Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leaving a Beautiful Legacy, with Liesl Higgins

Episode Resources

Watch Liesl share her story.

Leslie Basham: Liesl Higgins didn’t see a strong model of biblical womanhood growing up, but she discovered everything she needed to start a new legacy.

Liesl Higgins: The idea that I can rely on Christ to help me be a better wife, to be a better mom, to be a better Christ-follower. He gives me that strength. He gives me that encouragement. I don’t have to worry that I’m a slave to what I grew up with.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, for December 1, 2017.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Well, we’re into the holiday season between Thanksgiving and Christmas, when many of our listeners spend time with family. And for some people, that can be a source of real joy.

But, in many cases, getting together with family is stressful. It can bring back some painful memories. Our guest today gets that. In fact, as she was growing up, she went through a lot of hurt from her grandmother and her mom.

Here’s what I hope you’ll get from her story: If you didn’t have a model of a strong godly woman in your life as you were growing up, you can still learn to become that kind of woman yourself.

If you didn’t receive a godly legacy, you can be the one to turn the tide, and by God’s grace you can start a new legacy in your own family and with others who are part of your life. Liesl’s story is going to show us that in a powerful way.

Liesl: My name is Liesl Higgins, and I’m from Bellevue, Ohio.

Nancy: Like many women, Liesl would say the Titus 2 model—where older women are to teach younger women—was missing in her younger years.

Liesl: My whole life I have really yearned for an older, godly woman as a mentor, and felt that I had kind of heard about Titus 2, but nobody had ever really fleshed that out. My relationship with my grandmother was not a strong one or even a very good one, and that would be the same for the relationship I had with my mother.

Interestingly enough, my mother passed away two years ago and my grandmother passed away a year ago. We leave a legacy, and sometimes that gets to be a positive legacy and sometimes it’s a negative legacy.

There was much about the relationships that I didn’t have with my mother and my grandmother that really impacted me deeply in a way that left me yearning—in many ways—for a positive female mentor.

I yearned not just to be mentored in the ways of being a woman—but in the ways of being a godly woman. That was not something that I received from either of those women.

Nancy: For Liesl, the absence of a godly role model gave rise to the fear that she was doomed to repeat that same cycle.

Liesl: When I was a younger woman, I was really grappling with what it looked like to be married. As I contemplated becoming a mother, I was scared out of my wits that I would unconsciously—or consciously—do some of the things that I had seen and had experienced myself—things that I swore I never wanted to do!

I spent a lot of time feeling that I was in bondage to that, quite honestly. I felt that there might not be any hope for me . . . kind of like you can’t escape your gene-pool kind of thing.

I believe strongly that we’re wired for that connection with God and we’re wired for that connection with others. The theme of my life at that point had been, “How do I things differently if I don’t know how? And, there’s no one really to show me how to do that differently.”

Nancy: Well, that all began to change earlier this year. Here on Revive Our Hearts we took an in-depth look at the first paragraph in Titus 2 in a series called “God’s Beautiful Design for Women.” It aired at the same time we released my new book on Titus 2. That book is called Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together.

As we began that series, Liesl “just happened” to be listening to her local Christian radio station . . .

Liesl: . . . and happened to catch Nancy’s program.

Nancy (from “God’s Beautiful Design”): Titus 2 speaks to the issue of the counter-cultural woman. What does she look like? Does it really matter that we have this counter-cultural revolution? What difference would counter-cultural women make in our culture?

Liesl: She was just starting the Titus 2 series and the launch of the Adorned book. So when I heard it, it was as if like the cry of my heart had found an answer! I am an avid reader, and so I thought, I need to have this book! I ordered it right away and devoured the book.

As every daily broadcast was coming out, I was tuned in—every day. When I finished the entire series, I felt a little sad, like, “Oh, we’re done.” Then I realized, “There’s this whole treasure-trove of past episodes I can go back to and listen!”

Regardless of what the topic was, I tried to make my way through that, because it’s a daily encouragement to me while I’m doing kind of the mundane things. I don’t work outside the home, and so while I’m folding laundry or ironing or any of those “glamorous” things, I’ve got those podcasts running in the background.

Nancy: That yearning she had felt all her life—to be mentored and to live out the Titus 2 model—was starting to be fulfilled.

