Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Leslie Basham:  In order to live out God’s design for us as women, does it mean we’ll look like a stereotype from a classic sitcom? Here are Mary Kassian and Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Mary Kassian: We’re not saying, “Be June Cleaver . . .”  

Nancy Leigh DeMoss:  . . .or that biblical womanhood necessarily looks like that. But we are saying there are some core values and commitments that, regardless of your culture or era or circumstances or marital status, are things you do want to embrace.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Monday, December 3.

Nancy: Does being a true woman mean you have to go back and act like it’s the 1950s? Are we telling women that they have to vacuum in pearls like a classic sitcom mom? There’s a lot of confusion out there today about what we mean and what we’re talking about, and what we’re not talking about when it comes to biblical womanhood.

My friend, Mary Kassian, and I want to address some of those questions today. But first, during the month of December, we’re reflecting on some of what God has done this year. You may remember that about a year ago I shared some serious needs our ministry was facing.

For example, our makeshift studios were not cost effective and were in need of a major upgrade. We were also asking the Lord to expand Revive Our Hearts into Latin America. And we were asking Him to draw women to True Woman '12, the conference held in Indianapolis.

Here’s a bit of an update. The Lord provided what we needed for studios . . . in fact, I’m sitting in those new studios today. Thankfully, He provided the laborers who were able to build those studios at about half the cost it would have been otherwise. What a blessing and answer to prayer that was.

And the Lord is expanding Revive Our Hearts into Latin America. I’ll be telling you more about that next week. Then, those of you who were there would, I’m sure, agree, the Lord did some amazing things in the lives of over eight thousand women who attended the True Woman '12 conference.

Now, as wonderful as that conference was (and we’re still getting the reports and the testimonies of lives that have been deeply impacted), at the same time, hosting a conference of that size put a financial strain on the rest of the ministry. As a result, we need to see a significant increase in revenue this month as we prepare to head into 2013.

Once again, here at the end of the year, we’re asking the Lord to meet some substantial needs. I’m so grateful that some friends of this ministry understand those needs and the opportunities that the Lord has put before us in this season. These friends are matching every gift that is sent in by our listeners up to a cap of $450,000.

That means that every gift that is given between now and December 31 will be doubled up to that challenge amount. In order to meet the current needs and fund these exciting new opportunities in the year ahead, we’re asking the Lord to not only help us to meet this challenge amount of $450,000, but also to help us far exceed that challenge.

As you’re thinking through your giving between now and the end of the year, would you ask the Lord how He would want you to be involved, and then participate in this matching challenge as He directs?

Today through Wednesday, when you donate any amount to this matching challenge, we’ll send you the workbook True Woman 101: Divine Design. Mary Kassian and I will be talking more about this book over the next couple of days. You can ask for it when you call us at 1-800-569-5959 to make your donation, or visit here at ReviveOurHearts.com and let us know that you’d like to be a part of helping us to meet this year-end matching challenge.

Mary, you’ve been a longtime friend and co-author, and I’m so delighted to have you with us here on the broadcast today.

Mary: And this is the first time, for me, to be in this studio—the brand-new studio here at Revive Our Hearts.

Nancy: This is something long awaited over the last couple of years, and now we’re in it, using it. The Lord has provided the resources and the laborer that helped us get this studio for a lot less cost. It’s really great to be able to produce quality audio in this setting.

Thank you for joining us. It’s been so fun to be involved together, partnering on all things True Woman, and to see what God is doing through that movement. It was so amazing to see God work at the recent True Woman conference. What, for you, was one of the highlights of that conference?

Mary: There were so many highlights of that conference. It was just really something to look out at that room full of women . . . and it was a room full of women! 

Nancy: Eight thousand plus of them.

Mary: It was something to see all different types of woman at all different ages and stages of life . . . married, single . . . yet all women coming together and saying, "There is a commonality among us, and that is that we love Jesus and we want to follow His way. That means something unique for us as women."

It was so special to be in that environment. And then, I loved also, seeing the link being forged between what it means to follow Christ as a woman and praying for revival in our homes and in communities and in the country

Nancy: You took a picture. I didn’t get to actually see this myself, but to me it’s one of the most moving images from the whole weekend. Can you describe it?

Mary: Yes, it happened during one of the final sessions that was on praying for revival. Bill Elliff was speaking on revival. He had just finished talking about some women who had been so very faithful in ages past in praying and the results of their prayers. He spoke of seeing revival come through the prayers of these older women who really were crippled in body and yet were just faithful in praying.

