Revive Our Hearts Podcast

God's Beautiful Design for Women, Day 40

Leslie Basham: What effect will hypocrisy have on your children? Here’s Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: I think we have to be at least asking the question, “Did our kids see, not just isolated things, but a pattern of life in our home, a spirit in our home, that was not consistent with what we claim to believe?”

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Adorned, for Friday, March 31, 2017.

For several weeks, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has offered practical teaching from Titus 2:1–5. It’s a powerful passage for women today. Pastors’ wives Kim Wagner and Holly Elliff are explaining how the principles in this series shaped their decisions as wives and moms. Here’s Holly.

Holly Elliff: I heard Gloria Gaither talk about a moment in her life where she sat down before the Lord, and she was complaining before God. She wanted to do this, and she wanted to do this, and she wanted to do this, and she kept getting interrupted by all these other things that kept her from this ministry thing she wanted to do and this book she wanted to write.

God came to her and said, “Gloria, all those things that you viewed as interruptions were My choice for how you filled your time. They were not interruptions. They were Me directing into your life what I intended to be there.”

She said it totally changed her perspective as she looked back on her life. But then she also said, as a much older woman, “I wish I had been able to look back sooner, because I wasted so many years being frustrated with the interruptions. I wish I could have recognized earlier that they were not interruptions—that God had placed them in my life.”

Nancy: Really, I think that perspective can help keep a woman from resentment, from bitterness, from getting that sharp edge, that impatient spirit, and that irritability we’ve talked about.

Kim Wagner: That brings her to a place of contented surrender, when she really views everything through God’s perspective, the perspective of God’s sovereignty, to know that “God, You’re Sovereign and You’re in control, and whatever You allow is good because You’re a good God.”

Holly: I think it’s important, too, for us to realize that that’s not necessarily a one-time decision.

Kim: Right. It’s constant.

Holly: As we mature in Christ, we’re going to become more understanding of God’s sovereignty. But literally, sometimes every moment is a surrender to God’s will. So it may be that I am having to constantly come out of the kitchen and say with a right spirit, “God, would You change my heart while I’m in here doing these mundane things, or these maintenance things, or dealing with this relationship? Would You give me a right heart in the midst of it?”

Nancy: That is so crucial for a mom to have. Don’t you find that a mom’s spirit and tone has much to do with the whole climate of the home?

Kim: Yes. For sure.

Nancy: I just think, What is happening to those husbands and children? Now, I’m not saying that the women are the only ones at fault here. But as I see the frustration level, the irritability level, I’m thinking that there are husbands, children, grandchildren, co-workers and church members who are being affected by these toxic attitudes and spirit.

This is why I think that—in the midst of this very practical passage of Titus 2 about the things you do as a younger woman that are home-related—there is love and kindness that are kind of undergirding how those tasks are carried out.

Kim: What you just mentioned about all of the women that are doing it in frustration and harshness, not with joy or a spirit of humility and grace and graciousness, and how that affects the people around them—I think that is actually when, at times, we can be blaspheming the Word of God, which is where we go in 1 Peter 3 (see vv. 1–6).

Nancy: And where Titus 2 ends up also.

Kim: Right. We are believers. We are Christians, and we are to be portraying the love of Christ. We are to be portraying His character, His nature, who He is. When we are claiming to be Christ-followers, with God’s Holy Spirit within us, and yet our fruit is harshness, parenting without joy, being uptight, upset, easily offended, angry—it brings a reviling to the Word of God because it is a contradiction of what we say the Word can do. We say the Word can transform us and make us like Christ, and yet look at how we’re displaying Christ. People that encounter us have a great conflict, then, of, “If this is Christianity, or if this is what the Word of God does . . .”

Holly: “. . . who would want that? Who would want to live that way?”

I think that may be part of why that whole process in Titus 2 starts with sound doctrine, in which behavior matches belief. If I claim to be a Christian, I have a certain set of beliefs, but my behavior ought to model those things, ought to exemplify those things. So if my behavior is not matching my belief system, something is skewed, something is wrong. That’s where we go to the Lord, and we say, “God, show me where I don’t look like You. Those are the things I want You to change.”

