Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: From a young age, Shawna Loveing’s parents wanted to teach her to make wise choices on her own.

Shawna Loveing: When my parents aren’t around a certain situation, I have to decide, “Well, how am I going to handle this?” They’ve taught me, and they’ve given me guidance, but in those moments, it’s the time where I need to say, “All right, what is the right thing to do and the godly thing to do and what would the Lord want me to do?” because He is the one that sees my actions. So I think in those moments, that helps it become my own, too, and really fashions my character and who I am in the Lord.

Leslie: Today you’ll hear how a mom can encourage this kind of attitude in her children.

This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Tuesday, July 5.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I started a conversation yesterday with my longtime friend, Mal Loveing. You say, “Mal? That’s a different sort of name.” Where did that come from, Mal? You tell us.

Maryann Loveing: The name Mal (M-A-L) comes from my initials. My husband started calling me “Mal” as soon as we got married.

Nancy: So, Maryann Loveing is where it comes from

Maryann: It is. It’s a nickname.

Nancy: We’ll call you “Mal.” Those who know and love you call you “Mal.”

You were sharing so transparently in our last program, and for those of you who didn’t get to hear that broadcast, please go to ReviveOurHearts.com, and pull up the audio or the transcript. In this case, I’d love for you to hear the audio so you can hear Maryann’s heart, so you can hear the testimony.

Just to recap it, briefly, you grew up in a Christian home but didn’t really have the spiritual foundations for your faith and an understanding of the importance of purity. You ended up in a partying lifestyle, and at the age of 17, you became pregnant and then made the choice to abort that child.

It wasn’t until a number of years later that the Lord really captured your heart, then led you to a godly man, Ryan Loveing, and you and Ryan now for many years have been serving on the staff of our ministry, along with your now six children.

But it wasn’t until a couple of years into your marriage that you shared with Ryan what you told us in the last broadcast about your past.

We talked on that program about the danger and how damaging secrecy can be. We need to step out into the light. I just think there are so many of our listeners who are living in bondage to their past and the shame and the guilt. What you have shared will be beneficial not only to those who heard it in the last program, but also there are some of our listeners who may want to share that with others who may be dealing with similar issues.

I said in the last program that there’s more to your story, and really, the genesis for this interview, this broadcast, came from an email you sent me a number of months ago. I think this really came out of the blue.

You were writing, actually, to thank me for some material that we have used here at Revive Our Hearts, it’s called The Princess and the Kiss. We’ve shared this with our listeners in the past. If you don’t know about The Princess and the Kiss, this is a great resource for young daughters.

You were actually the prototype group here at Revive Our Hearts that went through that material. Tell us just a little bit about that.

Maryann: Well, it was August of 2004, and I remember you had opened it up to all the staff moms and their daughters who were between a certain age—7 and I think, 14. So I brought my three daughters. Margo was 13; Shawna was 12, and Holly was 7.

Nancy: And you brought me a picture of you and your girls at the final ceremony at the end of this several-week series.

Maryann: I did. Yes.

Nancy: We had a princess ceremony.

Maryann: We did, and it was wonderful. It was so beautiful. The little girls came in and had their little tiaras on and were all dressed up. I remember sitting in that chair with my daughter on a stool right in front of me, each one of them, and being able to pray a blessing of purity over them.

I think the moms, Nancy, had more tears in their eyes than anyone in that room that night.

Nancy: There were a lot of tears that night.

Maryann: We serve a God of divine reversals. He wants to redeem the past failures in our lives, and that ceremony, to me, was the beginning of an amazing journey with my girls.

Nancy: I remember as you went through that study that God, in a way, reminded you, as we were teaching the daughters about purity, you were reminded about your own past, which was not a past of purity.

Maryann: Right.

Nancy: I know there was such a burden on your heart at that point to see your girls go a different direction than you had.

Maryann: Yes. I didn’t want them going the same way I did. I didn’t want them doing the things that I did. I didn’t want them saying the things that I used to say. I wanted something different from them.

I wanted to have a relationship with them that I didn’t have with my mother. We were not close, emotionally or spiritually connected, engaged with each other. That connection between mothers and daughters is such a vital link that changes generations to come.

I wanted the generational sin in my family to end with my children.

Nancy: You actually discovered, it was not just your sin in the past, but there were multiple generations of immorality in your past.

Maryann: Yes.

Nancy: Did I hear you say it was over 70 years, that this went back that far?

Maryann: Yes.

Nancy: And you began to see that this was a real pattern in the past. So many people would see that and say, “Well, I guess it’s just going to be that way with the next generation.” But that wasn’t satisfying to you.

Maryann: That’s right.

Nancy: You wanted to see God break the chains of that generational sin.

Maryann: Exactly.

