The Barbara Rainey Podcast

If you don't approach growing older with intentionality, the losses you face in life can threaten to derail you. Dennis and Barbara Rainey help you navigate major losses like the unexpected loss of a loved one, and more.

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: According to Barbara Rainey, growing older has its challenges. But if you’re following Jesus, those challenges are so worth it!

Barbara Rainey: The result of following a person who loves you and gave his life for you, is that in the midst of these difficulties and these hardships and the hard things, we see him. And we learn about him. And we know him more as he is. And when you have encounters with the living Christ, you wouldn’t trade him for anything in the world, even though the price to get there sometimes is high. It’s not always easy, but I mean, there’s just nothing like knowing that God is in this moment or knowing that he is present and guiding in this particular way. It’s so obvious that you know that you know that you know God is in this and God has shown up and has made himself known. I mean, I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
Samantha: You’re listening to the Barbara Rainey Podcast from Ever Thine Home, where we’re dedicated to helping you experience God in your home. Thanks for listening!

This is part six in the series Growing Older Without Becoming Old. Even if you’re a teenager or in your twenties, you can benefit from the wisdom you’ll find here. Because growing older is something that happens to all of us.

Parts one and six are free to everyone, the rest are available to subscribers to Barbara’s “Friends and Family.” If you missed any of the previous episodes, be sure to sign up and find them up at Here are Dennis and Barbara Rainey.

Dennis Rainey: And welcome to the Barbara Rainey Podcast from Ever Thine Home. I’m your—I guess I’m more than a guest host, I’m your permanent host. Dennis Rainey, her husband. Welcome back, Sweetheart.

Barbara: Yeah. You’re definitely a permanent host.

Dennis: We had a good time this weekend, didn’t we?

Barbara: We did. Yeah, we did.

Dennis: We saw some friends. We’ll tell you about that in maybe a future podcast.

Barbara: Yeah, we will.

Dennis: We are dealing with the subject of Growing Older, Not Being Old. And I just wanted to ask you Barbara—you didn’t know that I was going to ask this—

Barbara: That’s not surprising!

Dennis: What else is new in our 50+ year marriage? But, what’s the difference between growing older and being old?

Barbara: Well, what pops into my head is that growing older means becoming wise. It means becoming more of who God made you to be. It’s discovering more of what God created you to do, so I think getting older is really a wonderful thing because as this season of my life, and I would think you would say the same about your’s, but I feel much more settled in who I am. I feel much more content about the way God made me. The things that I used to wish weren’t a part of my life or I wish I wasn’t like that—it’s like, “Okay, so I am.” I just feel much more settled about that. So I think that growing older—there are really a lot of benefits to growing older. Whereas becoming old is the person—and everybody knows people like this in their life—the person who is angry at the world, angry at everything, or the person who refuses to try anything new, the person who just feels like the world is falling apart and everything is terrible in the world. And yeah, there’s a lot of terrible things. But I remember when we were raising our kids and we were very young, we had toddlers, and your mom talked about how the world was just awful and it was a terrible place to bring in kids. That’s a “becoming old” statement. It’s thinking like an old person. It’s thinking that everything is done and life is over and it’s passed me by and—I don’t know if that’s a clear enough description, but in my mind it’s very distinct. “Growing older” is very different than “becoming old.”

Dennis: We talked in a previous podcast and, by the way, the listener can pick some of these podcasts up if they want to go looking on the Ever Thine Home website.

Barbara: Right. This is the sixth. We’ve already done five on this topic. So this is number six.

Dennis: We’ve done five, this is number six. But we highlighted last time that as we are growing older the keyword is growing. I hate to double up on it, but it’s not that we are static. We’re not decaying. We’re not just creaky old people which, yeah, you do get creaky as you get a bit older, but you’re a disciple. And a disciple is a learner. Comment on that if you would, Sweetheart. And what I’d like to ask you—and you didn’t know that I was going to ask this either—but being a disciple is being a learner, and the more I’ve studied and looked at the scriptures, I think learning is a key component of being a disciple and of how you end up growing older.

