Revive Our Hearts Podcast

God's Beautiful Design for Women, Day 25

Leslie Basham: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth reminds you that your kids need to be reminded of your love.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Listen, Mom. When your kid emails you or calls you or drops you a note and says, “I love you, Mom,” is that meaningful to you? It is. You think it’s not meaningful to your kids?

Say it to them before you hang up the phone. Just think, if this were the last call you ever had, would you have regrets? Or would you have said enough that you could know that you’d said what needed to be said?

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Adorned, for Friday, March 10, 2017.

Titus 2 has so much to offer you as a woman. We’ve been discovering the riches of this passage in a series called "God’s Beautiful Design for Women." Nancy picks back up in Titus 2.

Nancy: We’ve been talking over the last several days about younger women learning to love their husbands. We come today to that next phrase, which is: Younger women are to learn to love their children (see v. 4).

I came across a piece on the Internet while I was studying for this session. It was written by a mother who has six children, and it was entitled, “Thinking of Having Kids?” She gives several lessons.

Lesson 1: If you’re thinking of having children . . .

  • Go to the grocery store.
  • Arrange to have your husband’s salary paid directly to their head office.
  • Go home. Pick up your favorite magazine.
  • Read it for the last time.

Lesson 2: To discover how the nights will feel . . .

  • Walk around the living room from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 8–12 pounds, with a radio turned to static (or some other annoying noise) playing loudly.
  • At 10 p.m., put the bag down, set the alarm for midnight, and go to sleep.
  • Get up at 12 a.m. and walk around the living room again, with the bag, until 1a.m.
  • Set the alarm for 3 a.m..
  • As you can’t get back to sleep, get up at 2 a.m. and raid the refrigerator.
  • Go to bed at 2:45 a.m.
  • Get up at 3 a.m. when the alarm goes off.
  • Sing songs in the dark until 4 a.m.
  • Get up. Make breakfast.
  • Keep this up for five years.
  • Look cheerful.

  Lesson 3: Dressing small children is not as easy as it seems.

  • Buy an octopus and a small bag made out of loose mesh.
  • Attempt to put the octopus into the bag so that none of the arms hang out.
  • Time allowed for this—all morning.

  Lesson 4:

  • Take an egg carton. Using a pair of scissors and a jar of paint, turn it into an alligator.
  • Now take the tube from a roll of toilet paper. Using only Scotch tape and a piece of aluminum foil, turn it into an attractive Christmas candle.
  • Last, take a milk carton, a ping-pong ball, and an empty packet of Cocoa Puffs.
  • Make an exact replica of the Eiffel Tower.  

Lesson 5: Buy a mini-van. And don’t think that you can leave it out in the driveway spotless and shining. Family cars don’t look like that. 

  • Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment. Leave it there.
  • Get a dime. Stick it in the CD player.
  • Take a family size package of chocolate cookies. Mash them into the back seat.
  • Run a garden rake along both sides of the car.  

There. Perfect.

Lesson 6: 

  • Hollow out a melon.
  • Make a small hole in the side.
  • Suspend it from the ceiling and swing it from side to side.
  • Now get a bowl of soggy Cheerios and attempt to spoon them into the swaying melon by pretending to be an airplane.
  • Continue until half the Cheerios are gone.
  • Tip half into your lap. The other half, just throw up in the air.  

You are now ready to feed a nine-month old baby.

Sound familiar?

Older women are to train younger women to love their children, according to Titus 2:4. This word "love their children," in the Greek language in which the original text is written, is just one word. It’s a combination of two words made into one compound word.

The first word is the word philos, which is the word for friend; the second word is teknon, the word for child. It’s a person who is fond of children, a lover of children, somebody who enjoys children.

Over these next couple of sessions, we want to talk about some simple things. Again, I don’t have children of my own, so I’m no expert on this subject; but I want to encourage those of you who are mothers, or are thinking about being mothers, with God’s heart for your children

The thought of loving your children . . . as I’ve been meditating on this over the last several days, there’s that concept of delighting in them. I know that a lot of mothering is like what we just read about, with feedings in the middle of the night and messes in the family van, a lot of distractions and disturbances and things that make motherhood difficult.

