Video Interview: Family Wholeness – Justice Collective’s Interview
Family wholeness is a KEY to life. We discuss how healthy family dynamics, relationships and community are central to people thriving.
LANCE: Yes! I’m really excited to be sitting down with Barry and Lori Byrne. Good morning to the two of you. How are you?
BARRY: Morning, Lance.
LORI: Great to be with you.
BARRY: Doing good, yeah.
LANCE: Yeah, thanks for jumping in. Really, really excited to have the two of you. I feel like there’s so much for us to pursue together. We’re in this space of talking about family wholeness, and you guys have been running healthy relational dynamics in our environment for, I mean, thirteen, fifteen plus years, doing Love After Marriage workshops, courses, Single Life Workshops. So, we’re going to jump into that – things that you guys have learned over the years working in that space. But also, I just have a ton of respect for you as a husband and a wife and as parents to children. I just see so much health and life in your family and have admired the way you guys go about your business in that space for a long time. So, I’m just excited to sit down and talk with you guys about family wholeness. So, welcome. Thanks for being with us.
BARRY: Thanks, Lance. You know, just one real quick comment is I appreciate you saying that, at least what you observe from our family and stuff, because we really want it to be that way. We want our ministry – we feel like God has told us that our ministry has really come out of our lives and our family, and we want it to be that way. We don’t want to be teaching stuff that we’re not at least practicing. Even if we don’t do it perfectly, we at least want to be practicing it in our own lives.
LANCE: Absolutely. Yeah, I mean, I would not assume perfection is in that home, but I just see the health and the life, and I’ve been connected to your sons. And yeah, so much respect; so excited to crack this open. Again, we feel like family wholeness is the key, so we’re addressing all kinds of issues – conversations around social injustice or areas where things are just kind of off or askew in our generation.
LANCE: The deeper we look, it’s like, “Wow. Most of the human suffering on the planet has some connection to family dynamics.” And so, where families are thriving, people are typically thriving. Where families are in disrepair, typically people are in disrepair.
BARRY & LORI: Yeah.
LANCE: So, I feel like no better people to talk to than the two of you. What have you guys observed over the years of running marriage workshops, Single Life workshops – maybe we’ll start with the single side of it. Like, what do you think it takes for people to get ready to do marriage well? And I’m sure you could talk for twenty hours on that one question.
BARRY: We do. In our workshops, we do. You know, I’ll start with the name of our ministry, Nothing Hidden Ministries, and that really is a description of the Greek word for truth. Living in truth and love – you start that way in a relationship. And actually, it’s exactly the same thing we teach married couples and singles. Many married couples didn’t start that way; they need to kind of go back and get things set up. But living really openly, like, “I’m not hiding anything from you.” What we hide is the things we’re ashamed of, the things we feel guilty about, not the things we’re proud of. And so, when we hide those things, it just has a dramatic and far-reaching effect on relationship. It affects intimacy. It affects oneness, ultimately, in marriage. It affects, you know, where you feel trust in each other and whether you can go on living confidently with each other – just being truthful so you can trust each other; you can trust each other’s words. You can, you know, trust each other’s relationship to God.
LORI: Yeah. I think, too – you know, singles are the biggest people group on the planet.
LORI: And we minister to singles eighteen to eighty-one because they’re still single – you know, whether they’re divorced, single parents, never married, whatever it is. And this is going to sound like a Sunday School answer, but we just see – the longer we live, the more we see – you have got to have a significant relationship with Jesus Christ to be able to navigate health in relationships. And what Jesus does is He even goes back with us and takes care of the bad history of all the trauma, of all the – he makes us clear and clean to be able to be ready for intimacy. And that’s what we do with singles, is we follow Holy Spirit because He knows what they need; we don’t know. They’re all different; they all need something different. But He is really the glue that holds us together and makes us significant.
LANCE: Yeah. And when you’re rooted and grounded, like your connection to the Lord is authentic, it seems like it’s a little bit easier to not hide.
BARRY: Yeah, absolutely.
LORI: Yeah, that’s a good point.
LANCE: And the acceptance in the Beloved creates, “Here I am,” right?
BARRY: Yeah. Those are key words, Lance, when you say “authentic and grounded” because religion and going to church will really probably work to your disadvantage, if that’s as far as your faith goes. If it’s real superficial, your relationships will be superficial. But if we really, in whatever way we can, get to know the Lord – through His word, through worship, through time with Him – and He becomes real, then He will be guiding our lives.
