FamilyLife Today® Podcast

Psalm 23: Finding Peace in the Storm: Tim & Kathy Bush

with Tim And Kathy Bush | March 21, 2024
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Let's face it, this past year has been tough. Finding peace in the storm can feel like an uphill battle. Author's Tim & Kathy Bush have been through a lot, they found hope in Psalm 23. Answering questions like, What does the Lord is my shepherd actually mean? and Can I found hope in God? They found a hidden gem that holds all the answers, all the peace we crave, even in the toughest times. Trust me, it's worth exploring.

  • Show Notes

  • About the Host

  • About the Guest

  • 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.

Struggling this year? Authors Tim & Kathy Bush found comfort in Psalm 23, understanding its message and discovering hope in God. It’s truly worth exploring.

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Psalm 23: Finding Peace in the Storm: Tim & Kathy Bush

With Tim And Kathy Bush
March 21, 2024
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Shelby: Hey, Shelby Abbott here. Before we get started with today’s program, I want you to pause and imagine yourself, with your spouse, sitting on two deck chairs in a very warm and beautiful environment on a cruise ship in the middle of the Caribbean. After you’re done, hanging out with your spouse and relaxing—getting some sun—you head over and have a romantic dinner together. Then, you go and hear an amazing message that helps to encourage you in loving your spouse and walking with God.

What am I talking about? I’m talking about the 2025 Love Like You Mean It® marriage cruise. We’re having a sale right now, and it’s a great time to save big on this incredibly unique environment to enjoy working on your marriage, being intentional in your walk with God, and doing it all in places like the Dominican Republic; Puerto Rico; Saint Thomas; and Miami, Florida. If that sounds interesting to you, head over to or you can check out the link in today’s show notes.

Alright, let’s get to the program.

Kathy: We were living on feelings; everything was about how Tim made me feel. I wasn’t going to be depressed anymore because he was going to make me happy—all the things I was feeling before—he thought I was going to change him. The marriage didn’t fix that.

Shelby: Welcome to FamilyLife Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I’m Shelby Abbott, and your hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson. You can find us at

Ann: This is FamilyLife Today!

Dave: Alright; I feel like we’re in the middle of a miniseries. [Laughter]

Ann: I know! And we just ended the first episode.

Dave: It’s like Netflix®. [Laughter] We’re binging—episode 1 just ended—and everybody’s thinking, “I can’t wait until tomorrow!”

Ann: “What happens?!”

Dave: Well, today is here—tomorrow is here—we’re back with Tim and Kathy Bush. I can’t even recap yesterday. [Laughter] You just have to go back if you missed it. I’d say, “Hit pause now; go back and listen to Day 1; and then, come back”; because we heard a lot of Tim’s story in the middle of Tim and Kathy’s marriage.

Ann: And we started out hearing pretty much when you guys were at the bottom of your lives and your marriage. You had three adult kids that had already been out of the house. You pretty much given up on your marriage. You’re right: got to hear Tim’s story, which was super brave of him to share. Their book is called Sex on the First Date, which is an interesting title. The subtitle is: Our Story of a Broken Beginning to a Radically Transformed Marriage.

Kathy: That’s like a soap opera.

Dave: It reads a little bit that way; but the truth is: you’re real people.

Kathy: Yes.

Ann: There’s not even an exaggeration, and it feels like there should be.

Dave: Most stories like this don’t end well. They’re not sitting where you are sitting.

Ann: This is the hope of the gospel.

Dave: Our listeners have got to hear the journey; we’ve got to know the darkness so we understand the light.

Church-girl meets playboy—whatever you want to call Tim—[Laughter], and how did that start?

Kathy: When you say, “church-girl,” all that meant was I attended church. I was raised in a family of seven children; we went to church on Sundays. I remember I would say, at that point, I believed in God and I even believed that Jesus died for my sins. I felt like I believed that, but there was not much more than that. I do remember, throughout my life as a child, I remember talking to God in my desperate moments.

I remember my family was pretty normal; but then, I think I was also raised in a family where all of the girls in the family—what was going to happen was—we were going to find a man, and we were going to get married. There wasn’t talk about anything more than that. I was okay with that because I saw my mom being a mom. I was okay with getting married, but I had to find a man. I started dating at 16; I also started drinking because, in order to be with a guy and have anything to say or have any courage, I would need to drink. There was drinking and dating. Every guy I dated I thought could be a possible husband, especially at 16. I started dating a guy for a couple of years; I thought I was going to marry him. I thought that would be okay; I thought that I would be satisfied with that.

