Can I Build Up the Men in My Life? With Becky Thompson and Mark Pitts [Episode 166]

Build Up Men Becky Thompson Mark Pitts

GIVEAWAY ALERT: You can win the book Midnight Dad Devotional by this week’s podcast guest. Keep reading to find out how!

There seems to be an encouragement deficit in our world today. Wouldn’t you agree? All the time, we hear how we can improve this or how we should stop doing that, but less often are we told we’re doing something right!

Just a simple pat on the back goes a long way. And do you know who I think could really use some encouragement? Men.

I want to be part of building up the men in my life, and I know you do too.

So, on today’s episode of the 4:13 Podcast, we’ll hear from the authors of a book that was written to affirm men.

Dr. Mark Pitts and Becky Thompson get really practical about how to encourage a dad, how a man can find the wisdom he needs from Scripture, and how men can resolve to be the best fathers they can be.

So if there’s a man in your life who needs encouragement—your dad, husband, son, or even a neighbor whom you’ve claimed as your own—then this episode will help point you in the right direction.

But first, let me introduce you to this father-daughter author team…

Becky Thompson is a best-selling author and the creator of the Midnight Mom Devotional online community, gathering over one million moms in nightly prayer. She’s the host of the Revived Motherhood Podcast and she lives near Nashville, Tennessee with her husband, Jared, and their three children.

Dr. Mark Pitts is a graduate of the University of Tulsa Law School. He’s an ordained pastor and a well-known Bible teacher in the Oklahoma City, Oklahoma area where he lives with his wife, Susan. They have been married for 41 years and have two adult daughters and three grandchildren. In 2019, Mark created the Midnight Dad Devotional online community.

Today, I get to speak with Mark and Becky about their book, Midnight Dad Devotional: 100 Devotions and Prayers to Connect Dads Just Like You to the Father.

But the great thing is that this book—and our conversation—isn’t about “how to be a good dad.” It’s about how men in general are called and created by God. Yet this is so easy to lose sight of. Men need to be reminded of who they are, built up, and encouraged to be the man who God called them to be. We talk about…

  • What do men struggle with the most, and are these struggles unique to men?
  • How does God being our Heavenly Father serve as an encouragement to dads?
  • How does being a mom inform me about how God sees dads?
  • What’s the impact of complaining about a man’s work or his role in the family?
  • What does the Bible say about being a man, and is he capable of fulfilling this role?
  • What do you say to a dad who feels like a failure?
  • Do I value the men in my life, and how does that affect the way I treat them?
  • What are practical things I can do to help build up the men in my life?

If you haven’t realized it yet, a woman’s influence on the men in her life is huge! Her words can either build them up or tear them down, and sometimes those words can be daggers that cut deep.

Encouragement, on the other hand, is a powerful weapon against the enemy’s lies and his plan to steal, kill, and destroy. And when you encourage someone, you grant them the courage they need to take a step forward in spite of the past. Becky says:

There is never a yesterday so heavy that tomorrow can’t be better.
There is nothing you’ve been through that disqualifies you from beginning again.

I love this because it’s not too late for you, and it’s not too late for the men in your life.

Throughout this conversation, you’ll hear it’s more about being than doing—that is, being in relationship with our Heavenly Father—because being in relationship with Him enables our doing. And our Father is willing and able to help us encourage others.

As Becky mentions in this podcast, “You can do this because God already has provided everything you need.” This is as true for you as it is for the men she’s referring to.

So, you can build up the men in your life, because you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.

[Listen to the podcast using the player above, or read the transcript below. Then check out the links below for more helpful resources.]


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Episode Transcript

 

4:13 Podcast: Can I Build Up the Men in My Life? With Becky Thompson and Mark Pitts [Episode 166]

Jennifer Rothschild: You know, I think there's an encouragement deficit in our world today. You know, we hear all the time how we can improve this or how we should stop doing that, but less often do we get caught doing something right. Just a simple pat on the back goes a long way. And you know who I think could really use some encouragement these days? Men.

