Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Dannah Gresh: There’s a reason behind everything God does, including, says Laura Booz, the way He treats you. 

Laura Booz: God is kind, and He is kind for a specific reason. That is meant to lead you back into relationship with Him. As moms, we get to do that with our children. The point of kindness is to build our relationship with them, to turn them back to love and to fellowship, which is a picture of the family of God.

Dannah: This is the Revive Our Hearts podcast with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of A Place of Quiet Rest, for October 20, 2021. I’m Dannah Gresh.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: If you’ve been listening to Revive Our Hearts over the past several months, you may remember that this past July we spent the whole month focusing on the topic of kindness. We talked about God’s kindness to us, and we talked about how we can be channels through whom He can show His kindness to others.

Today’s episode of Revive Our Hearts takes that concept and applies it to the way parents can show kindness to their children, more specifically, how moms can be kind to their kids. And before you tune me out and say, “I’m not a mom,” or “My kids aren’t home anymore,” listen . . .

If you have anybody living in the same house with you or maybe some difficult people in the workplace, this message of kindness has application to all of us in every season of life. So don’t tune out. You’re going to be really enriched and encouraged by this conversation!

Once again today, Dannah is talking with our guest Laura Booz. Laura is the mom of six kids, and she’s written a beautiful new book called Expect Something Beautiful: Finding God’s Good Giftsin Motherhood. Let’s listen in on this conversation with Dannah and Laura.

Dannah: Laura, welcome back to the Revive Our Hearts studio.

Laura: Thanks, Dannah!

Dannah: I’ve been having so much fun talking with you these last couple of days. I don’t have toddlers or elementary school kids or tweens or teens in my house anymore. I have adult children and grandchildren. But I feel like these programs these last few days are ones that I am going to listen to.

Do you know what I’m going to do? Do you mind if I make a phone call right now? 

Laura: Sure. 

Dannah: Just a second. I want to call my daughter-in-law Aliyah, because I would like her to listen to these. Then I want to have coffee with her and discuss them.

Because I feel like it would be good not only for her to hear them as a young mom, but for her to have someone to unpack them with. Oh wait, you know what? It’s nap time at the Gresh house. I’ll just text her and send her the link to the podcast from the Revive Our Hearts app.

You know, I have such a burden for women my age to take the time to listen to these Revive Our Hearts programs with women who are younger and say, “Hey, let’s unpack that together. Let’s pray through it together. How could I encourage you in that?”

Laura: I love that idea! That’s mentoring. Older women, this is such a wonderful opportunity to say, “Come along.”

Dannah: Yes, it’s the Titus 2 thing. 

Well, we’ve been talking about the gifts of motherhood, and you took us to the gifts of the Spirit from Galatians chapter 5. You have been sharing that you think motherhood is sort of like the school of the gifts of the Spirit. 

It gives you an opportunity to grow in the sharing of that fruit of the Spirit, to learn how to display the fruit of the Spirit. Conversely, it’s an opportunity to not operate in the fruit of the Spirit, so it’s really a test of whether or not we will carry that.

Yesterday, we explored the fruit of joy. What’s another fruit of the Spirit you think is really tested through motherhood?

Laura: Well, for me, I’ve had to learn a lot about kindness. I’ve had to first of all learn about the Lord’s kindness towards me. In motherhood, you just feel a little bit battered by yourself; you can be really hard on yourself.

To stop and believe what God’s Word says about His good heart toward you, and to see the way He has been so kind to you through Christ—through His redemption, through His death on the cross, through His securing heaven for you so that you may live with Him for eternity. When you see God’s kind heart, it’s just so sustaining!

Where I might beat myself up, it replaces that habit instead with open hands to say, “Thank You for your kindness!” On one hand, that has been helpful in motherhood. And then, secondly, to learn how to be kind to my children.

Dannah: Well, that’s an interesting thought. It’s interesting to me. I’ve never heard of kindness towards our children, because you wouldn’t think of being unkind. But I’m sitting here right now and I’m thinking, Yes, there were moments as I was raising my children when I got to the end of my patience, and my frustration escalated, and I wasn’t kind Can you think of times like that?

Laura: Yes! I think it’s an all-day, every-day thing, because we’re so close to one another. And the bumps of life . . . you just kind of are having to . . .

Dannah: Yes, there’s nobody who will invade your space like a toddler! They don’t know about the personal space thing.

Laura: They did not receive that memo! (laughter)

And so, it’s just an area to have to grow in. It’s a very outward gift. It’s an outward fruit that is demonstrated through our words and our body language and how we treat another person.

