Guy and Angie Penrod tell the story of their courtship and marriage, and the joys of raising eight kids.
Guy and Angie Penrod tell the story of their courtship and marriage, and the joys of raising eight kids.
Bob: Guy and Angie Penrod dated for two years before they got married. There is a reason Guy says that they had what he considered to be a long engagement.
Guy: Her dad made me wait until I had graduated college before she married me.
Angie: Keeping things in God’s order has been a foundation for us.
Guy: So, I graduated at 10 am; and we got married at 8 pm. [Laughter]
Angie: True story.
Guy: True, we waited. [Laughter]
Bob: This is a special edition of FamilyLife Today for Friday, July 24th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. We’re going to head out to sea today for a conversation with Guy and Angie Penrod. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today.
Thanks for joining us. We happen to be taping today’s program with a wonderful, live studio audience onboard the Love Like You Mean It® marriage cruise—[Applause]—a studio audience that didn’t get to bed until the early hours of the morning recently because they had a chance to be singing hymns with our guests on today’s program.
Dennis: And Bob, you being the music guru that you are.
Bob: Guru is the word, yes. [Laughter]
Dennis: That is the word.
Dennis: If our listening audience had any idea of how Bob loves to play the game, Name that Tune, and he has a lot of fun. He is uncanny, not only at his ability to name it, but to sing all of the stanzas of all the songs, all the way back to the ‘30s and ‘40s. [Laughter]
Guy: Oh my goodness!
Bob: It isn’t that far back—but close. We did play Name that Tune, here onboard the ship, as well. Guess what—Steven Curtis Chapman was one of our guests—and he got waxed!
I mean, he—we had—the guests were beating him, right and left.
Dennis: And you really enjoyed him getting waxed because you told me about it.
Bob: I did enjoy him getting waxed. Yes.
Dennis: You told me about it, privately.
But I want you to introduce our guests on the broadcast because this really comes as a result of your love for music and, especially, our esteemed guests on the broadcast.
Bob: We have Guy and Angie Penrod joining us. Would you welcome them to FamilyLife Today? [Applause] And probably, the reason most of you know Guy Penrod is because of the time that he spent with the Blackwood Brothers singing—no, I’m making that whole part up; right? Guy Penrod is best known for singing with—whom?
Audience: The Gaithers.
Bob: Bill Gaither and the Gaither Vocal Band. Welcome to the program—nice to have both of you guys here.
Guy: Thank you.
Angie: Thank you.
Bob: Did you both meet as students at Liberty University?
Guy: We did, actually. I was a junior or headed into junior year—I had sung through the summer. I sang on a singing team to kind of support the college.
Liberty University is where we both went, and she was coming on as a freshman. She, at the time, was the most highly-recruited athlete—male or female—in the school’s history. She’s quite the basketball—
Angie: —back in the day.
Guy: —player. So, they came early—a couple weeks early; wasn’t it?
Guy: And we had stayed through the summer to work and sing. We were outside of the gym one evening—me and a bunch of buddies from my dorm—playing ball.
Angie: You are going to tell this story? [Laughter]
Guy: I am. And these guys—she and the rest of the basketball team were coming down through the area next to the building where we played. While we were out, getting a breather, we looked down the sidewalk. There was a gaggle of pretty girls—they were kind of huddled together—and you see them talk a minute. Then, they break apart. This gorgeous tall woman starts running toward a hedgerow that looks to be—I don’t know—three or four feet tall.
She’s running at it and just hurdles it like a gazelle—[Laughter]—and just keeps going.
Angie: I got eight dollars for doing it. [Laughter]
Guy: They were taking bets in the little huddle as to whether she could hurdle this thing or not. So, she went back—got her money. I said: “Man! That’s the girl for me—right there.” [Laughter]
Dennis: So, have either of you ever heard Bob’s imitation of Jerry Falwell?
