Revive Our Hearts Podcast

The Highest Aspiration

Leslie Basham: The Bible calls a married woman to be a helper to her husband. Nancy Leigh DeMoss knows a lot of women will look at that idea as demeaning.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Today we consider a woman being a helper to her husband to be something demeaning. I mean, who wants to be just a helper? But it’s not “just a helper.”

If that’s what God made you for, then there is no higher, holier calling. I’m learning that there is no happier calling than to do whatever God made you to do.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. It’s Thursday, August 9.

Young women look to the future with so many expectations. It’s hard to make life-altering decisions about schooling, relationships, and careers. Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Dannah Gresh say there is a lot of unbiblical information coming at young women, making decisions even tougher.

They talk about this in the book Lies Young Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free. We’ll hear from Nancy and Dannah, along with Erin Davis, who conducted some  research for the book. We’ll start with some young women in our audience.

Girl 1: All I’ve wanted to do my whole life is just be a wife and a mom; that’s my goal. But at the same time, I’m also going to nursing school right now, or I’m getting ready to go into nursing school because that’s also something I’m very interested in—the medical field.

But at the same time (I have never experienced it until I got into college), it seems like there’s just this huge drive for women to stand out and feel like they have to be somebody. It’s something that I’m experiencing now that I’ve never experienced before.

In the secular college, in the papers that you write, it’s not okay to write “lady” or to write “policeman.” You have to write “police officer.” It’s very much about feminism.

So I guess it would just be helpful to know kind of how to handle that and how to be able to be a person who is an effective woman for God. She doesn’t have to completely stand back in the shadow, but at the same time she knows her place and she’s doing the things that God wants her to do with a gentle and a quiet spirit.

Girl 2: One thing that I’ve been told is that I need to have a fallback plan. I mean, what if I do get married and something happens to my husband and I need a way of supporting my family? I agree with it to some extent, but I guess I don’t know how to work through that exactly.

Erin Davis: Anybody else have thoughts on whether you feel free to have your home be your highest aspiration?

Girl 3: I think the world tells us—or we tell ourselves—that we can be a wife and a mother and have a career. I think they tell us we can have it all. But the truth is: I think that’s a very difficult thing to do.

Erin: My wise friend Dannah told me last week, “Erin, you can have it all, but you can’t have it all at once.” I didn’t want to hear that because I like to have it all right now. But can you guys offer some advice for these ladies that are navigating this terrain?

Dannah Gresh: I guess the first thing that runs through my heart is from the Proverbs 31 woman, which you’re all familiar with. Her first priority is her husband.

It starts out talking about her husband, and then it talks about her children. But then it talks about all these other wonderful things that she is. She’s a merchant. She’s a seamstress. She’s a businesswoman. She’s like Superwoman on steroids, really.

But in verse 12 it says, “She does him [her husband] good, and not harm, all the days of her life.” That means today, when you woke up and you dressed, and you chose what you would wear, you wore an outfit that was not only pleasing to God but that would protect your virtue and your modesty because you’re doing him good today.

That means that when you go to school next week—whether you’re a nursing student in college or whether you’re in 9th grade or at a Christian high school or in home school or in a public school—your thoughts are in part about the fact that one day God may bless you with a husband. “Will this day that I’m studying as a student bless him one day?” “All the days of [your] life.”

I believe that, as women, it’s a great honor that we can take a verse like this and apply it each morning to our hearts and say, “God, I’m only in 9th grade, but if You have a husband for me one day, I want to live this day so well that I could look back and say, ‘I did my husband good on that day in 9th grade.’”

I have a young son who is a senior in high school. He talks all the time about the conflict that you as young women face because the world says you don't have permission to love being a wife, to love being a mom.

His response to that to me as I was navigating through that for this book was, "Mom, if I for one day said, 'It's okay to have a wife and kids; that's great, but my highest goal is to be a great businessman.' You would think that I was a jerk. Everybody would think that I was a jerk. Inarguably, that would not be okay. Why is it not okay for the women? The young women I'm growing up with, I'm looking for a wife in this group, why is it not okay for her to aspire to be a great wife and a great mom? Why is that not okay? 

I'm telling you tonight, that's not only okay, but God's Word says today and tomorrow when you wake up, you are called to do your husband good on that day.

Nancy: To do that really requires that you swim upstream. It requires that you go against the culture. Some of you young women are doing just that, and I’m so proud of you for it. I really am, because the young women of today are going in a very different direction than what I’ve heard from some of your hearts.

