Seven Lessons From Being a Guest at Focus on the Family

If we could name an “establishment” our hero, mine would be Focus on the Family. With my pink Victoria’s Secret tote over one shoulder and excitement and butterflies in my belly—along with concern I’d be overwrought with emotion due to my soft heart for families and marriage—I walked through the doors of an organization I have admired for decades. Greeted with smiles, handshakes, hugs, and handed a gift bag filled with books, resources, tea, Jim Daly Focus-coffee, and a Focus on the Family thermos, I felt so welcome.

I have my own Focus thermos, friends! Yes!

This surpassed all expectations I had that morning as I was getting ready for the day. As I looked into the mirror in my hotel room, putting on makeup and trying to hide the two pimples that had popped out on my face, my thoughts went back to thirty years prior, when I was in my mid twenty’s.

Side note, and first lesson…

Why do blemishes always seem to emerge when I have big days? Why? Truthfully, I’m pretty sure the only person who noticed was me.

Lesson 1: No one cares about your face as much as you do.

Back to thirty years ago…

Thirty years prior, I gave up college and career to dive fully into motherhood. And now, after focusing on my family, I was at Focus on the Family. Having given up college, a future in literature seemed way beyond any destination I could ever climb to.

And yet, as I write, and sipping my delicious Jim Daly brand coffee, while the remainder of the package is safely tucked in my cupboard marked, Mine! Don’t touch!  it still feels so surreal. I know as Christians we are supposed to share, but I don’t think that applies to coffee.

Meeting the producers of this great broadcast ministry was a true delight. One was a cheerful, talented, charming, young lady in her early twenty’s with the beauty of a Disney princess and the smile of an angel. And, an inspiring, kind, wise, godly gentleman, who was a twenty-five-year veteran with the passion and fervor of a young person.

Lesson 2: You are never too old or too young for God to use you in a mighty way.

As we walked through the facility I could feel and see the vision and mission, Helping Families Thrive in action. Once in the broadcast room, the jokes, compliments, and warmth from Jim Daly and John Fuller put me instantly at ease, and even more thrilled to be a guest. Talking about marriage and family with these two pioneers was an honor beyond all honors. And if that weren’t enough, copies of “From Me to We” seemed to be everywhere, which came with words of praise. Incredible!

Lesson 3: When you follow God’s plan, he will open doors for you which you never thought possible.

On the way to my next broadcast session—one down and two to go—it was a pleasure to be stopped by a member of the Focus staff and her engaged daughter who was holding a copy of “From Me to We.” I was ecstatic to meet them and happy we had time for a brief conversation and hugs and well wishes.

Lesson 4: “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, and knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve” (Col. 3:23-24).

While in the next broadcast room, meeting Lisa Anderson of the Boundless show was another highlight. The work for the kingdom she and her staff continues to do encourages and impacts young adults worldwide.

Once that interview was over, I realized that my fear of being overpowered by my  feelings was silly.

Then, I got to enjoy lunch with the producers. Awesome!

After lunch, I had one more interview to go. So far, I had gotten through without a flood of tears, or an overpowering of emotions. You can do this!

Two down and one to go. Now, back in the broadcast room this behind the scenes interview would be on camera. I was second in line after a darling couple who had been married for forty-six years. As they told their touching story from twenty years before, when after being separated for eighteen months and filing for divorce, God intervened with a vision of sorts—something of a burning building—and their marriage was restored. Folks, I lost it!

Lesson 5: No matter how bad it looks, God can still restore your marriage.

With tears in my eyes after hearing their story of restoration, I knew I’d have a hard time getting through my interview. And this one was on camera!

My first on camera question was, “Why did you write From Me to We?” Anticipating this question, what I had previously planned on saying quickly changed. “My husband is a children’s pastor,” I said, with tears flowing down my face, “every weekend we see the devastation divorce has on kids.” With a tight throat and a stream of tears, I forged on, “During one of my small group times with kids I asked this question, ‘When was the last time you felt loved?’” “One little girl answered, ‘I have not felt loved in a very long time. You see, my parents are getting a divorce.’”

Wiping my wet face, I could hardly hold it together. I had made it to the last interview and thought I had gotten through without “incident” only to be overcome on the last one. I felt like a blubbering ninny.

While waiting to attend the Focus on the Family chapel where Dr. Tyler Sexton would be speaking, I got to visit with the lovely couple who had saved their marriage, and who now have six grandchildren and a wonderful life together.

Dr. Sexton has cerebral palsy and uses the assistance of a service dog to help him walk and stay balanced. As he conveyed his story of becoming a pediatrician with a waiting list in spite of being told he could never be a doctor due to his disability, there was one thing he said which really stood out…

“I need this dog to walk,” he shared while speaking during chapel, “but even so, I still fall down up to four to five times a day. I’ve even broken bones. I don’t mind, though because falling down reminds me that I can walk.” WOW!

Falling reminds him that he can walk! I’m concerned about someone stealing my coffee, when he’s happy to fall down.

Lesson 6: If you can walk, you have something to be thankful for.  

This lesson stayed with me even as I landed back at LAX. Colorado was beautiful but there’s no place like home. With my luggage and pink Victoria’s Secret tote, I hustled through a busy airport.

As I glided down the escalator my heart jumped as my eyes locked onto the handsome gentleman waiting at the bottom. I thought, This is the best part of my adventure—coming home. After our long embrace, we walked hand in hand out of the airport and through the parking structure. The extended smooch next to our car confirmed it, yes, coming home to the love of my life was indeed the best part of my adventure.

Lesson 7: Build your home first, because that’s where you always return.

Fondly,

Lu

Want to learn how to go from ME to WE and build a life together as husband and wife? Lucille Williams is a relationship coach and the author of “From Me to We: A Premarital Guide for the Bride- and Groom- to- Be,” order a copy today and help safeguard your marriage. We invite you to put your email in the subscribe button and stay connected.

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