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Staying Power

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman
The Truth Network Radio
May 23, 2020 8:03 am

Staying Power

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman

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May 23, 2020 8:03 am

​When life sends it's worst, marriages often suffer. On the next Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, Gene and Carol Kent talk about the greatest crisis they faced in their marriage. If you and your spouse are under great stress because of some unforeseen circumstance, they believe you can come out on the other side more loving and committed. Find out how on the next Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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When crisis from outside hits your marriage, will you find the strength to love languages?

Whether it's financial trouble, infertility, romantic advice, or more info on today's podcast, head to Gary, there are many marriages that have been through the ringer in the last few months, and I don't think there could be a better time for this conversation. Well, I certainly agree with that, Chris, you know, you use that figure of speech through a ringer. And I don't know if the younger generation even knows what a ringer is. But I remember.

But you're right. It's been a stressful time, I think for everyone. There's been adjustments for everyone.

Some more than others. And if you didn't have a good relationship going into this in terms of marriage, you could really be struggling now. So I'm excited about our conversation today and about this topic.

My grandmother used to have a washing machine that had a ringer on top where you put the clothes through and then crank it, you know, and it'd wring the water out of it. And so that's- I've been there. If you're feeling that way today with your marriage, I want you to hear Carol and Gene Kent. They're the founders of Speak Up Ministries, which includes Speak Up Speaker Services, Christian Speakers Bureau, Speak Up Conferences, Equipping the Next Generation of Speakers and Writers, and Speak Up for Hope, which is a nonprofit organization that benefits inmates and their families. Carol has written more than 20 books. Gene serves as chief operating officer of their ministries, and our featured resource is their book, Staying Power.

You can find out more at Well, Carol and Gene, welcome to Building Relationships. Thank you. We're honored to be on the air with you. Hey, Gary, thank you very much.

It's a privilege for us to be able to talk with you. Well, we followed your ministry through the years and glad for this opportunity and especially excited about this book. Now, before we talk about the storm your marriage went through, let's set the stage. Tell me a little bit of the backstory of Gene and Carol Kent. Well, I'll tell you that one of the great things for me is that my mom and dad led Gene Kent to the Lord when he was 17 years old. And dad had taken a little church and there were 42 people in the first congregation. Seven of them were in our family. And I was only allowed to date Christians.

Well, we had eight girls in the church group, youth group eventually. And there were only two guys. One of them was so unattractive.

You prayed he wouldn't ask you out. The other one was so drop dead gorgeous you could get killed in the rush of women trying to get to him. So when Gene Kent came to faith that meant there was now a third possibility of a guy to date. And little did I know that while I was at home doing the mundane ordinary job of babysitting my mother and dad were out winning my future husband to Jesus Christ. So we got married right after we got out of college and five years later I gave birth to Jason Paul Kent. And he was our only child. He was a delight to raise.

He just had a fun sense of humor. He came to know the Lord at an early age, grew up and set his sights on getting into the US Naval Academy. He said, I really believe God wants me to serve in military and maybe even in political leadership.

And I believe I could get the best education to do that at the academy. Well, he graduated, went to Orlando, Florida where he was in nuclear engineering school, joined a great church and met a girl. And he fell madly in love with a previously married woman who had two precious little girls, three years old and six years old. And we got a call saying my orders have changed.

I have to be at surface warfare officer school in Newport, Rhode Island. April and I are in love and we want to get married next Friday so we can go together. And we put together a very quick wedding. And into the first year of marriage, there were some issues. And I became the gramster for the two little girls since they came into our life there and when that marriage first took place. And, you know, our son loved the Navy and he loved what his assignment was going to be.

He was in the nuclear engineering school. Then after marriage he went to a dive school and his first assignment was going to be to go to Hawaii. And when they were still in Florida, they had visitation with their biological father. And the visitation would go well and the father only had supervised visitation.

