Meeting the Man — and Seeing His Legacy


Hugh and I recently spent an afternoon with Dr. James Dobson. Dobson Interview-p188iv3idt9t1cv91vpo84k13n0He had invited us to his Family Talk offices and radio studio in  Colorado Springs last month to tape a couple segments on the topic of my book, When a Woman Inspires Her Husband.

As we waited in the small lobby of Family Talk to meet the founder and former president of Focus on the Family, I scanned the walls lined with pictures of Dr. Dobson and his wife, Shirley, with former Presidents Bush (both of them), the Rev. Billy Graham, Chuck Colson, and many others. A large commendation from former President Ronald Reagan and a picture of the two of them, looking like good friends, was front and center on the wall. Dr. Dobson had become friends with presidents as he followed God’s call  on his life and helped America focus on the family.

Dr. Dobson graciously invited us into his office which resembled more of a cozy mountain cabin. As huge of an influence as this man has had on the institution of the family for the past few decades, he was as humble of a man as we’ll ever meet. As he extended his hand to shake mine, I leaned in to give him a hug and he laughed, warmly, and said to my husband, “Is that alright with you, Hugh?”

He had us sit with him awhile and he talked with Hugh about antelope hunting a few days before in which he caught nothing but a cold. He shared the story of how his father, an evangelist, cut short a  successful revival tour to come home and parent his son when he needed him most and how that impacted his life and his direction in ministry. And he shared with us stories, during the interview, about little tiffs he and Shirley got into that really weren’t that big of a deal in hindsight. (They, in some ways, sounded like Hugh and me!)

HCMcMenamin_banner3a_303x196After the interview, he let us take a picture with him, and suggested it be next to his favorite portrait of Winston Churchill in the hallway. (I tried to impress him by quoting Churchill’s famous “never, never, never give up” speech, but he corrected me for leaving out the word “ever”!)

Before we left, he opened a cabinet door in the hallway and asked if we’d like to help ourselves to some of his books. It was like entering the Cave of Wonders!!! I looked through the treasure trove and chose a copy of his recently-published book, Bringing Up Girls, and his beautiful gift book, Love for a  Lifetime, as a memento for me and Hugh of our visit together to see him.

As we said our goodbyes and headed out of the studio I couldn’t help but think of one word: legacy.

Dr. Dobson had built one. But from his point of view, he was simply following God’s call on his life one day at a time, praying for direction, and then making one obedient decision after another.

I got to thinking about what my legacy will be — and the daily obedience and sensitivity to God’s voice that is required to be able to live life well.

What will your legacy be? And how will your decision today– to obey or not to obey — affect your (and your children’s) tomorrow?

(Our interview with Dr. Dobson will run in two consecutive segments, Nov. 6. and 7. Find the station in your area at www.FamilyTalk.org or listen to the podcast online.

Cindi
About me

Cindi McMenamin is an award-winning author and national speaker who helps women find strength for the soul. She has nearly 30 years experience ministering to women and inspiring them to let God meet their emotional needs, grow stronger through their alone times, and pursue their dreams with boldness.

12 Comments

Alysia Kehoe
Reply November 6, 2013

We were driving and didn't hear who was on the show with Dr. Dobson -- but when I realized it was you -- I was thrilled -- 'It's Cindi!" (my husband looked at me funny -- speaking of you as an 'old friend')

So proud of you -- and we love Dr. Dobson too -- got real involved with his teachings when we lived in Colorado.

When you get a chance also look up the work of "Love & Respect" (www.loveandrespect.com --Emerson & Sarah Eggerichs -- and now their daughter Joy has a series for young adults / your daughter might like that series too) -- when you talked about 'respect' on your message -- my husband Tim & I just smiled -- we have taught over 7 groups on his " Love and Respect" materials -- check it out -- great balance to your material as well.

Formally from San Jose, CA -- you and I have spoken on the telephone when I lived in CA-- we now live in Columbia, SC area -- perhaps you remember.

Lastly, I have finally been encouraged to 'write my book ' -- on careers / life transition / coaching -- and will go back to your notes on line -- any new thoughts? More to read by you? Thanks!!

Best Regards
Alysia Kehoe

    StrengthSoul
    Reply November 6, 2013

    Thanks, Alysia, and I do remember you. Let me think about your question and I'll email you with any new thoughts. The publishing industry has changed so much since we last talked.

Sandy
Reply November 6, 2013

What timing!!! My husband and I are at a marriage changing crossroads and I am not winning. I so want to stay married to him but have been trying to force his hand by sobbing and talking. I am not sure what is going to happen but I am going to figure out how to turn to God and read your book on the subject you talked about today. I even downloaded this book to Kindle on my phone so I can start right away.

