Session Transcript

Announcer: Thank you for listening to this message from True Woman ’08, Revive Our Hearts’ first national women’s conference. It’s our prayer that God blesses you with His Word and His heart as you listen.

Bob Lepine: Welcome ladies.

Hi Bob.

Bob: Now, let’s see. You’ve already met Mary Kassian and Karen Loritts who spoke yesterday morning. You just met Holly. And many of you were in Barbara Rainey’s workshop. Everybody say, “Hi Barbara.”

And Carolyn McCulley led the singles workshop. Say, “Hi Carolyn.” All right that’s good.

I kind of feel like I’m on the View, you know? I’ll be Whoopi. How’s that? Actually, maybe we’ll call this The Other View. You think?  

I have to tell you, yesterday while you all were in here, I felt like I really should not invade this place and be a man. I just felt a little out of place in here. But I was with you all day because I was live-streaming the conference here. So I was watching everything on the Internet and following along.

There was live blogging going on yesterday too. Tim Challies is doing live blogging of this event. Carolyn is doing some blogging as well. And last night as I watched, the blogging became interactive and we were able to share some of our impressions of what was going on.

You need to know there are more men watching this online than women. At least from the blog standpoint there are. I had this picture of all of these husbands looking over the back fence, right? What are they doing in there, right?

Anyway, it was fun to follow along on the blog. And I’m thrilled to have some time with you ladies.

Let me ask you as we start to think about highlights from our time together over the last day and a half. I want you to be thinking about highlights as well. In fact, on page 51 of your program there is an evaluation form that we’re going to ask you to fill out this morning. We’ll ask you to indicate what some of those highlights have been.

You can start filling that out any time. Later this morning we’re going to receive an offering. When the offering bucket goes by, you can put your evaluation in the offering bucket or you can leave it; there will be people standing at the door as you leave this morning.

We’re going to draw one of those evaluations out and somebody’s going to get a complete set of books from Nancy Leigh DeMoss. So that’s a little incentive to fill out that evaluation form.

But let me ask you about highlights. Who’d go first and say, “I’ve got one”? Carolyn.

Carolyn: I think my highlight was actually as a breakout session speaker. To go into these sessions and see women who were piled up the sides of the wall and down the aisles and on the floor who took it so seriously to have the opportunity for more teaching rather than to take that much desired nap or the opportunity for a long walk with a good friend.

To see women who are hungry to keep coming for more teaching throughout the day when I know we’ve had so much good material coming at us. It’s like a fire hose of information coming. I was really honored to see the women who chose to come to these sessions. For me that was a highlight.

Bob: Yesterday I was with a friend of mine who is single who was in your workshop. She said, “I was so glad to come here and have something for singles because so often you’ll come to something like this and singles aren’t acknowledged or there’s nothing for them.” Clap your hands if you’re single.

Tim Challies wrote on his site yesterday that when he got into the elevator to come down, he was the only man on the elevator. The first thing somebody said was, “Are you single?” And he’s not.

Who else—highlight? Barbara.

Barbara Rainey: Well, my highlight is the same as Carolyn’s, so I’m going to piggyback off her. It was just a delight to have so many empty-nest women come who were eager to learn about how they can use the second season of their lives for ministry. To watch them take notes and stay and ask questions was just so encouraging to me and to Susan [Yates] to see the eagerness to learn and the eagerness to grow and to want to do this right and want to give their lives to the Kingdom. It was really wonderful to watch.

Karen Loritts: You have to know that I have attended lots and lots of conferences for women. But this conference—I’m not just saying it—was so different. I think a couple of things that I was struck by . . . I was sitting up front, like third row from the front. You can get a sense that there was a hovering over this whole sanctuary.

And from Friday night . . .

Bob: We started Thursday.

Karen: Thursday night—whatever night it was—there was a change in the spirit of the conference. You can feel it. It was like a wave coming from the back. I believe it was because of the songs, the theology of the songs, the seriousness of the moment. I mean it was incredible. I was trying to keep my salvation a little low key. I didn’t want to blow everybody away, but it was really praise time.

You could really feel like we were here for business. We weren’t just here to check what color lipstick you’re wearing or that kind of thing. We were here to do business with God, and I really got that sense.

It came to a fever pitch as every speaker, the testimonies—it was just incredible.

Bob: Were you about to get a little “chars-ma-tic” on us there?

Karen: Yes.

Bob: Mary, how about you?

