Revive Our Hearts Podcast

A Heart for Home

Leslie Basham: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has a question based on Titus 2.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: If you were going to disciple a younger woman, what are the major topics you'd want to cover? Well, you'd probably want to teach her how to pray; how to study God's Word; how to witness. Those are crucial topics, and they're definitely part of the general education curriculum for all believers. But isn't it interesting that none of these things appears on Paul's list of required topics to get a major in biblical womanhood.

When Scripture addresses what women need to know, it brings up things that relate specifically to marriage, motherhood, and the home. Now, that's not to say that every woman will get married and have kids. But it does indicate that the Lord wants us to love what He loves. Married or not, He wants us to have a deep affection for the family.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Wednesday, April 15, 2015.

All week Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Mary Kassian have been talking about their brand-new workbook, True Woman 201: Interior Design. Today we'll hear their discussion of chapter 3 on "Having a Heart for Home." You can also see this discussion on video at ReviveOurHearts.com.

As they began this session, Mary got a surprise on the video set where she and Nancy were busy recording.

Mary Kassian: What? Oh!

Nancy: Mary, it looks like you have a call.

Mary: Oh, you guys!

Nancy: Somebody really special.

Brent Kassian: Happy Anniversary, Sweetie!

Nancy: Hold on, hold on so everybody can hear this. Today is Mary's thirty-second anniversary. And I asked you a little bit ago if you had talked to Brent yet, and you said, "No, we had an early call time." And so look who's here live and in person on Skype.

So, thirty-two years ago what was happening right about now?

Mary: I was probably just getting dressed because the ceremony was at five because I wanted everything to be dark because it was Christmasy, and all the lights and all the candles and poinsettias were all over the church.

Nancy: So Brent, thirty-two years later, what do you love and appreciate about Mary that you didn't so much realize back then?

Brent: Well, I think some of the things that you realize and appreciate, they just get better. For me, anyway, it's been a little bit like a fairy tale. I know it hasn't been perfect, but I still have to poke myself. It still seems like a fairy tale. Maybe I'm a romantic at heart, but it's true.

And it's also true that a couple, a family, that prays together, they stay together, and they play together. It's true. It's really, really true. So the Lord has such a wonderful plan there. I've got to poke myself today. I can't believe I'm married to this amazing woman.

Nancy: Well, we wanted to bring you a little closer together on your anniversary. Thanks for sharing her with us.

Mary: Love you!

Brent: Love you lots. And both of you just have a great time with the rest of your sessions. I'll be thinking of you and praying for you. Love you, and I miss you lots.

Mary: Okay. Miss you, too, sweetheart.

Nancy: Happy Anniversary!

Mary: Thank you! I can't believe you were recording that.

Nancy: Well, it seemed appropriate as we're talking about loving husbands and children. And we've got to reset to how we got to this loving husbands and children thing. We're in Titus 2. We're talking about the elements of biblical womanhood. We started with discernment—that a true woman has right thinking; it's rooted in God's Word. And then in the last session, we talked about how she has honor and reverence for God.

And then as we get to that Titus 2 passage, this is perfect on your anniversary. It says that "older women are to teach the younger women to train them to love their husbands and children" (see v. 4). Now, you think that would not have to be trained.

Mary: Well, you would think you go in to marriage and you are so much in-love that it's just going to be really easy for the next thirty, forty, fifty years and that nothing will ever rock the boat and make it difficult. But it does need training. And I know that I've benefitted from older women in my life who have been examples to me.

I think of one woman, and her name is Ann Gill. She won't mind me telling this. But I watched her. I was over at her home one day, and her husband was leaving for work. And as he left, she ran to the window and waved goodbye. And this was an older woman. They had already been married thirty years or more. And I thought, That's just really incredible that she would do that.

And so I thought, "Okay, well, I guess maybe I'll start doing that." And so when Brent leaves in the morning and before I go to work in my office, I started doing that. I went to the window and took the dog with me. The dog sat there and I sat there and we waved goodbye.

It was so interesting to me that probably five years later, I think it was in a church environment, someone was asking Brent what is the measure of success in life. Tears welled up in his eyes, and he said, "Success is driving off and seeing your wife and your dog waving to you in the window." That is so precious.

I just think of so many examples of women in my life who have nurtured me and taught me as I've watch their marriages and watched how they relate to their husbands and how instructive that has been for me.