I’ve had to learn that children are so precious. Even when I feel on the inside my emotions are heightened . . . I don’t know, for me, when I’m angry I feel very physical. I’ve had to learn, well, there you go. It’s another part of the fruit of the Spirit. Self-control is so important when it comes to being kind. 

There have been times when I don’t feel kind, but I know that the Lord has designed me to be kind. Jesus died for my sin on the cross so that I could be kind in those moments.

Dannah: Okay, you know what I want to ask you.

Laura: What?

Dannah: I know you to be one of the kindest people I know, like, your words are flavored with kindness. I can’t imagine Laura Booz being unkind. Can you please open the door to your house and let us come in there and see what that might look like in your life when you’re tempted to be unkind?

Laura: Okay. Well, actually a story comes to mind that just came up this past week. Something came to my attention in my tween son. I thought, Oh! If we don’t hunker down and face this one particular character weakness, sin, flaw . . . (I’m not exactly even sure what to call it at this point. I’m just starting to see little hints of it.)

I thought, If we don’t address this now, things are going to get ugly down the road. So I kind of had this whole game plan of discipline and discipleship in my mind. I came to my husband and I said, “Okay, Ryan, here’s the plan: we’ve got to really face this, we’ve got to face this hard! We’re going to double down on this boy!”

And, to tell you the truth, tears came to Ryan’s eyes, and he said, “Please don’t! There are some times in a boy’s life when he can start to have more and more conflict with his mother. I need you two to have a great relationship. So, instead of doubling down, can you double back? Can you instead be more gentle with him?” 

Honestly, that was not on my radar. I was just thinking, Correction! We must correct this problem! I did not have the imagination to think that correcting the problem could be by putting my arm around him, by communicating, “I’m on your side. I’ve got your back. I believe in you.” 

There’s a verse that the Lord brought to my attention that helped me to understand this a little bit better. Galatians 6:1–2: 

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 

So, I wrote this down. It’s actually on a notecard at my desk so that I can remember it right now with my tween son, with all my children, as we go through our days together. There are things that I see that need to be corrected, but to treat my children kindly with gentleness, because just like it’s the Lord’s gentleness that calls us to repentance, I believe a mom’s gentleness does the same thing. 

Now, that doesn’t mean I can’t tell them the truth. That doesn’t mean I can’t sit by their side and disciple them and guide them well, but my attitude about it will change everything!

Dannah: So, we’re talking about gentleness, but we’re also talking about kindness. Because kindness and gentleness kind of go in tandem with one another. Your temptation was, I guess, in that situation to confront your son’s flaw or area of weakness, just hit it head-on as a mom.

Laura: Yes.

Dannah: And we want to do that, don’t we? Because we want them to be the best person. We see the best person that they can be. We see their potential, and we see their weaknesses. It takes a gentle hand and a kind tongue for us to kind of chisel away those weaknesses, to be the hand of God and help Him to chisel away those weaknesses and to accentuate those positive qualities.

But if we don’t do it gently, we could do more damage than good. This verse actually says we could be tempted. This morning my husband left the house, and I was concerned because his blood pressure was high. It’s a family problem—like at twenty years old, they start having high blood pressure.

And so I was like, “Did you call the doctor? Are you taking your medicine?” I was anxious. I was afraid, right, because I love him. I want him to be around for a long, long time for me to grumble with him about his blood pressure and tell him to eat his celery! That, if you didn’t know, brings your blood pressure down! (He loves it when I make him eat his celery, by the way!) 

Laura: I’m sure!

But in the middle of that conversation, he’s running out the door to get to a meeting on time. I drive the nice car in the house. (He’s a gentleman. He lets me have the nice car.) So he says, “Are you going to be driving today?” And I’m still frustrated because I’m worried about his health, and I said [shrieking], “Yes! Yes I am! I’m going to be driving the car today!” 

It wasn’t a gentle moment, and it wasn’t a kind moment. He just kind of reached over and kissed me and said, “I’m going to give you the fact that you’re worried about my heart, and I’m going to overlook the way yours just showed up!” 

And I was like, “Oh, ouch! And thank you.” 

But in our own homes, we need to be fostering kindness. 

Laura: Yes.

Dannah: Okay, so tell me about your burden for kindness for our children.

Laura: Well, I look at my children, and I see these people who come into the world facing the same enemy I face, with the same sin issue I have, with weaknesses. There are so many things against them, and they have no idea!

