Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Accepting the Gift of Children

Episode Resources

Learn more about Jackie Hill Perry.

Leslie Basham: When Jackie Hill Perry became pregnant with her first child, she was struggling to see the baby as a gift. She heard the Holy Spirit speaking to her heart.

Jackie Hill Perry: “You can’t say you want Me to get the glory out of your life and then you’re mad at the ways I choose to do it.” It’s just like, “If you want Me to be exalted and glorified, then let Me be Lord in that area.”

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Lies Women Believe, for Thursday, April 5, 2018.

If you have young children with you, know that today’s program has some mature themes. Jackie Hill Perry went through a lot of hurt as a child. She grew up without a father, was molested, and got into lesbian relationships in high school. When she came to know Jesus, He immediately transformed her heart, but she had to go through a process of growth and healing.

Yesterday we heard how God is using Jackie’s marriage to Preston Perry to make her more like Jesus. Nancy and Jackie are here to pick up the conversation.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: So, Jackie, the Lord’s dealing with you about respect and honoring your husband

Jackie: Yes.

Nancy: And God’s dealing with him, and you both are changing, you’re becoming more and more like Jesus. But there still has to be occasions when . . . I’m not to pick on Preston, because it could go either way.

Jackie: Yes.

Nancy: When he does something boneheaded or that’s not worthy of respect, as you think back to an instance or something that could happen, how do you, in that moment—because every woman faces this—show respect when maybe you have been hurt or maybe he hasn’t handled something in the wisest possible way?

Jackie: I think this is something I’m still learning, because I don’t think I handle pain in a godly way. I think I respond to it. I usually shut down instead of communicating. Because a lot of times, Preston may hurt me inadvertently. He really didn’t know that what he did was wrong. It’s rare that he intentionally does something. But he’s sinful, so he will.

So I think typically what I’ll do is, I’ll shut down, or I’ll pray. Whatever the case may be, but I know my bent which I’m praying that God would make my bent to be gracious in how I respond to him, knowing that he’s a human being, knowing that he’s not perfect like Jesus, but he is full of God’s Spirit, which means that God will convict him and cause him to repent to stuff like that.

So when he has hurt me, either I’ll be quiet, or I’ll communicate. I’ll say, “When you did this, this is how it felt, and this is how it communicated to me what you were saying to me, or how you thought about me,” or whatever the case may be. Ten times out of ten, he will repent and apologize.

Nancy: Wow.

Jackie: I can’t even name a time when he did not—even if he did not mean to do it, or he didn’t see it as such. He’ll just naturally humble himself and say, “I’m sorry that you felt that way or that my response did this to you.”

I think, because his response has always been so gracious . . . Preston is the first one to repent in our relationship. I’m not the first one to humble myself. I’m not the first one to do it. But I think his leadership in that way has given me more of a tendency to do the same.

I think it’s hard to think about how Jesus treats me and then to hold something in. I cannot get past the fact that God has forgiven me for of all my sins. I can’t shake that. I can’t delete it. There’s no way I can look at what Preston has done to me, if he sins against me, and then say I am just in being vengeful. There’s no way you can look at the gospel and say that.

I’m always convicted by the parable of the unforgiving servant. It’s just like, man, if you’ve been forgiven this much, you have to . . . You have to forgive.

So that’s usually how I do it, because he’s going to hurt me, and I’m going to hurt him. We do it all the time—not as often as we used to—but the gospel eradicates how we respond.

Nancy: And if you don’t respond in the gospel way . . .

Jackie: Which is often.

Nancy: If you do just clam up, shut down, how does that change the step of what happens?

Jackie: In our relationship?

Nancy: Yes.

Jackie: For me, it’s unhealthy. I’m in my thoughts. I’m selfish. I’m over here milling over the worst stuff: “He did this because of . . .” Most likely I’m not praying because if I’m praying, then God will, like, “Jackie, stop it.”

Usually, what he’ll do is he’ll come to me and ask me why I’m shut down. “What’s wrong? Just talk to me.” Usually I’m really prideful, and I don’t want to talk to him. It’s not good. I don’t even have an answer for it. It’s just not a good thing.

But he has a way of helping me out of it. Preston will crack a joke or do something silly. That makes me laugh. It irritates me, but it lightens the mood. Then it’s, “I’m sorry.” That’s what he’ll say.

