Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: At a certain point in her life, radio host Janet Parshall had to decide whether to become a counter-cultural woman.

Janet Parshall: We would turn on the evening news, and I would hear a woman say, “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle,” or “Marriage is an illegitimate profession,” or “Children will drain your brain.”

I have book after book, article after article, front-page magazine story after magazine story saying, “This is a wrong choice.”

I had to go to my husband and say, “I need your guidance; I need your input; I want to know what you think about this.” He looked at me and said, “Honey, I can think of no higher calling in your life than to look well to the ways of your household.”

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. It’s Wednesday, June 20.

We’re gearing up for an exciting conference this fall. Thousands of women have made plans to join us for True Woman 12: Seeking Him Together for Spiritual Awakening. In fact, we’re anticipating that the conference may sell out. So I hope you’ll hurry to make plans to join us September 20-22 in Indianapolis.

Janet Parshall will be speaking at True Woman '12. She’s no stranger to our listeners. She’s the host of In the Market with Janet Parshall, a daily radio program. For many years has been active in Washington DC as an advocate for principles and policies that would strengthen the family.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss sat down with Janet to get some of her background and hear what’s on her heart.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Janet, thank you so much for joining us today on Revive Our Hearts.

Janet: It is my pleasure to be with you, Nancy, and may I just say at the onset the absolute admiration and respect I have for you because you know the Word, you love the Word, you love sound doctrine, and you preach it thoroughly and accurately.

That’s something sorely needed in our culture today, so you’re a woman of God whom I have admired for a long time. It’s a very special privilege for me to be with you.

Nancy: Well, thank you, and you know, it’s the Word that changes lives. That’s where the power is. When it comes down to it, people don’t really need to know what your opinion is, or mine, or anybody else’s, for that matter; but, “What sayeth the Lord? What is God’s heart on this?”

Janet: That’s right.

Nancy: That’s one of the things that has drawn me to you over the years. Not only are you knowledgeable and proficient on issues related to public policy and current events—my head kind of spins when I get around you talking about those subjects because you are so aware of them. But, you take things back to the plumb line of God’s Word, and I’ve appreciated that. You’re not just a conservative commentator, but one whose thinking is really rooted in the Word of God, so thank you.

Janet: Thank you. The word I love to use for that is “bibliocentric.”

Nancy: Yes.

Janet: In other words, if we’re going to put on a pair of glasses and look at the world, the grid through which we have to view the world around us has to be the Word of God.

It’s very easy, and sometimes it’s flawed thinking, to categorize so much of what happens out there in the culture as “political,” and I’m going to tell you why, because I think there’s a bit of a quagmire there in our thinking.

If we categorize it as “political,” particularly in the Church universal, we think, “Well, politics and religion don’t mix.” We’ve bought into all that.

By the way, if I can digress for a moment on that point and redo the lexicon—if we were to say, “Does our relationship with Jesus Christ have an impact on the kind of public policy we’d like to see drafted, or who we’d like to see elected to office?” the answer would be a profound yes.

We certainly can go through the Scriptures and see all of the men and women of old who intersected with government, some to the point where their heads were surgically removed from their shoulders when they interacted with government.

Nancy: Yes.

Janet: So if we redefined that, and we understand that government, like every aspect of the world, is an area that needs to be influenced by the power of God . . . for Christians to categorize that as an area where we don’t go is unbliblical, it’s foolish, and it’s a missed opportunity. 

 There are wonderful people in my town who feel it is a high calling in their lives to come and serve in the public arena. But going back to the average American, like me, where you look at all of this, it's very easy to say, "That's political and I'm going to push it aside."

But what I find interesting is they in Washington, when I'm listening to these debates, I'm thinking, "They don't realize that that's a biblical issue that they are debating." Whether it's about embryonic stem cell research, which goes to the sanctity of human life that God declared in the book of Deuteronomy; or whether it is the definition of marriage, which is put forth in Genesis and reaffirmed by Jesus in the gospels; or whether or not it happens to be the issue of national sovereignty, which is a biblical principle, not a government principle; you begin to understand that so much of what graces the front pages of our headlines if it is unpacked, really goes back to underpinnings of biblical issues. Why would the Church abdicate that?