BARRY: And I’ll say for me, as a licensed marriage and family therapist, you know, I have a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in counseling. And those things still work in the background somewhere, because people have done a lot of observation and study of human nature and how people work, and it helps to – with understanding, it helps to help people explain other people – what’s going on, the dynamic, so that you have a little bit of understanding of why things are the way they are. But then, again, in my opinion, secular therapy falls short in the area of real healing and bringing healing, and this is where the Lord comes in. And people who are really open to Him can – we can take the understanding and then help them go beyond that. And not only understanding things naturally, but understanding what’s going on spiritually behind the scenes that is really coming out and working its way out in the relationship. But then you can bring healing spiritually to them.
LORI: The other important thing for singles is they need to be in a strong family. And everybody goes, “Well, I don’t have a strong family.” So many people on the planet, they don’t even know what that looks like. But that’s why your connection with God is so important, because He is a master at putting the lonely in families, putting singles in families. We watch it happen all the time. We had people living with us that were single with our four boys. We started that when they were young. You know, we had all kinds of people in our home, sometimes in the boys’ bedroom with them. God is not going to overlook you if you’ve had a hard beginning, and your family has not been worthy of being able to build you up and encourage you and love you and nurture you. But God is going to come through and do that. We watch Him do that all the time. And so, it’s important for singles to be looking for that. And I recommend, you know, ask Holy Spirit to lead you to a good church, to a place where you can become a part of a community, a part of a tribe, a part of a family. And that’s huge for them to be able to. God will use that to re-pattern what’s gone on in their lives, to prepare them for marriage.
LANCE: Yeah. Well, I love this foundation, the basis of not hiding – understanding like, “I can be vulnerable. I can bring my dirty laundry into the light.” I think shame is a real dynamic in our culture. Performance is a huge driver for many of us and especially the broken, especially those that have not had a good scenario at home or whatever. It’s like we want to hide that stuff.
LANCE: We don’t want to be telling everybody, “Yeah, it didn’t work out very well for me.” We’re trying to like create a better story, and oftentimes creating that better story looks like putting on a happy face.
LANCE: I love this. It’s like, be open. And would you say – you know, just shifting quickly into marriage stuff – as you’re working with married couples, is that one of the bigger dynamics? It’s like, as they’re able to just be open, there’s a lot of life, and [with] the inability to be open, there’s a lot of demise.
BARRY: You know, I really couldn’t tell you how many people – you know, we’ve been doing workshops since 2008, marriage workshops with literally thousands of people. And other people we’ve trained have been doing them with many others. But we often find that people in the workshops will talk about things they’ve kept hidden through their whole marriage.
BARRY: And they finally – and there’s just a grace. There’s an anointing; that’s all I can say. God’s choosing to anoint this at this time for people to say, “Okay, I never told you…” This really surprised me, Lance, of how many people have confessed to affairs for the first time in a Love After Marriage workshop, and God brings healing.
LORI: In that week.
BARRY: Yeah. And boy, I don’t want to jump around too much, but just another issue connected with this – you know, I spent thirty years doing marriage and family therapy, and God used it in a lot of ways in people’s lives. But what I did not realize or believe is that God would do as much and more in a community, in a believing community where people are sharing with each other. And we give them tools to use, and they’re bringing healing to each other. And so, they open up, and people respond in truth and love with the other people. They respond not only with – they don’t give advice; they basically say, “Okay, let’s see what God wants to do here to help you.” And then they bring people into wholeness and health if they want it; it’s always a choice. Everybody has a choice whether or not they want it. Not everybody wants to; not everybody wants to expose the truth. Jesus made that comment in John chapter 3 where He said, “This is the testimony against the world…that men love darkness rather than light. And they wouldn’t come to light lest their deeds be exposed because their deeds were wrought in evil.” And some people really hold on to that; they’re afraid. But if they’re not afraid, and they go to the light, they can receive healing.
LANCE: Wow. Well, it sounds like community is like a big piece of the puzzle.
BARRY: It is. You’re absolutely right. Even – I would say, Lance, there are people that I worked with in individual marriage counseling and stuff, and I just had a hard time breaking through. And I referred them – I recommended LAM to them, and they came. And in community – community is more powerful than one-on-one counseling in my opinion. I’ve seen it many times in terms of breaking through shame and guilt and all that. When you confess to a community, and a community accepts you, it’s a lot more powerful than one therapist who’s vowed to confidentiality, you know? And the community is a really big deal more than we thought it would be when we started.
LORI: When the people share that thing they swore they would never tell anyone, that has just ravaged their lives all these years, and they look around at the faces of the people that are in their small group, and they realize that they don’t – it’s not just spoken words, but they can feel the love, the acceptance, the lack of condemnation, being understood for the first time, being heard for the first time. And honestly, Lance, if we think about this, this is how God wants the Body of Christ to be. This is where we need to be to be able to create healthy families, because the world is going to see Jesus through family.
LANCE: Well, and you know, what we’re talking about right now though – I mean, wouldn’t this be the picture of a healthy family?
