Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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How to Warn Your Kids of the Danger

Leslie Basham: When Dannah Gresh was getting ready to write the book Lies Girls Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free she conducted focus groups with moms and daughters.

Dannah Gresh: One of the prominent lies that I saw moms believing is that it was too soon to talk to their daughter about almost anything they labeled “a difficult topic.” So when we discussed that in our nationwide focus groups, mothers defended the fact that their daughters didn’t believe lies in those areas . . . so why would they bring it up? One mom said it this way.

Mom: Here’s my theory. If I don’t talk to my daughter about “fill-in-the-blank”: sex, gender, social media, depression, and eating disorders, then a lie won’t have the opportunity to present itself.”

Dannah: When she said that, I thought, Really? Really?! How do you know? If you don’t discuss a certain topic with your daughter, how do you know what she does or doesn’t believe?

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Lies Women Believe, for February 6, 2019.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: When is the right time to bring up mature or difficult topics with your daughter? Well, today’s Revive Our Hearts is going to help you carefully answer that question as a mom, a grandmom, or a spiritual mother to a young woman in your life.

And this week here at Revive Our Hearts, we’re celebrating the release of two new resources that go together as a single set: Lies Girls Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free and then A Mom’s Guide to Lies Girls Believe.

These are the latest editions to the series of books on lies and freedom that you’ve come to know over the years: Lies Women Believe, Lies Young Women Believe,Lies Men Believe, and now, my dear friend Dannah Gresh has written Lies Girls Believe and this mom’s guide.

And, Dannah, I just want to say a huge “thank you” on behalf of these moms and their daughters. These daughters are going to one day grow up and thank you for pouring out your heart—blood, sweat and tears involved—in this long, long process of carefully crafting, carefully researching, carefully weighing everything against the Scripture.

Thank you for doing all these studies, these focus groups, in order to make this investment in the lives of these girls and their moms who are trying to shepherd them.

Dannah: It has been my pleasure, Nancy. Thank you for letting me be a part of this series. I haven’t been this excited about a book since I wrote my first book way back in the year 2000. And I think part of it is, because I’ve seen how fruitful Lies Women Believe has been and Lies Young Women Believe. But also, before this book is even on the bookshelves, I’ve seen fruit!

We had one mom whose daughter took our online survey (fifteen-hundred girls participated in a survey to prepare to write these books), and as she was asked questions about how you become a Christian. She realized, “I don’t know if I am!” And she ran to her mom and said, “Mom, I think I’m not a Christian!”

Her mom had a conversation with her, shared with her the gospel, and she said, “Are you ready to surrender your heart to Christ?” And, of course, the mom had seen evidence and the fruit that that decision was coming soon, but this was the catalyst. That mom got to sit there and pray with her daughter, and immediately she wrote to me about the fruit.

Nancy: Wow! And the Spirit was doing that work, even as the girl was filling out the survey that became part of the research for this book.

Dannah: That’s exciting to me!

Nancy: We are already seeing fruit in the lives of moms, in the lives of daughters! I just think it’s so precious to facilitate this conversation between moms and daughters. And I have to tell you, as an eight- to twelve-year-old girl (and I have godly parents, good parents), I don’t know that I could have had these kinds of conversations with my mom, with my parents.

I don’t even know why. I don’t even think it was really on our radar to have these kinds of conversations. I don’t know that we have known how to do this. I think a lot of moms may feel that way: “I just don’t know how to talk about these things.”

And so what you’ve done, you’ve written the book for girls, but you’ve also written a kind of “take a mom by the hand” and help her walk with her daughter through this content. You’re a spiritual mom, in this resource, to the moms who are wanting to be spiritual moms to their daughters.

Dannah: Nothing would give me greater joy than to get to sit down and have a cup of coffee with each of these moms and coach them up in ways that I wish I had been coached when my children were this age. It’s hard when your kids are in this eight- to twelve-year-old range. At some point you go through this moment where you realize, “[small gasp] I don’t know if I’m ready for this!”

Nancy: And you’re not!

Dannah: “I don’t know if I know how to have these conversations.” I remember sitting at the table when our first child was in this age range, and I could not see him sitting him there as a middle-school boy. I just saw footie pajamas!

Nancy: Like, frozen in that position.