And he was being good at visitation so he was applying to the courts to have unsupervised visitation. And sad to say when it looked like the courts were going to give him unsupervised visitation, our son had been obsessing about him to the point where he traveled to Orlando and he met the guy in a restaurant parking lot and put four bullets into the man. Well, I cannot believe what happened. We got a middle of the night phone call. We were told that our son had been arrested for the murder of his wife's first husband and I could hardly breathe. We just were in total shock.

And we wound up going through two and a half years and seven postponements of the trial before our son was eventually convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole in the state of Florida. And we wound up with a situation in our marriage that had been a wonderful, happy marriage where even two weeks before we were walking outside together and we said, does life get any better than this? And suddenly we had the wind knocked out of our sails and we realized that we were going to face a very new kind of normal and that we would have a choice. Would our marriage make it through this storm or would we begin blaming each other for not parenting properly?

Would we begin blaming God because we had lived for the Lord? Why would he allow this horrible thing to happen? We had some decisions to make. Wow. I think some of our folks, of course, have heard your story, Carol. They've heard this before, but I think anytime you hear that story, even if you've heard it before, we try to put ourselves in your shoes. It had to be a horrible, horrible thing for the two of you to process.

Yes. You know, Gary, we got that phone call at 1230 at night and we did not sleep probably for the next three days. Carol and I, you know, when traumatic events happen, you know, our bodies all handle it in different ways, but we couldn't sleep. You know, and we're constantly going over all of the things, did we do something wrong? What do we do now?

Do we need an attorney? How are we coping with this thing? You know, I've been a Christian quite a while with Carol's father leading me to Christ. And we went to, we had a Christian college education and all of those things, but we started asking ourselves questions.

God, where are you in the midst of this mess? And so I got my Bible out, which is always a good thing to do whenever you're in trouble. And I started reading over again in Genesis. And I came to a passage in Genesis 28, 16, where Jacob, you know, was wrestling and he had a dream and he saw a ladder going to heaven and saw angels going up and down. And he realized that there is an invisible war going on in the world.

And it just seemed so applicable to us. And then there's one little verse that says, surely the Lord is in this place and I was not aware of it. And we came to know that when God seems the most absent, he is still present everywhere, even in the middle of what feels like a place of desolation and deep loss and grief that you thought you would never be able to control or explain or experience. You know, and that little verse gave us the confidence that God knew we were in the midst of a struggle, that we were in the midst of a fight for the life of our marriage and for the life of our son. But he was there with us and would walk along in this journey with us. You know, there are a lot of books, Gene and Carol, that are written about wrong choices that are made by the husband or the wife or both of them, things that you do that facilitate a struggle in your marriage. This is different though. You're talking about things that are outside the marriage, the storms that come on you that hit your marriage. That's what you're boring down on, right?

Yes. And so many times we forget it might be the financial crisis that strikes or you might be raising a grandchild as your own child because of the wrong choices of your son or daughter who have gone into addiction. And you might have a situation where you're caring for aging parents, or you might be in a very stressful situation where you love your autistic child, but you realize that you will always be parenting that child and they will never be able to live completely independently on their own. There are so many things that hit a marriage when you're moving along in a pretty positive direction and then all of a sudden you feel like the wind is knocked out of your sails. You know, let's talk about a couple that's not there yet. Okay, I'm sure we have a lot of newly married couples and all of us know how wonderful that is when you're living in that euphoric state and you don't really think about crises, you know? I remember that.

All of us can remember that stage. But the truth is sooner or later, most couples are gonna face an outside crisis in their lives. Maybe not as traumatic as what you all have just described that happened in your lives.

Is there any preparation for this kind of thing before you get there? Hey, that's a great question, Gary. Carol and I have an advantage over lots of couples in that when we went off to college, we went to a very, very conservative college and when you wanted to have a date, you could only go to one place that you could have the date was to go to the dating parlor. You couldn't be intimate at all in that you couldn't even hold hands.

