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So the change that took place back there all those years ago, 43 years ago, the change that took place is literally stunning. Phil Robertson. You probably best know him from A&E's TV show Duck Dynasty, and you'll hear more from him and his wife, Miss Kay, today on Focus on the Family. I'm John Fuller.
Thanks for joining us. Your host is Focus President and author Jim Daly. John, we've had several Robertson family members in our studios here in Colorado, but we thought it would be fun to go to West Monroe, Louisiana, not just to eat some great cooking, but to talk with the two that started it all, Phil and Miss Kay. And I got to tell you, Trent and Troy, my two boys and I, we came across the DVDs and we started binge watching them. They kind of exploded on the scene.
For some of us, we had no clue, but then you start thinking, what in the world are they going to do next? Just that folksy wisdom, the way Phil, at the end of each show, he would pray as a family, they do a family meal together. I loved the values that were being communicated, and that's why I enjoyed watching my boys watch it. The Robertsons have a remarkable testimony, both in their individual lives and in their life together as a married couple. Faith and marriage are what we're about here at Focus on the Family. And with God's help, we aim to strengthen marriages and help those in crisis. Maybe we've been able to do that for you. That's one of the reasons we have Caring Christian Counselors available to talk with you and our Hope Restored Marriage Intensives for those marriages that are heading toward divorce. We check in with the people who attended those intensives, usually post two years, and it's an over 80% success rate.
That is astonishing. And if you're in that spot, if your marriage is really in trouble, don't delay. Give us a call.
Invest in your marriage. You'll be glad you did. Phil and Kay's story is such a beautiful picture of that kind of redemption. They suffered terrible hardship, but God brought them back together.
And more than 50 years later, they are going strong. And you're going to hear that, and you're not going to want to miss any of it. So let's get on with it. We shall do so, Jim.
As you said, this was recorded in West Monroe, Louisiana. And Phil and Kay Robertson, we should note, are the parents of Al, Jace, Willie, and Jep Robertson. And Phil, of course, started Duck Commander, which eventually led to the family starring in the popular TV show Duck Dynasty. We're going to pick up with the conversation talking about Phil's childhood. Let's go back there because I think a lot of people don't know your background. So why don't we talk a little more about that?
Because you're describing, you know, real rural living. You didn't have water. You didn't, I mean, what was it like? He was nine years old before he got that.
That's true. Oh, yeah. Your first bath.
Oh, yeah. Well, in a bathtub. He got a number two washtub. First bathtub.
Yeah, thanks for that correction. You would get the water out of the well, and you'd pour it over into a number three washtub. Oh, I said number two. Two, a little small.
Number three. And I was like five boys and two girls. So I would be like number three or four, but they would warm it up a little bit, get out of it, and I'd get in it, you know, and we'll roll around a little bit, but you'd put it out in the sun in November, let it warm up just a little, you know.
But we just didn't think about, you know, one fireplace in the end of a log house was the only source of heat. So. And you were hunting and fishing back then, right? Is that just how you were raised?
Yep. That's how we were raised. So you lived off the land. Yeah, we had a little, we raised our own corn and potatoes and mild with canned, you know, pickles and all these tomatoes and this and that and the other, you know. But we'd gather up nuts, hickory nuts out of the woods, pecans, bring them in, put them in sacks, put them on the bed, and you'd break those in there next to the fireplace.
Y'all were like squirrels. Now, Miss Kate, you weren't coming from that kind of background, right? No, I was rich, actually.
And that was not in that sense. Well, I came from a town of 200 or less, and we just had the biggest store. We had a big store there. It was a general store, old-timey. It was in our family 75 years. So you had a bathtub.
Oh, I had a bathtub. One of the reasons I picked her, I said, they own a store. They're loaded. She had her own little Bel-Air Chevrolet, you know, I said, yeah. So she would come pick me up on a date and she'd have me, she'd have me some bottle cokes, you know, sometimes she'd have a little T-bone steak or some Wilson weenies and a little wrap. I said, and I'd get in the rig with her, and I'm thinking, she's bringing me little weenies, Wilson weenies, and steak and cokes.