Dannah: Like this sweet, little, cuddly boy . . . and I couldn’t imagine. I remember having a conversation with Bob that night in our bedroom, “I can’t imagine that he is struggling with some of the same things,” that Bob and I were struggling with when we were that age. You just need a little bit of coaching up sometimes, and that’s what A Mom’s Guide to Lies Girls Believe is all about.

Nancy: And the great thing is that it’s not up to you or me—or the moms or the daughters—to make this work. This is the work of the Spirit of God, ultimately, who is preparing those girls’ hearts. You and I both remember how the Spirit stirred in our hearts when we were little girls, drawing us to truth, drawing us to Christ, making us aware of our sin and of our need for a Savior.

That’s why we really believe God speaks to children! And God uses parents, God uses His Word. So you’ve provided the resources, but ultimately, a mom’s peace and confidence—when she feels fearful about this mothering thing—her confidence is that it’s the Lord! This a child that you’ve dedicated to the Lord, and the Lord is doing the work in that child’s heart . . . and you can trust that.

Your child’s journey is going to look different than somebody else’s. There’s no cookie-cutter formula here to get your children to understand truth. That’s why you need to listen to the Lord, listen to your child, be prayerful, be sensitive to how’s God opening that child’s heart.

Dannah: I’m having this strong sense right now to talk about Hannah and Samuel.

Nancy: What a great illustration that is.

Dannah: I mean, had she not listened to the Lord, just even starting with, she says, “Lord, if You’ll give me the child I’ve dreamed for, I’ll give him back to You.” Then Hannah follows through with that—listening to God’s Spirit, obeying God’s Spirit.

Everybody at the time was doing either homeschooling—mostly the girls would be schooled at home, you know, taught how to care for the family, things like that. And the boys might do an apprenticeship with their father or grandfather.

Nancy: Learning a trade.

Dannah: But nobody was sending their child to “boarding school” to live with Eli the priest . . .

Nancy: . . . in the temple.

Dannah: Yes, exactly! But Hannah listened to the Lord.

Nancy: And then, it was in that place where she had released her child that the Lord Himself spoke to her son and drew his heart and explained the plan and the message that He had for him. So, God is at work in the lives of parents and children. As they listen to Him, He speaks and He leads.

Dannah: Yes. Bringing us back to your point a few moments ago, God speaks to children. God spoke to this sweet, little Samuel, and it revolutionized—changed—the spiritual condition of a whole nation!

Nancy: What a gift the Holy Spirit is to parents and to children in this whole process of parenting. It really de-pressurizes the fears, the stress. I think a lot of parents feel both when externally people saying what your child should look like and how you should be raising them.

But to lean in to the Lord and the fact that He has a plan for your child; that He loves your child; that He wants your child to know and love Him, and that you’re just an instrument cooperating with the Holy Spirit in that process.

Dannah: Yes. And that’s a good place for me to tell you one of the greatest burdens I had as I was talking with moms from all across the country, doing focus groups to identify: “What lies are we as moms possibly believing that are inhibiting our ability to teach our daughters to walk in truth?”

And the particular lie is, “It’s too soon to talk to my child about “fill in the blank”—boys, gender, social media.”

Nancy: We talked about this because early on as you listed these lies, I said, “Dannah! Some of these girls have been protected; they haven’t been exposed to as much. We don’t want to plant ideas for lies in their heads that they maybe haven’t already had.”

You did careful research, you listened to moms carefully, you studied these girls carefully, and you realized that, of course, there is an age-appropriateness and not every child is ready for every topic at the same age . . . But it became really clear to you that they’re more ready at a younger age than most of us realize.

Dannah: Yes, and I guess one of the alarming statistics that’s pretty commonly known is, the average age of the first exposure to pornography right now is about eleven years old!

Nancy: That’s the average age, which means, for a lot, it’s younger than that!

Dannah: These focus groups with these Christian moms talking about their girls, there were many that told me stories that their daughter had stumbled across it much younger than eleven.

Nancy: And those were the moms who knew!

Dannah: Yes, exactly. I guess that’s kind of the point. If you’re not having conversations with your child . . . For example, pornography can be talked about without talking about pornography. You can say, “There are good pictures and there are bad pictures on the Internet. If you ever see a picture that you think might be bad, you should tell me, because I can help you.”

