Revive Our Hearts Podcast

God’s Beautiful Design for Women, Day 20

Leslie Basham: As a new mom, Kathy Helvey didn’t always get the help she needed.

Kathy Helvey: Isn’t it pride when you’re a younger mom that keeps you from asking? I know it was with me. All of a sudden it hit me when I had my first baby, “I’m supposed to know everything, but I don’t!” I was frantically reading in books, but did I stop to ask another woman? I did not.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, for Friday, March 3, 2017.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: For several weeks, we’ve been walking through the first verses of Titus chapter 2, and we’ve gotten to the part of the passage that tells us older women are to teach younger women. We’ll keep working our way through the passage next week, but today we’ll focus on developing those mentoring relationships. How do you start them? How do you connect? What does that teaching process look like?

I talked with a group of friends about that topic. I wanted to hear how these women lived out this instruction to be taught by older women and for older women to teach younger women. We’ll hear from two pastors' wives who have been with us a number of times in the past here on Revive Our Hearts—Holly Elliff and Kim Wagner. And our third guest is Kathy Helvey, who also has had a huge effect on other women's lives.

After this conversation was recorded, Kathy was diagnosed with acute leukemia and ultimately went home to be with the Lord. Even up to her final days, younger women watched her example of praying for others and remaining joyful even while suffering. I know that those of us who knew and loved Kathy still are being impacted by her life today, even as she is in heaven with the Lord.

I started this conversation by asking Kim Wagner, “How do you find time for these kinds of discipling and mentoring relationships?”

Kim Wagner: You have to be very intentional. It takes planning, and it takes looking ahead to your week, knowing that if you’ve already established a relationship like that, knowing that I need to have time set aside for this girl or this person.

Holly Elliff: I think what is huge is understanding that it’s important and it’s part of why you’re teaching through this whole series. I lead a mom’s group, and I had them a couple of weeks ago sit down and just kind of graph out their week and look at where their time went. It was pretty interesting to see what took the largest blocks of their time, and they were pretty shocked when they saw it all in different blocks of color on that grid. I think sometimes we don’t really think we need to either be discipling as the older woman, or to be discipled if we’re the younger woman, because our time is so consumed with other things that we’re missing the important things.

Nancy: It’s a priorities issue, really.

Holly: I think it’s a huge priorities issue, and I think we’re missing that so much in our society because we just don’t believe it’s important.

Kathy: Tyranny of the urgent. We’re all about running around frantic, during all the urgent things and missing the important.

I remember years ago a time management article came out with the usual time management things. The very last part of it has stuck with me forever, and it ended by saying how you gauge what you do: Run it through this grid in your mind:

  • Five years from now, will I be glad I did/said “yes” to this now?
  • Will it make any difference?
  • Will it make an impact on a life?
  • Will it be eternal?

That’s what my grid as a Christian. I ran it through that, and that has helped me ever since.

Holly: Well, I do think young moms are very, very tired; very, very busy; very, very stressed. I mean, that’s why we have so many young moms with two children on mood elevators or tranquilizers. They are under huge amounts of stress, and I think a lot of what is putting them under that huge amount of stress is the fact that God has already made provision for them through the lives of older women, but they’re not encountering that counsel and that wisdom.

It’s just so encouraging to have somebody come to you and say, “You know what? Three years ago I went through that same thing, and let me just tell you what God has done.” Just to have an encouraging word and somebody holding up your arms, I think, is so important. 

We just have many, many, many, many young moms who feel like they’re the only woman who’s ever encountered this; that it’s hopeless; that it’s never going to end; that their kids are always going to be between eighteen months and five years old, or that they’re always going to be teenagers and there’s no end to that. Sometimes it just helps to have somebody say, “You’re going to look back on this moment later and things will change, but right now there’s some tools that God can give you that will help you walk through that.”

I think we just have scores of Christian women who don’t have the provision that God would love for them to have through the lives of other women.

Kim: I think what has happened in our culture today is we have lost just sitting around the dinner table or in the kitchen with the aunts and the sisters and the grandmothers and gathering around in a weekly gathering sometimes that took place. Sometimes the grandmother was still living in the home, and that wisdom was just poured out in a very natural way every day, day in and day out at the washing machine, in the kitchen, at the kitchen table.

Nancy: Quilting.

Kim: Right.

Nancy: Doing something together.