Liesl: I don’t know that I felt challenged so much as reaffirmed about, “This is the way we’re meant to live!” It felt like the Adorned book and that information was the lifeline that I’d been looking for.

Nancy: Liesl began to understand that she couldn’t use her past as an excuse or as an escape from responsibility.

Liesl: There was a calling in my life. Even if I felt like that hadn’t been fulfilled for me, that didn’t give me a free pass to sit around and go, “Well, I didn’t have it, so I’m not going to do anything with that.”

I felt strongly compelled that there was something that was in it for me, that I was to give back.

Nancy: So for Liesl, this sense of calling showed up in her friendships.

Liesl: It all seemed to blend in the way that God only works, where He ties these things up that look like they maybe they don’t have any connection at all. There is a young woman that, about the time that Adorned came out, said to me, “I know you’re really busy, but would you ever have any time just to—like—go to coffee with me?”

Nancy: This younger friend’s name is Beth.

Beth: I’m relatively young—twenty-nine years old—and I serve in various leadership capacities. I was getting bogged down and overwhelmed and just “dry.” I just said to Liesl, “I know you’re really busy, but would you have time to meet with me?”

Liesl: I said, “Absolutely!!”

She said, “Well, do you think we could do that regularly?”

Beth: She said, “Absolutely! And in fact, I just heard this great podcast today, and I think you would really like it.” That’s how I heard about Revive Our Hearts.

Liesl: So we got the book and started going through it together.

Nancy: Beth quickly put her finger on one of the hurdles in their church.

Beth: Younger people feel disconnected from older people and older people feel that younger people don’t want relationships with them.

Nancy: So she set out to try to change that.

Beth: I hosted a ladies’ tea/luncheon for Mother’s Day. I actually read excerpts from Adorned, and encouraged the ladies attending that, “You are older than someone, no matter what your age . . . and you are younger than someone, no matter what your age.”

I encouraged ladies to look around and make connections with people and grow in community. I encouraged them to look for ways to expand God’s kingdom just through relationships in that way.

Nancy: And how did that make her mentor, Liesl, feel?

Liesl: I was so proud—like a mom! I was one of her Sunday school teachers in junior high school, so I’ve watched her grow into this amazing young woman who God is using in a mighty way!

Nancy: And for her part, Beth says the Titus 2 mentoring model actually has helped to relieve some of the pressure she’s felt.

Beth: There is something so challenging for me, as a younger woman, to realize that I don’t have to have all the answers and I don’t have to know the end of God’s plan. What He’s called me to is to be faithful in this place that I am today, and in a lot of ways, that means looking around and asking for help.

In asking for help, that empowers someone who is further along in their journey—an older women—to fulfill her purpose as an older woman, and her call from God, to pour into a younger woman.

Liesl: And just to think that she wants to spend time with me! We get to hang out, and we work together in a ministry. But that she would seek me out beyond that . . . There’s nothing formal about it beyond the fact that we have a standing luncheon date.

She’ll just kind of talk through where she’s at with things in her life, and I get a chance to pray with her and encourage her. That’s amazing!

Nancy: Liesl shared how the Adorned material is laid out in a helpful way for prompting discussion.

Liesl: Right now, we are reading a chapter a week, and then we are listening to the podcast. We try to figure out which podcast kind of matches up to the chapter we are studying.

We’re utilizing the questions in the back of each chapter as well as the additional resources that are on AdornedBook.com. It’s amazing—we don’t get to all of the questions—but it’s amazing how the conversation and other questions have been sparked as a result of what we’re reading and what we’re hearing.

I would love to think that this isn’t just one of those Bible studies that we’re going to do once and be done with it, because we’re continually growing younger women and seasoning older women.

I think if we’re left to our own devices, we’ll default to not connecting, to thinking that what we have to offer one another isn’t needed.

Nancy: Ultimately, according to God’s Word in Ephesians chapter 6, all of us as believers are engaged in a spiritual war. We battle against our own sinful tendencies, against the world’s way of thinking, and even against Satan and his demons.

But Liesl points out that life—the way that God designed it to be—has a beauty and an attractiveness all its own.

Liesl: I think that we’re really grappling with, “What does the Body of Christ look like?” I think that women who have been involved at church maybe wonder, Do I still have something to offer? And they are being challenged, “Yes, indeed. You do have something to offer!”