Many of you are guarding your hearts, and you’re seeking the Lord. That’s why you’re here, because you want to please the Lord. I can’t know your heart, but from what I’m hearing many of you say, I sense that.

To love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, body, and strength requires that you stand alone. I have a picture in my study—this is kind of strange, if you know me, because I’m not really an “outdoorsy” sort of person. But if you went into my study, you would see this picture that a friend drew for me of a salmon.

You would think, “What’s she into, fishing or hunting or whatever?” which I’m not. But I have that sitting behind the chair where I’ve often studied because I love the picture of how the salmon swims upstream against the current.

You hear these descriptions of how it gets all beat up by the rocks because the stream can get going pretty rapidly, and the salmon is going against the current. If you’ve ever tried to paddle a canoe or row a boat against the current, you know that can be really hard work.

The salmon is doing that. It’s going to a place where it’s going to have its babies, and then it’s going to die. You say, “What a sad life for the salmon to go against the current, endure all that torture and suffering and challenges and that difficulty in order to give birth to the next generation, and then it dies."

But you see, God created everything on this whole planet for a purpose. He created salmon to reproduce salmon, and they glorify God by doing what He made them to do. And that’s all that’s necessary for their lives to be successful. That’s all that’s necessary for their lives to be fulfilled, or complete.

The world for the last several generations has been on this crazy, pell-mell search for meaning and significance. Actually, ever since Adam and Eve in Genesis chapter three, the enemy’s been saying, “Okay, here is how you find fulfillment: This one piece of fruit that God said not to eat, that’s really what will make you happy. That’s the one you’ve got to have.”

So he says, “Go after the thing God says you can’t have, and say that’s what you must have.” He deceives us. He’s deceived women. He’s deceived men.

He says, “You have to have this career. You have to have this kind of lifestyle. You have to be able to earn this kind of money. You have to have this kind of degree. You have to be able to wear these kinds of clothes. You have to have this many children but no more.”

Increasingly now, the world is saying, “Don’t have children if that doesn’t fulfill you, if that doesn’t fit in with your plans.” We’re seeing a lot of young women now—Dannah and I were talking about this earlier today—who are getting married and saying, “We want to be married, but it doesn’t suit our plans to have children.”

So what we have is people deciding, “This is what will make me happy. This is what I think will bring me a sense of accomplishment. This is what I think will make my life worthwhile.”

The fact is: It doesn’t really matter ultimately what we think will make us happy, what we think is worthwhile, what we think is worth giving our lives for, because God made us for something. He planned, Ephesians 2:10 says, “good works . . . that we should walk in them.”

He designed us. He didn’t make us men. He did make us women. He gave women some distinct, unique capacities that men don’t have. One obvious one is that women can have babies and men can’t.

God made a woman. When He made her, why did He make her? He made her to be a helper to the man. God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone” (Gen. 2:18). So God made one to fit him.

Now, God could have made one just like him to keep him company. But it’s interesting that God made one who was different from him yet perfectly suited toward him. God made that woman to be a helper to that man.

Today we consider a woman being a helper to her husband to be something demeaning. I mean, who wants to be just a helper? But it’s not “just a helper.”

If that’s what God made you for, then there is no higher, holier calling. I’m learning that there is no happier calling than to do whatever God made you to do.

So for us to be feminine, to be a woman, should affect the way we dress. It should affect the way we carry ourselves. It should affect the way we relate to men.

The fact is: I’m a woman when I’m up here on the platform. You’re a woman when you’re sitting there at that table. You’re a woman when you’re at home. You’re a woman when you’re in school. You’re a woman when you’re in the workplace. You take it with you.

So what does it mean to live that out? I think the calling of our lives is to search that out, to find it out, to say, “Lord, what does it mean that You designed me? You designed me. I’m not an accident.”

The fact that I’m a woman is not an accident. The fact that I exist is not an accident. The fact that I live in this time, in this day, in this age, that I have these parents (or didn’t have those parents), that I had this upbringing or didn’t have that upbringing—how God designed me, what He called me for, what He made me for—that is God’s wise and sovereign and loving choice.

So my joy in life comes from saying, “Lord, yes. I embrace what You made me to be. I embrace what You made me to do. If You made me to be a wife and a helper to a man, then I will find my joy; I will pursue that with passion. I will be the best wife that You could possibly make me by Your grace.

“If You want me to be a mom—if You want me to have one child or two children or eight children or fifteen children . . .” Now, God doesn’t design most women to have fifteen children, but some.