Mary Kassian: Well, I have been immersed in the whole topic of feminism for a very long time. So for me this is just, it is a profound experience because for the last 20 years I’ve been often feeling like I’m the only one standing there and taking the shots for it. So for God to raise up; and I’m looking out here and I’m going, “God, You are raising up an army, an army!”

Holly Elliff: Mine is really related to that because as Mary was speaking yesterday, I was standing way back there and listening to her share. As she shared the history [of feminism] and then turned the corner into that challenge realizing what God could do with these women who had His heart, I remembered a night several years ago when Mary and I and Nancy and I think maybe Kim was there. We’re all sitting on the floor in Nancy’s condo.

Mary: And Nancy was so sick. Remember that night?

Holly: She was so sick; she had her bathrobe on. We were all sitting in her condo chatting about how women had gotten to this place; why they had gotten there. As Mary shared the history part of it, it was like the Lord turned a light bulb on in my life.

What I’d been sensing and feeling for so many years suddenly made total sense, like God putting pieces of a puzzle together in my head. I saw that happening in this room yesterday—that was just an incredible moment for me.

Bob: Let me ask you all. If we could roll back the clock and put you back at high school graduation . . .

Mary: You don’t want to do that.

Carolyn: Seriously, bad hair day.

Bob: Let’s go back, and we’ll say it’s your high school graduation and you’re going to get a “do over” from high school graduation till today. The one thing you’d say, “If I could do the last x-number of years over, the one thing I would really try to do differently than I did it,” what would your do-over be? Do you know?

Carolyn?

Carolyn: I wish that I would have responded to the gospel. I wish I knew the Lord as a young woman rather than a convert at 30, although I’m very grateful that the Lord did intervene in my life.

But I look at the young women today and the teenagers I know who are on fire for the Lord and making a difference already in their generation. At those times I will look at them sometimes and weep, not out of self-pity but really just out of a sense of just profound joy at all the possibilities of what God can do through young women like that.

So that would be my main item I would love to have changed. I would have loved to have lived my life as a young woman as a believer.

Bob: You get a chance to work with a lot of single, young, believing women today. The pull of the culture on their lives makes living for Christ exponentially harder, it seems to me, than it might have been in another era and generation.

Is that primarily around issues of sexuality? Is it around issues of just what it means to be a woman? Where do you see that emerging as you talk to women in their 20’s who want to live for Christ but they don’t necessarily have a clear picture of what that means?

Carolyn: I definitely think it centers around issues of sexuality.

Mary: Identity, sexuality, “Who am I?”

Carolyn: Exactly. It used to be that the divide in our culture’s conversation was over economic and political issues—who had social control, class control, economic control. But in recent years it’s really over issues of sexuality and gender identity and issues of morality and immorality.

Bob: Okay, who else has a do-over? Do you know what you’d want to do as your do-over?

Holly: I think for my life, I wish I had become focused on what God desired for me earlier in my life. Of course, I might have had 16 children instead of eight if I had done that!

Of course, God is so faithful to redeem those years, and I’m grateful for that. But I would love it if I had known the truth that I know now a little earlier.

Bob: But you were a believer.

Holly: I was a believer.

Bob: You went into ministry right out of that, right? That seems pretty focused to me.

Holly: We got married in college, but my understanding was very shallow. I shared with the girls yesterday in my session on motherhood that really if I broke a fingernail, it was a crisis. I was very focused on myself. It took the Lord some years to show me why that mattered.

Barbara: My do-over would be that I wish that I had understood the power of studying God’s Word in my life sooner. I was so overwhelmed, as Holly was saying she was, with kids. I had six kids in ten years. I just was, I just was so tired all the time. I felt like there was no way out, and I felt like there was no help.

I was trying to do way too much of it on my own, on my own power and in my own strength. I didn’t understand the power of the Holy Spirit. I didn’t understand the power of God’s Word in my life.

I was at church every Sunday, so it wasn’t like I wasn’t hearing the Word. But I wasn’t in the Word the way that I needed to be for my own life and my own strength. I rationalized, “I’m just too busy. I’m too tired. I’ve got too many kids and too much to do. And I just can’t add that into my life.”

But looking back, I just realize what a source of strength being in God’s Word would have been for me as a young mom because I know now what  a source of strength it is because I’ve been in real serious Bible study for the last 20 years of my life. I think if I only had understood how valuable that would have been to me to have understood God at that level when I was in my 20’s and in my early 30’s, it would have made a great difference.

