Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: We all have a life’s message that God entrusts to us, to help somebody else, another pilgrim on the journey.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts for Tuesday, July 29, 2014.

Yesterday, Nancy began a conversation with Mary Kassian. Together they wrote a workbook called True Woman 101: Divine Design. Mary and Nancy and a group of friends got together to discuss chapter 8 of that workbook. It’s on the value of women connecting with other women to encourage and train them.

Along with Nancy and Mary, you’ll hear from Dannah Gresh, Holly Elliff and Kim Wagner. Here’s Nancy.

Nancy: Now, we’re all women—it’s no secret—in our forties and fifties, sitting around this table. We have had some friends in this discussion who are a little younger, some are a little older, but we’re kind of those . . .

Kim Wagner: What are we Nancy?

Holly Elliff: Are you going to use the word “middle-aged?”

Mary Kassian: [whispers] You were going to say middle-aged! [normal voice] Well, that means we’re going to need our reading glasses.

Nancy: Well, unless you’re going to live to be a hundred . . . (laughter) We are certainly nearing the category of “older women.” That’s been a joyful thing for me to contemplate. I’m so thankful for the women who’ve invested in my life when I was a younger woman.

You always have younger and older women in your life.

Dannah Gresh: You’re my only friend that I know who loves that verse about the gray hair.

Nancy: I do love it. We talk a lot about Titus 2, we talk about it in this chapter. And there is a mandate—but it’s not just a mandate—it’s a paradigm. It’s a vision that God gives us as older women.

Holly: It is a lifestyle.

Nancy: How do we leave that legacy? How does that legacy pass from one generation to the next? Talk Titus 2 here for a minute.

Mary: Well, sisterhood, right? That’s how it passes to the next generation. There has to be an awareness and an engagement with sisterhood.

Dannah: You have to take that seriously. If I am an older woman . . . I want to just say that I believe that teenagers listening to this are older women to somebody. When I left the first True Woman event, I was so fired up. I was so illuminated regarding what needs to happen in my life that I wanted to share that with other women.

That’s really how the feminist movement grew. So I just said, “Lord,” (and I challenge every woman listening to ask this) “who can I influence? Who is in my sphere of influence?” My husband founded a Christian high school, so I went to him and said, “Sweetie, can I develop a True Woman curriculum?” So, we have a True Woman class for girls at our Christian high school, because that’s where I can influence; that’s where I have a captive audience.

Everybody has a sphere like that, where they can say, “Okay, Lord, show me.” Maybe it’s not developing a class, maybe it’s handing out a book or mentoring one person.

Holly: Maybe it’s your friend . . . picking up a younger woman and driving her to a place where she can get truth.

Mary: Or maybe it’s just engaging with a girlfriend at Starbucks and asking her the hard questions. 

Nancy: We’re going to talk here in a moment, as we do in the chapter, about some other practical ways that we can leave that legacy, but I think the starting place is just being intentional . . . realizing this is a responsibility.

We have women’s Bible studies coming out our ears in this generation, and how thankful we are: Precept Ministries, Community Bible Study, and all these different teachers—and we’ve written some of those studies. We’re glad for people like these. But the danger of that is that we start to just get spoon-fed and get spiritually fat. We have a responsibility to take what God has poured into us.

There are women taking this study right now who have been in a Bible study every semester of their life for decades. Great! Hope you do it next semester—but have you ever thought to consider that God wants you to invest what you’ve learned in someone else?

Mary: And there’s never a point when you feel ready to do that. You never feel ready. Do you feel ready, Nancy, on radio? Do I feel ready when I go speak at conferences? Do you, Dannah?

Dannah: Nooo! I want to throw up!

Nancy: Do you know what happens? As we give out—of our weakness, of our weariness. Giving out of feeling, “I don’t have it in me to do one more thing,” or “I’m not there.” God sanctifies us, changes us. As I’m working on this book, as we’ve been doing this table talk, God’s speaking to me, He’s changing me. So as you give to others, you really grow.

Holly: There’s a reason why Titus 2 says the older women are to train the younger women in how to do these things, because it doesn’t come naturally to us.

