Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Leslie Basham: Are you weighed down by the things that don't really matter? Here’s Janet Parshall.

Janet Parshall: In Acts we read about when the persecution breaks out in Jerusalem and all the saints scatter. I often read that and think, “Okay, if persecution came and we had to scatter”—the question I love to raise when I’m teaching is that passage is—“what would you take when you had to go?”

If you wouldn’t be ready and able and absolutely planning on traveling light, then you’ve got a problem.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Thursday, June 21.

Thousands of women are making plans to join Revive Our Hearts this September for the conference, True Woman '12: Seeking Him Together for Spiritual Awakening. To make your plans, visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

Yesterday we began getting to know one of the speakers better. Nancy was speaking with Janet Parshall about the value of motherhood. Janet is the host of In the Market, on Moody Radio. Let's get back to the conversation between Nancy and Janet.

Janet: We do programs about motherhood, and I’ve lost count of the women who’ve said, “But I’m happier in the workplace than I am at home.” I want to linger on that point because it’s legitimate. A lot of people will say, “Well, I’m a better mother when I’m happier, and I’m happier when I’m out in the workplace than I am at home.”

We need to examine that. We need to unpack that a little bit and say:

  • How do you define happiness?
  • Why do you think that being affirmed with a paycheck and a coworker that gives you an “atta boy” or an “atta girl” at the end of every two weeks somehow transcends what it means to be taking care of children?

Now again, you and I both understand the reality of the world. There are women right now listening and going, “Look, I don’t have that choice. I have to put my child in daycare. I have to work.”

You know what’s wonderful about that? We don’t have a religion, do we, Nancy? We have a relationship. We can go to our heavenly Father, who said in His Word, “My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19).

Do you think God doesn’t care where your children are during the day and whether or not you’re going to see them? Of course He does! He brought those children into your life. I can’t tell you now, as a grandmother, how much I am thankful that I could go back to the Lord when I was “angst-ing.” I still do that, and always will.

In fact, my mother—a great, precious woman—said, “You will be a mama until the day they put you into the ground.” The role gets redefined, but you never stop being a mother.

I can’t tell you how much I would go back to the Lord and say, “O God,” and I’d pour out my heart. And in a precious way, you sense your Father saying, “Janet, as much as you love them, it pales in comparison to how much I love them.” And how much comfort, particularly as I get older and they get older, I take away from understanding that.

So to that woman who’s going, “But I’m happier out there,” then I would ask you in a loving fashion to do some personal inventory about what constitutes happiness in your life. How do you define it?

  • Is it things?
  • Is it a preponderance of importance?

When you go to a party and someone says, “What do you do?” are you embarrassed or ashamed to say, “Well, I’m an at-home mom”? Maybe you fear that somehow society would look down their nose at us if we have made that choice.

So for the woman who says, “But I’m happier out there,” I would lovingly say, “Get into the Word and ask the Lord to reveal to you what His plan is.” Because I’ve got to tell you this kindly: It’s not about your happiness. I love what Oswald Chambers said: “God doesn’t care about your comfort. He cares about your character.”

We need to ask ourselves, as we stand in front of our spiritual mirror, what makes us happy? And if it’s a job, dear friend, I’m here to tell you that you could lose that job. If it’s your perfect figure and you don’t want to have children because you might ruin it, your figure could be changed in an instant in whatever way it could possibly be changed—from an accident to illness.

We have to ask ourselves what happiness is. I’ve been lingering in the book of 1 Peter. This word’s on my mind. It’s the imperishables in our life that are so important. If they don’t define joy for us as the believer, then we don’t know Him, and we don’t know His Word.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And joy really is the fruit of choosing the path of servanthood, the path of humility, as Jesus did. He made Himself of no reputation, took upon Him the form of a servant, was found in fashion as a man, and became obedient to the point of death. That’s a lowly life. Therefore, it says, God highly exalted Him and has given Him a name that is above every name (Phil. 2:7-9 paraphrased).

It’s so in keeping with the ways of God that the way up is down. The way to be elevated in God’s economy is to take the position of the servant, the lowly position, the position of no reputation. That is the pathway to joy. It’s not the easiest path, but it is the pathway to joy.