K.C. Wright: Amen.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. I want to be part of building up the men in my life, and I know you do, too. So on today's podcast, we're going hear from the authors of "Midnight Dad." Dr. Mark Pitts and Becky Thompson get real practical about how to encourage a dad or how a man can find the wisdom he needs from Scripture and how men can resolve to be the best fathers and the best men that they can be. Really good stuff today. So, K.C., let's get this started.

K.C. Wright: Welcome to the 4:13 Podcast, where practical encouragement and Biblical wisdom set you up to live the "I Can" life, because you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength. Now, welcome your host, Jennifer Rothchild.

Jennifer Rothschild: Welcome, everybody. That was K.C. Wright. I affectionately call him my seeing eye guy. And we are super happy that you are here today. Really, our day gets better when you show up. And I'm very happy that we're talking about this today, because I think it's an overlooked subject and I think it's something that's really needed. I mean, encouragement in general is needed because we have such a toxic environment on social media and everybody just assumes that we need to be us versus them and polarized, and we're just not very quick to encourage each other. And so I think it's a powerful weapon against the enemy's lies and the enemy's plan to steal, kill, and destroy. And, you know, I was noticing -- many years ago, K.C., I had a guide dog. Okay? So those of you who don't know that I'm blind, I had a guide dog many years ago, and my guide dog's name was William. Yes. Sounds like he should have been a president rather than a guide dog. But anyway, William the guide dog. One day when we were training -- I had to live at what I call the dog school for a month. And at this dog school, one day we were learning just navigating city streets. Okay. Well, this was in Florida. It was so hot. It was July. And so I've got William, I'm holding his harness and we're walking. And every now and then I'd reach down, I'd squirt some water in his mouth, because it was hot and he was thirsty. And every time I would do that, he would respond, he'd wag his tail a little more. Well, the longer we walked, the slower he got. And so every time he slowed down, I would say, "Come on, William, you can do it. Come on, William," and he'd walk a little faster.

K.C. Wright: Yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: And it was awesome, right? Well, after this has gone on for way too long in the hot July sun, he was not responding to water, he was not responding to the verbal encouragement, and so, K.C., I reached down and I just kind of petted his head and played with his ears, as we're trying to walk so slowly, and I said, "William, you can do it." And as soon as I touched him and pet him, that dog bound like a puppy and was pulling me along and we were going so fast. And I thought that is such a picture of encouragement, you know. Because when you really encourage someone, you grant them the courage they need to take the next step to walk faster, to be who they are. I mean, that dog had it in him, right?

K.C. Wright: Yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: But all the circumstances were sucking all of his life out of him because it was so hot. But encouragement gave him what he needed to walk at the pace that he needed to walk. And, y'all, I have always remembered that hot day in July, because it's a beautiful picture of how men are called and created by God, but they need to be reminded of who they are, built up, encouraged to be those men. And I think that this conversation today is really going to give you practical ways to do that and just affirm the men in our lives.

K.C. Wright: Well, let me introduce you to this father-daughter author team. Becky Thompson is a bestselling author and the creator of the Midnight Mom Devotional Community, gathering over 1 million moms in nightly prayer. She's the host of Revived Motherhood Podcast, and she lives now near Nashville with her husband, Jared, and their three children, Dr. Mark Pitts is a graduate of the University of Tulsa Law School. He's an ordained pastor and a well-known Bible teacher in the Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, area, where he lives with his wife, Susan. They have been married for 41 years and have two adult daughters and three grandchildren. And in 2019, Mark created the "Midnight Dad Devotional" online community, that I'm a part of, that has encouraged me beyond words. And now he, Becky, and Jennifer are talking about this latest book, the "Midnight Dad Devotional." Let's listen in.

Jennifer Rothschild: All right, you two, I'm just so glad I get to talk to you about this because I have such a heart for men. I mean, I've got sons and grandsons, and I miss my Hero Dad even now, and so I love that you're ministering to men, and especially to dads. So I already talked about it, but our listeners know you've got this online community, "Midnight Dad." And so I'm very curious, what -- based on the feedback that you're getting from men, what do you think it is that today dads are struggling with the very most?