LANCE: I think so many of us grew up in family dynamics, or experienced family dynamics, where you sweep it under the rug and performance like, “If we mess up, we can’t talk about [it.]” So maybe let’s go there. In your guys’ home, did you guys see some of the stuff you’re doing with LAM and Single Life? Was that operative in your home? Like, is that a space where – or is that like, “Whoa, hey, it’s harder to do it there, because these are our…”
BARRY. It is harder. It is harder.
LANCE: It is harder. I mean, I think we would all say it’s harder.
BARRY: Yeah. And unfortunately, many times our worst comes out at home where we feel the safest and all that. But honestly, Lance, the best we could, our ministry came out of our home life,
BARRY: and out of things that the Lord was teaching me in my counseling, things He was teaching me in the Word of God. And we practice these things in our lives; we practiced them the best we could with our kids. And I would say building relationship, open relationship, is one of our strengths. There’s other areas of parenting that other people do better than us.
BARRY: You know, motivating their kids to prosper and things like that. You know, we did okay, but it definitely wasn’t one of our strengths. But in terms of building relationship, our boys really are – we have four sons; we haven’t said that. They’re all adults. Our oldest is forty-one. And I remember when you were a lot younger, Lance.
LANCE: Yeah, I used to be a little bit younger, but…
BARRY: Yes, you did.
LORI: So did we.
LANCE: Time has flown.
BARRY: Yeah. And our youngest is – he just turned thirty-five. So they’re all young adults. Three of the four of them are married. But they’re best friends; they’re really good friends to this day. They’re very open with each other. They talk to each other and enjoy being each other; they challenge each other. So, I feel like we did something good there.
LANCE: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah, you definitely did. And so, yes, it’s harder at home. So, let’s talk about that, though. It’s harder at home. However, what were you guys doing at home that fostered that sense of openness and vulnerability? Did you recognize things that – you know, I know all of our children have unique needs, but did you recognize things that your boys needed that you were able to pour into and pay attention to? Now we’re talking about parenting even.
BARRY: Yeah. You know what I think always needs to be the first step in parenting and raising a family? The parents have to be willing to deal with their own stuff.
BARRY: Because if they don’t, they just pass on the junk that they got. And every one of us has junk. And we’ve had junk that our boys will have to deal with, you know, before they pass it on. And be honest about ourselves. And so, we were honest. You know, it wasn’t this way in my family. It was more of that way in Lori’s family where they were more open. My family was very closed, and it was very much performance oriented. Probably again, this is one of the benefits of my training in psychology, is that it did teach me to be aware, self-aware, and to be able to communicate about what’s going on in my internal world, not just the external.
BARRY: So, we would talk and share about ourselves – not the things that were personal just between the two of us, but things that were going on. And the other part is giving our boys a voice.
BARRY: Giving them a voice in the family. There were times where I thought, “Man, I wish I’d just raised my family like my parents did and kept my boys quiet so I didn’t have to deal with their voice.” You know, I’d feel that way at times. It was like they would just – because they would have a voice, and many times it was hard work dealing with what they were thinking and feeling and, you know, challenging and stuff.
LORI: And every one of our boys had strong opinions. Like if we were going to go out to eat somewhere, we’d have to sit there and go back and forth because everybody felt so strongly about everything.
BARRY: And I knew it really wasn’t better, but sometimes I’d just get weary of the challenging or the questioning or whatever in giving them a voice. So I think that’s one of the things that helped them to feel valued, to feel like part of the family, to be invested in the family, and to know that they could actually have influence in the family if it’s good. Which to me – this is another little tangent, but the whole concept of headship as a man being the head of the home, that’s part of my responsibility. My spiritual headship is not about making decisions for my family; that is not how Jesus led as the head. Headship, I believe, fully exists; it’s a New Testament teaching. But my role is to represent Jesus in our home and to make sure He is brought out, drawn out as much as possible. And so, if God is speaking through our youngest son when He’s five years old, I have to listen to that and say, “That’s God,” and follow that even if I never thought of that. Or if He’s speaking through Lori, I have to say, “That’s God.” We have to do that, because that’s God speaking to you through that.
LANCE: That’s good.
LORI: We were very intentional from the very beginning. I think both of us were raised that way, but in our own personal relationship with the Lord, we just knew that we wanted our kids to know Jesus. And so, we had a regular devotional time, and that’s what we called it back then. And, you know, they were – I can remember them, all four of them, being in their little tighty-whities, doing headstands and jumping off the couch and doing – I mean it didn’t look like a, you know, a devotional time. But it was so important for me as a mom, being with them every day – because I got to stay home with them – but to, you know, share about God when they walked by the way, when they came in, when they left, when they sat down, when they laid down, when they rose up. And so, that was a really important thing to us at a very young age. We’ve reenacted the crucifixion. When Caleb was about three or four –
BARRY: I had to crucify one of our sons; it was hard to pick, but we had to – I’m just kidding.