Janet: Nancy, it’s so funny because I’ve often said that being a Christian is sometimes like living in a parallel universe. What’s up is down and what’s down is up for the believer. And doesn’t it mean that we’re strangers in a strange land? We’re in but not of the world.

But it does mean that our whole value system—our whole approach toward things—is by our very definition of who we are in Christ Jesus, antithetical to the way the world thinks.

Here I am in Washington, D.C. Do you know we have the highest per capita of PhD's over any other city in the country? So these are the Epicureans and Stoics. These are the intellectuals. These are the great thinkers. For these people power and popularity is a definer of who you are—the best tables, the best parking spot, the best place on the talk shows. It's a town run on self-aggrandizement. Yet when you think about it, being a believer is so antithetical to that, isn't it?

So for the encouragement—because I’ve had to do this in my own life—you don’t get one big whole boatload of grace and instruction on that. That is a moment-by-moment surrendering and a day-by-day experience of saying, “Not me but You.” As my dear friend Henry Blackaby says, "He's God; you're not."

You and I used that word I used earlier. We are immersed in a world that says, “Hey, it’s all about you.” You and I could stand at the checkout line in the grocery store and look at a magazine called Self. 

What else do we have in our culture but a culture that says, "It's all about self; it's all about you." I love to quote those ads Madison Avenue comes up with: "You deserve a break today." You look at the personal pronoun where you are the center of the universe. So how does servanthood square with that? There’s that whole parallel universe antithetical to the world’s message.

And yet, if you want real joy, it’s not going to be when you put you in the center, because ultimately you’ve created a monster and an insatiable appetite that can never, ever be satisfied.

Nancy: That’s where I love the imagery you used a bit ago, where you talked about a salmon swimming upstream. We often talk with our listeners about that. We’re calling women to be salmon who swim upstream against the culture.

And what do those salmon do? They do it to have their babies and then die. And you say, “What a life.” Well, what a picture of the heart of God and the life of Christ. And it does take, in our culture, swimming upstream to think biblically about issues like motherhood and marriage and so many other things.

You mentioned a moment ago what I think is another thing that pulls women away from their children or motherhood. Not just the happiness factor, which is huge, but you also mentioned values. And for so many, it’s this sense that I think is very true in our culture. We’ve created this economic monster that requires two-income families almost for survival.

So the women I’m speaking with are saying, “I would love to be in my home. I’d love to spend more time with my children. I would love not to have to be out in the marketplace. But I have to work.”

If we’re going to be salmon swimming upstream, we have to ask some questions, I think, about our values and the “have-to’s” of life and material things. I’m not talking about women who are trying to be extravagant. But there are some sacrifices required there, perhaps.

Janet: The needs versus the wants. This is where you have to go back to your prayer closet. Literally take out a notebook and a pencil and say, “Okay, what’s irreplaceable? What is imperishable? What do I have to have? Do I really have to have the big plasma screen in every room? Do I have to have a DVD player for every one of these? Do we have to have the bigger cars? Do we have to have this?”

And the list goes on and on and on.

Nancy: Do we have to have two cars?

Janet: Exactly.

Nancy: Do we have to have a television? And apart from the spiritual or moral implications of some of that, what has come to be defined as basic needs are things that, to previous generations, would have been unheard of.

Janet: Absolutely. You know, it’s funny because—particularly when we are a nation very much at war. I look back and I think about our mothers and fathers and what they did to sacrifice. Rationing—can you imagine this culture today having to deal with rationing of food or nylons or whatever?

But also I think there’s a deeper aspect to this conversation, Nancy. I know a lot of our women are going to say, “That’s exactly right.” Is it because stuff satisfies? That really is the big question. Are you happier with more stuff?

So we have to make the very tough decision to say, “Okay, honey, we’re going to get our Bible, we’re going to turn off the television, we’re going to sit at the kitchen table, and we’re going to write down what our real needs are versus what our wants are. Then we’re going to do an inventory of everything we’ve got and say, “If we lost it tomorrow, would we be happy?”

In Acts, we read about when the persecution breaks out in Jerusalem and all the saints scatter. I often read that and think, “Okay, if persecution came and we had to scatter”—the question I love to raise when I’m teaching that passage is—“what would you take if you had to go?’”

