of us are in that same spot.

John: Yeah, there are a lot of identifiable moments along the way in this story. And the first part of the conversation is available on CD or as a download or you can listen on our app. Get the app and have access to the archives. And Bart has chronicled what God has done in his life in the great book, I Can Only Imagine. We’ve got that here at the ministry. Of course, there’s a film by the same title that comes out tomorrow. And we’ll encourage you to stop and see that. You can get the book at focusonthefamily.com/radio. And Bart and Shannon have been married for 20 years and have five children. And let’s go ahead and hear how that conversation continued. Jim, you asked Bart about how success impacted them as a family.

Body:

Jim: Bart, let me ask you this, you’ve hit it. You’ve won Dove Awards, MercyMe is one of the best known bands, the Lord has gifted you with incredible talent and wonderful support from Shannon. What does it feel like to be in that spot? ‘Cause as we heard last time-- and if you didn’t hear the program last time, get the app, download it, get a hold of John personally-- John, you can take care of that, right?

John: I’ll give my number at the end of the broadcast. (Laughter)

Jim: Yeah. But the point of it is, no matter what level of success you hit, you are just a guy. You’re just a man with all of the bruises and the brokenness and the healing. You’re one of us and that’s what I love. And your movie coming out March 16th, right around the corner, so go see it. It is an incredible - bring lots of tissue. It’s an incredible movie. And, uh, it tells the story so beautifully. Now, the difficulty - it’s a very demanding environment. So you’re on the road a lot.

Bart: Yeah.

Jim: You are spending time with your brothers, you might say. Shannon, that was hard for you in the marriage side.

Shannon Millard: Yes.

Jim: I mean, you began to probably be a bit jealous, right? Or what did that feel like?

Shannon: I traveled full-time till we had children. So that was just an adventure all the time...

Bart: So we’re just mad at the kids.

Shannon: ...In my life.

(LAUGHTER)

Shannon: It changed everything.

Jim: Aren’t we all?

(LAUGHTER)

Bart: “Focus on the Family.”

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: Thank you for that reminder. Touche.

Bart: Focusonthefamily.com.

Jim: .ca.

Bart: Yeah, that’s it.

Shannon: When I started staying home is when the jealousy and bitterness, anger start creeping in.

Jim: What did that feel like to you? Is it because you’re carrying the burden, you’re the one holding the fort down, I’m doing all the work? Where’s my husband? He’s just out having fun.

Shannon: Yes.

Jim: Is that a fair expression?

Shannon: Absolutely.

Jim: Yeah, that’s because I’ve heard that before.

(LAUGHTER)

Bart: We can turn his mike down if you want.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: Obviously, Jean is still not here. But, I mean, that is kind of the thing. So what happened? How did you express it? How did you talk about it? I call it the pillow talk, right?

Shannon: That’s what I call it.

Jim: Do you ever lay down - are you a morning person, Bart, or a night person?

Bart: No, I’m a night person.

Jim: You’re a night owl. So that’s - so I’m a morning person. So Jean likes to talk when we lay our head on the pillow. And that - (snore) yeah, it’s like, wow, right now you want to talk about...

Bart: Yeah.

Jim: ...His grades (laughter).

Bart: And she’s mad you’re not listening because you’re sleeping.

Jim: Yeah. Is that you snoring?

Bart: I have no idea what you’re talking about.

Jim: No, no, I’m - I’m awake. Please continue.

John:We do have - we do have counseling, Jim.

Jim: Yeah, we do have counseling.

(LAUGHTER)

Bart: That’s right.

Jim: This is actually an intervention.

Bart: Yeah.

Jim: Shannon, thank you for your input.

John:Yeah, we have Jean backstage right now.

Shannon: Sure, sure.

Jim: Yeah, come on, Jean.

Bart: :And now here’s Jean.

Jim: Well, the point of all of that is how real it is. And, uh, Shannon, back to you.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: I mean, what did you do? Who did you talk to? How did you find relief?

Shannon: It was a journey. I mean, it’s probably 10-12 years of struggling through that. And the other wives in the band, we talked to each other, but we just fueled the flame because we were all feeling the same thing.

Jim: Right.

Shannon: And, um, so we didn’t get much progress there, but...

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: You guys didn’t...

Bart: It just made it worse for all of us.

Jim: Right, you didn’t control the schedule.

Bart: (Unintelligible) talking.

Jim: Yeah, you didn’t control the schedule.