Nancy: And one of the things you did was get your daughters, who were then 13, 12, and 7, involved in the study of The Princess and the Kiss material. By the way, that material is available at our resource center. It’s a book; it’s a workbook. It’s something a mom can do with her daughters. It’s something a group of moms can do with their daughters as we did in that group.

I think at that point God really placed a burden in your heart to see a different kind of family line.

Maryann: Yes, that’s right.

Nancy: The two oldest daughters who participated in that, The Princess and the Kiss, the ones I’m looking at in this picture, Margo and Shawna, who were then 13 and 12, are, fast-forward, six years later, sitting with us here in the studio. They are not little girls anymore. You grew up! I don’t know what happened! I don’t see you all often enough.

You’re beautiful young women. Margo and Shawna, welcome to Revive Our Hearts.

Margo and Shawna: Thank you.

Nancy: And thank you for being a part of this conversation.

Shawna, you are traveling with Life Action Ministries now as a team member.

Shawna: That’s right.

Nancy: Ministering with the musical gifts God has given you on the same team that your parents are a part of.

Shawna: Yes.

Nancy: And, Margo, you did that for a number of years, and now you’re a college student in Pensacola, Florida. Both of you have cultivated a heart for purity that your mom didn’t have when she was your age.

I just want to talk about how that happened and some of the things God has done through your mom and your dad and your relationship with them that have helped you choose differently than what your mom did. We have a lot of moms listening to us today who have teenage daughters or younger, and they say, “I want my daughter to have a heart for holiness. I don’t want my daughter to go down the path of immorality and the abortion that Maryann did,” that perhaps these moms did. They want it to be different, but they really don’t have any hope that it could be different.

I want us to just chat here about what has been involved, what are the factors in changing this family line from the 70 years past with moral sin to a new family line now. Let me start by asking, girls, do you remember when you first heard the story that your mom shared with us in the last program about her moral failures as a teenager? Is that something you knew when you were really little, or was there a moment when she told her testimony to you?

Margo, do you remember when you first heard that?

Margo: I don’t remember the exact time, but I think I was about 13 years old when she sat down and explained it to Shawna and me together. Hearing that from her was a little sad at first.

Nancy: Was it a big surprise to you? You had never known her to be the way she described when she was a teenager.

Margo: It was a surprise, but then hearing that and hearing everything she had taught me about purity and now understanding the heart behind it impacted me a lot.

Nancy: Do you remember that conversation, Shawna?

Shawna: I don’t remember the exact conversation, but I do remember just hearing about it and then just realizing that our relationship has gone into a deeper level where now, if I’m struggling with things relationshipwise, I have a mother who understands. So that was very important to me.

Nancy: Some people would say you really shouldn’t share this past baggage stuff with your kids—that’s past, leave it there. But what would you say? You got the mic right now to talk to moms, some of whom have a lot of baggage in their past. They may have confessed it to God and been forgiven, but would you encourage them at some point to share honestly with their children?

Margo: I absolutely would. I think with my mom being open with me, it has opened up doors for me to be open with her with different issues I’m struggling with or with different relationship issues. I have the freedom to go and talk to her because I know she has been there.

I’m not afraid to tell her, “Mom, I’ve messed up in this area, or what can I do here?” because she has been in the exact same area. So I don’t have that fear of, “I’m failing, and I can’t tell my parents.”

Maryann: I remember a time, Nancy, that Margo came to me . . . you were probably 14 or 15 years old. She had asked a friend to pray for her about something, and then she came to me the next day and she said, “Mom, I asked Melody to pray for me,” but she said, “I don’t want my friends to know me better than you do.” She said, “I want you to know me best.”

I cannot tell you . . .

Nancy: . . . what did that do for a mom?

Maryann: Oh! I just exploded inside! I just praised the Lord, and I said, “Thank You, Lord, that we are on the right road.” I believe it was because I opened up with them and was transparent with them and shared my failures. It has opened up the doors for us to talk about anything. It’s such a great feeling to know my girls have that confidence and trust in me that they can come and share whatever issues that are on their hearts, and that I would be the first one and not the last one to find out about it.

Nancy: I think that’s often not the case in families, that people feel the last person they would talk to as a teenager is their parents.

Mal, in your family, you practice something you call “HOT communication.”

Maryann: Yes.

Nancy: What does that mean?

Maryann: It’s an acronym. It’s honest and open and transparent.

Nancy: H-O-T.

Maryann: Ryan will say, “Come on, be HOT with me. Tell me what’s on your heart. And they do. They understand what Daddy means when he says that.

Nancy: Do you girls feel that freedom to share with your dad as well?

Margo: Definitely.

Shawna: I do. My dad and I are very close. I have always felt that he will hear what I have to say and he’ll embrace it with love, and he’ll accept it, and he’ll challenge me or share with me things out of his heart and his life. That’s made us very close.

