Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Embracing Truth When Your Children Are Shaken

Episode Resources

Learn more about the True Girl ministry.

See the locations and dates for True Girls events.

Leslie Basham: A friend once told Dannah Gresh how to care for a particular kind of tropical plant.

Dannah Gresh: She said, “Once a week, I want you to grab the branch,” and it’s a scrawny little branch, like the width of my thumb, with these big, big leaves on top. And she said, “You go like this.” And she starts shaking it. I’m thinking, She’s gonna break it! She’s shaking it roughly.

She’s like, “They were made for the wind, and they are made to live in the tropics where the rain comes in torrential downpours. If they don’t get the wind and if they don’t get the torrential downpours, their roots don’t get strong.”

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, along with Dannah Gresh, co-authors of Lies Young Women Believe, for August 15, 2019. 

Raising daughters can be a scary thing these days. That’s why we need parenting wisdom and lots of grace! Consider the story this mom told us.

Ella’s Mom: Our daughter Ella, who is in sixth grade, was at school—Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, like normal. She came home from school (must have been on Tuesday) and said, “Mom, you’re never going to believe this!” Some of the girls were spreading a rumor about her best friend, Emma. 

And I said, “Well, what’s the rumor?” And I said, “Is Emma okay?”

She said, “Yeah, she’s okay. We talked about it.” She said that the rumor was that her best friend Emma was bi and that she liked our daughter Ella, because they’ve been best friends since first grade. And you’re a little bit taken aback, because you’re thinking, In sixth grade this is even coming up? This shouldn’t even be on their radar at eleven years old, twelve years old.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Wow. You’re listening to a mom who attended a Lies Girls Believe workshop that she went to be encouraged and trained to root her daughter in God’s Truth. These workshops are led by my friend, Dannah Gresh, as part of True Girl, which is a partner ministry of Revive Our Hearts.

Dannah, this is a shocking story! But how many of our daughters and granddaughters are facing this kind of conversation when they’re eleven years old?

Dannah: Yes, it’s heartbreaking! I don’t think all eleven-year-olds are facing this kind of rumor at school; they’re not facing the topic of gender or sexuality, but more than we might think. I would say that all of them are facing some pressure and stress. 

I’ve been reading, over and over again, surveys that are saying that the time period in a child’s life that a mom is most stressed is the eight-to-twelve-year-old years, because they’re being pressured to grow up too soon, and they feel fearful and out of control.

And one of the major factors of that is the exposure to these mature topics, due to the cultural conversations. It’s really terrifying to mothers and grandmothers alike.

Nancy: And that has an impact on these girls’ emotional well-being as well.

Dannah: Oh, yes! Their anxiety is skyrocketing, they’re a lot of times withdrawing. They’re not coming home like that girl and telling Mom, “Hey, there’s a rumor at school about my best friend and me.” So you have to kind of draw them out because they become a little bit depressed and withdrawn.

Nancy: I imagine this is having a huge impact emotionally on these girls. 

Dannah: Huge! In fact, their anxiety is skyrocketing a lot of times due to the bullying or the rumors going around like this, or just not understanding. Many times they’re withdrawing. They’re feeling that pressure to grow up too soon.

Things that we used to think were teen problems—the boy/girl relationships, fashion/beauty pressure—that’s hitting them at a much earlier age. One headline that I saw in the news not so long ago was “When Did Seven Become the New Seventeen?” Because these girls are just pressured to be branded and consumerized. 

Moms are feeling the emotional impact, too. They’re starting to see an increase in maternal depression when their child turns around ten years old. They’re like, “What do we do with this? What do we do with this pressure? How do we keep our children safe?”

Nancy: It feels like there hasn’t been a ton of encouragement available for moms whose kids are in these what they call “tween years”—seven or eight to twelve.

Dannah: Yes, we all focus on the newborn. “Here’s how to raise your newborn. Here’s how to get through the terrible twos. Oh, the teen years, they’re going to be really hard, so read this book.” Even college years: how to let go of your child. But there’s nearly as much support for moms during those later elementary and early middle school years. So they’re really hungry for help!

Nancy: That’s why I’m so excited about this new partnership with True Woman and True Girl! 

Dannah: Yay!

Nancy: Dannah, you’ve been ministering to teens and girls for a long time. We’ve been ministering to women through the True Woman Movement for a long time. You and I have been friends for a long time. I can’t count how many times you’ve said to me, “We’ve got to be going younger! We’ve got to be planting these seeds of truth in the hearts of younger girls!”