Shannon: It’s just a hard battle when your children are looking at you, too, like Daddy’s never home. And it starts to infiltrate what their view of Christ is sometimes. And that’s where it gets tricky in the balance of ministry and home. And it just took counseling for us to start working through a good view - a proper view of the whole picture.

Jim: That’s got to cut close to home, too, Bart, when you start hearing Shannon say this isn’t working well.

Bart: Yeah. Oh, for sure. I mean, um, you know, I could see it, too.It was - you know, kingdom work was becoming the villain that was taking me away from home all the time. And you could see it in her eyes and the kids’ eyes. And, um - it’s something I kind of learned was that I always thought that, you know, God’s not a God of chaos. There has to be a balance between ministry and family. And I lived that way for a long time. And it wasn’t until probably the last five or six years I realized, there’s nothing right about that. Like, family has to win every time. There’s no balance at all. Like, it has to be family. And ministry’s just the sloppy overflow of that. And, um...

Jim: It’s all ministry, isn’t it?

Bart: It absolutely is.

Jim: Yeah.

Bart: And so - and what I thought I was doing and thought it was noble was, like, we were at the height of our success. And I feel like I could lose my family at any moment. And so we just had to do a huge - have a huge paradigm shift in how we were doing things.

Jim: So you did counseling.

Shannon: Yes.

Bart: Oh, gosh, yes. Yeah, we did. And it was funny because counseling, it kind of snuck up on us a little bit. Like, Shannon had a younger brother who was killed in a car accident when he was 19. And, um...

Jim: Yeah.

Bart: And so, uh, we always say there was life before 2004 and life after. And, um - and it wasn’t just that he was killed in a car accident. Like, he spent the night before at our house. He got his heart broken and, uh, had a nice sleep, had been drinking a little bit and just, uh - and he was real kind of manic. He’d go from, Man, I just want to get my life straight with Christ. And then he would get real defiant and back and forth back and forth. And, um...

Shannon: He was in a battle...

Bart: Yeah.

Jim: Yeah.

Shannon: ...With himself.

Bart: And so about probably four or five in the morning, Sam, our oldest was our only child then. And he just kept going back and forth. And the one rule is you just never disrespect my family, or Shannon especially, because she’s championed her brother forever. And he said something respectful to her and just kind of not even thinking about it, I said, “It’s - somebody just needs to take you out back and knock some sense into you because you’re talking crazy.” And, um, he goes, “Well, are you going to be the one to do it?” I was like, “No. I’m no - no, I’m not going to be the one to do it.” And he went to the door and said, “Tell Sam” - Sam’s my son - said, “Tell Sam I love him,” and he left. And, uh, Shannon was like, “Something’s not right,” you know, because we were trying to get him to stay. She was - “You need to go find him.” And so I went looking for him. And if he had been drinking at all, he wouldn’t have gone home. So I figured he went back to his friend’s house or whatever. So we came home. And about 8:00 that morning, Shannon’s dad called and said he fell asleep at the wheel and was killed. And so this weird emotion of I just killed my brother-in-law, that’s literally what went through my mind.

Jim: Wow.

Bart: And that - and this guilt and shame that came with it. And that began a long season of never dealing with it and, um - and just us grieving on - at different paces. And, you know, as bad as it was before, I became the guy that if I wasn’t on the road, I’d come home - and we had this chair in the corner of our living room that was the floral print. And I would sit in this flower chair and not move. Like, my kids could climb on me. I wouldn’t even notice. It was such a deep depression to where even to this day, she’s like, “Are you about to sit in the flower chair?” I’m like, “No, I’m not.” You know, it’s like that’s kind of our standard of, like...

Jim: It’s one of those days.

Shannon: It’s our statement.

Bart: Yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly, yeah.

Jim: Yeah.

Bart: And so it got to the point to where we were just - the counseling was kind of grief counseling is where we started. And so we went to see someone about that. And then - believe it or not, for the first time, someone connected my childhood to a lot of stuff in my life. Like, I’d never...

Shannon: Yeah.

Bart: ...Just - like, never went there before. You know, I...

Jim: Was that the first real counseling that you...

Bart: Oh, yeah, yeah, totally. I mean, it was - you know, just because, you know, I’m - two things happen.You spend all your life trying to avoid all of that and not remember it. And then when your dad dies, he instantly becomes a saint, and you forget all bad things, you know, when they pass away - how we do that. So the two things, like, it was like, oh, my Dad was great. You know, wrote “I Can Only Imagine” because of him, he’s an awesome guy or whatever. And then when this all took place, I started seeing just how much I’ve carried all of that into my adulthood into being a parent and a husband. And so she’s like, you know, this is kind of connected. And it was funny. Shannon went to counseling first. And this is how I was ambushed.