Ann: How did you and Tim meet?

Kathy: We met through my sister and Tim’s brother; they got us together. I remember my sister saying—she told me about Tim—and said that he would spend a lot of money on me, and he would take me to a nice restaurant. He had a house, and he had cars; because I had heard about Tim and his reputation. Even though my reputation wasn’t that great, I just didn’t/I wasn’t sure about Tim; I did say, “Okay, I’ll go out with him.”

Tim: She came to a party at my house. I asked her to go out on a date; she said, “Yes.” I knew I had to meet her dad—which her dad was an immigration officer; carried a gun—I had no intention of having sex with her. Even though that was my M.O. [modus operandi]—kind of who I was—because I just thought that was normal. I really thought it was normal back then. I didn’t really know any other way of doing it.

I went to her—shook her dad’s hand—said, “I’ll take really good care of your daughter.” He asked me where we were going. I said, “Pizza and movie.” I said, “What time do you want her home?” He said, “One o’clock in the morning.” I thought, “This is great.” I didn’t think anything of it. We got to the car; I opened the door for her, which I found out later she really liked. We drove to Portland to Old Town Pizza. We came back to the Andreson Drive-in.

Kathy: But what was interesting: when we went to Old Town Pizza, Tim had a fake ID. Here I am, 18, and he gets a pitcher of beer and pours me a glass of beer. I thought, “Wow! This is kind of cool.”

Tim: I have kind of a tolerance; I can drink beer. But I found out, after Kathy had about a quarter of a beer—

Kathy: I have no tolerance.

Tim: —she was getting a little loopy. I thought, “Oh, oh!” When we, literally, walked out of that pizza parlor, heading to the movie, she had her hands on me. I thought, “Well, this wasn’t scheduled”; I wasn’t planning on this, but how do you fight it off? We went to the drive-in in the car and sex on the first date in the backseat.

Kathy: But then, after that, I fell in love with Tim really fast. I felt like he fell in love. We couldn’t talk enough on the phone.

Tim: I went home that night and told my roommate—which I didn’t tell Kath until we were married about 35 years—that, “This is the girl I’m going to marry.”

Ann: I’m trying to get my head around this: you go on your first date; you, basically, fall in love. You think, “I’m going to marry her.” How soon, then, did you get married?

Tim: Well, five months and five days,—

Kathy: [Laughter]—from our first—

Tim: —from our first date, we got married.

Ann: Five months and five days because

Tim: Because Kath, on about the three-month period,—

Kathy: —because I got pregnant.

Tim: —Kath got pregnant, which caused—when Kath told me she was pregnant—I immediately saw I wanted this baby to have a name. That’s why I told her: “Kathy, you don’t have to marry me”; I said, “I want to marry you.” So we did.

Ann: How old were you, Kathy?

Kathy: I was 18.

Ann: You’re 18.

Kathy: I was a senior in high school. I was like, “Whoo-hoo! I get to drop out of high school.” I hated school so bad; it was my ticket out.

Ann: Now, you’re going to be a mom.

Kathy: Yes.

Dave: On your honeymoon, are you guys excited? Are you like, “This is one of the best things we ever did,” or—?

Kathy: I remember feeling excited as we left the church. I was thinking, “This is so cool. I don’t have to go back to my mom and dad.” Because we were living on feelings; everything was about how Tim made me feel. I wasn’t going to be depressed anymore because he was going to make me happy—all the things I was feeling before—he thought I was going to change him. The marriage didn’t fix that.

I remember, when we went on our honeymoon, kind of having this sinking feeling—kind of that depressing feeling—like, “What did we do here?” I didn’t know Tim.

Ann: Kind of like, “Aww; it didn’t work. This didn’t fill the hole in my soul.”

Kathy: Yes! Right! “I’m not extremely excited right now.” And also, now I’m pregnant—so now the fun that we had together with the drinking—I’m not drinking anymore. He’s on his own with the drinking.

Tim: Actually, the couple of months before we got married—the last two months of our dating, we’ll call it—I was still sowing wild oats, because she wasn’t fun anymore. I still wanted to marry her; I realized, once, I could do this until the wedding night. Once the wedding night happened, I couldn’t do that stuff anymore. I wanted to make sure and get all that wildness out of me, so it wouldn’t be there after we got married.

Kathy: You thought it was going to change—

Tim: —I did think it was going to change.