Nancy: It’s not just behavior, because I know a lot of women who are doing a lot of the right things. But where they find the challenge, many times, is in doing the right things with the right spirit—doing it with joy, doing it with kindness, doing it with love.

Think of 1 Corinthians 13 and apply that to a mother’s life: “If I get all my kids fed and have great homemade meals and can out-decorate any designer and can make their clothes and do all these things and run this incredible schedule, but I don’t have love . . .”

Kim: It’s clanging brass.

Holly: Psalm 101 talks about walking in our home “with blameless heart” (v. 2). It requires an understanding that my home is the proving ground for what I believe. So no matter what I look like at church when all my kids are dressed neatly, or when we’re all out at the mall and we’re on our best behavior, if Christ cannot be lifted up within the walls of my home, then, again, there’s a great discrepancy between what I claim to believe and what I actually live.

Nancy: I want to be very careful here because there’s as many different stories as there are people, as many different situations as there are listeners. But I can’t help but believe . . . We’ve addressed this on Revive Our Hearts before—the fact that such a huge number of our Christian teenagers are growing up and leaving their homes where they had tons of training, tons of exposure to Christianity, and for whatever reasons, they’re rejecting the faith of their parents, the faith they grew up with.

I’m sure there are lots of factors contributing to that, but one of them has to be how many times they look back and say, “In my home, I didn’t see or experience the reality of what I heard my parents say and what I heard in church.”

Again, I’m not putting all that on parents, but I think we have to be at least asking the question, “Did our kids see, not just isolated things, but a pattern of life in our home, a spirit in our home, that was not consistent with what we claim to believe?”

Kim: I think that is such a danger for moms of young children. I know when I was a young mother, I was not even aware that I needed to be intentional about doing my mothering in joy. I did enjoy my children, but the times when things got really hectic and really busy—when I was homeschooling and I needed to do all these subjects, and I needed to cook a meal—I would find that I would go through the day without ever having laughter or smiling or gentleness.

Nancy: Just checking things off your list.

Kim: Just checking things off the list. I think there’s a real danger in that, and I’m so thankful that God opened my eyes to that. I wish it would have been earlier, but I opened my eyes to the fact that you need to have fun with your children.

Nancy: And with your husband.

Kim: And with your husband.

Holly: That’s not going to happen every moment of every day, and if you have a bunch of little kids, there are moments when you are so tired and weary that you think, If one more person tries to get one more thing from me, I’m going to explode.

So we have to recognize that we live in human bodies, and we’re still on earth, which is full of sin and corruption. But when we get in those moments when it is so hard to choose to respond in the right way, if we blow it, it’s so important to realize that it only takes a heartbeat to turn to the Lord and say, “God, would You govern my spirit? Would You control what comes out of my mouth?”

It is a choice, and so when I blow it, I go back to the Lord and get His ability to navigate my life, because it’s way beyond me almost all the time—no, it’s way beyond me all the time. Then, if I’ve blown it in front of my kids, I’m modeling for them the relationship they’re to have with their heavenly Father when I go back to them and say, “You know what? The way I just did that was really crummy, and it was wrong. Would you forgive me? I was really angry, and that was a wrong response.”

Nancy: That’s huge.

Holly: I didn’t respond to you; I reacted to you. We use those two words a lot in our home, but your kids can understand that—even the little bitty ones. They can understand that you have blown it, that you’re coming to say, “I’m sorry; I was wrong. Will you forgive me?” They’re so quick most of the time—if they haven’t been wounded repeatedly for long, long periods—to extend that forgiveness. And then you have just taught them how they are to handle their sin before their heavenly Father.

Kim: And before others.

Holly: So it’s modeling to them.

Kim: Then, what is the real blessing is when your child comes to you, on his own initiative, and says, “Mom, will you forgive me? I spoke to you in the wrong way. I shouldn’t have gotten angry. I shouldn’t have talked to you in that tone.”