Bob: Was it personal devotional time or corporate study? If you could go back and redo your 20’s and be in the Word would it be a Precept or BSF or community Bible study, or your personal time, or what?

Barbara: Well, I tried to do a personal devotion time on a fairly regular basis. I felt like a failure though because I just couldn’t do it consistently. There were just too many interruptions with children.

I have learned about myself that I need to be in some kind of Bible study that requires accountability. In other words, I have to pay money to get the book and I have to be there at a certain time every week, because if I don’t have that I’m less likely to do it.

So yes, it would have been Precept or BSF or some other good inductive kind of Bible study where I was doing it on my own, not just reading a book about it. But I had the Bible in my hand and a pencil, and I was really studying God’s Word for me.

Bob: Got it. Karen?

Karen: I was going to say, for me, I think in the midst of raising our children, our very first child, I really struggled with my identity. I wish there were small groups that talked about womanhood, what it really was. It wasn’t how many diapers you changed, your potty training took off really quick. It was who God created you to be and I needed to have support groups or Bible studies to do that.

I really struggled with that because I was on staff for Campus Crusade for Christ. I thought if I make all the contacts on campus with the woman, that was great. But when I had children and I was pulled away from that campus ministry, then I thought I was a nobody, that I had lost my identity.

So I wish there would have been someone that had the courage enough to maybe have a true woman small group, something like that.

Bob: Like one of these women who had been here? How about you Mary? Have you got a do-over?

Mary: Well, I always had a really independent spirit. Just tell me what to do and I’ll put my back up against it. So I wish I had learned how to bow quicker because God had to whack me at the back of the knees a little bit to get me to learn how to kneel.

That wasn't just the case in my relationship with the Lord. I had to make some tough decisions. I was sharing with my daughter-in-law where I have come from in the marriage, my husband and I, where I defiantly just defiantly . . . Even if he would suggest something at the very first, it was an issue of my will and my willingness to obey the Lord that I had to deal with.

So I wish I would have learned before the truth that C.S. Lewis has said, “You stand taller when you bow in God’s economy.”

Bob: You needed a white handkerchief back then didn’t you?

Let me follow up on that with the married women who are up here. Living out biblical womanhood in your marriage—what’s the hardest part of that and how would you coach these younger women from your experience? Say, “Here’s what I would encourage you to do to really be God’s woman to your husband.”

I’ll start with you on that one.

Barbara: Well, that’s a hard question because there are lots of things that are difficult about marriage.  I have told all of my girls that if any of us knew how hard marriage really was before we got married, none of us would probably get married because it is much more difficult than we would ever believe it is when we’re planning a wedding and thinking about walking down the aisle in that white dress. I mean it was way more difficult than I thought.

One of the challenges for me has been to understand that my husband, that his desire for me and his desire for oneness with me was really a godly thing and that it was something that God built in him. I struggled a lot with our differences because we are so very different.

We’re different in our personalities. We’re different in our interests. If you put us on some personality chart system we would be opposite on every category.

So Dennis and I have this good complement because we do balance one another out. But we’re so very different. I fought against that for many, many years thinking that my way was the better way and that he should learn to do things my way.

Bob: How many can amen on that?

All right. See? Universal feeling for a lot.

Barbara: It is a universal feeling. One day I remember he told me, he said, “You know, there’s more than one way to do something.” He was speaking of loading the dishwasher. I thought because I had more practice that my way was better.

But I finally realized, he’s right. It really is not that important. I need to quit fighting over these things.

I learned how important oneness is in marriage and how hard it is to maintain oneness and unity in marriage. It’s a constant battle. It’s a constant dilemma trying to maintain that because our natural tendency is to drift away from another and to want to do our own thing and to be my own person. And yet, oneness is God’s goal and desire for us.

Bob: So what can a true woman do to pursue oneness and to make it a priority?

Barbara: A true woman needs to understand that oneness is God’s plan and design and that by pursuing an intimate relationship with your husband relationally, emotionally, spiritually, sexually, that you are pursuing God's design for marriage.

It’s hard to keep that in the front of our vision on a daily basis. But God knew what He was doing. There were plenty of times when I thought He did not know what He was doing, when He designed marriage the way He did. I thought He’d made some mistake.

But I’ve come to see that His plan is good. He knew what He was doing when He made man the way He made man and woman the way He made woman. When I submit to that plan and I trust Him that He knows what He’s doing, it’s better.