I think that’s a glorious opportunity for us to step into an Acts 17 model like Paul, to listen to the Stoics and the Epicureans and the intellectuals of the day and to be able to say to the culture, “I hear where you’re coming from,” in a loving way; and then to be able to say, “but . . .” and then try to fill in the gaps of their worldview with what we know to be absolute truth. That’s a mission field.

I’ve shared with you before, Nancy, that when I came to the Lord, I was fully convinced that I would be called to a foreign mission field. I got called to Washington.

Nancy: You sure did.

Janet: That’s pretty foreign.

Nancy: Yes.

Janet: But it is a mission field nonetheless. It’s a different kind of sophisticated “tribe” that we minister to here, but there are people who need Jesus. The power of the Word needs to be infused in these debates—carefully, judiciously, in a mature fashion, with great sensitivity, very often hearing more than speaking. These are issues that cannot be abdicated by the Christians.

Not everyone is called to this. I understand that, but I praise God that He hasn’t called His people out of this, because one can only wonder what government in our country would look like without Christians.

If there had not been a biblical influence by our founders in all of those aspects, what would our country be like? The whole idea of inalienable rights coming from our creator is a biblical principle. The whole idea of elected representatives goes back to Moses saying "choose among yourselves."

You look at all these biblical principles that are already in Scripture and I think, "If we were in absentia, what a different country we would be living in."

Nancy: I think, over the course of my lifetime, one of the things I’ve watched is that Christians have really gone on the defensive about their faith and how it intersects with culture and current events. I’m sitting here, as I’m listening to you, thinking of that old hymn, “This Is My Father’s World.”

It belongs to Him. He is the King. He is the Ruler. He is the Supreme Potentate of all the universe—of all universes—and we don’t need to be on the defense. Now, that doesn’t mean we’re supposed to be offensive in the way that we express these things.

Janet: Absolutely.

Nancy: To think that God, in order to communicate with this world, humbled Himself and took on human flesh and our humanness, and lived our life and died our death—it’s an amazing thing that He would stoop.

So as we engage with the culture, we do it, hopefully, in a spirit of humility and grace. It’s grace and truth that transform lives, and the gospel is the grace and truth of God. We don’t have to be cowering in the corner and wringing our hands, feeling like the devil has taken over the world. It’s not the devil’s world. It’s my Father’s world!

Janet: Exactly. Oh, I’m so glad you said that. One example I love to put out there about the transforming power of the gospel, personally but also corporately, is a new discovery for a lot of our friends, and that is the story of William Wilberforce.

For our friends who don’t know his story, he spent his entire life working toward one thing, and just shortly before his death, he saw a bill passed in Great Britain that did in fact rid that land of slavery.

Nancy: After decades of persevering against all odds.

Janet: Exactly, and people telling him to be quiet: “You’re causing a problem!” He persevered because he said he knew that the Word made it absolutely clear that this was sin, so he felt his calling in Parliament was to be able to move this message forward.

He ended up seeing it just before the Lord called him home, but he spent his entire life doing it. I’m sure there were quiet moments of frustration and destitution when he raised his hands to his heavenly Father and thought, “Why? I don’t want to do this. This is too hard a race to run.”

When he died and his body was laid to rest in Westminster, I love what was said on his tombstone, because it is the profound nature of that message that’s a reminder to all of us. It says, “William Wilberforce. He lived his life with the eloquence of the gospel.” Isn’t that wonderful?

Nancy: Yes.

Janet: I mean, it says it all. They didn’t say, “Great politician; great parliamentarian.” What they said was, “He lived out his relationship with Christ Jesus.”

If he hadn’t said, “Father, my relationship with You compels me to go into the marketplace of ideas, expose the deeds of darkness, speak the truth in love, point out where there’s wrongdoing, then I have no relationship with You at all . . .”

History was rewritten because of a man who took his faith seriously and took it out into the culture.

Nancy: That message is not just for parliamentarians or radio talk show hosts like yourself. I’m thinking of the women who listen to Revive Our Hearts who are faithfully loving their husbands, loving their children, leading their families to love the Lord; and in the workplace, as single women, and in the church, and in the community. There’s not a person listening to Revive Our Hearts today who doesn’t have the same calling.

Janet: Exactly.