He’s also made it a very fun journey for us girls, just questions that we have. “Is this skirt too short?”

I have a funny story. One day I came out, and I asked Dad if something looked okay. I had put a tank top over a short-sleeved shirt. It kind of had some interesting straps, and it just didn’t go.

Well, he left the room, and it kind of made me confused. Then he came out with his boxers over his pants, and he said, “Now, you tell me. Does this look okay?”

I said, “Is that really how you see it?” And he said, “Yes. That’s how a guy will perceive something.”

So just having my dad there to make things fun but also challenging along the way has just meant the world to me.

Nancy: Have you all known teenagers that did not feel that kind of freedom with their parents?

Margo: I think so. I haven’t really been told by any particular teen just how they won’t talk to their parents, but sometimes you can sense it. I’ll share my relationship and ways with my parents, and they just won’t get it. That gives me a hint that they don’t have the relationship as I do with my parents, and I realize I am very blessed for what I have.

Nancy: That “HOT” relationship—HOT communication.

Margo: Yes.

Shawna: A lot of times, going into churches I see teens who don’t have close relationships with their parents. In one church specifically that we were in, I noticed a girl off by herself, and I went and talked to her. She told me how her relationship with her mom was not the best. Something had happened at school that day, and she didn’t feel she could tell her mom.

I really challenged her just to sit down and talk with her mom about these things that she was going through. She didn’t seem to want to do it, and she didn’t give me any signs that she was going to. So it was a burden on my heart that night.

The next night her mom came up to me and said, “Thank you so much for talking to my daughter. We sat down and talked for two hours today, and it was just a blessing.”

For me, to hear that just so lightened up my heart.

Nancy: Wow. So you’d encourage young people to take the initiative and go share with their parents. What can parents do, from your perspective, as a teen, to make it easier for their kids to have honest, open, transparent conversation with them?

Shawna: Well, I think if the parents are open and honest, then it will allow the kids the freedom to be open and honest as well. When parents admit failures or mistakes, then it doesn’t set that high of a standard that the kids feel they have to live up to. They have the freedom to go to their parents.

I think, for the parents, it has to be very intentional. They have to make the time to talk to their kids. When the kids see that the parents are being intentional, then it makes them feel more loved and valued by their parents, and they feel the freedom to go and talk and share with them.

Margo: You know, Miss Nancy, I have realized that, looking back over the life I have lived so far, I have never had a reason to say to my parents, “Well, you just don’t understand.” They’ve walked down my path, and I’ve experienced things that at one point they experienced in their life. Prayerfully, if there are things in my life later down the road that maybe they haven’t gone through, we can walk through it together. But I would definitely say that I have the relationship that I have with my parents today because of their transparency with me. It’s huge.

Nancy: And what has God used in your lives as teenage girls to give you a heart to choose the pathway of purity when it is so counter-cultural and most girls your age are not going in that direction? Most girls are going the direction your mom went when she was a teenager. How has this become your own way of thinking and not just your parents’ way of thinking?

Shawna: I think definitely my relationship with the Lord and learning to see myself as He sees me. His Word says that I am valued and I am cherished, so just taking that to heart. It is still very easy for me to just fall back and sometimes rely on the worldly things that will give you your value, but you have to remind yourself—I have to remind myself that value doesn’t lie in that.

There are girls out there who are searching for answers where there are none, or the wrong answers. So I think, for me, it’s just been my mom being open with me and me just choosing to say, “This is my purity that the Lord has given me, and I want to save it and just hold on to it for the right person.”

Margo: Like Shawna said, a lot of it has just been studying the Bible and reading different passages and memorizing different verses on how the Lord calls us to act and how to live.

In 1 Peter He calls us to live holy lives just like He is holy. My dad phrases holiness as a form of righteousness, and righteousness is right living and making the right decisions one step at a time.

So just looking back over those Scriptures and seeing how He has called me to live, that’s how I desire to live.

Shawna: I think another way that has become my own, just to add to that, is just that when my parents aren’t around a certain situation, I have to decide, “Well, how am I going to handle this?” They’ve taught me, and they’ve given me guidance, but in those moments, it’s the time where I need to say, “All right, what is the right thing to do and the godly thing to do, and what would the Lord want me to do?” because He is the one that sees my actions. So I think in those moments, that helps it become my own, too, and really fashions my character and who I am in the Lord.

Nancy: It’s evident that you have both really developed your own personal relationship with the Lord, that it’s not just your parents’ faith, but it’s your faith. So you’re wanting to please the Lord. You’re in the Word.

I know, Mal, that you put such a huge emphasis on the importance of not only moms getting into the Word themselves but training their children to do that.