Nancy: So, Jackie, it seems like it wasn’t very long after you got married that you were in touch with me and told me that you were expecting. Were you expecting to be expecting that early in your marriage?

Jackie: Yes. It’s not rare, but there are times in my life where some type of transition is going to happen that I feel prompted by the Lord that it is coming.

When I moved to L.A., I felt that. When I moved to Chicago, I felt that. With the baby, we got married March 1. February 14, Valentine’s Day, I sat down with Preston, and I told him, “I’ve been praying, and I feel like God is going to cause us to get pregnant really early. I feel as if we’re going to try to fight it, but God’s going to be like, ‘No. I want this baby here when I want it here.’ That doesn’t mean I’m not going to try to stop it.”

We wanted to wait a year, but that didn’t happen. I got pregnant probably on the fourth or fifth day of my honeymoon, and it was not met with joy. It met with fear and irritation, and all of that because I felt like I had so much going on. I’m doing poetry. I had this album about to come out. I’m traveling. I wanted to just spend time with my spouse and it to be free of a child.

I really studied to reform my thinking to see this baby as a gift and not a curse because I think the culture and the world has really shaped my thinking of how children are perceived to be.

It was like I felt God was saying, “You can’t say you want Me to get the glory out of your life, then you’re mad at the ways I choose to do it.” It’s like, “If you want Me to be exalted and glorified, then let Me be Lord in that area.”

So God is giving me a gift: another person to bear His image and, by His grace, exalt His name and His gospel. And why should I be ashamed of that?

Nancy: Jackie, because I see this in you over and over again, I love how when you face a hard circumstance, and your emotions are screaming one thing, you take it back to the ways of God. You counsel your heart according to truth, and you let that change what you think, and then your emotions follow.

Jackie: Yes.

Nancy: I just think you’re a huge example of that. This is an area that’s really hard for a lot of women if it’s not according to their time plan or schedule. So the Lord began to give you . . . I watched you go through this.

Jackie: It was tough. I listened to a lot of Revive Our Hearts, a lot of Voddie Baucham, this is the area where they talked about children, and then it came a point where I was like, “Okay. I’m fine with that, God.”

I think I had another trial when I found out it would be a girl.

Nancy: Tell us about that day.

Jackie: I felt like it was going to be a girl, and I wanted a boy.

Nancy: Why did you want a boy?

Jackie: I thought it would be easier. I knew a girl would probably be more of an adjustment because I’ve always naturally been comfortable around boys more than women, in some ways. So I just didn’t want to raise a girl.

When we went to the doctor and they showed us the little ultrasound, it was like, “Yep, it’s a girl.” I went home that night and just cried. I cried because I was scared. I said, “God, I don’t even know how to be a woman. I’m learning how to be a woman. And now You’re giving me a woman to raise.”

I was terrified of the idea that she would become all that I am—good and bad. It just felt like pressure and weight. But I was really encouraged by the Lord to know that He’s going to help me even in this.

So now I feel it’s an honor. I’m happy to be able to raise a woman in this culture that will know truth. I’m scared, because the trajectory of where we’re moving is insane to me. But at the same time, it’s like God is being gracious that He’s allowing her to be raised in a gospel-centered household that I didn’t have, that Preston didn’t have.

She’s going to have a dad. She’s going to have a mother. She’s going to have the gospel. She’s going to have a community of believers around her with truth in this culture. Man. That’s tight to me. Like that’s really tight.

Even now I see leadership traits in her. She’s a baby, but she’s so assertive and stubborn. I know it’s baby traits, but I really feel like she is Preston’s and my child. I’m going to have to refine it, but it’s like, “God, if You have gifted this girl with leadership and intensity for Your gospel, then I want to steward that as much as I can to make her. . .” I put it on Instagram one time: “I want her to be a woman with a sword in her mouth.” I just want her to be that.

Nancy: If I know anything about you and Preston and God, I think that’s going to happen.

Jackie: I think so, too.

Nancy: How has motherhood changed you?

Jackie: It’s softened me a lot. It’s made me tender, gentle. I don’t call myself a gentle person, but I think I’m a much more gentle person than I was. It’s made me sensitive to people’s needs. I feel like serving her and serving Preston. It has killed so much of my own freedoms that I’m more attentive to what people need.

I don’t know if that makes sense. It’s like, “You need water?” I’m not one of those people. Hospitality isn’t my gift, but I think serving them, it’s like I’m aware of other people in ways that I wasn’t.