Holly: That’s part of establishing the level of relationship that is so critical in the home, especially as your kids get older. Teach your children when they’re young that the way we handle conflict in our home is that we talk; we don’t let our kids disappear into their room and slam the door. If they go into their room and disappear, somebody’s going to follow them into their room. We don’t do that; we talk about it.

So teach them from the time that they’re very young that we handle our conflicts by talking about what happened, and everybody getting their heart right with each other. If you train them in that way as they grow up, it is unbelievable the difference between a teenager who has grown up talking about the conflict and a teenager who got offended, went in his room, slammed his door, and developed his own set of thinking about how to handle those issues.

I had a mom say to me the other day, “Well, my daughter doesn’t talk to me anymore. She’s ten now, and she just goes into her room and closes the door, and I don’t bother her. I want her to have her own space.” I said, “Go get her out of her room, because when she’s thirteen or fifteen, you need to be talking to your teenage daughter.”

Kim: That is the same process we parent with also. But after talking, if that child’s heart is still hardened and there’s not repentance, then we just—or if it’s me on my own, I say, “Let’s just pray about this.” I take their hands, and we pray. I pray out loud, and I love for the love of the Lord to just come out and pour all over them in my prayer for them. It has never failed for them to break and be in repentance.

Nancy: What they’re seeing is that they’re not just dealing with you, but that the Lord has been brought into this.

Kim: Right.

Holly: Sometimes I have to not expect more of them than I need myself. In other words, there are moments when God touches my life and says, “Holly, this needs attention,” and I have to wrestle through that thing with the Lord to get to repentance. I need to extend that same grace to my child. So if they’re still wrestling, sometimes I’ll just write down four or five questions and say, “Okay, I want you to sit right here, think through these questions, and write an answer.”

Nancy: Questions such as . . . ?

Holly: Like:

  • What did I do that was wrong? Spell it out.
  • What could I have done differently?
  • Did I respond or react?
  • What does the Lord think about this?
  • What would God have wanted me to do?

We’re training them in how they handle sin, how they handle difficulty, how they’re going to make decisions when they’re . . . I mean, I now have kids from the age of thirty to the age of eleven, and somebody everywhere in-between. I have kids in all different seasons of life who are making life choices now about what they believe.

Kim: And you’re training them in how to process . . .

Holly: Right, they need to know how to make those biblical choices.

Kim: And how to process what’s going on.

Holly: Exactly.

Kim:

  • What was my motive?
  • Why did I do that?
  • What exactly did I do?

Holly: Right. Because if I make every decision for them as they’re growing up . . . Someday they will not be in my home, and they will be making their own decisions. I’d better be training them to hear from God so that when they’re no longer in my home, their thought process is governed by God and not just by themselves.

Kim: I do that same thing. Sometimes, if I know that there’s a portion of Scripture that applies directly to that situation, I’ll say, “Would you read that to me out loud?”

One day Caleb said, “Mom, would you read it?”

And I said, “No, I want you to read it out loud; I really want to hear you read it.”

And then the Word, the power of the Word, as they read it and we talk about it . . . I say, “Now, what does that mean? How do you think that applies to what just happened here?”

Holly: It doesn’t always have to be a huge, terrible, dark struggle. I remember one day I was so tired of the way my kids were talking to each other—I actually need to do this again because I’ve got another set of kids this age—but we had an Ephesians 4:29 day at our house. So we memorized Ephesians 4:29.

Nancy: Which says . . .?

Holly: “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear” (NASB).

Kim: My son knows that well, too, and my daughter. All I have to say sometimes, if there’s something going on in the house, is “Is that an Ephesians 4:29 statement?”

Holly: We had an Ephesians 4:29 day, where we decided that everything that came out of our mouth that day had to fit the parameters of that verse. It had to be fitting for the need of the moment, and it had to give grace to those who heard—it had to build somebody else up.

The amazing thing was that I had a harder time talking than my kids. I could not say things the way I had normally said them because they didn’t work in the context of that verse and those parameters. So it can be a fun thing, but you’re still imparting truth to them. To this day, even my older kids sometimes will say, “Ephesians 4:29,” to one of their siblings when they want to get a little word in.

