Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Episode Resources

Learn more about Bethany and Kristen at GirlDefined.com.

Leslie Basham: Here’s Bethany Baird.

Bethany Baird: God totally defines my worth. God totally gives me my value as a woman and, although getting married would be a wonderful thing—and that would be a really great thing that I am praying for—that can’t be what defines me as a woman. My having a guy interested in me, having a guy like me, can’t be what gives me all my joy and happiness in the world. It has to be Christ!

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, co-author of Lies Young Women Believe, for Monday, May 22, 2017.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Earlier this year, we explored the first paragraph of Titus chapter 2 in a lengthy series called "God’s Beautiful Design for Women." I’m so thankful for the many emails and testimonies we received of women sharing how God used different parts of this series in their lives in very practical and sweet ways.

In that series we explored a lot of different topics, including an emphasis on women teaching women. Today we’re going to hear from a couple of young women (they actually are sisters) who show us what that kind of life-on-life discipleship can look like.

As you may remember, in Titus chapter 2 the apostle Paul says that older women are supposed to teach younger women. As I’ve often reminded us, everyone is an older woman to someone. A sixteen-year-old girl is an older woman to a twelve-year-old girl.

Our guests today, Bethany Baird and Kristen Clark, are a great example of how God can use younger women in this discipling process. These two precious women have a lot of godly wisdom to share—and they are sharing it, developing the kinds of discipling relationships we’ve been encouraging each of you to get into.

Bethany and Kristen are the authors of a book called Girl Defined: God’s Radical Design for Beauty, Femininity, and Identity. Let’s listen as they explain why they have such a heart for spreading a True Woman movement to their generation.

Bethany: My name is Bethany Baird, and I am a part of Girl Defined Ministries.

Kristen Clark: My name is Kristen Clark, and I work with Girl Defined Ministries.

Bethany: Girl Defined was really started out of a desire to help young women understand their purpose, their worth, their value—where all that comes from. I remember being a teen girl and being so hungry for those answers: “What does give me worth? What does give me value?” Having the opportunity to start a ministry and write a book about that has been awesome.

Kristen: Our mission with Girl Defined Ministries . . . Our name is Girl Defined, and our tagline is “getting back to God’s design.” So we're really helping modern girls understand what God’s design is, and then helping them get back there, because in our culture we have strayed so far from God’s design for what true womanhood is all about.

Our passion is really to help girls understand God has a plan for our womanhood—He has something to say about our design as girls. What is that? How can we live that out? Our passion is helping girls get back to God’s design and then live that out in this modern day and age.

Bethany: When I was younger, I really bought into a lot of culture’s version of beauty without even realizing it. I remember one time, my older sister Kristen adn I actually collected one of our younger siblings. We went on to the roof of our house and had one of our younger siblings snap pictures of us.

We were just posing, like, our best model poses. We had all the jewelry, all the makeup. We were just workin’ it. We thought we were so amazing! Then we got down, and we immediately uploaded our pictures to whatever social media sites we even had back then. And we were just waiting for the “likes” and the comments to come in.

Kristen: When I was young, I had a lady approach me about being a model. I was probably like ten, eleven, or twelve years old. She came up and said, “Hey, you look like model material. I think you’re going to make a great model. Do you want to join our agency?”

My mom was there, and she said, “I don’t think so!” Over the years, that kind of happened a lot—just people approaching me and my sister about being models. So we really started questioning, “Okay, what is God’s design for womanhood? Is it this glamorous woman that we see on the stage, that we see in the movies? Is it this woman who seems totally independent and liberated and sexually free? Is that God’s best?"

We actually did dabble in the modeling scene a little bit. Through that experience we had a firsthand view into just how broken, just how girls in that industry are lacking peace, how they lack fulfillment, lack contentment. We were told, “Oh, you’ll have that confidence.”

But behind the scenes what we saw is that when you base your value and your worth on your beauty, on your outward appearance, on what the culture says is true womanhood, it really doesn’t satisfy—because it can’t because it’s not God’s design; it’s contrary to God’s design. After about a year in the modeling industry, I stepped out. My sister had a brief experience, and she stepped out. 

We said, “This is not fulfilling! This is not as glamorous as it is on the posters. This is not really what is God’s best is for us as women.”