Mark Pitts: I think dads are struggling the most with the things dads struggle with. And I know that's sort of a -- you know, ask a question to answer a question, but they struggle with what's going to happen tomorrow. They struggle with how they're going to take care of their family. They struggle with their own relationship with their Heavenly Father. They struggle with the types of things that they've always struggled with. What we've attempted to do is acknowledge that men have their own difficulties, their own hardships, their own views on the world, their own desire to take care of their families, and at the end of the day, that's what they want to do, they want to be able -- because they understand -- I believe men understand that when they took on a family, so to speak, that they had a supernatural responsibility to take care of that family, and they want to make sure that they're doing it and that they're doing it well. That's their story.

Jennifer Rothschild: You know, I've seen that just in my relationships. And I appreciate that you're acknowledging this. I really appreciate that you're giving men a place to just acknowledge who they are and be able to support each other. And I wonder, if you could boil it down, what is your main message to encourage dads in their fatherhood journeys?

Mark Pitts: The main message is what I hoped to accomplish, what I hoped men to pick up, was that they can do this. The aspirational aspect of a god -- of a dad, that they would aspire to reach up and touch their Heavenly Father and have a relationship with him. And that the words that are in the book, the words that we share every night on the "Midnight Dad" Devotional Facebook page, that they would be inspired to do that. Sometimes it takes just a little bit of encouragement for a dad who thinks he's doing it okay, or maybe he doesn't and he doesn't know how to turn to his Heavenly Father. What we wanted to do was to be able to say you can do this.

Becky Thompson: Yeah, that with the work -- with the love of their Heavenly Father, you know, that as they reach up and reach out for what God is offering, that they have a picture in their heart that he's already come, you know, that he's already there with them, helping them face every difficulty. And, Jennifer, that's the difference. I think a big difference, between what moms go through, and dads, and men and women, is that I think in a woman's heart we often look back at yesterday and replay a lot of what's going on from the day before. And just in what I've learned from working on this with my dad is that I'm realizing how forward thinking the heart of a man is and how he's always looking at what might come tomorrow, planning and preparing the best that he can. And so the message that we have really endeavored to summarize and just make sure it's evident in every one of the devotions is that you can do this because God already has provided everything you need. So as you look for tomorrow, we want you to see your Heavenly Father already waiting for you in that space.

Jennifer Rothschild: That's such a good message. And it's so good for women especially, whether you're a mom or a sister or a wife or a daughter. So good to hear this, to know how to affirm and build up the man in your life. Because we have boys, and growing up I used to say to them, when they would leave for school or whatever it was, "4:13." And that was like our family code. It meant Philippians 4:13. Well, obviously, thus the name of this podcast. Because it is true, it is through Christ's power in you -- he has already done this, we just get to agree with it -- and you can. What an affirmation. And there's a deficit of encouragement, I believe, and this is just such a great way to build in that encouragement. Okay, so lots of dads, I believe, are just feeling out how to do fatherhood well, you know? And so I know sometimes they're just not really sure where to look for a good father example because not everybody has had one. But the Bible talks about God is our Father, and so that could be pretty intimidating or it could be encouraging. So how can that reality that God is Father be an encouragement to dads?

Mark Pitts: I think that more than anything else, he has to have a sense -- he has to have a sense going in that his Heavenly Father is for him.

Becky Thompson: Yeah.

Mark Pitts: His Heavenly Father is for him. He may be other worldly, he may be in heaven. How do I reach up to God? How does this work? Maybe I have, maybe I haven't. Maybe my own earthly father hasn't been a particularly good role model. Maybe he has, and still yet I'm relying on God because I have a family. I think that he has to have an understanding that this is possible. But he also has to have -- there are a lot of tasks that dads have to do, and I think they get caught up in the task nature of being a father. But fatherhood is a heart example. Fatherhood -- I believe that a dad will succeed if he wants to succeed at being a father. He will succeed. He can fail. But if he wants to succeed -- and this is the story in all of the devotions in the book -- it is an opportunity to succeed. In all of the circumstances, God has met someone and answered their prayer, provided for them, took care of them. And in the devotions, each man, each dad, can see a certain aspect of himself in the devotion and see how God met a need in a man in Scripture and know that that is available for him at the same time.

