Revive Our Hearts Podcast

God Calls All Different Types of Mothers

Episode Resources

Download the True Woman Manifesto.

Leslie Basham: When you see women who don’t understand the truth of God’s Word how do you respond? Here’s Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: If I’m spiritually mature, I will see those young women as providing an opportunity and a responsibility to engage and to press into their lives, to love them, to start with them where they are and gently, lovingly, patiently bring them along as others have done for me.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Brokenness: The Heart God Revives, for Tuesday, June 5, 2018.

Throughout history, groups of believers have looked at the challenges of their day and responded with statements of faith. Our team has looked at some of the questions of our day and have responded with a document called the True Woman Manifesto. You can read it for yourself at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Nancy’s been teaching through the Manifesto in several series this year. Let's listen as she continues.

Nancy: Some of you will be familiar with the name Dawson Trotman. He was the founder of the Navigators. He lived in the first part of the 1900s. He actually drowned at the age of fifty trying to rescue somebody who was drowning. So he didn’t have a long life. But he, of course, left the fabulous ministry, the Navigators, but also gave a message. I tried hard to find when he actually gave this message and I never could find the date for it, but it was given sometime in the first part of the 1900s. It was called “Born to Reproduce.” It was published into a booklet. The message and booklet have become quite famous. You can find them on the Internet. "Born to Reproduce" the subtitle was: "A Passionate Call Maturity, Spiritual Reproduction, and Spiritual Parenting to Help Fulfill the Great Commission."

He was calling for spiritual maturity, spiritual reproduction, and spiritual parenting to get the gospel of Christ out.

And throughout this little booklet—it’s not long at all—he talks about the parallel between physical and spiritual reproduction. Trotman said, "Only a few things will ever keep human beings from multiplying themselves in the physical realm,” and he talks about three of those hindrances in the physical realm. First of all, if they never marry, if there’s no union, if they’re not united. And he made the parallel there if we’re in union with Christ we will reproduce spiritually.

And then a second hindrance in the physical realm is disease or impairment to some part of the body that is needed for reproductive purposes. And then the analogy in the spiritual realm: Sin is the disease that can keep us from being spiritually reproductive.

And then the third hindrance is immaturity. And he made the point that little children can’t have babies. A little boy must first grow to sufficient maturity to be able to earn a living and a little girl must be old enough to care for a baby. And so he says, “Nothing under heaven except sin, immaturity, and lack of communion will put you in a position spiritually where you cannot reproduce.”

That brings us to the next point of the True Woman Manifesto. We’re building here on what it means to be biblical women, true women of God in our values and our heart, the way we look at things, the fact that we’re willing to embrace suffering like we talked about in the last session. Now we see our responsibility to reproduce in others—not just to get this for ourselves but to reproduce it in others. And so the manifesto reads:

We affirm that mature Christian women have a responsibility to leave a legacy of faith by discipling younger women in the Word and the ways of God and modeling for the next generation lives of fruitful femininity.

Now that’s a long way to say what we say in the byline of Revive Our Hearts: calling women to freedom, fullness and fruitfulness in Christ. That’s what we’re doing. That’s our mission. We’re calling women not only to experience freedom and fullness in Christ but then to be fruitful. Not only to take it in but also to give it out. So one sign of maturity is that you then become spiritually reproductive; you pass it on to others.

We heard a little bit ago from Ellie, who God worked in your life through the Lies Women Believe book. He's changed so much of your thinking and your values. Someone was sharing a testimony earlier about how you have now given that to others. You're reproducing spiritually. God doesn't want us to just get this for ourselves. He wants us to use it to minister to and in serving others.

A characteristic of spiritual maturity is the capacity to reproduce spiritually. Hebrews 5 makes this point in such a powerful way. The context here in the prior verses (I’m going to pick up at verse 11). But just before that, Hebrews 5 says that Jesus Christ was a priest after the order of Melchizedek.

Some of you say what in the world is Melchizedek, who is Melchizedek, what is Melchizedek? Is that a place? What is it? Some of you kind of know who it is, but is the last time you heard a sermon on Melchizedek? It's one of the deeper truths of Scripture. It's a really important one, but it is a deeper one.

And so the writer to the Hebrews says in verse 11; “About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.” You don’t have the capacity to take in this truth about Jesus being a priest after the order of Melchizedek.

Verse 12: “For though by this time.” What is by this time? Well, for as long as you have known Christ and walked with him, "by this time you ought to be” what? “teachers.” Now he’s not saying everybody should have a classroom or everybody should have a radio ministry or be writing books. But he’s saying you ought to be teaching others these truths. But "you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food.”