Nancy: It may not look the same in how we live that out, but in the context where God has placed us in this season of life, we are to live out the eloquence of the gospel.

Janet: Exactly.

Nancy: You had the privilege from your early childhood of being exposed to the Word of God. Give us just a nutshell of the influence the Scripture had in your life as a child and why that’s been so valuable to you.

Janet: As a result of my being in a Christian home, Scripture memory was everywhere. Whether my mother was being seen at the kitchen table having her devotions, whether there were Bible verses taped up on the refrigerator—whether or not our Sunday School class would have Scripture memory programs, I was just . . . the only word that comes to my mind is immersed.

I was immersed in a family where it was the Word, the Word, the Word. There was no alternative. There was no question as to whether or not. That was what defined us.

I saw it not in some sort of dictatorial, “You will do this!” I saw the grace and the genteel nature of my mother. I saw the boldness and courage and strength of my dad. The two of them coupled together, loving the Lord, encouraging me to know how important the Word was simply by seeing it lived out in their lives and what they did.

This is my word of encouragement to moms who are thinking, “Oh, I’m too tired. I don’t want to pack them off to AWANA. I don’t want to go to Sunday school. We fight all the way to church, and then we’re supposed to have this perfect family when we finally get there, and it’s too discouraging.”

Let me encourage you that you are investing in the future. You are planting seeds, and what you have to be is a faithful farmer. You won’t see that harvest right away.

I hearken back to my mother and father, planting the seeds of truth in my heart. Yes, just like every other child raised in a Christian home, I had my time when I was kicking against the goads, and I didn’t want to be involved in all that stuff.

But I look back now and think, God was using that in a profound way to write His truths on the tablets of my heart. Not only that, but when I got older and the Lord started blessing us with children, I began to understand that the greatest treasure I had been given wasn’t a financial one, but rather the legacy of faith that I was able to pass down to my children.

Nancy: Yes.

Janet: What I’m saying to those moms at home right now who are thinking, “Oh, this is so hard. This is day after day after day . . .” Let me just remind them that the time is going to come—and I promise you, it will catch you by surprise—when all of a sudden you’re going to be reminded that all those moments of investment—the times when you prayed together, the times when you had Scripture memory together—are going to reap a harvest that is invaluable.

To women in that season right now, I say as a Titus woman to you, “Been there; done it.” I had four babies under the age of six at one time, and there were many a day when I thought, “What am I investing in?”

Particularly, Nancy, because when I was doing it, this is when the feminist movement was being birthed in our country, and there was no affirmation for the choice to stay home.

Nancy: To the contrary, there was a siren call to get out of the home and into careers.

Janet: Exactly.

Nancy: How did you buck that?

Janet: I have to tell you, this is my pilgrimage. This is my story.

I was college educated. I shared with you that I married my high school sweetheart. I had a degree. I was pursuing an advanced degree. I thought I was going to go on in my area of academic pursuit.

We made the decision to start having children; and, honestly, Craig and I had to sit and have these long, prayerful conversations where we said, “Now, if we do this, there’s a whole world out there, a roaring culture that’s saying, ‘You have these babies, you drop them in daycare, and you take off.’”

Now, I don’t mean that to cast dispersion on anyone who has to make that choice. I’m telling you my journey, my personal “pilgrim’s progress.”

I was in the time, the era, when we would turn on the evening news, and I would hear a woman say, “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle,” or “Marriage is an illegitimate profession,” or “Children will drain your brain.”

I had to go to my husband and say, “I need your guidance; I need your input; I want to know what you think about this.” He looked at me and he said, “Honey, I can think of no higher calling in your life than to look well to the ways of your household.”

So, with his encouragement and many, many hours in prayer, we decided that I would be an at-home mom.

Now, my husband was in grad school. He was in law school at the time. I’m here to tell you, you can do a lot of creative things with baked potatoes and eggs.

But we knew that we were investing in these little ones. I didn’t want to miss the first word, the first step. I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to help mold and shape their hearts and their minds.

But I’m telling you, Nancy, I had peers who said, “I can’t think of a more foolish decision on your part, Janet, than to stay home and have children.”

Now, I’ve got to tell you, when you’re taking care of runny noses and feverish kids, and the house is blown to smithereens, and you’ve just washed the kitchen floor and now there’s milk all over it from one end to the other; there are moments when Satan slithers up next to you, like he’s done since we were in the Garden, rattles his tail and says, “You really think this was the right choice?”

