FamilyLife Today® Podcast

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

with Denise Glenn, Erin Davis, Gloria Furman, Joanne Kraft | May 12, 2017
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As a mom, it's easy to feel stuck in the tedious monotony of parenting. It is beneficial to remember the ultimate goal of parenting, and the eternal value of the young souls we're helping to mold. Joanne Kraft, Denise Glen, Erin Davis, Gloria Furman, and Leslie Leyland Fields offer words of encouragement to help us view mothering in light of eternity.

  • Show Notes

  • About the Host

  • About the Guest

  • Dennis Rainey's tribute to his mother, Dalcie Rainey

  • Dave and Ann Wilson

    Dave and Ann Wilson are hosts of FamilyLife Today®, FamilyLife’s nationally-syndicated radio program. Dave and Ann have been married for more than 38 years and have spent the last 33 teaching and mentoring couples and parents across the country. They have been featured speakers at FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway since 1993 and have also hosted their own marriage conferences across the country. Cofounders of Kensington Church—a national, multicampus church that hosts more than 14,000 visitors every weekend—the Wilsons are the creative force behind DVD teaching series Rock Your Marriage and The Survival Guide To Parenting, as well as authors of the recently released book Vertical Marriage (Zondervan, 2019). Dave is a graduate of the International School of Theology, where he received a Master of Divinity degree. A Ball State University Hall of Fame quarterback, Dave served the Detroit Lions as chaplain for 33 years. Ann attended the University of Kentucky. She has been active alongside Dave in ministry as a speaker, writer, small-group leader, and mentor to countless wives of professional athletes. The Wilsons live in the Detroit area. They have three grown sons, CJ, Austin, and Cody, three daughters-in-law, and a growing number of grandchildren.

As a mom, it’s easy to feel stuck in the monotony of parenting. Joanne Kraft, Denise Glen, Erin Davis, Gloria Furman, and Leslie Leyland Fields offer perspective to help us view mothering in light of eternity.

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Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

With Denise Glenn, Erin Davis, Gl...more
May 12, 2017
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Bob: If you made a list of five things that are hard about being a mom, what would be on that list? Erin Davis has an answer.

Erin: For me, one of the things about motherhood that’s hard for me is the monotony. I mean, it’s like the same as Groundhog Day over, and over, and over, and over again. [Laughter] But I have to choose—and it is a choice—to fix my eyes on a bigger picture and to ask God to show me a bigger picture of: “Okay; God, what are you doing with these little tasks?”

Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, May 12th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey. I'm Bob Lepine. There is a lot about being a mom that is hard, but there’s also a lot of reward in store for moms who are faithful. We’ll talk more about that today. Stay with us.

And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Friday edition.


 It is our goal today to give honor where honor is due. Given the fact that this is Mother’s Day weekend, we think moms deserve some honor. And in fact, you’ve already shared, this week, a portion of a tribute that you wrote to your mom. We should probably just explain to our listeners this idea of writing a formal tribute, and really making something out of it—this is something that you’ve been passionate about for years.

Dennis: Yes; I first started speaking to high school students about honoring their parents. When I was speaking to them, it was more about obeying them; but as I got older, I realized that there are a lot of single adults and a lot of married adults, who have grown up to bash, and trash, and blame their parents for what they did wrong. We, as a generation, were in need of revisiting the first commandment out of the Ten Commandments that has a promise to it—it’s the fifth commandment.



It says, “Honor your father and your mother, that it may go well with you, and that you may live a long life in the land which the Lord your God gives you.”

So, I thought, “How can you bring honor home?” Honor means to weigh down your parents with value and with esteem. How could you do that in today’s culture? Well, it’s not by giving gifts—Dustbuster®s, and house slippers, and, you know, the latest gadget. Instead, do something they could never purchase at any department store or clothing store; instead, take honor home in the form of a printed tribute that you’ve written, and that you’ve matted and framed, and then read it to your mom.