Becky Thompson: And that's why each devotion isn't just built around a situation a dad might face, even though they're kind of titled that way in the book. We actually found examples of people in Scripture that God had encountered, that he had met relationally. And the idea of the book and our ministry as a whole is really to connect the heart of a man to his Heavenly Father in a way that is practical. Because we can talk all about how important it is to reach up and reach out and connect. But when you see how God gave supernatural strength in a moment of struggle in the Word of God, we can be confident that he'll do the same for this dad or this man too. When we can see how God gave supernatural wisdom in a time when a man just didn't know what to do, but God showed him a clear path, the dad can see, or the man can see, that God will give wisdom to those who ask, as James 1:5 reminds us. And so as we provide these practical connection points, I think it's so important for the man, the father, to see that God isn't out there, he is right here, and he's always been right here with a hundred different opportunities to connect to his heart in so many practical and yet powerful ways.

Jennifer Rothschild: What I love about your book, it's really a resource. And what a great gift. What a great way. I asked earlier about just being affirming to the men and the dads in your life, but just this book alone is a real gift of affirmation because it is so practical. And men are so practical. Okay, so let me stay with you for a second here, Becky. Because I love the dynamic that you and your dad have worked together on this book. I'm curious for you personally, what was the main message that you as a mom wanted to communicate to dads about just how God sees them?

Becky Thompson: What I really wanted men to know was that they were worth encouraging. You know, I think there is an abundance of material and encouragement out there for moms, for women. We seek it. We go after it. And I'm not sure that dads necessarily are scrolling Amazon going, "What can I find to bring me hope?" as often as women are. But, you know, as we created this resource, one of the things and a hallmark of our ministry is that we never complain about the work that a man does, or complain about the role that a man plays in a family. And the importance of this is -- you know, as wives and women, it's so easy to see ourselves and see what we're going through and see how we need them in a certain way. But we wanted this book to be something that a wife could hand to her husband, that a mom could hand to her son and say, Do you know how the Father sees you? Do you see how he calls you loved and calls you "Son"? Because these are 100 devotions that are for the father's heart, or really for any man's heart who wants to lead in any sort of even spiritual way and be a spiritual father. But the reality is, we wanted these men to know that God sees them first as a son. So these aren't parenting devotions. This isn't about how to be a good dad. It's actually about how to be a fantastic son. Because you can only know how to father if you know the Father himself.

Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, that's so good. I just appreciate this. I'm a boy mom. I'm just so appreciative this, y'all. I think you've really hit a chord of real need. Well, let me ask Mark -- this is a question for you, Mark, because you are a dad, obviously. What a beautiful relationship you have with Becky. I just love that. But I am curious for you over the years, how do you think fatherhood has changed? How does it look different today from what you observed from when it was -- when you were raising your kids?

Mark Pitts: As I've gotten older, I've realized that it takes effort to be a father. I can learn how to do certain things, but my heart has to expand in order to express my relationship with my Heavenly Father to my children. And while I have two daughters, I think that it's important to know that not every -- not every father has a son, but he still has to have the heart to express himself and to have that relationship with his Heavenly Father and be able to pour that out into his children. And so I believe that as I was growing up, dads spent time with their children. I believe that they tried to understand and be a good provider and even a good caregiver. But I believe that the culture has changed to some degree, and our lives have changed to such a degree, and especially in ministry has changed to such a degree that we want -- I believe dads are looking around and they're seeing that they need to just -- I'm just going to say -- step up. They need to step up and be the dad, to be the father. And we taught our children -- when I was younger, we taught our children to step up and be a man. But I believe that even as we have spoken here in the past, we need to tell our sons to step up and be a dad.

Jennifer Rothschild: You know, Mark, it's real interesting -- and Becky -- when you are saying that, that's actually so Biblical in that -- I was just studying in 1 Corinthians 16:13, and the verse literally -- this is fresh on my mind, that's why I'm sharing this.

Mark Pitts: That's just fine.

