In this episode, we talk with author Judy Dunagan about how moms can step away from fear and pray Scripture over our children and lives. Judy shares many practical steps, some of which come from her newest book, The Loudest Roar. The book came out of an honest question Judy asked God, "Why does the enemy have so much power?"
Scriptures mentioned today:
ABOUT OUR GUEST:
Judy Dunagan is an acquisitions editor for the women’s Bible studies and books at Moody Publishers. Judy is passionate about discipling others and making God’s Word and prayer come alive in everyday lives. She is a speaker and Bible teacher and serves on the board of Deeper Walk International, the ministry her father Mark I. Bubeck founded. Judy and her husband, Rick, live in Colorado and are the joyful grandparents of five littles.
Connect with Judy:
And, be sure to check out her book:
The Loudest Roar: Living in the Unshakable Victory of Christ
Creators & Guests
What is The Connected Mom?
Form a deeper connection with God, more empathic connection with other Moms, and more intentional connection with your child.
Welcome to the Connected Mom podcast, where we want to encourage you to connect more deeply with God, more empathically with your fellow moms, and we're intentionally with your child. I'm your host, Becky Harling, and I have my illustrious cohost here, Sarah Wildman, who is in the thick of parenting herself. She has two precious little boys, Edward and Charles, and they're going into the first grade and the third grade, I believe. And so it's a joy to have Sarah join me. And today we have a really special guest, Judy Dunagan. Judy is the acquisitions editor for Moody Publishers. She oversees the women's Bible study line and the women's Spiritual Life books. She is an author and accomplished speaker. She serves on the board of Deeper Walk, which was a ministry that her father, Mark Bubeck, founded. And her most recent book is called The Loudest Roar living in I want to get this right. Living in the unshakable victory of Christ. Hey, mamas, don't we need that? On top of all that, Judy is my very dear friend. She knows more about me than most people should know in a lifetime. For over 30 years, we have prayed over each other's kids and now over each other's grandkids. Welcome, Judy.
Oh, uh, Becky, thank you. It's so much fun to be here with you. I'm so excited about this podcast. The opportunity just to be together today.
Yeah, it's really fun.
Well, Judy, we are going to jump into this book. It's always super fun to learn. What prompted you to write this book? What's the background? What really led you to write it?
Well, Sarah, um, ever since I was a little girl, I've been aware of spiritual warfare. My father Becky mentions Mark ViewBack, and he's written some best selling books on our victory in Christ and on the armor. And I think I was in middle school when he wrote the first book, which was many decades ago now, and so it's actually part of my DNA. But, um, as I moved into women's ministries in my thirty s, I started to teach more on our victory in Christ and the power of prayer and the power of God's word. And while I was heading up women's ministries at my church, I remember counseling a woman. She just came to my office for some encouragement and some hope. And I have to say, she had one of the hardest stories I've ever heard. And it was very apparent that the enemy was coming at her on all fronts. She was, um, considering leaving the faith. She felt like God had let her down. And I remember, I hope I encouraged her and gave her some resources and prayed with her. And after I said goodbye to her, I was walking back to my office and my head was just kind of down in defeat. And I just cried out the Lord to the Lord. I whispered a prayer, I said your word. God says that the enemy is a roaring lion seeking whom he can devour. And then I asked, uh, why does he have so much power? And I'll never forget it. It's as if God whispered to me, yes, Judy, but I'm the bigger lion with the louder roar. I'm, um the lion of Judah. I'm seated on the throne, and ultimately, Satan is a defeated foe. And so I started teaching on that more, and the Lord just opened the door for me to be able to write a book about the truth that I've been living many years and also teaching.
I love that. Judy. Um, in this day and age, it just seems like fear and anxiety for Mamas is on the rise. I know you and I dealt with that when we were young, Moms. I remember praying together over it. But now school shootings have increased. There's strange illnesses out there, like monkey measles. Who ever heard of that?
Monkey pox, right there's not another one. It's not monkey measles. Don't freak out, Mamas. It's monkey pops and covent and, you know, rising gas prices. And there's so many reasons for Mamas to feel anxious and fearful. And how does prayer help us with that, Judy?
