Living Out the True Woman Message

March 27, 2010 Holly Elliff, Dannah Gresh, Rosalyn Hickman, Mary Kassian, Bob Lepine, Carolyn McCulley, Lindsey Wagstaffe

Session Transcript

Bob Lepine: I’m going to ask the panel to come on up and join us. Nancy’s coming up to join us, too.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: How many of you have been grateful to have Mr. Lepine with us this weekend? (applause) Has he been a blessing? (applause) Bob, I’ve been shopping. I know you don’t want one of these totes, but we got together, we pulled all our resources, and we have a little gift for you to thank you for this weekend. You can’t have the tote, because I know you’re not going to carry that, but I know you’re going to want what’s in it. This is our little gift to you. [a pink apron that says, “True Man”]

Bob Lepine: Oh, that is fabulous! Fabulous! (laughter and cheers)

Nancy: Thank you, thank you.

Bob: The next time I barbeque, I’m telling you, I will not wear this. I can guarantee it. (laughter) Thank you so much. Help me remember to take this with me, all right? (laughter) Yeah, thank you.

All right. Let me introduce to you the ladies who are joining us here on the panel. Actually, you’ve met some of them, and some of them you don’t know, but I’ll introduce their names. Actually, Carolyn [McCulley] and Dannah [Gresh] and Mary [Kassian] have all been on FamilyLife Today with us before, and you’ve seen this mug before, right? Because this is always in the studio with me at my side. It’s Diet Coke® in case any of you were wondering what’s in there, and there’s a lot of it.

I’m going to introduce them, and then I’ll ask them to fill you in a little bit on their lives and on kind of what’s going on in their life.

Mary Kassian, we’re going to start with you. I mentioned that you’re from Canada, right? And I asked you back stage if you could explain curling to us. Do you want to do that?

Mary Kassian: And I said I’d rather explain hockey.

Bob: That’s right. It doesn’t make any sense to you either, does it?

Mary: It’s like over-blown shuffleboard. There are a lot of people in Canada who absolutely love curling.

Bob: Your husband . . . how long you guys been married?

Mary: Twenty-seven years.

Bob: How did you meet him?

Mary: In a rock band.

Bob: Oh, great. We’ll hear that story another day. (laughter) And children?

Mary: Children: Three grown sons—25, 23, 20. One married. An amazing daughter-in-law, and two eligible. So applications . . . (laughter)

Bob: All right. And what’s your life like normally?

Mary: I get up. I do stuff. I go to bed. (laughter)

Bob: Pretty basic, right?

Mary: Pretty basic.

Bob: I mentioned you’re a Southern Seminary Adjunct Professor.

Mary: Yes.

Bob: You do a lot of traveling and speaking?

Mary: No. Actually, I travel once, maybe twice a month, for short periods of time. Other than that, there’s just my home life that’s crazy, but no more than that.

Bob: Tell us about womanhood or Christianity in Canada.

Mary: Very different. Christianity in Canada is not nearly as prevalent. There are less than five percent of Canadians who would identify themselves as Christians. So it is a real pagan country, but it’s a great place to share the Gospel because the Gospel actually means something. And when you embrace Christianity, it actually means something.

Bob: Great.

Holly Elliff is joining us on the panel as well. Holly is a pastor’s wife from just around the corner from us in Little Rock, Arkansas. Holly has also been a guest on Revive Our Hearts a number of times. Tell us a little bit about your husband and your family and your real life.

Holly Elliff: I’m glad you didn’t say, “Tell us about your normal day,” because I don’t have a lot of normal days. My life tends to be a little random. I’ve been married to my husband Bill for 36 years. (applause) Yeah! We have eight children, ages 32 to 13, and I now am working on grandchild number five, which is really crazy. Also, my mom is part of that mix, so we have an interesting life.

Bob: Thirty-two to thirteen?

Holly: Yes. Somebody everywhere in-between and two in heaven.

Bob: I know people always ask you, like, “Don’t you know how that happens?” or stuff. What do you tell them when they ask you?

Holly: I have to tell you that one year we went on vacation, and we made our kids these tee-shirts. One tee-shirt said, “Yes, we know what causes this.” One tee-shirt said, “No, we’re not Catholic.” One tee-shirt said, “No, we’re not Mormons.” (laughter) So every tee-shirt had a different question that we get asked all the time. It was a hoot. It was fun.

Bob: As a pastor’s wife, as you look at women in your church, is the message of True Woman starting to sink in, or is the culture still shouting louder than the Spirit in this case?