And if you wouldn’t be able and ready and absolutely planning on traveling light, then you’ve got a problem.

Nancy: We’re not trying to put people under any burden of guilt or the law, or say, “If you’re working outside the home, then you are sinning.” I think what we’re doing is challenging women to be intentional, to ask the questions:

  • Why am I doing this?
  • What is motivating it?
  • What am I trading for what I’m gaining?
  • Is it worth it?

And they should be willing, if the Lord would steer their thinking differently, to be radically counter-cultural.

We use that term so often on Revive Our Hearts. Counter-cultural.

Janet: I love it.

Nancy: It’s not easy. It’s costly. It’s challenging. I’m so thankful, Janet, that in those early child-rearing years in your life, you were willing to resist the siren call of the culture and to say, “We’re not going to do it that way. We’re going to do it in the way we believe that God is leading our family.”

That’s really what we’re challenging women to do—to get on their knees, get with the Lord, get with their husband as you went to your husband and said, “I’m not so sure about what should matter to me at this season of life.” And God gave your husband courage and faith and wisdom to say, “This is the way. As for me and my house, we’re going to do what we believe God wants us to.”

Janet: Nancy, let me underscore something you said because I think it’s so insightful on your part. People might be listening and thinking, “Oh, Janet and Nancy, they’ve got it together. No problems. They’ve got this all worked out.”

Nancy: Right.

Janet: To this day, I know that when an opportunity comes along, both of us have to go sift and weigh and pray, because we know that to say "yes" to something means we have to say "no" to something else.

There are times when I’ll look at my husband and I’ll say, “Yes, I know if I accept that speaking engagement, I’m going to be separated this weekend from you.” Then I have to stop and do a personal inventory. You see, this never stops.

You have to stop and do a personal inventory and say, “When is the last time we were able to have what I love to call ‘soul talk’?” I have created ten levels of communication. Most of the time in busy lives we're at one, two, and three. "Did you get the dog to the vet?" "Could you go to the drycleaners?" "Are you going to pick this up at the grocery store?" "Did that bill get paid?" That's communication of a sort, but it is on the veneer.

If you want to get to soul talk, you have to be, to use our word again, intentional. Intentional to say that we’re dialing down all of the outside interference, and we’re going to get to that place where we’re really communing with one another. You can’t do that in an airport on a cell phone. You’re going to have to be there to do it.

So this is an encouragement to women who are thinking, “They’ve got it all together.” I don’t think, until the Lord calls you home, you ever stop sifting and weighing and going to Him and saying, “Father, my life—my very life—doesn’t belong to me. Not my will, but Yours. What would you have me to do? Do you want me to go to that place, give that speech, accept that opportunity?”

It really never stops, if we go back to that concept that you alluded to earlier, which is servanthood. We say to our master, to our Lord and our King, “Father, what would You have me to do?”

And very often for the believer, it’s not choosing between good and bad. It’s choosing between good and best. Sometimes that’s a much more difficult decision, I think.

Nancy: As I’ve heard you talk about how God even brought you and Craig together and what He’s done in your lives . . . Some people who just hear Janet Parshall on the radio would think, “This is a strong woman; this is an independent woman.”

But your life is very much in-meshed with Craig’s. How have you forged that kind of relationship—which, again, is a counter-cultural type of marriage?

Janet: Absolutely it is. It’s prayer, prayer, prayer, and prayer. Prayer first, last, and always. It’s challenging each other on, “Where are you in the Scriptures? Where are you in your devotional life? What have you heard before? What is the Lord teaching you right now?”

When we go for walks—and we have the privilege of being in a beautiful section of the Commonwealth of Virginia, so walking is what we love to do—but we prayer walk. We walk, and as we’re walking, we’re praying the whole time that we’re doing it.

It’s interesting, because in that time when you’re praying together as a husband and wife—someone said this once, and I thought how right they were—there is no more intimate act between a husband and a wife than the act of praying together.

It’s revelatory of who you are. It is the most intimate part of who you are. You have to open yourself up before the Lord, because you can’t be a phony in front of Him. So your mate hears what’s on your heart. And there really is this blending together of hearts and minds when you have that time together to pray.