Bob: [Jerry impersonation] “Training champions for Christ on Liberty Mountain. Let’s have Robbie Hiner sing a lovely song.” How does that sound for you? [Laughter]
Guy: [Jerry impersonation] “Hey, man, that sounds fabulous!”
Dennis: Many of our audience here don’t know who Jerry Falwell is—he’s been gone too long.
Bob: The Chancellor of Liberty University—but you guys met—it was not the big school,—
Bob: —back when you went there, that it has become today.
Guy: No, it wasn’t. In fact—
Bob: So, Angie, for you to be a highly-recruited basketball player going to Liberty, there were other places you could have gone other than Liberty University; right?
Angie: That’s right, but none that were training champions for Christ.
Bob: —on Liberty Mountain—that’s right.
Angie: Yes. No, that was a great opportunity.
Guy: Ohio State—the coach at Ohio State cried the blues when Angie signed with Liberty because the Big Ten schools all recruited her. She had serious numbers. I mean, she is in the Sports Hall of Fame in Ohio.
Dennis: So, how long before you asked her out after she—
Guy: Right then. [Laughter]
Dennis: You chased her over the hedge?
Guy: No, they kept walking toward us in their little gaggle. When they got there—I knew some of the girls on the basketball team—they were from my hometown in New Mexico. So, they stopped to talk to me. I was like [whispering], “Tell me who this girl is.” So, Sheila, my friend from back home, introduced me to her. Right there, I said: “Well, what are you doing tomorrow night? There is a movie playing—”
Angie: —“Superman.” [Laughter]
Guy: So, she didn’t realize she was being asked on a date—but it was.
Dennis: And was it love at first sight?
Guy: For me—I’m not kidding. [Laughter] I knew—I had prayed a lot about who I—
—what kind of wife I wanted. It was—what?—three nights after we met—
Angie: Oh, probably, something like that.
Guy: —and I said, “You know, I’m ready for a serious relationship.”
Angie: It’s a wonder he didn’t scare me off!
Guy: I mean—yes, I don’t know what I was thinking. I’m just pretty blunt, and I just told her. I didn’t scare her off.
Angie: And then, he asked me to marry him three months later—still 17 and—
Guy: She said, “No.”
Bob: —and a freshman in college.
Guy: Well, she said—she didn’t answer—okay. So, guys in the room, if a girl doesn’t answer that question, that’s a—what?
Guy: That’s a “No.” [Laughter] Yes.
Angie: No, it’s not!
Guy: She’s argued with me for 30 years over this one, but it was a “No.” So, that was alright. It didn’t turn me off. I—
Angie: I thought it was responsible.
Guy: It was—it was very good.
Dennis: So, how long before you did say, “Yes”?
Angie: About two more weeks! [Laughter] Then, I was very mature by then. It was actually on my birthday, and I was like—
Guy: It was.
Angie: —hinting around, “Ask me again.
“Ask me again.” [Laughter]
Guy: Yes, she was.
Bob: I saw a TV special that took us in your home on the ranch with the kids—the whole thing. I sat and watched that; and I thought, “These guys have either been listening to FamilyLife Today, or we just need to turn the show over to them and let them do it.” You guys, from the get-go, came at marriage and family with an orientation on Christ being at the center of all you did—that I think is pretty unique, even among Christians getting married; don’t you think?
Angie: God is good.
Guy: You know, I don’t know how to answer that other than: “Thank God for wonderful parents, on both sides, who raised us in a loving environment / a safe environment—gave us a platform to build our lives on and encouraged us to do the same as we started our families. It’s not been without mistake; you know? But we have tried, very hard, to put God at the center of everything that we do.
My wife is full of the Word; and we’ve been, maybe to a fault, transparent.
I think transparency is just an absolute must. Your kids and your wife—as a husband, they are going to see all the good, all the bad, in between. I think it’s best to acknowledge it, get it out on the table, and let it get discussed and hashed by all. Then, at the end of the day, look at the Word of God, see what it has to say about what you’ve gone through or what you’re going through, and move forward accordingly.