So in the last year or so, we’ve been kind of plotting. Our teams have come together, and we’ve said, “How could we do a partnership that would have LIVE events, biblically based mother/daughter events, where they can connect over resources and be encouraged and equipped?”

This is where this whole True Girl partnership has come about. You’ve actually been doing this for years; it’s not new. You called it Secret Keeper Girl for years, and it’s been rebranded now to True Girl. Secret Keeper Girl was going on for fifteen years. 

Now we’re calling that same outreach True Girl. It’s given us a chance to partner more between your ministry and the ministry of Revive Our Hearts and True Woman.

Dannah: Nancy, I can’t tell you how much that means to me! It’s just such a blessing, and as we were seeing some various reasons why we needed to come up with a new name. Our friendship (you and I) was growing, and I was getting the opportunity to be more involved with Revive Our Hearts. It just seemed the perfect fit to rebrand it to True Girl.

This is kind of a cool, exciting thing: The girl who started it all—which is Lexi—was nine years old when I started writing these books, making these events up, because I was a little nervous about what was going on in her life. 

Nancy: This is your daughter.

Dannah: That’s her, yes. She’s now working with the ministry and spearheading this rebrand to the name True Girl. What a blessing to see her . . .

Nancy: She is a gem! So you moms of nine-year-old girls who think you’re pulling our hair out right now, just know that in God’s time and in God’s way, those seeds you’re planting are going to take root and produce fruit . . . as they have, Dannah, in your precious daughter’s life.

Dannah: Yes, and other girls. In fact, Nancy, going back to the girl whose story we heard at the beginning of the program. Our goal at True Girl is to bring moms and daughters closer to each other and closer to Christ. We want to help moms plant truth in their daughters. 

We believe it’s their job. God calls them—not the church, not Christian authors, not Christian speakers—but moms and dads to plant truth in their daughters. We think when they do that, it’s a real game-changer when their daughters are facing hardships, peer pressure, cultural lies, booing, and rumors at school.

So, can we just listen in to hear how Ella’s mom responded when her daughter came home with a report that rumors were flying around school about her and her best friend, Emma?

Ella’s Mom: We had just finished walking through Lies Girls Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free. As a mom, I felt like, I’ve got some tools that I can refer back to, now. This is fantastic! Because eight weeks ago, I wouldn’t have had these tools. I would have had something, but not this.

So I looked at Ella and I said, “Well, Ella, what did you tell Emma?” 

And she said, “Well, Mom, I just looked at her and I said, ‘You know what, Emma, what does God say about us? What is the truth?’ I asked her, ‘Are you bi?’” 

And Emma said, “Well, no-o-o!” 

And Ella said, “Then, there! That’s what we stand on! You know, the truth is that we’re created in God’s image, and that’s what we stand on. God tells us who we are. So whatever they’re saying about you is not true, and so we don’t believe it!” 

My husband and I prayed with our daughter that night, and we kind of prepped her that, “When you go back to school tomorrow, what you don’t want to do is allow the enemy to stir it up. You stand on the truth. If it comes up, that’s what you say, ‘That’s not our truth.’”

Nancy: Dannah, I love hearing stories like that, about how God is drawing the hearts of these girls and equipping their moms, and their dads as well, to point them to truth; to help them to be equipped to face these kinds of challenges that they’re going to face. 

You and I didn’t face those kinds of situations when we went to elementary school, but these girls are today. I love the fact that moms and grandmoms don’t have to be afraid. They don’t have to be discouraged or lose heart when they think about these difficult or these mature cultural issues that these girls are facing.

But they do need to be alert. They need to be vigilant—vigilant in prayer and in believing truth themselves and knowing how to point their daughters to the truth. It’s God’s Word that is the foundation, the starting place for wisdom. If we don’t have God’s truth, we’re going to be tossed about with every wind of doctrine, with every crazy thing that comes down the pike.

This is why for moms to know God’s truth and to get resources that will help them point their daughters to truth is such a huge gift! That is what you’re doing through this ministry, the True Girl ministry. So you’ve been traveling around the country encouraging moms as part of the rebrand of this ministry to what is now called True Girl.

And that rebranded ministry is just relaunching this month, which is why we’re focusing on it today and tomorrow here on Revive Our Hearts. Now, Dannah, you’ve been hosting Lies Girls Believe workshops just for moms in various cities across the United States. What’s one of the most important things that you’ve observed, and maybe the encouragement that moms need to hear?