They have no idea about this battle to fight. They have no idea about the Victor. They just don’t know, and they need me. They need me to be kind and meet their physical needs: to clothe them and bathe them and feed them and give them good, clean water to drink and take them to the doctor. They need me to handle them gently. 

They also need me to handle their souls and minds and hearts and imaginations with kindness, too. It’s just so easy to lose sight of that in the day to day. It’s easy to treat them unkindly. It’s easy to think, Oh! You’ve been pestering me about that so long! You know, it’s easy just to kind of ignore their needs, or to say, “Move! Get out of the way! Put your shoes on!”—just to bark commands at them.

Some days I’ll check in, and my face feels frozen in a frown, in a grimace! And to smile, honestly, it feels like I can hear these cracks in my cheeks because I’ve just been stern all day. I need the Lord to help me to be more kind.

Dannah: Hmm, yes. I need His help, too. So how can He help us? How has He helped you?

Laura: Well, I guess as I said earlier: first of all, to continually recognize God’s kindness towards me through Christ—every day, through the day, all day long. It’s so, so essential for me! And then, I think by growing in my relationship with my children. Kindness has grown out of that, the closer we are, and as I spend time with them.

I’ve had to make some hard choices with social media because, honestly, it’s not good for me. Even going into launching a book, I’m making some hard choices to not do a lot of potential social media things that I could do.

Dannah: Putting up boundaries on how you use it.

Laura: I have to, because I need to instead build my relationship with my children, and that means real time.

Dannah: Is that how it’s not good for you? It distracts you from building that relationship?

Laura: It does, yes. I’m maybe like everybody else. I just get sucked in. So it sucks my time away when I could be literally with them—face to face, side by side, working on a project, reading a book, doing the puzzle, going for the walk, hearing from their heart, teaching them something constructive that will help them in life.

All of those things don’t happen when I am scrolling through media, and I am not immune to the time suck. It just goes by!

Dannah: And it takes time. Acts of kindness are conscientious.

Laura: Yes, they’re not random at all.

Dannah: No, you have to really preplan and think through them. You also be observing to see the need, right? 

Laura: Yes. 

Dannah: My son and daughter-in-law have two little toddlers, two-year-olds. They’re not terrible twos. Of course, they have their toddler moments.

The other day Bob was disciplining—not in the “you’ve done something bad” sort of way, but helping Zoe have boundaries with life. I can’t remember exactly what it was. I think maybe he wasn’t allowing her to play with the remote control or his phone, something that really wasn’t appropriate for her to be playing with.

It bothered her, so she went over into the corner. She sat down, and she looked dejected. Addy immediately scanned the environment and saw her sad sister. She walked over with her little toddler voice and said, “Zo Zo sad, Zo Zo? Sad?” And she sat down beside her, and she just put her hand around her shoulder and just sat there. 

That’s not something in our selfish, sinful nature that we do naturally. Her mom was teaching her empathy. Her mom was teaching her kindness. I didn’t see her mom teach her that; I saw the fruit of her mom having taught her that.

Laura: Right. In the day to day, within the little walls of her precious little home, she was doing that. That’s beautiful! Honestly, I think that is how children learn kindness. I think it’s probably the first and most important lesson they learn from us.

One of the ways I think they learn best is not by us sitting down with flash cards or a poster saying, “Be ye kind one to another” (Eph. 4:32 KJV). We can sing that Scripture as we go through our day; we can teach them that Scripture for sure. But when they really learn it is through our kindness toward them.

When they have their little dry, chapped hands and we rub lotion on them before bed. Or, we say, “Hey, just you and me, we’re going to have a little cookie together,” or “Let’s just sit and read a book.” They learn kindness through that. But also they learn kindness when we reach out to somebody else and we invite them in. 

So, here’s a trap for me: when two of my children are having a little spat and one is unkind to the other—let’s say one hurts the other somehow. I am apt to fly into that situation with anger, just angry that it happened and disrupted the peace. “This sibling should not have hurt the other one!” So, my first reaction is not kindness, but instead it is to be like, “You! Why did you do that!!?”

So I’ve asked the Holy Spirit, “Please warn me when I’m about to do that.” He knows the words we’re about to speak when we’re about to speak them, and He often does. Once I ask Him, He really does.

He prompts me, and it’s the best day when I go into it and I say, “Oh, this person was injured!” I comfort them, and then I welcome the other child into it. Like, “Hey, let’s go get them an ice pack,” or “How about we get a lollipop for them?” or whatever. “Let’s soothe this hurt together and be kind.” Those are the best days.