Those who are young, who are in the front lines of the weariness of small children and grappling with working full time or being part-time workers or even at home full time need to know what does that look like? How do we get through that? Really, just grappling with, “We have something to offer one another.”

I think in this day and age when we are ultra-connected—but not deeply—this is the kind of study that I think should encourage us to get deeper and to get more “real.” As the gospel says and as Nancy has encouraged, when we engage with the gospel, we come away different. Then that difference is what brings other people to want to say, “What is it that you have? Why are things different for you? Could I have what you have?”

Nancy: I’m so, so grateful that Revive Our Hearts listeners supported this ministry so we could be on the air for Liesl when she tuned in for the very first time! Those gifts made it possible for her to hear the truth from God’s Word and to begin sharing that truth with others.

She wanted to invest in Revive Our Hearts and be part of a ministry that was spreading the truth that sets women free!

Liesl: Soon after the Adorned book—and all of the radio episodes related to that I was faithfully listening every day—came out, the financial need became very apparent. As Revive Our Hearts was letting listeners know about their financial needs, I felt strongly compelled that I needed to do something, and I wasn’t exactly sure what.

Nancy: Around this time, Liesl’s grandmother passed away. This was the grandmother who’d been a source of such pain in Liesl’s life.

Liesl: I was dreading going to the funeral, because my grandmother really rejected attempts to reach out and to hear about the offer that Jesus had for her. She was very resistant to that.

My mother did accept the Lord before she died, but because of so much baggage and just difficulty in our relationship, that was never an aspect of our relationship that we really got to enjoy.

Nancy: Liesl realized that one way to honor her grandmother was to help spread the truth to other women, so they’d be encouraged to make different choices than her grandmother had made.

Liesl: As I was driving on the way to my grandmother’s funeral, it occurred to me that I had the opportunity to take what I had been given—through a small inheritance—and really be able to make a difference.

It was not a difficult decision to want to spend some of what I had received in a way that I felt like it was going to honor women who were very difficult to honor and as a way to say that God does honor and restore.

He redeems situations that can seem really hopeless and hurtful. Just think . . . investing in God’s Word and God’s people, that’s the kind of legacy that doesn’t go away. That’s eternal!

Nancy: Wow! So Liesl did what she felt God had been prompting her to do. She contacted us, and she donated a portion of the inheritance she had received from her grandmother to help support the ministry of Revive Our Hearts.

Liesl: Giving it felt like the most natural thing to do, and after years of really wrestling with the hardness of those relationships and the bitterness in my own heart and the longing in my own heart—to have done that felt a bit freeing. . .

There were emotions I couldn’t conjure up at the funeral for either one of them, but I did feel like this was the best way that I could honor them.

We all have brokenness. There is an imperative that we should feel as Christ-followers to pour into one another. Our family, frequently, is maybe not the most comfortable group to be with, but when we are in Christ’s family, that should compel us to want to invest our time and our energy into those spots of brokenness.

Nancy: Scripture tells us in 2 Corinthians that God loves a cheerful giver, and I think that expresses Liesl’s heart. Here at Revive Our Hearts, we think it’s important to let listeners know about the needs involved in this ministry, but we don’t want them ever to feel obligated or manipulated.

We do pray that God will raise up cheerful givers, like Liesl, who find it a joy to partner with us in this ministry. We’ll be right back with more of Liesl’s story, but I wanted to take a minute to tell you about an opportunity to support the ministry—just as she has done.

Of all the donations given to Revive Our Hearts each year, more than forty percent of that amount comes during the month of December. In order to keep the current outreaches of Revive Our Hearts going strong, we need the Lord to raise up many more listeners just like Liesl this month.

Today we’re announcing some big news about an opportunity, here in December. Some friends of this ministry know how critical this month is for Revive Our Hearts. They believe in what God is doing among listeners like Liesl, and they’ve set up a matching challenge of $800,000 to help this ministry deepen and continue in the months ahead.

So what does that matching challenge mean? It means that when you give a donation to Revive Our Hearts this month, your gift will be doubled—dollar for dollar—by these friends of the ministry. They’ll match each gift up that $800,000 amount. So for example, your gift of $100 will become $200. Your gift of $200 will become $400 . . . and so on.