Dannah: Well, I think I can’t over-emphasize that we have to be rooted in truth ourselves. We can try to root our children in truth as much as we want—do every Bible study, give them every book, every resource, take them to events—but if we’re not modeling that truth in our own lives, we’re going to undo some of the work. It has to be authentic!

I see it in moms, and I see it in my own heart. In fact, I have to confess that at each of the workshops that I’ve been doing, I open up with a little devotional of what God is doing in my own heart for that very day.

At one of them a few weeks ago, I had to pretty much confess that my own heart had not been rooted in truth. I needed to see the lie I was believing so that I could stand in the truth for my children. I needed to uproot the lie and plant the truth myself.

Nancy: Let’s listen in as Dannah shares how her own children were shaken and tested recently, and how she had to go through that process of identifying a lie that she was believing as a mom, so she could replace it with God’s truth.

Dannah [from a recording at an event]: I have three children; they’re all adult children. Autumn’s planning a wedding, and she’s planning a wedding with a boy she met at YWAM in Taiwan. He’s from Taiwan. When she told me, “I want to marry a boy from Taiwan,” I was like, “Oh, no you don’t! (laughter) He lives really far away! Let’s not do that!”

So I’m in this process of release and trusting God—not knowing what that looks like. I really like the kid. Unfortunately, I loved him when I met him. There are issues of visa that we have to trust God for. Lexi’s left a job in Detroit at an ad agency to help us with the rebrand. 

This name change [from Secret Keeper to True Girl] and all that’s associated with it is an enormous, stressful project for a small team, and Lexi’s the fulcrum of that. So I watch her carry that, and I don’t like that.

I don’t like when any of my team members carry it, you know? I’m like, “How do we spread it out?” But when it’s your daughter carrying it, then, Psychotic Mom shows up! (laughter) 

And then, my son and his wife of three years, Aleigha, they’ve finally gotten around to producing grandchildren after three years. We’ve been waiting!

And suddenly, we discovered at twenty weeks that there’s not one girl but two in there! And that’s exciting! But they’re very high risk girls. They’re MoMo twins, which means they share a placenta, and they share an amniotic sac.

And so, at the beginning, the risk is 50/50. There’s a 50/50 shot of those two baby girls coming home with us. Each week, some of the risk reduces. We’re up to about an eighty or ninety percent chance at twenty-eight weeks—which we’re thrilled about!

But about three weeks ago, I was traveling, and all of that stress was kind of bubbling up. I just talked with Lexi on the phone on the way from the Tampa airport to the hotel. Obviously, that fulcrum was pressing down hard on her. I just didn’t like that!

Then I walked past a brand-new—must have been about a month old—baby in a stroller, and the thought occurred to me, What if only one comes home? And that was the straw that broke the camel’s back! And right there in the parking lot of the Tampa airport, I burst into the kind of tears that everybody sort of notices.

I wasn’t super noisy but a little noisy, and people were like, “Do we approach her or is she unsafe?” (laughter) Because it could be either way here! I kind of held it together until I got to the hotel. Then I just flooded, just erupted into emotion!

So I let myself do that for a minute, because I do think that as believers we kind of think that we have to bring to God the “right” thing instead of the “real” thing. What a lie! C. S. Lewis says, “Bring to God what is in you, not what should be.” And so, I was bringing to God what was in me. I was like, “I’m afraid! I feel guilt over the stress in Lexi’s life. I feel incapable of how to help my daughter, Autumn, feel safe while she’s waiting for this visa. I don’t know how to do it! And, Jesus, I’m scared about these baby girls!” 

And after a while, it was like, “Okay, now it’s time to do what I tell everybody else to do: dig down deep, find the truth and put it on . . . and let my emotions be told how to behave!”

Because when I go down there to find what’s down there, often when my emotions are overwhelming and radical like that, it’s because there is a lie that I’m believing, right? So it’s like, “What is the lie I’m believing?”

I had to walk to dinner, so I’m walking to dinner saying, “Okay, God, I’m going to bring up every Scripture that’s in me that might be the truth to help me have stability in my emotions tonight.” 

And I thought of all kinds of verses, like Isaiah where it says, “I love you. ‘You are mine.’” (see Isa. 43:1) And I was like, “He says that about my children! They are His, not mine! They’re His! So if they’re His, He feels what I feel. But He can do something about it! He’s not out of control!” 

Yet I was like, “That’s not the truth I need.” You know what I mean? When you find a truth in the Bible, but you’re like, “That’s not the one I need. That’s not the one for now. It’s not the one He’s directing me to.”