LANCE: That sounds intense!
LORI: We did kind of crazy things, but we loved family. We loved being together. We liked making an atmosphere of family. We like decorating for Thanksgiving and for Christmas. And to this day, our boys will come in and go, “Uh, Mom, we need a little more Christmas in that corner.” You know, it’s kind of like you just start – we did things that we were passionate about, and because we were passionate about it, they followed.
LANCE: Yeah. I love that. Talk about – without throwing any of them under the bus, talk about when they failed and the vulnerability and the – like, how do we work with natural weakness in each other? Again, I don’t want you to tell their bad stories, but –
LORI: I can tell a bad story, and I know he wouldn’t mind this.
LORI: But the Lord really was so involved because our boys were firecrackers. You know, I mean they were – some of them were more firecrackers than others. But I remember just feeling like – well, there were two times where the Lord gave me dreams about what was going on in one of our boys’ lives, and they were not telling us, you know, or they hadn’t told their brothers, which usually they tell somebody. And I can remember a time with Jeremy when the Lord just showed me – I can’t take time to explain this dream, but I knew that some of the people he was hanging out with weren’t good. And we had a time with Justin, too –
BARRY: Yeah, where the Lord gave me a vision.
LORI: It’s like the Lord was so involved in – because, you know, they would have gone off if we had not been there, been in their lives, pursued them, had regular time with them, knew them. But even that we wouldn’t have known had the Lord not – as I’m saying this, I’m thinking about three or four times where the Lord just gave us information, and then we went to them and talked to them. And it just opened everything up, and then we were able to deal with it. And these were things that they had decided to keep hidden.
LANCE: And they were open with you in that process…
BARRY: You know, I want to share – I would say generally we did pretty good at that. But also, I think of a time where we found out two of our boys started looking at pornography on the internet, and I did not react well. I reacted very – I think in my mind, I thought it was the fear of the Lord or the anger of the Lord, but it was really the anger of Barry.
LORI: We were not – and I was fearful. We were not acting in a Godly way when we heard this information.
BARRY: And it was like, “This is not going to happen in our home. You are not going to do – ” you know…
LORI: And I’m going, “How could you do this and bring this into our house?”
BARRY: And then a couple of their friends were over, and we said, “You need to go home,” and just acted very authoritative. And it’s not that it was – you know, there’s not anything good about it, but the way that we handled it. And even one of our other sons who was not involved with it, it really scared him.
BARRY: And I think it shut him down in that area.
LORI: Because he thought, “Man, I don’t want to ever talk about this if this happens to me.”
BARRY: So, you know, that was – you know, and I’m sure that there were other times, too. But that was, I think, a significant one where I wasn’t able to do what we wanted to do. I could have better gone to them and talked to them and said, “Okay. What are you guys doing? What do you think – you know, what’s this going to do? Why are you looking at this?” And just hear them. You know, a lot of kids, it’s not – you know, at that point, it’s whatever it is – curiosity, this or that. Obviously it can lead – that what starts with curiosity can lead to something really bad. But I could have worked with them. Instead I think I pretty much shut it down.
LANCE: So, talk about – I think this is so good that this is coming up. So, talk about the difference between the way you handled that and the way you handled the dreams that you’ve been given. Like what – obviously with the [former] it’s going to shut someone down.
LANCE: I mean, Lori, you just said it; it’s like, “We were not acting Godly.” And then you used the word fearful. So, you’re like acting out of fear.
LANCE: And it shuts everyone down; they feel huge shame.
LANCE: Now, what happened in the other scenario that elicited…
BARRY: Let me just say, too, a couple other words. We were very authoritative, dictatorial, in the name of God, you know, kind of doing it. And then –
LORI: Not good.
BARRY: And the other one –
LANCE: It doesn’t work.
BARRY: No. Well, most of the time it doesn’t work.
LANCE: It creates all that stuff you’re seeing in your workshops where people hold the truth from someone for – whatever, twenty years.
BARRY: Yeah, yeah. It’s true. It generally shuts people down in relationship.
LANCE: What did you do in those in the other instance that elicited vulnerability and openness?