Nancy: Which you're now doing for your daughters-in-law, as the baton is being passed to that next generation. So now you're the model and the one training the younger women. Let me just back up here. In this whole Titus 2 passage we hear about loving husbands, loving children, and then there are a couple of other things that we're going to be coming to later in this series that also have to do with family.

It talks about being kind, being workers at home, being submissive to husbands. And when you put all these elements together, I think one thing that really stands out is the priority that God puts on the home. This is not inconsequential. It's not secondary as a discipleship issue. This really matters. This is core.

Mary: This is core—core teaching. And the interesting thing, Nancy, is that it's core teaching, but not only for marrieds. It's core teaching for everyone in the family of God. Because family and marriage and all of the earthly symbols that we have teach us about the kingdom of God and teach us truths that are eternal truths about the kingdom of God. So they're parables; that is really what they are. They're illustrations. They're these illustrations that teach us so that we can visibly see it.

I think that Paul was saying in 1 Corinthians, Paul says, "Don't be so concerned if you're not married, because singleness is also important. You get to participate more fully in the marriage to which all earthly marriages point. You have more time to devote to that relationship and to the gospel and to spreading the Word of God."

So it's important to understand. I've had single women say to me, "Well, this passage doesn't really apply to me because I do not have a husband, and I do not have children." But it does apply to you. And you as a single woman could attest to that.

Nancy: And we're going to be talking about some of those applications. What can this look like, this affection for family, even if you're in the season of life where you don't have immediate family yourself—husband or children?

But I think on the other end of that, we want to say that this passage assumes that the norm is that most women will be married, will have children. It doesn't say if they decide to get married, if they decide to have children, then teach them these things. It says teach them these things because most at some point will be married.

Mary: Statistically, it's still the norm. Eighty to eighty-five percent of women will marry at some point in their lives.

Nancy: So this is older women saying to younger women, "You need to be prepared. This is God's norm." He may not have that for you, and you still want to be one who loves family. But there's an assumption which I don't know that our culture makes that this is a good thing—that marriage is a good thing, that having children is a good thing. And that's something we even want those who never have a husband or children to still believe that marriage and family are good.

Mary: It's important for singles to support that concept. And to be cheerleaders, as it were, even if a single woman doesn't have a husband or children. It is so meaningful when everyone in the community supports the marriages and upholds the marriages.

And I've seen that in you, Nancy, where you have always been so supportive of my marriage and of my family. You ask me how my children are doing and are so interested in their lives and remember their names and are constantly. I watch you where you're relating to other couples, where you're always affirming the marriage as something very, very good and something that is honoring of God.

Nancy: And contrariwise, in our culture, it's pretty popular or just accepted to dis marriage or say negative or demeaning comments. You hear it from married people. You hear it from people that aren't married.

Mary: I hear it in the church. I hear it oftentimes in women's groups where they're speaking negatively about husbands, negatively about marriage, and where there are negative comments or jokes. This ought not to be.

Nancy: Or about having children.

Mary: Or having children is one that's particularly right now where there's this whole movement where . . .

Nancy: You're pregnant again!

Mary: Exactly!

Nancy: How many do you have? Don't you know how this happens?

Mary: Exactly!

Nancy: Which is why when I see . . . I did it this morning. I saw a woman who was clearly expecting. You've got to be careful when you say this because you want to make sure it's really clear. But it was very clear, she was quite great with child. I wanted to affirm her and say, "That is so wonderful! I'm so thrilled you're having another child."

In her case it was her third. She's thrilled. But I want her to know at a time when she may not feel very attractive or maybe not sure she can handle having another child, I want to bless her and say, "This is a good thing that God is blessing you with another child."

Mary: It is a good thing! And it strikes me that if marriage and family and children are symbols that point us to and display the gospel, is it any wonder that in our society Satan attacks at that very point that we're to display the gospel, the story of Jesus, in our marriage. Satan just works hard to destroy marriage, to destroy the concept of marriage, to make us devalue it, to make us devalue men, to devalue children, devalue everything that is precious in God's sight.

Nancy: He's been working on that attack program ever since Genesis 3 when he drove a wedge between the wife and the husband. And within the first generation, you have one son killing another son. Just the brokenness, the dysfunction, the hatred, the barriers, being ashamed in each other's presence. That's Satan's counterplan.

And what an incredible opportunity in a world whose families are so dysfunctional, for Christian marriages, Christian homes, to say there's a better way—not just because the family can be great, but because it points to a greater eternal reality that is the family of God that we're wanting to make people hungry for.