Mary: Because of sin.

Nancy: “Train them to love their husbands.” You’d think that would come naturally, but it needs to be trained.

Holly: And even at the very beginning, “to pursue sound doctrine,” to love this Word. Those are not things that always come naturally to us. When I mentioned in an earlier session about my mother-in-law, who was so gracious to just speak truth to me as a young woman, and it changed my life.

All of us have women who are older and younger, who I believe the Lord has put there for that purpose.

Kim: A lot of women don’t have this, but I had a mother who, from the time I was very small on up, would speak truth into my life. I remember a time that my marriage was just really struggling. I went to my mom and dad’s home, and my mom welcomed me with loving arms. 

Dannah: This happened to me years ago. Me and my man are good! But I went to their home and I expected my mom to just feel sorry for me. “Oh, I’m so sorry, my baby!!!” [bawl, sob, wail] and badmouth him: “That man!” None of that! She listened to me; she let me cry; she held me; she handed me a tissue.

She said, “You’re welcome to stay tonight, but you belong in your husband’s home, and he’s a good man.” And that’s the kind of true woman truth we need to be giving—where we comfort and then we challenge—not necessarily what we want to hear, but what is God’s truth.

Kim: And what’s so rewarding for me right now is that I’m seeing women whom I’ve discipled when they were young, and now they’ve turned around and they’re teaching Bible studies, and they’re discipling young women, and they’re leading young women to the Lord. That is so rewarding!

Holly: It’s generational. My children are having children now, and my daughters believe something different at twenty than I did at twenty. What they believe at twenty is not at all what I believed is truth. So my daughters have grown up hearing God’s truth and now want their daughters to move on and carry that torch into the next generation—it is so ongoing.

Mary: It’s such a domino effect, it really is. It reminds me of that commercial. Didn’t we talk about that in the lesson—the Faberge commercial? “She told two friends, and she told two friends, and she told two friends . . .” Most of the women are going to be too young to remember that, but it went something like that. Do you remember that?

Dannah: Unfortunately, I do. That means I’m not too young. We’ve had Erin Davis on the panel for several of these weeks. I met Erin when she was fifteen, and I was in my mid-twenties, and the Lord called us to a relationship, and I was the older woman. But look at her! Just look at her! Look what God has done!

I watched from the green room as, on some of these weeks we recorded her thoughts and her wisdom and her life. And she is the older woman now, and there are flocks of little ladies—teens—under her ministry now.

Nancy: Lots of little ladies!

Kim: And bearing fruit like that is living for something bigger than yourself, and there is no reward like that, that you get when you’re just living that self-centered life. And that’s what I’m hoping women will capture from this . . . that they’ll get a taste of, “I want to do that. I want to sit down with a group of women and take them through this Bible study.”

Holly: And that they’ll be released from the fear that they do not have the right to do that, or they do not have anything to say or to teach.

Dannah: Well, do you know what’s really cool about it is? It’s a part of your healing. That are things that I’ve been able to pass on to Erin and my daughters and other girls that I’ve mentored that they get to learn, rather than on the field trip of life, they learn it through my hard knocks.

Nancy: And you’re sharing out of your failure and your life message. We all have a life message that God entrusts to us to help another pilgrim on the journey. Now, what happens—again, I’m going back to Titus 2 here—if we’re not intentional about older women being what God wants them to be (teaching the younger women), then the Word of God is reviled.

Mary: It’s smeared. It’s like a smear campaign against the Word of God if we don’t do our job. I think we’re actually living in a time right now when God’s Word is being smeared.

Dannah: There’s graffiti on the wall.

Mary: There’s graffiti on God’s Name right now.

Nancy: Not only because of Hollywood.

Mary: But because of our behavior as Christian women. We have the opportunity to clean that up or to pass that along to the next generation. If they don’t clean up that graffiti, it’s going to get more and more obscured and a bigger mess.