But I see so many mothers who lose the perspective of the fact that children really are a blessing. I can see how that can happen, and that’s why we need these times to encourage and remind each other that they really are something to be delighted in.

What does it mean to delight in your children, and how can you do that? Here are several thoughts that may be helpful to you.

The first is just the whole concept of having children—the willingness to have children, to welcome them as blessings and gifts from the Lord.

We've talked about this on other programs of Revive Our Hearts. My friend Holly is here today. We've done an interview before, and you can go to our resource center to get a copy of that, about the blessing of having children. I don't want to spend a lot of time on that today, but I think you know that we live in a culture that considers children to be a burden and a nuisance and a bother.

Okay, if you’re going to have the requisite “one point whatever” children, nobody’s going to bother you too much; but now that you’re expecting your third or your fourth or (heaven forbid!) your fifth or sixth child, don’t you start to get the comments today? And you can get them even within the church.

Women have shared with me that it's even hard to announce that they are pregnant because they are afraid of what people are going to say—sometimes even within their own family, sometimes in their own church.

This is not the heart attitude of Scripture. Anywhere you read about children in the Scripture, or about having children, you read that this is a blessing. This is a gift; it’s a privilege.

I think of that very familiar passage in Psalm 127 that says, “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord” (v. 3). Listen to the words used to describe children: They’re “a heritage.” They’re “from the Lord.” “The fruit of the womb [is] a reward.” It’s a benefit. It’s something positive. “Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth” (v. 4).

What would a warrior be without ammunition? He’d be powerless. He couldn’t fight the battle. Arrows are essential in the hands of a warrior. Children are essential in God’s plan and program for the propagation of the gospel and the representing of God’s heart and His way in our world.

Children are essential in God’s plan and program for the propagation of the gospel and the representing of God’s heart and His way in our world.

This is not an option. This is not an add-on idea, although many countries of the world are now having children at such a slow rate that they aren’t even replacing their population, and the United States is now approaching that statistic, where we will not even be having enough children to replace our population.

By the way, as our generation, the Boomers, get older, the fact that we have not been having children in our generation is going to come home to roost when we have a huge older population and so few to take care of them. So few to pay into Social Security. So few to care for parents. I think we've not yet begun to see the full implications and consequences of a whole generation that has said, "We don't value children. We don't think it is important to have children."

Let me go on in Psalm 127. Verse 5 says, “Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!” Blessed. This is a privilege. This is a blessing. “He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.”

You see this in the New Testament. In Matthew 18–19, you see two back-to-back incidents where Jesus talked about children. You see Jesus’ heart for children.

You read that passage about children being brought to Jesus to bless, and some of these more “spiritual,” sanctimonious disciples were a little upset. “This isn’t the time for kids!”

Jesus said, in effect, “This is the time for kids, because the kingdom of God is made up of people who have childlike faith and humility. Value the children. Don’t send them away. Let them come to Me.”

Jesus stops what He is doing—Jesus, the Son of God, who has got to accomplish the plan of redemption in three years. He stops. He takes the children in His lap. He blesses them.

Ones who have nothing to offer to Him, but He loves them. He blesses them. He blesses their parents. He takes notice of them. He doesn’t consider them a burden. He welcomes them, and I see in the heart of Jesus what is to be our heart for children.

So to delight in your children, to love children means, first of all, just the willingness to have children, as God gives them to you and as God directs in that way. The doesn't mean that if you are welcoming of children that God is going to give you nineteen children. He probably won't.

I'm looking back here at one friend who God has only blessed her with two children, but her heart attitude has always been, "God, we would welcome whatever children you would want to give to us." That is a very counter-cultural way of thinking today.

It may be very foreign to you, and you may be wondering if I’ve lost my mind by talking this way. But I want to encourage you to go to the Scripture and ask, “What does Scripture have to say about children?”

I was talking with a woman I met recently who had eight children, and I asked her, “When you and your husband got married, were you thinking of having a lot of children?”

She said, “No. We just had always been brainwashed in the world’s way of thinking, and when we got married, we decided you don’t have children for a certain amount of time, and you do what you can to stop it.” She talked a little bit about their pilgrimage.

I said, “Well, how did you end up with eight children, and why?”

She said,

You know, as God began to bring children into our lives, I started going to the Scripture and asking, "What is God’s perspective on children?" Everywhere I turned in the Word of God, it said children are a blessing.