That’s a very innocent conversation, don’t you think? Do you think I would have taken anyone’s innocence from them with that conversation, Nancy?

Nancy: And what I love that you did in the mom’s guide is you give that kind of language, that kind of help and coaching to moms who say, “I don’t know how to explain this! I don’t know how to talk about this!” You’ve walked there. Your kids are grown now. You’ve learned a lot in the process from talking to other moms.

You’re going to help them with some terminology, some language. I think moms are going to say, “Thank you, this is such a helpful resource!”

Dannah: I really hope so!

Nancy: We mentioned this earlier in the week, but I want to come back to it. One topic that I really felt it seemed premature to go deeply into was this whole area of social media. Because I’m saying, “What in the world are these eight-year-old girls doing with access to social media?”

You were pretty thorough in trying to determine: “Are girls eight, nine, ten, eleven years of age really facing a problem in this area?” Educate us on what you found out.

Dannah: Well, first of all, the moms were the ones that were saying, “Please talk about this!” And sometimes it wasn’t because their daughter was on social media, but because their daughter was being pressured to be on social media.

So I began to look, and I was alarmed to see that there’s just a reported increase in anxiety, sleeplessness, loneliness, worry that coincides with the first use of Smartphones. We can also see a really dramatic increase in depression among teen and tween girls since the advent of social media hitting the market.

Nancy: And not just tween girls. Might I say, it’s adults, too. But it starts young!

Dannah: There’s even a new word in the dictionary, an acronym: FOMO. It means “fear of missing out.” This is a new emotion that counselors haven’t really identified before. There’s a new emotion tween girls are having, and it’s that they’re looking at pictures on social media of the slumber party that they weren’t invited to, or the after-school event they’re not a part of.

They have this absolute, paralyzing fear that they’re going to miss out on something socially. So, we have a new problem on our hands!

Nancy: These are pressures that young hearts weren’t really intended to experience.

Dannah: No.

Nancy: As we determined what were the lies that we should address and what were the topics that should be brought up, we asked this question: Could we write about these topics in such a way that we wouldn’t prematurely expose these young hearts to topics that they weren’t ready to handle?

Now, let me just start by saying, every mom needs to prayerfully and carefully determine for her child: “Is my daughter ready for this?” Which is why you’re saying, “Don’t just hand this book to your daughter, but read it with her. Use the mom’s guide and it will help you determine . . . Maybe your eight-year-old isn’t ready for a particular chapter.”

Dannah and I aren’t the ones that have that wisdom, but as a mom [of your child] you’re the one that God gives that wisdom to. But I think the answer to this question: “Can we write about these topics in such a way that we don’t prematurely expose them to things that they aren’t ready to handle?” the answer is, “Yes!”

Dannah: Yes.

Nancy: And you do that so carefully, Dannah. I’m happy about where we landed as we thought about that important question. One of things that you did that I thought was so wise is that you included a team of moms and grandmoms and theologically trained spiritual moms who helped us navigate carefully the language that we used to introduce girls to truth without unnecessarily exposing them to the lies, the deception. It really can be done and you’ve done it beautifully.

Dannah: It absolutely can. Well, yes, praise the Lord, I did that with a lot of help. I think that the goal isn’t to tell our children about counterfeits, but to make them so acquainted with truth and the genuine thing, so that when they are exposed to a counterfeit, it looks like one, it “smells” like one, it sounds like one!

Nancy: So they have discernment . . .

Dannah: Yes, exactly. Going back to Genesis, which was our model for the whole Lies series (Lies Women Believe, Lies Young Women Believe), I was looking at that passage of Adam and Eve being tempted at the base of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and looking at it from the lens of a parent’s point of view.

I noticed that when GOd warned them about the tree, He said, “Don’t eat from it,” and “If you do, you’ll surely die.” But He didn’t go into all of the details about the serpent and the snake and what he looked like and how he’d sound or what the consequences of death would feel like and what childbirth was like.

He didn’t talk to them about all of those things because He didn’t want to rob them of their innocence. But He did give them boundaries; He did fill them with truth to prepare them for that moment.

Nancy: So you can do that without being tantalizing or awakening curiosity before they’re ready to deal with these subjects. I think we need to remember that the most important developmental years for introducing moral truth is before the age of twelve.