Bethany: I realized that, unfortunately, I really was basing a lot of my worth and value as a woman on my outward appearance. I was thinking that true beauty was what other people thought about me, and the worth and the compliments that they gave me.

As I got older and really started digging into God’s Word and seeing His perspective of me and just the fact that He created me, He loves me, He made me just the way that I am . . . I’m 6’ 1”—I’m really tall for a girl. But I realized, “Wow, God knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I need to thank Him for that!” “Wow, You designed me; You gave me the nose, the hair, the eyes—everything about me.”

And instead of looking to the culture, looking to my friends for their approval of me, and for them to say of me, “Oh, you’re beautiful,” or “I like your hair,” or “I like this about you.” For me to hear that and feel valuable, I realized that’s all wrong. I need to look to what God says about me. That’s what will give me true value and really true beauty, knowing that He’s my Creator and He defines beauty. If He created me the way that He created me, than that should be enough. That’s what is truly beautiful.

In the process of writing Girl Defined, we just wanted to get that message out there. We just want younger women—and women in general—to know that their worth does not come from what other people think about them, but really how their Creator created them and what He has to say about them.

Kristen: I pretty much really started seeking God’s design wholeheartedly in my mid to late teens. My sister and I have wonderful parents who raised us in a Christian home to really dig into God’s Word and allow His Word to inform our worldview.

But I would say I got serious maybe late teens, early twenties. I really started questioning: “Okay, what do I believe? It’s not just my parents, but what do I believe about God’s Word? What do I believe His Word is teaching about my womanhood?”

We really buckled down in our late teens early twenties. Then it’s just been an uphill climb, but just growth ever since then. I still have a long way to go, but I’m loving the journey and the freedom and the peace and the joy that has come as a result of embracing God’s design and allowing His Word to define me.

We're allowing Christ to be our identity—versus beauty, versus glamour, versus money, versus everything the world says we need to have to have our identity. When we stop and allow God’s Word to define us, and for Christ to be our whole identity, then that is so freeing! I have felt more free when I’m actively allowing Christ to define me.

Bethany: Girls in the church are definitely struggling. We grew up in the church and, sadly, we can count on one hand—really—the girls from our generation of church-goers that we knew who are really walking with the Lord and seeking Him.

I think so much of it comes down to hearing God’s Word, hearing the teaching, but not really making it your own—not really believing it for what it is. When you go to live out your life, are you living our culture’s definition of what it means to be successful, what it means to be valuable, what your purpose should be, or are you truly embracing God’s Word?

I think so often, with teenage girls—Christian girls—and even young women, we hear God’s Word and we say, “Oh, that’s nice. Those are nice ideas.” But when we go to actually live out these ideas, we don’t. We’re totally living culture-defined lifestyles.

The entire purpose of our ministry, Girl Defined, is saying, “Okay, what does it mean to be a girl? Are we really defining our lives according to God’s Word or according to culture?” And unless teen girls, women, Christian girls, anyone actually embrace and live out God’s definition and His ideas of worth and value, His purpose for them, then they are going to go the culture’s path. It’s not going to give them the hope and satisfaction. It’s going to give them a lot of the issues that we see going on in our churches today with the young, Christian girls.

Kristen: I would say one of the biggest challenges that young girls are facing today is just this push for girls to be totally and 100 percent sexually free in every way, shape and form. So embracing sexual liberation, embracing sexual autonomy—just throwing out the rule book and saying, “Whatever feels good, I’m just going to go for it.”

That is really the prevailing mindset for our culture today, and unfortunately, so many girls are buying into that because it looks good, and it looks glamorous in the movies. But as we get behind the scenes and we really examine the lives of girls who are buying into this message, it’s just devastating. It’s ruining their lives!

Our passion is to really help girls understand, “God has a much better design for your sexuality, for womanhood. Getting back to His design will free us from the brokenness and really restore wholeness to us again.

Bethany: The girls that I work with, I think a lot of them know that God has a lot to say about gender. They know, “Okay, Genesis—God created Adam and Eve, a man and a woman.” But they don’t understand how impactful that is and how important it is that they are clearly defined—there are men and there are women. They don't understand, “Okay, I need to study what is God’s specific purpose for me as a woman? What does He have to say about my womanhood?”

