Remembering The Best
As we approach a new year, it is appropriate to reflect and remember the good things from the year that is drawing to a close. Hear again, excerpts from some of the most meaningful interviews that aired in 2018.
About the Guest
As we approach a new year, it is appropriate to reflect and remember the good things from the year that is drawing to a close. Hear again, excerpts from some of the most meaningful interviews that aired in 2018.
As we approach a new year, it is appropriate to reflect and remember the good things from the year that is drawing to a close. Hear again, excerpts from some of the most meaningful interviews that aired this past year, on FamilyLife This Week.
Michelle: It’s the weekend after Christmas, and we are putting wraps on the year; we’re bidding farewell to another year: Auld Lang Syne and all of that. Before we do, I want to take some time with you to remember, because remembering is a good thing. On this edition of FamilyLife This Week, we’re going to remember: we’re going to remember 2018.
Welcome to FamilyLife This Week. I’m Michelle Hill. It is the last show—well, the last show of the year—not the last show of FamilyLife This Week, because I’ll be back next weekend! This weekend we’re going to remember. Remembering is a good thing to do. I try to sit down, about once a week or so, and unload my brain of all the memories of what happened over the last few days, things that remind me of God’s goodness and His love, and His control in my life. I make a list of what I’m thankful for that week. Every so often, I look over that list, and I remember.
It’s a good thing to remember. Do you ever do that?—you know, think back over the last few days, or few weeks, or months to remember? That’s what we’re going to do today; we’re going to remember. We’re going to think back over the time we’ve spent together, over [the year of] 2018; you know, it [was] a good year.
As they’re raising the ball tower in Times Square in New York City, we’re going to hear some of the best of the best—well, I didn’t include you in this conversation—but what I would consider some of our best shows and our best times together on FamilyLife This Week. We’re going to hear from Hayley DiMarco today; also, Elisabeth Elliot; and a few others.
I want to lead off with my friend Tracy Lane. One of the things I strive to do with our guests here, as I put together the shows, is to be practical; but also, provoking; because I want you to be thinking through things. One of the shows that hit that nail on the head was [in the] spring with Tracy as we chatted about working moms.
Tracy: Being a mom isn’t the only thing that I wanted to do when I grew up. I was working at a job that required about 80 hours a week. I loved what I did, but I was exhausted when I got home. I didn’t even have a lot of capacity when I got home to be a wife. When I was working 80 hours a week, and we started pursuing what God wanted us to do about parenting and my motherhood, He specifically called me to a career change that was hard for me to obey. He had me leave my job of 80 hours a week. I had accepted a promotion—I was about to double my income—and at that same time, He is working in my heart about prioritizing my motherhood.
I stepped away from that; I didn’t know what I was going to. God called me away from that, and He provided me a writing career. The reason that’s important is because He provided me a position that would allow me to pursue, professionally, what He created me to do.
Michelle: How can you encourage some of those moms, who are just starting out, and working in the marketplace, and are feeling totally overwhelmed with: “I can’t keep up with this!” Encourage them.
Tracy: Yes, I agree. It’s really hard to keep up with some days, but I think it’s worth it. Doing what God calls us to is always worth it. When we rely on Him to help us pull it off, it’s going to work. It doesn’t mean it’s always going to feel great. It’s not always going to be easy, but it’s the right thing when we know we’re following Him and prioritizing well.
I will say: “Crock pot dinners save a working mom’s life.” [Laughter] If I’m not cooking a crockpot dinner, my family is eating a sandwich or something. I think that’s the other practical part of encouragement is: “Give yourself a little space!”
Michelle: That’s important.
Tracy: It’s very important. It’s hard for me to not compare myself to a friend, who brews her own kombucha at home; but I don’t have the capacity to do that. And my family will be okay if they’re drinking store-bought apple juice or something in place of that. [Laughter]
Tracy: Be realistic with your expectations; prioritize the right things. Perfection is not the goal—honoring God and prioritizing your family is the goal—and those are very different.
Michelle: That just hit me, about the competition that is among moms these days. Do you feel that?