LORI: Well, I remember one of the dreams I had. Our oldest son, Caleb, was on the basketball team, and there was a very tough coach. And I know all coaches are tough, but this guy was – he was even a Christian, and he was very ungodly. And he was not – it was not in a good way. And it was so much so that I had this dream. And in the dream, Caleb is just crying. And he doesn’t cry, you know; he’s a junior in high school. And he’s upset, and it all has to do with his coach and all of that. And so, that’s all the Lord gave me. So, I went to him, and I go, “Caleb, I had this dream about you.” And he just kind of looks down as I’m telling it, and he says, “Mom,” he says, “that’s how I feel. You know, I feel like I’m stuck. I’ve been trying to figure out how I could break my arm so I could get off of the team.” And Caleb is not a quitter, you know, and I went, “Whoa!” So we said, “Okay. Let’s go to breakfast, and let’s talk about this.” And we just talked, and we kind of prayed, and we said, “You know, we will support you with whatever you decide. You need to make a decision about this.” And long story short, he ends up making the decision to get off the team. And it was so healing for several of the other players on the team to be able to then step out and be courageous and say, “You know what? I’m not going to do this. I’m off of this. I’m not going to be treated like this anymore.” And that coach eventually lost his job and had all kinds of things happen to him.
But it was so good because, you know, there’s so many things that come to our children that even as – you know, Caleb was a junior or a senior at that point, and you think they’d figure that out. But you know, we as adults don’t figure these things out. So, to be alone with things like that and not be able to talk about it because of what you said – because of shame, “Well, you know, I should be strong enough,” or, “I should be courageous enough,” or whatever. But as the Lord gave me that dream, it opened Caleb up to be able to say what was going on, and we were able to help him pinpoint, “This is good; this isn’t.”
BARRY: Yeah. And even let him make – be really involved in making the decision. It would have been easy – probably would have been easy for me to say, “Caleb, you need to finish. You just need to – ”
LORI: It would have been easy for me to say, “Get out of there.”
BARRY: Yeah. “You need to just, you know, kind of –
LANCE: Sure, I understand that.
BARRY: “Buck up and finish.”
LORI: He needed to hear Holy Spirit, though.
BARRY: And it’s interesting. To this day, Caleb is probably one of the most competitive, athletically. He just hates to lose. He loves playing basketball still; he loves playing volleyball still. But he has also –
LORI: You have probably played with him.
LANCE: Oh, yeah. We’ve competed a ton.
LANCE: He’s a great athlete, and he’s good at what he’s doing.
BARRY: But he’s also extremely relational – probably as relational as any of our kids and very tender hearted.
LORI: Very kind.
BARRY: And so that just aided him. The coach’s words and the coach’s, you know, kind of making fun and humiliating and all that – that part of it really, really wore on him.
LANCE: Yeah. Well, that’s a beautiful story. That’s amazing how revelation, like, brought you guys close to each other.
BARRY & LORI: Yes. Yes.
LANCE: Because I think sometimes when we’re in relationships where there is a rub, that is the challenge, like, “How do I approach this thing that is not working for us?” Whether it’s our marriage, whether it’s our parenting dynamics, like, “How do I approach it?” So, yeah, I love what you guys model. It’s like, “Well, maybe the Holy Spirit can open the conversation.”
BARRY: You know what, I want to say this, too, Lance. Just, I think it may be really important for some people out there. It’s a hard thing to decide, but when we were living in Southern California – during most of the time we’re talking to you here – our next-door neighbors had a young girl who was a couple years older than Caleb, our oldest.
BARRY: And we just – you know, and actually there were some other kids down the street, too, that we just had a check in our spirit about them and their family. Then we learned some things; we ended up telling them, “Don’t ever go into Suzanne’s house.”
BARRY: “Never go into her house, okay?” And then there were some other kids, we really limited them. And later we found out, when Suzanne went into high school, immediately she started having kids over in front of our house and using drugs and all this stuff. And we found out her mother was having sex with the young men that…
LORI: Because she was selling the drugs.
BARRY: Yeah, she was selling drugs, too. And then I was thinking of – oh, shoot, there was another example I was thinking of, where we were cautioned and really set a limit on them and ended up protecting them from something that could have been really… Oh, I remember. It was one of the young men that our sons were hanging out with, and we knew him. His father was a psychologist.
LORI: This was junior high and grade school.
BARRY: Yeah. And especially Jeremy connected with this guy. He’s a risk taker, and Jeremy’s a risk taker and all this stuff. And actually, it was one time the Lord gave me a vision. We were going to bed, and all of a sudden, I saw our son Justin coming into our room, crying like he had hurt himself. Well, this kid, literally thirty minutes, forty-five minutes later, came over to our house at like 9:30 at night.
LORI: After you told him, “No, they can’t talk on the phone; they’re in bed.”
BARRY: I said, “It’s too late.”
LORI: “It’s too late.” He comes over to our house…
BARRY: …and convinced them to go out of the house. They go down to the school, and it’s innocent. They’re swinging on the flagpole, running across the street. Justin falls and gets this great big gash on his knee; we have to take him to the hospital to get it taken care of. And it was like, okay –
LORI: He came in the middle – just like Barry’s vision, in the middle of the night, he’s coming in, and he’s crying.
BARRY: A couple hours later. And so, we just – now that was a situation where we said, “You know what? You cannot hang out with this guy; at least for the summer, you cannot hang out with this guy.”