Bob: Dr. Piper painted a beautiful picture of that on Thursday night didn’t he?

Holly: I think mine would be a little related to what you were saying.

Bob: Closer to your mouth.

Holly: Closer to my mouth. A little later in my marriage as we started having more kids, I found that it was very, very difficult to balance loving my kids and loving my husband. If I wasn’t really careful, then my kids would overwhelm my husband’s needs and Billy would end up at the bottom of that list.

So I found that I had to make very conscious choice to still be his girlfriend and his lover and not just the exhausted mother of his children.

Bob: That’s a good word.

Karen: I was going to say for me as an African-American woman, I had a couple challenges. There was a racial challenge and a cultural challenge. Crawford and I come from two very different households. Crawford had a great mom who just loved Jesus and loved her family. She was not the June Cleaver, but she was the Claire Huxtable.

She actually wore white pearls and an apron every day, served her husband. Her husband was a man’s man. He loved his family, provided for them. He was just the picture of what you see in the Bible.

And God thought it was funny for Crawford and I to meet in college and for us to fall in love, this woman that comes from a single-parent family, low income. So He brought us together, and it was interesting the first couple years of marriage.

I couldn’t cry enough to get him to change. I couldn’t whine enough to get him to change because he was the man, and he was going to listen to what God said.

So I did a lot of crying on my knees saying, “God, I don’t know anything about this marriage thing, and that apostle Paul! That cannot be in my Bible, that he really meant those words! That’s a cultural thing, and that was back then.”

I was trying every which way to arrange the Scriptures, but I couldn’t do it. It had no pre-qualifiers based upon your race or your preferences or whatever. It was the Word of God.

So when it said submission, submission stuck in my mouth all the time. But I had to deal with Scriptures. It wasn’t about Karen battling Crawford—who’s right and who’s wrong. It was Karen, are you going to obey what the Scripture says?

I was really ready to be a bride, but I was unprepared to be a wife. So God took me to the woodshed lots of times. I did a lot of talking in the mirror. I stayed in the bathroom a lot.

But it was a challenge for me as an African-American woman. I had no role models. Women were the main event in our families. If you were a male, you stayed in the family because you were biologically born into the family. The women ate up the men.

So I had to struggle to bend my knee to God. Ultimately, my battle was not against Crawford; it was against what God said. And I had to say, “Yes, Lord.” So that’s what I’m still doing even today going on 38 years later. I love my husband dearly, but it’s always a choice that I have to make. I’m going to believe God and serve Him.

Bob: I think God has put in the heart of every woman a longing for safety and security. I think most women think, “The only way I can be safe and secure is what?”

Karen: Be in control.

Bob: If I’m in control. So I think part of the battle in marriage is a wife learning that she can be safe and secure and follow her husband’s leadership.

Karen: But you know what? This is the thing about the Holy Spirit. There would be nights that I would just go to battle with Crawford, nothing really out there but just my attitude. You know how we can freeze our husbands out ladies? You know that right? Yes, we can freeze these guys out.

But when I lay down at night when the lights were turned off, when I’d close my eyes the Holy Spirit got me. You can fool some people all the time, but you cannot fool the Holy Spirit that indwells every believer.

So I would be miserable, and it is miserable to be miserable. So it’s being honest with the Holy Spirit.

Bob: Mary, anything you would add to that in terms of the struggles being God’s woman in your marriage?

Mary: I’m glad you repeated the question. I couldn’t remember what it was. I was asking, “What was the question again?” But nobody really answers the question so it probably really doesn’t matter right? In interviews you can say whatever you want.

So let me say that just in terms of true womanhood just more globally, one of the things that was a real struggle for me was figuring out—because I went through university, professional degree, professional woman. Rehabilitation medicine was my background. And I also grew up in a Christian community.

But for me the whole question was, “What does it look like?” Because women now do wrestle with more decisions, and how do I live according to priorities, biblical priorities?

I’ve got a professional degree. I’m a professional woman. Culture is screaming at me what that should look like and what that means. So there were some really tough decisions. There were tough decisions that I had to make in terms of working through what does that look like? What does that mean?

Brent and I talked about that often and wrestled through that because I think the answers aren’t as clear. I think that we often think that it should look cookie cutter from relationship to relationship and person to person.

It would be so easy if we could come up with a list of what it looks like. But there is no list. God doesn’t give us a list—okay, it’s appropriate and the guys need to fix the cars, the women need to do this. He just doesn’t do that. He’s concerned about our hearts and gives us principles.