As he was speaking, there was an old, godly woman—I say “godly”—I don’t even know her, but she just seemed to radiate godliness.

Nancy: She had to be, what, eighty maybe?

Mary: Yes, probably about eighty years old. Out of the corner of my eye I saw her approaching the stage. Bill was still speaking, so she wasn’t responding to an altar call—she was responding to something else. He was just encouraging us to be faithful and to hang in there and keep praying and seeking revival as women.

And then this old woman approached the stage. She was stooped over, and she had her little white hanky that she occasionally waved in the air.

Nancy: The women were using those to say “Yes, Lord!” 

Mary: That was the symbol of saying, “Yes, Lord!” She was getting closer and closer to the stage, and I was thinking, “What is she doing? Is she going to go up on the stage and tell Bill a thing or two?” I just didn’t know what she was doing.

As she got to the stage, she dropped to her knees and just bowed there in a posture of prayer, of supplication, asking the Lord to bring revival. She just stayed there, praying and interceding for quite a while. The Lord spoke to me at that time, because sometimes I get weary. It’s something you long for, something your heart cries out for, something I’ve fasted for and prayed for.

Whenever I speak, it’s always in the back of my mind that, if we as women can get to the place where we’re being honest about the sin in our lives and really start dealing with the things that God has for us as women, then we’re going to start experiencing personal revival and that will break out into a larger circle.

But, you get tired of it. You get tired of hoping and praying and longing and fighting for it. As Bill was speaking, in my mind it was like, “Oh, Lord, this is what I long for so deeply, but I need to admit—if I’m honest—I’m tired sometimes of fighting.”

So the Holy Spirit spoke to me as I saw this old saint kneeling there and praying and being faithful. I was just thinking of Anna at the temple [in the New Testament] being faithful her whole life, seeking, waiting, longing, and it was such a poignant moment for me that I pulled out my iPhone and snapped a picture of this woman.

Nancy: And I understand that you actually shared this account on a video at the end of the conference, and we’ve posted that video on ReviveOurHearts.com along with a photo of that woman. I’d encourage our listeners to go there and see that clip and look at that photo, just as a reminder to all of our hearts of how God wants to use us, as women, to seek Him together until He comes and rains righteousness upon us.

Mary: That was one of the most profound things about this particular conference—that, and again, just connecting the dots between why it’s important that we get our lives right as women, particularly in this culture . . . and revival. Because ultimately, what we’re talking about when we’re talking about true womanhood is not because we want to come up with some new definition of womanhood or some new formula for how to do womanhood—but that we want to exalt Jesus in who He created us to be as women.

When we do that, when we get our lives right as women, we will see Christ exalted.

Nancy: And that’s so important, because as you and I both know, this is not an easy subject we’re talking about. Whether it’s the True Woman conferences, the True Woman Manifesto, True Woman 101—the book that we co-authored, the eight-week Bible study series on womanhood . . . on the one hand there are a lot of woman who are being encouraged by that teaching and embracing it and seeking to live it out, there are also a whole swath within the evangelical world today of women who are not so keen on that message. You and I both get some pushback and some things written about us or about what we’re teaching that are not so flattering and so encouraging.

Sometimes I find myself wondering, “Is this really worth the battle? This whole thing for biblical womanhood . . . does it matter that much? Do we need to keep swimming upstream and going against the tide on this?”

You and I have talked often and have said, because of the tie to the glory of God and the story of redemption, we have to keep talking about—and pointing women to—this picture.

Mary: And not only that, the tie to the glory of God, but I just think of Deuteronomy, when the Lord said, “Be careful to walk in My ways, and what I am commanding you today is for your good.” So, it’s not only for the glory for God, but it’s also for our good and our blessing.

I see women messing up their lives so badly. They’re trying to make relationships work, and it’s not working. They’re trying to live according to the world’s formula, and it just isn’t working for them.

As I see women who embrace what God has to say, I see them come to freedom and fullness in their lives and peace and joy and healing. They begin to flourish, and they begin to discover who they really are, who God created them to be. It’s like they grow up into their own skin and just blossom.

Nancy: And not only that, to speak about what happens to the men around them who are beginning to blossom and flourish as well.

Mary: Exactly. So, it is a very unpopular message, and it is tough.

