Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Life to Life

Leslie Basham: Many years ago Nancy Leigh DeMoss regularly saw a 14-year-old in the audience when she taught. The girl kept her arms folded and wore a blank expression.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: A lot of times we’re judging based on our own feelings and our own sense, and we can be very wrong. But I had the feeling that she was being dragged there by her mother when I was teaching and didn’t want to be there. The whole thing was just real uncomfortable for me.

Leslie: This scenario points out that you can’t assume you know what’s going on inside someone’s heart.

Several years later, this young woman had been transformed.

Nancy: She had become a beautiful, radiant, early 20s young woman who was full of Jesus, humble, responsive . . . did I say radiant? She really was radiant. I’m thinking, “We need to be careful not to assume things about where people are, even if they are hard." My dad always used to say, “There are no tough nuts for God to crack.”

Leslie: This Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. It’s Thursday, December 2.

Nancy has been walking us through Titus chapter 2 in a series called, What Is a True Woman? One striking command in Titus 2 tells older women to teach the younger women. Nancy described this beautifully over the last few days.

Now we’ll look at some practical ways of living it out. Nancy is talking with a group of women about the mentoring relationships that have affected their lives. Let’s listen and get some solid tips on developing these kinds of relationships.

Nancy: Judy, I know you’ve been a mentor. So what is mentoring, discipling? Call it what you want, spiritual mothering, what does that look like for you in some of your relationships?

Judy: Melanie, I would like for you to come up. She’s someone God has brought into my life.

Nancy: Melanie, tell us what season of life you’re in.

Melanie: I’m a 32-year-old single gal. I watched my mom go to be with Jesus. I’m very grateful to have had the mom that I had. Even in the way that God chose to take her and the people that He put with me, even as I was saying goodbye to her and thanking God for the mom that I had, Judy was there. She has really been loving me these last two months. Sometimes it looks like . . . Sometimes it’s things like reading Scripture.

She lives near my house. She does her daily walks, power walks past my house, and then I’m yelling out the window. She’ll come over for water, and she has her little verses on her cards. She’ll share the Scripture with me. Then she does the same thing, she encourages me to go to the Word with things.

Then in practical ways . . . She’s left me messages, “On your way home from work, stop and get some eggplant parmesan I’ve made for you.” It’s things that a mom would do. I shouldn’t be stunned, but I am by how God in His grace is loving me through His people, through Judy.

Nancy: I’m guessing that Melanie is not the only one that has benefited from this relationship. How does it impact you to have Melanie in your life?

Judy: Oh, absolutely. I have daughters close to Melanie’s age, but my daughter that’s closest to her age lives in Colorado. Melanie really helps me to understand her age group and younger and where they are in the different struggles that they have that I didn’t deal with. She also mentors younger gals. She’s a leader of middle-school girls. My little granddaughter is now in her group.

Nancy: How cool is that?

Judy: Yes. So, anyway, I wish you could see when she walks into church. She gets surrounded by these girls. I can’t even get to her. But they love her, and she has such an opportunity to share in the lives of these 12- and 13-year-old girls.

Nancy: And what a great picture that is. Here’s a single gal in her early 30s who has a Titus 2 older woman in her life. She had her mom and then Judy now. And she is also being that older woman to some younger women.

Tell us, how did that thing come about with the middle-school girls.

Melanie: I love what you said about serving, not perfectly, but humbly. The youth pastor just asked me one day if I would help. I was thinking, “I have no idea how to work with adolescents or teenagers,” but I just did it. It’s been such a huge blessing to me. I feel like I’m just constantly getting blessed, and I’m just amazed that God can use me there. I love doing it. There’s so much joy in it, too.

Nancy: You see the chain here? There were women who had spoken into Judy’s life when she was a young mom. She’s now speaking into Melanie’s life. Melanie is speaking into the middle-school girls’ lives. And before you know it, those middle-school girls are going to be where you are, Melanie, you’re going to be where Judy is, and it’s a whole new generation coming along.

That’s what passes the baton of faith on from one generation to the next and makes it believable and gives these gals, these women, something to hang ontoreal life application of what it means to live out the gospel through death, through early parenting, as you experienced, Judy, through the different seasons of life, how to live out the gospel. It’s happening life to life.