But then you wrestle with, “What does that look like and how do I live that out in my marriage?”

Bob: Let me ask you about tools and mentors—either people from a distance or people up close who have influenced your life or tools, books, messages you’ve heard maybe that have shaped your thinking about biblical womanhood. As you think about those tools and mentors, just what’s been most influential for you? Is there anything that comes to mind immediately?

Mary: I have a friend who is quite a bit older than I am. She has been just an incredible example to me just on how to live life. She’s a godly woman and she has modeled to me how to stay engaged over the long run and how to balance marriage and ministry and kids and how to retain having a passion for the Lord and to be missionally minded.

She is getting older in years and she is still missionally minded, thinking that God has a purpose and a reason and a plan and I’m going to pursue that right to the very end.

Bob: Do you go have lunch with her from time to time or what do you do?

Mary: I have lunch with her and I phone her. She’s just my hero, and I just ask her all sorts of questions. That’s actually one of my favorite questions is when I find an older woman who is walking in godliness I go:

  • How do you do that?
  • How do you retain that?
  • How do you love Jesus more at the end of your life than at the beginning?
  • How do you become refined in holiness?
  • How do you walk that path?”

I think that’s why the Bible has such a focus on female relationships, that mentoring relationship. I think we all need girlfriends that can challenge us and ask us the hard questions, comfort us when we need it, shore us up and strengthen us when we are just discouraged and just really challenge us to be strong and not be wimpy.

Bob: This older woman who is a friend of yours, did you just start asking her a bunch of questions? Or did you go to her and say, “Will you be my mentor?” Or did she come to you and say, “I’d like to mentor you”? How did that happen?

Mary: It’s nothing so formal. I mean, it’s not like here’s a contract; let’s mentor. It was just I thought she was just really cool. And so it was like, “Can I hang out?”

Bob: Carolyn, how about you?

Carolyn: Actually, I would say the marriages I saw in the first church where I became a Christian were so important to me because there I was, a former feminist and encountered with those passages in Ephesians about submission and no one thought it was a joke. They took it seriously. I was kind of concerned. What kind of church am I in?

But my pastor and his wife at that time and the numerous couples I became friends with really modeled for me what those Scriptures were supposed to look like. And though I’ve never had the privilege to be married, I’m taking applications if anyone knows single men.

Bob: You’re in the wrong room for that. I’m sorry.

Carolyn: You know, not necessarily. These women know some men.

Bob: Those guys who are live-blogging right now. Just take note of this, okay?

Carolyn: I shouldn’t have said anything. Anyway, I finished advertising for myself. I’ll move on to the question.

But it was watching those marriages. That’s why I want to encourage married couples to make the investments in single friends, to not forget that that form of mentoring is very important. It will model it for the next generation to get married.

Honestly, in a culture that doesn’t value marriage, the most important weapon in my opinion is married men reaching out and mentoring single men and saying, “This is the high view of marriage.” So go home and enlist your husbands.

Holly: I think for me it was beginning to have some relationship with women who were thinking women. And in that sense, kind of the sense that John Piper was talking about when he said, “If we have wimpy theology, we’re going to be wimpy women.”

I had never really wrestled with to the point of sound theology. And so Kay Arthur was one of those women who came into my life through Precepts. As I began to take some Precept training, as Barbara said, just getting into the Word and realizing what God had for me there and that the answers were there to questions I had. It didn’t have to be separate from who I was as a wife and a mother. God’s Word was applicable to my life and it meant something, and it changed things.

I didn’t ever want to go to sessions on motherhood because they were so depressing to me honestly. I wanted to be in something where I was learning something I thought was valuable. What happened during those years was that God blended those two things for me and showed me that motherhood was not separate from theology; it was part of my theology that God living His life out through that was connected to what I believed and what His Word said.

And putting all that together began to really change my thinking and shape my life.

Karen: For me God is so good. When I became a Christian as a young girl in junior high school, from junior high, high school, and college the Lord brought in my church—I left a really big church in Philadelphia and went to a smaller church that was changing, the neighborhood was changing.

But there was a group of people that stayed in the neighborhood when the color of the neighborhood was changing. I remember going to this church because they were getting out at 12:00. I didn’t want to stay in this other church all afternoon, so I went to this church that got out at 12:00.

