Revive Our Hearts Podcast

The Gift of Godly Experience

Leslie Basham: Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: You know what? Some of the younger women are just way too busy today. I say that about myself sometimes, just way too busy to be doing the kind of praying we ought to be doing.

But some of these women who are in that older season of life, some of them widowed, some of them very alone but crying out to the Lord night and day as Anna did—God is hearing those prayers.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Monday, December 24.

In the book of Luke, we read about Anna, who had been told she would see the Messiah in her lifetime. She’s a picture to us of patience and aging gracefully, and we studied her life last week on Revive Our Hearts. The series is called, Anna: The Woman Who Welcomed Christ.

Nancy is ending the series talking with her friend Holly Elliff and other listeners about women they know who remind them of the saint from Luke 2.

Nancy: Holly, there’s a woman who some of these women may remember who came to many of our recording sessions who is another type of modern-day Anna. We were talking about her last night. Suzanne Dudgeon—some of you know her. Holly, tell us a little bit about her. She was a member of the church that your husband pastors for a number of years.

Holly Elliff: Right; and they were on staff at our church for several years before they moved to Florida to help with their grandchildren. But some of you might remember Suzanne as the cheerleader of Revive Our Hearts because after each recording session, at the end of every session Nancy did, Suzanne would start applauding.

So we always had to stop and wait for Suzanne to quit applauding before Nancy could go on to the next session. I imagine you miss that now.

Nancy: Yes.

Holly: But she is such a prayer warrior. She carries in her heart the lives of so many other people. Nancy and I were chatting about the fact that both of us receive notes from her randomly, saying, “I’m praying for you about this.” Sometimes I don’t even know how she finds out what’s going on in my life to be able to write me a note about it. But she always does.

Nancy: She certainly has been praying for us today while we’ve been recording. It’s typical that I’ll get a note from her in the next weeks saying, “Oh, you recorded, and I just heard such-and-such on Revive Our Hearts on the air.” Then she’ll tell me what’s going on in Holly’s family.

I have to learn the news from this woman! Now, it’s not gossip. It’s stuff she’s praying about and really carries on her heart.

Holly: Right. She is so faithful to lift the arms of other women and families. It’s not that she doesn’t have a family of her own to care for, because she does. But she just has a big heart for other people and is so faithful to let God use her in very simple ways to pray and lift up the arms of those that are walking through good things or bad things.

Nancy: She’s an encourager.

Holly: Sometimes you get a note that has smiley faces all over it after every sentence, and she’s rejoicing with you. Other times she’ll just say, “You’re on my heart. I’m praying for you about this.” So it doesn’t have to be a huge, major thing, but she consistently passes on the joy of the Lord to other people.

Nancy: I don’t know how many notes she writes. I don’t know how many people she writes notes to, but I know how many she writes to me. And Monica is waving back there; she gets notes. Holly gets notes. I suppose if we were to add them all up—sticky notes, sometimes four, five, or six of them piled up—I wonder how many. By the way, she will hear this some day, Lord willing.

Holly: Hi, Suzanne.

Nancy: I wonder how many notes she is writing to people to spread encouragement and God’s grace into other lives. It’s a neat thing, a neat ministry at that season of her life.

My grandmother was that way. The only grandparent I ever knew was my mother’s mother; Granny, we called her. She would write notes.

She’d get one of these form letters from a ministry that would be thanking her for her contribution or something like that. She would sometimes return that letter to the ministry with her handwritten scrawl around the page in every different direction, just writing notes of blessing and encouragement. I can see that handwriting today.

Holly: Just a little side note here, for those of you who have no idea where a stamp and an envelope and a piece of paper would be, but you’re on your computer a lot—especially in this last season of our life. I have gotten so many neat messages by email from gals all over the place, saying, “Just want you to know I’m praying.”

So if you don’t have time to find a stamp but you’re on your computer, if God prompts your heart about somebody, take a minute and just let them know that you’re lifting their arms, that you’re praying for them.

Nancy: I’m thinking about a woman who’s been with the Lord for many years now, Laura Munce. She and her husband were good friends of my parents. They were family friends.