Dennis: So, when you dated—and you didn’t date long—
Guy: Well, we actually stayed—it was two years that we dated, then. Her dad made me wait until I had graduated college before she married me.
So, I graduated at 10 am; and we got married at 8 pm. [Laughter]
Angie: True story.
Guy: True, we waited. [Laughter]
Dennis: So, did you talk in those two years about what size family you wanted to have?
Angie: I don’t think we’ve discussed that one time.
Guy: Nope. [Laughter] Really we didn’t.
Angie: We discussed—
Guy: And we didn’t—
Angie: —that as we went along, I guess, really.
Dennis: The psalmist declared that children are a blessing—
Angie: That’s right.
Guy: That’s right.
Dennis: —and the fruit of the womb is a reward.
Guy: A reward.
Dennis: So, your reward ended up being how big?
Guy: Well, seven sons, first, and then, our little daughter. She is our bookend. As we look back—I mean, from experiences and what we’ve poured into our kids, God has filled us in real time through His Spirit—He has provided in real time. It’s not always in advance. So, sometimes, there is a little consternation or concern about what’s coming—
—but if I can push my flesh down far enough to not fret, and worry, and stew—He comes through so completely and perfectly. All we can say is, “Thank you, Jesus.”
Guy: You know?
Angie: Yes. [Applause]
Bob: Angie, your husband, for 14 years, sang with Bill Gaither. That meant a lot of time travelling—a lot of time on the road. In many respects, you were like a military wife, who sends a husband off on deployment and may not see him for a couple weeks; right?
Angie: The schedule was that way, occasionally; but Bill Gaither got him home almost every—by Sunday afternoon, at least, he was home. They travelled weekends, and then, they had those occasional “Go to Africa,” or “Go to England,” or—
—you know, those were longer—but the general travel schedule was: “Gone on a weekend or a long weekend; but home about three or four days of the week, at least.”
Bob: So, if three or four days of the week, he’s gone—out of the house completely—you’re managing eight kids.
Bob: Did you ever think, “Why don’t you sell insurance somewhere?”—you know? [Laughter]
Angie: Yes, I suppose about the time they started passing us in height; and they started looking down: “I need Guy! I need Dad!” because we have four taller than us—and we are 6’3” so—but you know, it’s kind of all I knew—so that passing the baton between us and—it is / it is always—it’s been tricky. That’s what we were used to, though.
Bob: Was it exhausting the days he was gone and you were there by yourself?
Angie: I would say, “Yes.” I think I was exhausted for about ten or fifteen years there.
Angie: I look back and go:
“How did I do that?” because people, in the middle of it, were saying to me—when I was holding a two-year-old with one on the way—and there was a two, four, six, eight—and I would just be getting groceries or whatever. My mom and dad had not moved down yet; and they would look at me like, “How are—how do you do that?” And I just—that’s all I knew. So, we just pushed through, but it was—yes—pretty rigorous.
Bob: A lot of times, wives in that situation will struggle with having to kind of run everything while a husband is gone. Then, he shows back up; and it’s kind of like, “How do I fit him into this process we’ve got going on?” It’s like they’re not sure how to integrate that. Did you deal with that at all?
Angie: We do deal with that. [Laughter]
Bob: Still even today?
Angie: We did, and we do—it is tricky.
Guy: In fact, sometimes, I fail miserably. I don’t reenter real well, and the trajectory is not good. I get my feelings hurt.
I’m kind of the touchy-feely one in the bunch, and she is just so focused. She’s been gifted to be a mama and feels it is her highest call. God has blessed her and equipped her with the ability to do so. Sometimes, when I reenter, I come in like a—out of left field and don’t reenter real well.
I think one of the biggest challenges that I believe marriages face, at this time, is for Dad and Mom to just not run off. If you can just stay—if you just stay, then, things can have a chance to work out.