And cheese off that big old hook, you know, thing. I thought, boy, this dating's pretty good. You're just speaking his language.
He's excited talking about her. Well, I got in real trouble because what I did was I just kept bringing all these things from our store down there. And they said, mama said, look, I mean, we actually have to pay for this.
You know, we get a wholesale price, but you're giving away. And I said, well, they're poor and they are so enjoy it. But the biggest problem I had, I'd bring in a case of cokes and they drank them all.
So I would sit there and drink about eight in a row. And I said, I said, Phil, why, why is everybody doing this? And he said, because they're worried there won't be any more.
So they want to get their share early. So when did you start getting serious about maybe we should get married? How old were you at this point?
Well, look, look, I'm going to tell you something. We started, it was 14, when I was 14 years old and he was a year older than me. And actually we were kind of fixed up. Like a girl told me that he wanted me to walk him off the field that night. And we saw each other, we looked, but back then people weren't forward like they are now.
Right. You know, you just waited for something to happen, you know? Well, they told Phil the same thing that, you know, um, I wanted him to walk, you know, But you were a cheerleader, right? I was a cheerleader. He was a quarterback. He walks off the football field meant we got something going here.
Yeah. That was our first move to, to where we could, but you see how different it is from today. You would see each other and you'd think, I thought he was cute. He thought I was cute, but nobody made a move. And so you waited, but actually this girl thought would be good for each other. And she just kind of fixed this up like that. And, uh, we went together, but then what happened in duck season was he told me, he said, uh, we're going to have to break up because really this, um, dating and all is kind of, I'm getting serious about hunting. So we're going to have to, you know, and I just was so stunned.
I thought what? And, uh, so what brought us back together was, um, at the end of that year, the may, I think it was at the end of school, my dad passed away. He was only 49 years old. I was 14. I was still 14. And so what happened was Phil came to the funeral, well, along with all my classmates and everything. But I think it's just, when I saw him again, he saw me again. And of course it was a sad time, but that was it. When we went back together after then, that was forever.
And it wasn't smooth. If I read your book correctly, I mean, there was a lot of rough spots and I really want to dig into that Phil, because I think one of the things that people love about you is how open you are. Because what Phil says every time I tell that testimony, every time I speak, she always throws me under the bus and who gets you out? She said, but the Lord got him out from under you.
So you're doing the work of the Lord. He threw himself under that bus. Well, let's talk about it because, um, you didn't, you know, you're young, you come together. Well, we had a baby. Al came along, right? Al came along. We had a baby. Phil wasn't ready and he didn't like the word responsibility.
I don't know why, but he didn't. I think it was a case where my grandmother prepared me for this, but how, what did she say to you? We talked a lot about marriage and stuff. And of course I had a big imagination, so I had it all planned out and I was going to marry a pioneer man, which I did get that. But she taught me about one man and one wife for one life. She taught me that.
She constantly told me I was going to have to fight for my marriage, which I said that was ridiculous because I was going to be like those books that live happily ever after. And they had two beds at night cause I guess they got where they couldn't sleep together, but they were there and they had a little nightstand between them. But I remember cause I slept with her and they would hold hands between before they went to sleep.
They would always hold hands. So you saw that model for you. Okay. So, but when you're in your twenties now and you're, you're having struggles, Phil, how are you not measuring up to Ms. Kay's expectations? The problem was in a nutshell is that I didn't know Jesus.
At 28, I sat down, some guy, we owned a bar at the time, and he comes in. I have a pistol in my shirt and the preacher comes in, you know, I said, you some kind of preacher? Anyway, I was mean. I was mean to him. So when he leaves, he tells my sister out in the car, he says, I don't think he's ready.