There are passages. We see in Proverbs 31, Titus 2, 1 Peter, Genesis these things that surround being a girl, or qualities that He praises in women. I think my goal is helping them to stop and think, Okay, what does it mean to be a woman—a female—and not a male?

Although they realize that that there are two distinct genders, it’s not until they slow down and really stop and actually dig into God’s Word that they realize, “Okay, I really need to be embracing my femininity—my God-defined womanhood—and not trying to fight to be like a man. I just need to enjoy being a girl and enjoy the distinct qualities that God has given to me.”

It’s been awesome to kind of see that lightbulb go off in the younger generation and the girls we interact with, and for them to say, “Wow, I didn’t realize that! God values my womanhood and He values me being a girl. This is exciting! I’m excited about studying this further.”

Kristen: Truly, just getting back to Genesis 2 and understanding God’s design for creating the male and the female and all that goes into that—God’s intentionality in creating two specific genders. He had a blank slate, but He created a male and a female on purpose and for a purpose. And so understanding and really digging into, “Okay, God created me as a woman on purpose. So what is my purpose?”

Getting that foundation in Genesis and then discovering more through the Proverbs 31 woman, and truly, just studying the Bible and learning from godly women in the Bible and looking at their lives and what they valued and what God upheld as honorable and noble for those women.

Obviously, there is  Titus 2; we have passages in 1 Peter. It’s not just an easy, “Oh, here’s one verse that defines womanhood.” You really have to go from Genesis all the way through the New Testament and just search and really discover what God’s design for womanhood is.

Bethany: In our book we talk about three pillars of biblical womanhood: the whole idea of producing life, nurturing relationship,s and helping others. And those ideas really come from Scripture, and whether you’re single or married, really understanding that God created us to be helpers.

So whether you have a husband—helping him spiritually, praying for him, even helping in practical ways; or as a single girl, helping in your churches; if you have a dad you can help or a brother—it’s just having that mindset of being a helper. That’s one of the things.

And then, nurturing relationships—just understanding as women, we are highly relational creatures. Just look to form deep relational bonds with other women and not just keeping it light and surface level, but actually looking to invest.

And then, producing life—realizing that we as women in general have this unique ability to produce physical life. But not only that, we are called to produce spiritual life as well. So looking around and asking, “Is there someone that I can produce spiritual life in?”

Do I have a younger sister, or is there a younger girl in my community that I can mentor or disciple. It's just having that mindset of wanting to produce spiritual life, if you’re single. And then even being open to the idea, if you’re married, of having children and realizing what a blessing that is to be able to disciple those for the kingdom.

Just remembering that we are supposed to be life-producers. We are supposed to be helpers. We are supposed to nurture relationships. Those are just some of the things we talk about in our book Girl Defined. Obviously, we break them down way more and dig deeper into them, but I kind of feel like those are the core of what it means to be a woman.

Kirsten: We love to share our modeling story, and we wrote about it in our book Girl Defined. I would say we mostly have a positive response from girls that are hearing this, because for so many of them, this is the first time they’ve ever heard anyone say, “Oh, I’m not supposed to feel this way. I’m feeling totally broken and insecure and depressed. I’m struggling with eating disorders. I have guy issues. I’m having all these struggles. The culture is saying that this is what womanhood is about, but I’m not happy.”

We come in and really help them understand God’s amazing, beautiful design of their lives as women, and we help them understand that they’re fearfully and wonderfully made, just the way God created them. Each one of us was created different and unique. There are just so many truths that were mind-blowing to us.

I would say the response is mostly positive—in person. Now online, we get probably very much a mixed response. It’s easier to hide behind the computer and kind of throw those emails out. I would say online there are people who are not excited about this message. They’re very much against God’s Word and defining womanhood according to His Word. They’d much rather define it according to the culture. So, I would say online it’s probably like 60/40 (good to negative), but in person it seems like—when we’re there, seeing girls face-to-face and sharing this message—there’s just an overwhelming acceptance of, “Wow, this is what I’ve been missing! This is God’s design, and it’s so beautiful, and I want that in my life.”

Bethany: It’s been really encouraging to share God’s truth about womanhood—just that He’s the One who defines your worth. He’s the One who defines your beauty—all of that. And to see girls actually hold on to that and embrace that has been amazing!