LORI: We met with his family.
BARRY: Well, we wanted to meet with his mother and father. The father, who was a psychologist, would not meet with us and talk, which is interesting. But the mother met with us. And that boy, he ended up – he didn’t finish high school. He got into all kinds of trouble before he was – well, in his high school years and stuff. And so, I just wanted to say that while we want to listen and understand, we also do need to set boundaries and protect our kids as well.
LORI: And I just want to say about that, too – because we cared about that kid, and we set it up so that he had an opportunity to make good in his relationship with Jeremy. But we gave them a hiatus for the summer. We said, “We’re going to take a break. And then if you are doing okay, then we [will] let [you] come back and be with Jeremy.” Because we wanted – you know, we wanted to give him – we knew he was in pain; we knew he was hurting, you know? And he even – you know, he says, “I’m not going to live past thirty.” I mean, he just – you know, he had no support, no help, and so we were trying to navigate that at the same time. But it was probably a really strategic thing of the Lord to have us put the brakes on at that point, even though that seemed… But you know, we got the families together. We sat the boys down, and we talked with him about it. And we were able to, you know, just encourage him in some way. But it was a very significant shift for Jeremy.
LANCE: Yeah, and it sounded like that guy, that boy, needed what you guys are talking about. He needed community. He needed support.
BARRY & LORI: Yeah.
LANCE: He needed a place where there were boundaries, where he could be vulnerable and receive strength.
LANCE: But it’s like he wasn’t getting that in some way.
BARRY: I have one other story I think will be really valuable for other parents listening to this because this was a hard one for us. When our son Jeremy, our second son, Jeremy – do you know Jeremy?
LANCE: I do.
BARRY: Yeah. He’s our second son. He is our most adventurous. He is our firecracker. He’s also the shortest, but he’s kind of the wildest. He’s also the most fun – in some ways, the most fun. But anyway, when he was going into junior high, between sixth and seventh grade, he came to us. And this was back before this was really, really popular. And he says, “I want to dye my hair blonde and get an earring.” You know, and at that time, kids – some in high school and college were doing this, and it’s like he is way beyond his years.
LORI: We’re going, “Where – why do you want to do that? Where did you get this?”
BARRY: Yeah. So, we sat and talked with him for at least an hour, asking him all kinds of questions and saying, “Why do you want to do this?” Like Lori was saying. “Do you know that a lot of kids that do this end up rebelling? A lot of kids that do this end up, you know, not doing well in school. Some kids, you know, it’s an act of rebellion,” this and that. And he says, “I know.” “And do you know that some people are going to judge you for this?” He goes, “I know. I don’t care.” You know, and –
LORI: And you do need to say – at that point in his life, he was doing fine in school. He had good friends. He was not in a rebellious state. And so, we said, “Okay. You know, we’re going to let you try this. But if we see anything shift, it’s going to be gone.” But tell them the part about you couldn’t find it in Scripture.
BARRY: No. Well, we talked and talked, and I thought, “The only reason I would say no to him is because of what people would say to us about him – ”
LORI: Because we would be embarrassed, or –
BARRY: what other Christians would say to us about our son, and that happened. So we ended up letting him go, and he did it. And he had his blonde hair and his earring for a few years, and then it was gone, you know?
LORI: But we had other people – there was a little boy who was friends with our younger son; the mom heard about Jeremy doing this and said, “You can’t go over to his house,” you know? Or there’s another friend who was a pastor, and he goes, “You used to be –
BARRY: “I thought you were a good boy.”
LORI: “I thought you were a good boy, but you’re a bad boy,” you know? I mean, just making – and it was teaching Jeremy, too, about – they weren’t even looking at his heart; they were just looking at the outside. So he was learning all kinds of things about that as well.
BARRY: So that was challenging for us because we knew we were going to have to face some criticism, which we did. And I remember one person that said, “Oh, he’s going to rebel. I can tell you, he’s going to rebel.” You know, a Christian leader, actually. And he actually had a time away from the Lord, but I don’t believe it was because of that at all. It was actually him trying to find the Lord in a deeper way.
LORI: And you released him to do that, too. On a Christmas morning, you said, “Jeremy, we are going to release you to find God in your own way.”
BARRY: Yeah, and he has; he’s come back really strong.
LORI: And so for two years, he was praying to the universe
LORI: and looking for God.
BARRY: But you know, even during that time, he did not go headlong into sin. He just kind of pulled back in his relationship with God.
BARRY: In his time of whatever – rebellion or turning away from the Lord.
LORI: And we stayed the most connected to him that we’d ever been with him, ever. We were on the phone with him, and he still wanted relationship with us. We didn’t talk about God a lot. I remember one time, Jeremy was saying, “I’m god. You’re god.” And we didn’t usually try to get into those scuffles at that time, but Barry couldn’t help it. He goes, “Jeremy, I know God, and you are not Him.”