Holly: That’s because we’re transient. You may live . . . I have a daughter that lives fifteen hours away from me. So lots of times they’re not around those relatives if they are women who would encourage them in Christ. They’re not there.

Kathy: That’s what I’m saying about now we have to be very intentional about seeking out those relationships—on both sides—the young women and the older women. I’ve had a few, but very few, younger women come to me and say, “Will you disciple me?”

More than that, I think that we as older women have that responsibility. We need to have the heart of Paul. My life verse is Colossians 1:27, 28, and 29. Paul is saying there, “I proclaim Christ. I labor. I do all of this for this reason: to see Christ brought to completion in you” (paraphrased). In everything we’re doing. Whether we’re at Walmart or whether we’re at a Bible study, or taking a friend to the doctor’s office, everything we’re doing, we’re to be speaking and living in a way to see Christ brought to completion in that other individual.

Holly: I think one reason women don’t do it is that they think it has to be something different than just living their life openly, transparently, together with someone else, and so they think if they’re not theologians, or their marriage was not perfect, or their children didn’t turn out perfectly, that they cannot have a ministry to other women.

Kathy: You think of mentoring as, “Well, I have to have the right book, the right Bible study. We have to meet for an hour or two hours.” It does take place like that often, but I think mentoring, too, has to do with what we talked about earlier today—pouring into their lives. There’s a multitude of ways we can do that.

This is my soapbox for church women. The people who are on nursery duty, or even teaching the little kids’ Sunday school should not be the young moms. It should be the older moms doing nursery duty. A lot of times it’s the younger moms that get asked, and they have a hard enough time even getting themselves dressed and the kids dressed, let alone then once they get there, they don’t go to church, they’re stuck in the nursery. I’m adamant. I think it’s the older women’s joy, responsibility, giving back to do nursery duty, Sunday school duty, and let those moms have some teaching.

Nancy: Dare I say it could also be singles?

Kathy: Yes, right, and singles. That’s good, too.

Nancy: Give them all a break.

Kathy: I think the reason I was thinking older women, I’ve heard it say, “I’ve been there, done that. I’m not doing that. I’ve done my time. I’m older now. I’m not doing nursery duty. I’ve done that.” I’m thinking there needs to be a change in our thinking. Yes, you did that because nobody stepped up to do it for you.

Kim: Well, there are a lot of different creative ways that we can mentor, disciple younger women. I brought a woman into our home for Thanksgiving. She’s twenty-four, but her mother left her when she was four, and she knows very little about cooking. I just had her come with me to do the Thanksgiving meal and learn how to peel potatoes and make mashed potatoes and gravy and just basic things.

Nancy: You need to do this for me, Kim.

Kim: I would love to do that with you, but taking young women to the grocery store. A lot of young women don’t know just the basic shopping, how to plan a meal, how to work at potty training, how to deal with a sick child. What are just some basic things you need to do for a sick child? If you’ve never had a sick child before and you don’t . . . Holly’s mentioned her daughter living so far away. I pray there’s a godly older woman that would come into her life and come alongside and say, “This is what you do when your child has a fever. Let me show you, or let me come over and spend the night with you and help you take care of your child.”

Kathy: Isn’t it pride when you’re a younger mom that keeps you from asking? I know it was with me. All of a sudden it hit me when I had my first baby, “I’m supposed to know everything, but I don’t.” I was frantically reading in books, but did I stop to ask another woman? I did not. 

Holly: I think a lot of times it is pride. I think, for older women, sometimes it’s fear that they don’t want to be connected to somebody that could see their mistakes or could get close enough to see their faults.

Kathy: Or they might be rejected by the younger person if they offer their wisdom.

Kim: Well, and I know my generation, I am far removed from the teenaged, twenty-year-old generation. You can tend to think, How can we relate? I don’t even understand some of the terms they used. I love that age. I love high school, college-age girls, and what I’ve learned is they just want someone to be real with them, to be truthful, and to communicate that you care about them. They gravitate to that.

They want to know the truth. They’re not hearing it very many places, so if you’re willing to share with them the truth in love and grace, and acceptance for where they are, but take them where they are and say, “I want to bring you to a place closer to Christ,” they gravitate to that. So I want to encourage any older women out there that are listening that are thinking, I can’t do this. I can’t relate to teenagers or young girls at all. Let me just encourage you just to love them. Just to love them and share with them out of your life experience, even if it is of failing life experience.