Mary: Exactly. That's what families are to do—make people hungry for the family of God and for the type of relationships that we can have in the family of God. And ultimately, even bearing children is a sign, spiritual children is what we are to be bearing.

Nancy: The concept of fruitfulness. All through Scripture. God wants us to be fruitful for His kingdom, to be bringing more children into the family of God. So when you have children and when you appreciate and value other people having children, this says fruitfulness is a good thing.

Multiplying is a good thing, which is why the world's redefinition of marriage, you know, two men married to each other, if you can even call that marriage, can never have their own children. They can't be fruitful in the way that God intended for a man and a woman, husband and wife, united in the covenant of marriage to be fruitful and multiply. Such a picture of the union that we have with Christ and how that is to produce spiritual fruit.

Mary: Yes, with the Church and Christ, when there's a coming together of Christ and His Bride, there is fruitfulness, and there is fruit for the kingdom of God.

Nancy: Okay, I don't want to skip over this word in the text that "the older women are to teach the young women, train them to love their husbands, love their children." Now, there are different words in the Greek language that can reference different aspects of love. They kind of overlap and aren't always clear cut and distinct.

But there is a kind of agape love that we read about that's God's unconditional love toward those who don't deserve it. And certainly that kind of love is important in marriage and family.

Mary: And then there's eros, which is a sexual kind of love.

Nancy: But there's a different kind of love or it fills it out in a little different way in the word that's used here. Explain that.

Mary: Phileo which is brotherly love or just affection. And that's the city of Philadelphia.

Nancy: Where I'm from.

Mary: Is that where you're from?

Nancy: I am.

Mary: You're from Philadelphia. Philadelphia—the city of brotherly love. And there's a connection there between that word "Philadelphia" and "brotherly love" which is phileo in Greek.

That is the word that is used in this passage. The older women are to teach the younger women to like their husbands, to be affectionate towards them, to have an affection towards husbands and children.

Nancy: In fact, let me read a couple of different translations here of that phrase. One says, "to be attached to their husbands." Another says, "to be fond of their husbands" or "to be affectionate toward their husbands." So this sounds like a lot more than just fulfilling your marital duty to your husband. This has to do with enjoying him.

Now, I'm a single woman. I'm out of my element here. But I've watched you and Brent. I've watched you as a wife married now thirty-two years still enjoying each other. I loved that when we brought him on by Skype a few moments ago you both teared up.

Mary: I'm going to tear up right now.

Nancy: You still enjoy each other.

Mary: Yes. We do. And I would say there's something about old love. There's something about that love, that affection that just grows deeper and deeper. And agape love really is the love that says, "I choose to love you. I will love you no matter what."

But phileo is more the "I am really enjoying loving you." Certainly that's in agape as well. As we've said, these all overlap. But there's a little bit of a different flavor where it's, "I like being with you. I like our relationship and what that looks like and that God has blessed us in this way."

Nancy: Okay. I see that sparkle in your eyes, and it's very beautiful to see. But I also know we have a lot of people listening to or watching this who say, "That is not what my marriage is like at all. We've been married thirty-two years. Maybe we've hung in there. We just tolerate each other."

It's hard. So the luster is gone. The sparkle is gone. The romance is gone, and they're saying, "I don't even like this guy." And maybe he's feeling the same way toward her. And I know there's not just a sentence answer, but how do you cultivate and keep tender and fresh that "like" in your marriage—that affection, that enjoyment?

Mary: That's a good question. And I think that our passage talks about older women coming alongside the younger ones. And I know that even in my family, my mom has often encouraged me with regards to marriage. They're coming up on their sixty-fifth wedding anniversary very soon.

Nancy: Wow! You've got a great model there. And they still enjoy each other?

Mary: They still enjoy each other most of the time.

Nancy: Well, even Brent said that your marriage has been a fairy tale most of the time.

Mary: Most of the time. Exactly. And that's life. That's how life goes. But when I tell my mom, "I've been married some thirty-odd years," she says, "Humph! You're just starting to learn about marriage" because she has always encouraged me to be a good "husband-liker," to enjoy him, to appreciate him.

And so I think that on a practical level it's very good to be in community and to be encouraging one another. And when you hit those bumps or those really tough times in marriage, to keep our eyes on what's important and to lean in and to get strength from the Lord.

Nancy: Because the opposite of that would be when you see a quirk . . . which every person has them. You have them. Brent has them. Believe it or not, I have some. But I'm not trying to live with a husband. You are.