What does that sound like? A baby! You are spiritual babies. Now there’s nothing wrong with being a spiritual baby if you’re a new Christian. But I meet Christians who supposedly have been Christians for fifteen, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty years but they’re still just sucking on their bottles, taking in milk, can’t handle solid food, can’t handle spiritual depth at all, can’t teach others. There’s something wrong with that picture.

Verse 13:

For everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is s a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil (vv. 13–14).

Now again, someday I’d like to do a whole series on just this whole issue of spiritual maturity, what it looks like, and how it happens. But let me just give us a little overview here of two characteristics of immaturity in the physical realm or the spiritual realm—dependent on others to provide basic feeding and care. If you can’t feed yourself physically or spiritually then you are a baby. You’re immature. So the inability to feed yourself, being dependent on others to provide basic feeding and care, that’s a characteristic of immaturity.

A second characteristic of immaturity is the fact that you are incapable of spiritual reproduction. Paul talks about both these things. You need milk, you need someone to feed you, and you can’t teach others. That’s an evidence that these believers are spiritually immature.

Now the characteristics of spiritual maturity are just the opposite. Number one, you can digest solid food. You can take it in. You can sit and listen to somebody teaching about Jesus being a priest after the order of Melchizedek without falling asleep or your eyes glazing over. You’re interested. You’re hungry. Your heart is open because you’re mature, and you’re ready for solid food. You’re ready for meat. You can digest it.

The second characteristic of spiritual maturity is that you teach others. You pass on to others. Again, this is not necessarily in formal settings. But it’s in everyday life. You have a goal to see those around you come to maturity in Christ, to live spiritually fruitful lives and to embrace biblical womanhood. That’s how this movement spreads—one life to another.

Now let me ask you a question as we look at this affirmation in the True Woman Manifesto. It talks about mature Christian women who have a responsibility to leave a legacy of faith. Are you a mature Christian woman? Think about it. And if not, the question I would ask is, “Why not? Is it because you’ve only been a Christian a short period of time, or is it because you haven’t bee doing what it takes to grow up spiritually?”

But if you are a mature Christian woman, then you have a responsibility to be spiritually reproducing in the lives of less mature women. Now, I’ll admit that sometimes I find myself getting perturbed inside about the lack of discretion and the lack of maturity among younger women today. Not all of them. Thankfully there are some wonderful, godly, young women today. But some of them I look at and I go, “What is the problem? Why can’t these women dress? Why can’t they think?”

What happens is that I become critical, self-righteous. I withdraw. I don’t want to be around them. Who wants to spend time with them? They’re so silly! They don’t think about anything but boys, you know?

No! That’s not the way for me to think. If I’m spiritually mature, I will see those young women as providing an opportunity and a responsibility to engage and to press into their lives, to love them, to start with them where they are and gently, lovingly, patiently bring them along as others have done for me and for you.

Paul said to Timothy, “What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2). There should always be this line of one person passing on the faith to another, to another. When it comes to this whole matter of biblical womanhood, people don’t get it today. Christians don’t get it. Women in the church don’t get it. How are they going to get it—these basic principles that will make their lives full and joyful and productive?

They’re going to get it by seeing you live it out and by having you take them alongside of you and under your wing and nurture them. That’s why we started with an earlier principle that women are made to be bearers and nurturers of life. God has designed us with this nurturing capacity and instinct, and we need to use it in discipling in matters of biblical womanhood.

That’s really the whole theme of the series we spent months on—Titus 2:3-5 where it talks about older women who are to live these reverent lives. And then "they are to teach what is good and then so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands" (Titus 2:3–5). 

The implication is these younger women don’t know how to do these things. So how are they supposed to learn? We’re supposed to teach them. And we’re not supposed to teach them just by putting them into Bible studies—that’s important—but we’re also supposed to teach it to them by modeling it to them, bringing them alongside of us in the context of everyday life. Let me say this is a responsibility for every Christian woman, not just those who write books or have radio programs or have some particular gift of leadership or teaching.

Now I will admit that it’s easier and it’s more comfortable to stay with women who are in our season of life, who are in our age group, rather than reaching out to others who are in different seasons of life. Honestly, it’s hard to get connected with some of these young moms because they’ve got young kids. It’s hard to get together, and it’s hard to carry on a conversation. But that’s the context in which those women are having to grow spiritually.

So how can we come alongside of them? I’m thinking you can’t have adult conversations because there are all these kids around. Well, that’s what these moms are living with. And how can we come alongside of them? Love their kids, love them and encourage them and bless them and help them in that season of life to be embracing and understanding what it means to be a godly wife and mom and woman of God.

So I would just ask you. Do you have friends who are not in your age group? Do you have friends who aren’t in your demographic? It’s an important thing if we’re going to fulfill this responsibility.