Holly: Well, our church is kind of an innovative church, and so we have a lot of people who just were “de-churched” for a long time that have come back to the Lord or are new believers. So in our church, I would say it’s definitely a work in progress. We have some older women who I would say are true women who are great. They’re walking with the Lord. They understand those principles. But we also have a lot of young women, and this is new truth to them. So we have people who are coming out of the culture, which is why our church was started. We want to be able to see Christ invade the culture.

Bob: Have you seen young women coming out of the culture who come into the church and then it starts to dawn on them and the revolution happens in their own life?

Holly: I find that they’re really hungry for truth and generally very responsive to that truth as long as they believe it’s real and that you’re being honest and transparent with them. I find a lot of receptivity to that. The fastest growing part of our church now is young couples, young families that are starting to have children. So there is a real positive buzz, as Mary would call it in that sense, in that direction. That’s really fun to watch.

Bob: Carolyn McCulley is joining us on the panel as well. Some of you were in Carolyn’s workshop yesterday. You live in the suburban Washington, D.C. area. Just give us a little bit about your status and what your regular life looks like.

Carolyn McCulley: There is nothing regular or normal about my life except for sleep deprivation.  I think that’s about the only thing that’s normal. (laughter)  I spent ten years working for Sovereign Grace Ministries, and then last year I launched a documentary film company. So that’s fun because I’m working primarily out of my house, which means getting up today and putting on a dress and getting out of sweats is a big deal. My wardrobe is sweats. Sorry, Nancy. (laughter) It’s a big day to get out of your pajamas.

Bob: You’ve never married.

Carolyn: That’s right. Yes, thank you. (laughter)

Bob: Let’s just move on, I think. (laughter)

Carolyn: I did control myself when you said you had two available sons. I didn’t go, “Yeah, how old!”

Mary: They’re asking for pictures, that’s what they ask. Just fill out the application.

Carolyn: We’ll be talking.

Bob: As Holly was talking about these young “de-churched” women who are warming to the message, I was thinking for you, ten-fifteen years ago, that would have been you, wouldn’t it? Maybe not “de-churched”? Unchurched?

Carolyn: Yes. Easter Sunday I will be a Christian seventeen years. I’m really excited about being able to celebrate my spiritual anniversary. I didn’t become a Christian until I was almost 30, which is amazing because I’m only 29. (laughter) Thank you all for laughing at that tired joke. I work it.

Bob: This is a counter-cultural message for the culture you grew up in and the culture you embrace, right?

Carolyn: Right. I got my degree in journalism and in women’s studies, so I spent my 20s kind of pursuing that. Not politically active, but more culturally conformed. That’s really why I love and support this message of biblical womanhood because it was so radically different. But it was radically different for me, not because of a theory, but because of the fruit I saw in the lives of people around me.

Bob: Dannah Gresh is joining us on the panel as well. The teenagers were with Dannah yesterday, and we’re grateful for your ministry to them. Tell us a little bit about real life for you, your husband, your kids, and about the ministry you’re involved with on an ongoing basis.

Dannah Gresh: I am crazy in love with my husband Bob. We’ll be married 21 years next month. We have a 19-year old son in college who yesterday’s teens were interested in seeing pictures of, (laughter) and two 16-year old girls. They’re two months apart. One of them we adopted two years ago from China. My life is mostly laundry and grocery shopping. Every week I go to the grocery store, and I think, “Really? Eggs again? I have to buy eggs again? I just bought them last week.” (laughter) The routine of it. But I do love, love, love preparing meals for my family, so that balances things out.

Bob: How often are you out engaging with young women in workshops or events that you do?

Dannah: About twice a month. That depends on whether or not I can take my kids with me. It’s all about juggling how much I’m with them.

Bob: Right. As you work with young women, do you see a growing hunger, or is the influence of the culture such that for a young woman to say, “Gee, that’s what I want,” is still pretty revolutionary and kinky?

Dannah: I’ve got to say, I’m a little freaked out right now. I’m concerned. When Nancy and I undertook the research for Lies Young Women Believe, the vast majority of Christian teenage girls believe the lie, “It’s kind of a second-rate thing to be a wife and a mom. I want to be a career woman first.” So we have got to wake up. The church has got to address that. When you present them with the information, their hearts are very tender. So we’ve got to speak up.

Bob: That’s great. Thank you, Dannah.

Lindsey Wagstaffe is joining us up here. You haven’t heard from Lindsey yet. You haven’t spoken at anything yet, have you? But you’ve been blogging like crazy. Well, you’ve been here, right? Tell everybody about the blog, and who you are, where you live, and how you got started blogging. Can you do that?

Lindsey Wagstaffe: Wow. That’s a lot. Well, I’m Lindsey. I’m 18. I’m a freshman in college. I live in California. I have two younger sisters. And blogging . . . I’ve been doing that for about four years with my friend Hannah Farver. That’s how our ministry for young women called Beauty from the Heart got started originally. Crazy story about how we kind of met each other, but that’s how God actually decided to grow my own passion for biblical womanhood and the Gospel.