I’m sure there are other influences in their livesthe preaching of the Word, good books, and Christian radio, I’m sure (Laughter), women’s conferences. But where so much of the impact is made is in these life-to-life relationships. They don’t make the press, they don’t make great headlines, but that’s where so much of the power of the gospel being passed on from one generation to the next is taking place.

Anything either of you want to add?

Judy: Well, if Gail wants to share, the other thing I think is that I don’t always go looking for relationships, but I’m open to it before the Lord. It seems like God has just brought those relationships.

Gail showed up at our church one day with an absolute broken heart. I was just able to minister to her, so I’ll let her share.

Nancy: Now, those of you who are listening to us on the radio or on the Internet can’t see that Judy and Gail, I’m not going to guess ages here, but they are closer in age than Judy is to this younger Melanie, but there’s still some influence going on here.

Gail, how did you come into Judy’s life, and what has the Lord done through that?

Gail: Well, about six years ago I was going through very, very difficult circumstances in my personal life. When I came into the church, I was so broken that I was probably close to just not wanting to be alive anymore. I would cry every Sunday. I was brought into a Bible study with Judy as the leader. She obviously sensed my brokenness because I cried all the time.  

She became a very strong spiritual mentor for me. But also was the support of so many other people. Despite the circumstances, the support was almost overwhelming.

That was a long time ago for me. Judy's only about two years older than me, but she feels like a mom to me. I’m really glad that God is so full of grace that He will take people, and He will put exactly who we need in our lives at exactly the right time. That spiritual growth is an incredible thing that I know that I’ve had. I’m not saying I’ve arrived, but I’ve come a long way through God’s grace in the last six years.

Judy: God’s grace is in all of our lives because none of us know what we will face in the future, but He is there, and He is faithful.

Nancy: God mediates His grace to us so often through other people. It’s life to life. Paul says, “You know how we lived among you.” He says in 1 Thessalonians 1 and 2, “We loved you so much that we were willing to give to you not only the gospel but our very lives as well.”

That’s what I think breaks down barriers, softens people’s hearts, makes them open and receptive to the Lord.

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been talking with some of our listeners who have discovered the value of Titus 2 type mentoring relationships. Some Revive Our Hearts’ staff was also part of that conversation. In a minute we’ll hear from Carrie Gaul and Kim Wagner. They both contribute to the True Woman blog. So does Paula Hendricks who provides our next question.

Paula Hendricks: Nancy, you talked about the need to model with our lives and then train with our words. There’s a sense in which we’re all broken and fragile, so how do we know and discern if we’re whole enough, if we’re right enough with God to be able to invest in other people’s lives, or if we still need more work?

Nancy: I don’t know if we’re ever whole enough to think that we should invest in someone else’s life. We always are projects still under construction and desperately in need of God’s grace. But, Kim, Carrie, you all are discipling women. Don’t you find that in many of the areas where you’re investing in the lives of younger women or other women that God uses that to bring healing and wholeness in your own life as you’re in the process of sharing with others?

Carrie, I’m thinking about some conversations we’ve had this year. Both of us, through unrelated circumstances, have had some tough challenges in our lives this past year and some emotional ups and downs, some roller coaster times emotionally. And yet, I’ve found, and I’d like to hear your take on this, that, as I have ministered to people in the midst of . . . These aren’t issues of I’m in the process of sinning, but I’m stumbling and not where I want to be in terms of my own feet planted solidly. I have found that as I’m in the midst of that, ministering authentically, out of my own life and out of the truth, that I end up counseling my own heart. I end up hearing what I’m telling another woman, and I’m thinking to myself, “That would be good counsel for you to take right now.” (laughter) Have you experienced that some, Carrie?

Carrie Gaul: Absolutely, and I think that there are times when one of the greatest lies of the enemy is that, “You can’t speak right now because you’re not perfect.” We’re never going to be perfect this side of heaven. We’re in process. The Spirit of God is working in our own lives. In this last year I have seen again and again that God’s doing something in this country in the lives of women. We are seeing it not just in little pockets, but across the country, and in our own office where the Spirit of God is revealing to the people of God levels of sin that we never imagined existed in our own lives.