I’d have to say, Bob, I have some regrets in my life. One of them was when I wrote this tribute to my mom, after my dad had died, and I realized I needed to say it to her while she was alive—



—I regret that I shipped it to her instead of driving four hours, north, to Ozark, Missouri, and knocking on the door, going inside and saying: “Mom, I have a gift for you in anticipation of Mother’s Day. I just want to honor you by reading you this tribute.”

Bob: You read the conclusion to the tribute earlier. How did you start your tribute to your mom?

Dennis: Well, the tribute is entitled, “She’s More Than Somebody’s Mother.”

When she was 35, she carried him in her womb. After nine long months, he was finally born, breech—a difficult, dangerous birth. She still says, “He came out feet first, hit the floor running, and he’s been running ever since.” Affectionately, she calls him ‘”the Road Runner.”

A warm kitchen was her trademark—the most secure place in the home, a shelter in the storm. It was the place where food and friends were made.



She was a good listener. Certain smells used to drift out of that kitchen. The aroma of a juicy cheeseburger drew him like a magnet. There were green beans seasoned with hickory-smoked bacon grease, and best of all, her chocolate bonbons.


Bob: You have to stop! This is making me hungry—[Laughter]—making me want the juicy cheeseburger and the bonbons!

Dennis: Well, I’m just affirming moms, because it really is worth it to be a mom today. You’re not going to get patted on the back by many people for being a mom, but I want you to know it’s important.

In fact, today, Bob, we’re going to cover the battlefront of what it means to be a mom. We’re going to talk about mean moms—


Bob: Yes.

Dennis: —mean moms, who have standards. We’re going to talk about three gifts every mom can give her children.



We’re going to talk about controlling or passive moms, about the monotonous duties of motherhood, and how every mom has a choice when a baby is born to receive that baby with love or with apathy.

Bob: Actually, we’re going to hear from guests we’ve had on FamilyLife Today over the last quarter century, who have spoken to those very subjects. We’re doing this as part of our 25th birthday celebration—FamilyLife Today will turn 25 in November. We thought we would comb the archives and get some of the best of the best.

One of the great stories we heard from a mom came from Joanne Kraft, who talked about the importance of moms being mean sometimes—why a mom needs to be a mean mom. She had a great example of what a mean mom looks like.

Dennis: This is a great story.


[Previous Interview]

Joanne: If there is a leader, like a president of the Mean Mom Club, it would have to be Jane Hamilton. She dubs herself “the meanest mom on the planet.” She found alcohol in her son’s car; so she decided to sell the car.



Here’s what the ad read—it says: “Olds 1999 Intrigue—totally un-cool parents, who, obviously, don’t love teenage son, selling his car. Only driven for three weeks before snoopy mom—who needs to get a life—found booze under the front seat. Thirty-seven hundred dollars or best offer. Call the meanest mom on the planet.” [Laughter]


Dennis: And the response of the audience was fascinating.

Joanne: Well, that’s the thing! When I heard about her, I started to kind of research, “Did she exist?” She does. “What about the response?” Well, the articles that I read—that I could validate—she received so many congratulations: “Way to go, Mom!” you know. She didn’t remember receiving one negative response—not one.



Dennis: Not even from her son?

Bob: Well, he may have had a negative response. [Laughter]

But you know what? Joanne’s point is: “Sometimes, moms have to be the judge / the jury.



They have to step in with swift action, and with discipline, and lay down the law, and say, “This is how it’s going to be”; right?

Dennis: My mom was a mean mother. In fact, she used to read the tribute—which, by the way, hung right above where she had every meal in her home after my dad’s death—she would read it and she said, “I just want to read that—that tribute; because I can’t believe you said that about your mean, old mother!” She was revisiting all the times when she had gotten angry. But, you know, this is the life of mean mothers—they make mistakes—and sometimes, they draw the lines and they say: “Enough! Enough already!”—and they hold their sons and daughters accountable to those standards.

We’re just here today to cheer you on, as mean moms! You may need to start the Mean Mom Club in your community.

Bob: Well, you know—another word for “mean” is “boundaries.” That’s what we’re talking about here—moms who have standards and boundaries.