My first hurdle is turning to God. This is a subject of endless pain and ignorance. I just don't get it. I try to turn to God, I pray to have him come into my life, I crack open the Bible and fail to see how it applies, I try to find ways to study the Bible but lose focus right away. I cannot get the Jesus dying for my sin thing and have looked everywhere for some help with that. I understand the Lamb sacrifice but can't make the connection with Jesus being the Lamb that is slaughtered for my sins. I almost get it and it goes away.

I will keep trying to go to God because I know that He is the only answer for all my perceived problems and I so want my marriage to work. Thank you for being the resource that God put in my path today of all days. Perfect in every way!

    StrengthSoul
    Reply November 6, 2013

    Thank you, Sandy, for encouraging me with your words. God's timing in all of this for you is more evidence that His heart is bent toward you. Thank you, too, for sharing your struggle with making this personal. My book, Letting God Meet Your Emotional Needs, speaks to that exact situation -- moving it from your head where you know it, to your heart where you feel it and experience the relationship with Him. If you don't yet have that book it is also available on Kindle. Or, if you can wait a few days (and if you live in the U.S.) I'd love to send you the print copy as a gift if you don't already own it. Email me at cindispeaks@msn.com with your U.S. mailing address and I will send it out. A relationship with Christ is so pivotal that I will do what it takes to help you completely understand Who He is and just what He has done for you. : )

      Sandy
      Reply November 7, 2013

      I also downloaded your book, When Women Walk Alone, and started reading that but didn't think about Letting God meet your emotional needs. Will do that today. Thank you for responding. My God issues continue from years pass. Some days I feel a hint, most days not.
      But, I started reading your book, When a Woman Inspires her Husband, and like, WOW!!! For the first time in days, weeks, months, even years, I feel as if my eyes have opened to a whole new way of being. I am trusting God to work this out with me. I am working on Inspiring my husband and it feels wonderful.
      Anyway, thanks again for you!! I will download your other book and get started on it. I hope it penetrates my brain barrier and gets me to believing and understanding God.

        StrengthSoul
        Reply November 7, 2013

        Sandy, thanks for your open heart to read, learn and do all you can to improve your relationship with both your husband and God! You have encouraged my heart this morning. My prayers are with you on this adventure. Keep in touch. : )

Gail Showalter
Reply November 6, 2013

Oh Cindi, what a memory maker that must have been. I listened to Dr. Dobson every morning in the car on the way to work when I was newly divorced. Just recently one of my grown kids asked for the book, Dare to Discipline. Some things never change, thank goodness.
I'm proud of you and happy for you.
May you experience even more of His Grace,
Gail

Jane
Reply November 9, 2013

What do I do when my husband continues blatantly in his adulterous acts? I am committed to the marriage .
We have only one 15 years old son and my boy isolates himself to the IT world . No communication. If ever there's one between me would end up explosive cos the hurt of the past torments him.
With the father it is very cordial.
What and how can I pray?
Jane

    StrengthSoul
    Reply November 9, 2013

    Jane, my heart goes out to you and I am so sorry for the situation you are in. I admire your commitment to your marriage, but please understand there is no "marriage" when a husband "continues blatantly in his adulterous acts." I agree with you that your son is probably "explosive" toward you because of past hurt, but probably moreso because he resents that you are allowing your husband to continue "blatantly" in his adulterous acts. Your son cannot stop your husband from treating you the way that he does, but YOU can, by no longer tolerating it. Please read my blog "When You Thought it Was Love" (which posted a couple weeks ago). There is a difference between grace and forgiveness (which is required in a marriage) and tolerating sin when the other person in the marriage is unrepentant in his adulterous behavior. Please seek some biblical counseling so you can get the support you need to no longer put up with what your husband is ultimately doing to you and your son (and how he is affecting your son's observation of what a marriage is). Jane, you owe it to yourself, your son, and your God to say "no more" to a man who is unrepentant in how he recklessly disregards you, his family, and the institution of marriage.

    I am praying for your strength and that you will know that you are loved enough by God and worth enough to God to take a stand and no longer tolerate this behavior by your husband. I highly recommend you read Dr. James Dobson's book, Love Must Be Tough, (which deals specifically with your situation). On that site, where the book is, (FamilyTalk.org) there is also a prayer line where you can call and speak to someone in their care center. That may be the first step toward getting the support and biblical counsel that you need. The toll-free number is 877-732-6825.

    Finally, you asked how and what to pray? Pray for God's discernment and strength to handle this situation in a way that pleases Him and protects the heart of your son, as well.

    You will remain in my prayers.

Karen Sincerbeaux
Reply November 10, 2013

I am so grateful for all of the teachings that I have received from Cindi's books and women's conferences. My love for the Lord strengthens even though my trials have been great. The love that sisters in Christ share is filled with passion, empathy and hope. Thank you for all you do Cindi to spread God's love- there is no work more important in this world.

    StrengthSoul
    Reply November 10, 2013

    Thank YOU, Karen, for your kind words. I'm glad to hear, too, that you are staying strong in Him.

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