And when you see those quirks, I think what so many women do is go to their girlfriends or their mom or their kids, worse of all, probably, and say, "Can you believe he . . ." and then dis and bad-mouth and focus on those quirks. And then you get people chiming in, "Well, you should see what my husband does." None of that breeds or builds affection in marriage.

Mary: That's right.

Nancy: It breeds distance, and you put those little distance makers one at a time. It may not seem like a big thing. But you get to a certain point, and it seems like there is a brick wall between the two of you. Then you say, "How did we get here? We can't stand each other."

Mary: Forgiveness. Forbearance. Those are so important. But you brought up a good point. I think gratitude is actually huge for maintaining that affection. And just remembering the things that you do like and being grateful for those.

Nancy: Or the things you used to like and you have forgotten or you haven't nurtured.

Mary: Or the new things. Elisabeth Elliot once said in a radio program. I heard her say this, and it struck me so profoundly that I wrote it down, and I put it as a saying in my room where I sit and have my quiet time. And it was, "It is always possible to be grateful for what is given rather than resentful over what is withheld. One or the other will become a way of life."

I remember listening to that as a young married woman and trying to incorporate that principle of gratitude in my life and in my marriage, in my home, being grateful for what I have rather than resentful over perhaps some shortcomings or quirks or things that aren't there.

And I know that I have witnessed four women who the bitterness and resentment has become a way of life. And that does. It creates more distance and eventually there are more and more cracks in the foundation when there's not that gratitude and that deep gratitude.

Nancy: And I think you and Brent demonstrate choosing the pathway of gratitude because you have fueled that by each of you focusing on what you appreciate about the other. Not focusing on the quirks or the negatives or the differences. And as a result, you still glow around each other. You still really enjoy each other.

And what a picture that is to a watching world that can't hardly tolerate living in the same house with each other in so many cases. To be able to say, "There is beauty in this relationship of marriage that points to the ultimate marriage of Christ and His Church." It makes the gospel believable.

Mary: And there is even beauty in the difficulty. I have seen women who have had very difficult husbands, and that's not the case for me, but I have walked that path with many women whose husbands are harsh, demanding, angry, very difficult men to live with.

There's beauty in the perseverance and there's beauty. I think of the marriages that speak the most of the gospel to me, and the good ones do, but the ones that really proclaim the gospel loudly are the ones where the women are able to say, "It was very tough, but by the grace of God and with His help, we've been faithful."

Nancy: Persevered. And the fruit that comes out of that hardship is really beautiful. And in many cases, not all, but in many, that perseverance, that loving through it all becomes transformational and bears fruit in the life of the difficult partner. It can really change. God can change that person as that man lives in the context of a woman who really loves him.

Mary: We've heard so many testimonies of that through the True Woman movement. Testimonies of women who have walked that difficult path and who have wrestled with this passage in Titus and everything it says and said, "I am going to hang onto this. I'm going to believe that what God says is true, and I'm going to apply it in my life." And we've just seen transformation happen in those women's lives.

Nancy: And a lot of those stories at ReviveOurHearts.com that listeners can go to and see some videos, read some stories, hear some of those women tell those testimonies.

Now, we've focused a lot on liking your husband, loving your husband here. But also part of this passage is affection for children—liking children. And when I think of someone who loved children, it's Jesus, who was not Himself married.

And that has been such a pattern for my own life to say if I want to be like Jesus, even though God has not blessed me with children of my own, I want to be a woman who enjoys the children that God has put into my life.

They call me Ya Ya which is Greek for grandmother. And I'm at that season of life when my friend's kids are having kids. And they'll come to my house and say, "Ya Ya, we're so glad to see you." But I love those kids. I enjoy them, and they enrich my life.

Mary: I love that you love kids. It is so evident, because I walk into your house, and there's a high chair there.

Nancy: It will be used soon, I'm sure.

Mary: There is a booster chair, and there is a box of toys downstairs.

Nancy: What you didn't see because I had put it away was a big poster that some children made for me recently when their families were guests in my home.

Mary: There was some coloring. Up on the wall there were some pictures that children had obviously drawn for you. And that is so precious, and that speaks to the family of God.

Nancy: And God's love for His children.

Mary: God's love for His children.

Nancy: Even though children can make messes, children can be difficult, children can be unreasonable, children can make noise.

Mary: They can try your patience.