Barbara: I agree. I mean 1000% I agree. And you know, Jesus didn’t call us to only be disciples when we were young and full of energy and ready to conquer the world. God has called us to be disciples for all of our lives. We are to be a disciple from the beginning to the last breath. And I think some people set discipleship on the shelf when they get older and they think, “Well, I’ve already been there and I’ve already done that and I’ve learned it all.” And yet, it’s amazing how much there still is to learn. I mean, learning about God and becoming a disciple is an endless journey, really. It’s a lifelong journey, probably into eternity as well.

There’s a story about being a lifelong disciple in the book of John in the last chapter, John 21. And it’s a story that many people know pretty well. It’s the story of when Jesus had already risen, he was walking around and showing up at different places, and the disciples were in Galilee on the lake and they were out fishing. And they hadn’t caught anything all night and they were rowing for shore. And there was somebody standing on the shore who asked if they had caught anything, and they said, “No.” And he said, “Throw your nets over on the other side.” And when they did Peter realized it was Jesus talking to them. And he, famously, jumped into the water and swam to shore while the rest of the disciples pulled in the fish and rowed to the shore. But they all got to the shore and Jesus had built a fire. He asked them if they wanted to eat with him. And as they sat there and ate together with Jesus on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, Jesus turned to Peter and asked him the famous question. He asked him three times, “Do you love me?” And there’s a whole lot, of course, in those three questions and in his answer. But the part that applies to what we’re talking about—being a disciple—is at the end. So the third time, Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me?” And Peter said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.” And then Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.” And then immediately he followed it up by saying,

“Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands and another will dress and carry you where you do not want to go.”

And if you’ll skip the next verse which we always all read, which says,

“This he said to show what kind of death he was to glorify God.”

The next line says, “And after saying this, Jesus said to Peter, ‘Follow me.’” So if you read it without that parenthesis statement it says,

“When you are old you will stretch out your hands and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” And after saying this he said, “Follow me.”

When Dennis and I were talking about that recently and he read it, we read it that way without the parenthetical statement in there. It was just so much stronger that Jesus was telling Peter, “When you’re old still follow me.”

Dennis: He was talking about when we are growing older. Here’s the key to the whole deal.

Barbara: He was saying, “At the end of your life, Peter, when it’s hard and you’re going where you don’t want to go, still follow me.” So Jesus was making a point that discipleship is for life. Discipleship doesn’t end when you’re old. You’re not opted out of the program. Discipleship continues all the way to the end.

Dennis: And as you follow Christ, he’s going to teach you how to live, how to love. He’s going to teach you how to do relationships properly. I guess I want to ask you, Barbara—I don’t think I’ve ever asked you this before. I’m full of all kinds of questions today that I’ve never asked—but as I say that, Barbara, I want to ask you, how have you grown over the past half a dozen years since we stepped out of full-time Christian work and moved into another season? We didn’t retire. We refired. We recalibrated. We focused ourselves on what God wanted us to do in this next season. How have you personally grown?

Barbara: Well, interestingly, I would have to say that I’ve probably grown more in the last six years than I have in the last twenty years. And it’s because we’ve had so many hard things happen in the last six years—things that we didn’t see coming, things that we didn’t anticipate, trials that we didn’t know were coming around the corner. I remember many times during those years saying to God, lots and lots of times, “This is not the way I expected it would be.” You know, in my head I thought life would be easier. I thought life would be simpler, and instead, it’s been harder. It’s been more challenging. It’s been more difficult on both of us. We’ve both said that that is true. And in the midst of that, saying to the Lord, “This isn’t the way I thought it was going to be, but it’s what you’ve given us. It’s what you are allowing. It’s what you are orchestrating, and I want to surrender to you and I want to learn everything that you want me to learn.” I don’t want to sail through this, not obliviously, but I guess the word really is rebelliously. I don’t want to sail through this and turn my back on God and say, “I’m done learning. I’m done trying. I’ve been there and done that and this discipleship business, and I’m tired of it.”

Dennis: You never graduate from it, do you?

Barbara: No, you don’t. And yet, the wonderful thing is that I’m confident—I don’t know if I can express it all clearly just yet—but I’m confident and I’ve learned more in the last six years than I’ve learned in the last, maybe, twenty. And I learned a whole lot in those twenty years prior too.

Dennis: And the reason this is life-giving is because you’re following the God-Man. You’re following a person. You’re not following a dogma or just the writings of Scripture, but the living Lord Jesus Christ, who defeated death and gave us eternal life if we’ll trust in him for our salvation.