We say, “I can’t do that,” or “I don’t want that,” or “The world thinks that’s nuts.” You know what? Be salmon. Swim upstream! Be willing to go counter to the culture and to set the culture, to set the trends.

We need, and we’re praying for, an army of women, a movement of women, starting with young women, who will say, “We’re willing to embrace whatever God has for us.”

God has done some awesome things in my life. I have seen Him forgive and extend grace and give power and strength and wisdom. He has loved me incredibly.

That doesn’t mean I don’t have any lonely days or depressed days or hard days. I do. But God has filled my cup, and my life so full.

I’ve been studying through the psalms, and a couple of days ago I was in Psalm 45. This morning when I got up I had actually passed that place, but I felt prompted to go back to that passage as we prepared for this day. I want to share with you in our closing moments a few glimpses about what the Lord spoke to me through that passage.

Psalm 45, if you’re not familiar with it, is titled “A Love Song.” It’s a story of a wedding between a king and his bride.

There are two parts to the psalm. Actually it starts out with an introduction that says, “My heart overflows with a pleasing theme; I address my verses to the king; my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe” (v. 1).

Someone says here, “This is a beautiful story I’m getting ready to tell you. It’s a song; it’s a love song. It’s the ultimate romance.” And then the first stanza is a description of the king.

If you remember Old Testament Jewish wedding customs, they would have this betrothal where they would get engaged. They were committed to be married.

Then the bridegroom would go off and prepare a place for the bride to live. And then the day would come when he would come back to get his bride and they would be officially, formally, finally married.

So this is the processional, the first part, where the king is coming to get his bride. It says, “You are the most handsome of the sons of men; grace is poured upon your lips” (v. 2). It calls him the “mighty one” (v. 3).

It’s really a picture of Jesus, the heavenly Bridegroom, that is being described here. There is no man on earth who fits this whole description except for Jesus.

It talks about his splendor, his majesty, how he’s victorious over his enemies, how his throne reigns forever and ever and he loves righteousness. It describes this amazing bridegroom who is a picture of Jesus Christ.

It talks about how he is glad as he’s coming to get his bride. He’s fragrant. There’s music; there are scents. This is just an incredible wedding procession.

You’ve seen this magnificent procession of this king, Christ Himself. Then the picture turns to the bride. It starts to describe her, and it’s an appeal to her.

It says, “Hear, O daughter, and consider, and incline your ear: forget your people and your father’s house” (v. 10). What it’s saying is, “It’s time to leave and cleave.” It’s time to come away from the earthly attachments, from the things you love, from the things you hold dear, and it’s time to come and be united with your bridegroom in marriage. “Forget your people and your father’s house.” You’re going to be leaving them.

Then it says—and this phrase just stopped me in my tracks— “And the king will desire your beauty” (v. 11).

It has just described this amazing, awesome, majestic king; and it says to this bride-to-be, “The king—that king—will desire your beauty.” I just stopped, and I found myself worshiping the Lord and saying, “In light of who He is, what is there in me that He would desire?”

I mean, I don’t think of myself as beautiful. But He does. And He desires that.

We’ve talked about how there is, in the heart of every woman, this longing to be desired, this longing to be pursued. And I thought, “I am pursued. I am loved. I am desired. I am esteemed.” I’m valued, not because there is anything in me, but because He has eyes of love and because He has chosen me to be His bride.

Then it says, “Since he is your lord, bow to him” (v. 11). Worship Him. Just thank Him. Say, “Thank You, Lord, for loving me the way You do, whether You give me a guy, whether You give me my hopes and dreams . . .”

I have some really precious friends who have always longed to be a wife and mother, and God has not granted in some cases that desire of their hearts. They've had to offer it up as a sacrifice to the Lord because God doesn't bring it to every woman's life.

But it says, whether He does or doesn't, whether He writes the script the way you would have written it or not, since He is your Lord, bow to Him; worship Him. Thank Him for His love, and say, “Lord, You are enough. If You’re all I ever have, I can be satisfied with You.”

Now, we’re natural; we’re human. We have desires. We have longings, and there’s nothing wrong with those longings. But ultimately it comes down to saying, “He is my Lord, and I bow before Him and I worship Him.”

Then it describes this—it says, “All glorious is the princess in her chamber, with robes interwoven with gold. In many-colored robes she is led to the king, with her virgin companions following behind her” (vv. 13-14).

There’s this sense of her being brought to the place. It’s kind of like what you see at a wedding, where the groom comes and stands up at the front and then the bride starts the processional down the aisle to meet her groom.

