FamilyLife This Week®

Safe At Home

with Barbara Rainey | November 7, 2020
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These days, many people feel it wouldn't be safe to go outside without a mask on. And yet others, need to arm their security system at night in order to sleep. According to Barbara Rainey there's one place we might not be securing, and it's probably doing more harm than good. Barbara outlines what it takes to make your home safe, on FamilyLife This Week.

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  • Michelle Hill

    Radio has been ingrained in Michelle for most of her life. This love for radio has taken her to various radio stations and ministries in places like Chicago, Alaska and other snow covered terrains like her hometown in north central Iowa. In 2005 she landed on staff with Cru/FamilyLife®. While at FamilyLife she has overseen the expansion of FamilyLife Today® internationally, assisted with the creation of Passport2Identity™-Womanhood and is now the host of FamilyLife This Week®. For the last 15+ years Michelle has been mentoring young women and is passionate about helping them find their identity in God. She also has a fascination for snowflakes and the color yellow. Michelle makes her home in Little Rock, Arkansas.

These days, many people feel it wouldn’t be safe to go outside without a mask on. And yet others, need to arm their security system at night in order to sleep. According to Barbara Rainey there’s one place we might not be securing, and it’s probably doing more harm than good.

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Safe At Home

With Barbara Rainey
November 07, 2020
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Michelle: Many people feel that it’s good to lock your doors. These days, many people feel that it wouldn’t be safe going out in public without a mask on. Yet others need to arm their security system at night in order to sleep. Barbara Rainey says there’s one place that we might not be securing, and it’s probably doing more harm than good.

Barbara: I was hyper-vigilant on the few screens we had—the TV screen and the computer screen—I was just hyper-vigilant. I was even hyper-vigilant about the music the kids listened to, because there are messages that come in that can be dangerous messages; they can challenge our safety and they can make us feel insecure/threatened—all kinds of things. We need to guard against those as much as we guard against physical harm that our families might run into. It’s a statement of the value of home; it’s supposed to be a safe place.

Michelle: So how are you doing with screens and the messages they bring? We’re going to talk about being safe at home with Barbara Rainey on this edition of FamilyLife This Week.

Welcome to FamilyLife This Week. I’m Michelle Hill. You know, we live in a season where we are spending a lot more time in our houses/in our homes. I want you to sit and ponder: “What does that mean to you?—watching TV?—playing on your phone?—playing with your kids?—reading a book?—working?”

You know, home is a place to eat your meals; it’s a place that you sleep/a place you relax; it’s the place your family gathers—but it is more—it’s a place of safety. Recently, I was reading an article by Barbara Rainey. She wrote about three ways to make your home safe. You know, I had never taken the time to think of my home as safe.

Remember, when we were kids, and that first sleepover? You were so excited to go; but at 9:30, your friend’s mom had to call your dad to come pick you up because it wasn’t home, and you didn’t feel safe. There’s an element of safety in our homes for most of us. This thought—it just so intrigued me—so I asked Barbara to come help us understand what being safe at home means in today’s world. Here’s Barbara.

[Previous Interview]

Barbara: Well, I realized as this quarantine happened—the pandemic came and people started staying home—that there’s so much more to the concept of home than we realize. I think we’ve been so busy in the past decade or more that we have begun to think of home as just a refueling station.

Michelle: Yes.

Barbara: We don’t really think of it, I don’t believe, in the way God thinks of it. I think the pandemic forced us to see home as a different kind of place than we were used to thinking about it.

I think God intends for home—that place where we live—and everybody has a home. Even the homeless have homes: they make cardboard box homes; they make little tent cities. Everybody creates home—even if it isn’t four walls, or two stories; if it’s an apartment—everybody creates home. I think it’s because we were made for home.

I think the whole idea of being safe at home is what we are longing for. I think the pandemic reminded us of that, just as 9/11 reminded us of that. I don’t know if you—I know you remember—

Michelle: Yes.

Barbara: —because everybody remembers where they were and what they were doing. One of the stories that I remember so vividly was how everybody was trying to get home after the Twin Towers blew up. There were people that we knew, who were on trips, and their flights were canceled; and they couldn’t get home. There were no rental cars, and they couldn’t get home.

