Best of 2022! Finding Your People: David and Meg Robbins
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Where do you look for the good life? FamilyLife President David Robbins and his wife Meg play the best answers of 2022 for the life your soul craves.
Best of 2022! Finding Your People: David and Meg Robbins
Jennie: To the mom, who feels really isolated, I would say: “Make friends with people who don’t have kids—so singles—those were some of my best friends during that time.” They would come over, after I put my kids down and my husband was gone, and we’d get to hang out. They were flexible enough to be able to drop by when my kids were napping or when they were asleep.
Then, I would say: “Make friends with people, who are older than you, who will give perspective that this season is not the end all/be all—'This is what’s going to happen...’ ‘Here’s how I handled this…’ and ‘Here’s what I did…’” Those people are necessary in your life.”
Ann: Welcome to FamilyLife Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I’m Ann Wilson.
Dave: Yes, you are! And I’m Dave Wilson, and you can find us at FamilyLifeToday.com or on the FamilyLife® app.
Ann: This is FamilyLife Today.
We’re having an amazing week.
Dave: —“The best of” week! [Laughter]
Ann: We’re revisiting favorite moments on FamilyLife Today from the past year. And today’s theme is—
Dave: —"Friendships Really Matter.”
Ann: It was fun because we got to sit down with Maggie Combs.
Dave: We have some people in the studio with us too!
Ann: I always forget you guys! [Laughter]
Dave: Talk about friendships that really matter: we’ve got David and Meg Robbins!—the president of FamilyLife back with us. You’re our friends, right?
David: You guys—seriously, we do get to do a lot of things together—when it comes to different conferences, retreats we do; we get to sit around this table together.
Ann: I really like that.
David: We are so grateful to get to do it with friends like you; sincerely.
Ann: You guys are a blast.
Meg: You too.
David: Vice versa.
Dave: Okay! Let’s talk about friendships and community. It’s built into the human DNA: we need people.
Ann: We really need people. I love when Maggie Combs came, because she has a book called Motherhood without Rules. We’re going to kick off with her, because she is the content director for Well-Watered Women ministry—a lot of our listeners have probably heard of that—Maggie sat down with us to talk about how much moms need other moms. It’s pretty crucial.
[Previous FamilyLife Today Broadcast]
Maggie: We’ve been given friends; we’ve been given the local church. So often, we want to go to Instagram® for relationship; we want to go to social media for relationship. Those relationships are not enough; they cannot know our whole selves. But women, who are in our lives, doing real life with us, can when we’re willing to pull back the veneer and say, “Hey, I don’t feel like a good mom today, because I did this...”
Ann: And moms tend to hide in our shame. When we feel shame, we pull away from others. I remember making myself make calls when I felt like: “Every other mom’s better than I am,” and “If I tell them the way I’m acting, or even what’s in my heart”—like I’m so angry or lonely sometimes—“I’m afraid I’ll be judged.” Sometimes, to be the first one to say it will open this door of other women saying, “Me too!” And there’s something really special and healing about having people open up about what they’re facing, and then praying.
I think the right kind of friend, Dave, is really important. When I would call a friend, and she would say, “I know! Your husband is an idiot.” [Laughter] I’m, “Okay, that may not be the best friend.” [Laughter]
Dave: You had friends say that about me?!
Ann: Oh, it could have been a family member. [Laughter]
Ann: I’m just kidding! [Laughter]
Maggie: I was going to say there are kind of two steps. There’s one: being willing to be the first person to be vulnerable.
Maggie: But then, making sure that you are being vulnerable with the kind of friend, who’s going to give you the gospel.
Maggie: The world is full of all kinds of things to put our hope in: we can put our hope in the next girls’ night out; or the next vacation; or one of the main ones moms hear is: “Don’t worry! It’s just a season.” And that is a little hope; that is not enough to support all the hope that we need for motherhood.
So getting a friend, who you know is going to say, “I see that. I see how that was really hard; but you know what? I also see that Jesus is here with you, and He knows what it’s like when your kids are just/they [do] not listen to anything you say.” [Laughter] Who knows better than Jesus about that; right?! I mean, it’s like, “Prone to wander…”
So when your kids are refusing to listen to you, a friend who says, “You know what? I think God has experienced that, too; let’s pray together.”
Ann: Yes; that friend, who says, “Let’s pray.”