So when I went as a young girl, the man who met me at the door was Pastor Peter Qua-chuck, a gentleman from the Ukraine that had left his Russian speaking church to stay in this community to keep this church going. And his family stayed there.

A year or so later a group from Hudson Taylor’s ministry moved two blocks from my home there in a suburban area of Philadelphia, and out of that missionaries came into our church. So I was discipled my junior high years, my high school, and college years by missionaries from China.

They invested in my life. There were four specific women, two of them single, two married. None of them had children and they were older women that just loved on me, showed me about love of evangelism and about community outreach, discipled me how to love your husband.

This was not anything formal. They just lived it and showed me because I was clueless. I didn’t have that in my background. So I had a lot of women invest their lives in me.

The last lady, when I was in college, introduced me to this guy named Crawford Loritts and said, “You have to meet him.” So because she was my disciple, I went ahead and met him, and the rest is history.

But that and also the Word of God. I just cannot say enough about the Word of God. The Word of God is true and it works. I used to put God on a 30-day plan. “God I’m dealing with this certain issue. I’m going to put You on the lay-away plan. God, in 30 days if something doesn’t work out for me, I know it doesn’t work.”

But God has been true, and so it’s the Word of God.

Barbara: For me, one of the women who was most influential in my life was a woman who was long distance from me, and that woman was Elisabeth Elliot. I read almost everything she wrote. I subscribed to her newsletter. I still have them bound in a notebook because I looked forward to those newsletters coming on a regular basis, and I would underline and highlight.

She discipled me long distance because of her life and the godly way that she lived. I thought, “I want to be like her.” So it was years before I finally met her. But from the very beginning, I loved her writings and I loved the way she was devoted totally and wholeheartedly to Christ, and I wanted to be like her.

Bob: Along those lines, apart from the Bible, and apart from any of the books that any of you have written or any of Nancy’s books, if you can give one book to all of these women here, do you know what it would be?

What would it be Carolyn?

Carolyn: It would be a book that I helped to draft, but I didn’t write it. And the reason why I say that is I had the privilege of listening to Carolyn Mahaney and all her teachings on Titus 2, and then turning that into the first draft of the book, and being immersed in hearing those virtues over and over.

She and her daughter, Nicole, finished that book. It is just spectacular. And for me that profoundly changed me because I realized I’m a woman made in the image of God, period. Marital status is added to that. My femininity is not conferred upon marriage. And that was such a profound thought to me. That book was a seminal book in my life.

Bob: That’s the book Feminine Appeal? Is that right?

Carolyn: Feminine Appeal.

Bob: Mary how about you?

Mary: The one that really profoundly affected me was not a book. It was an essay by C.S. Lewis called “Membership” just on membership in the Body and just a real understanding of masculinity and femininity and just how it related to understanding God.

The Lord brought me to a point; He brought me to a point of obedience first in terms of saying, “Yes, I will live according to Your Word.” And second, He brought me to a point of delight in saying, “Not only is Your Word good and right; it is beautiful, desirable, and it is best. It is what will bring me the most joy.” And C.S. Lewis’ essay on membership was very seminal in that.

Bob: Karen?

Karen: One of the books that has really been incredible in my life is the book, Legacy of Faith by Lydia Brownback. It’s about 21 women in the Bible, both Old and New Testament. There are some women that we are just familiar with and some women that we just don’t spend a lot of time.

It tells their stories on where they met God, on things that were good about their lives and challenges. But it’s really an incredible story about a cross-section of women and how they responded to various issues in the Bible. I really learned a lot and I always recommend that book, Legacy of Faith.

Bob: Barbara?

Barbara: I don’t have one that just stands out. But I will tell you what I’ve been reading lately. We’ve had a really difficult summer in our family. This summer one of our daughters had her first baby in June, and the baby only lived seven days.

We’ve all been journeying through the valley of the shadow of death in our family. So I’ve been doing some reading to understand why God might allow this, and we know He did. We knew He was sovereign.

In the course of the summer and all of the things I’ve read, I’ve read two different kinds of books. One is called A Grace Disguised.  I would highly recommend that to anyone who is going through a death or any kind of difficult loss. The author’s name is Jerry Sittser.

It’s been a powerful book to understand how God uses the difficult things in life, death, and any other kind of loss through divorce or bad health or whatever. God is building our soul. He’s building into the core of who we are through suffering and loss. So it’s an outstanding book.