Kim: Sadly, they don’t want to pick up the truth of the Word because they are not seeing it lived out in so many lives that claim to know Christ, and that’s why this is so essential. As you were saying, Nancy, about so many women that have had Bible studies, they’ve taken Precepts courses or many other good Bible study courses. But if they’re not then going home and treating their husband with kindness and serving others or asking their children to forgive them when they’ve wronged them—you know, those practical everyday things, for them to be able to see the gospel in this generation.

Mary: Making the gospel attractive.

Nancy: And we can’t sit there and say it’s somebody else’s responsibility. “All these kids in the youth group, why are they acting like this?” Well, maybe it’s because of the middle-aged women that they’re seeing that aren’t creating for them a hunger and a thirst and a longing for Christ. We’ve got to take personal responsibility.

Mary: I will never forget a conference where I went and talked about wellness and wisdom and talked about what womanhood was about. It was on a college campus. I will never forget two college-aged girls who came up arm-in-arm afterwards to talk to me, tears streaming down their faces.

One looked at me in the eyes and said, “Where are our mothers? Why have we never heard this before?” And it cut me to the core, because we’re the mothers—the spiritual mothers. Sometimes it’s a fifteen-year-old or a twenty-year-old who is a spiritual mother . . . women who have never given physical birth, but who are the mothers who God has raised up to start displaying His glory in this generation.

Nancy: That’s really the vision that has captured our hearts over a number of years. We’ve come to it by different paths, but I just love the way the Lord has put this vision for leaving a legacy of godly womanhood (what we have sometimes called the quiet counter-cultural revolution). We came to it in different ways, but God has caused our lives to intersect, and we’re walking lockstep with each other now.

I want to just rehearse—it’s fun for me to think about. I think for those that are participating with us in this talk, it helps them to know how all this came about. Mary, years ago God put a burden on your heart about this whole thing of womanhood.

Holly: And you were a very young woman.

Mary: I was a very, very young woman when God laid it on my heart to really just dig into feminist theology and philosophy and to understand it. The reason I did it was not so that I could write a book, but because there was a girl in my life whom I was interacting with and trying to mentor in the faith.

She didn’t want to become a Christian because she didn’t think God loved women, and so we started doing a Bible study together and wrestling with this together and then looking at the material together. At one point my young husband, Brent, said to me, “This has been so helpful for other women. Why don’t you try to get it out into the hands of more women?”

So it was nothing I had ever orchestrated. It was just a divine kind of assignment that I had to do.

Nancy: And you wrote a book. The first title was The Feminist Gospel. I happened on to that book. It was providence.

Mary: Yeah, I want your autograph. Of all the twenty-five people who read it, five of them are right here!

Kim: Well, Nancy mailed it to me.

Nancy: I remember, I read it the weekend of my thirty-ninth birthday. I had grown up on the cusp of the feminist revolution. Because of the home I was in, it really wasn’t on my radar, what was going on out there. A lot of this was new to me, as you traced the development of the feminist revolution.

What particularly struck my heart was seeing how that revolution had come to church and how it had penetrated and infiltrated the church. I can just remember, Mary, I was struck deeply in my heart. It was so enlightening that it was jaw-dropping to me. I understood how the Christian world had bought into this philosophy, even people who would never consider themselves feminist . . . but it had become part of the air we breathe.

This was back in 1997. There was almost a visceral, palpable sense in my heart, “Something has got to happen!” God began to place this vision in my heart. We talked about at the top of this program, if a small group of determined, angry women could be so influential, what would happen if God would raise up in our day a small band of women who love Him, who trust Him . . . this was gripping me.

First I was mesmerized by the vision of what could happen, and then the immediate next reaction was terror, because I’m not a fighter at heart; I was not looking for new hills to conquer. I knew if I accepted being part of what God wants to do in this counter-cultural revolution among women—taking back the ground that we’ve given over to the enemy for so many years—I just knew I would spend the rest of my life swimming upstream.

Holly: And you had no idea, at that point, what was going to happen.

Nancy: We didn’t have Revive Our Hearts radio. I hadn’t written any books. We had not met. But then God in His providence a few years later brought our lives together. I can still remember. Holly, you were there; Kim, you were there. Mary, you came into Little Rock to record a radio program.

Holly: Tell about the sniffles . . .