I have three younger sisters, so I have living examples in the home (some of them are teens, and one of them is in her twenties). It’s been awesome to be able to mentor them and really share these truths with them.

I remember one time sitting down with my two youngest sisters. We were just going over, “Okay, what gives you your worth as a woman? What really is true beauty? What is the purpose of our lives?” Those ideas really clicked with them.

Seeing them make it personal for themselves has been amazing, because they’ve been able to avoid so many of the heartaches and issues that a lot of teen girls around them are struggling with, simply because they’ve set their eyes on God’s Word and really made that their definition for their womanhood—their definition of what gives them worth, what gives them value.

Just contrasting that with other girls who are not doing that—who are making culture’s definition for womanhood their foundation—and then seeing my two younger sisters make the Bible their foundation and then just seeing the results of that . . .

Okay, who in the long run is really more satisfied, more content, more joyful? It is the girls who are making God’s Word their foundation. That’s been encouraging to see. Like, God’s Word is true; it really does work! And when you apply it to your life, it really does give you the lasting results and hope and security that we as women are hoping for.

Kristen: I got married back in 2011. I would say I was fully embracing God’s design for true womanhood back then, but marriage has a way of really revealing a lot of our flaws and our issues. 

But because I had those foundational truths and I understood God’s design, even though I wasn’t perfectly living it out (and I’m still not), it had a huge impact on my marriage. I remember early-on having some struggles and thinking, “Whoa! I didn’t know that was going to happen.” It was those sinful tendencies to be totally independent and push against your husband, to not want to be respectful and even submissive or allow him to be the leader in my home. My husband’s an amazing, godly man, but there were still those tendencies that were always creeping up.

I would think, Where is this coming from? I didn’t know I was like this when I was single. But having that foundation in God’s Word and understanding—God’s design is good. A man leading in the home—a godly man—that is God’s good design. I can submit to that.

I am grateful for that leadership. Even if I don’t agree, we can have conversations, but this is God’s good design. Really living that out, even when it was hard, in the end there was so much more joy. There was so much more peace!

My husband and I had moments of being competitors when we would disagree. But getting back to God’s design just reminded me, “Okay, we need to be teammates.” When I would remember and pray, “Lord, please help me,” then I would focus more on being teammates with my husband and working together for a greater purpose than ourselves. Then our marriage was really beautiful. 

So for sure it’s a journey every week, every month. But embracing God’s design for femininity/masculinity, male/female has made all the difference in our marriage (especially since I’m really competitive). It’s really helped me.

Bethany: Understanding true beauty—my worth as a woman (as a single woman) . . . I think it’s been really important because, as a teen girl, I really struggled with defining my worth according to what guys thought about me.

If a guy was interested in me, then I felt really good about myself and felt like, “Oh, I’m something!” And then, when there wasn’t a guy around that was interested in me, I felt like, “Ugh, I must not be worth as much!”

I just assumed—probably like most girls—that I would be married by nineteen or twenty—twenty-one at the latest! Now, I just turned twenty-eight, and I’m totally single. I really had to come to the point that, “Okay, God totally defines my worth; God totally gives me my value as a woman.”

Although getting married would be a wonderful thing and that would be a really great thing that I am praying for—that can’t be what defines me as a woman. My having a guy interested in me, can’t be what gives me all my joy and happiness in the world. It has to be Christ.

So for me, it’s almost been like an extended journey of learning that, because I’m not married yet, and I don’t know if I ever will be. So remembering that a guy doesn’t give me my worth—Christ does—has been a really important part of my single journey.

Kristen: We’ve shared stories about our modeling experience and the modeling industry saying, “You’re beautiful; we want you to be a model.” But the crazy thing (and this is why I think so many models are insecure—and we were totally insecure, too) is that you get jobs based on your beauty.

So if you’re beautiful enough, then they want you for the job. If you’re not, then you don’t get the job. So you really live on this roller coaster of being good enough one day and not good enough the next, because your entire identity—your worth, your value—is totally based on externals.

When we get into God’s Word, we see that is not how God defines us. One of my favorite passages, when talking about the topic of beauty and appearances, is just to take girls to Psalm 139 and talk about how God created us. We are fearfully and wonderfully made!