And it looked like a big furniture store. You would sit in the dating parlor and there would be monitors that would walk around and make sure, I remember one time I had my arm around Carol and the monitor came by, tapped me on the shoulder and looked me in the eye and said, you cannot do that, move your hand. And so the point they're getting at is all we could do was talk. And so for four years at that school, we did a lot of talking. Now in the summer, we would have a kiss or two, but it caused us to a great extent what we thought about each other, what we thought about what was our marriage going to look like. We knew that when we got married, we're gonna have differences. How are we going to settle those differences? You know, are we going to talk about things or we're both going to go into the silent mode, you know, and go into separate rooms, not talk for a week or how are we going to do this? And I came from the culture of watching my mother and father who communicated so poorly that it eventually led to a divorce in my family.

And I saw that take place, and I saw that they didn't have any communication, any meaningful communication to take place. So I knew in my heart that communication would be so important as the two of us would merge our lives together. Well, and I think too, in the book, we talk a whole lot about making pre-decisions, and that's something a young couple can talk about doing. And what we mean by that is to talk about in your marriage, what are the non-negotiables? What are the things that are so important to you that you are truly going to make sure that this is something I cling to?

And one of those for me is I will serve my spouse sacrificially. And even before the crisis started for us with Jason, that was a commitment we had made. And Jean is better at that one than I am.

And I remember when I was in such grief over Jason's arrest, Jean would make coffee in the morning, and he would bring it to me. And without words, he would put his hand on my arm, or if I was really blessed, he would put his hands right on my feet and give me a good foot rub. And it was a wonderful thing for me to know without words, he was basically saying, Carol, I love you. I'm committed to this marriage. I know this is hard, but we will get through this. And he did all of that without words.

And then I think for a young couple, one of those important pre-decisions is I will request honor and respect the advice of my spouse. Now, guys, I'm gonna give you a little secret about me. I'm a first born of six preachers kids. Do you know what that makes me?

Bossy. And I'd like to talk more than I like to listen. And so I found myself in a place of needing to be intentional about letting my husband finish sentences and really keying in on listening to him, asking him questions about what he meant.

And if young couples who have not faced the hardships of the surprises that come along that are negative, those crises that happen, that's a very, very important decision to make. And another one of those is I will practice automatic forgiveness. And us husbands and us men, we know what that means is we think we know everything. And we think we are the final judgment on all things that matter and we are never wrong.

And we take to heart that American motto, that we are the strong silent type and everything I say needs to go. But when we come into a marriage, we need to practice forgiveness to one another. I needed kills forgiveness when I would screw up, when I would say the wrong thing. You know, it's really easy for guys to say the wrong thing. To ask forgiveness, to apologize is difficult for men just because of that strong silent type macho kind of man that everybody wants to be a Clint Eastwood back in the day.

Well, we call it choosing to be unoffendable. That I know you love me, your heart toward me is good. So even if you speak in a vocal tone that makes me feel like you're judging me or like you're being a little too authoritative in this moment, I am going to choose not to be offended by that because I know the bottom line is we want our marriage to work. We do love each other and we are in this together. But when you feel like that you have been treated wrongly, your feelings are there, you made a decision, you're not going to be offended, but you do feel offended.

How do you put those two together? I think for many of us, we need to just pause, take a few seconds before lashing out. And we also need to remember that when we forgive, that does not negate the wrong done to us, but it frees us from bitterness. It frees us from living in anger and it allows us to move forward. And if we can begin just realizing that forgiveness is really letting go of my right to hurt you, for hurting me, often we can begin to move in a positive direction. Now, you're probably a more perfect marriage partner than I have been to Jean with your wife, Gary. But I know there have been times when I have practiced the silent treatment so long because I felt offended that I forgot why we weren't speaking to each other with just the principle that matters.

And I realized halfway through the day, I don't even remember why I was mad, but I'm just ticked off with that man. And I think often for me, it is the nonverbal, we call it in the book, the articulate silence of doing a gesture that is meaningful for our spouse. And in my case, it might be bringing him an afternoon treat at his desk. And without words, I am saying, I care about you and I love you even though I was irritated with you. And it's almost a nonverbal act of forgiving. And it really does work for us to be able to serve each other in love. That's a rather common practice in Chinese culture that if you offend someone, you don't go and verbally apologize. You take them a gift. Oh, that's so good.