Kathy: —right away, because he was going to get sex nine times a day. [Laughter]

Tim: Yes, I was going to get sex as often as I wanted. I had an expectation: “Kath will take care of all my needs.” There would be nothing she wouldn’t take care of for me. I found out, on my honeymoon, that wasn’t the case. [Laughter] We both pretty much felt like we made a mistake on the wedding night.

Dave: Did you talk about it, like, “We made a mistake”?

Kathy: No, no. We didn’t talk about it with each other; we didn’t talk about it with other people. We just kind of sucked it up; went on with our life.

Tim: I did get a hotel with a kitchen—

Kathy: —thinking I was going to cook on the honeymoon.

Tim: —expecting Kath would cook. [Laughter] But she didn’t know how to cook.

Dave: —on the honeymoon?!

Kathy: On the honeymoon, he got a kitchen;—

Dave: —what?!

Kathy: —bought groceries. [Laughter]

Tim: Got a cooler with groceries in it. [Laughter]

Kathy: I remember thinking, “Does he think I’m going to cook on the honeymoon?” [Laughter]

Tim: So, I made poached eggs on our first morning. I made poached eggs; that’s what we had. We had pizza on our wedding night, on the way there. [Laughter] I didn’t even know Kath—didn’t know until years later; I didn’t even know Kath—didn’t like the Oregon coast.

Kathy: I didn’t like it. He didn’t ask me.

Tim: It was what I could afford, so I just did what I could do. We did what I wanted because I was selfish.

Ann: So welcome to the next 25 years of continued drinking, continued cheating;—

Kathy: —yes, pretty much 27 years—

Dave: —more pregnancies.

Kathy: More pregnancies, yes. I had our three kids before I was twenty-one.

Ann: Yes, so you were kids.

Kathy: I was [a kid], and I was with kids. I was busy. That kept me going; I was taking care of all the home things. Tim was working and providing.

Tim: —75-80 hours a week.

Kathy: —which is what I thought a husband did. I thought, “This is what a wife does.”

Ann: It’s interesting: one of the things I love about your book is that you have videos that you have inserted throughout. How many did you say?

Tim: Eight total.

Ann: Eight total videos. And to hear your kids talk about this time in your marriage in those videos was pretty fascinating.

Dave: I just watched one a couple of days ago. TJ, your oldest, is—not your oldest; your second oldest—

Tim and Kathy: Nolan.

Dave: —is saying, “They fought every night, drinking every night; we just figured they were going to get a divorce any day.” That was their reality in your home for much of their growing up, right?

Tim and Kathy: Yes.

Dave: That’s where you were.

Kathy: Yes, yes.

Ann: And then, you hit bottom—that we just shared—if you didn’t hear that, go back and hear—

Dave: —Episode 1, first 15 minutes of the show.

Okay, when does this thing turn? [Laughter] Because it’s spiraling into a bad place—we all see it, and you know it—but here you are! So what happened?

Ann: Kathy, you had confessed to Tim pretty much everything you had done with other men.

Kathy: Yes, yes; so we are at rock bottom then. As I said, I begged him—our daughter had been seeing a counselor/a Christian counselor—I told him/I said, “We’ll go see her. She has a husband, who is a counselor, too; so you can see him; I’ll go see her.” We did that—I made the phone call—we got in right away. I’m not sure if all four of us met at first—I saw her; Tim went to him—and then, the four of us would come together.

Tim: —for two years.

Kathy: For two years we did this counseling.

Ann: Oh, so this is why you said “27 years” you walked through this.

Kathy: Yes.

Tim: We had many counseling sessions before with multiple people.

Kathy: Yes.

Tim: One counselor really helped us back in our nine-year part but the others didn’t really.

Kathy: But the behavior of the marriage was not changing; because there was—even though, throughout all this time, through the counselors and through all these things we were trying to do to fix our marriage—because we would—that’s the thing with Tim and me: we wanted our marriage to be good; if we were going to be married, we wanted it to be good; so we would go see counselors. We went to self-help conferences. But this two-year process was the start of it/the start of really digging deep into our marriage.

Tim: Before, I wanted the counselors to fix Kath; because I didn’t have any problems. [Laughter]

Kathy: It was all about me. And this sorted out—

Ann: —he didn’t have any baggage or anything.

Tim: No.