Nancy: Is that something you’ve done all your married life?

Janet: It is. From the very beginning. We used to pray before we started on our dates, and we took that ride. We prayed the whole time during our engagement period, and we’ve been praying together as a couple since we’ve been married. We’ve been married now thirty-six-and-a-half years.

So, Nancy, it’s not luck. I don’t believe in luck as a believer. The reason our marriage is going as strong now as it was when we first said “I do” thirty-six years ago is because Christ has been the center. That sounds like Cliff Notes on a Sunday School lesson, but it is absolute truth.

When Christ is the center, so many things fall from that. When you begin to realize that your husband is the head of the household, when you can turn to your husband and say, “I trust you. I believe in you. Where should we go on this?” The comfort, the security that gives me as a wife!

Nancy: It’s interesting, in light of those differing needs—those distinct needs that Ephesians 5 tells us—that a husband is to love his wife, which is going to fulfill her need for security, and the wife to reverence and submit to her husband. This whole issue of respect is very tied into the meeting of his needs.

Janet: Absolutely. And I love the fact that we are so unique and so different. From a mortal’s perspective, when you think about the paradigm of marriage, it shouldn’t work. “Two sinners under one roof, living happily ever after? I don’t think so.”

As a result of that idea, you realize that we now have a divorce-minded culture. One out of every two marriages ends in divorce. Oh, how you and I wish we could say to those who are listening that that’s an outside-the-church problem. It’s not. It’s very much a problem that’s worked its way into the church.

Again, no condemnation. But this is a clarion call to repentance and revival. And that starts by illuminating what the problems are.

We both know and love Bob Lepine so much. I had the privilege of speaking with Bob on the Moody Broadcasting Network on this particular subject. And he used an important word. He said, “In this whole area of divorce, the word that comes up is ‘hard-heartedness.’”

That goes exactly to what we read in Scripture as well. Somewhere in there, hearts are turned cold. Hearts are changed dramatically.

What do we do to keep those hearts from getting hard? How do we keep them soft and supple and malleable and receptive to what God would do in our lives and in our marriages as well?

It’s tough work. Here’s what I’ve told my kids—and two of the four are married right now. I’ve said, “Marriage is like a garden. It has to be tended on a regular basis. And like any good garden, it has to be watered, and weeds have to be pulled. It needs sunshine, and it needs lots of tender, loving care. Turn your back on your garden, and it’ll be overcome with weeds. Turn your back on your marriage, and it’ll be overcome as well.”

Nancy: So to what do you attribute the increase in the divorce rate, the divorce culture? Why? Is there more just hardness of hearts? What’s contributing to that?

Janet: What a great question. Let me just tell you, as a cultural observer—and I think that’s probably my job description—I attribute it to Satan’s understanding that if he can go to that primary unit, that place where you learn how to love your wife as Christ loved the church, that place where you can learn to submit to your husband as head of the family as Christ is head of the church, that model, that paradigm . . .

If he can go after the institution where the precepts and principles of God’s Word will be passed down to the next generation, and if he can crush that institution, wow. Just think of the legacy he’ll leave.

So his footprint is out there in these areas already, as a result of the damage of divorce. And part of his insidious lie, as he rattles his tail, is something we hearkened back to earlier, which is: You’re not happy. “I just don’t love you anymore. I’m not happy here. There’s something more out there.”

Now, I’m pushing aside for a moment the situations where’s there’s real abuse, where there’s been adultery. I’m talking about those who say, “We just don’t love each other anymore.” You talk about the feminist movement. One of the things the feminist movement gave to our culture is this so-called “no-fault” divorce.

Once upon a time, before the emergence of the feminist movement, we as a culture wanted to make it difficult for marriages to end. We built our value system in this culture on the idea that “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matt. 19:6). It was part of the ceremony. We really believed in the constant need to perpetuate and protect this institution.

Along comes the feminists that go, “No. if you want to get out, we should be able to let you get out, and you shouldn’t have to give a reason why. So we’ll let you do it.”

It’s easier to get a divorce in this country than it is to get married in this country. Something is terribly wrong with that picture when the two are juxtaposed.

