Revive Our Hearts Podcast

More Practical Counsel for True Women

Leslie Basham: When Janet Parshall was a stay-at-home mom with young children, she took time from her busy schedule to read legal briefs with her husband. She wanted to stay involved with his life.

Janet Parshall: I didn’t want to get to the point where after all the kids were out the door I’d have to wear a name tag saying, “Hi, my name is Janet,” and reintroduce myself to him.

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Friday, June10.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I’m so thankful that the Lord gives us His Word and His Spirit so that we’ll know how to make wise decisions that honor Him. But I’m also really grateful that He gives us the body of Christ. We all need the wisdom that other women have gained, and we need to learn from the examples of others who have perhaps walked in places we haven’t.

I am so thankful to have many wise women who speak truth into my life. It was a privilege at each of the three True Woman conferences last year to have a panel of some of my favorite women, some of my dear friends who provided that kind of wise counsel based on their years of walking with the Lord.

Today we’re going to be listening to portions of panel discussions from the True Woman conferences that took place last year in Chattanooga, Indianapolis, and Fort Worth. Let me tell you a little bit about what you’ll hear over these next moments.

You’re going to hear how women can honor the Lord through the gift of singleness. And for those of you who are married, you’ll gain wisdom on how to stay close to your spouse. And, moms, we have some practical advice coming up for you about schedules as you navigate different seasons of life.

Now, before we begin, I want to remind you that we have two True Woman conferences coming up on the calendar. The first, revive ’11, is for any woman who is ministering to other women. That will take place this coming November. Then next September we’ll be hosting True Woman ’12.

I’ll tell you more about these conferences at the end of today’s program, and you can go to ReviveOurHearts.com to get more information. The discussions you’re about to hear will give you a taste of what you can expect at a True Woman conference.

Leslie Basham: We’ll begin with Rosalyn Hickman. She’s involved in women’s ministry in the Chattanooga area. She says mentoring doesn’t have to be complex.

Rosalyn Hickman: My major mentor in my life was my mom. My mom died at the age of 39. She had lupus. Lupus runs in my family. My sister was 22; it took her out. My grandmother was 32; it took her out. But my mom was before her time. She would operate very well right now, but back in the day she poured into me God’s Word. I’m grateful for that.

Mary Kassian: I love one of the things you said is invite them into your life.

Leslie Basham: This is True Woman speaker Mary Kassian.

Mary Kassian: I’ve had women come up, “Oh, mentor me!” And they’re thinking I’m going to do a program, and I tell them. “Okay, here’s my laundry. Help me fold it.” (Laughter) Or, “I’m going to the hockey game to watch my kids tonight. You can come and buy me a coffee, and we can sit and watch the hockey game.”

So mentoring goes on in the context of real life and just inviting people into your life. Don’t you feel that?

Dannah Gresh: My husband calls that “be-with” time.

Leslie Basham: Dannah Gresh heads up the teen track at True Woman.

Dannah Gresh: When we’re mentoring or being mentored, especially when we’re the mentor and we’re in charge of that, what we’ve programmed ourselves to think is that anything that you do—grocery shopping, running errands, to pick-up time—is “be-with” time, and you just say to that (for me it’s usually teenagers, 16 year olds), “Jump in the car with me. I have 15 minutes. We can talk while I pick up Lexie.”

Mary Kassian: I find that it just leads to such . . . It so enriches me, and I love it when my son . . . Actually, some of my best hang-out people are my son’s friends. They will phone, and my kids aren’t even home, and it will be like, “Can we come over? We just want to hang out.”

I was like, “Why do you want to hang out with old people?” One young man and his girlfriend said, “We just want to hang out with normal people. With people we can maybe aspire to be like some day, people that have something that works.”

Leslie Basham: Bob Lepine served as moderator of these panel discussions. He talked with pastor’s wife, Holly Elliff, about how formal a mentoring relationship needs to be.

Bob Lepine: I do think that we sometimes try to formalize it and say, “Okay, this person is mentor and this person is protégé or mentee,” and, frankly, I’m in relationships with people who I’m mentoring, and they’re mentoring me. I mean, it really does go both ways, Holly.

Holly Elliff: I do think it needs to be a little more natural than we sometimes think. We think of mentoring as a program or something that has to be orchestrated. I find that the best discipleship-type relationship is something that God just puts me with somebody, or I meet a young mom on the playground, and while her kids play, we can sit and chat. It’s what used to occur in our society around normal community events, but that doesn’t happen much anymore. 

I do think that God would bring people into our life if we had our eyes open a little more to see that.

Mary Kassian: I think you have to think, too, it’s not just one person that mentors you. There are several relationships. I know, for me, I can be mentored intellectually by one person and then mentored just in terms of how to be a wife by another person. There are just lots of different relationships going on in which we speak into each other’s lives.