It works. And there's some truth to that. It's kind of what you're saying in a sense. Hey, Gary, I accidentally had that happen just yesterday. Carol and I were, I was in her office. We were just talking about events that we had on the calendar and some of those events were not going to happen. And we were just listing them down and she was taking longer about looking at each event than I liked. And I got a little short with her and I basically just sort of blew up for a minute and said, hey, I didn't want to go over this anyway. And I walked out of her office and walked to the other end of the house where my office was and I just stood there thinking.

And this doesn't always happen but fortunately this time it happened. And I thought, man, I screwed that up so bad. I went to the refrigerator. I had a little treat, which was a chocolate eclair that she didn't know about. And I heated up the chocolate eclair, walked back down to her office and I put the chocolate eclair in front of her. And I was sort of non-verbally saying, please forgive me.

I just said the wrong thing so bad. And then later we laughed. We thought we have an interview with Gary Chapman about how to stay together as a married couple when you're going through tough times. And we then laughed out loud. And there's something about laughter in the middle of the stress that reduces all of that tension. And when you start laughing together you start practicing automatic forgiveness and you might even fall into each other's arms with a hug that says, we really do love each other, don't we?

Yeah, yeah. That reminds me, I've often said this. You don't have to be perfect to have a long-term healthy marriage, but you do have to deal with your failures. And all of us have failures. And I think it's encouraging for our listeners to hear that you all, after all these years, and it would be true of me and Carolyn as well, there are times in which you do things, say things that aren't appropriate. But if we're willing to acknowledge that thing and we're willing to forgive each other, we don't let the barrier, we don't let the wall build between the two of us. It's a really key issue we're talking about here.

It's really important. It's so important that we take care of those differences as soon as we can after they happen. I remember, yet, Gary, talking to my mother about my mom and dad's relationship. And I was just asking her several years after their divorce took place, you know, what happened there? And I asked her, you know, what did dad do that was wrong and trying to get some details about it all? And she could not give me any one particular thing. It was like a mountain of things that built up over time.

And it was so insurmountable that there weren't individual things she could even itemize anymore in marriage. Which just illustrates to us, we need to take care of things as soon as we can because we don't want them to fester. Just the sooner we can take care of those things, the better it is for communication in our marriage. We talk in the book about making the next right choice. And sometimes decision-making is so hard when you're dealing with a child with disabilities or you're dealing with an enormous interruption in your financial structure and you've lost a job. There are many, many things that happen where you have decisions that are important. And I'm the kind of person who likes to evaluate everything and over a period of three or four days make an eventual decision that feels like the best decision we could ever make. And we refer in the book to what Claretograph calls the 10-second rule.

And that 10-second rule has to do with this. He says, just do the next thing you're reasonably certain Jesus wants you to do and commit to it immediately in the next 10 seconds before you change your mind. And I think sometimes we forget that as Christian couples we have the Holy Spirit in our lives. He's our teacher, he's our guide, he's our counselor. And so if we're walking in a right relationship with him when we are faced with these challenges that come at us from the outside and we're seeking advice, and of course the Bible says if we lack wisdom we can ask for it. And when we seek that advice and ask for it we can be reasonably certain that the Holy Spirit is leading us to make the next right choice. And so we, in my case anyway, need to do that more quickly and then start taking some action steps as a result of the choice we've made that will move us in a forward direction instead of getting stuck in a rut. I want to know, Carol and Jean, you were sitting around with your co-authors of this book, Dave and Cindy Lambert, and it was hours you were having this discussion.