Eventually I did sit down with the guy and I listened to what he had to say. Well, he then proceeded to tell me, God becoming blessed, Jesus died on a cross to remove my sins, which were many, and was buried in a tomb. And when he got to the resurrection of the dead, he said, three days after he died, Phil, for your sins, he was raised from the dead.
I didn't know that. And I thought, huh? I said, how in the world did I ever miss that? Phil, I want to go back because you have taken us to the good spot, but a lot of people aren't living there. People listening right now, they're struggling in their marriages. So I want to hear that part of the story where you were at and you and Phil are having difficulty. Where I got to the lowest point of my life. How did you come to the Lord?
Yes. Well, that's important because what happened is that night, I mean, it was just so hard. I went in the bathroom and I remember feeling like, I know how people feel when they get just completely hopeless.
Because the thing that I'd put my life into, which was my marriage, my children, the home, everything. But what I really didn't understand, the reason I didn't do a lot of bad things that he did and all that, it was my grandmother, but I was operating on her faith or trying to. But that night is when I realized that I had to have my own faith. But that night, I literally went in that bathroom and I was on the floor crying and he was drunk in the living room. And I was crying and I really, really, for the first time in my life, thought I want to just go to sleep and not wake up.
I want to do anything just so he'll see. Of course, I really don't think I wanted to die, but I wanted to hurt him or do something where he would be shocked and do everything. But I really did have the suicide thoughts.
There's no doubt about that. And I can't say I didn't because I did. And that's when I tell the story and it's a true story that I heard these three little feet, sets of feet, and I could hear them because they had a house shoes on.
I know because I bought them. And knock, knock, knock. And Alan always says that was his first sermon and it was. How old was he? He was nine.
Yeah. And he said, mama, don't cry. Don't cry anymore. He said, God is going to take care of us.
Wow. You know, I did. It was my starting of repentance. And when I went to that same man that he talked to and I went to him the next day over at the church and it was about 30 minutes or 20 minutes from where I lived. You know, he said, well, do you think if you died tonight you'd go to heaven? I said, yeah, I'd shoot up there like a rocket. I said, let me tell you about who I've been living with.
So I went into how bad he was and we went all that. And he said, no. He said, it's just going to be you and God.
And he said, can I tell you a story? And I said, yes. And he said, you may think different about this because what you're saying here is you should have earned your way to heaven.
Right. And I said, well, yeah. And he said, well, do you have peace? And I said, now that's what's wrong. There's something wrong there because I don't have that peace. And I, I know it's in the Bible and I know it's about it.
So something's missing. And that is when I came to Christ. And, but the best thing he told me, and people should know this every time, your circumstances won't be different. When I came home, he was still drinking and calling me names.
Yeah. But he said, you've got Jesus Christ living in you. You will be have help. You've got an anchor that will never leave inside you, but your circumstances. And I think people think, oh, I should be okay.
There should be no problems in my life. That's not the truth. Kay, you moved to West Monroe and became involved with your church. Right. When he booted you out, I guess.
Right. Sorry to say it that way, Phil. But tell us the day Phil showed up at your workplace. What happened? Well, I was coming back from lunch with my girlfriend that I ate with every day for lunch. And so what happened was I saw that old gray truck out there sitting in the parking lot and he had his head down on the steering wheel when I saw him.
So I went out there. When I opened the door, I looked at him and he had tears. And he said, look, he said, I want my family back and I won't drink anymore. And you know, the part of me that saw the humbleness in him said, oh yes, yes, that's what I want. You know, that's what I prayed for. We prayed every day for him. But the part of me inside that said he can't make it without God.
I know that. So I told him, I said, Phil, you've got to have help. And Phil said, you're talking about God. Well, that's what I love about the story, because people are living in that place. A desperate wife who is quietly praying for her husband, who's off doing the things he shouldn't do.
And he even knows it. Phil, that's the power of the story. And I think for people, the reality of it, the authenticity of it, that moment where you come to Christ, nobody can take that away from you. You were a different man before. And then all of a sudden you're a new man.