Leslie Basham: Carolyn McCulley spoke to singles during a breakout session at True Woman. Bob Lepine got her perspective on mentoring.

Bob Lepine: Carolyn, as a single woman, is this trickier for you to be in a mentor/protégé’ type of relationship? Or how have you initiated it? How’s that happened?

Carolyn McCulley: I think a lot of it can be a reflection of the structure of our churches. I just joined a new church that we’ve started, and it’s in the suburbs of Washington, D.C.—right in the urban core. One of the reasons I joined that church—it was sent out from my old church—was because one of the core values was not segregating by season of life so that we could get to know each other across the way. (Sounds of applause and cheers)

So I’m excited about that, but I’ve now found myself being chronologically one of the older woman. It’s like, “Oh, oops.” (Laughter) We’re only three months old, and I’m excited about forming new relationships and having the opportunities to influence an area that has a lot of young professionals.

I’m being intentional that way, and then I’m finding that to be poured into as a single, it’s a lot harder because you’re a "go-to." You’re always having to meet people and spend time and plan and, like a lot of people, a lot of peer relationships, I go to them and say, “here are my issues,” and some very faithful friends.

Probably one of my most faithful is my blood sister, who is a sister in the Lord, and she’s been faithful to speak into my life. She was used by God to lead me to the Lord, and so I’m grateful for her.

Bob Lepine: Is it because of the married/single separation, is it trickier to . . . I mean, as you look at these relationships, so much of what goes on in these other women’s conversations is about their husbands, about their kids, about their home. You can be with women like that, and you’re going, “Okay, that’s not my life.”

Carolyn McCulley: Well, the husbands and children aren’t my life, but I’m still called to be intentional about the home and all the other values we see. That doesn’t change simply because I’m unmarried.

It also means I have to be proactive in thinking about, “What’s my role in supporting marriage and family in the church?”

What I love is being able to come to families, get to know them as an entire unit, hang out with the parents, offer to babysit the kids.

Mary Kassian: Yeah, we love Carolyn! (Laughter)

Carolyn McCulley: What you know of a childless, single woman . . . I’m one of those women who if you’ve got a baby, I’m going, “Give me your baby! Let me hold her!” (Laughter)

It’s a lot of fun, but it gives me an opportunity to provide date night for married couples because if we say marriage is important, it’s a foundational element of the local church, and just because I’m not married doesn’t mean I don’t make an investment in that. (Applause)

Mary Kassian: I love watching Carolyn’s life and Nancy’s life as single women. One of the things that I’ve noticed, and for those of you who are in that season, one of the things that I’ve noticed about them is how intentionally they invest in relationships with married couples.

I believe that provides them that roundedness and that focus in life where they are part of a really larger family. It’s not like they’re spending all their time with singles. They’re spending a lot of time with all sorts of phases of life and are very intentionally cultivating those relationships.

Carolyn’s a great babysitter for her friends or for hosting a dinner at her home and inviting married couples in. Her life is a testimony of integrating into community and that has become a family support, and the Lord is able to minister through that.

Carolyn McCulley: It works both ways, too . . . the fellowship that comes from that.

Rosalyn Hickman: I think that we as married couples . . . sometimes you see the segregation. In our church, we have the singles—30 and over singles—and then you have the married couples. Then if you get married, and you were in the singles class, now what class are you going to go to? You don’t know these married couples, and you still like your single friends.

Us married couples need to still embrace these singles, and singles, it’s okay to be with the married couples. We married couples need to not only look at the singles as our babysitters, or we’re going to match you up with someone, but just as another person in the body of Christ.

Carolyn McCulley: Although match up is okay. I’m okay with it. (Laughter)

Leslie Basham: For a mom to influence the next generation, it requires time. Janet Parshall talks about the investment she was called to make in her family. She’s the host of the radio program In the Market with Janet Parshall, but she didn’t always talk about public policy on the radio.

Janet Parshall: Craig was my high school sweetheart. I had dedicated my life to the Lord when I was 14. I just knew that I wanted to serve Him. I didn’t care where or how or when. I just knew that my life belonged to Him, and I wanted to serve Him.

So when these babies started to come along, and these four little stepping stones came right back to back, it was in the midst of the feminist movement. I was turning on the television and hearing women say, “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” Or they would say, “Motherhood is an illegitimate profession.” Yet I kept hearing this still, small, sweet voice that said, “Janet, I want you to look well to the ways of your household.”

So even though there was this cultural war that was going on right outside my front door, Craig and I knew that if God had blessed us with these children, we were the best Department of Health, Education and Welfare, and we had to take care of those babies. (Applause)

So we made the decision that I would stay home, and I never found a sense of frustration. Holly used an extremely important word for women, and that’s this concept of seasons. Women really do live their lives in seasons.