Nancy: Yes, try your patience. But we have a God who perseveres in love for His children. And when we love children, first of all your own, and then even other's children, that's a picture of God's love.

Mary: It is. It is a picture of God's love, and it is something that the Lord wants us to train younger women in. I think that this is for women even who are not married, who do not know if they will be married, whether or not the Lord has that in their future. But I think as an older woman, at this stage of life, it is my responsibility to teach younger women to value husbands, to value children, and to love children.

So even if those women aren't married, even if they are career women, even if it's a lawyer or a doctor, or a CEO, or a woman who there's no husband on the horizon, but still to have an affection for children. Now she doesn't have to be the one volunteering in the nursery, but still to have a real appreciation and affection for God's family plan.

Nancy: And again, God's way tends to go counter to the culture. So the culture's children are a burden. You don't want to get pregnant. That will mess up your body. You won't be able to be this trim, fit young thing that you were when you were a teenager. And children do definitely change a woman's life.

But the heart of God is to embrace children. And the heart of a true woman is to love husband, love children, respect and value marriage, value children. The willingness to have them if God blesses them. And it doesn't mean God's going to give you fifteen children. There aren't very many people that God would entrust fifteen children to. That means whatever His plan is for your life, that you're seeking Him for that, you're embracing that. And yet, without falling off on the other extreme which some do which is idolizing family as if that becomes a god.

Mary: And I think that's an important caution because I have seen that also in Christian women's lives in the church where family and marriage becomes the idol. It becomes the reason for a woman's existence. And the reason for a woman's existence is glorifying God. And if she's married, she does that through marriage and through children. However, her reason is to glorify God. That's her purpose in life.

And it's the same purposes for a woman who has no children and no husband. But it is, it can become an idol where everything is about the kids. Everything is about the family. Everything is about the marriage. And they lose sight of the grand purpose.

And even having children, the purpose is to expand the kingdom of God. You're supposed to be raising those children, having children for the purpose of expanding the kingdom of God to raising those children in the ways of the Lord.

Nancy: And releasing them over to God's kingdom purposes. Not holding on to them to make you happy but giving them over to God for His kingdom.

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Mary Kassian have been giving us really helpful insight into God's heart for the family. Families are so important, but they are not the absolute most important. They'll be right back to pray.

Nancy and Mary write about God's heart for the family in their new workbook, True Woman 201: Interior Design. In fact, that conversation they just had was based on chapter 3 of that book.

I hope you'll get copy, go through it, and consider taking a small group of women through it with you. This study will help you better understand what the Bible has to say to you as a woman. And you'll discover how practical and relevant these biblical principles are today.

We'd like to send you a copy of True Woman 201 when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any amount. Your gift will help support the ministry and help us continue to bring you biblically-oriented conversations. And you'll get this study as well. Ask for True Woman 201 when you call 1–800–569–5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

Today's program was recorded on video. We wanted small groups to be able to experience this teaching together. You can watch that video right now at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Well, tomorrow, Nancy and Mary will be back, and they'll talk about how to keep thoughts and emotions under control. Now they're back to wrap up today's program.

Nancy: Well, happy anniversary, Mary.

Mary: Thank you.

Nancy: And I just want to pray a blessing on you and Brent and thank the Lord for the way that your marriage and your family reflects so beautifully on the family of God.

So, Lord, we do thank You for this dear friend, this dear sister. And for Mary and Brent and the way that You've blessed their marriage over these thirty-two years. And for the way that You've blessed them with three sons who are now young adults—two of them with families of their own, grandchildren here and on the way now. And Lord, thank You for how their hearts hve been to glorify You and to bring forth a godly seed for Your kingdom.

I pray that You'd give them many more years of enjoying You together, enjoying each other, enjoying their children and grandchildren. And even for difficult or troubled times that may be ahead that they can't even envision yet because those times come into every life, into every family,I pray that they would be so anchored to You and to Your Word and to Your heart that You give them grace for the times that will be different from what they would have scripted and keep them enjoying and loving You and each other.

And Lord, for someone listening to this today who says, "That is not the way that it is in my family at all," I pray that You would extend the helping, healing hand of Jesus into that heart, into that home, into that marriage, into that broken relationship of a prodigal son or daughter or grandchild.

And Lord, give hope. Give courage. Give the ability to persevere, to love as we have been loved. To love those others that You've put into our lives in ways that will be redemptive and will bring great glory to You. I pray in Jesus' name, amen.

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

All Scripture is taken from the ESV unless otherwise noted.

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