Barbara: Exactly. And the result of following a person who loves you and gave his life for you, is that in the midst of these difficulties and these hardships and the hard things, we see him. And we learn about him. And we know him more as he is. And when you have encounters with the living Christ, you wouldn’t trade him for anything in the world, even though the price to get there sometimes is high. It’s not always easy, but I mean, there’s just nothing like knowing that God is in this moment or knowing that he is present and guiding in this particular way. It’s so obvious that you know that you know that you know God is in this and God has shown up and has made himself known. I mean, I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

Dennis: Hudson Taylor was a great missionary to China. He established a ministry that I think continues to this day called, The China Inland Mission. He made a statement that has always struck me. It really fits here. It’s talking about pressure, but I think what he’s talking about is life. He said, “It matters not where the pressure lies.”

Barbara: “Or how great the pressure is.”

Dennis: “Or how great that pressure is. As long as it presses me against my Savior, then the greater the pressure, the greater my dependence upon him.” And it says in the Scriptures that without faith it is impossible to please him. And so faith is how we get to know him. It’s pressing toward him, believing that he’s there, believing that what he said is true—who he is, what he said about himself is true—and he is a loving God that doesn’t allow things into our lives that are not purposeful. It may not be easy. In fact, it may be very hard. You and I right now are going through a devotional of sorts, about the Gospel according to Job. And it’s the story of a man who suffered greatly. In fact, one of the major points about how we can grow older and not become old is how we handle suffering. We’ll talk about that in a future episode in this series. But back to what we’re talking about here—one of the key things we face as we do grow older is you begin to experience loss.

Barbara: Lots of them.

Dennis: Lots of losses. And we don’t talk much about losses in the Christian community. I’m not sure why because it’s almost a law of gravity as you get older. And how you handle those losses is really, really critical.

Barbara: I think we don’t talk about them because we don’t want to talk about them. I think, for a culture that avoids anything unpleasant or uncomfortable or difficult, it’s just a part of the culture that we live in. And yet that’s not the culture of the Christian life. Jesus told us that, “If they hated me, they will hate you.” And the apostle Paul said, “Everyone who desires to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” And we don’t like those verses.

Dennis: No.

Barbara: We run away from that because we think, “That’s not what I signed up for. I signed up for the abundant life. I signed up for answered prayer. I signed up for all these things that look good and feel good.” And yet, that’s not the Christian life.

Dennis: Some who are younger listening to this right now are thinking, what do you mean by losses? I’ll tell you what it means. It means when you pick up the newspaper or your computer, you look at it to read it and you start lengthening your arms, pushing it further and further away so you can focus on it. That’s what happens in your mid-forties.

Barbara: Well, even some early forties, but yeah. Some of our kids are there. Our daughter was telling us the other day that she’s been having to do that and she’s going to have to go get readers. She’s forty-three, almost forty-four. And she said her husband has been laughing at her saying, “That’s so silly. I can’t believe you’re doing that.” And all of a sudden, he started to do the same thing. It was very satisfying to her that he’s doing the same thing. But, yeah, it’s inevitable.

Dennis: Yep. Loss of hearing because you used the lawn mower too much without hearing protection. Yeah, there’s just all kinds of losses. Loss of health as we age. But I want to talk about loss at a different level—a level of suffering where you perhaps lose something that is really, really, tragic in your life. You know, I can imagine there’s some young people who are thinking, “Losses, really?” Barbara, you say there is something important that happens to a person when they experience more than one loss over time.

Barbara: Well, I think that’s the definition right there. What you just said is one of the definitions of growing older. So part of growing older is experiencing accumulated losses because not only are we losing things personally—losing our eyesight or not being able to run as fast as we could or other things that may be more dramatic, like knee replacements which you’ve had—there are other losses that get added to our lives that are outside of us too. For instance, losing a relationship with someone or really good friends, like we’ve had in the last two years. Several really good friends that were older than us, but not that much older who we looked up to for years and we had been friends with, some of them for thirty, forty years, who died—three of them this past year. And you know, that’s a bit of a surprise because we’ve known these people so long and then all of a sudden they’re gone. We expect that of our parents. We expect that of our great-aunts and great-uncles, and we expect that they are going to die when they get older. But when you start having friends die who are your age or just a little bit older, it really gets closer to home because it’s your generation. And I think there are other losses. Losing your job or, I don’t know what. But there are lots of losses and I think that what happens is that those losses can accumulate and become a burden that we bear, that we carry.

