The Barbara Rainey Podcast

Dennis and Barbara Rainey want to live out their sunset years with intentionality and purpose. And they want to help you do it, too. Barbara can look back and see how God has grown endurance in her. Can you?

What is The Barbara Rainey Podcast?

Barbara Rainey mentors women in their most important relationships. She loves encouraging women to believe God and experience Him in every area of their lives.

Samantha Keller: For Barbara Rainey, there’s a big difference between growing older and just “getting old.” Old, she says, is a mindset. Today Barbara and her husband, Dennis, will give us some strategies for growing older without becoming old.

Barbara Rainey: I just think the process of sharing your life becomes more important as you get older, not less important. And I think our world tells us that you become less important the older you get. And really, God is saying, the older you get, the more important it is that you share your life, the more important it is that you are communicating what you’re seeing and learning from him. It’s not less important, it’s more important.

Dennis Rainey: A.W. Tozer made this statement. I’ve been using it, increasingly, in the last decade of my life. He said, “The most important thing about you is what you think about God.” Tozer believed that if you think the right thing about God, if you believe the truth about who He is, it’s going to make all the difference in the world whether you continue to believe and act in faith, or whether you doubt and give up.

Samantha: Welcome to the Barbara Rainey Podcast from Ever Thine Home, where we’re dedicated to helping you experience God in your life and home. Thanks for listening!

This is the first part in a brand new series from Dennis and Barbara, called Growing Older Without Becoming Old. This episode is free to you. The rest of the series will be available to paid subscribers of Barbara’s Friends and Family. I’ll tell you at the end how you can sign up. It’s way worth the small fee.

Now. No matter what season of life you’re in, growing older without becoming old is key, as Dennis and Barbara are about to explain. Let’s listen.

Dennis: Barbara, welcome back.

Barbara: Thanks. It’s fun.

Dennis: I’m Dennis Rainiey and I’ve had the privilege of being her husband and partner in life and partner in these ministries that we’ve had the chance to participate in. We’ve been talking a lot about a topic that I think faces everyone. And whether you’re in your twenties or in your fifties, sixties, seventies, or beyond. This concept of what you do in your later years of life is very, very important. In fact, if you are a young person now is the time to think about it because you can make decisions that will impact that later on. And the topic that we’re talking about is growing older, but not old.

Barbara: That's right. And there’s a big difference between growing old and growing older. Because everybody is growing older. Toddlers are getting older. And they love to get older. We’ve got some toddlers in our family and one of them is about to turn five. And he can’t wait to be five because he’ll be older. But when you are young, being older sounds like a great thing because you want to get there. But old is not something that we want because old is a state of mind. We're going to talk about what that actually means. But yeah, there is a difference in those two words.

Dennis: There really is. Barbara talked a great deal about this really as we looked toward stepping out of the leadership of FamilyLife and how we were going to do that, because we were faced with the reality that we needed to be clear about our calling and what we wanted to be about for the rest of our lives. And for you, Barbara, exactly what does that look like?

Barbara: The rest of my life?

Dennis: Yeah.

Barbara: I don’t have any idea yet, because it’s not written. I think that, you know, what’s ahead is unknown. What’s behind we can know and measure and we can evaluate and all of that. But what’s ahead we don’t know. Except as believers we do know that we can be confident about what’s ahead because God’s ahead of us, and he’s got the plan worked out for our lives and so it’s a matter of discovering what he has and where he wants to lead us.

As Dennis and I left FamilyLife, one of the things that we had to adjust to was the whole notion of the word “retirement”, because everybody kept saying, “Oh, you’re retiring. Great! What are you going to do?” Or, “What do you think about retirement?” Or, just all kinds of questions that we weren’t actually prepared to answer because as Dennis and I stepped away from leading FamilyLife, we weren’t doing it with the mindset that we were retiring. That was not our goal. That was not our vision or our idea but everybody assigned that word to what we were doing. And so, it just was a weird place to be because we looked at it as simply moving from one realm of responsibility and moving into another one. We saw it as stepping out of one job and stepping into another. It was just an interesting time trying to reconcile all of those things, plus the adjustment of being in a new role and being in a new season of life. But, it was interesting that we had that word that we had to deal with a lot, and that word was retirement.