So I went through my Rolodex in Scripture—a whole bunch—and I couldn’t find anything. And then all of a sudden, I saw as I was walking past a hotel lobby, a fiddle-leaf fig tree. Do you know what those are? They’re the “it” plant (thank you, Joanna Gaines!). They’re the ones that everybody’s buying. I had just purchased one the week before because I saw so many Joanna pictures.

I was like, “I need one of those!” And so I bought myself one at Lowe’s, and I brought it home, and thought, Surely I will kill it probably within about three months. But my friend, Janet Mylin, has an absolute green thumb. She happened to be over the night that I bought it, and she said, “Oh! You’re taking impeccable care of your fiddle-leaf fig!”

I’m like, “Well, we’re still in the first twelve hours!” (laughter) And so she said, “Oh, let me give you some tips.” So she taught me about how to know when it needs water, and then she said, “Here’s what everybody fails to do with a fiddle-leaf fig.” 

She said, “Once a week, I want you to grab the branch,” and it’s a scrawny little branch, like the width of my thumb, with these big, big leaves on top. And she said, “You go like this.” And she starts shaking it. I’m thinking, She’s gonna break it! She’s shaking it roughly.

She’s like, “They were made for the wind, and they are made to live in the tropics where the rain comes in torrential downpours, which also creates a shaking in them. If they don’t get the wind, and if they don’t get the torrential downpours, their roots don’t get strong.”

And the Holy Spirit said, “There’s your truth. Now you go find your Bible verse that matches it.” And I began to cry again. This time, though, they weren’t erratic fearful tears. They were relinquishing tears.They were like, “Oh Lord, You’re shaking my children. They were made for the wind; they were made for that. They were made for the torrential downpours.”

As I thought about what verse would fit this, the verse that fit it was the verse that God gave me for A Mom’s Guide to Lies Girls Believe—the key verse. When I was searching Scripture and saying, “What do you want me to anchor this whole book in? Visually, truth-wise?” It doesn’t show up an enormous amount, but it’s Colossians 2:6–7. 

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. 

As a mom, I rooted my children in God’s Word. I built them up in the Word. They were AWANA Cubbies and AWANA Sparks, and we did Bible studies at home. I wrote these Bible studies for my Lexi.

I didn’t write them for everybody else; I wrote them for her! It just so happened they were useful for other moms. My husband took our son Robbie out and did Bible studies with him every Monday night at 8 p.m. in his middle-school years. Robbie just thought it was the greatest thing in the world that he got to miss bedtime! We rooted them in the Word.

We didn’t get Autumn until she was fourteen, and we missed some of those rooting years. We’ve had to proceed gently with her, knowing when to plant deep and hard and when to just let her discover. It’s a different parenting process . . . as it is with all of our children. 

But the Lord will shake me. He will shake them . . . and He will shake you! And an evidence of His presence is not that we won’t be shaken, it is that we won’t be uprooted. And so, my truth that night, as I went to bed in peace, was: I was believing the lie that my children won’t be shaken; that they don’t need to be shaken, and that God will protect them from that. And there’s nothing in Scripture that promises me that. He just promises me that the roots will hold them firm! And He promises that for you, too.

Nancy: Dannah, thank you so much for sharing your heart. I love how transparent you are, and that’s one of the things that endears moms to you; that’s one of the things that endears me to you. If this testimony from Dannah Gresh has encouraged you as a mother or a grandmother, be sure to go to ReviveOurHearts.com and you’ll find there a link to True Girl.

If you’re the mom of a tween girl—ages seven to twelve, thereabouts—you will want to know more about this True Girl movement. You can find out about the LIVE events that they offer and the online Bible studies and resources that will help you as a mom connect with your tween daughter or granddaughter.

Now, I think, Dannah, something that I’m maybe the most excited about are the Bible study elements that you’ve developed for these girls. 

Dannah: Yes, me too.

Nancy: If we can get them studying God’s Word . . . You and I had moms and dads who did this with us, who pointed us to God’s Word when we were little girls. What we’re doing today is the fruit of their input into our lives. So if we can get these girls studying God’s truth when they’re this age—not waiting until they’re teenagers or grown up but when they’re this middle-school age—it will be such an incredible legacy! 

True Girl offers online Bible studies for moms and their girls, as well as written Bible studies. Our partnership—between Revive Our Hearts’ True Woman and the True Girl ministry you’ve developed—creates this intergenerational element to our biblical womanhood movement.