But interestingly the other book, it’s actually a series that I’ve been reading since the summer are The Chronicles of Narnia. It’s been really fascinating in light of Molly’s death in June. I started reading them when the Prince Caspian movie came out in May. I thought, “I haven’t read those books since my kids were little, and I want to read them again.”

So I started reading them before Molly was born and continued after Molly died. They’ve been so lifting to my soul to be reminded of heaven and what God has prepared. And just to stretch my imagination again by reading those books has been delightful. It’s been hopeful. And it makes me long for heaven more than ever before.

Bob: Farther up and farther in right?

All right we talked about the priority of mentors in your lives. I’m going to turn the tables on you now, and we’re going to put 6,000 mentees, protégés in front you here. We’re going to let you be a 60-second mentor for these women. So you get one shot, one piece of advice.

They’re about to re-enter reality because this has been kind of un-reality. People make your bed for you, you know that kind of thing. You’re about to go back to the real world where people have needs. You’ve got one piece of solid advice. Who’s ready?

Barbara: I am. The most important thing that I’ve learned over the—how many years have I been a Christian? I’d say pushing 40—is the importance of walking in the power of the Holy Spirit and learning to listen to Him, learning to hear Him speak to you. I’ve realized in the last ten to fifteen years this more than I did earlier, and I wish I’d known it earlier. But He loves to speak to us. He wants to speak to us.

Jesus said in the gospel of John, “I will send a helper and he will remind you of all that I said. He will bring to your remembrance all that I have said.” And I need that. I need that every day of my life. It’s a joy to me when the Holy Spirit reminds me of something that Jesus said, reminds me of something that’s in the Bible.

So my prayer and hope for you is that you will depend on the Holy Spirit and that you will ask Him to speak to you. That you will say, “Holy Spirit, speak to me. Give me ears to hear and a heart to obey when You do speak to me.”

Karen: I would encourage all of you as you’re going home that you are in a holy huddle here for a while. Now you’re going back to reality. I would even suggest even extending maybe one more day over the weekend to keep that media fast because it’s still bad news. It hasn’t stopped since we’ve been sitting here.

But enjoy that media fast. Make those hard decisions that I’m going to deny myself the rights that I have to do whatever I want and just say, “Lord I surrender.Take that little white flag, little handkerchief that you have. Keep it going.

Every time you would tend to fall back to the old you, take yourself into the bathroom, look in that mirror. Talk to yourself and raise the flag.

Also, I would suggest too that you would find someone that will hold you accountable and saying, “Lord, I was at this conference and out of all the things that I heard there is one thing that You kept over and over and over whispering in my inner being that I need to step up and change.” Tell that person and then walk in and believe God for it.

Don’t keep listening to yourself. Talk to yourself. Believe God, and put God to the test.

Holly: I think I would encourage you to remember that when you get home God is not someplace else. He’s not just here in this room in Chicago. When you get home and you’re in your kitchen or you’re at school or in classes or driving carpool or at work, remember that God can be just as present in your life there as He was here.

It’s a matter of remembering that He is always present, of turning to Him in tiny little moments. It only takes a heartbeat to turn to the Lord and say, “Help.” His presence does not stay here when we go home. Aren’t you glad?

Carolyn: I think I would say to take what we’ve received in terms of the rich teaching here and turn around and be intentional about discipling another woman, to really look in the context of your local church for women through whom you can fulfill the Titus 2 mandate for the older woman to mentor the younger woman.

I think maybe we’re a little reluctant to admit we might be the older woman. But let’s just think in terms of maturity, not chronology right? We’ve received much. And to those who’ve received much, much is required. There are many, many young women who have no knowledge of biblical womanhood because it’s so contrary to what our culture teaches, and they’re really hungry for this kind of material.

Bob: The truth is everybody’s older than somebody right? And even you high school young women who are here, there are junior high young women. You can start pouring into their lives.

Carolyn: Exactly.

Bob: You don’t have to wait until you’re 50 to be a Titus 2 woman. Go ahead and start pouring. Mary?

Mary: Okay ladies, let me challenge you with this: The world is going to dangle before you things that seem very desirable. The only way that we can say “no” to those things is by replacing it with something that is oh so much more desirable, by being captured in our hearts by a vision that is so beautiful, so high, so holy, so pure, so fulfilling that we’re willing to sell all we have for that pearl of great price. Never forget.

Bob: I think it would be appropriate for you to thank the Lord and express your appreciation to these women for what they’ve shared with us this morning. Would you do that? Thank you ladies.

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