He’s doing that in my life, and it is heavy. It’s hard. I stand back sometimes and think, “Lord, how could I have walked with You all these years, and You’ve seen this crud that’s here? How could I really have ministered out of that crud?” His Spirit is saying, when I’m listening . . .  This is where I hear myself counseling other women with this, and I think, “Oh, that’s good, Carrie, that’s really good. I want to take that today.” Then when your husband says the same thing when you get off the phone, he says, “Maybe apply that today. It’d be a good thing.” (laughter)

It is hearing the Spirit of God saying over and over again, “My child, I loved you when you were in your sin, before you ever came to Me. That love has never changed. It’s the love of God that’s revealing sin in your life so that the crud is gone, so that the avenue between you and I is unclogged.”

One of the young gals that I walk with on a regular basis, as I’m just sharing that out of my own life, and she’s in the same thing. So it’s just encouraging each other that we don’t have to be perfect in order to teach. It’s just life upon life and watching that God is still at work in our life. No matter what age we are, no matter what season, no matter how long we’ve walked with Him, He’s still at work.

Kim Wagner: Oh, I agree with that, Carrie, because I think what you’re talking about is just sharing the fresh work that God is doing in your life now . . . “I met with God this morning, and this is what He convicted me about, this is what He showed me in His Word, and let me just share that with you.” I agree definitely. That’s living as the body of Christ with one another. That’s being transparent and sincere, women of integrity with one another, encouraging one another to godliness like Hebrews 10 talks about.

Paula: I’ve heard before that we are supposed to invest in people who are hungry, and I guess I’m wondering how do you know if a person is hungry. If they seem half-hearted, how do you know if they’re worth your time?

Kim: I like to challenge women with assignments, like asking them: “Read this passage of Scripture, then we’ll meet.” Or I’ll give them a book to read and say, “Let’s talk about it.” But to challenge them with assignments so if they’re serious about getting into the Word, if they’re teachable, then they’ll want to follow through with that.

That’s not to say that we don’t give out truth to people that don’t seem hungry. Nancy shared once about a young woman that she shared the gospel with that she didn’t know until years later that that woman responded and came to know the Lord. So we do share truth even when we don’t see that teachable, hungry heart. But if it’s going to be an ongoing discipling relationship, it is good to challenge them.

They need to dig into the Word for themselves. They will not grow if they don’t dig into the Word for themselves. To give them some specific, sometimes I’ll call it “homework assignments,” that helps them to grow, and then it also encourages me because I see they’re serious, they’re taking their Christian walk seriously.

Nancy: I’ve been going through a bit of a metamorphosis in my own paradigm and thinking of this matter of teachable disciples. There’s a lot of importance to that. When I was being discipled by somebody on the staff of our church when I was a teenage girl, one of the things they would say is, “Love them all; pray for them all; but focus on the spiritually responsive ones.” Then they would say, “Look for F.A.T. disciples. F-A-Tfaithful, available, and teachable.”

So that is one way of looking at this. Certainly, if somebody is teachable and hungry and responsive, that makes the mentoring process a lot more fruitful, productive, certainly easier on you, and it’s easier on them. So as you talk about Titus 2, I do think we’re supposed to obviously, older women, if you find younger women who are hungry-hearted, go for it, invest in them. But it’s interesting that passage doesn’t just say that we’re to invest in the hungry-hearted ones.

Now, there’s more you can do. You can take somebody further if they’re hungry-hearted and open because that’s humble. And Proverbs says if you’re not humble, you can’t learn. So somebody who is proud or not teachable, you’re not going to get very far with them. But I still think we have a responsibility as older women to younger women, regardless of whether they’re hungry or not.

Again, you may not be able to take it as far, you may not be able to invest as deeply, you may not see the same kind of fruit. But young women who are not loving their husbands and children, I think, for us to see that attitude that maybe they have and for us to just hang back and say, “Well, they don’t care, they’re not interested, they wouldn’t listen,” I’m not sure we’re fulfilling our responsibility to them as part of the body.

We’re a family, we’re part of each other. When we see within our community of faith, within our circle of friends or our church, we see young women who are heading on paths that are destructive to their lives, they’re tearing down their marriages in some cases, younger women or older women, I think there’s a responsibility. First earn the right to be heard. You can’t just walk up and hit them with a two-by-four. They need to know you care. There needs to be enough relationship that they know you’re not just coming and laying the book on them. But having that, I think we need to be willing to speak into their lives whether we think they are listening or not.