Each one of us is unique. We’re handcrafted by God, and He values us the way He created us—some with blonde hair, some with brown hair, some taller, some shorter. God created us to look different and unique on purpose, and He values those differences. He says that we’re fearfully and wonderfully made. Those differences are beautiful to Him.

Rather than living in a one-size-fits-all mold (like, every girl needs to be this kind of stamp of the next Hollywood girl), God says, “No. I created you to be fearfully and wonderfully made just the way you look!”

Rather than trying to be everyone else, we each just need to embrace the body and the looks that God gave us—and strive to serve Him best with the body He gave us. And then, when it comes to what is true beauty, God looks at the heart. He’s not as concerned about externals.

Of course, we need to be well-kept and have an appearance that’s honoring to the Lord. But truly, what’s in our hearts—our character, our love for Him, our love for others, our humility—that is what God finds precious. We need to strive to focus more on developing that inner beauty, that inner character that’s precious in the sight of the Lord versus just looking perfectly beautiful according to the culture.

Bethany: I had a friend growing up who didn’t really grow up in a great home situation, so she didn’t see godly manhood displayed very well at all. The whole idea of wanting to live out biblical womanhood wasn’t very appealing to her, and I know that she was really pushing against it.

I remember having conversations with her and just remember talking with her about, “Okay, you believe that God’s Word is the ultimate authority. You believe that this needs to be the foundation of your life—even down to your womanhood. Even though this is hard, you have to believe that God’s Word is best and ultimately will be the most satisfying.”

Over the years, she’s really learned to embrace biblical womanhood and went from wanting to never get married (because she didn’t want to be around a man) to totally embracing that, and now she has an amazing husband and some beautiful children.

It’s been so awesome to see that even though she came from a struggling past, a hard life, she decided to embrace God’s ideas for her womanhood and has chosen to live that out, and the results have been so beautiful.

It’s not always easy for her. Life hasn’t been perfect, but that has just been so wonderful to be able to watch and to say, “Wow!” Most girls are not willing to listen to God, aren’t willing to dig into His Word, but she was. And long-term, the results have been absolutely satisfying and fulfilling, because she’s looking to Christ to define her and she’s looking to Him to satisfy her. It’s just been awesome to be able to witness.

Nancy: Bethany and Kristen have written a book called Girl Defined. The subtitle is: God’s Radical Design for Beauty, Femininity, and Identity. This is a great book that will help you look to God’s Word to develop true, inward beauty and to avoid falling into the traps of the world’s definition of beauty. I think this book would be especially helpful to any younger women you may know.

The young women in your life are influencing other women around them, and this is a book that will help lay a foundation to help these younger women pursue biblical womanhood for decades to come.

We’d love to send you a copy of Girl Defined as our way of saying "thank you" when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any amount. As we’ve been telling you over the past few weeks, your gift this month will make a big difference.

That’s because Revive Our Hearts can’t encourage and provide resources for you and for young women like Kristen and Bethany without your support—listeners like you who see God at work in this ministry and want to get involved.

Now, the reason that your gift in May is important is that this month closes our fiscal year. That means we bring to an end the budget for the past year and we make plans for the next twelve months. As I’ve been sharing, we entered this month in a harder financial position than we have encountered for quite some time.

That’s due to giving being lower than we’ve anticipated over the past several months. Our bills are paid, but we’ve been borrowing from our reserves to do that—reserves that we count on to carry us through lower giving months between now and the end of the year.

So our need for the month of May is quite a bit larger than usual. That’s why we’re asking the Lord to provide at least $830,000 in donations between now and the end of May. Many of you have already responded, and I want to say a huge "thank you" to every person who has already given to help meet this need.

If you haven’t contacted us, we really need to hear from you! Be sure to ask for the book Girl Defined or just ask for the book by Kristen and Bethany when you call us or go online to make your gift. You can find us online at ReviveOurHearts.com. If you want to connect by mail, our address information is right there as well, or you can give us a call at 1–800–569–5959.

Thank you so much for supporting Revive Our Hearts as we partner together to build up other women who will spread the beauty of the gospel to the world around them.

Leslie: Have you heard that Jesus went to heaven to sit at the right hand of God? Does that mean anything to you? Tomorrow, Nancy will show you why Jesus’ position at the right hand of God matters so much. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

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

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