I used to laugh because the end of a two-week period would come, and if you use the paradigm of the world, after two weeks, uh, there’s no paycheck. There are no bonus payments here. I don’t get an advancement in my job.

Yet it’s interesting because, as I remember, at the time someone had written an article doing a side-by-side comparison of what an at-home mother’s worth would be compared to a woman who’s out in the work world.

If you were to hire somebody to do everything I was doing at home, I far outdistanced what I think Craig or I would have been able to pay for, number one, and outdistanced what I would have gotten had I been out working in the field of my endeavor. So, just for the economic reasons, the socio-economic reasons, there was substantiation to being home.

But more importantly, it really was a matter of not listening to the world but listening to the Word—that still, small voice, as we love to refer to Him—our precious Father who wooed me to a place when He said, “These are treasures. These are irreplaceable treasures. I’m giving you a privilege  to take care of these minds, these hearts, to raise them in My nurture and My admonition, and to teach them My ways.”

I have to tell you, Nancy, I was the salmon. I was swimming upstream, cross-cultural of what was happening out there—magazine story and magazine story and magazine story—but can I tell you how good God is?

Little did I know that those years where I was in the kitchen, and I was in the family room, and I was in the playroom, and I was in the carpool, God was teaching me.

Nothing is ever wasted in His economy.

Oh, if I can just get that point across to our friends, particularly those that are in a different season, a younger season than where I am right now. Everything is to His glory, His purpose, and His honor, and God is a profound Teacher.

So all of those nuances of what it meant to be “pro-family”—a term we love to throw around here in Washington—would have meant nothing if I hadn’t had to walk through that experience.

God would never have given me a microphone and a platform and the opportunity to be on national television, debating feminists on the subject of what it means to be pro-family, if He hadn’t said, “I’m going to teach you what it means to be pro-family.”

When you think of God’s model, Moses had to learn how to herd sheep before he could herd the Hebrews through the wilderness.

That’s why I want to encourage women: If you think what you’re doing now amounts to nothing, change your perspective on this. For all you know, you’re in a classroom right now, and God is preparing you for another season, another calling; what’s happening in your life right now is preparatory for where that next stage is going to take you.

So even though at the time the culture didn’t support it, even though my friends didn’t support it, even though there were moments when in my quietude I thought, “Uh-oh, did I take a wrong turn here? I’m not going to be able to recoup the years that I’ve invested.” I look back now and think, “Thank You, Father, that You were using that as a classroom to teach me so many things,” not the least of which what it means to “look well to the ways of your household” [see Proverbs 31:27].

Nancy: Even if that hadn’t resulted in your ultimately having a national platform and having the microphone that you do today, just hearing you and Craig talk last night about the fact that all four of your children are now young adults and are walking with the Lord and thinking biblically . . . thinking of those five grandchildren who are in the process of being trained to walk with the Lord . . .

We’re always talking at Revive Our Hearts about the importance of passing the baton of faith, intact, on to the next generation. When I think about the huge percentage of young people today who are growing up in our Christian homes, our evangelical churches, and are leaving high school and leaving the faith—not to return for years, if ever—I think, “What greater reward?”

If you didn’t have Janet Parshall’s America and the opportunities the Lord has given you in the public eye, just the fact that you and Craig have, by God’s grace, imprinted the ways and the gospel and the Word of God on the hearts of your children, who are now doing it for the next generation, for a day that you will not live to see.

Janet: Exactly right. Oh, Nancy, can I underscore that? Because I think it’s such a profound point, and it really touches my heart when you say this. I’m being 100 percent open and transparent with you—I’m humbled at where God has taken me.

I’ve prayed with the President of the United States in the oval office. I’ve represented him at the United Nations when we had the opportunity to take a look at the UN Commission on the status of women around the world, and I heard these horrible—more to the point, these hellish—ideas, and I say that because that’s where they come from. They emanate from the pit of hell.

But if I were to look in the mirror and I were to say, “Who do I see when I look back?” or if someone were to say to me, “What is your greatest accomplishment?” it wouldn’t be any of that. It would be the fact that God called me to be a wife and a mother, and I mean that to the marrow of my bones.