Tell me where the book came from. Well, we have known each other for a long time, we've become good friends, and it occurred to us that we had something unique in common. Jean and I had an only child who was arrested for a heinous crime and went through his trial and was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole and we had to learn how to survive and hopefully learn how to thrive after that, and they were in a situation where they had an adopted son who had made some pretty wrong choices and that wound up with addiction issues, and he married, had a child, and the child needed help because the parents were in a situation where there were people in and out of that home using substances that were not legal to be used, and they were very worried about the well-being of their grandchild, and they wound up eventually raising their grandchild as their own. And so we said, you know, there aren't many books out there that are written on how to hold your marriage together when suddenly you are faced with very traumatic issues that mean the rest of your life will certainly be impacted by how this outside force and crisis has come. And we started to write down everything we could think about about what we felt would help other couples to learn how to be godly in the middle of the decision-making that was involved, and all of a sudden we looked at each other and we said, this is a book, isn't it? And it took us a couple of years to do the proposal. And the more we talked about it and we saw that we had these things in common, we decided, well, we couldn't just talk about their story and our story, we needed to have some other illustrations about other people and what hit their marriage and what was different about the circumstances.

And so that we would have a number of different kinds of illustrations so that people could react to them and relate to those kinds of things. So we came up with 13, 14 different kinds of things that hit a marriage from the outside. You know, one of the big things is our health. And, you know, when health problems hit a marriage and it's an attack from the outside, we often treat it in many different ways.

You know, my wife is good about taking care of me if I'm sick or something, but if I have any blood showing, she does not wanna be around blood showing. Well, and there are very difficult, traumatic things like losing a child, the death of a child can be so incredibly traumatic. And I'll never forget my friend Carol, who told me her husband knew it was very difficult for her to talk openly about what happened, but he found a heart-shaped stone. And she said, I would be at work and I would open up my lunch sack and that heart-shaped stone would be inside the sack.

Or she said, I'd be on a business trip and I would find that heart-shaped stone in my suitcase. And she said that became that signal between them that even though they found it difficult to talk through the issues of losing their child, that their love was strong and that they would hold onto that until they could start breathing again and then work through the whole biblical counseling that would go with their healing. And I loved hearing that because it is a process.

Absolutely, and that's a powerful story of a symbol, without words, but a symbol that I'm with you, I'm with you. Yeah, let's talk a little bit about anger because often in the outside pressures that we have, anger is the emotion that arises. And you all deal with that pretty well in this book. And you even talk about positive uses of anger, but share your perspective on anger. Hey, when we first started thinking about anger, Will Rogers, that great sage of 50, 60 years ago, had a little quotation where he said, people who fly into a rage always make a bad landing. And isn't that true of so many of us, is after we fly into whatever anger that we illustrate with our actions and especially men, later on, or maybe even soon after it, we say, where on earth did that come from?

Boy, that was just terrible. How do I correct this now with my wife? Well, I think one of the things we forget about is that when anger is expressed and the other marriage partner sees it, there's no more hiding.

You're not hiding your feelings. And so that marriage partner is aware that something is causing you to be very upset and that can lead to positive discussion. And I think something else anger can do is to bring us to a place of knowing that we are motivated to find out what we're doing wrong here and we wanna do something about it. But the biggest thing for me that anger can do is to become a catalyst for learning how to really communicate with each other, to get it out on the table. And I like to think of people in a marriage as some of them are hop reactors.

You know, if mama ate, happy ate, nobody, happy. And they get all their emotions out on the table. And then others are the slow boiler. And they say, oh, that's no problem, everything's fine.

And then they're gritting their teeth saying, well, praise the Lord. And we respond often so differently. But if anger can lead us to think, okay, let's talk about what the issues are.

Let's share with each other what's bothering us about this issue right now. It can lead us to a place of finding answers in God's word or seeking biblical counseling, talking to a pastor. And that can produce a very positive long-term result that is honoring to the Lord.

Yeah. Was there a time in your marriage when anger kinda got the best of you? There were some times in the very early part of Jason's arrest that were extremely difficult for me. I came to know Jesus at my mother's knee when I was five years old. And I'm not a young person who went into rebellion. I remember as a teenager saying, Lord, I wanna do something with my life for your glory that will outlast my life. I wanna live for something that will matter for me.