Jennifer Rothschild: The beginning of it says to stand firm in your faith -- or I'm sorry. To be on your guard, stand firm in your faith, and then it says, "Be courageous," and then, "Be strong." It's just those four phrases. Well, that third phrase that says, "Be courageous," in the literal Greek, the original Greek, it's "andrízomai," which means "be a man." Literally it means "play the man." And when you look at that context culturally of what a man was, he was the one who stepped up. He was the one who was the ultimate shelter and protector. He was the one who wasn't going to run and hide, but he would stand up for his family. And that shows up emotionally, physically, financially, in every way. And so it is so Biblical just to truly be a man, no matter what gender you are, to really live with that kind of courageous and trust in God.

Mark Pitts: I like to tell men that being a father is hard work. He may have -- he may do hard work. He probably does hard work. He's raising a family. He works hard now. He works hard in doing the types of things that the world requires of him. But being a father is hard work and requires emotion and it requires a spirit. It requires a place where not all men believe they can get to. And that was one of the reasons why we wrote the book, to tell men that they can -- not just they can do this, but they can get there. It is in their heart. It is in a man's heart to be a father. God tells us that throughout Scripture, that it should be in a man's heart to want to be a father. We give up on that sometimes because it is hard work. But God tells us that we can be the father that he is to them if we will merely look to him -- I say merely. If we will always look to him and see the example that he is in our lives, and that this dad reading this book can see where he can be that dad.

Jennifer Rothschild: What would you say, Mark, though, to the man who -- maybe his kids have launched and he's got an empty nest, and he's, in place of that, got a ton of regret and he's feeling like a failure. What would you say to that dad?

Mark Pitts: My children have launched, and I am still seeking to be the best dad I can be because it's -- I have become a much better father by knowing that my Heavenly Father lives next to me, or near me or in me or around me. So I want to continually have that relationship because I'm going to be a better man. I'm going to be a better man by being the best father I can be in the Scripture that you just related. It is my desire to be the best man I can be, and I will be the best father I can be. So when I talk to men about this book, I tell them that you are what God created. He breathed into you the breath of life and he breathed himself into you. And he still wants us -- whether our children have flown, he still wants us to express and to project that life that God breathed into us.

Becky Thompson: And can I piggyback on what you just said there? Because I think it's so important as the daughter who has left the nest. My dad hasn't ever stopped parenting me or fathering me. And I'm 34 years old. And just before we started our conversation here, I was sharing with you, Jennifer, how I was sick last week and they got on a plane and they came and they, you know, met me across the country because they were like, "My girl is sick." And I'm like, "I'm the mama now." But they're like, "No, you'll always be our daughter." And so, you know, the idea here is that there is never a yesterday so heavy that tomorrow can't still be better. There is nothing that you've been through in the past that disqualifies you from being able to begin again. And that is the ultimate testimony of Scripture. That's the proof and the evidence of what Jesus did for us. And so while I don't feel quite qualified to speak into the regretting heart of a father who has grown children, I can speak into the regret of today and say that, you know, I feel like it's the same, but the promise is also the same. The regret we feel might come in different varieties, but the hope and the promise and the healing is the same eternal hope, which is that you never get so far that you can't stop and begin again. So for the dad or even the mom or the wife or the husband listening who says, "I wish I had been that" -- fill in the blank. "I wish I had been a better" -- fill in the blank. "I wish I had that relationship that they're talking about. I don't even know where to start." You know, I love what my dad said about this is what God wants for you. And because it's what God wants for you, he'll help you begin and move forward into it, whether you're on day a thousand or you're on day one, you know, of this journey of turning our heart toward the Father and saying, I want to be the version of me that's the one that is in your heart, God. I want to be the best dad or mom or daughter or son.

Jennifer Rothschild: You know what I hear you two saying, underlying everything you say, is this is more about being than doing. Just being in the relationship with your Heavenly Father and he accomplishes the work through you as your relationship with him, as you just be the son or be the daughter. His mercies are new every morning. So encouraging. All right, I got to get us to our final question, though. I could listen to you all or hours because this is just such a good stuff. Final question. And I'm going to want both of your perspectives on this. Okay? So what do you think is one thing that a wife or a mom, just any female family member, can say or can do to build up the men in their lives?