I think we are built for this place that we call home. I think it’s because we were built for family; we were built for those relationships, because God designed us that way. God lives in a home; God has a relationship within the Trinity. He, as a Person, has a home—

Michelle: Yes.

Barbara: —it’s heaven. He’s built it for us for us and for us to experience that with Him.

I think, as I started experiencing being home more—even sometimes [more] than I wanted to be, as a homebody, during the quarantine time—

Michelle: Yes.

Barbara: —I began to understand that home is really much more important than I had thought of it. That’s the reason I started thinking through this article that I wrote for the blog on why home is important and why it needs to be a safe place.

Michelle: As you were discovering just what home was/what it was to everybody else, which I think it’s brilliant that you said it was a “recharging place.” I know, for me, up until the pandemic, I was feeling it was my recharging place. As an introvert, I would go home and I would be quiet; or I would watch TV; or I’d read a book; or that’s the place that I would cook, and I would have some friends in. It’s the place that I felt like, “This is the place I can breathe; this is the place that I can just be.” But since the pandemic, I’m sitting here, going, “This is the place that I’m always in. This is the place that I’m always breathing. This is the place I’m always just being.”

So when you take a look at safety, how do you explain safety when we look at home? How does that play into it?

Barbara: Well, I think we intuitively and instinctively know that home should be a safe place. I think that’s why everyone wanted to get home in the aftermath of 9/11. I think that’s why, even though this was mandated for most Americans to go home—because that was the best way for them to control the spread of the virus and more outbreaks—it, again, is a statement of the value of home; it’s supposed to be a safe place.

I’ve just started thinking about: “What makes my home safe? How can I make it more of a safe place? What does God even want me to do so that my home is a safe place?”

Yes, I think it is a recharging station; but I think it’s more than that. In the post that I wrote, I talked about things that I did when I was raising kids to make it safe. I wanted it to be safe for my children when they came home from school, where they could talk about whatever happened—about experiences with other kids, teachers, etc.—so that they knew that they could have a place to debrief, and to be real, and to process what they were experiencing as they were growing up.

Michelle: Yes; now, let’s camp on that for just a second—

Barbara: Okay; sure.

Michelle: —because there are parents, who are thinking, “My kid doesn’t trust me. How do I go about making it a safe place so that they will share what’s going on and what’s truly happening?” How did you and Dennis do that?

Barbara: Well, I think we started by just verbally letting our kids know—at the very beginning, when they were very little—that talking about what you were feeling was okay. We talked about how they felt when they were hurt when they were little/preschoolers. We talked about how they felt when there were happy and sad; we tried to learn to name the emotions with them so that they began to have a vocabulary for that part of who they were. We didn’t do it perfectly by any means, but we tried to do that. We tried to enter into what they were experiencing, even as little ones.

Did our kids tell us everything?—no. [Laughter] We found out things after they were adults; we went: “Oh, my gosh! I had no idea!”—you know. They’re not going to tell you everything; but if they tell you some things, that’s better than nothing.

Michelle: You know, the quarantine and these days of COVID have been hard—

Barbara: Yes.

Michelle: —on everyone.

Barbara: —everyone.

Michelle: I have a friend, whose son is entering into the ninth-grade year. It’s been so difficult on their relationship. For somebody, who is basically trying to start now—maybe they hadn’t worked and developed that relationship—but who is wanting to start now in the high school years, how would you coach them on begin the safe person and having to rebuild that kind of relationship?

Barbara: Well, I think we can always start over. That’s the great thing about the gospel—is that Jesus always is ready to give us a new beginning. I was just talking to my daughter yesterday or the day before—recently, anyway—and she was saying, “I’ve realized that if I”—and she’s our oldest, who has all boys—she said, “I’ve realized, if I ask my big boys if I can take them to lunch and buy them something fun to eat in exchange for a conversation, they’re happy to go out to eat.” [Laughter] She said, “I took my 15-year-old out”—or 16—“the other day for lunch.” She said, “I had the best conversation, because he knew that was kind of part of the bargain: I was going to buy him food and ‘She was going to ask me questions; and we were going to talk.’”