(LAUGHTER)

Bart: And so - and this counselor’s a godly woman. She saved our life and our marriage. And Shannon goes, “Hey, she wants you to come and just see how I’m doing.” And I was like, “Cool.”

Jim: (Laughter)

Shannon: Kind of tricked him.

Jim: Protector of all.

Bart: You know, wonderful - great.

Shannon: Yeah.

Bart: Let’s see what crafts you’ve made or whatever.

Jim: Yeah.

Bart: And so-So I go in and sit down on the couch, and Shannon starts slipping off and goes out the door. And I’m like, what? Oh, it’s just me and her. She’s like, you know - it’s just - I was like, “What is happening?” I just got attacked, and it was literally like, so how does - you know, “What do you think about your dad?” It was like, man, it was like - it’s like it just broke open. It was just waiting.And so we spent years, like...

Shannon: Fragile.

Bart: ...Just unpacking - about five years unpacking...

Jim: Oh, my, yeah.

Bart: ...You know, all of this stuff to where it - it literally changed everything about who we are in Christ and as a married couple - everything.

Jim: You know, and you look at life - that’s so much the purpose, I think, when you see it. It’s for the Lord to get into those deep parts of our heart...

Bart: Yeah.

Jim: ...So that we can actually know who we are...

Bart: Yeah.

Jim: ...Better and better, so that we realize how much we need him.

Bart: Yeah.

Jim: Isn’t that the truth?

Shannon: Yeah.

Jim: Let me ask you in this regard because I’m really - the way you described the death of Shannon’s brother and your reaction to it - you know, Jean’s brother committed suicide. It’s probably the worst time in our marriage, too, because - and, Bart, this is directed to you - because for me, you know, having a tough childhood and all that, I’m kind of the pick yourself up by your bootstraps, let’s get moving. And that’s probably a coping mechanism that we learned in the environments we grew up in. And that was a sad time for me because I remember expressing that to Jean. So rather than meeting her at her point of pain, I tried to run over it and pave over it, patch it all up, by saying, come on, we got to keep going. It’ll be OK. And that really wounded her heart. And I failed as a husband in that moment because I wanted to go the direction that I learned...

Bart: Yeah.

Jim: ...Which is don’t think about it much. The pain will go away. Let’s just keep moving. And I just I loved the reaction that you had for her brother.

Bart: Yeah, it was - you know, they say the divorce rate is through the roof if you’re to lose a child or lose a loved one like that. And, um - and, yeah, we definitely were grieving at different paces. And Shannon would be somewhere along the way here, and I would - you know, or she’d still be dealing with the anger. And I would be trying to move on or whatever. And out of the frustration of, well, you’re not grieving the way I am...

Jim: Right.

Bart: ...Marriages fall apart sometimes. And you realize, no, it’s just a different pace, man. And I’ll tell you, the thing that released me through all of that was when, um - when Shannon - my father-in-law, who’s like the dad I never had - he’s like the godliest man I know - and, uh, he just pulled me aside at the funeral and said, “It’s not your fault.”

Jim: Wow.

Bart: And gosh, you - I mean, I’m - I’m twice his size, and he was trying to hold me up, like, ahh, you know, like, I just fell into his arms. It was like...

Jim: But it felt so good.

Bart: Yeah, it was a huge release to hear him say that. And, um, you know, and that was kind of the beginning of just trying to work - you know, work through things. I just didn’t want to slow down enough to deal with it.

Jim: Yeah.

Bart: You know, I wanted to work harder and longer. And...

Jim: Yeah.

Bart: ...It wasn’t fair to her or the kids.

Jim: And, Shannon, in that context, um, what was running through your head - how to help him? I mean, you slipped out of the counseling room. (Laughter) That’s job one. That took a bit of courage...

Shannon: (Laughter).

Jim: ...You know, because you had to still have dinner that night.

Shannon: Right.

Jim: You know, you were going to come back together, and he was going to say, where did you go? I needed you.

Shannon: I just knew this was our last resort. Like, we’re living separate lives.

Jim: Wow.

Shannon: And I always say we’re a team. We got to be team players. And that was always my goal - is to be traveling the same path. But the journey was so hard it began to feel hopeless at times because...