Matter for your kingdom work. And so when I got married to Jean and we raised Jason and we were actively involved in Christian ministry as our full-time life's work, I think there came with that the expectation that God would show us real favor. And that's wrong thinking, but I was really expecting God to come through for us.

And when Jason was arrested, my mind just was swirling with, Lord, you know you could have given him a flat tire in that parking lot before he pulled the trigger. God, why did you allow him to make this devastating choice? And then with that was that little anger directed first at God before it was directed at my spouse.

Lord, you know I have loved you with a pure heart. I'm just so mad at you for allowing this to happen. And when I felt angry at God, sometimes I expressed my anger toward Jean and I would do that verbally, non-verbally. I remember getting upset about little things. Now I keep a clean house guys, but we were in the master bedroom closet one day and he said, Carol, I just don't understand why this closet is so crowded.

Why don't you get rid of clothing you haven't worn in a year? And I blew up at him in anger. I said, I'm a very neat housekeeper and I don't know why you have to come in here and criticize the way this closet looks, it's so unfair. And we wound up falling into each other's arms in tears and Jean just said, honey, this isn't really the issue is it? It's Jason, it's our son. And we wound up coming to a place of being able to talk about the fact that we were so upset, anger was right there on the surface and we were exploding, but we really were exploding because we were hurting over our son's arrest and over the bad choice he had made that wound up impacting our own lives in a very, very challenging way as well as his. Hey, and Gary, I have read "The 5 Love Languages" . So I've learned a few things and one of them is, one of my wife's love languages is touch. And so I knew that to quell many situations down is to hold her in my arms and just hold her close and just touch her and letting her know non-verbally that I love you in spite of what's going on around us, honey and we're in this thing together. So many times we act like we are on two different teams, you know, in our marriages and we need to convince each other because it is so true.

We are together on the same team and she responds really well to when I touch her. That's one reason why understanding each other's primary love language and speaking it can really help you while you're working through grief because we grieve differently, so yeah. Absolutely.

Oh, yes. I think one of the other things we need to remember is that in our anger, words can slip out of our mouths that cause permanent damage. As a preacher's kid, I remember my dad coming home one day and saying there was a couple he met and they were in a very serious automobile accident and the man was able to walk away, but the woman was in intensive care for weeks and she suffered from severe facial scarring as a result of that accident. And once in a heated argument, the husband yelled at his wife and said, you old scar-faced woman, can't you do anything right? And from that moment on, every time he looked at her, even during a tender, intimate moment, as she saw him, she knew he was seeing her as an old scar-faced ugly woman and that became a permanent rift in her marriage. So in our anger, we need to really watch our words because they can be something that can put a knife in our heart that is very hard to recover from. So true. You know, the proverb life and death is in the power of the tongue.

Yes. Well, I'm sure that our listeners are identifying with what we're saying and I'm also sure that some of them are wondering in their mind how you all have processed this long-term, that is what happened to your son, Jason. And one of the chapters in your book deals with dedicating yourself to serving while you're suffering.

Can you share how that has, minister, how that's been helpful to you? Well, we found ourselves standing in two-hour-long lines waiting to get through the intake process at the prison to visit our son and we got to know a whole lot of families who were hurting and I'm married to a very compassionate man. He would try to encourage the children who were going in to see their daddies and I would talk to some of the mamas but I started to notice when I was at home that Jean's pile of black t-shirts was getting shorter and shorter and I know that dryers eat socks but I know they don't eat t-shirts and I said, Jean, what's happening to your shirts? And he just kind of chuckled.

He said, you'll find out soon enough. And a week later, we were standing in that line again and I saw a woman going in to visit her loved one who was turned away and she was sobbing and I instantly knew why. She was wearing a sleeveless blouse and one of the new regulations said women could not wear sleeveless blouses into the prison and suddenly I realized that Jean had disappeared from his place in the line where he was standing with me and I saw him out in the parking lot with our trunk lit up and he emerged with a black t-shirt.