Dave: You didn’t bring anything into the marriage. [Laughter]

Kathy: For those two years, we worked through the stuff in our marriage. What’s interesting—I found out after those two years—Tim still had not shared all the things he needed to share. I felt healed; I really felt healed—because I felt we had talked about everything; I had shared everything with her—and I got to the place, where I actually told the counselor, “I think we’re done. There’s really nothing else to talk about.” We did that for two years; and then, this is the place where Tim hits rock bottom.

Dave: Yes, what happened, Tim? I know—well, I read it—tell us how you got there.

Tim: Well, I think it was—it says in the Bible, I think three places; pastor, maybe you know better—that every knee will bow. This was a knee-bowing moment.

Dave: —bowing to Jesus.

Tim: Yes, bowing to Jesus.

Dave: “…every tongue will confess…” [Philippians 2:10-11]

Tim: I did not have/this was a time, where no matter what I did, I couldn’t work my way out of it. I remember, in 2006/2007, those were the best financial years of our lives—we’re making seven figures—everything is going really good: on fire; cash back; I got some control going on in my mind; things were getting back.

And then, I remember, in ‘08/in the middle of ’08, my brother, Ned, is limping across a field of ten acres where we are building buildings. I’m building my own kingdom, what I call here on earth; he was a part of it. I was really excited about him being a part of it, because we had been disconnected—which we talk about in the book—we were disconnected for a number of years because of a miscommunication. We were in a good spot [at that time]: him and me. I saw him limping; I called him on his phone: “Bro, what’s going on?” He said, “I don’t know. It’s a funny little thing.” Well, this went on to a couple of different things, where finally, he went to the doctor. The doctor said, “I recommend we do some kind of a scan on your brain.” They found a spot in the back of his head. The spot, they thought, was probably MS; but they had to do a biopsy to find out for sure.

His wife and I both recommended that he do that, even though there was some potential danger in it; he did that. Kath was gone to an aesthetics conference in Istanbul, Turkey. I went to the neurosurgeon with my brother and his wife—sat in there—and the neurosurgeon’s said, “Ned, I don’t know how to tell you this other than to tell you: ‘Get your affairs in order; you have stage 4 glioblastoma, and you are going to die.’”

Ned said, “That’s a heck of a note”; and stood up. He never worked again; I can tell you that. I immediately wanted to know how I could help him. He wanted to do the standard of care and do things to have the best quality of life that he could have. This was in the summer of ’08. A friend of his asked for us to meet with him down at the river. My brother got baptized. I watched it happen, and I watched three other guys get baptized with him; it was really cool. They asked me if I wanted to; I said, “No; I’m good. I was baptized as a kid. I’ll take pictures of you guys.” Those pictures are also going to be in those videos that are in the book.

It was really quite a time with my brother. He went into hospice before Thanksgiving. During that time, too, our nephew took his life. It changed our family; I mean, our whole family was broken/completely broken, where we didn’t know what to do. None of us could work; it was just a mess. At his funeral, I felt myself getting sick. I had been having anxiety over the years—for 25 years—once in a while. I would just either work out, or drink, or both; and that would take care of the anxiety.

But this was different; it just wouldn’t let go; it just couldn’t get better. And then, December of ’08, I didn’t sleep the whole month.

Ann: Wow.

Tim: With no sleep—and I don’t know if you will recall—but ’08 was also when the economy changed. The bank, that I was building this kingdom, went into receivership; they called all of our loans. I had no bank; and all of a sudden, I couldn’t work.

I was back with my counselor, and he thought maybe there was something to do with the abuse when I was a kid. He gave me some ways to deal with it, and I tried to do that; it still wasn’t working. I was thinking about suicide at this point. I talked to my insurance agent: “Hey, I’ve got a guy, [whom] I know, that I think might want to commit suicide. How long does it take for life insurance to be in effect?” He said, “Well, a year.”

I had been two years [of being sick], so I knew I was good—I didn’t tell him that—I told him later that was my reason for calling. I wanted to find out, because I felt like I could help my family one last time; they could have a couple of million dollars. I could manipulate things one last time and take care of my family; that was how I was going to do it. I was so sick at this time.

Ann: Were you scared, Kathy?

Kathy: I don’t know if scared was the word. What happened at that point—we talked about how Tim was a controlling husband; well, all of a sudden, his control—I’m watching all the things that he was controlling—he can’t control anymore. I really thought it was because his brother was sick, and he couldn’t fix it.

But the sicker Tim got, it was like, all of a sudden, that wife—that I depended on Tim for everything/to do everything to take care of me in every circumstance—all of a sudden, I had to take care of Tim. I wasn’t scared; I stepped up.