If there’s anything that I as an older woman can say to younger women it is, “Enjoy the season you’re in.” God is not the author of confusion. Within the parameters of that season, He has some very sweet, precious, eternal lessons He wants to teach you. So don’t rush to the next season. Enjoy to the fullness what that season has to teach you.

So everything that God taught me about values and family and writing biblical truths on the tablet of my children’s heart, that was all stuff the Lord was using in preparation to be able to defend those values in the marketplace of ideas.

My Father wouldn’t have asked me to go out there in the public square if I hadn’t had to learn how to do it around my kitchen table. So it was part of the script.

Listen, if He sent Paul to Arabia for three years, He can send me to my kitchen table for as many years as He wants.

Leslie Basham: True Woman speaker Karen Loritts picks up on this theme of seasons of a mom’s life.

Karen Loritts: We were in church-planting ministry in Texas and Mississippi for a while, and then itinerant ministry before that, and 27 years with Campus Crusade for Christ. So we had a lot of ministry, and I was always involved in supporting Crawford. God had gifted me in teaching . . . ya da, ya da, that kind of good stuff . . . and then I had children, and they were, like, sucking the air out of me. (Laughter)

I wanted to be on campus with the students. When our youngest went to school, I was lobbying for the public school system. I was just trying to figure out how to do this.

Talking about the seasons of life, one day I realized I was in big trouble when I was spending more time down at the state capital on behalf of my children’s education. My children are recycling their underwear, they’re microwaving hot dogs. I said, “Something’s wrong with this picture.” (Laughter) “Someone else can go down there and lobby, but no one, at this particular time, God has called to raise my children but me.” So I said, “Girl, you’ve got to get yourself together.” (Applause)

Carolyn McCulley: Janet, we had dinner about a year and a half ago, I think it was, and you were telling me the story of how you and Craig worked together in figuring out how you were going to stay involved in his life and looking forward to perhaps what God might have in the future. I love that story, and I was wondering if you’d share it with everybody.

Janet Parshall: Craig has the gift of wisdom, and he’s a marvelous teacher. As these four little stepping stones came, I had agreed that I’d step away from doing what I was degreed in doing and stay home to take care of these kids.

My precious husband, who is an attorney, would come home with a legal brief, complete with the blue paper on the back and the white paper on the front, and he would say, “Here, honey, when the kids are taking a nap, read this brief. Then when you get a chance, what we’ll do is, after the kids are down, tell me who you would pick to serve on the jury and who you would side with—the plaintiff or the defendant.”

I thought to myself, “Why would I do that?” I was big into Pampers and Sesame Street. Why would I be reading a legal brief, right? (Laughter)

What happened is, I would put the kids down, and I started reading these things, and then after it was just our time, and we had those minutes together, we’d start dialoguing. A couple of things happened as a result of that.

Number one: Craig was teaching me how to be a critical thinker. You think linearly with kids—it’s just step one to the next step. But he really made me do some abstract thinking that I hadn’t had to do with raising kids.

There was also a subtext to what he was doing that was marvelous as well, and that was it was setting the trajectory that our lives would blend together, not grow apart. I didn’t want to get to the point where, after all the kids were out the door, I’d have to wear a name tag saying, “Hi, my name is Janet,” and reintroduce myself to him.

In the process of reading these legal briefs, our lives started to blend together in a deeper and a richer way. It kept me very involved in what he was doing—I could ask him more insightful questions about his life, his practice, what was going on. He had a greater understanding of what was going on in my life. It was a marvelous tutorial.

I look back—God is so good. He’s so purposeful. He never, ever, ever misses an opportunity in His classroom to teach us. God was using all of that for the prep that I would need for the work He was preparing for me down the road a piece. So I praise God for what Craig did.

Mary Kassian: I love that because I think so often we think, if we’re home with kids, that’s all. That’s it. But God has given us an incredible amount of mental energy and emotional energy, and it’s important to stay engaged. It really is very, very important to stay engaged.

What is worrisome to me sometimes is women who, their children is the only thing, and they do not engage in ministry. They’re all about their children, and they don’t teach their children that life isn’t just all about them.

Brent and I had this sign when I had a real tough day, and I needed to get out in the evening and needed to engage, I had this “V.” I would go like this. That meant vegetable brain. (Laughter) He would walk in, and I would go [shows "V" sign], and he’d say, “I think mom needs to get out tonight.”

I really appreciated that because husbands do that. They sense that. They draw you in. A man who is a good leader in your home will challenge you. And probably there is no one who has challenged me intellectually more than my husband to think and be engaged and to be engaged with ideas and theology books and to wrestle with concepts.

Our house is a fertile place for learning and growth for the entire family.

Bob Lepine: It’s possible for your children to become an idol in your life, isn’t it?

Holly Elliff: It’s possible for anything to become an idol in your life.

Bob Lepine: Except for Jesus.