Nancy: I think that’s an issue for a lot of women, the feeling of, “I blew it. Our marriage didn’t work. My kids have turned out terribly. God’s now done a work in my life, but what do I have to offer these younger women?” They feel disqualified, but they do have something to offer.

Holly: Nancy and I were talking during the break about the fact that a lot of our listeners are not married. They may be single, or they may be divorced, and they think, Well, this Titus 2 stuff doesn’t apply to me because I don’t have a husband right now, or My children are grown, or I don’t have children. But what we were talking about was the fact that for women whose marriages failed, they do have a message.

They’re going to be teaching out of their life experience that may be negative at that point, but now, if God has brought them to a point of repentance and redemption in that area, God can take their failures and use them potentially to protect a woman who is headed into that. They have a way to speak in that area that maybe I wouldn’t have, and could say to her, “I went down that road. You will not be happy. Let me tell you what it caused in my life. Let me tell you the heartache I’ve been through.”

Even though it’s a negative example, God turns that for good, and how cool is that? Even though your own marriage ended that way, God can now prevent that in the life of your children.

You may have daughters who watched that marriage dissolve, but if God has shown you that it should have been different, you can still speak into the lives of your daughters out of a repentant heart and say, “Don’t do what I did. Here’s what it caused. You watched it. You know how hurtful it was. Don’t go there.” So you still have the ability to teach and train. Even if your own marriage ended in a way that was dishonoring to the Lord, perhaps, God can still use that to train other women.

Nancy: In each of these areas in Titus 2, loving husbands, loving children, pure . . . I’m thinking about women who were not faithful morally, were not morally pure, and they have seen the devastating consequences of sexual sin. It’s like this big huge secret in their hearts. They’ve repented; they’ve confessed; they’ve gotten God’s forgiveness, but they could not imagine ever telling anybody else.

There’s a whole generation that’s coming up that’s being presented with the enticement of the forbidden and being drawn in to sexual sin. Where are the older women saying, “I tried that? I tasted that, and here’s what happened. Here’s what this did to my marriage. Here’s what this did.” What were the consequences of going your own way?

We’re talking about women being self-controlled in their use of the tongue, loving their husbands. What happened when you didn’t do that? When you didn’t do it God’s way? For women who are older now to be able to reflect back and say, “Here’s some things I really wish I could go back and do differently, but you can be spared. You don’t have to go that path. You can experience God’s grace on the front end of that.” You have to come against pride and say, “Okay, I give up my right to have this private life, and I’m willing to be exposed in order that others’ lives can be helped.”

Holly: I think, too, we have a particular model in our head that is frightening to us. Maybe that model is, “I have to do a ten-week one-on-one thing with this girl where I’m going to take her through Theology 102.” That is scary. But if you look at how Christ discipled in the New Testament—the Bible says He chose twelve, and then He was with them. He taught out of what God was giving Him, but He was using everyday life. He was using trees and plants and oceans and boats as examples; things they could understand. So you look at the life of Christ, it was not complicated. He was dedicated to the task, but the way He accomplished it was really simple.

Nancy: We heard it said earlier today about how lonely people are, how starved for relationship. We can go and sit in a church with hundreds or thousands of other people and be like a former pastor of mine used to say, “marbles clanking up against each other in a bag.” People lonely, hurting, needy, going through major life crisis and issues, surrounded by people that nobody knows. Nobody knows them. To come up to people in church and to actually connect, have your eyes look in to their eyes, and say, “How are you doing? How can I pray for you?”

Holly: That is discipleship. It doesn’t have to be a prescribed, formal time. It is as we go, just living life. It’s really just being transparent vessels. I lead a group called “Mom Link” in our church. What I love about it is that I have some coming who don’t yet have children, who want to be ready when they do have children. I have some who are grandmothers who come because they do have a heart to minister into the lives of younger women, but it’s a very natural atmosphere for discipleship. We meet twice a month, and the reason we started it was to walk through the tenants of Titus 2. So we cycle through those things. One week we might address husbands. One week we might address children. One week we might address sound doctrine.

Nancy: I think what makes those “Mom Link” sessions so effective is that the women are sharing with each other. It’s not just somebody standing up and teaching. There is some of that.

Holly: It’s very real and very honest.

Nancy: But it’s very interactive.

Holly: Right.

Nancy: You have the women sharing where they are and what their questions and challenges are. They’re getting the encouragement of finding out they’re not the only one on the planet who is going through that, but you also have the grandmother sharing out of her life. So there’s that life-to-life multi-generational thing that is encouraging to those women.