It’s made me needy of God because I feel I have less time to meet with Him as much as I would have or did have before. Being with her and Preston and having such a busy schedule, it’s just like, I’m constantly having to adjust to serve them.

I need God to not only keep my heart where I want to see my family and see them as priority over all these other things that I have. If they don’t know me in my home, if they don’t see mom and wife, everything else does not matter. So I think I need God even to maintain that as more doors and more platforms open up for me.

So it’s changed me a whole lot. I’m not the same person.

Nancy: God gave her to you to help make you a true woman. Right?

Jackie: Yes. I think it’s so weird to see, especially friends of mine. They always say, when they see me being a mother, they’re like, “Jackie, you’re like . . . a mother, mother.”

This is so contrary to the way I was ten years ago—so contrary. So I think she’s just a grace to me, a grace to Preston. I think my husband and her have just kind of developed womanliness in me in ways that I think singleness would not have done. That’s not to say that He won’t do it for other people, but I think, specifically for me, I needed them.

Nancy: I heard you speak at a conference not too long ago, and you talk about your vision and desire for Eden.

Jackie: Yes.

Nancy: Can you express that?

Jackie: I just want her to be a godly woman in the sense of, if she is called to singleness, I want her to be bent on serving God to the fullest. I want her serving women in her church, serving women in her workplace, equipping them to love Jesus, love their husbands, respecting authority, submit to church’s husbands, the police. I just want her to live out her singleness to the glory of God, exhausting herself with joy.

If that means to be a missionary, do it. If that means be a teacher, do it. If that means be a politician, do it to the glory of God. If she’s a wife, I want her to love and honor her husband, and I would hope that I could be an example for how that looks.

I want her to not see her children as an inconvenience. I don’t know how it’s going to be with bearing children in 2018. I don’t know how that’s going to be, but I just want her to be so contrary to the culture. I can only assume that around the time she’s twenty or twenty-five, the things we speak about will be even more counter-cultural. I would love for her to do that.

I want you to look like a contradiction so that people will see the gospel. The gospel is foolish to those who are perishing. I want you to live in such a way that people say, “Why do you live like that? Like, what is the hope in you?” Jesus!

I don’t want it where it’s just, “Oh, my mother taught me this.” No! I want, “The Scriptures taught my mother this, and the Scripture is the voice, the Word of God.” I want her to be that type of woman.

Nancy: As you think about raising a daughter or children in this culture, you mentioned that you grew up exposed to a lot of things that probably you wish you hadn’t been, tasting of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Jackie: Yes.

Nancy: How do you as a parent process that now, thinking about your children growing up. How much to protect them from things of the world to insulate them or isolate them, and yet you know they’re going to be exposed to things. How are you thinking about that? I know your kids, your daughter isn’t there yet.

Jackie: Yes.

Nancy: But if you were talking to parents, and their teens are being exposed to a lot of the kinds of things that were in your background, Christian parents, do they want to say, “Don’t see any of this?” But if they do see it, how do they deal with it? Talk to some parents who are wrestling with those issues.

Jackie: I think I’m premature in this area a little bit, but I think when I have thought about it, I want to protect Eden as much as I can, because I think that’s wise as a parent. One thing I have is, I want to equip her in such a way where if she is exposed to something, she knows how to think through it in a biblical way.

So if she does have a thought or an idea, or she runs across a TV show or a magazine, we can have a conversation.

  • What do you think about this?
  • How does it make you feel?
  • How should you feel?
  • What does Scripture say about it?
  • What do you think God would do?”

I want her to be able to process through it in a biblical way because the truth is, she lives in the world, and the world is crazy, and the enemy is slick. The ways I’ve heard of him getting into homes is just crazy, but I think God is faithful all at the same time.

So I think, as a parent, what I will do is I’ll try to protect her as much as I can. I’ll try to equip her to handle it in a biblical and godly way. I’ll even try to make sure that she knows she can be honest with us without shame. I want her to know, “You can talk to us. Even your family is a community.” I don’t want her to be in the habit of isolation or hiding because the enemy wreaks havoc in that, too.

But also, me praying for discernment. I think God is gracious in making parents alert to stuff in ways that they probably would not have been. My friend, Melody Fabian, who walks with me about motherhood and stuff like that, she’s very careful in what cartoons her daughters watch, whose homes she goes over to. There’s no spending the night and stuff like that.