Maggie: “Let’s remember.
Maggie: “Let’s remember, together, what God has said about this.”
Meg: I love what Maggie had to say there! And you, Ann; because I can so relate. The enemy wants nothing more than to get us in that place, where we want to hide and isolate. I know that, in pretty much every stage we’ve been through so far in raising kids—from the diaper stage, to the seven-year-old stage; and now, we have teenagers; we, obviously, still have a road ahead of us—at every stage, there are times when I feel like I’m failing or I’m doing things wrong. It does come with shame at times.
But there is so much freedom when I have picked up the phone and invited someone into that space with me, or sat down with coffee, or had a play date—or whatever it was—but chosen to take that risky step with another friend. We are created for friendships and for community. I know, for me, I experience the love of Jesus and the freedom so much more when I take that step of faith and just step into the light with others.
Ann: There’s something about the authenticity of someone calling you up, or taking a walk with you, and just being totally honest and real of where they’re struggling. One of my girlfriends—we have been brutally honest, not only with our kids have faced, but then, what we perceive as failure—and yet, God’s in the midst of that. There’s so much healing when we come together and we pray through those things. I love that Jesus gave us one another to walk this life.
Dave: I tell you: this isn’t just a woman thing. Sometimes it’s easy to think, “Women are so much better at this than men. Guys sit separate.” We need community as much as anybody—especially, as a husband and a dad—to try to do it without guys? The best gift I think God’s given me in my life, besides Ann and our boys/now, my daughters-in-law and my grandkids—is other men.
David: I’m so grateful for the six guys I’ve had for 20 years. In each city I’ve gone into, I’ve made the internal commitment—after being overseas and feeling very isolated—whenever we move to a new city, within six months, someone will know my whole story/someone in the place I live. It’s one thing to have friends at a distance—a whole other thing to have friends you’re walking with—because, as Larry Crabb said, “Everyone needs people, where you tell your story without leaving out a chapter.”
I also need friends—and this is part of the discernment—where you take those risks, but you need friends who don’t just give the spiritual platitude back—I feel like that’s what Maggie was sharing there: is people, who will take you to the full grace and truth and depths together.
That’s part of what makes FamilyLife Today what it is. You guys [Dave and Ann] journey with people—I mean, you don’t sit at a literal table with people who listen—but Dave and Ann, you get to sit with people and invite someone else into the conversation. You are a trusted, authentic friend to someone who needs to hear the gospel truth—not a spiritual platitude—but the depths of what God offers us and meeting us in our time of need. We need those people in our lives.
At FamilyLife Today,we want to keep encouraging you to be able to do that every day of the year. That is why we invite you to partner with us and give a gift. It allows us to keep journeying alongside more families, and more homes, and more people, giving them—not just spiritual platitudes to help them make it through the next 20 minutes—but a foundation of God’s timeless truth that gets them through the hardest of times and helps push them into community that will last.
Dave: As we keep talking about “The best of…” we had Jennie Allen on.
Ann: She’s so fun.
Dave: Oh, she was awesome. She and her husband Zach live in Texas. She has an amazing ministry. She wrote a book called Find Your People. You talk about a conversation about how important community is—I don’t think anybody can say it as well as she did—I was inspired to find more people in my own life. I think you will be as well.
[Previous FamilyLife Today Broadcast]
Jennie: To the mom, who feels really isolated, I would say: “First of all, make friends with people who don't have kids—so singles—those were some of my best friends in that time. They would come over after I put my kids down, and my husband was gone, and we’d get to hang out. They were flexible enough to be able to drop by when my kids were napping or when they were asleep.”
Then I would say: “Make friends with people who are older than you—who will come over and like say, ‘Hey, let me tell you…’—you know, give perspective that this season is not the end all/be all—like: ‘This is what's going to happen…’ and ‘Here's how I handled this,’ and ‘Here's what I did, and this is…’ Those people are necessary in your life. We call them mentors or disciple-makers sometimes. But whatever you call them, you just need people that have done this life stage before you.”
And then I would say: “Get creative with your friends.” One thing I did with my friends, when we had young kids, was every Sunday, we would cook for each other. We would take/deliver meals and see each other when we would deliver our meals to each other.
Ann: That’s so sweet; so you did that every Sunday?