Tracy: For sure. I mean, that is everywhere—this whole mother competition—this whole mom having to be the best, the best, the best and to provide perfection for her children. I feel that way, as a mom, when I think I’m the one in control of their lives—when I’m the one who can create that perfection for them; when I’m the one who can give them these three extracurricular activities, and that’s going to determine who they are—that’s wrong! I’m not the one! I didn’t think of them; I didn’t create them. I’m not the one who designed the long-term and eternal purposes for them.
Their perfection and their performance is not on my shoulders; that is something that God wants to work out. We put so much pressure on ourselves, as a mom, so that our kids are more perfect than our neighbor’s kids. God is actually working something out in our children—that He does use us as a tool—but it is not all on me.
I realize that I am not a very kind, and warm, and nurturing attentive mother when I am on this crazy perfection cycle. They need me—they don’t need the perfect set of school grades, reading group, after-school activities—they don’t need all that. But they do need an engaged mom, who is not completely exhausted from trying to create this perfect little world for them.
Michelle: That’s Tracy Lane, again, sharing life from a working mom’s perspective, trying to juggle it all. It’s difficult! It’s very difficult. In fact, Tracy and her husband Matt have moved to Philadelphia to get some special help for their daughter, Annie. There’s a link to her story on our website, FamilyLifeThisWeek.com; that’s FamilyLifeThisWeek.com.
We have hit a generation where the dads are very involved—hands on—they help with the kids; they change the diapers; they give baths; they feed the kids; they put the kids in bed. Way to go, Millennials! I sat down with one of these Millennial dads, a co-worker of mine, Bruce Goff. We chatted with Bob Lepine about what it’s like to be a young dad, raising children in this generation. Bruce shared a story about the unchanging sin nature of toddlers.
Bruce: So we were eating dinner. Estelle was having French fries and chicken nuggets. I think I initiated it, saying, “Hey, Estelle, can you share a French fry with Mommy?” She goes, “No, mine,” which we discussed. [Laughter] I don’t remember ever teaching her the word, “mine”; but she’s got it. [Laughter] I said to her, “Estelle, you need to be kind and share.” Marie asked her, and Estelle looks down at her fries. She’s starting to think about it, and she is looking so intently. She finds just this little nub, and hands her the little nub. [Laughter]
Bob: —the smallest. [Laughter]
Bruce: You know, we were very/Marie is like, “Thank you.” As the dinner went on, she would, unprompted, be like, “Mommy, fry?” She would dip it in ketchup for her; it was a big one. Then she would offer a chicken nugget. We weren’t even prompting this anymore; I was very pleased with her growth.
Bob: Let me say two things about that: first, all children are born selfish.
Bob: Unless we teach them how to be other-centered, they will remain self-centered. A part of our job, as parents, is to break the cycle of self-centeredness and teach them to be other-centered.
Now, ultimately, you want that to come from the heart—that takes a work of God—but you can correct behavior, as a parent, and say, “Here’s how we’re going to live. We’re going to think of others, and put others first, and help others, and be kind to others.”
After a while, she was playing a game; this was fun for her.
Bob: We used to do this with our kids when they were little. I would come home; and I would say, “John, you sit over there, and you wait there. In a minute, I’m going to say, ‘John, would you come here please?’ When I do, I want you to jump up and say, ‘Yes, Daddy,’ and I want you to run over here.” He’s thinking we’re playing a great game; right?
Michelle: Right; it’s a fun thing.
Bob: What I’m doing is, I am teaching him: “Here is how life works.” I think parents just have to be intentional and purposeful to say, “These are things we want to train into our kids: ‘Here’s how you meet somebody’; ‘Here is how you say, “Please,” and “Thank you.”’”
All of this is built; in fact, there is a scene in the movie, Like Arrows—you remember it—where one of the kids is bad-mannered at the table while the other child is polite at the table. The mom is kind of like, “How did you get your kid to do that?” The other mom says, “There’s no child, who is going to say ‘Please,’ and ‘Thank you,’ on their own. They have to be taught these things.” That’s our job as parents.
Michelle: So how early on are you forming character in your child? I mean, because when they are like a minute old, that’s too early; but then also, you can tell that Bruce and Marie have been working with their two-year-old.