Jim: Yeah.

Shannon: ...2004 - we had a bunch of tragedy in 2004 to where it just - you don’t have time to deal with one because here comes another one and another one. So our key to success at that moment, which is not a positive thing, was stay busy. Don’t think about it. Stay busy. And we stayed busy so long that we lived through it. We’re like, “we did it,” but then when it came time to connect on the deeper emotional level, that was too hard. We didn’t want to go there. And so I just knew we need a third party here. And so I didn’t know how he would take it, so I just started going alone, um...

Jim: Yeah.

Shannon: ...And then eventually conned him into going, too (laughter).

Jim: Conned him. Well, it’s so helpful. And I appreciate the fact that you’re willing to talk about that publicly because a lot of Christians, we think counseling is not not a Godly thing to do.

Bart: Especially...

Jim: God should solve this problem.

Bart: Especially when you’re in ministry.

Jim: Yeah.

Bart: Ministers aren’t supposed us to have unhealthy relationships...

Jim: Right.

Bart: ...Is what we think, and there’s nothing wrong us. I’m in the ministry.

Jim: Right.

Bart: Yeah, there’s probably more wrong with you than most other people.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: Sorry, yeah, there’s nothing wrong with us.

Bart: I’m just trying be honest with you, yeah. You give your life for a church body, and you have nothing to give to your family, there’s definitely something wrong with ministers. And they need help to get through it.

Jim: Boy, honesty is so needed.

Bart: It’s a daunting task to be in the ministry.

Jim: Yeah, so true. Bart and Shannon, let’s turn the corner. Let’s talk about what God has done in your lives through the counseling, with the career and how you’re doing today. What are those practices that you’re now putting into place to keep your communication healthy? What are those things that you’re doing that make you breathe together, make you feel like you’re one in the spirit of Christ?

Bart: I think the biggest thing for me was, my identity became the highs and lows of MercyMe. That’s - you know, I feel like what defined me was how successful the band was. And it’s incredibly unhealthy. And it all started about probably five or six years ago when our very - the youth minister at our very first church camp, now a pastor, he came to see me on the road. And he had this kind of big, you know, kind of shift in his perspective of the Gospel. The Gospel didn’t change, but understanding who he is because of the Gospel certainly did. And, um - and he was like, “Hey, man, I just need to remind you that, you know, you work really hard at this stuff.” And he goes, “I know a lot of this is because of how you grew up and that you’re just trying to - you don’t call it works. You call it obedience, but you’re trying to earn something from God.”And he said, “Man, there’s nothing you can do to make Christ love you any more than he does right now. And so maybe just maybe you should stop what you’re doing and actually rest in the finished work of the cross.” And I was offended. No one’s ever told me to stop. They’ve always told me there’s more work to be done.

So we spent a couple years unpacking this truth of just understanding that, on my worst possible day, the God of everything is still crazy in love with me and that there’s no - there’s never a moment in the life of a believer where God’s going to ever say, I’m disappointed in you, you’ve let me down, that he’s ever going to walk out on me. Because there’s no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. And for me - and maybe not everybody - but for me, man, that was the Gospel as a - in a whole. That’s how I needed to hear it from the way I grew up was to know that, you know - because - and there’s a part of me that would almost, like, test God. OK, will you leave me now? Will you leave me now? And just kind of trusting - you know, I spent all my time trying to please Him instead of trusting Him. And, you know, and then the Word says if you want to please Him, trust Him. And so that was a big change for me. Because trusting’s hard. You sit on your hands and do nothing. I can please him a lot of different ways. I’m good at that. But trusting him and just sitting still is very, very hard.

And so I just kind of started learning how to relax in the fact that it’s OK if MercyMe doesn’t exist or if we call it quits tomorrow. And it got to a point to where - it took a while to where if MercyMe quits today, I promise you, I will not lose one ounce of sleep. And, um...

Jim: Really, I will...

Bart: Well...

Jim: ...Because we still have a couple of days to go on the cruise here.

Bart: Yeah, yeah, I’ll...

Jim: No, I’m joking.

Bart: Yeah.

Jim: I love what you’re saying. And I - you know, but as you’re saying it, it’s hard to even believe it.

Bart: Well, it’s taken me a few years to get there.

Jim: But how much of the church - we say the right things. We want to believe that there’s nothing we can do, and then we go about trying to earn it. How do we relax in that? How do we actually embrace the fact that God can love us no more than he’s already demonstrated and that we can rest in that - that he cares about us?