Maryann: Right. We have trained them to do that. We’ve trained them to read the Word with their pen in their hand so that they can mark.

Nancy: Starting at what age?

Maryann: Christa will do that. She’s 10. Sammy, he’s 8. He needs help, still, reading. But Christa will. She’ll have a pen—not every time—but a lot of times I’ll see her reading, and she’s got a little pencil. She’ll come to me, and she’ll say, “Mommy, can I mark this?” because she can really go crazy with it and mark up her Bible a little too much.

Nancy: I did that once when I was little, and my dad came back and told me that maybe I should just mark the parts that I didn’t like so much because I was underlining everything.

Maryann: Yes. I don’t think it’s ever too early. You just have to judge if the child is ready.

Having that relationship with the Lord is foundational, and that has come through us having family worship time together, which is key in helping them develop their relationship with the Lord.

We have a saying in our home, and I hope the girls think about this when they’re away from us and out of our presence. The saying is: Good, better, best; never let it rest until your good is better, and your better is best.

Nancy: Okay, hold on. You’ve got to help us unpack that.

Maryann: Okay.

Nancy: A little slower.

Maryann: Good, better, best, never let it rest until your good is better, and your better is best.

Nancy: And the take-away from that is . . .?

Maryann: I’ve had my girls come home—oftentimes we’ll sit down when they’ve come home from a friend’s house. I’ve done this, I think, since they were very small. I’ll just sit on the couch with them and say, “So what did you do? Who did you see?” That way, when they’re teenagers, you don’t sound like the Federal Bureau of Mothering. It’s just this is what Mom always does. She sits down.

But I have had my girls come home and say, “You know, Mom, I was confronted with this, and I thought to myself: ‘What would be best?’”

So that has come back to help them. What would God say would be best in this situation? Maybe it was a movie that a friend wanted to view or something the friend wanted to do, and my daughters would think, “Okay, would this be best? No!” So they made the choice to either come home or suggest a different activity.

That has been great for us, and it all comes back to the Word of God, that relationship with the Lord. It’s got to begin there because if you’re trying to teach modesty to your daughter . . . In our home, I can’t teach them modesty if they don’t first understand their value in Christ.

“Why shouldn’t I wear this? Everyone else is wearing this.”

“But, baby, God thinks so much more highly of you. He values you, and you are His child, and we want to honor Him and glorify Him.”

So that’s really helped develop their own faith, their own desire to walk in purity.

Leslie: That’s Mal Loving, offering solid advice to moms who want to teach purity to their daughters. We also heard from Margo and Shawna Loveing along with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. If you missed any of today’s program, you can listen or read the transcript by visiting ReviveOurHearts.com.

The website and the radio program are possible thanks to listeners who support Revive Our Hearts. When you contribute any amount, we’ll say “thanks” by sending you a book Nancy talked about earlier in the program. It’s called The Princess and the Kiss. It’s a story book that effectively teaches young girls about their value and the importance of purity.

This parable will encourage girls to value the gift of purity they’ve received. It will help them think through the qualities they should look for in a potential mate, and it will cast a vision for purity their entire lives.

We’d like to send you The Princess and the Kiss, along with a companion workbook, Life Lessons from the Princess and the Kiss. The workbook suggests fun activities for adults and children to tackle together. It guides discussion on crucial issues and helps turn this parable into a real plan a daughter can follow.

Just as for The Princess and the Kiss and Life Lessons when you call 1-800-569-5959 with your donation of any size, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

If you have any thoughts or questions about today’s program, I hope you’ll share them on the Revive Our Hearts’ listener blog. Mal Loveing is participating this week, so you can tell her how today’s story affected you or ask a question.

Just visit ReviveOurHearts.com, scroll to the bottom of today’s transcript, and add your comment.

Well, what practical steps can a parent take to teach their young people about purity?

Maryann: I have been telling Christa at 10 and Samuel at 8, “You’ve got to save that first kiss. It would just be so beautiful and special if you could have that first kiss on your wedding day with your husband and with your wife that God has given you.”

In our family, we have not dogmatically said that’s how it has to be. I think it’s important that we paint a vision for our children, Nancy, and we do that as they’re growing up. Each one of us are painting a vision of what their life could be, saying things like: “Imagine what God can do with you if your heart is wholeheartedly set on Him fully.”

So this is just one of those things that we have encouraged them to do because we didn’t have that. We carry the consequences of not having our first kiss at the wedding altar. Ryan and I both wish that we had been pure the day of our wedding because you’ve got the thoughts that you deal with, and it’s very easy for that to lead to other things very quickly.

Now that they’re older, seeing their friends get married that have waited, and how thankful their friends are that they did wait because they don’t have the baggage of past relationships.

Leslie: Mal Loveing and her daughters will give you some practical insight tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

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

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