Bob: Yes; so I think you can start to see self-centeredness in a child in the early months; you can start to see. Parents would go, “No, they are just responding to their environment. They are just…” “It’s whatever their needs are.” Well, keep in mind: the heart of your child is focused on self. No child wakes up in the middle of the night and says, “You know, I’m uncomfortable with my diaper; but Mom had a terrible day today. I’m just going to let her sleep.” [Laughter] No; when a child wakes up in the middle of the night, that child goes, “I want my need met immediately.”
Bob: You do have to say, “You’re a part of the family: you fit in; you don’t get everything immediately as soon as you whimper, or fuss, or cry.”
You can start training before the child can speak. In fact, with our kids, Mary Ann had them learning sign language to say, “Thank you,” before they could say the words.
Michelle: Okay; yes.
Bob: So touching the mouth, and—
Michelle: It’s a great idea.
Bob: —and they were able to do it at seven-months/eight-months-old.
Michelle: Great insights from Bob Lepine and Bruce Goff, two dads who are trying to get it right.
We need to take a break. When we come back, we’re going to hear a story from a woman who has changed the trajectory of my life. If you’ve listened to the show for very long, you probably can guess who that is. If not, well, you’re going to have to stick around. We’ll be back in two minutes.
[Radio Station Spot Break]
Michelle: Welcome back to FamilyLife This Week. I'm Michelle Hill. We’re taking a walk through memory lane. We’re recapping some of the conversations that have made an impact on me and hopefully on you [in] 2018. Back in January [of that year], we put together a show called “Epic Love Stories.” We were sharing the love stories of some famous couples and some not-so-famous couples, the story of what God has done in their lives.
One of those stories was the story of Lars and Elisabeth Gren. You may recognize Elisabeth as Elisabeth Elliot; she was married to Jim Elliot, who was martyred in Ecuador back in the 1950s. In her eight decades of life, she went on to be married a few more times. Here’s the story of her courtship with her second husband and third husband. Here’s Elisabeth.
[Previous FamilyLife Today Broadcast]
Elisabeth: Through a speaking engagement in Missouri, I met a man by the name of Addison Leach. He was the vice-president of a small college there, and his wife was actually dying of cancer. He had three daughters. He and I got acquainted because he asked me to come and speak for some things that he did in the summertime there at that college.
His wife was supposed to have died ten years before, according to the doctors; but she died about a year later. The following year, Addison Leach asked me to marry him; that was just totally unexpected. He was 18 years older than I was; and 4 years later, he got cancer. About half-a-year after that, he died.
Well, while he was dying, I was taking care of him at home, after he had left the hospital. I got to the point where I really desperately needed somebody to help me; because he was a big man; and he was totally helpless for the last few/about six weeks. I called the seminary, where my husband had been a professor—he was at Gordon-Conwell Seminary—and asked if there was a young man that might be willing to come and live in my house and help me take care of my husband.
A young man applied for the job. He was to move in on the following Monday; and Monday, my husband died. So naturally, he assumed that he would not be needed. But I called the next day and said, “The room is ready for you if you’d like to come anyway.” So he moved in, whereupon it struck me that it doesn’t look too good for one lady and one gentleman to be living in a house together. This gentleman happened to be considerably older than many of the other students; and of course, I might have been old enough to be his mother.
But I thought, “Well, I better call the seminary to see if there was another young man that would be willing to come.” So two men came—lived in my house for two years—the first one married my daughter; [Laughter] the second one married me. [Laughter and applause]
I want you people to know that this gentleman—he is a southern gentleman—and he never called me anything but “Mrs. Leach” the whole time he lived in my house. I mean, he was a gentleman; and so was Walt Shepard, who is now my son-in-law.
Bob: When you proposed, Lars, did you say, “Mrs. Leach, will you marry me?” [Laughter]
Lars: No, I’ll tell you—I thought about the first one and the short marriage that he had—and the second one only doubled him—so I was weighing the possibility of mathematical progression and only really facing possibly eight more years of life. [Laughter]
Michelle: That’s Lars and Elisabeth Gren. It’s plain to hear that Lars and Elisabeth had lots of laughs and lots of fun. That’s the spice of life; isn’t it? If it weren’t for Elisabeth, I probably wouldn’t be here; she kind of mentored me. We have a link to that story on our website: go to FamilyLifeThisWeek.com; that’s FamilyLifeThisWeek.com.