It’s really important for the continuation of Revive Our Hearts in the year ahead that we maximize this full challenge amount! So would you ask the Lord what part He might want you to have in helping to meet that challenge? Ask Him what He’d want you to give, and then ask Him for a generous, joyful heart as you do.

Perhaps you’d also want to ask Him to show you some creative ways to fund your desire to be a part of this challenge. Then give us a call at 1–800–569–5959 to make your donation, or you can visit ReviveOurHearts.com. Thanks so much for helping this ministry move into a new year—spreading the truth that sets us free!

Now, as Liesl continues to listen to Revive Our Hearts, she’s been experiencing more and more freedom from the hurt of her past.

Liesl: I’d love to say I was, overnight, healed from that—but I wasn’t. For me, it has been a daily, sometimes hourly, work of understanding who Christ is and how that works.

Nancy: She’s learning to live out that freedom from past hurts day by day with her husband Dan and their three boys—ages fifteen, thirteen, and seven.

Liesl: Being married twenty-three years now—which is three years longer than my parents’ marriage made it—and being fifteen years into the parenting journey, I wouldn’t say that I’ve arrived. I understand that those kind of relationships and those kinds of callings don’t happen because of our sheer effort.

The idea that I can rely on Christ to help me be a better wife, to be a better mom, to be a better Christ-follower, He gives me that strength. He gives me that encouragement. I don’t have to worry that I’m a slave to what I grew up with.

Nancy: Earlier we heard how Liesl’s grandmother left a painful legacy to her family. We asked Liesl how she hopes to do it differently. What kind of legacy does she want to leave?

Liesl: I hope my kids say about me that I loved Jesus—that they knew that—and that they also knew that I loved them. This maybe sounds like a very obvious thing, but there are parents who struggle to love and to make that love known.

I don’t take for granted that that’s something automatically that they’ll know. And I’ll be honest, I’m overwhelmed and surprised when I think they know and love and like me—because that was not my experience.

Nancy: Now, coming full-circle to the Titus 2 theme of older women training younger women, Liesl says—even in her life—there’s still work to be done on that front, too.

Liesl: I pray that God sends me a dear old lady that knows and loves the Lord. At this point, that really hasn’t been answered for me. But in the meantime, I’m not allowed to sit by and do nothing. And if the Lord never answers that prayer of my heart—He’s enough!

Nancy: Oh Lord, thank You for calling Liesl to Yourself, for being all that she needs and for being all that we need. Thank You for showing her the truth that has the power to set her free from the bitterness and anger of her past.

I think of how many more women there are, perhaps listening today, just like Liesl, who’ve experienced hurt and lack of godly role models. Would you help us here at Revive Our Hearts to be effective in sharing the truth that sets us free? And would You raise up more joyful givers to help Revive Our Hearts to do that throughout the year ahead?

We pray with thanksgiving in Jesus’ name, amen.

I hope you’ll watch the video our team made with Liesl, by visiting ReviveOurHearts.com. And perhaps you can think of a friend who would enjoy this story, and you can share it with them as well.

For a good part of 2017, we’ve been casting a vision for what it looks like for older women to invest in younger women, as described in Titus chapter 2. And Monday we’ll hear from three generations in one church who are living out this message. They’ll show how you can make this kind of investment, too.

Susan: I became a Christian at sixteen—and I am in my sixties now. I had never been mentored myself. I just really had that longing to find a woman who could speak into my life and answer questions that I had .and just walk beside me.

Judy: She asked me, “Would you be willing to mentor me?” Honestly, she’s mentoring me as much as I’m mentoring her! Sometimes I wonder, Who’s the mentor here?

Mary: Having Susan ask those questions back to me and just seeing how I was doing—checking in—it grounded me in my faith, and I knew what I believed in, and was able to stand firm in it.

Susan: As I thought about it and prayed about it, Mary just kept coming to my mind. So one day at lunch I just asked her if I could be her spiritual mama. We’ve been connecting ever since.

Judy: It’s made me be more honest about myself. I think you can get apathetic in your Christian life, and I was there; you know, just kind of tired. “I’m tired, Lord.” She has really inspired me—Susan has—because of her love for the Lord.

Susan: It was actually exciting, because I could walk alongside someone and someone else could walk alongside me. We could encourage and support one another as we live out the gospel in our daily lives!

Nancy: Be sure to join us on Monday for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants to help you leave a godly legacy. It’s an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.