Bart: Well, I...

Jim: We don’t have to perform.

Bart: Man, I don’t know how everybody else does it. But for me, I literally - I was planning on quitting the band. I was like, I can’t do this. You know, and it was really - and it was just - and it wasn’t because, you know, I knew God would be there for me. It wasn’t that. It was like, my family has to win in this. And so I’m willing to quit and work at Home Depot or whatever - but my family - my wife has to know that she’s more important than everything else. And so the band was like, “Well, let’s fix what’s broken.” And they’re like, “What can we do to do that?” And so I looked at Shannon. And we got in this place where Shannon would say that we stopped caring in a good way. We didn’t care what people said we should do, what we should say, what songs MercyMe should write, what the band should do. We just stopped caring. It was just about us and our relationship with Christ. And...

Jim: Did you feel that, Shannon - before you finish, Bart - did you feel that from - from Bart...

Shannon: Absolutely.

Jim: ...That he had made that commitment? Because that’s hard for...

Shannon: Yeah.

Jim: ...For someone in the entertainment business. You know, that’s part of what you do.

Bart: Yeah, we - I mean, we were literally in bed one night. And I was kind of like, well, the band - like, what do we want? And I was kind of giggling, like, give them a list of demands and see how far they go. Like, I just didn’t care. I loved them, but I was like - and so we agreed that - we’re like, let’s cut our shows in half. So we went to about 60 to 70 shows a year and said...

Jim: That was in half?

Bart: Yeah, that was in half. Yeah.

Jim: Sixty to 70 is half?

Bart: Well, you think about it, Man. There’s - there’s 52 weekends a year. If I only work Saturday, Sunday, that’s 104 shows. That’s - if you only had a job two days a week, that’s pretty good, and I’m doing half of that. So there’s travel and stuff.

Jim: But, yeah.

Bart: It’s not as bad. I mean, we used to do 250 dates a year...

Shannon: Right.

Bart: ...Back in the day. And, um - and so we said no more than 60 or 70. And not only that, but if - when we hit the 71st show, we cut off the year. We say no to everything.

Jim: Man, that’s good.

Bart: And the band was like, “Absolutely, let’s do it. We want - we have the same need as you do with our family.” And so we’ve done it for about three - a little over three years. And, you know, about August, we’ll hit - midyear, we hit our 60-show limit, and then we’re like, sorry.

Jim:Shannon, as we’re wrapping up, for that wife that’s struggling, struggling, struggling - they’re where you were all those years ago - desperate, alone, not feeling connected to their husbands. I mean, some might say that’s 50 percent of Christian marriages maybe more. And I’m speaking just to the Christian community. What hope do they have? And what’s something they could do, as that desperate wife, to say, today’s the last day this is going to happen? I’m going to break the pattern. I’m going to do something differently. What can they do?

Shannon: I mean, I can only speak from my experience, but I think you have to hope in Christ. Because without hope, there’s not a lot left. And Christ will fulfill. And He is faithful. And He is sovereign even when you don’t feel like He has, and you can’t see it, and you can’t feel it, and you can’t hear Him. Just keep persevering. Find a community of other women that you can cry on and yell at and enjoy coffee with because you need community. And Satan loves isolation is another thing I tell everybody.

Jim: Yeah.

Shannon: Don’t be isolated.

Jim: Yeah.

Shannon: Find somebody, and then help yourself. Pray and just help yourself. Because I think when they see change in you, and you’re not being that nagging parent but a - or a wife or spouse - um, loving them when it’s hard is where I saw change.

Jim: Yeah. That is so good, and that’s great advice. Bart, this is the end. Talk from the husband’s perspective. We can be a little dense at times. We’re kind of feeling good. We just put our foot down on the garbage. It goes down.

Bart: That’s right.

Jim: That seems to work for us.

Bart: Yup.

Jim: How do we open our minds up to the idea that it could be better, that it could be more, that it could be, you know, what God intended it to be rather than just OK?

Bart: Uh, it’s - a lot of what Shannon’s saying is that I think isolation’s the worst thing possible...

Jim: Especially for men, I think.

Bart: ...Especially for men, And, uh - and we are the kings of wanting to be alone. And, um - and so to find a Godly community of men that you can generally - you know, they can know everything about you and still love you as a brother in Christ without batting an eye would be - that’s the biggest godsend there is. And it’s - it’s tough to find those people, but they’re out there. And, uh - and, yeah, it’s like, I just - I couldn’t have done it alone.