Dannah: That’s good fruit—good fruit in your life and good fruit in your children’s lives. Laura, what are some Scriptures that maybe we need to meditate on? If there’s a mom listening right now and she’s feeling some conviction—as I am, honestly!—about how I interact.

At this point, it’s my husband and I in the home alone. We’re empty-nesters. But this conversation is reminding my heart that I need to have an intentionality when it comes to acts of kindness within my own home.

Talk to that mom who, right now, she’s like, “I am falling into a lot of traps.” You call it a trap of unkindness. What Scriptures could she meditate on? What should she turn to if she’s feeling like she needs to be intentional about kindness in her home? 

Laura: I think about Jesus’ kindness towards the disciples. Picture Him at that last supper, when He washed their feet and was kind to them—to lead them and guide them and walk with them, bring them with Him on His way.

Dannah: How about the kindness of making them fish for breakfast [after His resurrection; John 21:9-12], after they’d scattered because they were afraid. They didn’t really stay awake with Him, and they didn’t really represent His Name or defend His Name. And He was like, “I guess I’ll make them breakfast.”

Laura: That’s amazing.

Dannah: It is amazing. It was an amazing kindness, wasn’t it?

Laura: Yes, I love that. So there’s a song/verse that I learned when I was a little child, and I sing it to this day. I sing it for my children, but I mostly sing it for myself. It’s Ephesians 4:32: “Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake has forgiven you” (KJV). Like, that just encapsulates it all. 

It makes you remember God’s kindness towards you through Christ. Then you remember, “Okay, this is my outward expression of being a Christian, being kind to my child.”

Dannah: And it says, “Be ye kind . . . and forgive one another.” It’s interesting that this act of kindness doesn’t flow out of somebody’s deserving kindness. It doesn’t flow out of, “Oh, they look like they’re behaving so nicely and so well, I think I’ll do something kind.”

It’s, “Oh! They look like they’re having a bad day. That child looks like he or she is really battling with the enemy of their soul today.” And that doesn’t mean we don’t instruct and correct, but, “How can we also show some kindness in this matter?” 

Romans 2:4 says, “Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” (ESV)

Laura: Well, I think in context what that means is, all of the sin that we see in our children’s hearts that drives us to unkindness from day to day, and the needs and the demand. Paul is taking us here to say, “Don’t judge them.”

We wouldn’t say as moms, “I’m judging my child.” But I think sometimes that is the attitude that is informing our lack of kindness. We don’t have warmth towards them; we don’t have compassion; we don’t have an understanding towards their struggle.

Dannah: Especially if it’s a struggle we haven’t faced.

Laura: Yes, or especially if it is a struggle that specifically and personally offends us. That is hard! But, what Paul is saying is, “Remember, God is kind,” and He is kind for a specific reason, and that is meant to lead you back into relationship with Him, to repent and turn back to Him. 

And so, as moms, we get to do that with our children, to realize that our kindness is not just something to post on social media: “I had a cookie with my child. I feel good about myself.” The point of kindness is to build our relationship with them, to turn them back to love and to fellowship, which is a picture of the family of God.

It’s also a picture of their relationship with God their Father, that someday they’ll say, “Oh, He, too (on a much larger scale) was kind toward me and calls me back to repentance, to an open warm relationship with Him.

Dannah: Think about Adam and Eve in the garden, right? They sin, and they’re out of fellowship with God. It’s not that He doesn’t call sin, “sin.” It’s not that He doesn’t say, “Oh, these are the consequences that you’re going to face.” But He comforts them with garments of fur. 

He brings them that comfort, that kindness, even as He brings some knowledge about what the consequences of that sin will look like for this time on this earth. Let us be mother—grandmothers—whether our children are two or twenty-two or fifty-two, that when we see sin in our children’s lives, we don’t fail to confront it. But when we do, we do it with the same kind of comfort the Lord brought to Adam and Eve in that garden, one full of kindness. Good challenge for us today!

Nancy: That’s Dannah Gresh talking with wife, mom, author and podcast host Laura Booz. She’ll be back in just a moment to close our time in prayer. But first, let me mention that Laura has a podcast in the Revive Our Hearts podcast family.

It’s called Expect Something Beautiful, the same title as her book. The subtitle of the book is Finding God’s Good Gifts in Motherhood. In fact, I’d like you to hear just a portion of that book to get a feel for her encouraging and beautiful writing style. In this section Laura shares some perspective on how she wants to start her day with intentionality.