Well, I know for me, as a young mom especially, I was often overcome with fear and anxiety for my children, especially when it came to their health issues. We lived overseas, we lived in Brazil. I had a baby in Brazil. And then we moved to China when they were toddlers. And there were times I felt like the anxiety was going to take me under, like I was going to lose my mind. And I finally started to turn those worries into prayers. So an example of that is I remember when we lived in Michigan, my girls were in elementary school, and I heard about a little girl that had been snatched off her cul de sac, got off the school bus and snatched. And I remember just being overcome with fear, like, how can you protect your children? But I started to pray for that little girl because they had rescued her. And I just started praying for her to find healing. And then I started praying, turning those worries that my children could be kidnapped into prayers of protection over them. Um, another thing that has really saved me and rescued me often when I'm in that spiral of fear is to praise Scripture, especially the Psalms. And I started doing that with Psalm 139, even when I was pregnant with our first daughter, because we knew we were moving to Brazil and she'd be a newborn. And I prayed Psalm 139 so much over that baby I was carrying, and then after she was born, that I ended up memorizing it. And then I did the same thing with Psalm 91. So I recommend those two psalms for moms listening. There are beautiful psalms, and you can read those psalms out loud and praying specifically for your children, or write your own prayer based on the psalms. And it's a way that you can calm your anxious heart for your children and be praying God's word.
M. So, Sarah, you're living in this society with the monkey pox and the school shootings and all of those things, and what has helped you with your fear?
Oh, wow. Well, actually, I'll say something and then I want to ask Judy her thoughts on it. There's like, twofold, because when Jesus talks about the difficulty we'll face in the New Testament in this world, you will have trouble. So part of me goes, okay, this lines up with our worldview, right, the Bible. Jesus tells us we'll have difficulties. But then, like you're sharing, Judy, I also know about God's power and that roar that's even louder than what the enemy is trying to steal and destroy right in this world. So, on my good days, Becky, I remember, uh, the Lord's sovereignty, right, and how he is working for our good even in the difficulty. And that just because there is difficulty, it doesn't mean that he's not in control, right? But I guess, Judy, the question to kind of toss back to you is how do you deal with, yes, this reality that this broken world has those difficulties, and the enemy loves to use those right to discourage us. Um, so on my poor days, when I'm more focused on the negative and the broken, um, what would you say to Moms? Like me?
I love that question, Sarah. And I know our God wants us to be so honest with Him. He already knows how we feel. And, um, I know I have several friends who have children, young children with chronic illness or disabilities, and those are hard places, and they do a lot of lamenting. And when we went through a trial with our daughter's health, I remember, um, my counselor telling me, judy, I'm not sure you've ever looked at the grieving Savior. God's word tells us in Isaiah a messianic prophecy, that he was a man of sorrows acquainted with grief. And we see that as he walked this groaning earth, that he wept at the graveside of a friend right before he was going to raise him from the dead. And he cried over Jerusalem. And I learned the language of lament. And again, the Psalms is a great example of that. There's more lamenting psalms than brave psalms. And I really see lamenting as a sacrifice of praise, even. And part of our worship. God wants us to come to Him and even ask Him the hard questions. There's a psalm where David goes, how long, Lord? He says, how long? Several times. And so also, that idea of praying Scripture is important, but I don't want Moms to get caught up that there's a certain way they have to pray. I tell in my book a story about my grandmother who raised five boys on a farm, and it was dangerous. Several of them had injuries. And sometimes she'd see them racing down the dirt roads on tractors or horses, just boys being boys. And her prayer would be she would tell us, she'd just say, oh, God, keep them. That was her prayer over them.
That's all sad.
Oh, God. Just keep them. And, um, my grandmother, she did have one little girl who only lived three days. So she had five boys who have lived in their eighty s and ninety s, and that one little girl only three days. And so I know she had hard questions for the Lord, some lamenting prayers, and losing that little girl as well.