So if we begin to promulgate the idea that it’s all about you—if it’s all about self, and if you are the center of the universe and your happiness meter isn’t where you think it should be—then your attitude is, “I’ve been given a carte blanche to step out of this relationship.”

Without thinking of the consequences, without understanding what it means to make a covenant—there’s a very powerful word—a covenant before God . . . We turn our back on it because we say, “My needs supersede the profound message and the truth of the Scriptures.”

Nancy: Not to speak of the fact that we’re then casting aspersions on the picture that God chose to reveal His redemptive plan and heart. How can this next generation trust a covenant-keeping God when they don’t have parents who keep their covenant?

Janet: That’s an excellent point. Very, very true.

So there’s an assault. Now, here’s where the church has to lead by example. In fact, let me give you again—and forgive me as I keep infusing these public-policy issues. I love them because they’re so reflective of the truth of Scripture. Huge debates began in my town about whether we would radically redefine marriage to be, quite honestly, anything man wanted to do. Man would do what’s right in his own eyes.

So as man began to redefine what this is all about, I found it interesting that so many who were proponents of these new and radical and—may I be so bold—unbiblical definitions would turn and say, “Well, the church has got a problem with divorce. Why don’t you fix your own house first before you try and fix what we want to define as the definition of marriage?”

And you know what? It was a very effective bludgeoning tool. What does Scripture say? Where does judgment begin? In our house.

Nancy: In the house of God (1 Pet. 4:17 paraphrased).

Janet: That’s exactly right.

Nancy: We’ve lost our platform. We’ve lost our credibility. So one of the primary things that believers can do today to make the gospel believable is to stay married.

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been talking with Janet Parshall about public policy and priorities. It’s been refreshing to hear how this talk-show host based in Washington D.C. puts her marriage and her relationship with God before everything else.

We’ve heard from some Revive Our Hearts listeners who understand priorities. They’re putting God first, then their family. But they also have Revive Our Hearts pretty high up on their list of priorities. They believe in spreading this program into homes like yours.

Our friend Elizabeth Grattan talked with one of these listeners and filed this report.

Elizabeth Grattan: Becoming a Ministry Partner is sometimes an easy decision to make. Revive Our Hearts ministry partner Carol shared with me how her first impression of Nancy won her over, and how those teachings compelled her to give.

Carol: I am almost sixty-four years old and an avid listener of Christian radio. Nancy’s program came on, and immediately I just realized that this was a kindred spirit. I just felt that her ministry had so challenged me personally. I was well-versed in Scripture, but I was being challenged to look at things in new ways and just get her perspective on things.

And I thought, “This would be like going to a restaurant and getting a fine meal and walking out without paying.” You just want to be part of that when you’re blessed by a ministry. You need to help support the ministry, rather than being a spectator only or a listener only, but a participant. You know that what you do is so minuscule compared to the need, but everyone can do something regardless of how small they feel it is.

Elizabeth: I asked her about the investment she was making with Revive Our Hearts, and her thoughts on Nancy’s teachings to a new generation.

Carol: This is an investment in eternity, and it can reach other generations. I’m very concerned about my grandchildren and great-grandchildren and them getting good, solid teaching, by whatever means technology is at, as they grow up. It’s imperative. It’s not optional.

Nancy is hitting things head-on that are not necessarily popular and certainly are counter-cultural. They are not politically correct, but they are so biblical. She is so true to the Scripture. And she researches everything so well and supports everything so well, yet presents it with such a loving, heartfelt spirit. There’s just nothing else like it out there. It’s unique.

Leslie: You can become a Revive Our Hearts Ministry Partner as well. When you do, we’ll keep you connected to the pulse of this ministry with regular updates from Nancy, and a monthly resource delivered to your mailbox.

Plus, you’ll get a book from Nancy and attendance to one of our events at no charge. Get the details on becoming a ministry partner at ReviveOurHearts.com. If you’d rather call, dial 1-800-569-5959.

Tomorrow, Janet Parshall will return and tell us about the very real challenges she faces while trying to live out biblical principles of femininity. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

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

All Scripture is taken from the King James Version.

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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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