Bob: Every woman here is wanting to know, “How do we make more of you?” (laughter)

Lindsey: We’ll ask my friend over here.

Holly: No. My job is done.  I have done my part. (laughter)

Carolyn: You walked into that one. (laughter)

Bob: I didn’t mean on the tee-shirt way how to do that. (laughter) Did you grow up in California?

Lindsey: I did.

Bob: Okay. How did you get to be an 18-year-old blogger on true womanhood and true beauty and be here? There aren’t a whole lot of 18-year-olds in California who are kind of marching in the same direction you’re marching.

Lindsey: I can only attribute that honestly to the sovereignty of God because I am no different. There’s nothing special about me. God was just so gracious to give me a family that poured biblical truth into my life from a young age. But even then my heart was not naturally receptive to it at all. At twelve I was a little feminist without even knowing what the word feminist was, and only through His Word did He open my eyes and gave me a new heart. (applause) It was after I became a Christian, after He showed me what a sinner I was and opened my eyes to grace for the first time. That’s when a softening in my heart started to take place toward the whole idea of biblical womanhood. The two are so related to me, I can’t even separate them at all.

Bob: So how did you tap into this stream? How did you hear about Nancy or Revive Our Hearts or the True Woman Movement, or any of that? Do you remember?

Lindsey:  I don’t even remember the first time I heard about Revive Our Hearts. It seems like I’ve always known about it. The reason I’m here is I was asked. It was very random. I don’t know why.

Bob: Well, I’m just thinking, if you have little girls, just give them headsets with Revive Our Hearts playing, and just say, “I’ll check back with you in about ten years,” and see how that works.

Rosalyn Hickman, you met her the first morning as she opened our time in prayer. Rosalyn, you’re from here in Chattanooga. You’re married? You got kids?

Rosalyn Hickman: I have one son. He’s 33, and I have one grandson, who’s going on 6—but really 60. They come here grown. I’m married to just a wonderful, wonderful man, Gary. We’ve been married for 36 years. (applause) I’m very pro-marriage and just enjoying this time of ministry for such a time as this.

Bob: Tell me about your engagement in this ministry and this message. You talked about praying Nancy to Chattanooga.

Rosalyn: Yes.

Bob: What’s the burden of your heart as it relates to this message or to what God wants to do in terms of revival among women?

Rosalyn: Actually, Covenant Keypers is a marriage ministry with the emphasis on women—before, during and after marriage. It’s one of the focal points of our ministry because we really like to start early preparing women for being a godly wife. I’m blessed because I’m old enough . . . When I grew up, everybody pushed you toward true womanhood. Even if they didn’t know theologically what it was all about, that lifestyle was just pervasive in the community that I grew up in. So girls were always encouraged to be girls, and you went to church, and you were obedient. If you were told not to do something or to do something, it was pretty much built on the Word of God, and you kind of grew into it.

I was blessed enough to get saved early enough that when the adult oversight ceased in my life, the Holy Spirit took over. So it was just a continuous walk in that way. Challenging? Yes, but at least understanding that that’s who I was.

I’m amazed at what I see today. Trust me. That’s what motivates me, because I know that there is a better way, but I’m sure when I see what I see, it’s because they don’t know. So that’s when I raise my hand and say, “Can I talk to you? Can we talk?”

Bob: Let me start our conversation. I’m going to start with you, Rosalyn, and then ask all of you women just chime in. I’m starting with you because you just said, “I’m old enough.” I want to go back to Friday night when Dr. Baucham and Nancy were talking about Titus 2 and the responsibility of older women to teach younger women. You know women who are older than you.

Rosalyn: Yes.

Bob: And you know women who are younger than you, and that’s true for everybody on the panel. So everybody’s an older woman to somebody and everybody’s a younger woman to somebody.

Rosalyn: Sure.

Bob: Here’s my question: Are there today, in your life, intentional relationships where you’re pouring into the lives of younger women and where older women are pouring into your life? Could you identify those relationships and say, “Yes. That’s happening in my life”?

Rosalyn: Sure I can. I am so blessed to be able to do it. I have somewhat of an advantage, Bob, because I am a speaker. I’m a very in-your-face, down-to-earth kind of speaker, and people come to me. So my mentoring, or discipling, if you will, is almost dropped in my lap. My issue is: Don’t try to take everybody on. You can’t do it. But because of that, I am intentional. My whole goal is to get to know you. Not just in church, but to really get into your world and invite you into mine. I believe it’s for such a time as this that I’m still here.