I mean, no atheist, nobody who would refute God can argue with what happened in your life. You can go from an evil person to a person who demonstrates love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control. You're like, how does a person step out of an evil world where they're known for wickedness, evil, greed, depravity, murder, envy, strife, deceit, malice, slanderers, God, haters, insolent, arrogant, boastful, senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.
You're like, how do you go from one group to the other? We tend to look at the word repent, repentance, as a bad thing. I am thankful that God allowed us and gave us the ability to change our mind, to repent and take a different course of action. It's a wonderful thing that he allowed us to be able to stop and start over. You can be born again.
And so the change that took place back there all those years ago, 43 years ago, the change that took place is literally stunning. One is either luck or there's a God in heaven. One or the other. I'll go with God in heaven.
Hey, I'm leaning that way. But when you look at that too, the family for you became an important part of you embracing God, right? You had kicked Kay and the kids out, but then you began to struggle. He said I was ruining his life. And you wanted. The first time some woman, when I got drunk about the first couple of weeks. It was longer, about two months.
Well, it's two months. So I pulled her drunk. So I said, well, that's all of it. So I'm thinking I'm not realizing the mediating work of Jesus, not counting my sins against me, if I trust him and try. So I'm drunk, I'm gone.
I'm saying that's all of it. But I go down front and all the churches there looking at me, I said, okay, I tend to be, you know, a little blunt straight to the point. I went out and they said, Mr. Robinson, can we help you? And I said, I said, pull the drunk last night. You said I got commode hugging drunk. I got commode hugging drunk last night.
We have to describe everything we do too. And so I saw these women, they would come up and tears were coming out of their eyes. And one of them told me, I just told her I got commode hugging drunk. So I thought they're going to say that's this idiot.
So I thought they would be like, you know, get him out of here. But the woman looks at me and she says, Phil, I love you. I'm like, so I'm looking at her. I said, I just told the woman I got commode hugging drunk and she's telling me she loves me.
So I got outside of the church building. I told her, I said, do you notice that woman that told me she loved me a while ago? I said, I just told her I got drunk. And she said, she loved me. I said, how does that work?
And Miss Kay said, Phil, she really does. What I didn't realize is I had never experienced agape love, brother, sister. Unconditional love. Unconditional love. Never experienced it.
Yeah. So that was part of my learning process is to understand when I first started, I didn't know about the love of God, selfless love. It didn't occur to me until I started seeing it. Well, all those years later now it's been, that's 40 years ago, but you say, as you went on your path, you learned as you went and you learned how to love people that way.
I didn't know what that was. You see what I'm saying? Well, if you think about it, even in the culture today right now, that idea of feeling agape love, feeling the love that God has for us. I'm concerned sometimes that myself as a Christian, I'm not doing that well enough. The most needed indispensable thing on planet earth right now is what Jesus said, look, here's the greatest commands that there are.
There are no rules except love God and love your neighbor. Well, if we just, if we just did that, just think about what a kind of society and world we would have. It's a hard thing for humans. It was hard for me to learn what love is.
Very difficult. It is. And you know, unfortunately we have come to the end of our time together and it's been so good. And I have loved the emphasis on the Lord and the change in your life, both of your lives. And as we end, there will be people listening that don't know their relationship with Christ.
They may have said, yeah, I believe, but they haven't felt that the way you described a while ago, Ms. Kay and Phil, they're the husband that's not living right. I want to give you some time right at the end here to speak directly to that person that isn't connecting the dots. The great misunderstanding is, biblically speaking, is that most people, the American model, what it does is it says, go to your place of worship on Sunday morning, on Sunday morning, go to worship services. They'll say, go to church. Are y'all going to church? You're like, I wonder why the Bible never mentions those terms, going to church, worship services, and a structure. Jesus said, look, there'll come a time when he talked to this woman at the well, he said, the time has come for you to worship in spirit and truth. So Jesus's point was, America needs to realize, and the ones who are struggling, worship is not confined to an hour or two on Sunday morning, maybe one hour that night, it may be Wednesday night.