I remember a note she wrote me when I was a little girl. I don’t even remember what the occasion was. It may have been a birthday; I’m not sure. She challenged me to memorize one verse a week. She said, “If you do it, each verse will be like a pearl, and at the end of the year you will have fifty-two pearls.”

I can’t say that I started on that pattern, but it was the kind of influence in my life that got me loving God’s Word, loving to memorize Scripture. You don’t know the impact, even on little ones, that we as older women (I’m sure to some little ones I seem like a very old woman!) can have.

We had a little one, a ten-year-old, here in the recording session with her mom yesterday. She heard me reference being dedicated to the Lord in Chattanooga, Tennessee. She came up to me and said, “I was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee.”

So I met her and just had a moment’s exchange with her between two of the teaching sessions. I took a moment to tell her how glad I was that she was here studying God’s Word and that one day maybe God would want to use her as a Bible teacher.

I’m sure I seem elderly to a ten-year-old. But you don’t know the mark that even those little things can make that we as older women leave in the lives of younger ones. She may be teaching the Bible years from now and blessing others and saying to some group, “There was this lady with gray hair, and I went to this long session where she taught a long time. . . .”

But that’s the thing of life to life. That’s how we disciple and nurture and train, and it’s older women to younger women passing that on. It’s the impact that our lives can have on those of the next generation. What you said reminded me of all that.

Dorothy: When I was a little girl in the church, we had these old, gray-haired ladies. They seemed to know the Bible so well, and they seemed to do this and that. I can remember that when I was a teenager, my mother was urging me to go to a school dance. I said, “No, there’s got to be something wrong with dancing. These older ladies don’t think it’s right.” They influenced me for that.

Then I grew older, and there were a couple of old ladies in my life. I was probably in my early thirties, and they were good friends; they were sort of opposites. One was very laconic, and the other was a lady that was very active in wanting to do good things. She loved missionaries, and she loved prayer.

We would have prayer meetings together, and she would read the missionary letters. She wouldn’t let us have them, because she wanted to be sure we heard them and would really read them. So she read them to us, and then we had all this prayer.

I later came to realize that she influenced me far beyond anything I had any idea of at the time. But she did because of the way she lived.

Nancy: Speaking of older women and prayer, there are older women in many of our churches who are, I think, probably the engine room for anything good that’s happening in the life of that church because they’re women of prayer. They’re not usually the ones who are on the committees or running things or making things happen from any visible standpoint, but they’re behind the scenes praying.

I’m thinking back to the college I went to, the University of Southern California, my last two years of college. I lived with a Christian family there in southern California, attended a church, and got very plugged in to that church.

There were two elderly women in that church who were identical twin sisters, to the hilt. I never could tell them apart. I never knew which one was which. Their names escape my mind right now; it’s been a few years.

They would always dress to the “T” identically. I’m talking handbags, shoes, hats, everything; and everything was always in place. Every time I saw them, they were always like a mirror image of each other.

But these were two women who had a deep longing for God to send revival to the church, and they prayed and they prayed and they prayed.

They had a little prayer meeting, I think it was maybe Wednesday nights that it met—I can’t remember for sure, but one time a week. It was a large church and a very small prayer meeting, but they had been carrying it on for years. As far as I know, they carried it on certainly as long as they were physically able to.

It was just a small group of women in that church, spearheaded by these elderly women, pouring out their hearts to God, pleading with Him to come and visit that church in revival. When God does come and send revival in our day, I really believe that in the annals of heaven the ones who will get the credit will be ladies like those two ladies; older women like Anna in the temple, fasting and praying night and day for the Bridegroom to come, for God to visit His people.

So the prayer of those older women—I know we’re speaking to some of those older women who listen to Revive Our Hearts. Can I just say, “Don’t stop praying”? We need your prayers. You know what? Some of the younger women are just way too busy today. I say that about myself sometimes, just way too busy to be doing the kind of praying we ought to be doing.

Some of these women who are in that older season of life, some of them widowed, some of them very alone but crying out to the Lord night and day as Anna did—God is hearing those prayers. He will water those prayers and those tears with His grace. And in time . . . you may not live to see the answer. Anna did; you may not. But one day, you will see, there will be the answer to those prayers.