Jennie: Yes; we would cook together; yes. We’re about to start it again—because our kids are now getting older, and we don’t have as many—when you’ve got six, who eat a lot/six people in your family, it’s hard to cook for other families—but when your kids are little and toddlers, that’s a great thing to do together, where you make the meals for the week, and you cook one big meal for all the families. And then, they cook one big meal for all the families. It was so fun; so just be creative.
Another thing I've seen people do is: meet at Costco®; meet at Target®—meet somewhere, where there's a playground; go to a park together—like push your strollers.
I also want to say, for those people that are just starting their life: do not be like Monica and Chandler on Friends, where they have their twins, and they move out to the suburbs. [Laughter] If you are having babies, and you're thinking: “We need a yard,” “We need all these things,” “We need the perfect house,”—all that—be sure you're not leaving the communal system that you actually need to raise your kids.
I would say be careful [not] to take a job that pays more and leave your family. Be careful in that season. [Avoid making] choices that maybe bring you conveniences but take you away from people. I hope and believe people will—certainly, not everyone is going to go move, because they read this book—but I do hope it brings into context: “You know what? I need neighbors, and I need people that know what's going on, and that I can borrow things from, and take walks with, and be in each other’s life.”
David: As I hear Jennie, I think, “Man, right where I’m at—there are already people all around us—there are, already, relationships that can grow deeper right now with just a little more intentionality.” There could be big decisions on the horizon, to find your people more; but really, I hear her saying, “No, right where you are.” Acts 17:26: “God has chosen allotted periods of time and exact dwelling places so that people could be drawn to Him.” We can just lift our eyes to what He’s already doing around us.
Meg: I love how practical she is.
Ann: Me too.
Meg: She gives a list of six things you can do/things we’re already doing in our life! Invite somebody to do it with you—whether it’s working out, or pushing a stroller, or whatever it might be—invite somebody, and do it together. There are people around us doing very similar things to what we’re doing. Or maybe there are people, who wish they were doing what we’re doing, and we can invite them into those moments.
Dave: And sometimes, they can show up when you need them the most. I remember I had to move an elliptical.
David: Oh, I’ve done that before. This is real.
Meg: That’s hard!
Dave: This was super heavy. It’s a long story—but I got it from the Lions, and they were getting rid of it—it was the kind that 300-pound linemen could use, so it was commercial grade.
David: It was going to last, yes.
Dave: And I’ve got to get it upstairs to this little den; there’s no way.
David: You said the word, “upstairs”; oh, man.
Dave: Upstairs, yes. You couldn’t move it. Literally, I was online, like: “Moving companies.” It was going to cost me several hundred dollars. I’m like, “Okay, here it goes.” I sent a text to six guys, and they were over at our house in 30 minutes.
Ann: But those are the friends you can call, that will come.
Dave: It was such a gift to go, “I know the guys.” We used to call them your 2:00 am friends, who—any call at any time—2:00 in the morning; they will drop whatever to be there. There’s so many people who don’t have those people. We were made to find those people. That’s what Jennie was talking about.
One of those people in our life/in my life is Karl Clausen. Karl hosts a show called Karl and Crew on Moody radio in Chicago; pastor. One of the amazing things about/and he tells about doing the Iditarod in his book, The Seven Resolutions. If you’ve never heard Karl Clausen tell a story, you’re in for a treat. No one tells a story like this guy. He tells a story about one of his dogs, who I think is named Alaska. It’s this epic story, and guess what?—the clincher is how important people are.
[Previous FamilyLife Today Broadcast]
Karl: I had in my team some incredible dogs; but one of them was Alaska: big white husky—blue eyes—just beautiful. Not the brightest guy in the team—but strong and faithful—just one of those kinds of guys, and he was my buddy. We had been mushing up the Yukon River for over 100 miles. We finally get to the village of Kaltag. I go walking up to what I thought could be the checkpoint. I knock on the door; no one answers. I open it up and walk in. The minute I step inside, I hear the worst dog fight I’d heard in a long time, outside.
I run out there. I got my headlamp on; it’s dancing in the snow. I get to my team, and there’s blood all over the snow. Some loose village dogs didn’t like the fact that my team had encroached on their turf; and they came out and attacked my team.