Dennis: Right. And for you and me, we talked a lot about the idea of the word “growing”. I think that’s the key as you look toward all your years of life. Are you a growing follower of Christ? Are you growing spiritually? Intellectually? Emotionally? Are you learning from your mistakes? And are you learning how you can pass on lessons to future generations? Because that’s our assignment as we are growing older.

Barbara: Right. And that’s what you were referring to earlier when you were talking about growing older as a process. “Growing” is the word that we want to focus on. And “older" is just the number that you are continuing to check off as you move forward. Whereas the word “retire” means to “pull back” or “withdraw” or to “go backwards”. And so, you know, mentally, it makes a difference in how you approach your life if you’re thinking about “growing” as opposed to “retiring”. And we really want to be growing and going forward.

Dennis and I have always been very focused on taking the initiative and just being ahead of the game and being involved. Neither one has any desire to retire in the sense of what the world thinks of retirement. And even our kids have been interested in this because as we’ve stepped out of leadership with FamilyLife some of them would say to us, “Well, you retired. Why are you doing these things? Why are you still in ministry? Why are you still speaking and traveling? Why not just sit back and relax and enjoy this?” And I think the world has given us a mentality, or an image maybe is a better word, for this season of life, that it is sitting back and it’s doing nothing. And that is just so contrary to what God has called us to do in scripture. He’s called us to be following after him every day of our lives, no matter how long they last. And he’s called us to continue to grow and to become like Christ. So it’s an interesting season to be in because, in a sense, we’re swimming upstream. We’re going against the grain of the culture, which says one thing, and we’re trying to go another direction.

Dennis: This morning I read Psalm 71. I’ve got a psalter where I’m trying to name all the songs and just put something at the top. It helps me to know the topic this is dealing with.

Barbara: So you are retitling the Psalms.

Dennis: Every one of them. I’m not done yet, but I did retitle the 71st Psalm. I called it “Musings from an Old-timer who isn’t quitting” Who isn’t finished. And the reason I titled it that is because of verses 17 and 18 in Psalm 71. Listen to this, and then Sweetheart, I want you to comment on this because this is what you’re all about.

“O God, from my youth you have taught me. And I still proclaim your wondrous deeds. So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those who come.”

We’re given an assignment to, I like to say, show God off. Make much of God. The concept in the Bible is to glorify God. We’re called to glorify him. I think as we are growing older—what he’s doing in your life, how he’s at work—share that with the next generation.

Barbara: Well, I think that the call of the Christian life from start to finish is to communicate what God is doing in your life. But there’s something about being in this season that makes it in many ways feel more urgent. I feel a sense of urgency about my life that is different than I did twenty years ago because I know that we are nearing the finish line. And so it’s almost like I want to do more and I want to work harder and I want to try harder and I want to do a better job at everything because I know that…

Dennis: Time is short.

Barbara: Yeah, and so I want to make the most of the time, make the most of the years. And so, if anything, I’m probably busier than I’ve ever been because I really want to make a difference. And so telling the stories of what God is doing in our lives and what we’ve seen him do becomes more important even than it was twenty years ago, not less important. I just sat on the porch the other day with a sweet friend that I don’t know super well and I don’t see her very often because we live in different cities, but she’s about ten years younger than I am. Maybe fifteen years younger. We just sat on the porch and had a great conversation. I just love her, I admire her, I think she’s an amazing, amazing, woman. But as we talked, there were just several different times in the conversation when I could tell I was ahead of her just a little bit in the journey and that the deposits that I was making—and I was just telling her what God was teaching me and what I was learning—she was going, “Oh, that makes sense.” And so I just think the process of sharing your life becomes more important as you get older, not less important. And I think our world tells us that you become less important the older you get. And really, God is saying, the older you get the more important it is that you share your life, the more important it is that you are communicating what you’re seeing and learning from him. It’s not less important, it’s more important.