Nancy: People wouldn’t want to have to read our mail.

Mary: No, you would not want to read my mail. It’s difficult, and the barbs are there, the stings are there, and it’s particularly difficult when what we are saying is misrepresented.

Nancy: And we’re not just talking about “pagans” out there who have a problem with this whole way of thinking. We’re talking about some within the evangelical world who profess to love God’s Word and to know God’s Word, and who are pushing back on this whole concept of what we’re calling “biblical womanhood.”

I do think the misrepresentation of the viewpoint is one of the toughest things, so I want us to just talk about what some of those misconceptions are about biblical womanhood. And some of that has even come out, from some quarters, in response to this True Woman 101 series.

I think one of the things we’ve heard a number of times has been, “You’re just trying to take people back to the 50s, back to June Cleaver and Leave it to Beaver.” For our listeners who weren’t around in the 1950s and maybe don’t even know what we’re talking about, what do people mean when they say that?

Mary: Well, June Cleaver was in Leave it to Beaver; that was a popular television series. It portrayed life in suburban America where June was a stay-at-home housewife and mom. Her kids went off to school; there was the white picket fence.

She stayed home and baked cookies and vacuumed in her high heels and pearls, in her pretty little dress. It was a cute sitcom, and really in many ways it was the ideal for what women thought their lives ought to be like at that point in time.

The thing is that, number one, it was a sitcom, it wasn’t reality. Number two is that, really, we need to wrestle with, “How do we take the Word of God and apply it in our generation, in our time, given our circumstances?” Life has changed. There was no Internet back then. The home took a lot more work than it does now.

There are different ages and stages of a woman’s life, and so there is no cookie-cutter formula. What we need to do is, is we need to take the Word of God and read its principles and apply them and each woman needs to do that to her individual situation.

So, it’s really tough when you see yourself being represented as saying something you’re not saying. So, let’s make it clear—we are not saying, “Be June Cleaver,” right?

Nancy: Or that biblical womanhood necessarily looks like that. But we are saying there are some core values and commitments that, regardless of your culture or era or circumstances or marital status are things you do want to embrace.

Mary: That’s right, there are, and there are things that are specific to womanhood that are important to value.

Nancy: Such as . . . ?

Mary: It’s important, as a woman, that you value the giving and nurturing of life.

Nancy: But that may look different for you, as an empty-nest mom, than it does for me as a never-married, single woman, right?

Mary: But both of us can do it. Both of us are intent on investing in the kingdom by bringing forth life, spiritual life. For those women who are married, that also involves physical life. But the purpose of having babies, even, if you’re married is to raise them up in the ways of the Lord and to expand His kingdom.

Nancy: So, we’re not saying that having babies is the ultimate good, or being married is the ultimate good, or not having babies or not being married is . . .

Mary: That’s right. There’s no one, single pattern, but in whatever state we are in, in our lives, we are to live that out as women, and to glorify God by who He created us to be as women.

Nancy: I love that the Scripture gives us so many varied examples of women who feared the Lord, loved the Lord, served the Lord, furthered His kingdom, but whose lives were very different. You have women who had many children, women who were barren, who could not have children, women who never married.

Mary: You have Mary and Martha, different personalities . . . they weren’t married. You had women who accompanied Jesus on His journeys who really supported His ministry financially . . . so these were obviously wealthy women . . . and then you had women who were poor and needy.

There just isn’t one “cookie-cutter” formula. Just to be very clear about debunking that myth—it’s just not true.

Nancy: And I think we want to make sure that our listeners, who may have been called by God into a particular lifestyle—or choices—don’t put others under the bondage of saying, “If you’re a godly woman, then your life will look like this. You will have this many children, or you will home school or whatever."

Mary: That's because each woman has to answer to the Lord for the choices that she makes and I think that true womanhood looks different from woman to woman, depending on personalities, circumstances, life situation, but that there are values that Scripture teaches that women ought to uphold whether they’re single or married or regardless of their stage of life.

Nancy: So for example, in the home we’re not necessarily talking about a division of labor or roles that “he does this, she does this.” That doesn’t look the same in every family.

Mary: It doesn’t look the same in every family, and I can testify to that. It doesn’t look the same in my marriage. I was raised by a carpenter, and so I learned some skills that my husband didn’t learn. He was raised by a businessman. I rather enjoy swinging a hammer, and I did all the electrical wiring in our basement.

Somebody might say, “Oh, well that’s not . . ."