Dennis: I’m sitting here, listening to them, and just thinking of the model they are to so many folks in the Nashville area. Just being in the industry you’re in—it’s tough. It’s not as easy as a lot of folks would make it look. What would you two say would be the most courageous thing you’ve ever done in your life?
And courage is not the absence of fear—it’s doing your duty in the face of fear. So, you’ve made a lot of decisions that demanded courage; but if you could just pick one that represented the most courageous thing, what would it be and why?
Angie: We might have two different answers on this—but this—oh, I’m getting emotional. [Emotion in voice] He is my hero because it is very courageous to have allowed me—a lot of people don’t realize I was the one that was greedy for the sixth child, the seventh child, and the eighth child. Of course, God is our provider; but he’s the one going out and bringing home the income to support them. I think that’s the most courageous thing that I can see from my vantage point—is that he—
—is that he said: “Really? Okay,” “Really? Okay,” eight times. [Laughter] And we have eight beautiful children.
Bob: Would you have given the same answer? You think that’s—
Guy: Well, that’s not fair. You answered—
Guy: —for me.
Dennis: You tell us how you would have answered the question.
Guy: Alright. Well, for me, I mean it would kind of go hand in glove with that in that—in 2009, I retired from a group of guys that I travelled with for 14 years, who—they became like a real family—the Gaither bunch is a real family. Bill and Gloria are very much mama/papa types. They love those around them—especially, when you are younger than them. So, there was a lot of that relationship between Bill and me.
It was very scary. Bill is a very gracious, generous man.
All the years that I’m having babies—or she’s having babies and I’m catching babies—Bill would prioritize us getting home for every birth. So, at least, on three / maybe four occasions, I was on stage, somewhere in the country—St. Paul/Minneapolis at the Target Center / one of them—one of them at Rep Arena in Kentucky—can’t remember where else.
Our audio guy at the monitor console gets my attention through my headset—Angie has got his cell phone / she’s at home. Rob hits me, as we are singing, “Guy, her water just broke.” And I’m singing a song; right? [Laughter] So, trying to keep that face going; you know? [Laughter] We’ve got 20-foot jumbotrons all the way around us in the middle of an arena, and I’m trying to—
Dennis: 25,000 people watching.
Guy: Yes. I’m singing, “The King is coming,”—
—I’m thinking, “That’s not all that’s coming!” [Laughter] So, yes, I get done with a song, and I catch Bill’s eye. He says [whispering], “Is it time?” I say, “Yes.” He says [whispering], “Get out of here.” That’s the kind of prioritizing he gave our families. His resources—he shared with all those that were around him and got me home for every birth. So, every one of my kids—I was there. I don’t know why I’m telling you this, right now. Why am I telling you this?
Angie: I think it was because you were going toward you used to use the illustration about getting off the ship—
Angie: —like a cruise ship—
Guy: Yes, that’s it.
Angie: —into a dinghy, which is sort of—
Guy: That’s it. The career with them was so cloistered and safe—
Guy: —that retiring from that was very scary, and I am a provider. I think all men—that’s just an engrained thing that God set in us to be—protectors/providers—
—so, it’s a very significant part of who we are. It scared me to death to leave that environment—and to strike out off of one of these types of cruise ship environments—down to my little dinghy, and try to make a record, and try to launch a career. We cashed in a 401k because we believed together, and made a record, and started a record company, and handled all that ourselves, and just struck out.
Bob: You’re basically saying you’d like everybody here to please go buy one of your CDs—
Bob: —before they leave.
Angie: Absolutely. [Laughter]
Guy: Clean us out.
Dennis: You said you struck out.
Dennis: You didn’t strike out—you stepped out?
Guy: Stepped out—yes.
Dennis: Four million units later—
Dennis: —God blessed your faith and your courage.