I mentioned earlier, I could have died, but God said, “Live.” He really raised me from my death bed, and I’m dangerous. (laughter) I’m really dangerous because I feel like we don’t have enough time. I just want to be decent and in order. I want to model it. I want to look like a godly woman, and then I want you to want to be that as well. But at the same time, I’m very practical, very practical.

You ask good questions. What do you do every day? Sometimes we struggle with what to do every day, so that’s an opportunity to even begin to mentor. How do you put God first? What does a wife do? I’ve been through several seasons, so I’m able to work with a big age group of younger people.

When you talk about my mentors, I’ve had many mentors. I remember when I was a young wife, Kay Arthur was on the radio. A lot of my mentorship was really at a distance. They probably don’t even know they were mentoring me, but my major mentor in my life was my mom. My mom died at the age of 39. She had Lupus. Lupus runs in my family. My sister was 22. It took her out. My grandmother was 32. It took her out. My mother was before her time. She would operate very well right now, but back in the day, she poured into me God’s Word. When there wasn’t Christian radio, there was a guy by the name of Oliver B. Green. My mother would open that Bible with him every morning at 10 o’clock, and she would stay in that Word, but she would get us up with her, and she began to pour into us how to walk with God every day, and you started it with the Word. I’m grateful for that.

Bob: Yes.

Mary: I love one of the things you said. You said, “Invite yourself into their lives.” That’s mentoring as well. I’ve had women come up, “Oh, mentor me.” They’re thinking I’m going to do a program. I tell them, “Okay. Here’s my laundry. Help me fold it.” Or, “I’m going to the hockey game to watch my kids tonight. You can come and buy me a coffee, and we will sit and watch the hockey game.” So mentoring goes on in the context of real life and just inviting people into your life. Don’t you feel that?

Dannah: My husband calls that “be-with” time when we’re mentoring or being mentored, especially when we’re the mentor and we’re in charge of that. What we’ve programmed ourselves to think is that anything that you do—grocery shopping, running errands to pick up kids—is “be-with” time, and you just say to that—for me it’s usually teenagers—16-year old, “Jump in the car with me. We’ll have 15 minutes we can talk while I go pick up Lexie.”

Mary: I find it just so enriches me. I love it, actually, some of my best hang-out people are my son’s friends. They will phone, my kids aren’t even home, and they’ll say, “Can we come over? We just want to hang out.” I’m just like, “Why do you want to hang out with old people?” It’s, “No, we just. . .” One young man and his girlfriend said, “We just want to hang out with normal—like what maybe we can aspire to someday to be normal, something that works.”

Dannah: Don’t you think the hard thing, though, is finding someone to pour into you? I feel like I’m pouring into other people. I meet women all the time that are just like, I don’t know how to ask for that or get that, and so much of it is chemistry.

Bob: Are you getting it today, do you think?

Dannah: Am I?

Bob: Yes.

Dannah: Well, my accountability partner, Lynn, is here with me this weekend, so we’re kind of peer-accountability partners, and I’ve poured myself into that relationship. I have an amazing husband who prays over me. He’s been praying over me all week, leaving me gifts, having cards delivered to me.

Holly: You’re going to make some people really jealous. (laughter)

Bob: That’s right—and make some other people feel really awful, okay? (laughter)

Dannah: Well, this might help. I can follow this up with his permission in saying that sometimes he can be a butthead. (laughter) So Lynn is my friend who I meet with to talk about that. As far as older women, I’ve had women years ago who poured into me when I lived in Missouri that I still stay in contact with because I haven’t found that chemistry, other than my mom, with someone who’s a few years older.

Bob: I do think that we sometimes try to formalize it and say, “Okay, this person is mentor, and this person is protégé, or mentee.” Quite frankly, I’ve been in relationships with people who I’m mentoring, and they’re mentoring me. It really does go both ways.

Holly: I do think it needs to be a little more natural than we sometimes think of. We think of mentoring as a program or something that has to be orchestrated. I find that the best discipleship-type relationship is something that . . . God just puts me with somebody, or I meet a young mom on the playground, and while her kids play, we can sit and chat. It’s more natural. It’s what used to occur in our society around normal community events, but that doesn’t happen much anymore. I do think that God would bring people into our lives if we had our eyes open a little more to see that.

Mary: I think you have to think, too. It’s not just one person who mentors you. There are several relationships. I know that for me, I can be mentored intellectually by one person and mentored in just terms of how to be a wife by another person. There are just lots of different relationships going on in which we speak into each other’s lives.

Bob: Carolyn, as a single woman, is this trickier for you to be in mentor/protégé-type relationships? Or how have you initiated it? How’s that happened?