Holly Elliff: Well, He’s supposed to be.

Bob Lepine: That’s right.

Holly Elliff: I do think it’s important for women to realize that when they are mothers, that it’s not that you, as Mary said, put your brain on the shelf, or that you quit thinking or you quit learning. Whether you’re single and God is dealing with you in those aspects of your life, or whether you’re married and you’re currently raising children, God is still interested in your growth.

It doesn’t mean that my brain goes away just because I had a baby. I do have to be more intentional. If I have children, I have to be more intentional, I think, sometimes to make sure that my focus is not just on kids’ stuff.

It is important to have conversations with your husband at night. Talk about current events. Talk about what God is doing in your church or in your own ministry. Don’t just yield the floor totally when you’re raising kids. You still stay plugged in to the realities around you.

Janet Parshall: Date your mate. Find that time where it’s just the two of you because, Lord willing, they will walk out the door some day, and you won’t be putting a revolving door in the front door.

Holly Elliff: And they will stop coming home.

Carolyn McCulley: There are some students coming home.

Janet Parshall: But you want to make sure that you’re continuing to invest. It’s God, family, and everything else, and in that order. And even in the family hierarchy, it is your husband and then your children.

You talk about intentionality, which is a word we love to use. When you’re exhausted, when you’re tired, when the kids have sucked the life blood out of you, you still have to look at that precious man, where you made that covenant relationship, and say, “I’m going to prioritize this.”

What Craig and I would do, every three months, we would literally take the calendar, and we’d plan a time where we’d go away for the weekend. We didn’t care if it was a Motel 6. It was just going to be the two of us away so that we would constantly have that romantic aspect of our marriage forever in place.

Leslie Basham: The ladies who attended a True Woman ’10 conference heard a wealth of great information. Karen Loritts gave them some counsel on how to begin to apply it to their lives.

Karen Loritts: First, be prayerful. Look at your notes and ask God, the Holy Spirit, to zero down one or two of the things that God has been tipping at your heart that you need to change. What things do you need to get rid of? Some girlfriends that are not taking you to the place that God wants you to show you true womanhood? Get rid of some of those girlfriends, make that call, text them, email, whatever you need to do.

Surround yourself with women that are godly women that will pray for you, and then make a list of things that need to change in your life. There was a time in the earlier years that I didn’t want to leave my children. My husband said, “Ain’t no way that’s going to happen. Find a babysitter. They’re going to be okay.” So I could be with him.

Make those priority choices because your husband is a person that God brought into your life. So you need to invest in that relationship. Look at your life and do an extreme makeover and do those things.

Then have an accountability person. You need a Martha, a Mary, and an Elizabeth in your life, an older person, a person who’s your peer, and a younger person, to round out your life a little bit. Believe God for those things, and start the process of changing.

I’m going to be 60. You know what? I’m changing. Change is a good thing. (Applause) But you need to start.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Well, that’s my friend Karen Loritts. I know you’ve enjoyed listening to the wisdom of these different women as we’ve been listening to portions of panel discussions that were recorded at last year’s True Woman conferences.

We wanted to use this program to give you a small taste of what it’s like to attend one of those conferences. I hope you’ll take advantage of the chance to experience True Woman for yourself.

Just a reminder that two True Woman events are coming up in the next months. If you’re involved in women’s ministry in any way, I hope you’ll join us for revive ’11. I’m talking about pastors’ wives, church staff wives, women’s ministry leaders, Bible study teachers, counselors. Anyone who’s involved in serving woman, revive ’11 is for you.

This is a great chance to pull back from the demands of ministry and to let your own heart be refreshed. I’m confident that you’ll return to your place of service with new ideas and a fresh sense of vision for what God has called you to do.

I’ll be there at revive ’11 along with Pastor Crawford Loritts, and then dear friends of mine, Susan Hunt, Holly Elliff, Kim Wagner, and others. Then Fernando Ortega will be leading us in worship. As I’ve talked with women about this conference, when I say the name Fernando Ortega, invariably their eyes lit up, and they go, “Oh, I really want to be there for that.”

Revive ’11 is coming to Indianapolis this November 4 and 5. I hope you’ll make plans now to join us for that special weekend.

Then be sure to mark your calendar now for True Woman ’12. The theme is “Seeking Him Together.” This is a conference for every woman who longs for a deeper relationship with the Lord. True Woman ’12 is coming September of 2012.

Both of these conferences will be held in Indianapolis. To get more details about either conference, or to register now for revive ’11, just visit us at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Each year as we approach Father’s Day, I find it a special time to remind myself of the many things I learned from my own dad who’s been with the Lord now for more than 30 years. I will be sharing some of those insights in a series called, The Instruction of a Father, starting on Monday.

So after you worship and serve at your church this weekend, I hope you’ll join us again next week for Revive Our Hearts.

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

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