As I said, I want our conversations to be thought-provoking. I think I pretty well managed to do that back in August [of 2018] with you when Tim Muehlhoff, professor at Biola University, dropped by the studios to share what he learned as he has studied feminism. Here’s Professor Muehlhoff.
Tim: The first wave of feminism was very basic questions: “Are women human?” “Should they be treated as human?” “Are they co-equals with men?” We might think that that’s crazy, because we’re so far past that; but the first wave of feminism, women were not treated as equals. There were very famous philosophers, who were arguing that women were basically grown-up children.
When Jesus comes on the scene, He elevates women. He says, at the foot of the cross, there’s neither male nor female; they’re all one at the foot of the cross. In a radical way, He elevates women to say: “Women are just as important in the kingdom of God as men,” and “Both are made in the image of God, and I died for both.” And He goes on to say, “The resurrection—My defining moment that validates who I am—I’m going to pick, by providence, two women to be the witnesses.” Then, absolutely, Jesus was a Christian feminist. Without a doubt, He’s a first-wave.
Of course, He would jump off at some point, like I would. But let’s not overlook all these commonalities and points of agreement as we rush toward points of disagreement.
Michelle: What it sounds like is that feminism has helped our society; it has improved it in many ways.
Tim: James—the earliest New Testament book written—James says: “Let me tell you what true, undefiled religion is in the sight of God; caring for orphans and widows in distress.” There’s a place now for women to go, and they weren’t just brought in to make coffee. We know that there were woman deaconesses.
Again, I like expanding people’s idea of what feminism is. Feminism has just gotten a bad rap among conservative circles. I think a lot of it is based on, quite frankly, ignorance. We need to do a better job of explaining what feminism is.
Michelle: Our time with Tim Muehlhoff was eye-opening; and on many accounts, he was helping conservatives understand what feminism is in its best sense. I’m sure that you’d like to know more; so please go to our website, FamilyLifeThisWeek.com, to hear the entire interview. You’ll find a link there to the program, which also includes Courtney Reissig sharing her thoughts on embracing a biblical view of feminism.
As we sit in this after-Christmas glow, pretty soon we’ll start getting those bills that pile up—the Visa® card, or the Discover® card, or what have you—and then we have to think about paying it off, and all the bills. Hayley DiMarco was here and shared about her problem with bills. It really started because of a problem with something else. Here’s Hayley.
[Previous FamilyLife Today Broadcast]
Hayley: Shopping therapy has always been my number-one treatment for everything that ails me. I’ve ended up, over the years, in great debt because of my shopping, not just financial debt, but spiritual debt. I’ve been controlled by my urge for stuff; it literally came a point where it made me sick. I just felt like the house was crawling with stuff, like the things didn’t fit in the closets. There was so much coming out—I had no room to put it all—it just made me crazy. This was kind of the beginning of this death to self: was when I started to look around and see how much stuff meant to me and how much it fed my flesh.
Bob: When you looked at that, and tried to evaluate, “What’s really going on in my heart here?” what was exposed? I mean, why would you say, “I will feel better if I come home with something I’ve just bought”? What’s—
Hayley: That’s a good/it’s a visceral reaction—I walk through Target®—that’s kind of my drug—
Bob: That’s your temple?
Hayley: —of choice; yes. I walk through there: I just see the things; and I see them in my house, making my life better. I see a beautiful home, where everything is put together, and the plates match, and the silverware is not bending;—
Hayley: —and I see happiness.
Dennis: —I’ve got to stop you there. I’m married to a woman, who I made this statement to—and it’s one of the true original lines I have ever given my wife that was really on target—I mean, here’s what I said to her/I said, “Barbara, wherever you go, you make things beautiful.” And she does; she makes things beautiful. There are listeners, right now, who are hearing you describe your home. Is it wrong to want to make things beautiful, to make a home appealing to the eye?
Hayley: It’s not; I don’t think it’s wrong at all. I think the problem comes with our heart with regards to it. My heart was that I couldn’t be happy without it. I literally could not walk out of the store if I saw something that appealed to me. I had no power over that— it didn’t matter if my bank account was overdrawn; I had to have that—the way that we worship the stuff is what’s important [to us]; it’s what is the problem.