You know, it isn’t going to happen in one conversation—

Michelle: Right.

Barbara: —it isn’t going to happen overnight—but I think moms and dads can do that. You don’t quit; you just keep after it—like God stays after us—you stay after your kids, and make those opportunities happen as much as you can; so that you’ve got those moments, when you can catch a glimpse of what’s going on in your child’s heart and soul.

Michelle: And I love how you say, “You can always start over.”

Barbara: Yes; we can.

Michelle: You can always start over: I think that’s our relationship with God, many times—

Barbara: Yes, it is; always.

Michelle: — is that we’re like, “Oh, Lord, forgive me for this. Please help me to start over.”

Barbara: Right.

Michelle: And that’s the same way with a parent-child relationship.


Great advice from Barbara Rainey about how to make home a safe place for our children. We’re going to continue talking with Barbara about safe at home. Stay tuned. We have to take a break, but we’ll be back in two minutes.

[Radio Station Spot Break]

[Previous Interview]

Michelle: Welcome back to FamilyLife This Week. I'm Michelle Hill, talking today with Barbara Rainey; and we’re discussing about being safe at home.

You know, Barbara, life has just been so different and difficult in 2020. I can’t help but think that safety means different things to different people. Can you help us unpack that?

Barbara: I’ve thought about this, especially in this era that we’re living in, in 2020; 2020 is so different than any of us ever thought it would be, and it’s not over yet. I think, when we think of the word, “safety”—I’ve watched my youngest daughter and her generation—because it’s kind of a different generation than my oldest daughter, because they’re ten years apart.

Michelle: Yes.

Barbara: My youngest one is just now having her babies. They think about life through the lens of safety in a different way than we did. The car seats are so much more advanced then they were when I had car seats, and even when my oldest daughter, Ashley, had car seats.

Michelle: I grew up in an era when we—

Barbara: —didn’t have car seats!

Michelle: Yes! We didn’t have car seats! [Laughter]

Barbara: I know! Exactly! [Laughter]

Michelle: I remember crawling from the back seat to the front seat and back again! [Laughter]

Barbara: I know.

This younger generation/these young families in their 20s and early 30s have different—they’ve got baby monitors, and they’ve got cameras everywhere, and they have all these devices and all these things for safety—it’s all about physical safety. I don’t disagree with any of it—I’m really kind of glad I didn’t have it, because I think it would have made me worry more if I had all these contraptions, and I could see everything on the camera that was happening—but nonetheless, there’s nothing wrong with it; but it’s all about physical safety/it’s all about our physical well-being.

I think safety is so much broader than that. I think it encompasses what we bring into our house, emotionally, what we bring in from the world. Most of that comes in through screens—it comes in through other ways as well—but I think, primarily, it comes in through screens. I don’t think parents have the same hyper-sensitivity to that danger as they do the physical dangers for their children. It’s been interesting to watch, because I think it may be a ploy of the enemy—I don’t know—but I just watch how there’s just a very big difference in what they value in terms of safety.

I remember, when we were raising our kids, I was hyper-vigilant on the few screens we had—the TV screen and the computer screen—I was just hyper-vigilant. I was even hyper-vigilant about the music the kids listened to, because there are messages that come in that can be dangerous messages that can challenge our safety and that can make us feel insecure/threatened—all kinds of things. We need to guard against those as much as we guard against physical harm that our families might run into.

Michelle: I was talking with a young mom not so long ago. She went through, basically, a screen fast—

Barbara: Yes.

Michelle: —and shut off all her social media sites on her phone—actually, took them off—so that it would force her to go to her computer. She said that that was much more difficult, because she had an infant in the home. The baby is nine months, so she’s running after their child everywhere.

Barbara: Yes.

Michelle: She was like, “It was harder to do that—to get on the computer and make that kind of time.” She said that what it did for her—it just helped her relax—

Barbara: Oh, I’m sure!

Michelle: —in a way that she hadn’t felt before, because she grew up—she’s in her mid-20s—and she grew up with all these screens.