I had an experience at one point of, as an older woman, seeing a younger woman who had made some very foolish choices morally. God put me in a position where I was given the opportunity to invest in her life. I began finding that under that exterior was a very teachable heart, a humble one, and one that was willing to be broken and repentant. If I hadn’t been thrown into the situation, I probably would not have approached her, and I found someone who was so open, so teachable, and so responsive. I never would have guessed, and I would have missed the blessing of what I’ve seen God do in that woman’s life since.

Time is an important thing, too. We want everything to be a quick harvest, but harvest doesn’t come that way. You plant the seed; you water it; you fertilize it; you tend to it; you weed it; you wait, and you wait, and you wait, and you don’t see the harvest right away. I think we need to invest in that way, realizing it may be the next person who reaps the harvest in their lives.

So, yes, if they’re teachable and responsive, that’s a joy. Those are fun. I’d like to have them all that way. That’s less intimidating, but I think it takes more compassion and love, in a sense, to approach the young woman who is headed on a collision course with danger, spiritually, and to be willing to approach her, to love her, to take her under your wing, to the extent that she will let you.

I’m thinking of a gal who, when I first met her, she was about 14 years old. Her mother came to some of our recordings and would occasionally bring her daughter with her. This daughter looked the part of a hard teenager. Teenagers scare me. I’m easily intimidated by teens. As I told you earlier, I never was cool; I still am not cool. I thought, “There is no way I could ever penetrate this girl, her heart, her spirit.” She didn’t talk much. She seemed to me to be cold and aloof.

I had the feeling that she was being dragged there by her mother when I was teaching, and she didn’t want to be there. The whole thing was really uncomfortable for me.

Well, fast forward over the next several years. First of all, that girl got saved through a process of multiple people investing in her and her mom’s lives. She really came into a genuine relationship with Christ. Over the next several years, I watched her blossom. By the time I left that area . . . I’m not taking credit for this. I was one of several influences in her life. But she had become a beautiful, radiant, early 20s young woman, full of Jesus.

I’m thinking, “I don’t know where her heart really was when she looked so hard to reach. You know, every 14-year-old looks hard to reach to me, and that’s saying more about me than it does about them, I guess. But we need to be careful not to assume where people are hard. My dad always used to say, “There are no tough nuts for God to crack.”

So be in it for the long haul. Even realize that even if you never see the fruit of it, God may be planting seeds in that life that someone else is going to come and be able to reap the harvest.

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss often says, “Every woman is an older woman to someone.” So we all need to be following the mandate of Titus 2 and mentoring someone else. Today we’ve heard from Nancy and some friends on what those relationships look like day by day.

We’re so thankful that God has allowed us to enter our 10th year of making those kinds of connections with women over the radio, but in this 10th year, we’re also facing some serious challenges. Nancy’s here to explain.

Nancy: As we’ve often said before, Revive Our Hearts is a listener-supported ministry. That means that we rely on donations from those who believe in what we’re doing and want to see it continue.

I’m so thankful that even though many people are still struggling in this weak economy, donations to Revive Our Hearts are about the same this year as they were last year. I’m so grateful for every listener who has helped to support this ministry, but we have several other sources of revenue that are down significantly. As a result, we’re facing a serious budget shortfall as we near the end of 2010.

Our team here is committed to living within our means. That means we don’t spend money that we don’t have. So if the funds aren’t available, we have to make cuts. We’ve already made some really difficult decisions to discontinue the program on a number of radio stations. We’d like to avoid having to make any further cuts, but we need your help.

December is always a critical time when listeners usually provide about 40% of the funds that we need for the entire year. We’re asking God to provide a significant infusion of funds between now and January 1.

A number of friends of Revive Our Hearts know how important year-end giving is to this ministry. They want to encourage you to give by matching each donation dollar for dollar up to $300,000.

Would you help us meet this matching challenge amount and, Lord willing, go far beyond it during the month of December?

You can make a donation online at ReviveOurHearts.com, or give us a call at 1-800-569-5959.

Now, speaking of facing a financial crunch, are you prepared for an even greater economic downturn that may be coming in the future? I was asked to address that question recently in a Q & A session with a group of women, and tomorrow you’ll hear how I responded. So please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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