Well, Alaska decided to defend the whole team; and he did, and he got the worst end of it. I pick him up, and then we haul them back inside. By now, the veterinarian is awake; and we’ve got some checkers, who are awake. We lay him on a table. I thought, “I can’t go without him! I’ve got to have him. To go from Kaltag to Unalakleet I’ve got to go up over a pass, and I need my big old beefcake, Alaska, there in wheel. I’ve got to have him there.”
I waited seven hours; and after seven hours, he got more stiff. I’m like, “I can’t take him.” I told the checkpoint—I said, “I’ve got to drop this dog from team number seven,”—I had to officially sign off: “I’m leaving him behind.” I pull out the snow hook, which is the emergency brake for a dog team. We mush out of Kaltag, go around this corner—and here’s Alaska, a hundred yards away, howling at me—I had to cover my face with my parka hood.
I land in Unalakleet, and I’m hungry! They said, “We’ve got some chili for you over at this home.” They point over there; I mush my team over to that home. I park it; I go inside; get off all my gear; I sit down to eat. [Knocking sounds] Big knock at the door; I’m like, “Uh oh.”
Sure enough, the checker says, “You’ve got a problem with your dog team out here; one of your dogs is loose.” I’m like, “My land! Another one loose?! You’ve got to be kidding me!” I go outside, walk around the corner, and guess who’s there?—Alaska! My Alaska followed me 100 miles to Unalakleet to be with me.
You know what? We need to choose friends like Alaska. They’re 100-mile friends. In order to find the kind of friend that Alaska was to me—and they out there!—you’ve got to meet people. You pray in the Spirit that God will direct you to those people, that God would say, “This is your Alaska, buddy.”
Ann: No one can tell a story like Karl.
Dave: You feel like you’re sitting at the feet of Garrison Keillor. It’s like he weaves the story; you feel like you’re in the Iditarod.
Ann: I feel like, “I need that friend!” [Laughter]
Dave: The point of the story is that people do whatever it takes to be there when you need them. And hopefully, we’re those people in other people’s lives as well.
David: You guys really are: you, day in/day out, help us grow.
Meg: I think what we love about you guys, Dave and Ann, is that you have one heartbeat/one passion that really drives you.
David: As I think about the theme, and beginning to close out this year, as the end of the year comes, we want to honor you guys. We were just all holding up our flashlights to a song Dave sang, waving it back and forth. [Laughter]
Dave: By the way, that’s never, ever happened anywhere else. [Laughter]
David: We do it here, because we love you guys. Our team put something together for you/a little surprise.
Sound Engineer: In a world, where relationships matter most, for one man, one thing matters mostest!
Dave: What do you think I think about most of the day?
Ann: You bring it up often. [Laughter]
Dave: [Audio clips from Dave’s statements]
- You know, I’m a football guy.
- I can probably throw a football that far.
- Probably, football.
- I thought you were going to say, “Football.”
- We’re not here to talk about football today, which I could do.
- Can we make this more like a football illustration?
- That’s what I want to talk about.
- [Man’s voice] “You don’t have to revert to football.” [Dave] “It’s never going to happen.”
- [Man’s voice] “Not everybody is going to love football.” [Dave] “Seriously?”
Ann: This is FamilyLife—
Sound Engineer: A story, 30 years in the making: one team, one chaplain, one playoff win—
Dave: You know what that meant?
Ann: —a lot of losses?
Dave: [Audio clips from Dave mentioning the Lions]
- You know, I’m the Detroit Lions chaplain.
- I’m depressed; the Lions lost again.
- I’m the Detroit Lions chaplain, standing on the Detroit Lions sideline.
- I’m a chaplain for an NFL football…
- Maybe I’ve said it a couple of times that I was the Detroit Lions chaplain for 33 seasons.
Sound Engineer: —starring Shelby Abbott—
Shelby: I’m into the NFL, but he’s really into it.
Sound Engineer: —along with Ann Wilson—
Ann: One of the things you talk about quite often is that I’m joyful.
Sound Engineer: —and the losingest chaplain in the history of the universe: Dave Wilson.
Dave: Our producer, Jim, just said, “Somehow, Wilson got football in an interview again.” I like football; just had to get that in there.
Ann: Please, let me take that with me! [Laughter]
Dave: That’s hilarious! [Laughter]
Ann: That’s the funniest thing!
Dave: I did not see that coming. [Laughter]
David: Oh, you guys.