Barbara: That’s right.

Michelle: She didn’t realize just the calm that she was feeling. Even though she felt like, “I’m missing out on something,” there was a calm in her spirit.

Barbara: Yes, yes. I don’t think, even those of us who don’t have kids, realize how controlling the devices are that we have attached to our bodies. I mean, they’re in our pockets; they’re in our purses; they’re with us all the time. It’s not just the danger of bad things, like pornography; it’s just the distraction—the constant distraction/the constant taking our eyes, and our heart, and our thoughts away from what’s around us and onto this little tiny space.

I think we’re not enjoying creation; we’re not enjoying quiet; we’re not enjoying a lot of things that previous generations were surrounded/previous generations were surrounded by these things. We are, too, because we live in the same world; but we’re not taking advantage of God’s good creation as much—

Michelle: Yes.

Barbara: —because we’re so attached to these devices. I see that as a safety issue—

Michelle: Yes.

Barbara: —because, I think, we’re not protecting our souls; we’re not protecting that sanctuary within, where God dwells. We’re not protecting our emotional health/our spiritual health.

I think we’re pretty good about our physical health—for the most part, most of us are; we’ve been made so aware of that because of the pandemic—but there are so many other levels of health and well-being that we need to protect and keep safe that we take for granted, I think.

Michelle: How do we go about keeping this sanctuary—where God dwells in our hearts—how do we keep that safe?—especially, as we’re talking about screens—what are some ways that we can do that?

Barbara: Well, I don’t have a list; I wish I did. I think the main thing is just to pay attention to your heart/pay attention to your soul: “Pay attention to what feeds you and what doesn’t feed you”; “What doesn’t bring safety?”; “What doesn’t bring hope and life?”

You know, we’re all so different. In my relationship with Dennis, I’m realizing that we are two radically different people. [Laughter] It’s just another illustration of how radically different men and women are. He can watch something on TV; and because men have these compartments, he can stick it in a compartment, close the door, and go to bed, and be asleep in 60 seconds or less. [Laughter] I can see the same thing—and it may not be difficult; it may not be terrible; I mean, we don’t watch terrible stuff!—

Michelle: Yes.

Barbara: —right? But I can see or hear the same thing, and I can’t put it in a room and close the door. I’ll be awake for two hours; and so then, the next day, I’m starting in a deficit. I know all this about me; I’ve known all this about me for years; it’s part of the reason we quit going to movies, for years, when we were raising our kids. If we would go out for dinner, and then go to a movie that ended at 10:00 or 10:30 at night and come home, I was a wreck the next day. I just engage, emotionally, with things in a way that he doesn’t.

We quit going to movies; for years, we just didn’t go! I missed it; but I just knew that it wasn’t what I needed, because I was just parenting full-time. I needed to be whole, and healthy, and strong, and not distracted by some story that wasn’t even real.

Here we are in this season of our life, where I don’t have that—I don’t have kids waking me up in the morning at 6:30, and I need to be ready to go—but I still want to live my life unencumbered; I still want to live my life not distracted/not bogged down by things that are not healthy for me.

Michelle: Yes.

Barbara: So even now, in this season of life, I’m still trying to figure out that balance/that right blend of partaking and understanding what’s happening in the world without it sabotaging my well-being.

Michelle: Yes.

Barbara: I just think it’s an ongoing process. It’s the analogy I’ve used for decades—it’s riding a bike. You’re never perfectly balanced when you’re riding a bike; you’re shifting constantly. You’re shifting your weight from one side to the other to maintain that equilibrium. You’re crossing between it; you’re going back and forth.

You know, I see that as something that I’m trying to do in my life, too; I’m trying to figure out: “What can I absorb?” “What can I hear”?” What can I read?” “What is good for me and what’s not?” “How do I keep that steady rhythm so that I can pay attention to my soul, and I can pay attention to what God wants to do in my heart, and I’m not being distracted by things that are not good for me/that are not healthy for me?”