Laura [reading excerpt from her book]: Today, I will open the blinds to let the sunshine in. I will hug my child and fill a hungry belly. I will clean a little bottom, wash a little face, and hold two little hands. Today I will dress someone, carry someone, walk alongside. I will teach and play and sing!

Today I will repeat myself a dozen times and answer a dozen questions. I will calm chaos, address meanness, and encourage kindness. I will look for growth and treasure it. Today someone will yell for help, passionately, urgently! I will run to the rescue. Sometimes I’ll discover a legitimate emergency, but most of the time it will be the smallest complaint, that will melt with a kiss.

I will clean up spills, fix something that’s broken, find something that’s lost, and buy something that’s needed. I will uphold boundaries and keep schedules. I will wake someone who is sleeping and help someone sleep who is wakeful. 

Today I’ll notice more reasons to smile and stumble upon reasons to cry. I will wrestle irritability, spar with self-pity, sprint from temptation . . . and win! . . . sometimes. When I fall, I’ll fall on grace. Today I will say, “I am sorry,” and “I forgive you,” and “I choose you!”

Today my work as a mother will resemble God’s work as our heavenly Father. My occupation is His occupation, my mission His own. And today, if this is all I accomplish, I will fall asleep feeling quite satisfied indeed!

Today I will do these anticipated tasks, because God Himself wakes me up in the morning, feeds me with the Living Bread, cheers me on, and runs to my rescue when I call for help!

Nancy: Again, that’s just a sampling of what you’ll find in Laura Booz’s book Expect Something Beautiful. This week, we’d love to send you a copy of that book. It’s our way of saying thank you for your gift to help support the ministry of Revive Our Hearts.

We want to do everything we can to encourage women in every season of life, and that includes moms, who are in that important business of investing in the lives of their children. But we can’t do that ministry alone. We need your prayers, and we need your financial support.

So if the Lord is putting it on your heart to make a donation today, just visit us at ReviveOurHearts.com, or call us at 1–800–569–5959. And be sure to ask for Laura’s book on motherhood when you make your gift. Dannah?

Dannah: Laura, would you pray over the moms who are struggling with kindness in their homes today? You know, the Lord doesn’t bring us to a place of seeing our sin or our lack of His fruit of the Spirit so that we would feel horrible about ourselves. He brings it because He’s inviting us to change! It’s His kindness; the kindness of the Lord leads us to repentance. 

Laura: I would love to pray for them. 

Heavenly Father, I lift up the woman who is listening who hears about kindness, and her heart is stirred, and she wants it! You are the Giver of all good gifts, so you give the gift of kindness. Would you lavish her with the gift of kindness? Teach her what kindness looks like in her day-to-day life.

Because it really comes down to all the little interactions, the little ways—the way we move our body, the way we use our tone of voice, the words we use, the expression on our face, the things we choose to do with our time. Show each one of us how to be kind to one another, to treat one another with dignity and value, the way You dreamed of when You created us as Your very own people. Thank You for Your kind heart toward us! In Jesus’s name, amen. 

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants mothers everywhere to have true joy along with freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ.

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About the Hosts

Dannah Gresh

Dannah Gresh

When Dannah Gresh was eight years old, she began praying that God would use her as a Bible teacher for “the nations.” When she sees the flags of many countries waving at a Revive Our Hearts event, it feels like an answer to her prayer.

Dannah is the founder of True Girl which provides tools for moms and grandmothers to disciple their 7–12 year-old girls. On Monday nights, you’ll find Dannah hosting them in her online Bible study. She has authored over twenty-eight books, including Ruth: Becoming a Girl of Loyalty, Lies Girls Believe, and a Bible study for adult women based on the book of Habakkuk. She and her husband, Bob, live on a hobby farm in central Pennsylvania.

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 for Christ and His Word is infectious, and permeates her online outreaches, conference messages, books, and two daily nationally syndicated radio programs—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him.

She has authored twenty-two books, including Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, Seeking Him (coauthored), Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, and You Can Trust God to Write Your Story (coauthored with her husband). Her books have sold more than five million copies and are reaching the hearts of women around the world. Nancy and her husband, Robert, live in Michigan.

About the Guest

Laura Booz

Laura Booz

Laura Booz is the author of Expect Something Beautiful: Finding God's Good Gifts in Motherhood and the host of the Expect Something Beautiful podcast with Revive Our Hearts. She'll cheer you on, share practical ideas, and point out the beautiful ways God is working in your life. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, Ryan, and their six children. Meet her at LauraBooz.com.