If God wanted to give me any other kind of blessings, like checks for thousands of dollars, I wouldn’t say to Him after a few of those came my way, "Lord, no more blessings. I’ve got too many blessings, I can’t handle any more blessings from You."

I would welcome those blessings. So I started to realize we weren’t really thinking of children as blessings and gifts from the Lord.

To challenge the world's way of thinking on this front causes us to run into the selfishness and the secular ways of thinking that are just what we have bought into as a culture. I don't want to do a whole on that here. But I do want to challenge you to be thinking about what it would mean to you to be having the attitude that welcomes children as a blessing and a gift from the Lord.

Now, delighting in your children means enjoying them, not just fulfilling your responsibility to care for them. You see, when God inspired Paul to write these words to Titus, I think He knew that most mothers were going to be responsible in taking care of their kids.

I mean, there are very few mothers, even pretty bad mothers, who don’t do the basic things that are required for their kids to survive. But I think the Lord also knew that mothers could get caught up pretty easily in the day-to-day practical responsibilities of mothering, and they might forget to really love their children; they would need to be reminded to enjoy their children, to treasure them.

Of course, there’s a time when you love them naturally—when that first baby is first placed in your arms. I’ve heard mothers talk about that intense love that God puts in their heart for that little one, even after thirty-two hours of hard labor and then a C-section.

No matter what that mother has been through—a horrible pregnancy, a tough delivery, whatever it may have been—when you put that little one in her arms, there is something that God has put in there that comes out that loves that child.

But, those natural feelings don’t last forever, and the times come when it’s harder to love those children. There’s that crying infant; that colicky baby that’s more difficult, more restless; and you’re more exhausted, and you’re saying, “I’m not so sure this is a great blessing.”

There’s that season when you’re training, and there’s a toddler throwing temper tantrums, and it’s not so easy to love at that moment—a whining six-year-old, a disobedient or disrespectful teen who is testing the boundaries and your patience.

I know there are some here who are dealing with adult children who are hard to love. They’ve broken your heart. They’ve made foolish choices, perhaps embarrassed you.

And the natural, fleshly instinct, at different ones of these seasons, is to become irritated or impatient, hurt, bitter; to have that bitterness turn to self-pity, selfishness, resentment.

For some mothers, they even fall into patterns of abuse or neglect, sometimes even harming their children. These little seeds of resentment and bitterness can actually become very dangerous if they’re not tended to and if you don’t allow God to replace those feelings with His love.

Now, as we talk about enjoying children, let me say this is not just for those who have natural children. I think it’s a mindset that we need in the body of Christ. Even those of us who are single and don’t have children of our own can love other people’s children. That’s part of being the body of Christ.

With nieces and nephews and children of the church, noticing them, engaging them, praying for them.

I find that it's a temptation at times when I'm with a family to just have all the conversation be adult and not even notice the children who are around. I think if Jesus were there, He would stop. He would notice. He would speak to the children.

I try to do that. I try to bless the children and pay attention to them and engage with them and find out what is happening in their lives and to pray for them and to show them the love of Christ.

I think, as singles, there’s a huge service we can do to the body of Christ by coming alongside of parents and encouraging their children. Sometimes we can be another voice into the lives of those children that can help them hear things at a time when maybe they have a hard time hearing their own parents saying those things.

Then there’s the importance of expressing your affection and your delight for your children. It’s the same thing we said earlier about encouraging your husbands. It’s not enough to think it or feel it. You need to say it.

Say it. Tell your children. Tell them you love them. Tell them you’re delighted with them. Tell others about them. This is the way God loves His children.

Remember at the baptism of Jesus when God the Father spoke from heaven so everyone could hear? “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:17). Now, did Jesus need to hear His Father say that? As the perfect, sinless, Son of God, He didn't need those strokes or that affirmation. But in His humanness, there was the value, the building up that comes when you hear your dad or your mom say, "I love you. I'm delighted with you. I'm pleased with you." Express it to your children.

I think of how God loves His people. I remember in one of the Old Testament prophets where God says, “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son” (Hosea 11:1). There’s a God who delights in His children, and He says it. He expresses it.