Dannah: Yes, which is alarming to most parents who are afraid to talk about things like gender and sexuality before the age of twelve. They want to wait, but the research really indicates that if you wait, you’ve missed a very important foundational year.

One thing that really opened my heart to this is: I have a friend, George Barna, who has done a lot of research for the Christian community. Many years ago he did a study that revealed that what we believe by our thirteenth birthday is generally what we die believing.

Nancy: And it didn’t take George Barna to discover this, by the way. In Deuteronomy chapter 6, God says you’re supposed to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, might . . . These words that I command you today shall be on your heart [and] you shall teach them diligently to your children . . . talk of them when you sit in your house . . . when you walk by the way . . . when you lie down, and when you rise” (Deut. 6:6–7 ESV).

This is supposed to be a part or the fabric of your life and your relationship within your home . . . all the time talking about these things and not just when you sit down for a structured or formal discipleship conversation. You can have those, but just in the car and in the home and at the meals and in the context of everyday life. These are the formative years.

These are the years when the children’s bents and inclinations and heart are being shaped. So that’s why we need a resource like this to say, “What is the truth that these children need to have poured into their souls so that as they get older, they recognize, ‘Oops, that’s not truth.’”

Dannah: Yes, I love that Scripture verse. It reminds me as a mother that “quality time” without “quantity of time” is really a myth. God calls us in that passage to “sit, walk, stand.” It’s this sense of constantly being available to your child because you don’t know when questions are going to pop up.

Nancy: Teachable moments.

Dannah: Yes, exactly. What I’m praying happens with this resource is that we kind of formally take your children, through your guiding hands, some of these topics. In the middle of the study they might not say, “Hey, I have a question about.”

But when you’re sitting in the car doing carpool next week, your child may have thought through, “Oh, you know what? I have a question about that chapter.” And you’re there; you’re there to answer them and to deposit truth into their hearts.

Nancy: Now, I still think that in some moms’ hearts, there’s a fear of discussing things like gender, depression, eating disorders, boys, and other things in age-appropriate, truth-oriented ways.

Dannah: I identify with that, because I had a tremendous fear of talking to my children about sex, because my heart had been bloodied and broken by sex. My sin as a teenage girl, getting out of that sinful relationship, standing before God and saying, “God, teach me to live a life of purity!” And I did; I did live a life of purity after that!

But I remember as a nineteen-year-old, not having met my husband, writing in my prayer journal, “Lord, please don’t let my daughter know the pain that I’ve known.” And I think as my children became tweens and the topic needed to be discussed, I was so afraid, because my own healing just wasn’t quite complete yet. .

I felt, “If I bring that up, I’m going to mess it up!” or “If I bring that up, will it increase their risk?” And so, fear’s a really big thing! In these focus groups with moms, I noticed that if they struggled with eating disorders, they didn’t want to talk about their daughter about food and weight management.

If they struggled with sex and sexual boundaries and sexual sins, they didn’t want to talk to their children about sex. If they had a history of gender confusion in their family—in any way, shape or form—they were terrified of discussing that with their children.

Nancy: And one of the things God wants to do through this resource, I think, is to release them from those fears.

Dannah: Yes. One of my favorite passages, to release me from fear, and it was very helpful in helping open my heart to talk to my children about sexuality, is 2 Timothy 1:7, which says God does not give me a spirit of fear but of power and love and a sound mind.

I wore that Bible verse out, over and over, until my heart was strong enough to overcome the fear and to talk to my children about the things I was afraid of discussing. I’m not saying, Nancy, that there’s not discernment: “Is my child ready for this part of the conversation? Is my child ready for this topic?”

Nancy: Sure.

Dannah: But I really want to challenge moms to make sure that when you’re saying, “No, they’re not ready,” that it is out of discernment from God’s Spirit . . .

Nancy: . . . not out of fear.

Dannah: . . . not out of fear.

Nancy: Did you find, as you talked to moms, that some of them thought, My girl isn’t at risk, like other girls are.

Dannah: Oh, that was the third lie! I asked moms in the first few focus groups, “Okay, I want to know: ‘Do you think today’s tween girls are more likely to believe lies than when you were a tween girl?’” Eighty percent of them said, “Yes!” which I thought was pretty accurate.