One of the things I’ve learned or read about this in a book and have just continued to think about is that with social media the way it is, and news everywhere, we start absorbing losses that we shouldn’t be absorbing. I mean, there’s so much bad news going on in the world, and if we allow all of that bad news to rest on our shoulders along with things that we are losing personally and the relationships that we’ve lost, and people we know who are dying, it’s more than a person can carry. And I think we need to understand as we grow older, that God never intended for us to carry the weight of all of those losses. He’s the only one that can carry the sorrow of the world. He’s the only one that can carry all of that hardship and all of the crises that are in the world.

I think as we grow older we have a tendency to carry that and to feel that and to bemoan that and to grieve it. That is some of what we hear from people who are growing old. They’re not letting that go. They’re not trusting God with all of those hard things; they’re carrying it. So I think it’s learning the difference between understanding that the loss is real and feeling it as God wants us to, but not owning loss that is not ours to carry.

Now owning loss is something that only God can carry and he can manage. That helped me when I understood that all of these bad things that I’m hearing about on social media or from other people about people I don’t even know—it’s awful. It’s difficult. But it’s not my responsibility to bear that loss. It’s God’s responsibility and the losses that are in my life, he wants me to learn from, and he wants me to grow through them. Those losses are something that he wants me to deal with but I can’t carry them all. I think that a part of growing older is learning to trust God with those things that are not ours and to trust him, also, with the things that are ours that he has put in our lives that he wants us to learn from.

Dennis: Here’s where being a disciple of Jesus Christ pays off because it was Jesus who said, “Come unto me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly of heart.” Then he says, “And you shall find rest for your souls.”

Barbara: And it’s interesting it says learn of him, not about him. He means a relationship.

Dennis: Experience him.

Barbara: He’s inviting you to know him personally, and when you know him personally it’s different than knowing about God. You know him as a person and as a friend.

Dennis: At the point you place your faith in Christ, he actually comes to dwell inside you. That’s what it means to be a Christian. That word means Christ in one. And because he’s in you, you can relate to him. You can talk to him. In the morning when you get up, throughout the day, at the conclusion of the workday, if you’re facing problems with a child or with your spouse—just talk to Jesus because he’s right there.

Barbara: And you can also talk to him in the middle of the night, because one of the losses of growing older is sleeplessness. So, I talk to God a lot in the night.

Dennis: You can tell that’s a nerve ending between Barbara and me. We both have trouble sleeping and we’ll probably get some people write in and offer some advice.

Anyway, back to handling a loss, I think one of the ways we can better handle loss is by being around people who have done it well. I had the privilege of interviewing a gentleman by the name of Dr. Jerry Sittser. Back when I had a daily radio program heard across the country, daily is daily. So over a period of twenty-seven years, I did over six thousand broadcasts with over a thousand guests. One of those guests was Dr. Jerry Sittser and he told the story of going on a road trip with his family of four children, his wife of twenty years, and his mother. On the way back after the road trip, it was actually a spiritual mission of sorts. They went to preach to some people. And on the way back from that trip he was hit by a drunk driver killing his wife of twenty years, his four year old daughter, and his mother. He instantly became a single parent and raised those remaining three for the next, I don’t know, fifteen or so years as a single dad. And I just know that as I interviewed him and talked to him, he gave me a perspective of who God is. And, by the way, that’s the key of how you handle loss.

A.W. Tozer said, “The most important thing about you is what you think about God.” Is he mean? Is he evil when loss happens in our lives? No. He may have an agenda to teach us through our limitations, through our losses. He may want to develop a character quality in our lives. I don’t know what God’s up to in my own life, let alone somebody else's. But I do know that he wants to teach us—back to learning again—he wants to teach us to get to know him, to trust him, to lean into him, and to just keep on doing that all of our days, all the way to the finish line.

Barbara: Well that story and that interview with Jerry Sittser remains one of my favorites as well as yours. I’ve read that book probably three or four times in my life.

Dennis: Speaking of the book, it’s called A Grace Disguised.