Judy I think of my mother in law. Um, my in laws were missionaries in Africa for years. And there's a story that Steve tells about his younger brother, the one right below him, grabbing a snake out of the grass and swinging it around his head. My poor mother in law is a miracle she lived as long as she did with all the antics that the four boys would get into. But God protected even there. I heard a speaker this morning and I found it really interesting because in the book of Genesis, when Eve sins, um, god talks about how there will be enmity between the serpent and the woman. And sometimes we forget that, yes, okay, Satan is our enemy. But we as women who claim the word of God, who raised the sword and pray scripture over our kids, we're an enemy to Satan, right, because we're placing a shield of protection around our kids and our grandkids. Judy I remember very well when you went to China, um, because I cried myself to sleep that night because we were living in the same area. We had these little girls. And I just have to introduce this funny story before we get back on track, but, um, I think Carrie was maybe two or three. I guess she was three. Christy, your daughter was four. Kelly, your daughter was two. And then I had Steph, who was seven at the time. And then I had two older ones, and you and I had similar taste in clothes. And I remember dressing these four little girls alike, uh, in what we thought were the best clothes ever, these little strawberry outfits from Oshkosh. And we had these big red bows in their hair. And I can still see the picture because my daughter, Steph stood on the top of the slide with her arms crossed, sending me, like, hate messages with her eyes. And when I talked to her about it, she still says, yeah, Mom, I was mad. You put that big old bow in my hair and you made me look like the little ones. Anyway, all of us have mom fails. But one thing that we can do for our kids, really, is praying scripture over them. And I remember before you had to go to China, uh, how fearful it was because your girls needed shots. Do you want to tell about that?
Yeah. Well, there were 14 immunizations recommended per child, and I did a lot of research and we didn't do all of those, but one we had to get with Japanese encephalitis. It was a three parter and it was just really difficult. We had to go to remote some place in the hospital for infectious disease area, and I'm bringing in a two and a four year old to get these shots. And, um, that started just a lot of fear at that time. We went to Beijing in 95 and there wasn't really anything like 911 or urgent care. And our youngest, Kelly, especially at three years old, um, was pretty deathly ill several times. And she had undiagnosed strep throat. And they wouldn't give her antibiotics because that rapid test showed she didn't have it. And I remember in the middle of the night, that's when I really just thought I was going to just have a breakdown. I was full of so much fear. And, um, so Rick prayed with me, my husband, and then I called the pediatrician from China in America. So it was 03:00 a.m. My time in Beijing, and 03:00 P.m. His time. And he actually got on the phone and helped calm me down and said, in the morning, when the clinic is open, you go ahead and be a mama bear and demand antibiotics, uh, in case it's strapped, which can be very dangerous. But that was a night that God changed my heart, because I think up until then, I thought I had made a deal with the Lord. When I first became a mom, I pretty much told him, I can handle anything, but I can't ever handle losing a child. And I held on to that pretty, um, uh, vice grip on that, as if God had promised me. That night, after I hung up with the doctor and Kelly was sleeping, her, um, ibuprofen had kicked in, so she was able to sleep, but she was dealing. Her neck was getting stiff, and it was terrifying. But there was a surrender moment where I was almost as if I had her in my arms. And I just lifted her to the Lord in prayer and I said, she's your daughter. I mean, you love her more than I do, and I'm going to trust you. And I prayed for healing, but I was able to say, even if you have a different choice for Kelly's life, I will still love you and follow you. And that just really changed my life as a mom that surrendered peace. And thankfully, God healed her and the antibiotics did kick in. It was strep and it was getting to be dangerous with no treatment. And she's now 31 and a mum of two little boys and married and one of my best friends. But um, god did use that time in my life to surrender those fears to Him.
Mhm, I think his mom's we can be under the false perception that we have it under control. Right. So that story reminds me of that, that surrendering. I mean, going to China, that's a little more extreme than some moms will face, but it really made you decide, right? Like, am I going to just decide it's all on me? And I think that's a daily battle for me, right? It's just realizing, no, these children are gifts to us, they're the Lords. But still, there's little ways that you think I can make it all safe and controlled, right. And sad part is that's not true.
I think Sarah and Judy, I think God calls every mama to what I call that Isaac altar moment. Similar to you, Judy. I had a moment like that when Steve and I were missionaries in Africa, and our daughter Bethany was 18 months old, and we had to put her in an African hospital because she was so sick. And I remember asking the doctor who came in, uh, she's not getting better. What do you think we should do? And he said, I don't know. What do you think we should do? And I just remember thinking, I want to smack you. Um, now, I didn't. But that night I got on my knees next to her crib in that dirty African hospital. And I just remember saying, Lord, she is yours. Now, I didn't jump up and down, happy, clappy, pray. I was like, weeping like, she's yours and you love her more than I do. Almost the same exact prayer you prayed, judy, whether you take her or whether you allow me to finish raising her, I will praise you. And I think, while not all mamas live in China or Africa, you have to pray that similar prayer when you're sending your kids to school, when you're sending them out to play on the playground or in a park. Lord, at the end of the day, you love this child more than I do, and I'm going to open my hands and trust you with this child. But it is a hard prayer, that prayer of surrender. Right. And Judy, can you think of specific scriptures? I mean, I know you've mentioned Psalm 91, Psalm 139, when fear is just strangling you. Are there certain scriptures that you pray of surrender?