Sometimes I like watching the guy while his bride is coming down the aisle. You see he is just sparkling. He is delighted. Sometimes he’s seeing her for the first time in this spectacular dress, and it’s like he’s never seen her before. He’s just spellbound. He’s “enthralled with her beauty,” is how the NIV translation says it there.

That’s how God feels about us as we approach Him. She’s led to the king. I love this phrase: “With joy and gladness they are led along”—this is the bride and her attendants—“as they enter the palace of the king” (v. 15).

I thought, “You know, Lord, when You called us to serve You, to follow You, to swim upstream, to be counter-cultural, You didn’t say we just have to grit our teeth and bear it.” Yes, life will be hard. Yes, there will be suffering. You’ve got to say no to your flesh, and you’ve got to obey God.

You know, there is obedience and there’s sacrifice and there’s suffering in the Christian life, but there is also tons and tons of joy and gladness. She is led to the king with joy and gladness, and she’s taken into his palace.

And then, very discreetly there, it doesn’t say what happens once they go into the palace. But what happens is they’re married, and they consummate that love relationship in the most intimate possible way. They’ve been saved for each other. We have been saved for Jesus.

There’s a very earthly sense in which you can apply this to your marriage and being saved physically for the one that you will marry. That’s a precious gift for you and for your husband-to-be someday.

But there is an ultimate sense that is greater than all of that, and that is that we’ve been saved for Christ, our heavenly Bridegroom. We are being led with joy and gladness into His palace, where we will spend eternity with Him in the most intimate possible relationship.

When I get that perspective—when I see God’s wedding story and the story He’s writing for my life—then I can endure. Everything else becomes kind of “piddly” by comparison.

So I didn’t have a good hair day. I mean, that can wreck my day. It can wreck your day. But it doesn’t have to if we see it in the context of God’s great picture.

Those things happen, and they hurt, and they are hard. It’s not the way God intended that it should be. But you know what? You can live through all of that and more.

Some of the things that are going to happen in your life that are hard, you haven’t even dreamed of yet. There’s more to come. There’s suffering ahead. But you can endure it, and you can go with joy and gladness because you know that God is leading you toward the palace of a King where you’re going to spend eternity.

I just say, “Keep your eyes on the finish line, and know that it’s worth it. It’s worth running the race. It’s worth being faithful. It’s worth keeping yourself for Christ, pursuing Him, swimming upstream, being counter-cultural, not going with the flow.”

The flow is going the wrong way. Jesus said it. He said, “Wide is the gate . . . that leads to destruction” (Matt. 7:13 NKJV). It may seem happy right now, but its end is really not desirable at all. So make the hard choices now.

You say "yes" to the Lord, "yes" to His plans, "yes" to how He works in our lives through His Word, through human authorities, through godly counsel. You say "yes" to that, and God says, “I’ve got something stored up for you that is greater and sweeter and richer than anything you could possibly imagine.”

Our heart in writing this book is for you to experience that. We still believe lies; we still wrestle with those. We’re not living out, to the fullest possible extent, all the things we want to. But we know that it’s worth pressing on, “pressing in” in that battle, and saying, “Yes, Lord.” That’s what we want for you.

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Dannah Gresh have been challenging you to embrace God’s best. Not necessarily the easiest path or the most popular path, but the best path, the one that will ultimately lead to the greatest joy and peace.

In order to say "yes" to the life God’s calling you to, you may need to say "no" to some lies the world is offering. Nancy and Dannah help you to recognize them in their book, Lies Young Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free.

You’ll understand how to respond when you’re tempted to believe lies like “I have to have a boyfriend to be happy” or “A career is more important than being a wife and mother.” Learn how to say "no" to lies and "yes" to the truth in this helpful book.

We’ll send you a copy when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any amount. Your donation will help us continue speaking to women over the radio, through podcasts, and ReviveOurHearts.com. Make sure to ask for Lies Young Women Believe when you donate by phone, 1-800-569-5959, or visit our website.

We got a lot of important insight from Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Dannah Gresh, and Erin Davis today. They'll all be at True Woman '12, the conference coming to Indianapolis next month. Erin and Dannah will speak to the young women at the conference, and Nancy will be speaking to all the women, along with Mary Kassian, Priscilla Shirer, Janet Parshall, and Joni Eareckson Tada. Space is very limited, so don't wait to get the details, just visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

Dannah Gresh will be back tomorrow to talk with moms, your role and your family is so important. Dannah will show you why. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

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

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

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