Now when we talk about discipleship, mentoring, older women teaching younger women, there are a lot of objections that come naturally. There are those who feel they don’t know how. Let me say ask God to show you how. You will grow as you step out in faith. And remember, this doesn’t have to be a formal or a structured program. There are some very good ones that can help you if you want them.

But you don’t have to be a Bible scholar. You don’t have to have some official time that you meet every week through that can be helpful. But mostly you need to be intentional about having these kinds of relationships where you are with people. You’re sharing with them out of your life.

The Scripture says that Jesus chose 12, Mark 3:14, "that they might be with him and then that He might send them out" to teach and to heal and to do all those things. They recognized after Jesus went to heaven that Peter and John and all these other disciples had been with Jesus. That’s where discipleship takes place. In the course of everyday life is where much of discipleship takes place. It is more caught than it is taught. That's true negatively as it is also positively.

Just express interest in people. When you see these younger women, teenage girls, college girls, young women in their twenties, young moms—listen we’re all an older woman to somebody. So you decide what the age group is that is the younger women for you. But when you see them, engage them. Look at them in the eyes. Ask them a question. How’s it going with whatever it is—with school, with papers, with tests, with boys, with relationships, with your parents, with your kids? Ask questions.

Listen. Show an interest. Let them know that you care. I’m telling you, so many of these young women really just want to know that somebody cares. They don’t care about the fact that you have gray hair and don’t dress the way they do. If you will love them, if you will reach out to them, if you will be intentional in engaging them, they will respond to that.

It was interesting to watch when Elisabeth Elliot was doing her public ministry. She was hugely popular on Christian college campuses. Many times these college students loved her. She was kind of this matronly, formal, polished, well-spoken woman. She wasn't a touchy-feely person. She gave direct answers. She said the truth.

Those girls, I think, really felt that she cared. They felt that she loved them. They knew that she was being honest with them and that she was sacrificing in order to meet with them. People, if they know you care, and they are going to gravitate to what you care about.

This is a way of life as you encounter people in real life, everyday circumstances and situations to point them to Christ and to share with women in different seasons of life. There are hormonal issues, child issues, marriage issues, singleness issues. Whatever the issues are, so many of those revolve around our womanhood and our season of life. And you as a woman can come alongside of them in a way that their pastor can’t—not that he isn’t very important and very needed as he preaches the Word.

But there’s a reason Paul told Titus to have the older women teach the younger women. There are things you can talk about, things you can explain, things that you can illustrate out of your own life in a way that a man couldn’t do. So be intentional about connecting to the lives of those that are coming behind us.

I’ve had a whole string of young couples over the years living in my home at different times. One of them, Sarah and AJ, moved in there. She actually moved in before they got married and then when they got married he moved in. They were just going to stay for a few months. They ended up staying three and a half years and had two children in that period of time. So I had a little family growing up there in my house. This is a couple that loves the Lord; they serve the Lord in ministry.

But all of this was new to her, much of it was. Her mother died when she was a teenager. She hadn’t had someone to come alongside of her and just remind her that the way you feel two weeks after you just had your second child thirteen months after the first one is not the way you will feel forever and that you will survive this. Someone to care and someone to give you feedback.

I’m not a mother. I’ve not been in that season of life, but I’ve walked with the Lord a few years longer than some of these young women have. What a privilege to invest in their lives. 

And at times I think, “Boy, it would be nice to have my house to myself.” And then I think how good it is for me, how good it is for lots of reasons, how good it is for these young women. What an opportunity it is to live out the message of Titus 2 as I’m becoming a mature woman of God.

There are creative ways to do this. Some of you are gifted at writing. Start a blog for young women at your church or in your life to share insights, illustrations out of your life, things to help them grow. You may be in a season of life where you can't get out of your house much to be running around and discipling other women, but you can be sending out emails. Watch out, that can take a lot of time too. But there are creative ways that you can be investing in the next generation.

Too busy? Don't have time? Then evaluate your priorities. When it is all said and done, what is going to be the legacy of your life? Are you investing your time in things that will outlive you? It doesn't have to be an every week commitment. It doesn't have to be a long-term commitment. Sometimes it is just occassional touchpoints with people.

I have in church what I call and aisle ministry, which is in the aisle before and after church just connecting with people in different seasons of life who need a word of encouragement, need a hug, need someone to pray with them. Rarely is there a Sunday when I'm not having some kind of aisle ministry. As I'm going to church I'm just anticipating who is God going to have there whose life I can touch.

Sometimes God has people there to encourage me. That's how it goes back and forth. My focus needs to be: Who is God putting in my path today that I could reach out to and touch their life?