Mary was coming in to do radio. We picked up food Nancy was sick. Do you want to tell what Nancy looked like? [laughter] She was sick. She had her fuzzy bathrobe on. We came in that night and sat on the floor—I don’t really know why we sat on the floor.

Nancy: I was in a rented place; I didn’t have a lot of furniture. I had just moved in.

Mary: And we were empathizing, so we were all huddling over our tea.

Nancy: But we had been reading your book—they had been, and that was the topic of conversation.

Mary: It was the topic of conversation, and we were just kind of bouncing it around. It was mostly the three of us engaging and every once in a while Nancy blowing her nose and saying, “That’s good!” And we included in the opener to this session and also in the book what rumbled out of your mind that night. It really the fruition of what God had been working in your heart—just that burden of what could happen.

Nancy: “Now is the time . . .”

Mary: It started with one, and now there were two and then there were four, and “they told two friends.”

Nancy: And now look what God has done. I remember that first True Woman conference in 2008. It sold out ten weeks in advance; sixty-eight hundred women there and ten thousand watching it online.

Kim: There was electricity in that convention center, and that opening night there was a sense among so many of us, “God is doing something!”

Mary: There was no way we could have done it. It was God.

Holly: I can remember standing at the back of that auditorium and thinking, Lord, would you do for women what You desire to do in this nation?! I walked out of there with just a buzz in my spirit about what God wanted to do.

Kim: Early that morning, He just woke me up and there was just such a sense of “Today it begins.” That was the day that we signed the declaration, the True Woman Manifesto, and there was such a sense that this was a historic moment as we did that for the first time.

Nancy: And so many of those women left that conference . . . At so many events you do it and it’s a buzz, and then you leave and it’s over.

Mary: We went home, and we were so tired. Then all of a sudden we start hearing news of all these True Woman groups springing up, and we said, “What True Woman groups? Who told them to do that?”

Nancy: True Woman chapters. I was in Dallas speaking at a luncheon and a woman brings me over to her table and says, “We’re the Dallas True Woman chapter.” I didn’t know we had any chapters!

Kim: Did we write that into it?

Mary: I think we need to talk about the True Woman Manifesto briefly, because there are a lot of women listening who may not know what it is about. Nancy, why don’t you share?

Nancy: Well, early on in the feminist movement there were some key moments where there was a document that a small, handful group of women would sign. “Declaration of Sentiments” was one of the early ones, and there have been other moments where they would record, “We affirm this, we agree to this.”

We just wanted something for the True Woman movement to explain what we’re talking about, and what are the key non-negotiables. We don’t get into specifics of details here, of applications of truths that can look different for different lives, but these are the core, fundamental—what does the Bible say?

We start with the authority of Scripture, that we declare our allegiance to Christ as Lord and to the authority of His Word. And we’ve got a whole series, on Revive Our Hearts and at the True Woman website, about the Manifesto. But it was such an amazing thing at that first conference to have 6800 women read aloud together the core tenets and to affirm: “I agree. Amen.” “Yes, Lord,” is what we said.

Mary: This Manifesto contains the Word of God and important things about womanhood, but it’s probably not a perfect document . . . but it’s like sticking flag in the sand and saying, “We are going to affirm what God says as being true, and to aim for that ideal in a broken world.”

Leslie: We’ve been hearing from a group who sometimes refers to themselves as “The Sisterhood.” It includes the host of Revive Our Hearts, Nancy Leigh DeMoss. We also heard Mary Kassian, Holly Elliff, Kim Wagner, and Dannah Gresh. Today and tomorrow we’re getting a glimpse into how this group encourages each other.

We hope you’ll be on the lookout for ways to develop the same sorts of relationships. One way to begin is to go through the workbook True Woman 101 with a friend or a group. Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Mary Kassian wrote this workbook to help you explore God’s unique design for you as a woman.

We’ll send you a copy of this workbook when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any size. Ask for it when you call with your donation. The number is 1–800–569–5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com. We’ll send one book per household. This opportunity is only good through tomorrow, so don’t delay.

Tomorrow our guests will pick back up on the topic of True Woman Sisterhood. Please be back for 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.