The Day Dr. Phil Called

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
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“Hello?” I said.

“May I speak to Dena Dyer?” a male voice asked.

“Speaking,” I answered, rolling my eyes. Definitely a telemarketer.

“I’m one of Dr. Phil’s producers,” the man said. “We’d like to talk to you about an upcoming show.”

I sat down. Quickly.

“Really?” I answered, my voice shaking. I took a deep breath and remembered what I must look like—in sweats, my dirty hair in a ball cap, no makeup. Good thing we’re not on a videoconference.

The producer explained that he’d found me through my blog while searching for guests for an episode on motherhood. He asked me to fill out a questionnaire I’d receive via email. “If we think you’re a fit, we’ll talk to you about details like travel and accommodations,” he said.

After thanking him for contacting me, I hung up and jumped around the room. This was big-time. This was… amazing. Dr. Phil’s people contacted me. A mom-blogger from a small Texas town.

In the decade prior, I had published a few books and, in the process, fell in love with doing radio interviews. I’d even appeared on a couple of local television shows. But my dream was to do a national show.

However, my books sales hadn’t been stellar, and over the past three years, my agent hadn’t been able to sell a single proposal to a publisher. I’d prayed about my career, wondering if I would have to give it up. I didn’t want to. For months I had acted like a spoiled brat, complete with pouting, complaining, and crying.

Finally, after much struggling, I told God He could do whatever He willed with the passion He gave me. God gave me the desire to write. He created me the way I was. Surely He could be trusted with my future.

And now: this phone call. Surely a reward from God, I reasoned. Appearing on a highly-rated show meant increased exposure for my books. On a huge secular platform, I could reach out to so many more women, encouraging moms to seek Jesus in the midst of their busyness. Maybe Robin McGraw would endorse my next book!

It was enough to make my head spin.

But later that day, I received the questionnaire, and my heart sank. It was obvious that Oprah’s favorite psychologist was searching for moms who had one of two opinions: 1) Stay-at-home moms work the hardest and do what’s right by their kids; or, 2) Working moms have it rough, and stay-at-home moms don’t have a clue.

Dr. Phil wanted conflict. Of course. Ramping up conflict is the best way to increase drama. Tension-filled episodes kept viewers riveted.

The problem was, I’d been both a stay-at-home and a work-outside-the-home mom. I’d seen both sides, and I knew that every mom does her best. No situation is perfect, and there are no easy answers. Mothering is just hard…period. That’s why we moms need Jesus.

That was the very reason I blogged, spoke to MOPS groups, and wrote books. I wanted moms to know they’re not alone, they’re not crazy, and that they have a perfect Friend to lean on through the chaos and beauty of modern motherhood.

So after letting the questionnaire sit in my in-box for a few hours and praying about my answers, I filled it out, told the truth as I saw it, and hit send.

Goodbye, Dr. Phil, I thought. It would have been nice knowing you.

Image by Davide Cassanello. Used with permission. Sourced via Flickr.

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