Mark Pitts: The word that comes to me always in this question is "respect." Men are called to love their wives. There is a responsibility because they were loved first. And they are supposed to love their wives because God loved us. I believe that a wife is supposed to receive that love. In the form and in the fashion that it comes, they respect their husband. They respect who he is as a man. They respect and believe that God has spoken to them. Now, I understand this can be turned and twisted and spoke of in unfortunate ways. But I believe that a wife must, should --

Becky Thompson: Can.

Mark Pitts: -- can --

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.

Mark Pitts: -- can respect her husband for who he is and acknowledge his strengths without reminding him of his weaknesses.

Jennifer Rothschild: Good.

Becky Thompson: Yeah.

Mark Pitts: Respect.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay. That's so good. All right. Follow that, Becky.

Becky Thompson: I know, right? What's one way -- I'm like, what was the question? What was the question? What's one --

Mark Pitts: Stretch. Stretch.

Becky Thompson: What's one way? Yeah, I think even just going back to what I said a little bit earlier about reminding your husband that he is worth encouraging is so important. Reminding her husband that she sees him where he is and the role he plays, which I still think is part of respect. I always share this little story about how, you know, when we begin to turn our attention toward encouraging the father, we have to say -- you know, there needs to be a place in a wife or a mom's heart where she goes, "Oh, you need some help too, don't you?" Like, I get so caught up in what I need. And it's just the truth, it's just the way it is. We get to focus on the kids and taking care of them. And it's almost like, can you just be okay for a while, 'cause I'm going to -- I just need you to handle whatever it is you're going through on your own because I've got full eyes and attention on these kids. And I feel like there is something so important just about simply a wife saying to her husband, I know that it might not have been easy today, and I have room in my heart to help carry your burdens in love by giving you space to be honest about maybe how hard today has been. So I think sometimes the most encouraging thing that we can say is, hey, you know, it's okay if you haven't had a good day. Like, it's okay if it wasn't the best. It's okay if you struggled a little bit today. Like, I don't think less of you as a man because you need your Heavenly Father, you know. And so I feel like that -- if I could say anything to her about a way that she could encourage him, it would simply be what Dad said -- I'll make it sound like it was my idea, not yours -- which is that you can remind him of his strengths and encourage him without bringing up his weaknesses. And you can speak up to him. I think that's so important. Which is a hallmark of everything we do.

K.C. Wright: Well, as a dad, let me tell you, I just can't say it strongly enough. Amen. And an Amen to the Amen. Amen? This is meeting such a need, and I'm so grateful. I want to constantly know the love of my Heavenly Father and I want to love like him. This book is such a great gift to the man in your life. There's no fluff, just short Biblical encouragements. And we'll have a link to it now at the show notes. But you guessed it, we're giving one away.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.

K.C. Wright: You get a book, you get a book. You can enter to win at Jennifer's Instagram @jennrothschild. And we will also, of course, have a link to get you to Instagram at the show notes at 413podcast.com/166.

Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, my friends, I just thought this was such a great conversation, a unique conversation we have not had here on the 4:13, and I'm glad we've had it. And it's important that we have these conversations together. So remember that no matter what you face or how you feel, you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength? I can.

K.C. Wright: I can.

Jennifer and K.C.: And you can.

K.C. Wright: True story.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes, you can. I am getting -- well, I shouldn't say this on the podcast, but I'm going to get one for my son for Christmas, a devotional. It's perfect because he doesn't have time to do a lot of, you know, long reading.

K.C. Wright: Yeah. Hey, I was thinking too about encouragement, how sensitive I've tried to be over the years to just when Holy Spirit drops someone on your heart, to be quick to text them. Because there's a reason you got that little scratch on your heart. And almost nine out of ten times they will say, "I needed that," you know. And then how you feel when you receive an encouraging text. Little is much when God's in it. Just a breath away to encourage someone.

 

Go deeper into this week's question in my Bible Study Bistro Facebook group. There's a community of 4:13ers waiting for you!