Dannah: I’m so excited about that, Nancy! That is so critical and so important! It blesses my heart.

Nancy: And it’s so sweet to see the fruit that’s coming out of this. In fact, I got this letter not too long ago from a woman named Becky Ellerman, who is one of our Revive Our Hearts ministry representatives who lives in Texas. Iit came with a photo of nine precious girls and their moms doing the Lies Girls Believe Bible study in a living room.

We’ve posted that photo on ReviveOurHearts.com on the transcript for today’s program, so you can see this picture. You’ve got to go there! It is really, really sweet. Here is what Becky said in the letter that accompanied that photo. 

This is one of the women whom I mentor, who did Adorned [which is my book on Titus 2, woman-to-woman ministry]. She took the baton and offered to facilitate the Lies Girls Believe study with moms and daughters in their neighborhood.

So, here’s a woman who said, “I’m an older woman; I want to be reaching into the lives of younger women.” And she chose this Lies Girls Believe study—that book that you wrote, Dannah, based on Lies Women Believe. This woman took that and did it with a group of moms and daughters in her neighborhood. Becky wrote, 

Each week a new mom and daughter comes. It’s been incredible seeing how cliques at their school are breaking down and how the girls are becoming so much more aware of lies they believe. The moms are overjoyed at this special study to give them open doors to talk with their daughters about these matters.

Sarah has an eleven-year-old daughter. [And I think Sarah is the woman who spearheaded this study.] They’re all around that age. And this woman said, “It’s been incredible to see relationships being formed around God’s Word and this study as they meet on Sunday afternoons.”

This mom said she had no idea if one mom would come or how many moms would be a part of this because some she didn’t even know. But she just extended the invitation, cast the net, and her daughter is loving it. She wants to grow up and be like her mother, [this is the eleven-year-old, she wants to grow up and be like her mom, Sarah] hosting Bible studies in her home someday!

How precious is that?!

Dannah: That makes me happy! I hope she’s hosting Bible studies for these girls—girls her age—when she’s a teenager! That’s what I’m hoping and praying will happen with these True Girls!

Nancy: I hope that long after that—long after you and I are gone—that she’ll be a mom of the next generation doing this with her eleven-year-old girl and her teenagers. 

So I hope you’re as excited as we are at Revive Our Hearts to partner with True Girl! We’re going to tell you more about that tomorrow, about some of the events that are starting up. In fact, there may be one in your area where you could go as a mom or a grandmom and take your tween daughter, so be sure and join us for that discussion.

If you want to know more about the whole True Girl ministry, go to ReviveOurHearts.com; click on the link that will take you to True Girl. As you do, you might consider sending in a financial gift to help us reach more girls ages seven to twelve with biblical truth about what it means to be a young woman of God.

And when you give that gift of any amount today, we’re going to send you a copy of this Lies Girls Believe Bible study, along with the mom’s guide that they were using in this Bible study in Texas. That’s our way of saying thank you for helping us invest in the lives of these girls. 

Your gift to Revive Our Hearts helps us pass the baton on to the next generation, as we’re expanding our ministry to girls ages seven through twelve, through our partnership with True Girl.

Dannah: Nancy, I just can’t emphasize enough how much a blessing Revive Our Hearts partnering with us is to this ministry! And if that means something as you’re listening as a grandmother—or maybe you’re a grandfather listening!—or a mom, just consider giving a gift this month to bless Revive Our Hearts.

You can send your gift to Revive Our Hearts at ReviveOurHearts.com, or call us at 1–800–569–5959. And remember, as our way of saying “thank you” for a gift of any amount, we will send you a copy of the Lies Girls Believe study kit for a mom and a daughter.

Nancy: I hope that lots of our listeners are going to take advantage of that. Share it with your own daughter or with a mom and daughter that you know who could be blessed by getting their nose into the Book, the Word of God! 

And True Girl is such an important ministry that I am thrilled at the opportunity to partner together in this ministry! Tomorrow, we’re going to share more about what’s up at True Girl and how maybe you could take your daughter or granddaughter to one of the events that’s taking place over the next several weeks, perhaps coming to a city near you. We’ll tell you more about that.

And also, Dannah’s going to share the story about a crisis that her own daughter faced when she was just nine years old, and how it made Dannah a mom on a mission. So be sure and join Dannah Gresh and me tomorrow for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth desires to help moms raise godly daughters. It’s an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the ESV unless otherwise noted.

 

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