Jim: Yeah.

Bart: And there’s - and part of it I couldn’t have done just relying on Shannon, to be honest with you. I mean...

Shannon: Yeah.

Bart: ...It’s like, how do you lean on the wounded - you know, the one that you’ve wounded? You know, it’s hard sometimes. And so, uh - and so, you know, finding a group of men that I still, you know - and I have - I had a band that was like that probably more than anybody. But I have a group of men that are my dearest friends outside of work. But, uh - but God’s been really good to me to surround me with people. And isolation’s tough sometimes, which I’m glad, but it’d be hard to get alone. And, uh...

Jim: Well, I love it. And the movie’s coming out March 16th in theaters all around the country.

Bart: Yup.

Jim: It’s a great story - your story - the Lord’s story in you. And, uh, it - both - again, Jean and I were just crying for you in a good way. And it touches so many people in so many different spots. I hope you have great success...

Bart: Oh, thank you.

Jim: ...With that movie. And, uh, I love your spirit, love the way you love the Lord. Thanks for being vulnerable...

Bart: Sure.

Jim: ...And open with us. Let’s express our appreciation.

(APPLAUSE)

Closing:

John: What a terrific conversation and you can hear the energy of the audience there as we shared the last couple of days here on Focus on the Family a conversation we had with Bart and Shannon Millard of the popular band MercyMe. And that was recorded during our 40th Anniversary cruise last November.

Jim: And let me speak directly to you, the listener. If you heard Bart and Shannon’s story of going for counseling and the relief they experienced and you want to start the road to healing in your own life and marriage, let me encourage you to call us. That’s where it can start. We have Christian counselors available on staff to give you that initial consultation and then refer you to someone in your area. We have a great list of referral counselors. They can also tell you about our Hope Restored program which is designed for couples on the brink of separation and divorce. And have have an 81% post-two year success rate. Can you invest in your marriage? Man, I’m telling you John, this is so critical. We in the Christian community need to do marriage better. And there are ways to do it better, you don’t have to live in misery.

John: And if you’ll take the step of faith toward letting God do something; if you’ll go to Branson for Hope Restored, you will see the Spirit of God work. And if that is just beyond belief right now for you, maybe it starts with a phone call to talk with one of our counselors. Our number is 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY and we can tell you more about Hope Restored and our counselors are available-- sometimes they’re so busy though taking calls that we’re going to have to take your number and have them give you a call back. Please be assured that they will get back to you just as soon as possible.

Jim: Maybe you’re in a good spot in your marriage but you can help us help others. And that’s what the Christian life is about. Every month we have about 4,000 people who need that kind of hope and direction that these counselors can provide in Christ. Every dollar you give to our ministry is fueled right back into helping other couples. I know even ordering resources, John-- people can order from online resource giants, but I’m telling you what, every dollar folks put at Focus goes to helping save a baby’s life, save a marriage, introduce people to Christ-- man, I hope you will take advantage of that resource center that we have and order through Focus and not the other guy.

John: Well, you can certainly find out more at focusonthefamily.com/radio or give us a call and we’d be happy to tell you more. 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY.Now online or when you have us on the phone, get a copy of Bart’s book, I Can Only Imagine which chronicles his life story in more detail and also ask for a CD of this conversation or online you can get the download. Either way, please donate generously to the ministry of Focus on the Family. As Jim said, your partnership makes a difference in the lives of hurting couples, families and, frankly, future generations. So please donate generously today. And when you do, we’ll send a complimentary copy of Bart’s book as our way of saying thank you for your support.

Well join us again next time as John Stonestreet is here to help us guide our children back to Christ.

Teaser:

John Stonestreet: Teenagers will be teenagers. But we don’t have to kind of dismiss them with low expectations. And if we kind of help them understand, now wait a minute. You can make a difference in somebody’s life.

End of Teaser

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More Episode Resources

Guest

Bart and Shannon Millard

View Bio
Bart Millard is a Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter and the lead vocalist for the multi-platinum selling Christian band MercyMe. He has released two solo albums, Hymned, No. 1 and Hymned Again, and a memoir titled I Can Only Imagine, which recounts the true story that inspired the MercyMe hit song of the same name. Bart and his wife, Shannon, reside in Tennessee and have five children. You can learn more about Bart by visiting his website, bartmillard.org.