In fact, Denise Glenn was a guest on FamilyLife Today. She said there are gifts that moms need to be giving to their children. Boundaries was one of the three gifts that she had on her list.

[Previous Interview]

Denise: The three gifts every mother should give her children are, first of all, the blanket of unconditional love. It’s just like—in everybody’s love bucket, we all need that blanket of unconditional love. A mom can express that love in a unique way that nobody else in our lives can do.

The second gift that every mother should give her child is the beautiful gift of clear boundaries. I literally will pull out of a little sack a rod, expressing the idea that we give them that rod of correction if they are between two and twelve. We give them the gift of clear boundaries, in saying: “This is how far you can go. You cannot go any farther or you’re going to catch it—



— “you’re going to face the consequences of stepping outside the boundaries of where we’ve laid down those boundaries for you.”

Then the third gift that every mother should give her child, but only after the other two have been given, is the Bread of life. Every mom should give her child the beautiful gift of communicating to them faith in the Lord Jesus Christ through the bread of His Word / the bread of His heart and Spirit, and teaching our children to pray.

But sometimes, Christian parents get confused and try to give those gifts out of order, try to give the Bread of Life first. When unconditional love and discipline are not there, those kids are going to throw up—I mean, they’re not going to take it.



Bob: One of the things Denise said was—that in her own struggle to be a mom, giving those three gifts to her children, she found herself vacillating between being too controlling and being too passive.

[Previous Interview]

Denise: I think every mother faces both huge flesh issues.



Dennis: Both control and passivity.

Denise: Absolutely! You know, in one moment, we are controlling and domineering: “You are going to do what I say to do. You are going to do it just because I told you, and you’re going to do it because I’m in a mood.” You know, I mean, “You’re just going to do it, because I’m bigger than you are!” On the other hand, many parents—and me included—I think every parent alive vacillates between them: “When I’m tired / when I’m distracted, I don’t want to deal with you. I don’t want to mess with you. Okay, okay; just go do it. Just get out of my hair.” We vacillate between controlling and passive flesh. The answer is to bring it to the cross—to Jesus—and let Him live His life in us.


Dennis: I couldn’t help but smile as I was listening to that, Bob, reflecting back on Barbara’s response to our kids. She struggled with both extremes, controlling—trying to create behavior, get the kids in line, get them to church on time, et cetera—and then just being exasperated.

Bob: Throw up your hands.

Dennis: Throw up her hands.



And what moms need to do is— they just need to give themselves some grace. God gives you a whole lot more grace than you’ll give yourself. Allow God to refresh and renew your spirit within you, and just enjoy your children today, and this weekend. Just celebrate the privilege of being the giver of life—that’s part of your assignment—and it’s not just in giving birth to life—it’s giving life purpose, giving life strength, giving life love and kindness. Moms give that in a unique way that no other human being can do.

Bob: I think one of the reasons that a lot of people have devalued motherhood is because the reality is—a lot of motherhood is repetitive. It’s the repetition that gets to a lot of moms.



We had Erin Davis, who joined us on FamilyLife Today to talk about her experience as a mom of young kids and how she dealt with the reality of the repetitive requirements for a mom.

[Previous Interview]

Erin: For me, one of the things about motherhood that’s hard for me is the monotony. I mean, it’s like the same as Groundhog Day over, and over, and over, and over again. [Laughter] But I have to choose—and it is a choice—to fix my eyes on a bigger picture and to ask God to show me a bigger picture of: “Okay; God, what are you doing with these little tasks?”

And listen: “Moms, you do not have time in your day for friends who are complainers. You do not have time in your day for friends who would like to minimize the view of motherhood—who would like to focus on that. You just don’t have time.” So you surround yourself with women, who maybe are further down the path, or maybe women who are right there with you that are encouragers. I had the most fun in the world with my other mom friends, who have kids who are the same age, and we just do it together. We’re not doing anything glamorous. I don’t know the last time we went to a movie, but we’re together—we’re doing finger-paint, and we’re living life together, and we’re having a good time.