Guy: Yes, He has immensely—immensely. I would say to any of you that, if God has put a dream to do—if, in prayer and seeking Him, you know that it’s the Lord speaking—
—and it scares you to death, it’s probably Him. [Laughter] I would encourage you, just from experience: “Step out there. He’s got it so completely.” As I look back, it’s just miraculous—there is no blueprint for it—you can’t think it through good enough / plan through. There aren’t bullet-points for it—no book to tell you how. That’s just how He wants it because then we’ve got to depend on Him.
Angie: That’s it. That’s right. [Applause]
Bob: You’re one of the guys who can hear any harmony in your head and just go right there; aren’t you?
Guy: Pretty much.
Bob: So, I’ve always wanted to be in the Gaither Vocal Band.
Guy: Come on.
Bob: So, I’ll sing lead, and you’ll just harmonize.
Guy: What are we singing?
Bob: [Singing Your First Day in Heaven chorus]
How’s that?! [Applause]
Dennis: Yes, Bob!
Guy: Yes, sir. Where were you all those years?
Dennis: I didn’t sing, but I hear that.
Bob: Well, we’ve been listening to a conversation we had with Guy and Angie Penrod onboard the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise earlier this year. And I just—I should mention that Guy did an evening of hymns onboard the cruise, and it was one of the special moments for the event. He’s recorded a CD of hymns, which we have in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center. If you love great old hymns and you like the style of Country Gospel / Southern Gospel Music—this is a great addition to your CD collection.
I am not on the CD, and I don’t know if that’s a plus or a minus for you; but we do have the CD in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center. You can go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link the upper left-hand corner of the screen that says, “GO DEEPER,” and look for the Hymns CD from our guest today, Guy Penrod, along with his wife Angie. Again, the website: FamilyLifeToday.com. Look for the Hymns CD from Guy Penrod; or call us if you have any questions. If you’d like to order over the phone, 1-800-FL-TODAY is our toll-free number—1-800-358-6329. That’s 1-800- “F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then, the word, “TODAY.”
Now, some of you have asked about whether there is still room available on the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise for next February. The latest word I have is that we’ve got a waiting list.
So, if you are interested, you can get on the waiting list. It may be that a cabin clears out, and you can come join us for next year. As it stands, right now, it looks like we are sold out. So, we’re looking forward to 2016—not too early to start thinking about 2017 if you are interested in joining us for the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise, Valentine’s week of 2017. These events have turned out to be really great events. I know folks have looked forward to coming—and a lot of folks coming two or three times to be a part of this special getaway week for couples onboard the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise. Again, more information about the cruise can be found at our website as well—FamilyLifeToday.com.
Now, as we wrap up this week, I just want to, again, say, “Thank you,” to those of you who make FamilyLife Today possible. Our goal every day is to provide you with practical biblical help and hope for your marriage and your family.
I hope that hearing from couples like Guy and Angie Penrod, as they talk about their marriage and raising their kids—I hope that’s been encouraging to you. Hope it’s given you some insights as well. And I want to thank the folks who make it all possible—those of you who support this ministry and who donate to keep FamilyLife Today on this local station and make it possible for us to provide our website / the mobile apps that we provide—the resources we’re creating. All that we do is made possible because folks, like you, pitch in and help make it so. So, thank you for your support.
If you’d like to help with a donation today, you can go, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link in the upper right-hand corner of the screen that says, “I CARE.” Make an online donation. Or call 1-800-FL-TODAY. Make your donation over the phone. Or you can mail your donation to FamilyLife Today at PO Box 7111, Little Rock, AR; and our zip code is 72223.
And with that, we hope you have a great weekend. Hope you and your family can worship together in church this weekend. I hope you can join us back on Monday when we’re going to hear a very compelling testimony of a woman whose life was transformed as a result of hospitality. You’ll meet Rosaria Butterfield and hear a remarkable story beginning Monday. Hope you can tune in for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
Help for today. Hope for tomorrow.
©Song: Your First Day in Heaven
Artists: Bob Lepine and Guy Penrod
Composer: Stuart Hamblen, 1953
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