Barbara: Yeah, which is the book that he wrote out of the story of that accident that he was in. I think it’s the very best book on grief out there. I tell everybody, “Buy the book. I know you may not need it today but you’ll need it at some point in your life. Buy it and put it on your shelf and then you’ll have it.”

But the thing that I’ve learned so much about from that book and from all of the losses we’ve been through, is that God is near and he wants to be near. He wants to be a part of our journey and a part of our experience. When we go through loss, so often we try to manage it on our own or we try to fix ourselves on our own. We don’t run to him as quickly as we should.

I think that verse that you mentioned out of Matthew 11, “Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest,” is the invitation of God to all of us. He wants us to come to him because he wants to give us rest. He wants to give us that experience of being linked up with him, of being in partnership with him, of being his friend, and he will help us. There’s nothing like that. But we tend to want to fix it ourselves first. So I want to encourage everyone listening who’s maybe experiencing a loss, or you’re in that season that we’re in where losses are beginning to accumulate, to keep going to Jesus, and keep becoming a learner and a disciple, because he wants to meet you there.

Dennis: And I love how Jesus said it. He said, “For my yoke is easy and my load is light.” You can tell whose yoke you’re wearing based upon its weight. If you’re being burdened by those losses in your life right now, he’s inviting you to leave that yoke and take his yoke upon you, for it’s light, it’s easy, and there’s peace as you do that.

I want to use this opportunity to invite Barbara to pray for our listeners. A lot of you listening to this right now know somebody that needs to hear this podcast, but you also need a fresh encounter with Jesus Christ. Would you pray that they’ll have that right now?

Barbara: Yeah. Father, I thank you for everyone who is listening. I pray that you will encourage them, but most of all I pray that they will be courageous and will run to you. I pray that they will be determined to go to you in every loss, every hardship, every difficulty, and that they will be willing to wait for you, willing to trust you with your timing because you don’t always respond immediately. You didn’t respond to Job’s prayers immediately. You didn’t respond to Daniel’s prayers immediately. I think, Father, we are such an impatient people. So I pray for everyone, including myself, to go to you with everything and to rest, and to trust you, and to wait for your timing because that’s a part of being a disciple. It’s trusting you as our Lord and waiting on the timing that you know is best for us to encounter you, and to experience you, and to see you at work. Thank you, Father, for losses. We don’t like them. They’re really not ever convenient. They’re not ever what we want, but you know that they’re good for us, and you know that you can bring good in our lives as a result. So we want to give thanks, by faith, for those and continue being grateful people for what you bring into our lives and into our world. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Samantha: Amen. Thank you, Dennis and Barbara Rainey.

Hey, can you do us a favor and be sure to “like” this podcast? Think of someone you know who would be encouraged by what you’re hearing, and share it with them.
Dennis: And I just want to remind our listeners that Ever Thine Home is all about helping you handle life’s load. And this podcast, hopefully, has been helpful. There are a lot of things Barbara has written and recorded on video and audio and written materials that will benefit you. We’d love to have you check it out, and maybe even become a subscriber. Some of these podcasts are going to be behind a curtain, so to speak, for those who want to hear the rest of the story and for those who are willing to help us defer some of the expenses of this podcast. Barbara and I don’t take a penny from doing this podcast. We raise our own support to work here.

If you're interested in becoming a subscriber, go to Thanks for listening.

Samantha: You can subscribe for just $5 a month. That will give you access to the entire series Growing Older Without Becoming Old. Also, you’ll receive the Scripture cards called “Whispers From God to Me,” absolutely free. These cards are daily reminders of the truth of God’s presence with you. The set comes with 23 verses that Barbara has found especially helpful in hard seasons, and 8 additional designs of blank cards you can add verses or truths for you to remind yourself of God's promises or His provision or whatever you wish. They would also make a thoughtful gift for someone in your life who might need a little Whisper from God.

Again, the cards and access to the entire “Growing Older” series are yours when you subscribe to Barbara’s “Friends and Family” at

And we hope you’ll join us on part seven, as we continue exploring this concept of what Barbara calls “accumulated losses.” She’ll point out that our losses are not just major things like the death of a loved one, but also the smaller frustrations that can happen as we age.

I’m Samantha, inviting you back for more of Growing Older Without Becoming Old, here on the Barbara Rainey Podcast, from Ever Thine Home.