Ladies, I know this sounds so elementary, but I think when you get distracted and sidetracked with all that’s going on in life, it’s really easy to forget it. Could I just encourage you to say it often to your children?

  • “I love you."
  • "I’m proud of you."
  • "I thank God for bringing you to our family.”

You cannot say it too many times. You can’t say it enough times. Have you said it today to your children? Say it, no matter what age they are. Don’t wait until it’s too late. You don’t know how long you have.

I lost my dad on my twenty-first birthday. And anything that was going to be said had to be said before that day.

I have a brother that was killed in a car accident at the age of twenty-two. He didn't have a long life. There was limited opportunity to say in our family the things that we thought we might have years to say.

Don’t wait until you’re standing over a casket. That’s not a threat. It’s just saying time is short.

Don’t get so distracted with getting the kids to school and soccer practice and piano lessons that you forget to tell them that you love them.

Say it when you greet them in the morning. Tell them when you say goodnight to them. Tell them when you send them off to school or to baseball practice.

Write notes. I have notes from both of my parents that I cherish. I was reading back over one last night that my dad wrote to me on my sixteenth birthday, and it’s just a precious letter. I can think of notes that my mom has written that have just encouraged my heart. You need this from your parents, and as a parent, you need to say those things.

Today, you may not be into writing notes. Although, I have a brother who has three teenagers, and he says because kids do so little note writing today, because everything is with email or text messages, that to get a note from their parents is really a huge thing.

But if you’re not into writing notes, do it with email. Text message your kids. Tell them that you’re thinking about them, that you love them. They might not act like it means anything to them, but I guarantee you it does.

Listen, Mom. When your kid emails you or calls you or drops you a note and says, “I love you, Mom,” is that meaningful to you? It is. You think it’s not meaningful to your kids?

Say it to them before you hang up the phone. Just think, if this were the last call you ever had, would you have regrets? Or would you have said enough that you could know that you’d said what needed to be said?

Say it. Say, “I love you. I love you.” You can’t say it too often. You want those words ringing in your kids’ ears. Now, some of you are going to go home and get so carried away that your kids are going to think, What happened to my mom today? So you might want to ease into this a little bit if you've not been accustomed to talking this way.

You don't have to be overly emotional about it. But just make a habit of saying those words, telling your children that you love them, that you delight in them, expressing your affection for them.

And then, as you delight in your children, of course it goes without saying that they have to be a huge priority in your life—not before your husband, but second to your husband. They require time and focus and attention and effort.

You say, “Well, of course. I spend a lot of time. I’m a mother. That’s what mothers do. They spend a lot of time with their kids.”

Do you love your husband and your children more than you love your other friends and your outside involvements and interests? Do you love them more than you love your job?

Now, you may not love your job, but maybe your job takes so much out of you that you don’t have the time and energy and effort to put into your children or your husband. Then you need to say, “Are my priorities out of whack? Are things in order in my home?”

Are you more committed to prioritizing your children than you are your other friends? You need to be a friend to your children. More than a friend, but you need to be fond of your children, affectionate to them. That’s what this child-loving concept is here in Titus 2.

Remember the shortness of the time, and live in the present moment. Make the most of the present moment you have with your kids. Don’t lose the joys that you could have in the present and the opportunities God is giving you today by being impatient for the future.

Don’t be always so looking forward to the next thing that you miss the joys and opportunities of this season.

Isn’t it so like us to be eager for the next stage to take place? “If only I could get this kid potty trained. If only I could get this kid in kindergarten. If only I could get this kid reading.”

Don’t be always so looking forward to the next thing that you miss the joys and opportunities of this season.

Now, this season has challenges, too, and I don’t want to make it sound like I think parenting doesn’t have huge challenges. I think mothers are the most under-paid, under-rated, under-appreciated employee on the face of the planet.

I just say, “Cheers to you moms!” What you do is hard, hard, hard work, and I say, “Thank you. Thank you for being faithful.”

But in the midst of being faithful, don’t lose the joy of your calling and the chance to really enjoy the kids God has given you.

Psalm 113:9 says God “gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Praise the Lord!”

Are you a cheerful mother? This morning before you left your house, were you a cheerful mother? Now, I’m not saying every moment is a cheerful moment. But overall, would your kids see you as a “joyous mother of children”?

There are hard moments. There are moments when parenting brings you to your knees, it brings you to tears.