Nancy: That would not be my role in a marriage for sure.

Mary: That’s just the way that I’m wired, for lack of a better word. So it doesn’t have to do with a particular kind of checklist—who does what.

Nancy: Who does the accounting . . .

Mary: Who does the finances . . . or who prepares supper that particular night . . . that’s trivializing it. When you try and reduce it to a checklist, you’re missing the point. The point is that God created us as male and female, and that means that there’s an essential difference in our being, in who we are.

Who I am as a woman is something that’s very fundamentally different than who my husband is as a man.

Nancy: So what does that mean, then, lived out in real life. We’re saying it’s not a checklist; it’s not a cookie-cutter division of roles and responsibilities, so what implications does it have . . . that there are fundamental differences between men and women?

Mary: The implication is that we need to go to God’s Word, and God’s Word lays it out in various passages, like in Ephesians—that’s the great marriage passage. It says that "husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the church and gave Himself for her." (see v. 25)

There’s an element of self-sacrificial leadership that takes place there, and that wives are to respond joyfully with an amenable, submissive heart toward their husband’s leadership in the home.

Nancy: Now, you just waved a big, red flag—you know that—among those that believe that submission is an ugly thing and something that puts women in an inferior position.

Mary: That’s really too bad. I think that when we look at the Word of God, the submission of Christ to His Father, and the submissive, soft heart of Jesus toward His Father . . .

Nancy: It’s certainly not an inferior position.

Mary: It’s not an inferior position at all. It really is what won our salvation. It is what God values so very highly. In 1 Peter 3:4 the Bible talks about that type of disposition being very, very precious to God.

Nancy: I think we just want to make it clear that we’re not talking about overbearing, demanding, controlling husbands and mousy, subservient wives who don’t say anything, don’t express opinions. I think that’s the picture that some people have in their minds when we talk about submission in the context of marriage—that it’s going to end up being the abuse of women.

We just want to say that that is not what biblical submission looks like at all. I think it’s important to say that the Scripture has a lot to say to men as well. But God has not called me—or you—to be the ones preaching that message. Our calling is to speak the truth of God’s Word to the women who are listening.

Mary: The beauty of God’s design is that when each individual is focusing on their own responsibility, that’s when God’s Spirit can come in and start to bring change.

Nancy: And just a reminder that this whole thing of biblical womanhood applies not just in the context of marriage, but to me as a single woman, to every woman regardless of season, or circumstances of life. There are principles in God’s Word that direct how we think and respond, whether it’s in the workplace, in the context of our extended family, our community, our church life.

These are principles that we need to grapple with and wrestle with: “What does it look like for me to be God’s true woman in this circumstance?” And that’s why I’m so glad, Mary, that the Lord gave us the privilege of writing this resource. I’m holding it in my hand: True Woman 101: Divine Design, An Eight-Week Study on Biblical Womanhood.

We’re getting wonderful reports now about groups who are using this in their churches. Actually, my church is going through this study at the moment, and they have three different groups going—two at night and one in the morning.

A young, twenty-something, single woman came up to me in church recently and said, “I’m in one of those groups. I’m so thankful that there’s so much in here that applies to me as a single woman; that you’re helping me learn what it means to be a biblical woman.”

Another woman came up to me at my church—she’s an older, married woman—and she said, “I wasn’t so sure what to think about this study when I first got into it. I’m a strong independent woman, and when I got to that submission part, I was thinking ‘I don’t know about that.’”

But she said, “When I studied what you said and what God’s Word says about that, I’m realizing, ‘That makes a lot of sense; I can buy that.’”

So it’s great to see women in different seasons of life, different marital status, who are being challenged and helped to think more biblically as a woman through the use of this study.

We want to continue this conversation about some of the misconceptions and misperceptions about biblical womanhood. But I just want to remind our listeners that this resource, True Woman 101, is available in our resource center. We’ll be glad to send you a copy when you make a donation to the ministry of Revive Our Hearts.

Send a donation of any amount and ask for True Woman 101. The number to call is 1-800-569-5959, or you can visit us online at ReviveOurHearts.com and ask for your copy of this resource.

If you want to order additional copies for small groups in your church or your Bible study or your Sunday School class, there is information at ReviveOurHearts.com regarding how you can order additional copies.

Be sure and join us tomorrow as we continue this conversation with Mary Kassian.

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

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

About the Speaker

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love …

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