Kathy: The key I think is that older women need to know they’ve got something to give.

Kim: I think if older women started doing that . . . the ripple effect. I think the younger women are going to be more timid and shy to come out and approach the older woman. But the older, mature women that’s gone through life experience, I think she just needs to know, “The Lord is giving you permission here. In Titus here, it’s telling you.”

Kathy: No matter what you’ve been through, what failures you’ve encountered along the way, you’ve got life experience to share, now go for it.

Nancy: You wonder if we really aren’t busy with some of the wrong things, that we’re too busy to have relationship, because what we’re talking about is basic Christianity. It’s basic body life. It’s the one anothers of Scripture that we’re talking about, and if more of this were happening between older women and younger women, you wonder how many other kinds of disasters would be averted.

  • How many husbands wouldn’t be feeling the pressure of being their wife’s only friend?
  • How many things would be getting nipped in the bud before they became disastrous psychological issues or disorders?
  • How many women would not have to be looking to others for counsel and therapy because (I’m not saying that that would never be needed) how much of just basic life stuff could be helped with encouragement and Scripture and relationship and friendship and love and honesty in the relationships?

I think it really could make a huge difference in the whole level of Christianity that these young women and their families are experiencing.

Holly: I think, too, once women get past the age of having kids in their home and being heavily involved in child bearing, there’s almost the sense that they’ve earned the right to sit down and take a vacation and do nothing, and that’s just not in Scripture. You really see the opposite of that over and over in Scripture that God says until we take our last breath, we’re to be engaged and involved.

It may be that God brings somebody we didn’t expect into our lives, and we may not even realize it in the beginning that we’re discipling them. You’re just encouraging them, or speaking truth in to their life, or helping them learn how to cook a turkey. It could be just a simple thing that suddenly you look back after a year and say, “You know what? I have been discipling this younger woman.”

Nancy: It is very, very encouraging.

Holly: It is encouraging.

Nancy: I can think of woman all over this community that I have had a relationship with, a friendship, and I can think back to where they were in their walk with the Lord 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 years ago. I certainly have not been the only influence in their lives, it’s been a combination of things. But women I’ve been connected to who I now look at and see, they are not the same person.

Kim: A lot of listeners I know are going, “Well, when am I supposed to do this? I work 9 to 5 Monday through Friday, and the weekends we have this and that and family. So when am I supposed to mentor?” My heart goes out to them because that’s a good question, but even in the work place there would be opportunities. People are always watching you, and just your life, the way you talk, the way you handle a transaction, your honesty, your integrity, your character; it speaks volumes. There are coffee breaks. There are lunch breaks. There are opportunities there just to speak into the lives of women and watch and see what God might do.

Holly: Well, that takes us full circle back to what Kim said at the very beginning, which is this needs to be intentional. It may be that God has something He wants me to do intentionally that is counter to the culture. So we’re saying, ask the question: God, is there a younger woman out there? What do You want me to do about this teaching? Obviously, if you’re listening to this, God wanted you to hear it, so what do You want me to do with this biblical truth?

Nancy: Holly Elliff clearly doesn’t want you to just casually listen to this programg today. I hope you’ll take her challenge and ask God how He might want to use you to teach a younger woman. We’ve been listening to a conversation I recorded with my friends Holly Elliff, Kim Wagner, and the late Kathy Helvey. Perhaps you’re longing for the kind of community modeled by Kim, Holly, and Kathy today.

Maybe you want to encourage mentoring and discipling relationships in your church and your area, but you feel alone. Well I’m inviting you to attend Revive '17. It’s a conference hosted by Revive Our Hearts where we will be walking through this passage in Titus chapter 2.

You'll hear a number of different voices talking about the topics we been considering during this series. I’ll be speaking along with Mary Kassian, Susan Hunt, Blair Linne, Dannah Gresh, and a number of others. This will be a time for you to step back from the demands and deadlines of your everyday life and to connect with other women who have a heart to make disciples, and to hear what God’s Word has to say about mentoring and discipling women the Titus 2 way.

The Revive '17 conference is coming to Indianapolis, September 29–30. You can still get the early registration discount, so get the details at ReviveOurHearts.com, or call us at 1–800–569–5959.

All week we’ve heard how older women are supposed to teach younger women, but what are they supposed to teach? We’ll address that question Monday. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

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

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