I think her environment is a big deal, too. Family is a big deal. I think that’s all we can do is to equip our children to handle this stuff in a gospel-centered way. I think that’s better than keeping them in a closet and not equipping them for war. It’s a war. Train them with how to handle it, in a wise way, of course.

Nancy: Yes. Talk to someone who is a young woman, wrestling with same-sex attraction. And even a believer who doesn’t feel right about this, doesn’t want to act out on it, but doesn’t also feel like they can talk with anybody about it or be honest about it.

I know you don’t know who this person is, that’s a lot to ask you that in just a matter of moments, but what are some of the first things you would say to equip her with truth?

Jackie: I would tell her that she’s human; that it’s not strange to feel disordered affections. I think when you look at Genesis 3, when you see the story of Eve, I think she felt genuine affection for this tree. Like it felt. . . it was desired to make one wise. That’s a feeling. That’s an affection. So I think that’s part of being a human being. And so, not to think it’s strange, that it exists.

But, to know that you can be honest with God first and foremost. I think we need to be open with the Lord. “God, this is how I feel. This is how I’m thinking. I need You to help me.”

So I think knowing you’re human. You can be honest with God. Confessing it to Him, and you need to confess it to someone who is wise and can counsel you through it because, though we have God, who is great, He is our Great High Priest, He has sent us other people. He has sent us a body.

I think the enemy just wreaks havoc with secrets. Like, he just really does something with that. So confessing it, not only just to let somebody know, but for your own safety, for your own protection for your own heart because you don’t want to get in the habit of keeping all these things in.

But I would also let her know to not allow the culture to shape her identity. I think a lot of the conversations I have with people, even though they’re a believer, if they feel a certain way, if they feel homosexual feelings, the culture will reckon, “If you feel this way, then that’s who you are.”

Scripture says, “You are who you are because of what Christ has done.” And you have faith in that. So if you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you know that because you walk by the fruits of the Spirit, and you repented, and you believed in Him, and you submit to Him as Lord, your identity is His child. You are a new creation in Christ.

These feelings don’t identify you; they just exist. But because you’re His child, you know that you have the overwhelming capacity and power to flee and walk free from them. You don’t have to submit to them. Though they are as real as they come, I know from experience, you do not have to submit because it won’t make you happy. It won’t do anything for you but enslave you to your affections and your body. But Christ has called us to be slaves of righteousness.

So I think doing all of that, but also drenching yourself in the Word. We need the Word, man, for our minds. We need worship. We need prayer. We need these things that will help us disengage with lies. I would literally say all of that.

Nancy: So if you’re that person in the church, and a young woman is coming to you and saying, “I need to walk in the light. I need to be honest about this struggle with somebody,” and tells you they’re struggling with same-sex attraction. How do you start that conversation? What are some things to do or not do when someone comes to you with that struggle?

Jackie: I also inquire about a lot of stuff: “How long have you felt it? Is there a trigger?” Sometimes you may feel this if you’re around somebody or if you’ve watched a certain thing or you’ve listened to certain thing or you’re going through something emotionally.

So let’s identify a trigger, if necessary. What do you do about it? Do you just let it happen? Do you call somebody? Do you watch something?”

I ask them: “How much time do you spend with God?” I’ve noticed that people who have thoughts like that oftentimes is indicative of a lot of prayerlessness and lack of Word. That’s what it seems like when I’ll talk to them. They’re just like, “Well . . . I just kind of read it and then just go about my day.”

But do you drink it? Do you sit with God? I think when you sit with God, it doesn’t mean that the thoughts don’t come, but they don’t have as much control over your peace or your joy when you sit with the Lord.

So I ask questions before I answer. And that’s been the advice I give to people, too. It’s like, when people confess sin, we can’t just teach immediately or just rebuke.

“Well, you know 1 Corinthians 6:9–10 says, that these will not inherit the kingdom of God.” I don’t know if that’s helpful if you haven’t first helped them process through their own emotions and then pointed them to Scripture because the “why” oftentimes may be a whole other thing than we really realize.

So I ask a lot of questions trying to just engage through the Holy Spirit. “God, really help me, give me wisdom in how to respond.” Sometimes I just need to listen. Sometimes I just need to pray. Other times you might identify some sin habits that have manifested in ways in this. Like, “What do you watch at night? Okay, that’s probably why you’re dealing with this. Let’s cut that off and see what happens in a week.”