You may feel like a failure and say, “I don’t have anything to share with these women because I’ve not been a true woman of God.” Then share out of your failures. Out of your weakness His strength will be seen, will be manifested. These younger women need to see that you are vulnerable, that you are weak, and what you do when you are weak and vulnerable.

People love to hear us talk about our failures. Anytime I share openly out of my life about my failures on the radio or my books, people come back and say, “Thank you so much for sharing that.” I’m going, “What did you think? Did you think I never sin? Did you think I’m never tempted? Did you think I never get angry or hold grudges?”

Well, I don’t know what we think, but we need to know that these things are common to all of us, these temptations, these tests, these struggles. And let me reminder you as older women to remain humble and teachable, to receive and learn from these younger women as well.

And let me just say parenthetically for those of you who are younger women, I’ve heard a lot of younger women say this is what we’re craving from older women but we can’t get it. They won’t give it. They’re all too busy or they won’t help. The older women say the younger women don’t want it; the younger women say the older women won’t give it.

You know what younger women? Step out. Go to those women. Say, “Would you pray for me? Would you pray with me?” And look for ways that God may be wanting to invest in your life or want to have older women invest in your life that are maybe not the way you would have defined it. It may not look like an hour meeting once a week. But it may be just people in different areas of your life who are there to encourage and to bless and to help you in your growth.

In Luke chapter 1 you remember the story of how Mary of Nazareth received a message from an angel that she was going to have this child. What was the very next thing she does in that passage? Verse 39—she goes and seeks out an older woman.

In those days Mary rose and went with haste unto the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth (vv. 39–40).

And we know that Elizabeth and Zechariah were relatives, perhaps cousins, but were much older than Mary.

Mary was probably a 13- or 14-year-old girl and Zechariah and Elizabeth were past childbearing years. God had miraculously intervened, and now Elizabeth is expecting and months later Mary is expecting—women at two opposite ends of the spectrum season-of-life wise. And Mary goes to find Elizabeth. Verse 41:

When Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she [you, Mary] who has believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord (vv. 39–45).

Here’s a young woman, teenage girl, whose whole world has just been turned topsy-turvy. She’s faced with an extraordinarily dramatic change in her life. She’s entering a new season of life for which nothing could have prepared her. Who could she turn to to help her navigate these waters? Mary knew right where to go, to an older woman who had encountered the Lord and experienced His reality in her own life, a woman who could help her get God’s perspective and grace and courage to stay the course.

I love to watch how the older woman Elizabeth greeted Mary, welcomed her, was filled with the Spirit, was humble and tender, blessed Mary, and how Elizabeth affirmed the message that Mary had received from the Lord. She instilled faith in the younger woman and encouraged her in this new calling which so few were going to understand.

You realize that Elizabeth kept Mary in her home for three months. The first trimester of Mary’s pregnancy was the last trimester of Elizabeth’s pregnancy. So here’s this woman who’s in her third trimester, great with child, past the age of childbearing, having this pregnant teenage girl living in the home with her for three months, both of them expecting. You just have to wonder what it is they talked about for those months. But undoubtedly, they encouraged each other. And undoubtedly, Elizabeth, who was the transition from the old covenant to the new as the mother of John the Baptist, how she invested in the life of this young woman, the mother of our Lord.

We have a wide range of women who are connected to Revive Our Hearts in different ways—young girls all the way up to elderly women. But I’ve told our team at times that if I had to target just one demographic to focus on in this ministry, I think I would focus on the Boomer women, the empty-nest women. There are I think seventy-seven million women in that category. There’s just so much potential there waiting to be released and unleashed.

We have so much opportunity, and I mean that category of the Boomer women. We have so much opportunity and so much responsibility to shape the hearts, the thinking, and the character of the generations that are coming behind us.

Leslie: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has been inviting you to spend your time and energy in leaving a legacy that will last forever. Nancy’s been encouraging you to grow in maturity and then teach other women to grow in maturity by your example.

You have a unique opportunity to watch this in action by attending the True Woman Conference this fall. Speakers like Nancy, Jackie Hill Perry, Mary Kassian, and Dannah Gresh are preparing now to speak God’s Word to your heart. They’ll take you deep into biblical truth, challenge your thinking, call you to growth, and identify how you can life out the truth day by day. Registration is limited, but should be some spots left.

True Woman '18 is coming to Indianapolis, September 27–29. For the most up-to-date information and to register, visit ReviveOurHearts.com, or call 1–800–569–5959. 

Your identify as a woman isn’t just about you. Our guest Mary Kassian will explain why when she’s here tomorrow. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants to help you grow in the truth. It’s an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the ESV unless otherwise noted.

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