BARRY: But you know, I think, Lance, one of the things that is important in family and relationships, and family and parenting, all of it, is – when we need the other people to take care of us and our reputation, rather than letting them live their own lives. And that’s not easy to do when their lives do reflect us.
BARRY: They do. In other people’s eyes, they do reflect us. And trying to separate that is a real important thing, and it’s really a difficult thing, a challenging thing. But that example with Jeremy would be one that we thought, “Okay. The only reason would be because of how it would affect us, and that isn’t a good enough reason.”
LORI: We couldn’t justify it.
LANCE: Well, yeah, you’re grounded people. That’s beautiful. It’s interesting how, I mean, how much the feedback you’re bringing up was connected to people’s, yeah, just surface judgments. Like, “Wait, you’re a good boy. You’re a bad boy.” But not really seeing each other’s hearts. Let’s talk about marriage a little bit. So obviously you have that baseline of nothing hidden, walking in truth, vulnerability. Sounds like if people are doing that, they’re probably on their way to some healthy marriage dynamics.
BARRY & LORI: Yeah.
LANCE: What else would you guys bring up, as we’re coming close to the end of our conversation, that you would say are like tools, things that you recognize that keep the marriage healthy?
BARRY: Yeah. I’d like to add to what you were saying. It’s always truth and love.
BARRY: A lot of people today emphasize love all by itself.
BARRY: [It’s] not really explained; it’s not defined. It’s always truth and love. But there’s actually a truth that doesn’t have God’s love which is cruel and mean and just judges people, you know? “I’ll tell you whatever I think,” that kind of thing, you know? And it doesn’t care about the person, just tells truth. But there’s also a love that accepts things that God does not accept and does not include His truth in it. So, it’s always truth and love together.
LANCE: That’s good.
BARRY: And then actually in Ephesians 4:15 it says, “Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him Who is the head, even Christ.” So truth and love together, working those out, is a key to maturing and becoming Christ-like. So, we do that in our marriage and our relationships, and that will be a whole lot better.
LANCE: That’s beautiful.
LORI: One of the things that we found out to be so important is – two things. Number one, just the tool of forgiveness.
LORI: And that’s not even – we don’t use this tool with each other; we have another tool to reconcile. Because when you’re together, you’re not going to go, “And then you did this, and you did this and this.” But forgiveness really – if you have a parent that was, you know, very abusive to you, or you were in a church that was very abusive, or whatever it is, forgiveness is like key for you to be able to be whole enough to remain connected. Because those things keep working, and it steals intimacy because you’re seeing through the grid of unforgiveness. You’re not seeing accurately, and you’re certainly not seeing through God’s grid. And so, that is going to hinder you. If you also are not willing to own up on your own stuff and say, “You know what? I did this to you. This is what I did that was wrong, and I’m really – ” not just sorry, but, you know, “This is what you went through because I did that to you. You felt this. It caused you to do this. It was – ” You know, you start really getting inside of each other and being able to express what it cost them when you did that. And that is a tool – we started creating these tools because that is a tool that reconnects your heart after you’ve been hurt. And how many times do we hurt ourselves with each other, and do we hurt our kids, you know? It’s like, I feel like a really important thing that God led us to is He helped us create a whole set of tools to help us deal with stuff spiritually. And that has made such a difference in people’s lives. I know it’s made a huge difference in our life. I feel like we would have been so much better as parents and even in our own relationship if we’d had the tools that we have created now.
BARRY: The other thing – uh, well, there’s several others things. So, there’s reconciliation, tools for working through conflict – two very different things. We talk a lot about healthy, Godly sexuality.
BARRY: We want people to see that – it’s so perverse, so misrepresented in the world in general that people are confused; young people are confused. And being very open about that is a real tool. And many, many people have told us, “Oh – ” without saying, “You just wait till you’re married,” they say, “Now I see why it’s good to wait and what you get from waiting,” that kind of thing. One of the real fundamental teachings that we have is – I mean it started with my mind is understanding sin as a spiritual force in the world, not just our behavior.
BARRY: But the bottom line is dealing with things that come to us and remembering who the real enemy is.
BARRY: The enemy likes to make our spouse the enemy. He likes to make our kids the enemy. He likes to make our boyfriend or girlfriend the enemy instead of us standing together against the enemy.
BARRY: Remembering we are one, and we’re going to stand together against him. And so, we each about that and have a tool to be able to do that. And it’s just a real fundamental perspective for a relationship.
LANCE: Yeah, which all these things sound so practical, so empowering. Where would people find you guys? Where would they connect to some of the resources you guys have developed? I know people can take workshops with you, but is there also just maybe books or curriculum that they can purchase?