Holly: Let me issue a challenge to those younger women, maybe moms, who think they don’t have time to start becoming an "Anna." Let me encourage you that you do. Look for, pursue those little moments, whether you’re sorting dirty socks or in the car waiting . . .

Nancy: You don’t sort dirty socks, do you?

Holly: Oh, yes!

Nancy: Dirty ones you sort?

Holly: Oh yes, because they’re turned inside out. And if you don’t open them, then there’s like four inches of grass on the bottom of the sock.

Nancy: Okay. What do I know?

Holly: So yes, you do.

Nancy: Okay, while you’re sorting dirty socks, here’s what you do.

Holly: So what you’re not going to have are those large blocks of quiet to pray, so don’t wait for those. But you will have tiny moments of quiet. Sometimes I have to go in my closet to get those, but you’ll have tiny moments of quiet. So take advantage of developing the heart to be an "Anna" as you get older.

But it doesn’t start when you’re fifty. It starts when you’re twenty-something, or whatever age you are in-between there and eighty-one, like Miss Dorothy. It starts as you develop a heart after God and start applying those truths to your life even in little spaces, so that by the time you have more space, eventually . . . unless God gives you a bunch of kids, and then it’s long time before you get space!

But take the moments you can find. It’s not so much the amount of time; it’s the direction of your heart.

Nancy: Yes, that’s good. Good word. By the way, let me say also to some of us as younger women, look for the "Annas" and see what you can learn from them. Listen to them. Ask them to pray for you.

I’ve got some of those "Annas" praying in my life. I developed a heart and love for Mom J, an older woman, and she impacted my life because I took time out, little pieces of time over the years, to connect with her, to learn from her.

While I was in California I made a special trip up to Santa Barbara. It took an extra half day to do it. I loved her; I wanted to be with her, but I also knew it was valuable for me. And it was. She impacted my life.

Just getting around those people, sometimes asking them to share out of their life with you, asking questions—you can learn a lot from women who have been further down the road than we have been.

Woman: From the moment I was saved, she was my Sunday School teacher and became my very closest friend. She is one of the most talented women I know. Her Bible—you can hardly read the original print because it is so marked. And that’s not just in the New Testament—that is from Genesis to Revelation.

When she came into the classroom, because of her gift of art, even if she was in the book of Daniel, I cannot begin to describe the graphic art that accompanied the lesson and was distributed to us who sat with her.

She had a tremendous heart for missions. Everything she did, she did 150%, and she gave every ounce of her being to the Lord. She was such an encourager to me.

I can’t remember why she did this, but maybe I was going through a rough patch at that time. She sent me a little bottle, and attached to it was, “He hides your tears in a bottle.”

Then one Christmas she gave me this portrait of a warrior, and she said, “What do you think?” I said, “Well, it’s great.” She said, “Well, it’s you.” And I said, “Me?”

She had taken a business card and put my face on it and drawn on it the helmet of salvation, breastplate of righteousness, shoes of peace—she had done a warrior. I mean, she had gone to that much trouble.

Now beyond that, every single Christmas she would hand paint her Christmas cards. She would sketch the drawing, mimeograph copy the drawing, and then color in every single card. And she sent between three and four hundred cards. She would start doing her cards in August.

She opened up her home. I mean, this woman has so much talent. But what she brought to my life was a heart that was able to forgive when I disappointed her, a person that would pray for me on the phone if I needed support, or if I was going out on a visit she would always pray for me. She has never stopped loving me, encouraging me.

So, like you, I make my special trips to my "Anna." I plan to. It’s her birthday next week, and I have planned to go visit my "Anna" next week.

I cherish who she is in Christ, even though she is not fully comprehending everything now. Her memory is gone, and she’ll ask the same question over and over again. But her patience has been astounding with me, and I never want to lose my patience with her. I praise God for putting her in my life.

Leslie: As you listened to today’s discussion, who came to your mind? Is there an older woman who has been pointing you to Jesus through her example?

Some Revive Our Hearts listeners have been telling us about those kinds of examples. They’re wrapping up a teaching series from Nancy Leigh DeMoss called, Anna: The Woman Who Welcomed Christ.