Even if my husband can absorb things that I can’t, I’m just figuring out a way to live together that is good for him and is good for me. I don’t have a list; I wish I did. [Laughter]

Michelle: No; but I think what you were sharing is such a good thing, because we live in a day and time when we want to do everything.

Barbara: Yes.

Michelle: And what you’re saying is: “I loved movies, but I had to take that out of my life so that I could be the best person that I am.”

I have a friend who’s on a Keto diet. She loves certain foods, but she’s the best person that she can be for her family—

Barbara: Right; exactly.

Michelle: —when she’s on this specific diet.

Barbara: Yes, I understand that, too; yes.

Michelle: That’s what you’re saying: “Even though you don’t have the list, you’re saying, ‘I need to be the best person that God has asked me to be.’”

Barbara: Yes.

Michelle: There are going to be some things that I have to take out in order to be that person.

Barbara: Yes; exactly. The diet illustration is a great one, because I had to do the same thing because of my allergies. I mean, when I was probably in my 40s, I finally decided I was tired of sneezing and having headaches—all of that—all of the time. I thought, “I don’t care anymore that I’m not going to enjoy certain things; it’s worth it to me to feel good. It’s worth it to me to be all-present, and to not be distracted by a sinus headache or sneezing all day long, because of the season that it is.”

Michelle: Yes.

Barbara: I altered my diet; I took out things. It was a process of learning what bothered me/what didn’t; but it’s the same as your friend. I think it’s being wise about who we are in this broken world: what we can tolerate/what we can’t tolerate. It doesn’t mean it’s good or it’s bad; it’s right or it’s wrong—it’s the way God made me. I have battled allergies since I was four; it’s an ongoing balancing. Again, it’s riding the bike.

Michelle: Yes.

Barbara: For me, it’s riding the bike of allergies: “What can I have? What can’t I have? How do I figure this thing out so that I can be fully present as God designed me to be, and not side-lined because I’m doing things that are not healthy for me?”

Safety is a lot broader than just our physical safety: it’s our emotional safety and well-being. It’s my physical well-being because of what I know is true about me—with my allergies, now, how I have to juggle that—and on and on. It’s a much broader issue than I think I thought of when I first started thinking about this.

I think it’s very unique and individual, which is what I love about God—I mean, I love a lot of things—but I love that He deals with us individually. Everyone is unique, and He wants us to be unique. I think it helps me know that I can go to Him with all of these things. He knows all about the way I’m made; He knows everything I’m allergic to; He knows what all these things do to me and don’t do to me; and He’s there waiting, saying, “I can help you with that.

Michelle: Yes.

Barbara: “I can help you with that. I’ll show you what to avoid.”

You know, I want to do what everybody else does; we all want to do what everybody else does. [Laughter]

Michelle: We do!

Barbara: But I’m learning it just doesn’t pay. So “Okay; I’ll go with the way You’ve made me, God. I’d rather do that.”


Michelle: Barbara Rainey with some great advice/some advice that I think we all need to remember, especially as we’re walking through the stress of what is happening in our world right now. Even the safety of our home—we need to take our eyes off ourselves and put them where they need to be—and that is remember who God is and knowing that He knows us so well. He’s got this! He’s got this; we are in His hands.

You know, I mentioned at the beginning that I had been reading Barbara’s blog. Well, we have a link to that blog on our website; go to; that’s I hope you are as encouraged as I was by reading some of her articles.

Hey, this was such a great conversation on what safety means and what home means. I asked Barbara to stick around, because we need to talk again next week about this and unpack some more. We need to understand what it means to anchor our house on the Rock—that is pure safety; isn’t it? And also, we dream a little about what our ultimate home in heaven might look like. I want you to join us for that.

Hey, thanks for listening. I want to thank the president of FamilyLife®, David Robbins, along with our station partners around the country. A big “Thank you!” to our engineer today, Keith Lynch. Thanks to our producer, Marques Holt. Justin Adams is our mastering engineer, and Megan Martin is our production coordinator.

Our program is a production of FamilyLife Today®, and our mission is to effectively develop godly families who change the world one home at a time.

I'm Michelle Hill, inviting you to join us again next time for another edition of FamilyLife This Week.


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