Carolyn: I think a lot of it can be a reflection of the structure of our churches. I just joined a new church that we’ve started. It’s in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., right in the urban core. One of the reasons why I joined that church, it was sent out from my old church, was because one of the core values was not segregating by season of life so that we could get to know each other across the way. (applause) I’m excited about that, but I now find myself being chronologically one of the older women. We’re only three months old, and I’m excited about forming new relationships and having opportunities to influence in an area that has a lot of young professionals.

I’m being intentional that way. Then I’m finding that to be poured into as a single, it’s a lot harder, because you’re a “go-to.” You’re always having to meet with people and spend time and plan and like a lot of people. I have a lot of peer relationships where I go to them and say, “Here are my issues.” I have some very faithful friends and probably one of my most faithful is my blood sister who is a sister in the Lord, and she’s been faithful to speak into my life. She was used by God to lead me to the Lord, so I’m grateful for her.

Bob: Because of the married/single separation, is it trickier to . . . I mean, as you look at these relationships, so much of what goes on in these other women’s conversations is about their husbands, about their kids, about their home, and you can be with women like that, and you’re going, “Okay, that’s not my life.”

Carolyn: Well, the husbands and children aren’t my life, but I’m still called to be intentional about the home and all the other values that we see. That doesn’t change simply because I’m unmarried. It also means that I have to be proactive in thinking about, “What’s my role in supporting marriage and family in the church?” So what I love is being able to come to families, get to know them as an entire unit, hang out with the parents, offer to babysit the kids.

Mary: Yeah! We love Carolyn!

Carolyn: I’m one of the childless, single woman, who, when you’ve got a baby, I’m like, “Give me your baby! Let me hold her!” It’s a lot of fun, but it gives me opportunity to be intentional in the next generation and to provide date nights for married couples because if we say marriage is important, it’s the foundational element of the local church, just because I’m not married doesn’t mean I don’t make an investment in that. (applause)

Dannah: Oddly, one of my most impactful mothering mentors has been Nancy. That’s because she doesn’t just teach true womanhood, but she lives it. I remember I stayed over in her home in Little Rock once, and she tucked me into bed. She kneeled down beside the bed with me and prayed with me, and I was in awe and blessed but also just reminded how that’s my role. That’s my job.

When several of us had a dinner, we were at The Lodge about a year ago planning for this year’s True Woman events, and we had dinner at her house. She’d stayed up late through the night researching the meaning of our names and finding Scripture passages for us to put at our place settings. She mothers women. She’s a single woman who is modeling motherhood and nurturing in a very powerful way.

Bob: Wow. That’s great.

Mary: What’s interesting is that’s something everyone can do. I’m sure, Lindsey, you do that for your girlfriend. It’s just natural part of womanhood to nurture others and to see what’s going on in their lives and to want to bless that and want to bless them in the Lord.

Lindsey: I’ve actually never had an official mentor, but I have been mentored by so many different women. God’s just blessed me by being surrounded by women I can look up to. Even in my own family, extended family—my mom has been my biggest mentor in every way. She would never call herself that officially—that would be really weird—but just in day-to-day life, I’ve seen her live the gospel and apply it in love serving her husband and us her kids.

So then the other mentoring relationships I’ve had is like what you were saying, Mary. It doesn’t have to be just one person. In my life, it’s always been just kind of casual contact, not one steady, consistent person that I meet with for coffee every month, but just people God brings in for a season or a short time and we have a discussion maybe at church. I go to a church that’s also very focused on discipleship. There’s a wonderful emphasis, that’s what drew me and my family there—the Titus 2 model.

Bob: Let me turn our conversation, because, Dannah, as you talked about your wonderful, magnificent, glorious husband, I was just thinking about the fact that a lot of women here in the audience are going, “Well, I can’t relate to that.” The honest truth is they’re going home to a husband or to a household that is not in sync with what they’ve been hearing this weekend. They’re going home wanting to be true women and yet thinking, “I’m swimming upstream in my own home. My husband is not on the same team.” In some cases, they don’t want to go home all self-righteous and holy, at the same time, they want to go home, and they’re asking God to do a work . . .

Dannah: I don’t think we can go home holy, Bob.

Bob: Someday we’ll go home holy—we’ll be holy when we get home—but not today probably. But you know what I’m saying. You come home off a mountaintop here, and you’re just full, and you want to go home and you say, “We need to be different,” and your family’s going, “Don’t go to any of those things anymore please, Mom.”

So coach these women not only on the re-entry but on the challenges of being married to a husband who may not share their values and how you do this in a way that 1 Peter 3 talks about.

Holly: I have to tell you that the very first time I was ever on Revive Our Hearts with Nancy, we did a program where we responded to viewer letters, but they titled the program “Living with a Difficult Husband.”