Well, we've been talking some about the enemy and how he comes at us, and I think a key scripture regarding that is Ephesians six, verses ten through 18. And that's where, um, the Apostle Paul spells out the armor. And that is something I've known about, like I said for years. But it was only a few years ago I realized those pieces of the armor are who Jesus is. It's Jesus who is our armor? I used to think it was my striving, like I had to have righteousness to have that breastplate on. It was up to me being righteous, or I had to have enough faith to hold up that shield of faith. But I began my study to see that we're dressed in his robes of righteousness if, um, we've accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior. And so it's his righteousness that covers us like a breastplate. It's his truth that is the belt that holds all the armor together. We're told he's the way, the truth and the life. I think it's his peace that we can walk in those sandals of peace. It's the peace of Jesus. He's the prince of peace. And even for our helmet, it's his salvation. Minds, when our minds want to escalate with fear. And then, of course, we have the shield of faith, but it's also his faithfulness. We're told that in Psalm 91, where it says, the shield of his faithfulness. Don't you love that? That his faithfulness covers us from the top of our head to the tip of our toes. And, uh, all around us, he surrounds us, he hems us in his faithfulness. And then it is our part, though, to pick up that sword of the Spirit as the offensive weapon, which is God's word. Um, Jesus modeled that better than anyone when he walked this earth. And the enemy came at him. After Jesus had been, um, in the desert and fasting, he had to be exhausted and tired, and the enemy came at him in a fierce way. And each time the enemy threw a temptation at him, all Jesus said was, It is finished. I mean, not, It is finished, it is written. Um, yeah, it is written. And, uh, it's almost like hand to hand combat. Like, Jesus had that sword up against the enemy and eventually the enemy gave up. He came at Him with three major temptations. And each time Jesus said, It is written. And so that is such a key to just dwell in the Word, like we've been talking about, pray the Word. And then, of course, the other weapon that we can have is prayer. And I think prayer, the enemy is, uh, threatened by prayer, probably more than anything that we can do. Prayer makes him flee. And he hates it when we pray, and he wants to keep us from it. And so that's, uh, a mighty weapon. We have prayer and God's word together.
Now, can we pray the armor of God over our kids and grandkids?
I believe we can. And I remember my sister is about seven years older than me, and when she had her little one, she told me she prayed the armor on them. And I teased her, I go, does the armor come in toddler sizes? And, um, there's a new lullaby song called Head to Toe. I think it's Christy Knuckles.
I think you're right. Yeah, I heard it. Have you heard that one, Sarah?
No, I'll have to check it out.
Yeah, head to toe, head to toe. And it's the Armor of God's song, and she sings through all the pieces of the armor. And so, yes, I believe we can pray the armor on them. And it also helps calm your fears as you're praying over them, those pieces of the armor.
Yeah, because it gives you something tangible to do. There's so much that we have to let go of as mamas. Right? I mean, you can't go with your child to kindergarten, necessarily. He'd like to. You can't be with them every second of every day. And even when you try to protect them from everything, they can get in enough mischief to do whatever. Um, Steven, I have identical twin, two year old grandsons, Asher and Austin, and we affectionately call Asher Smasher. And when he was about twelve months old and he was an early walker, and he just ran everywhere and he went careening into their banister. And, I mean, she had pillows there. It's like he went past the pillows, split his head open, and they had to rush him to the hospital for stitches, and he wasn't even two yet. It was like so little. So no matter how much we try to protect them, uh, we can't protect them from everything, and yet we can know that God loves them and he places protection around them. And I think the prayers of a mama's heart are some of the strongest prayers. And it's an interesting study. I don't know if either of you have done this, but when you go back through history and you look at people who have accomplished a lot for God and the history of their mothers that prayed for them, it's just really an interesting study. And it's kind of a wake up call for us as moms, because I think we're supposed to pray for our kids from the moment they're born until we die, because we'll likely die before them and they need our prayers. At my age, Judy, at your age, uh, our kids still need our prayers and they're adults. And so, uh, unleashing, the power of prayer is huge. Well, if I think back on this podcast, if I were to give our mamas three takeaways, these would be my three takeaways. I would say, first, find your prayer people. Because Judy and I have been friends for years, and there have been warnings early in the morning where I've called Judy crying. There have been warnings where Judy has called me crying. And we ugly cry together because we love each other. So our friendship is strong enough to handle that right. And we pray for each other's kids and grandkids. So find your prayer, people. Second of all, learn the power of praying scripture. If you're not that familiar with scripture, if you're not that comfortable with it, get a Bible, open it up to the Psalms, and choose a few that you're going to pray over your kids. Look up the armor of God in Ephesians six and start praying that over your kids when you don't know what to do at night, kneel down beside their bed and ask God for wisdom and pray over them. And then the third takeaway that I think we all need the reminder of is, yes, the world is not a happy place. There's a lot of crazy stuff going on. But Jesus is the victor. He's already won the victory. As Judy says so profoundly in her book, the victory has already been won. Our responsibility is to live in the power of that victory. And so, before we close, Judy, where can our listeners get your book?