Nancy: And, of course, that would be in the case of someone who is struggling with it and maybe wants out or feels convicted about it.

Jackie: Yes.

Nancy: I’ve had a number of friends whose young adult children have come to them and said, “I’m gay.” They’re not at this point repentant or broken about that or struggling with it, as far as these parents know. What word of encouragement would you have for those parents?

Jackie: One Scripture I love to encourage people with is 2 Corinthians 4:3, and it says, “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”

Then scroll down to verse 6: “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

I think, when you look at this text, you see that there’s a predicament that someone cannot see the gospel, they can’t see Christ because they’re blinded. You know what I’m saying? The enemy of this world has blinded their minds. They can’t see. So if they can’t see, I can’t help them see. But in verse six, it says that we see only because God has given us the light to see.

So I think what it does, to a parent or a friend, it alleviates the weight of feeling like you have to change them—like it’s your job to make them Christians, it’s your job to make them see. It’s impossible for you to do that. This is a supernatural thing.

So I think that verse would say, like, “Man, trust the God that has given you the light to do the same to them.” You have to believe that God will save whom He wants to save and that He’s more than capable of doing it. Even if outwardly you see that they are rejecting God, inwardly there might be some conviction. There might be some wrestling at work which you don’t know about.

So, one: Trust God to do it. Like, really sit before Him and pray, and let Him do the work. Also, praying for wisdom.

I think parents don’t know what to do in these circumstances. I think God knows your children better than you do because He’s God. So I think we need His wisdom to know how to navigate these situations.

We can read books. We can talk to people who used to be gay. We can talk to professors. But we need a Holy Spirit type of wisdom to handle these situations. I think being willing to sit in the tension of if they don’t want to hear you, not being okay to the point of passiveness, but being okay to trust God to do the work.

And: Engage in conversations. “Why do you feel the way you feel? When did you start to do that?” Talk to them. Process with them. And even in praying, “God, are there ways in which my behavior isn’t exalting Your character in such a way that it’s unattractive?” You know what I’m saying?

Nancy: Yes.

Jackie: Like, “How could I live in such a way where the gospel is beautiful to them, where they see that You are better?”

I think those are good tools. I think this is a situation that we’re all going to deal with. There’s a book called, Messy Grace, by Caleb Kaltenbach that I just read. He’s a pastor in California, and both of his parents are gay, so he understood that tension more than most people.

Nancy: Yes.

Jackie: So I would check that book out. And, of course, Christopher Yuan.

Leslie: That’s Jackie Hill Perry talking with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth about the beauty of a transformed life. Even when the process of that transformation is messy or complicated. To hear more on today’s topic, check out the archives at ReviveOurHearts.com. Search for past guests Christopher Yuan and Rosaria Butterfield.

You can hear more from Jackie this year in person, and Nancy’s here to tell you how.

Nancy: It’s clear from all we’ve heard today that Jackie Hill Perry has an amazing life message of God’s power to set us free from lies that may be holding us in bondage. So I’m really excited that Jackie will be joining us at the True Woman '18 conference this fall. The theme is “The Truth That Sets Us Free.”

Jackie and the other speakers will be following an outline from my book Lies Women Believe. Throughout the conference we'll be hearing a series of concise messages on the kinds of lies that we believe and the truth that sets us free—the truth about God, the truth about ourselves, the truth about sin, about marriage, about children, about sexuality, about emotions and circumstances and mor.

We’ll be worshiping together with Keith and Kristyn Getty. And we’ll be seeing drama from the group Acts of Renewal, illustrating the truths that we are talking about. I want to encourage you, even if you've never been to a True Woman conference before, or maybe you've been to all of them, this one is going to be different, it's going to be unique. I want to encourage you to join us in Indianapolis, September 27–29 for True Woman '18: The Truth That Sets Us Free! You can still get in on the lowest price if you register by May 1. Get more information at ReviveOurHearts.com. We are expecting this conference to fill up early, so don't delay.

Leslie: Jackie Hill Perry says, “If God could save you, surely He could save those you may see as too far beyond His grace.”

Jackie: I think we need to begin to see that conversion is a miracle no matter who it is. It’s a miracle. We have to have faith for these people. I think we have to pray with crazy faith and believe that God can change souls. That’s what He said He would do. He’s going to save people.

Leslie: Hear more on the next Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.