My husband happened to be in his car and heard them announce the program, and here’s how they did it: “Today we have a special guest on Revive Our Hearts. Her name is Holly Elliff, and she’s going to talk about how to live with a difficult husband.” (laughter)

I got a phone call from my husband saying, “Okay. Did you tell them I was hard to live with?”

No. I have a wonderful husband, but, I spend a lot of time with women who don’t have wonderful husbands. They are potentially wonderful husbands, but they are currently not necessarily godly men. And it is really, really hard. It’s really hard. So when you hear these principles about the home—those are ideals. That’s what it would look like if we were all perfectly doing what God has called us to do, but most of the time we’re not. So we have to take those principles, then, and kind of interpose them over our real life. Because if we go home expecting it to look just like what the book says, we’re going to be disappointed. So we have to go home with the expectation that there’s going to be difficulty, and we’re going to get the opportunity to run to Christ to know how to live with that man who is not following Him.

Carolyn: And him living with us. I think one of the things that I think is a danger is that we just start becoming critical. We go, “Okay, we’ll go help him be what he needs to be,” instead of focusing . . . I know that when I pray with women, they will come with, “Come pray for my husband,” and what inevitably happens is I end up not praying for their husband but for her because usually God wants to change our hearts and maybe give us more contentment. Maybe He just wants us to look at the good instead of criticizing what we don’t have.

This one thing I learned from Elisabeth Elliot. I wrote it down. I had a piece of paper stuck in my office for many, many years that: “It’s always possible to be grateful for what’s given rather than resentful about what’s withheld.” So to just thank God for having a husband and for being blessed. If he brings money home, just thank him for that. Just cultivate a spirit of gratitude. It really helps us from becoming critical and having it as a flashpoint.

Bob: Rosalyn, you’ve met with lots of women who look—you look at their home situation, and you go, “Honey, that’s out . . . you’re in a bad place.”

Rosalyn: Yes. I was just sitting here thinking about the song that says, “Holiness is what I long for. Righteousness is what I long for. Brokenness is what I long for.” I think that even though we can’t be holy, if I can project that spirit in my home, or if you can project that spirit to your husband that you want to be holy and start where you can. For instance, with women, my role is to assess, even though the intentionality of my relationship is obvious, I want my message to be intentional. So if I have a woman in my life and her issue is like mine used to be all the time, because by nature I’m a talker, I’m a problem solver. I just enjoy yakking. I had to learn that my husband, he can only take so much. He can only process so much.

Bob: I’ll just add my “Amen” to that. (laughter)

Rosalyn: I just learned in a workshop a few weeks ago that we did that men love their minds, ladies, and so it’s in their minds, and they like it in their minds. They assess how much energy it’s going take to talk to you on this issue, so sometimes they just don’t talk.

But holiness is just learning to shut up, just to be quiet. If I recognize that’s the issue and the husband is turning the wife off, I can bring my own example to the table. I can talk about how God is shaping me and how He had to shape me in those early years because during that engagement period, you can do whatever you want to. They love you so much; they’ll listen to whatever you want to talk about. But when real life sets in and you go home and all the dresses are in the closet and all of that, then the true colors come out. That’s the intentionality of the message. If this young lady wants to have a godly marriage, let’s look and see where are her deficiencies? Where is it that she can grow?

Then, just putting myself out there to explain to you that your husband will notice when you don’t do what he expected you to do. If you are hot tempered and you’re bossy, and as soon as he turns in Wal-Mart you are, “There’s a parking space right there. Let’s park right there.” They see that as control. I’m thinking, “I’m helping you because you didn’t see that space.” (laughter) But it’s not always perceived as helping.

I just feel like we really need to learn just those little areas—just do a little at a time, and watch that husband go, “Um. Must have been a pretty good workshop. When’s the next one?” (laughter)

Mary: So go home and be quiet, right?

Dannah: So I’ve got a question for you: Is it bad that I threw a meatloaf at my husband? (laughter)

Rosalyn: Did you hit him?

Mary: I heard that story, Dannah.

Dannah: It went over his shoulder.

Bob: No, no, tell . . .

Dannah: The meatloaf story?

Bob: Why did you throw meatloaf at your husband?

Dannah: Well . . .

Mary: She was PMS-ing. (laughter)

Dannah: There are men in the room.

Bob: We know what that is.

Dannah: You do?

Bob: Yeah! (laughter)

Dannah: I was tired. I was PMS-ing. I had made a gravy-laden meatloaf stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon. A woman needs that at certain times of the month. (laughter) A conversation came up. He brought up the laundry, God help him, at the dinner table. Now, in his defense, I believe he was wondering if perhaps he should do it because it was sort of looking like Mount Everest in the laundry room. I think he was offering to help, but . . . I’m not sure where the disconnect happened, but all I know is I saw this slow-motion spiral of meatloaf and gravy going over my husband’s shoulders. I quickly went to my bedroom . . .

