Tony and Lauren Dungy on Fostering 100 Children, and Their Secrets of Staying Together
Former NFL coach Tony Dungy and his wife Lauren recently opened up about their new book, talking about their personal experiences with trusting God and having faith in His plans.
The couple co-authored, Uncommon Influence: Saying Yes to a Purposeful Life, and share how serving God through foster care and adoption has allowed them to live a fuller life.
During an interview with Air 1 Radio, the Dungys explained that they've been fostering for over 30 years and currently have three children in their care. They also have eight adopted children in their household ages 6 to 21.
Lauren said it's been a "blessing" and "a rewarding experience."
"We believe that we're being obedient to God's calling on our lives," she told Air 1.
She later told the TODAY show in a separate interview, "We made that decision early on that when we were going to foster children, we wouldn't say 'no,' because we know the children are in crisis and they need a home. They need stability. They need love. So we opened our doors to the kids, and we've had over 100 children walk through our door."
Tony elaborated on the title of the book which follows a theme with the other "uncommon" books the couple has written together.
These include Uncommon: Finding Your Path to Significance, Uncommon Manhood: Secrets to What It Means to Be a Man, and Uncommon Marriage: What We've Learned about Lasting Love and Overcoming Life's Obstacles Together.
"We just think that Christianity – people can say 'It's weird.' People can say it's different. But Jesus said, 'We go down a narrow road,' and the path is not the broad path that the whole world is on," Tony pointed out. "So, we choose to look at that as not weird or different but, uncommon. And then with influence, we wanted to let people know that they can have an influence in their world in a lot of different ways."
In their latest book, the Dungys discuss why it's important to say "yes" to God.
"Saying yes means being obedient to God's calling," Lauren said. "He asks us, He requires us to be obedient and so we'll respond by hearing His voice and doing what He asks of us ... that's saying yes. It often involves sacrifices but that's what we do and Tony and I have done this our entire lives ... saying yes. It may be uncomfortable or we may have questions as we obediently answer to God but He doesn't take us down a path for nothing."
She continued, "He has a purpose and a plan for everything we do in life. Early on, He called us to use that platform with football. We had an audience and were able to influence and speak to many people but it comes with a price if you will. You have an audience and you can use it to build yourself up or you can point people to Christ and let them understand the calling is a purpose to give glory to God. We strive to do that and will continue doing that until we go home to be with Him."
Tony pointed out that it can be difficult for Christians to know when it's actually God's voice asking us to move forward with His plans for us.
"We just have to get used to listening and hearing and that's where prayer comes in. One thing Lauren and I talk about amongst ourselves is, is it something that is glorying God? Is it something that we're passionate about? And if both of those are yes, then there's a good chance we are hearing from the Lord."
Lauren said the desire to foster children happened early in their marriage while they were attending a church service.
"We both love children and are passionate about mentoring, supporting, and encouraging children and actually people of all ages," she explained. "When we heard about that great need, we decided to enroll in the classes, did the training and opened our home."
Despite their busy schedule, the Dungys say they're able to keep going with prayer and by making time for one another.
"It is challenging. Our secret is prayer. We start our day going before the Lord as a couple, praying together for each other. Learning from God. We all need wisdom and need to know what God would have us to do," Lauren said. "Once we start the day with prayer, things run pretty smoothly. We're always intentional about spending time together as couple.
She added, "If our whole lives revolve around the children and we don't take the time to enjoy each other, it could get challenging. It could get overwhelming, but we really make it a point at least a half hour, an hour of alone time without the kids. We do that every day. That really helps our household run smoothly. I think it's identifying what you need in your home to have things run with order."
Click here to listen to the full interview:
Uncommon Influence: Saying Yes to a Purposeful Life will be available for purchase on Aug. 9.
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