Our teenagers have been doing a thing called “sound check” on Wednesday nights at church, where they have been talking about what comes out of your mouth and the fact that we’d better be checking the sound of what’s coming out of our mouths. It’s much like what we did on Ephesians 4:29 day. We’re always in the process of training—looking first to ourselves, and then imparting that to our children.

Nancy: I want to ask you to pray, and I want to invite our listeners to join with us. Some have children—many have children—and some do not. But as I’m listening, my heart is just going out to mothers, and I want to be a woman who prays for other people’s children. I have such a heart, Holly and Kim, for your children, and for them standing on your shoulders spiritually. But that takes the grace of God. So would you lead us in praying for moms and for the children that they are parenting?

Holly: Father, we come to You today with grateful hearts that You have not left us to be mothers on our own. Father, I thank You for the homes that have godly fathers in them. I pray that we would become women who listen to our husbands, who allow them to mirror in our lives things that need attention.

Father, I pray for moms who are doing parenting without a godly husband in their home. I pray, Lord, that you would bring other encouragers into their lives that would help them, that would encourage them. I pray, Father, that You would encourage the hearts of single moms who are trying to parent today—which is a huge job—without a dad there.

Father, I pray for women who are struggling right now to even want to be the parent. Motherhood is really hard, and some days it’s really, really long. Some days you are so tired that you do not think you can do the next step for your children.

Father, I pray that You would infuse us with Your grace, with Your energy, and with a constant awareness that I do not have to manufacture what I need—I only have to run to You. You are willing and able to pour into my life the strength and the energy and the resources and the sound mind to do those things in a way that honors You and pleases You.

Father, I pray for single women out there, for unmarried women, and for younger women. Lord, would You raise up a mighty army of women who understand Your truth, who lift the arms of mothers around them, who pray for them, and who encourage their kids so that, Lord, Your purposes can be accomplished in this generation. We ask it in the name of Christ, amen.

Leslie: Holly Elliff has been praying for moms. Parenting is a huge task. We’ve been hearing about the power of a loving God who’s ready to help moms who cry out for help.

We need the encouragement from women like Holly and our other guest, Kim Wagner. We need the encouragement from Bible teachers like our host, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. That’s what Titus 2 is about—older women teaching younger women. That’s been a big emphasis in our current series "God’s Beautiful Design for Women: Living Out Titus 2:1–5."

We’re able to bring you series like these ones thanks to listeners who give and support the ministry. When you donate any amount this week, we’d like to send you a book by Carrie Ward called Together: Growing Appetites for God’s Word. It shows you how a mom can have a powerful discipling relationship with her own kids by reading the Bible together.

We’d like to send you a copy when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any size. Today’s the final day we’ll be making this offer, so call us at 1–800–569–5959, or donate at ReviveOurHearts.com. We’ll send one book per household for your donation of any amount. On this program about the value of our children, Janet Parshall is going to close our time. She told this story at one of the True Woman Conferences, hosted by Revive Our Hearts. She spoke about the priority of investing in children.

Janet Parshall: They are His. We are simply in a lend-lease program. He gives us permission to touch their hearts and their minds, to teach them to write truths on the tablets of their hearts, to help them to know and love the Savior, to get them to love His Word. But in the end, they’re His and His alone.

This was driven home to me in a powerful way when one night, in the middle of the night, standing in front of our door at 3 o’clock in the morning was a police officer. He said, “Do you have a son named Sam?”

We said, “Yes.”

He said, “Your son has been shot in the head, and we don’t know if he’s dead or alive.” For three hours in the middle of the night, driving through the Blue Ridge Mountains, all we could do was hold hands and pray quietly—not knowing if, when we got there, our Samuel would be alive or dead.

In the quietude of that night, God gently reminded me, “Janet, he never did belong to you.” All I could say was, “Thank You, Father God, he knows You as Lord,” but all the way through the night I had to feel my grip loosen, because I realized he wasn’t mine—he was His.

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

All Scripture is taken from the New International Version unless otherwise noted.

 

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