Rosalyn: I would guess so.

Dannah: and I sat in there . . .

Mary: . . . and cried.

Dannah: Bawled my head out.

Mary: Oh, of course.

Dannah: My husband came in. I have to say, he was in a season where he wasn’t leading very much spiritually. I was very frustrated with him because I think all of us have husbands, like us, who get off course with the Lord. So there was not just my emotions, but extended period of frustration with him. He walked in the room, and he said, “Honey, we have about ten seconds to either make this one of the worse memories of our children’s lives or to go in there and make it one of the funniest.” He took my hand, and he led me back into the kitchen, and did a comedy routine that I still say deserves to be on late-night television, and rescued me.

It’s those moments that Voddie talked about being taken to the woodshed. When God shows up to take your husband to the woodshed, it’s going to be a matter of whether He takes just your husband or you. I’ve gone with Bob, and I think that remembering my sin and my frailties . . . When I’m on the mountaintop with the Lord and I’m walking with Him, I have to remember that Bob’s on his own journey with Christ. There are going to be seasons that I listen to God and just shut thee up and let him see something other than a meatloaf coming at him.

Bob: You brought up the issue of spiritual leadership. I want to say something for the benefit of the two single women who are on the panel—should God bring a husband at some point—the picture you have in your mind of what he will be as your spiritual leader will never materialize.

Carolyn: I’ve noticed that.

Bob: I’m glad you’ve noticed it. I would like the four married women talk about the phantom that every woman has for what her spiritual leader husband will be and how she adjusts to the reality of what normal Christian guys are as spiritual leaders.

Mary: I think we often have an image in our mind of what a leader looks like. Sometimes it’s easier if we think “overseer”—that he’s the overseer of the home. So I think we need to let our husbands off the hook from looking a certain way. You have a whole range of personalities; you have a whole range of giftings; you have a whole range of strengths. So maybe your husband is really a hands-on kind of guy—you’ve got your mechanic guy, and he’s quiet and he’s not really verbal. He can be an overseer of your home without being a real verbal, directional kind of guy.

I think sometimes when we talk about biblical manhood and womanhood in the Christian community, we come up with these stereotypes of what it needs to look like in men and in women that, “Oh well, I’m an outspoken kind of strong-willed woman, so God has to break my personality.” He doesn’t have to break my personality. He has to redeem my personality and make me more of who I really am. I think it’s the same kind of grace we need to extend to our husbands.

Carolyn: Now, Bob, you’re probably not expecting me to chime in on this, but I think it’s important to think about the fact that, as a single woman, all the men you interact with until you get married are your brothers in Christ, and they’ll remain that way, but so is the one you’re marrying. It’s a gift for this life, and you’re going to turn him over to Christ at the end of your life and say, “This is how I stewarded the gift that You gave me.” That is an interaction or thought process I have whether I’m dating somebody or I’m with somebody else’s husband. It’s also the way I encourage my married friends, to say, “He is your leader, but he’s your brother in Christ forever.” Because of the cross, we’re always going to be united together in these relationships, so there’s no, “Who wins?” or “Who’s better?” or whatever. We’re forever joined because of the graciousness of Christ, and that should color all of our relationships. (applause)

Holly: I think we have to keep really short accounts in our expectations or we will be really disappointed. What happens is that there is then an ongoing level of tension in the home all the time because I’m expecting some things that he’s not doing, and he knows that I’m not happy because he’s not doing the things I expect. So you get this level of tension that just escalates in the home, and then you get meatloaf thrown across the kitchen. (laugher)

So I do think we have to keep really short accounts. As Mary said, we’re so much better off if we keep our mouths closed. Just focus on what it is that the Lord is saying to us and give our husbands some room and some grace to grow because both of us are to be looking more and more like Christ.

Mary: It’s a journey. I’m glad my husband is patient with me.

Holly: Right. And so there are areas where we have to grow.

Mary: We all have to stand alone before the Lord as a woman. God is not going to hold us accountable for what kind of a leader our husband was. He’s going to hold us accountable for how we affirmed him.

Holly: I tell women all the time, “When you get to heaven, God is not going to say to you, “Elisabeth, what did your husband do that kept you from being a godly woman?”

Mary: I think another thing where we often go wrong is that we think providing spiritual oversight for the home means that he has to do everything. Sometimes women tend to abdicate responsibility. I just think of the example of Timothy. His mom was Jew, a believer, and his dad was Greek. Yet he was one of the most solid, doctrinally grounded people because of the influence of his mother and grandmother in his life. I think that providing that spiritual oversight doesn’t mean that he has to do everything. We’re still responsible for our part in the home.