Ann: You kicked it in.

Kathy: I kicked it in. I had no idea I even had it in me. I had my own business at the time; I had a little spa. I would go to work, and I would be with my client in the treatment room. I would come out—I had a waiting room—and Tim would be sitting in the waiting room, waiting for me.

At home, I’d be in the laundry room—

Tim: I couldn’t work.

Kathy: No, he couldn’t work. I’d be in the laundry room; I’d turn around; he’d be standing there, because I was like his blanket. I had to be with him; I had to take him to hospice to go visit his brother. And then, he had nothing to say to his brother; I would kind of coach him: “Maybe, you could do this…” “Maybe, you could say this…”

I stepped up in the marriage. I think watching Tim—and it wasn’t even [physically]; it was even mental—I mean, I had to call the kids at work and had to tell them that Dad couldn’t come to work: “He can’t talk to bankers; he can’t make any business decisions; he’s not mentally thinking right.”

During this process, too, I’m watching him drink alcohol. I’m trying to help him with natural anxiety stuff—because I don’t want—I knew, if he goes to a psychiatrist, they are going to put him on drugs. But he keeps getting worse. It comes to a point where his friend from Boise calls me and says, “If you don’t get him to a psychiatrist, I’m going to drive down there and take him.” I finally took Tim to a psychiatrist.

Tim: —which got me some sleep so I could start to think.

Kathy: It got him some sleep.

Tim: They were heavy-duty drugs.

Kathy: But it wasn’t the answer; it wasn’t.

Tim: I did go down to buy a Bible from the local Bible bookstore. I was reading

70 pages of the Bible a night: whiskey in one hand; the Bible in the other. I still have that Bible today, but I didn’t get anything from it.

Kathy: I remember watching him; he was like thumbing through it, like he was speed reading—

Tim: —[asking] “Where’s God?” “Where’s God?”

Ann: You’re looking for Him.

Tim: Yes, I’m looking for Him.

Kathy: Yes, like he’s waiting for a—

Dave: You had one source in one hand:—

Kathy: Yes, yes!

Dave: “Is He in pleasure?” “Is He in this book?”

Kathy: Yes.

Dave: We’re at the end of Day 2. People are [thinking], “So what happened?” [Laughter] What happened: you’ve got to hear tomorrow. You’ve got to hear this, because the next step: your whole life is different.

Ann: It’s interesting that you bought a Bible, too, you know? Because you’re looking/you’re looking for peace somewhere.

Kathy: Yes.

Shelby: You know, it’s interesting what Ann said just now: “You’re looking for peace somewhere.” Isn’t that true for all of us? If you’re honest with yourself, you’re looking for peace, too. The question is: “Where are you going to search for it?” and “In your searching, will you find it in any other place than the person of Jesus, our Prince of peace?” I can’t wait to hear more from Tim and Kathy tomorrow.

I’m Shelby Abbott, and you’ve been listening to Dave and Ann Wilson with Tim and Kathy Bush on FamilyLife Today. The Bushes have written a book called Sex on the First Date, a very provocative title; but it’s the story of the broken beginnings of their marriage and how God radically transformed their relationship. If you want to read more about that, you can get a copy of their book, Sex on the First Date, by going online to; or you can find it in the show notes. Or just give us a call at 800-358-6329 to request your copy. Again, that number is 800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY.”

You know, if you’ve been listening to FamilyLife Today for many years now, you will remember, of course, Bob Lepine. He was the one who was the voice of FamilyLife Today for 30 years, and he was the one who trained me. We just love him so much. Not only is he a gifted communicator through spoken word, he has also written a book called 12 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About Easter. Easter is only about a week and a half away, and this book will really help you discover the 12 kind of weird and wonderful facts about the resurrection, about Easter—spanning all the way from its origins up through present day—to really show the enduring significance of Easter that we need to hear about, as Christians today.

This book that Bob Lepine has written is going to be our gift to you when you give today to FamilyLife®. You can get your copy, right now, with any donation you decide to make. You simply go online to and click on the “Donate Now” button at the top of the page. Or you can give us a call with your donation at 800-358-6329; again, that number is 800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY.”

“How is the story going to end?” is my question. Tomorrow, we’re going to talk about numbness and anger to emotional burnout in relationships. Tim and Kathy Bush are back to unpack more of their story of how God continued to work. We hope you’ll join us for that tomorrow.

On behalf of Dave and Ann Wilson, I’m Shelby Abbott. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

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