Then I’d ask, “What about your daughter? Is your daughter more prone to believe lies than you were?” Eighty percent of them said, “No!”

Nancy: So everybody else’s girls were more prone, but not theirs!

Dannah: I thought, “Okay, this can’t be right! So, the third or fourth focus group, I said to the team, “Let’s try something different! Let’s try this: let’s ask them those same questions.” Then I asked them, “Okay, tell me about your daughter. When it comes to the topic of submission and obedience, how’s she doing in that area?”

And that’s when the floodgates opened. Moms would tell me these stories: “Oh, my daughter treats my husband like a brother, not her father!” “My daughter throws tantrums when we try to set boundaries.” Lots of submission and obedience problems!

And then I asked them about the future: “What does your daughter believe about the value of being a wife and a mom?” These moms, they love being moms! They think it’s the best job in the entire world. And so, it’s heartbreaking for them when they say, “Yeah, the world’s programming my daughter to believe that it’s not a great job to be a mom.”

So we would discuss that for maybe fifteen minutes or so, and then I would say, “I want to reposit a question: ‘Is your daughter more likely to believe lies than you were?’” And suddenly the answer changed and they realized, “Oh . . . yeah . . . she is!”

But what that identified for me was this: As moms, we really can have a stronghold of pride in thinking, Everyone else’s daughter is at risk, but mine’s not!

Nancy: And maybe it’s just naivete, just not having your eyes open. And the Lord wants your eyes to be opened as a mom to know how to lead, how to guide, your daughter.

Dannah: I want to say, “Here’s the problem with that lie. You are going to miss important cues to identify where lies are at work in your daughter’s life.”

Nancy: That’s why you as a mom or as a grandmom or as a spiritual mom in some young woman’s life, you’re going to find that Lies Girls Believe and A Mom’s Guide to Lies Girls Believe is an incredible resource to help identify where lies are at work in these girls’ lives and to help these girls identify those lies and—even more importantly—the truth that sets them free.

We want to make that set available to you, both the books—the Lies Girls Believe and the Mom’s Guide. We’re offering that this week as our way of saying “thank you.” When you make a gift of $30 or more to Revive Our Hearts, be sure to ask for the Lies Girls Believe set. We’ll send you both those books.

Your donation to the ministry is going to make it possible for this message to be invested in the lives of moms and young women around the world! To make your gift, give us a call at 1–800–569–5959, or it may be easier for you to just go online to ReviveOurHearts.com. You can make your donation there, and be sure and ask for the Lies Girls Believe set when you make a gift of $30 or more.

And Dannah, just in case anyone missed the big announcement we’ve made over the last two days, I want to make sure they know about the new partnership that is unfolding here at Revive Our Hearts. You’ve had, for years, Secret Keeper Girl events for tween girls and moms. . .and they’re undergoing a name change. . .

Dannah: Yes, after fifteen years we were feeling God leading us to a name change for a lot of different reasons. I was sitting at True Woman and thinking, What can we name this? (Not that I wasn’t riveted by the message.) But it was a burden of mine, something I had on my to-do list. I thought, True Woman . . . True Girl. True Woman . . . True Girl.

I have to admit, I was terrified to text you the idea. I thought, She’s not going to like it.

Nancy: When you texted me, my heart just leapt! I thought, Yes! Because we’d been talking about a name change for it, and I said, “Yes, that’s it! That’s it!” And now Revive Our Hearts is coming alongside your ministry.

Dannah: Thank you!

Nancy: And we’re going to partner together in marketing, promoting these events, trying to get tween girls and their moms to have that experience together of seeking the Lord, coming to understand the lies girls believe, the truth that sets them free. So coming this fall, there will be lots more about this, but we just wanted to let people know that good news this week.

Dannah: Yes, there will be about forty to fifty True Girl events throughout the country this fall.

Nancy: Can’t wait! Dannah Gresh is our guest all this week, and in order to find out the most common lies that girls ages eight to twelve believe, Dannah did a nationwide survey of over fifteen-hundred girls.

Tomorrow, you’re going to hear some about their responses. You’ll find out three of the most common lies they believed, and, more importantly, the truth that will set these girls free. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

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

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About the Speaker

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love …

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