Bob: I want to ask you, Lindsey—you say you’re a freshman in college. Where are you going to school?

Lindsey: I’m at Master’s College, planning on transferring this fall, but I’m going to a community college right now, so I’m at home.

Bob: You’re in a community college right now?

Lindsey: Yes.

Bob: In that environment you’re probably not around like-minded sisters a lot. Do you ever just feel like, “I want to be normal like the rest of these girls and go watch Twilight and go to the glamour shoot.” I don’t know what they want to do, I’m just . . . you know what I’m saying? Do you ever just feel like, “I want to be normal and talk about Lady Gaga and Twilight?”

Lindsey: I honestly can’t say that I do because . . . that’s just God again.  I also see so much brokenness in the classroom, and there’s no appeal. They have no hope. Their lives are empty. It’s all surface. I have hope. I know Jesus, and when your life is grounded on theology, on the truth about God, and you know it’s all about Him, everything else is just . . . why?

Bob: I guess my point is it can be a lonely path to be on when you’re 18 years old, can’t it? Or is it? I’m just thinking, you can feel like, “I just don’t fit in with the group.”

Dannah: You can feel that way in a church ladies’ group. Really, at any age. You’re swimming upstream, really. Sometimes I’m thinking, “Man, when am I going to stop just being so weird?”

Bob: I think a lot in the audience are wondering that, too. (laughter)

Dannah: My husband and I, after 3½ years without a vacation, were on a cruise last week, and it was amazing. It was so refreshing for us, but we were surrounded by non-Christians. We were at a dinner table . . . We ended up spending 3 to 4 hours a night with a couple that were agnostic—Jewish, but really agnostic and another couple that was really just not interested. I felt weird, freaky. We talked about Ellen, and it was just so great that she has a wife, and, “Good for her.” We talked about Oprah and her spirituality, and it’s so great that she’s finding everything she wants to work and she gets to choose and make it, “Good for her.” Then they found out what we do for a living, my husband and I. (laughter)

When we began talking about sexual purity, they were like, “You tell kids to wait until they’re 18, right? Or something?” Bob said, “No, until they’re married.” They point-blank looked into his face and said, “Did you wait until you were married?” And he said, “Yes, I did.” And they said, “Well, that’s not a good thing to do.” They said, “How do you know, there might be better fireworks out there?” I’m thinking, “Um, I’m here.” (laughter)

Rosalyn: I don’t want him to know there’s better fireworks out there. I’m the fireworks.

Dannah: That’s right. I felt lonely last week for the first time in a very long time. I know a lot of women in here go to jobs, or they’re living in neighborhoods where they feel some of that loneliness. I know yesterday when I asked the teenagers, “Do you ever feel lonely standing for purity?” about half their hands went up. You can’t expect it to be easy. Jesus never said this was going to be easy. He said we were going to have a cross to bear. I want to get to heaven and say, “Sometimes that cross was heavy, but it has become a familiar friend, and I’m so glad to lay it down and rejoice with Him in that celebration in heaven.” (applause)

Holly: Carolyn, we have talked so many times about the fact that women have to know that they are called to be something different. I love Carolyn. We’re buddies. One of the things I love about Carolyn is that even as a Christian single, she is not afraid to be different and distinctive in the culture, and she understands how this all fits together in God’s design. That’s a rare thing. So if you’re sitting out here and you’re single, you need to come to get to know Carolyn. Find a woman, not old, but older, even as a single woman, who can help you understand that loneliness doesn’t have to be loneliness. There are other singles out there with that right message. You may just connect with them on the Internet; you may email; you may blog; you may chat with them. But there are ways to find connection with other like-minded single, godly women who will point you how to have fellowship in that and not be lonely.

Carolyn: I think some of the most lonely women that I know are married women. It always comes back to the same thing, and that’s being grounded in our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Bob: And it’s good to have a few allies in the battle that you can run to from time to time or Revive Our Hearts that you can tune in on the radio and go, “Okay, I’m not as weird as I thought.” Right?

Holly: I think we probably are weird.

Bob: You’re counter-cultural.

Holly: In the culture we’re weird, but it’s okay to be weird and biblical, I think.

Bob: This has been such a treat, I think, for all of us, and I appreciate all of you women sharing. Would you give these women a hand?

Leslie: The message you just heard was presented at Revive Our Hearts’ True Woman ’10 conference in Chattanooga. You can hear any of the messages delivered there and more by visiting There you’ll find even more ways to connect from books and resources for yourself, your friends, or your life group to on-demand multi-media to ongoing conversations you can be a part of.

True Woman ‘10 is a ministry of Revive Our Hearts, helping you become God’s true woman.