Oh, thanks for asking that again. The title is The Loudest Brewer, and, um, they can find it on Amazon right now and do a presale if they'd like. It doesn't come out until September 6. Um, it's also on ChristianBook.com, and eventually soon it will be on Moodypublishers.com. So it is published by Moody, and like I said, it comes out September 6, but Amazon is probably the easiest way to find it right now.
Amazon is a, uh, wonderful venue for us. And Judy, where can our listeners get in touch with you? Because they might want to bring you in to speak at their churches or to their moms group, or they may want to subscribe to your devotional that you send out your newsletter. Where can they get in touch with you?
Well, they can find me on my, uh, firstname.lastname@example.org and dunnigan is D-U-N-A-G-A-N. Or also feel free to email me at judy. Doneigan@gmail.com. I'd love to hear from you, even hear how I can pray for you. Uh, we're rebuilding my website right now, preparing for the book launch, but they can still get in there and read some of the blogs that I've written. I have one called Psalm 911, based on Psalm 91 one.
I love it.
Yeah. And just some of the things I've been sharing today, they can find there as well.
Judy, that reminds me, my grandma passed away last year, but she was a dear Christian woman, and she'd say, Sarah, when you're in trouble, you go to Psalm 911. She really did. So what was the name of it again that you called it?
Sarah, when you get in trouble. So great minds think alike. That's wonderful.
I love that. Hey, Judy, would you close this out by just praying a prayer of blessing over all the mamas that are going to listen? Because I know it's not only the young moms that struggle with fear, it's us grandmothers, right? And it's the moms of teens who are maybe pulling their hair out right now because they don't know where to turn. Would you just close us out with a word of prayer and pray blessing on the mamas that have listened?
I'd love to do that. Will you pray with me? O Lord Jesus, we worship you as our mighty god. We thank you that the victory has already been won over the evil one and over sin and over death, because of Your death and Your resurrection and Your triumphal ascension, where you ascended and are seated now at the right hand of the throne of God. I thank you that Your word tells us, Jesus, that you intercede for us and that the Holy Spirit groans in prayer for us when we don't have the words to pray. And so the truth that the triune God is aware of us and praying for us to take our breath away. Jesus, I thank you that you know every mom who is listening to this podcast right now. You know what stage she's at in her mothering, whether it's a newborn or even just carrying her first baby, or holding a newborn or raising toddlers, or having preteens and teenagers and young adults, children, Lord, you know the burdens of their heart, you know their fears for their children. You know their joys and their sorrows. And God, I pray that you will draw them to the psalms that will calm their anxious heart, that they'll be able to pray those psalms out loud as they are burdened or fearful for a child. And Lord, we do thank you that you love Our children more than we do. And we thank you that you are ever pursuing their hearts to fall in love with you and to choose Jesus as their Savior. And Lord, thank you that we can stand firm in the victory You've won. And so may we wear Your armor proudly and stand and what all of that means, that protection, that covering. I just want to pray. Psalm um 91 and the first two verses. Thank you that she who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of Almighty. I will say of the Lord, he is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust. Thank you, God, that you are a refuge in our fortress. Thank you that we don't have to mother alone, that you are the greatest parent there ever was. And we can come to you with our burdens and our fears and our hopes and our dreams for our children and grandchildren. We love you when we pray in the mighty and powerful, yet very personal name of Jesus.
Amen. Hey, Moms. Thanks for joining us today. You've been listening and watching the Connected Mom podcast and we will see you next week. We will talk a little bit more about connection and how you can connect more deeply with God, more empathically with your fellow moms, and more intentionally with your child. Make it a good one.