If you missed any of the series, you can listen to it or read the transcripts at ReviveOurHearts.com. You can also order the CD when you visit that site.

If you’ve been to ReviveOurHearts.com this month, you’ve probably noticed the question, “Will you be part of the story?”

Each day, we’ve posted a different story about the way God is working in women’s lives. We think it’s a great way to end 2012—thanking God for authoring moving stories in women’s lives.

If you visit ReviveOurHearts.com today, you’ll see a video from a woman named Jessica. Jessica entered 2012 very busy, working full time, going to school, and helping her husband in ministry. 

Underneath that frenetic pace, some problems were brewing. She had a desire to control situations around her, which affected her marriage and other relationships. From a young age, she had learned how to manipulate.

Jessica: Ever since I was a little girl, I would manipulate things. How would do it is, if I was mad, I would starting thinking, "If I would kill myself, or if I would hurt myself, then they would be sorry."

When I was seven, as far back as I can remember, I would say, "I don't want to clean my room. What if I just threw myself out the window, then they would be sorry."

I did that throughout my marriage. I've been married three years now. When my husband would make me mad, I would get mad and say, "I just want to end this, then he'll be sorry." Those types of thoughts really started to take hold in my life.

Leslie: In February, she says her busy schedule “came to a screeching halt” when her son was born. Suddenly, she had long periods at home, with a lot less activity. This gave her more time to listen to what God was saying. And during this time, she discovered Revive Our Hearts.

Jessica: I just started listening to it more and more and God just broke me and showed me my sin and put in me a burden to pray for him and for my family. Ever since then I've been listening to Revive Our Hearts almost every day. Sometimes I'll catch up and listen to five a day while I'm cleaning house.

But it just started to transform me. By June I signed up to do the 30-Day Husband Encouragement Challenge because I had been convicted that I wasn't treating him right. Through that I didn't expect anything to change—but it did.

In just two weeks he was saying things like, "You are such a good wife. I don't deserve to have someone like you." It's just because I was loving him and not tearing him down. I know its been God. I know it's been more than the 30-Day Challenge, but the fact that it started with that and then an intentional decision to stop nagging and to stop pestering and stop complaining and just love, and that’s where things flourish.

Leslie: Jessica wrote to Revive Our Hearts: “I am so excited about what God is doing in my life. I feel I have truly experienced revival, and I feel like God is beginning to do something great in my life, family, and the people around me. Thank you for your ministry and for sharing truth!”

Nancy, it’s exciting to hear another example of how God can take a woman who wants to manipulate those around her, and then transform her heart. It affects her, her husband, and generations to come.

Nancy: And I hope our listeners will watch the video that tells Jessica’s story. Here at the end of the year, we’re celebrating some of the stories of what God’s been doing through the ministry of Revive Our Hearts

All those videos are on our website, ReviveOurHearts.com. My heart has been so encouraged as our team has put together these stories of God helping women discover, embrace, and delight in Christ. I think you’ll be encouraged by these stories as well. They demonstrate so clearly that nothing is impossible with God. 

Now, there are lots and lots of women out there just like Jessica. They're setting the direction of their lives, making important decisions about marriage and family. And during that season, these younger women need to be discipled in God’s Word. You can be part of the story that God is writing in these younger womens' lives. 

You can do that by supporting Revive Our Hearts and helping us make resources available to mentor and disciple these young women? Resources like the daily broadcast and podcast, our website and blogs, conferences, videos, and other resources. We can only offer those kinds of resources as long as listeners like you make it possible through your generous financial support. 

We especially need to hear from you during this last week of December while we are asking the Lord to help us exceed a matching challenge of $450,000! If you'd like to be a part of what God is doing in writing these stories and to help us continue to expand this outreach into womens' lives, visit us online at ReviveOurHearts.com, and let us know that you'd like to make a donation here at year-end. Or you can do that by giving us a call at 1-800-569-5959.   

Leslie: Well we hope you have a very meaningful Christmas Day tomorrow. Nancy will tell you the story of a teacher who made a decision while casting a Christmas pageant and then she thought, "Oh no, what have I done?" She’ll tell you that Christmas story tomorrow. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

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

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

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