I don’t want to be insensitive to the fact that there are those seasons. But overriding that all should be the joy of Christ in these kids He has given you, and the privilege it is to raise them for Christ.

Do you delight in your children? Do you view children as a blessing? Not just children in general, but your children—do you see them as a blessing, a gift from the Lord? Or maybe have you lost sight of the privilege it is to have children?

You may just want to stop right now for a moment and say, “Lord, thank You. Thanks for the privilege of being a mom.

“Yes, it’s hard, and yes, my kids are going through some things right now that maybe are heartbreaking. But, Lord, it really is a privilege, and all these little ones that are making such a mess in our house right now, and all the challenges of trying to figure it out . . .”

I talked with a woman the other day who’s got a bunch of children—a lot of them—and she loves being a mother. She loves her children. She’s home schooling, and there’s a lot going on.

She said, “It’s really, really hard to survive each day.” She’s got good kids, and she’s got a heart to do what she’s doing, but she needs the Lord each day to give her the strength and the courage and the faith and the joy to persevere.

She’s not wanting to quit. She’s not going to quit, but she needs the Holy Spirit to fill her with joy in that calling and in those tasks.

Are you telling your children enough that you love them, that you delight in them? Are you affirming them verbally? “This is my beloved child with whom I am well pleased.”

Oh Lord, how I pray that you would give wisdom and grace and strength and courage and faith and joy and all that is needed for moms who are listening—moms at every season of life and taking kids through all different kinds of issues and challenges.

I know, Lord, that there are those who are caring for children with special needs and those with many children who are young and in the very wearying season of life. Lord, whatever the season, whatever the situation, I pray you'll give perspective and grace—tailor-made grace—to fulfill this calling to be a joyous mother of children.

Lord, may these moms reflect to the world what it is to have the joyful parenting heart of God—the heart He has for His children. As people look at the way Christian moms love their kids, may they get a glimpse, a picture, a reflection of how our heavenly Father loves us. I pray in Jesus' name, amen. 

Leslie: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has been showing you how to leave a life legacy to your children. Today counts. Our words today will either contribute to a legacy of love, or they will tear it down.

We’re so grateful that for over fifteen years Revive Our Hearts has been able to point women to God’s Word to learn these practical truths. And we’re also grateful for the explosion of interest in this message in Latin America. Nancy, tell us more about what’s going on there.

Nancy: Well, I’m getting so excited to be in Mexico next week for the Mujer Verdadera 2017 conference. That’s our Spanish True Woman Conference. Mary Kassian will be joining me along with Dannah Gresh, Betsy Gomez, Damaris Carbaugh, and others. And the theme of this conference is En Busca de Dios, Seeking Him.

Together we’re going to be encouraging our Spanish-speaking sisters from around the world to seek the Lord for personal revival. And we’re going to be asking the Lord to ignite spiritual awakening throughout Latin America in particular.

So, would you pray for us as we prepare for this conference? Pray for safe travels for our team, for attendees that are coming from many countries in Latin America and in other parts of the world as well.

And would you pray for our sisters in Mexico who are facing a very tough economy and may be challenged to get to this conference. We’ve set up a special webpage where you can donate specifically to this conference. Visit ReviveOurHearts.com and follow the link to that page where you can help support Mujer Verdadera ’17.

The value of the peso has fallen in relationship to the dollar in recent months which has made this conference a challenge for our sisters in Mexico. That means those of us with U.S. dollars have a great opportunity to support our sisters who are in need.

In fact, I was so thrilled to hear about one of our speakers who has a ministry of her own that said my husband and I want to scholarship a hundred women from Mexico to be able to come to this conference. Wow, what a sweet encouragement that was! And only the Lord knows the impact that will be had in the lives of those women as a result.

So again, visit ReviveOurHearts.com, and follow the links to donate to the conference. You can also get information about watching the LIVE stream March 24–25. And thank you so much for your support of this True Woman Conference for our Spanish-speaking sisters.

Leslie: When you’re running from one activity to another, trying to fill hungry mouths and answering questions non-stop, you can forget the big picture of what being a mom is all about. But on Monday, Nancy will help you approach parenting with purpose. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth believes in passing the baton of truth to the next generation. It’s an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the ESV.

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