I saw him walk it over to the woman and say, here ma'am, put this on and go to the front of the line. It's my gift to you today. Have a wonderful visit with your family member and he walked back over to where I was standing and I said, so that's what's been happening to your t-shirt and he looked down and he said, it is my ministry. And a month later, I was speaking in Wisconsin and shared that story since it had happened so recently and about three weeks later, there was a big box on our front porch filled with black t-shirts and there was a letter on top and it said, dear Carol, I attended the event you spoke at in Wisconsin and heard about your husband's ministry through the t-shirts.

I worked for a company that makes these t-shirts and she said, so I can get them very inexpensively. She said, please use this donation toward your husband's t-shirt ministry through his trunk distribution program. I hope it blesses some people. But that has been one of the ways that we've been able to serve while suffering and Jean can tell you about the nonprofit we launched, Speak Up For Hope, that benefits inmates and their families and Jason as well. Gary, we've done this for, in seeing our son in prison for 20 years now.

And in some ways you would think we sort of get used to it and in some ways we do, but there every time we see that prison as we approach it and approach that parking lot, we'd say it, we will say to each other and look at each other and said, how did this happen? And we have found that by taking our attention and applying our attention to other people and their circumstances, and we found the needs of the people who were standing in line of those inmate families were so great, they for the most part don't have any money, the major breadwinner in their family is incarcerated and the family's just getting by if they're getting by. And so we started a ministry just called Speak Up For Hope, where we try to help those inmate families try to provide some comfort items for them. We will put together a hope box, which just has comfort items in and maybe a lotion and a candle and a teacup and some tea and a few little things for the children in the family and we'll send them to the wives or mothers or girlfriends of inmates that we know. And we sent them all over the country.

They end up sometimes getting there the same day as a birthday for a mother. And the mother has written us a letter saying, how did you know it was our birthday? Of course we didn't know. And it was just God using that. But it so changed our whole feeling about God, about God, why did you allow this to happen to us?

God, I'm mad at you into, it takes my mind off of my circumstance and I see all of these other people and I end up being thankful for my situation. Something else that has happened is that Jason has been full of repentance and has asked the forgiveness of the victim's family. And he is our missionary on the inside. He leads Bible studies. He's been president of Gavel Club, which is Toastmasters on the Inside, teaching men how to communicate. I love that because I teach the Speak Up Conference, teaching Christians how to write and speak.

So I figure he's a chip off the old block. We watch him designating books that he will be able to read and then pass on to 20 other inmates. And we are discovering that as we are open about our story, it opens other people up to share about their story. And when you start looking around and finding one person who needs help worse than you do, and you do a tangible act of loving kindness for that person, what happens is that people begin sharing with you and your own life is so blessed in the process. And our son has said, mom and dad, oh, how I long for freedom. But he said, I know that even if I don't walk in freedom in this lifetime, one day we will all be home and we will all walk in freedom. And while we're here, we're just going to faithfully do the next thing God wants us to do to bless the people around us.

And I have watched him turn into a man of God who is truly living valiantly for Jesus behind the razor wire. Wow, well, Carol and Gene, this has been a wonderful conversation and I really appreciate your openness. And I'm excited about this book.

I think God is going to use it to touch the hearts of many who are walking a similar path to the path that you are on. So thanks for being with us today. Thank you, Gary, thank you much. We sure appreciate you. Again, the title of the book we've been talking about today, Staying Power, Building a Stronger Marriage When Life Sends Its Worst.

You can find out more at And next week, we'll take your questions and comments on any topic you want me to address. Don't miss our May edition of Dear Gary. Before we go, let me thank our production team, Steve Wick and Janice Todd. Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman is a production of Moody Radio in association with Moody Publishers, a ministry of Moody Bible Institute. Thanks for listening. We'll see you next time. We'll see you next time.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-20 21:16:43 / 2023-08-20 21:33:32 / 17

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