Dennis: A number of years ago I was reading a magazine article by the great hispanic evangelist, Louis Palau. And it was a great article on the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. And I just decided I would track down his phone number and give him a call. He’s no longer with us, he’s already got his graduation papers—gone on to heaven. But I called him up, and I said, “I just want to thank you for writing that.” And I said, “What are you working on these days?” And he said, “Well, I am not believing what I’m being assigned to do. I’m trying to bail some churches out from getting rid of the older pastor who’s leaving them and putting a younger guy in there to replace him.” And he said, “I can’t believe what some of the churches are doing today by farming out some highly seasoned, wise men who have followed Christ faithfully all their lives. They’re getting rid of them is a season when they’ve got the most to say.” And he got me thinking about that. I think he’s right. I think this is a very youth oriented culture, and I get that. We were both young a number of years ago, but there is value in the gray hair, the older believer, the one who has been through seasons of suffering. There’s a lot to be gained by those seasons of suffering and pain.

Barbara: Well there are, and I think that when you are in the middle of them, they’re confusing. You don’t know what God’s doing. But on the back side, I just think that we can encourage those that are behind us in the race in a way that we can’t apart from having been through rough seasons in life.

I remember, years ago, when we were going through a really hard stretch I printed out James 1:2-8 on a card that was about 3x5 or something like that. I taped it to my steering wheel, and I remember thinking, “I just don’t know that I can get through this day. I don’t know how I’m going to survive until nightfall,” because the circumstances that we were in felt so difficult.

But I kept reading that verse over and over again because I was in my car every day, multiple times. And every time I got in the car, I was staring at that verse. And the phrase that kept popping out to me was the phrase where he says—and this is what I had on my steering wheel—-”Count it all joy my brothers when you meet various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” And I remember reading that particular part that I had printed out, over and over again.

And I kept saying, “Lord, you said you were going to build endurance in me. What does endurance look like? I can’t measure it, I can’t see it, it’s not something that I can say, ‘Oh, there it is! You’ve put endurance in my life.’” And I just remember saying to God, “Okay, I don’t know what it is that endurance looks like. But you said that you are going to build that, and I’m counting on you to build endurance in my life through this trial. And I’m counting on you to do what you said you are going to do.”

And that was a number of years ago, and I was just thinking about that not too long ago and I thought, “You know? I really do think that God did that.” Because I think that I’ve got endurance. I’m just realizing that my response to hard times is—I don’t panic as much as I used to. It doesn’t catch me off guard quite like it did. Now, it’s still not easy. I still don’t like it, but it just dawned on me the other day, “Oh, that’s endurance. Oh, God did build endurance in my life.” And I was unaware because you can’t see it and you can’t measure it. But I think it’s there. I just think that I’m sensing that my response to difficulties is different than what it was twenty years ago, or thirty years ago. And it’s because he’s built endurance and long-suffering in my life. And so as I talk to younger women, as you talk to other men, I think that comes across. I think people sense that. And I think we can encourage the next generation behind us to hang in there, trust God, believe him. He is doing work in your life that you can’t see and you can’t measure. I’ve seen it, I’m seeing him do that in my life and I know he’s going to do it in yours too.

Samantha: Dennis and Barbara Rainey have given us some great things to think about in this first installment of “Growing Older Without Becoming Old.” There’s a lot more they have to say. You’ll have access to it when you subscribe to “Barbara’s Friends and Family” at It’s only five dollars a month to sign up.

Subscribing will also give you access to all of Barbara’s content, including her Friends and Family email, where you’ll get a regular glimpse into things going on in her life—and musings she has along the way. Again, it’s all available when you register at

I’m Samantha Keller. Thanks for listening today! Hope you can make it for part two of “Growing Older Without Becoming Old.” Dennis and Barbara will continue talking about how you and I can persevere through difficulty. Again, it’ll be available for paid subscribers! See you again, on the Barbara Rainey Podcast, from Ever Thine Home.