Dave: They made all that stuff up; I don’t talk about football that much.
David: Yes, they totally dubbed your voice there. [Laughter]
Ann: Who put that together?
Sound Engineer: There’s so much on the cutting floor. [Laughter]
Ann: Did you do that? That was so well-done!
Dave: That’s hilarious.
David: That gives you a little glimpse of the quality of the FamilyLife team behind Dave and Ann, an amazing group.
On a more serious note—now, that we’ve got you chuckling—we are seriously so grateful for you and you pouring out your lives. One of the things we love—
Meg: David, it’s too late after that! [Laughter]
David: No, come on; hold on. [Laughter] One of the things we love about you—
Dave: One of the things you love is my football stories?
David: Yes, about football—no, about you—not only do you point us to God’s Word, time and time again—you are so authentic. You bring your own story—even if it is a lot about football! Because that’s who you are!—it’s got to come out of you, because you love it; you know?
Meg: And you keep us all laughing in a wonderful way.
David: You do keep us laughing; you’re willing to laugh at yourself! That’s a gift!
Ann: There’s a lot to laugh about.
David: There’s amazing humility in that.
One of the guests we had recently, Benjamin and Kirsten Watson, Benjamin—
Dave: Oh, he’s a football player! [Laughter]
David: —he was. Man, you even steal that from me! [Laughter] He was an NFL football player, and they had this to say about you guys.
Benjamin: We thank you for being a demonstration—not only to the teams that you were on—but being able to do that outside the NFL but, also, across the NFL. We were never with Detroit; but at the outreach, we were able to see you all. You all spoke into our lives in ways that you, probably, will never know. I can say that a lot of other people can probably say the same thing.
I think that’s the beauty of the body of Christ, is that you can be in your lane; but you can also get encouraged by people, who are ahead of you, behind you, and beside you. You guys have been that for us, too; so thank you.
Kirsten: —100percent, yes!
Ann: That’s really sweet, isn’t it?
Dave: I remember when they surprised us, really—we were interviewing them—and they said, “Hey, can we say something?” I’m like, “Yes, what do you want to say?”—not thinking they were going to thank us for that.
Ann: We have to end with saying to you, listeners: “You really matter to us.” We need you; and we thank you for how you support us, how you listen, how you’re contributors. Many of you give financially, and that is an incredible blessing. We can only do what we’re doing because of your generosity.
Dave: Yes, I would add—we’ve been talking today about: “Relationships really, really matter,”—and your donations really, really matter! You make this possible. Some of you are listening, going, “I’ve never made a donation.” You know what? We’d love to invite you: “Jump in! There are thousands of people making what you’re hearing today possible because they’ve said, ‘I want to be a Partner.’”
Maybe you’ve never had the chance. We’re giving you the chance right now: it is yearend; it’s a critical time for us at FamilyLife. In fact, your donation given today, or this week, will be matched, dollar for dollar. It’s a great time to jump in. I invite you to be our friends, and friends sacrifice for one another. I know I’m asking you to sacrifice, but I think it’s worth it; and I think you do as well. We’d love to have you join in and make this continue to go, and grow, and thrive, and change families, like it’s changed yours.
Shelby: Yes, thanks, Dave. And thanks to some generous Ministry Partners, our matching-gift fund is even bigger now. Every gift given, through the end of this year, including your gift right now, will be matched, dollar for dollar, until we hit $2.3 million. That’s for a one-time gift; or it you become a monthly Partner right now, your monthly gift will be doubled for the next 12 months.
When you do give, as a thanks to you, we’re going to send you four copies of Bob Lepine’s book called The Four Emotions of Christmas. Why four copies?—you can keep one for yourself and give three away to friends, family members, or neighbors. Or you can give all four copies away; it’s up to you. In addition to that, we’re going to send you six greeting cards that have been hand-selected by David and Meg Robbins. These cards make a great tool to be able to share with loved ones in your life during this Christmas season. Again, you can give today at FamilyLifeToday.com; or you can give us a call at 800-358-6329; that’s 800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY.”
It’s easy to get caught up in life and totally forget that, after this, there’s something better in store; namely, heaven. Well, tomorrow, on FamilyLife Today, Dave and Ann are joined by Joni Erickson Tada to talk about helping you and your kids look ahead toward the fantastic forever party in store for all of us, who believe; and that’s heaven.
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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