In fact, I tell you, I just had this conversation with Craig the other night. We were taking a long walk together, and I said, “Craig, of all the things I’ve ever had the opportunity to do, being a mother is what I still consider the highest calling, and the one that I think has been the most reflective, I hope and pray, of who I am in Christ Jesus.”

So I say that again to women who are in that spot right now going, “Ugh. This is rote. It’s routine. There’s nothing that’s coming out of this.” I don’t know if we can begin to understand the profundity of what it means to be able to pass that on.

When you were talking, the word that came to my mind was intentionality. C. S. Lewis said . .  . and I quote this all the time because it is a challenge to me personally, especially as a women. So often we think with our emotions, which, by the way, is a bad sign of a post-modern world. If we do our thinking with our hearts all the time, we are going to get into trouble because our emotions cannot be trusted. We as women have a propensity to think with our emotions. But C. S. Lewis said exactly the opposite. He said, “The will must precede the emotions.”

So when you go back and you purpose in your heart to do what needs to be done for your children, this intentionality of saying, “I want to make sure that, above all else, you know Him and you walk with Him.”

  1. That will take you a lifetime.
  2. There is no higher calling.

I don’t care if you become the president of IBM. There is no higher calling than to be able to say you transmitted the truths of the gospel to the next generation.

Nancy: The goal is not just that you can have poster children and say you raised up good kids and they’re hard workers and good citizens. The goal is what you just said, that we’re transmitting the gospel of Jesus Christ to the next generation.

Janet: Exactly. Isn’t that a biblical model? If the Word is to be transmitted first to Jerusalem, then Judea, then Samaria, then the outermost parts of the world [see Acts 1:8], what’s the Jerusalem for the mom? It’s her family. It’s that sphere of influence that sits around her dinner table at night. That’s where you start.

So when you’re thinking, “Well, I wish the Lord would call me to a great, powerful, national ministry,” wait a minute. The Lord’s going to say to you, “What have you done with the ministry I gave you that’s sitting around your kitchen table?”

I heard a great Bible teacher years ago when Craig and I were contemplating what we would do with our lives. At one point Craig and I thought perhaps it would be time for him to leave law and go to seminary, and we would do full-time service in that particular arena.

Well, He called us to full-time service, but it wasn’t vis-à-vis seminary. But I remember this great, great, wise, biblical counselor saying, “What are you doing with the ministry you have now? Don’t just be preparing for ‘the ministry’ in the future. What are you doing with the ministry that you have now?”

I have to tell you, that went through my heart like a spear, because I thought, “That’s exactly right!” It’s very easy to say, “Oh, they’re up there on the platform; they have that national footprint.”

Wait a minute. God doesn’t care about that. He wants to know what you’re doing with the ministry He’s given you right now. And for the at-home mom, that ministry came home and said, “Hey, Mom, what’s for dinner?”

If you can begin to see it with that perspective, it underscores the profundity (I’m going to use that word again) of what this calling of motherhood is all about.

Nancy: I have women on a fairly regular basis who come to me and say . . . especially some of these younger moms. But there’s this sense of, “What I’m doing isn’t really counting. I really want a ministry. How did you get to be a speaker, a writer? How can I have that kind of ministry? God is calling me to have a ministry.”

I look them in the eyes, and I say, “There is no greater ministry. What I’m doing doesn’t light a candle, in the will of God, to what God has called you to do.”

Janet: Exactly.

Nancy: Now, I’m doing what God has called me to do, but you’re doing what God has called you to do in loving your husband, loving your children, modeling the life of Christ to them, passing the baton of faith on to them. There is no greater ministry.

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been talking with radio and TV host Janet Parshall about the most important roles in life. We didn’t have time to bring you that entire conversation, but you can hear a longer version by ordering the CD. For details just visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

You can hear both Janet Parshall and Nancy Leigh DeMoss, along with other powerful speakers, at True Woman 12: Seeking Him Together for Spiritual Awakening. I hope you’ll make plans to join us in Indianapolis, September 20-22.

We anticipate that this even may sell out, so get the information quickly at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Motherhood, careers, and finances—hear about that tomorrow when Janet Parshall returns on Revive Our Hearts.

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

 

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