I guess you choose your attitude in it, and you look beyond that moment. And I hear that it doesn’t last forever—I’m not to that point yet.

Bob: That little playland at the Chick-Fil-A® has kind of become your best—

Erin: Absolutely! That’s my office! [Laughter]




Bob: You know, as Erin was talking about the monotony, she’s obviously not alone. Another young mom we talked to was Gloria Furman. She said, in those moments / the daily moments of repetitive tasks, you have to remind yourself that you are building something much greater and much bigger than you can see in the moment.

[Previous Interview]


Gloria: Jonathan Edwards had a prayer—he said, “Lord, stamp eternity on my eyeballs.” I pray that often—to see my children as eternal beings—potential little brother in Christ / potential little sister in Christ!



They have souls, and they are cherished so much by our heavenly Father. When I’m tempted to reduce them to that whiny noise underneath my knees, or that very odd smell coming from the other room, or the mess that I have to pick up before I go to bed—when they’re reduced to that is when we start going down that slope of “This isn’t worthwhile.”

Dennis: Talk with a mom who has lost sight of what you just were talking about. She’s lost sight of the goal—that these children that God has given you are a part of the Great Commission.

Gloria: I would remind that mom that you are not alone—Christ is with you. He’s promised to be with you to the end of the age as you are going about His work of making disciples. I would also encourage her to remember that children are people. We often have these dreams / these grandiose dreams of ministering to people with all of these gifts that God has given us. Those dreams are good; but I think, in our minds, we think of those people as adults; and then we forget that our children are people, too, and we have gifts that we can give to them.





Dennis: As she was talking, I was thinking about my mom and her Baptist Training Union class / BTU. Of course, we made all kinds of jokes about BTU; but anyway, I just remember that she was always there, encouraging me—as a boy, and then a little later, as a teenager and a young man—to pay attention to God and to go to church. I think of a generation of young people today, Bob, who are growing up—they’re going to college, they’re getting married later on in their 20s, and some of them have given up on the church.


Bob: Yes.

Dennis: And they’re not going to church. So when it comes time to start pointing a child in the direction of God, how are you going to do that? I’m going to promise you—you were not designed to do that alone.



God designed you, along with a community of believers, to raise your children. The whole concept of “It takes a village…” is absolutely right on target.

Bob: Yes; and you can’t subcontract the responsibility to the youth pastor or the children’s minister. You can’t rely on them to do the heavy lifting of spiritual formation in your child’s life. It’s one of the great privileges you have, as a parent, to be able to disciple your kids. A big word today is “missional.” We’re supposed to be on mission—living our lives on mission.

Well, if you’re a mom—or a dad for that matter—you have a mission field at home. You have little ones at home who need to be introduced to Christ, need to be pointed in the right direction, and need to be taught what the Bible has to say about living surrendered lives to the King of kings.

Dennis: Yes; and I’m thinking, Bob, as you’re talking about raising children to be missional, just the metaphor in the Psalms that are used about children: “Like arrows in the hand of a warrior.”



Now, just think of those words. If you’re a mom, you have been given, by God, arrows / children in your hand, as a warrior, to raise them. I don’t think the imagery is too far-fetched. Moms are doing spiritual battle on behalf of this generation and, frankly, future generations. Don’t drop the arrows; instead, put them together with a bow, pull them back toward a target that they must head toward, and then you must let them go.

Bob: Yes.

Dennis: The imagery there—do not miss it—because there is such a thing as—called string slap. With a bow, it’s on your forearm; with a child—

Bob: —it’s on your heart.

Dennis: —it’s on your heart.

Bob: There is a lot of having the right perspective on motherhood that really comes down to a choice that every mom makes—a choice about how you’re going to approach the assignment that God’s given you.



Leslie Fields, who’s an author and a mom, wrote about having to make this choice. She wrote about it in the context of finding out she was pregnant at 44, which was unexpected news. She had to counsel her own heart about whether this was something she was grateful for or something she was resentful about.