That's the American model. You say, well, that's three or four hours a week, and there's 168 hours in a week. So you read Romans 12, here's what it says, in view of God's mercy, Jesus coming down, removing our sin, and guaranteeing we can be raised from the dead, going back into heaven, mediating for us 24-7, in view of that, it says, offer your body as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, which is your spiritual act of worship, of service. What we need to understand is, whether we're in the supermarket, whether we're on our job, whether we're in the duck blind, or the deer stand, or the camp, we need to be, in view of God's mercy, worshiping God at all times, watching our mouth, what we say, what our eyes see, how we interact with the wife of our youth. You say, raising your children. Worship is 24-7.
Wherever you are, you're aware. A man whose life has changed, Phil Robertson, Duck Dynasty, his wonderful wife, Miss Kay, who was kind of there all along, praying and hoping and believing. Phil and Kay Robertson have been our guests on Focus on the Family, opening up their home and their hearts to share some beautiful stories about the redemptive work God has done in their marriage and in their personal lives.
John, Phil and Kay's words are such great encouragement and hope to those who may be struggling in their marriages. Their story just goes to show that nothing is impossible with God. It doesn't mean it's easy. It wasn't easy. It was a process, a day-by-day journey for them. But they stuck it out.
They trusted the Lord and followed Him. And now they can look back after celebrating more than 50 years together and give God the glory. And I'll tell you what, being with them in their home, they have fun with each other.
You could see it. They love each other. And we love sharing programs like this that offer hope. And that's one of our goals here is to present these broadcasts so that it will open your heart up to what God can do to strengthen your marriage and strengthen your family.
That's why we exist. One listener wrote to us, John, with this message. They said, We wanted to thank you for a particular interview on your radio program last year. On the exact day that the broadcast aired, my husband of 30 years and I separated.
I had stuffed my anger instead of communicating it for too long and it subsequently lost much of the love I had for him. After hearing that program, my husband ordered the CD and asked me to listen to it. When I heard your guests share about their relationship and how they work through difficulties, something clicked. I'm happy to say my husband and I were reunited three months later. God is restoring our marriage and making it better than ever. The Lord has been so faithful and we thank him for working through focus on the family. And let me say thank you, because without you supporting the ministry and praying for us, we couldn't do it.
And it is a partnership. And I love how this broadcast is reaching so many people and touching lives just like that listener. But again, we couldn't have that kind of outreach without you, our listeners. We need your help to keep our programs on local stations to impact families like yours in the name of Christ. When you give today, God will use your generosity to transform lives through the broadcast, which features special guests, life changing resources, practical biblical help for people who are struggling or just need a reminder of God's power and his love. In fact, when you donate today, a gift of any amount, we'll send you a copy of Phil Robertson's book, Happy, Happy, Happy, as our way of saying thank you for supporting the ministry of Focus on the Family and helping moms and dads, husbands and wives be better and stronger in Christ. And make that contribution to Focus on the Family and get your copy of Happy, Happy, Happy at Focus on the Family dot com slash radio or call us and we can tell you more.
800-232-6459. That's 800, the letter A and the word family. Coming up on the next episode, we'll be examining why change can be a hard thing to do in your life. It's not just about behavior modification from the outside.
We have to get underneath the surface and figure out the roots and what's going on from the inside if we really want to see change. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for listening to Focus on the Family. I'm John Fuller inviting you back as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ. Give your kids the Adventures in Odyssey Club by joining the club. Your family will gain on demand access to the exciting Adventures in Odyssey series, including more than 900 episodes. Club membership also gives kids access to exclusive content, daily devotions and faith building activities. The club allows each family member to engage at their own pace with customizable parental controls and closely monitored message boards. With more than 100,000 like-minded families already involved, the Adventures in Odyssey Club could be your best adventure yet. Learn more about exploring the Adventures in Odyssey Club for free at adventuresinodyssey.com.
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