BARRY: Sure, there is. Yeah, our website is nothinghidden.com.
BARRY: And all of our events are on there; people can sign up for events – not only here, domestically, but internationally. We have people in different countries running our ministry as well. We have a book, Love After Marriage. But honestly, a lot of singles have bought it because it’s just about fundamentals of relationship, from a married perspective in there. But it’s what you’re going to end up with if you want to be married anyway – where you’re going to end up. We have eCourses that people can purchase and do on their own, you know.
LANCE: Are those also on the website, or is that a social media?
BARRY: Yeah, this is on the website.
LORI: It’s all on the website.
LORI: We recommend the book because it’s the cheapest exit in. And it’s written like a workshop for a husband and a wife to do together. And I know people that have – I know somebody – they came up to us, and they said you know, just praying the prayers – because we lead them through all kinds of things like we do in the workshop – he was completely delivered of pornography and sleeping with prostitutes after they prayed this prayer in the book. And so – because we never wanted to do a book because we’re so hands on with people.
LORI: But that is probably one of the easiest ways. And then you read it, and you find out what it’s about. But you also are getting – people get whole and healed from that, too.
BARRY: We also have an app; it’s just called Nothing Hidden Ministries, and it is all of our tools. And a lot of people can get those and use them. And it helps, usually, to go hear the teachings as well, and a lot of them are linked to the teachings. They can purchase a lot of the teachings individually as well. But you know, if you go through a workshop, you’ll really get to practice the tools and be taught. But a lot of people just get the tool booklet and just start using the tools. And [it’s] $2.99.
LORI: And the app is called Nothing Hidden Ministries. That’s the name of it – the tool app.
BARRY: That links to our website and to our itinerary and all different things like that, too.
LANCE: Yeah. Well, again, like I led with – so much to talk about. I feel like we could keep going for a lot longer. Anything that you guys want to say as we wrap up, just parting thoughts, again [on] family wholeness? So much, so many nuggets you guys have shared. This is really empowering.
BARRY: Thanks, Lance.
LORI: I thought of this before, and I feel like I’m still supposed to say it. We have learned and seen – the evidence of a healthy, vibrant, passionate relationship in your marriage is the greatest gift you can give to your kids.
LORI: And the marriage is the core of the family.
LORI: And so – and then, you know, we get into being whole – spiritually as one, emotionally one, and sexually one. And so, just realizing – if you want to start somewhere, get the book and start strengthening your marriage. Because that is going to carry over, and it will affect your kids almost immediately. They will see changes. We have testimonies of that. And so, yeah, that’s the best gift we can give our kids, ever.
LANCE: It sounds profound and really simple, like a really clear target.
BARRY: And I guess I would just say I’m just very thankful for – I honestly feel, Lance, that our relationship, our marriage, our family is a gift from God that we’ve tried to steward. Actually – and now I’m just remembering this – one of the first prophetic words we got is that our family would be a sign and a wonder.
BARRY: And so that’s something that God’s given to us that we have had the steward, and we’re still working at doing that. But it’s a privilege to do that. Our mission statement is to guide people into spiritual, relational and sexual wholeness, and that’s what we want to do. And to me, it’s a privilege to do that, and the best we can, give away all the good things that God has given to us.
LANCE: It’s beautiful. Yeah, I mean, I couldn’t recommend more highly these guys. The resources that they’ve been offering for years, this stuff is tested. I mean, I’m sure you can feel it in the forty minutes we’ve been talking; there’s just a lot of nuggets here, a lot of life. I will say as we’re wrapping up, because we barely breezed over it, and I’m really glad you brought that up, Barry – like what these two are broaching and opening up in the realm of sexual wholeness, you know, is just beyond vital, so vital. I do think the church for a long time has kept that kind of stuff on the sidelines, and these two have brought it right out in front and center. And yeah, it’s a big piece of our humanity, isn’t it?
BARRY & LORI: Yeah, yeah.
LANCE: So, yeah. Again, I appreciate your guys’ time. Again, [nothinghidden.com]; there’s also an app, Nothing Hidden Ministries. You can find them – yeah, please.
BARRY: The website is just nothinghidden.com.
LANCE: Okay, thank you – nothinghidden.com. And the app is Nothing Hidden Ministries.
LANCE: Yeah. And so, I want to make that clear because I think there’s so much more to these guys. They’ve just barely scratched the surface, and we’ve just seen a lot of life being released from the two of them. Thank you, guys. Really good to have this conversation.
LORI: Thank you for having us.
LANCE: Appreciate all your wisdom, just the love that you guys walk in. Such an example to me.
BARRY: Thanks, Lance. Appreciate it.
LANCE: And with that, I’m going to say goodbye.
LANCE: Okay. Goodbye. Peace.
LANCE: Thanks, Lori.