[Previous Interview]

Leslie: You know, when women of faith find themselves pregnant, sometimes, they think that they don’t have a choice; but women of faith do have a choice. They can receive this child with bitterness, with apathy, with resentment, or they can receive this child with joy and with love. That’s the choice that is before us when we find out that we’re pregnant: “How are we going to receive this baby?”—



—this baby is going to come from our body / we’re going to hold this child in our arms—and “How are we going to hold this baby?” This baby, who has never seen light and air before—we’re holding that child in our arms: “Will we receive this child with joy and with love or will we receive this child with apathy and resentment?”


Dennis: I want to pray for a woman, who has heard you just say that and is facing a choice. I have no idea what it is; but I know, because of the number of listeners we have, that we’re crossing the paths of some women with some choices to make.

Heavenly Father, would You be near each woman who we’re speaking to right now with the choices she is facing? May she be a woman of great courage, who embraces the truth of Your Word, Father, and the truth about You.



May she do what is right. May she honor You with her life and with her body. In Christ’s name, Amen.

Bob and Leslie: Amen.



Bob: And that prayer is just as applicable today as it was the day you prayed it when Leslie was in the studio with us.

Dennis: And Bob, I can’t help but wonder if there’s not a woman, who may be facing the choice of giving life a chance or of taking life. Do what God wants you to do.

Bob: Yes; and with that in mind, I know that Mother’s Day can be a hard day for a lot of women because of regrets of the past, whether it’s been miscarriages, or parenting issues / prodigals.



It can be a difficult day for a lot of moms. I would hope that those moms would find their encouragement, their hope, their strength, and their refuge in Jesus, who knows the pain, who knows the circumstances, and who offers forgiveness, transformation, and hope in the gospel.

I want to point our listeners to a list of books that we have available in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center that are all designed to encourage moms at different stages in the motherhood journey. I’d encourage you to make one of these books a belated Mother’s Day gift, either to your mom, or maybe there’s just a mom you know who’s in the thick of it who could use some encouragement. Go to and look at the books that are available. See if there’s not a title there that sounds like a good one to share with a friend you know who is right in the middle of raising her kids at home.



Our website, again, is

Now, because it’s Mother’s Day weekend, we don’t have any of our Weekend to Remember® getaways happening this weekend. We do have a getaway taking place next weekend in Madison, Wisconsin; so you can be praying for the folks in Wisconsin who’ll be joining us next weekend. And then, we have getaways taking place in June in Orlando, and Houston, and Austin, in Phoenix, and in Las Vegas—still have thousands of couples who are scheduled to join us for a getaway weekend this spring.

Our goal at these getaways is the same as our goal with this radio program, or with our website, or with the resources we create. We want to provide folks with practical biblical help and hope for issues you face in your marriage and your family. We want to be an ally for you as you seek to raise your kids and as you seek to go all the way to the finish line, as husband and wife.



And we appreciate those of you who partner with us so that we can reach more people each year with what the Bible has to say about marriage and family. During the month of May, we’re hoping to raise a significant sum of money. We’re trying to raise $1.1 million. The reason is—we want to continue working on projects that are underway, here at FamilyLife. They’re going to need that kind of funding to be able to continue the work during the summer months.

So we’re asking you, here in May, to make a one-time contribution. Maybe for some of you, it’s a first-ever donation in support of the ministry of FamilyLife. You can do it easily, online, at; or you can call 1-800-FL-TODAY to make a donation. Or you can mail your donation to FamilyLife Today at PO Box 7111, Little Rock, AR; and our zip code is 72223.



And we hope you have a great weekend. Hope you and your family are able to worship together this weekend, and I hope you can join us back on Monday. Sara Horn is going to be here to give us her thoughts on the biblical injunction for wives to submit to their husbands and how she reacted to that the first time she read that. We’ll talk about what the Bible really means when it calls on a wife to be submissive to her husband. We’ll talk about that Monday. Hope you can join us 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; a Cru® ministry.

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