Michael: It’s almost like when—if people have an opportunity to come over to the house, and if the house isn’t perfect—if that’s a roadblock—like in my family, my mother would not allow us to bring friends over. We wouldn’t have people over to the house if the house wasn’t looking good/if it wasn’t clean, like, “Oh, wow; the house is a mess; no we just can’t.” When the appearance of things or the condition of things—“Well, we don’t have a nice enough car for us to participate in the carpool,”—that’s where it becomes, Hayley alluded to it, becomes a matter of worship.
The “Less Is the New More,”—it’s not just stuff—it can be activities; it can be friendships; it can be followers on Twitter® or friends on Facebook®: “I need more,” “I need more.”
Bob: But did you start confronting this—
Hayley: I started confronting it after I got married, yes.
Bob: —after you got married. So basically, you were bringing debt and the problem into this joint relationship.
Hayley: Well, I had gotten rid of the debt by then; but I brought in the worship. I brought in the worship; it still exists. There are still times when I say, “I really want to have my friends over, but the house is just a mess.”
Michael will say, “Are you kidding me? Have we not worked through this? This house/the way it looks is not more important than community and then fellowship. And your friends love you regardless of how the house looks.” Now, that is hard for me to overcome; and I have to hear it from him regularly. Otherwise, I can become consumed with how beautiful everything looks.
Dennis: So how, practically, have you dealt with this idol? Back before Easter—Lent—I actually fasted during Lent from certain things. It was healthy for me to do that because I gave up things that I thought were becoming too important to me;—
Hayley: That’s good; yes.
Dennis: —okay? Do you fast from Target?
Hayley: Yes, yes. [Laughter] I did more than that. It was a few years ago when we started to confront this idea. We/I took an entire year off from buying anything new, except food. I went to Goodwill® if we needed anything. I took a year off from Target; I couldn’t even go in it. At first, I tried just to go in it with no cash, but I had credit cards.
Dennis: Right now, there is a listener, who downloaded the broadcast on their iPhone® or their iPod®, and they are walking through Target; and she’s convicted.
Hayley: I’ve just ruined it for them. [Laughter]
Dennis: What is your advice?
Hayley: “Put it back; you don’t need it.” [Laughter]
Bob: “Step away from the counter. Get out of the store now.” [Laughter]
Michael: Sometimes, on date night, I put on a red polo shirt; and she gets very amorous. [Laughter]
Bob: What’s your advice to that woman?
Hayley: I hate to even say it, because they are just going to scream at me; but my advice is: “Stop and ask yourself, ‘Why do I want this? What is my motivation behind it?’” If it isn’t so you can serve God better, then put it back; because really, the chief end of man is to glorify God. Is the stuff in your cart going to glorify Him? It might be something your kids need for school—that’s part of your ministry—that’s part of your glorifying God; but if it’s not, then, is it meant to glorify you?
Michelle: Oh, those are some tough words—thought-provoking—that’s what I promised you; isn’t it? Hayley DiMarco with a reminder that the gifts that we’ve received this Christmas—they’re good! But are they the best?—because really, what we need to be pondering about is the baby that was given for us at Christmas time, and rose for us at Easter to take away the sins of the world.
Hey, next week, we’re going to cross into the new year, and we’re going to stay up late because the ball is going to drop on Times Square in New York City. And then, we wake up the next day, and it’s ! Perhaps on [New Year’s Day] what you’re going to be thinking about is your resolutions/how this year is going to be different or not so different.
Next week, we’re going to talk with Justin Earley. He’s going to join me in a conversation about habits, behaviors, and those resolutions you love to break. That’s going to be next week on FamilyLifeThisWeek.com. I hope you can join us for that.
Hey, thanks for listening! I want to thank the co-founder of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and our president, David Robbins, along with our station partners around the country. A big “Thank you!” to the best engineer ever, Keith Lynch. Thanks to our un-surpassed producers, Marques Holt and Bruce Goff. Justin Adams is our matchless mastering engineer, and Megan Martin is the queen of production coordination.
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