Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Re-Imagining Biblical Womanhood

Leslie Basham: Listen to one young woman’s story about how the Lord set her free through His truth.

Franscesca: My name is Franscesca. I am an international student from Nigeria, and I go to Michigan State University. 

Last semester I was going through a lot of things with lies that I myself as an individual had believed—and I didn't know that I did. I went on Amazon. I knew Nancy DeMoss was great, and I wanted to figure out more about her. Then I saw the book Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free.

I was reading through it, and it was so convicting. It was like: you may think that you don't believe this lie, but what are doing in response to . . . Like if you have an anger issue, how do you deal with it? What do you do for comfort? Do you tell yourself that this isn't going to affect me? It was really helpful to see not just the gospel from the beginning . . . Like when I go to food for comfort, I saw Eve's very first sin had to do with the fruit . . . like, food! I was like, "Wow, this is crazy. Like, this is true. I do believe this lie." It was really helpful.

So I read the book Lies Women Believe, and I lead the girls in the dorm. I remember telling them about the book, and they were all, "I'm going to get this book." It was so rich. There were things in our lives that we all struggled with. It spoke in ways that I, as a young Christian, I as teenager could relate to. I was able to have those friends just come alongside of me and get that book too. They would be like, "Can I borrow your copy!" It was a great moment to have that.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Well, the book that God used in such a significant way to impact that listener, Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, has now been updated and expanded. There’s about 30 percent totally new content, and the rest of the book has been updated and revised to help it speak more effectively to a new generation of women. 

This month, we’d like to send you two copies of this newly revised Lies Women Believe—one copy for you and one to share with a friend. It’s our gift when you become a Monthly Partner for Revive Our Hearts. You’ll also get two study guides that go along with Lies Women Believe, and two bookmarks with a list of truths that will set you free, and the "Lies Women Believe" teaching on CD. When you become a new Monthly Partner this month, you'll get that whole package.

What does it mean to be a Monthly Partner? As we've been sharing throughout the past few weeks, that means you commit to pray for this ministry as the Lord prompts, you share the ministry and its resources with others, and you support the ministry financially $30 or more each month.

I can't say enough about how important this Monthly Partner Team is, and what a joy it is to meet our partners every time I travel any place in this country and sometimes around the world. To see women who say, "I'm a part of the Partner Team." They feel like they are a part of our family . . . and they really are!

If the Lord has prompted your heart to become one of our new Monthly Partners, you can find out the details by visiting us at ReviveOurHearts.com, or you can give us a call 1–800–569–5959. 

Thank you so much for partnering with us as we share with women around the country and around the world the truth that sets them free.

Leslie: You’re listening to Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of The Voices of the True Woman Movement, for Wednesday, March 21, 2018.

The basic truths you believe will influence every other part of your life. So when Revive Our Hearts was crafting a document called the True Woman Manifesto, we started with basic truths. Nancy’s been teaching through these truths in a series called "The True Woman Manifesto, Foundations."

Over the next months, she’ll teach through other portions of this document, but we wanted to pause and reflect on these foundational truths with pastors’ wives, Holly Elliff and Kim Wagner.

Here’s Nancy to launch that conversation.

Nancy: Kim and Holly, as I’ve spent the last weeks thinking through this series and how to teach through the True Woman Manifesto, then over these last days as I’ve been actually teaching the series, it’s brought back a lot of memories of True Woman ’08 when this document was first released.

I talked about that in the first session of this series, but you were both there. We had been through that conference. We started on Thursday night, and John Piper spoke about biblical manhood and womanhood. That was doxological. If you didn’t believe in manhood and womanhood being a good thing before you got there, after you heard him, you could just see how this was such a great part of God’s redemptive plan.

Then I talked about how our lives were lived for the glory of God, and Mary Kassian spoke and Karen Loritts, and Janet Parshall, and we saw this amazing video that Joni Tada had sent because she couldn’t be there. That was Thursday night and Friday.

Six thousand women, 6200 women—not an empty seat in the place. These women were pumped to be true women of God.

But then we came to that last session on Saturday morning. It’s almost time to go home. We gave the women on Thursday night a copy of the True Woman Manifesto, and we said, “Through the course of this weekend, we want you to read this and be praying about it, and pray about affirming it on Saturday morning.” So we didn’t just hand it out cold. We wanted them to really internalize it and have it be a part of their hearts.

Then we came to that ceremony, which we’ve played in this series. Eighteen women, I think it was, came up on the platform one by one. You heard all different accents, parts of the country, parts of the world. There were a couple of Irish accents in there. You heard these women reading the Manifesto, and then 6200 women affirming, “Yes, Lord.”

Tell me that day as we released this Manifesto some of what your experience was, what were you thinking, how did that—for those who weren’t there—just tell about your impressions.

Holly Elliff: What’s so fun to me now, the fact that years before there was a moment, a night, in Nancy’s condo where we sat on the floor of her condo, with Nancy in her bathrobe, that was the beginning moment of the day at the conference in a place where part of the history of the feminist movement took place—in Chicago. To stand there and look at 6200 women standing to their feet, saying with their own voices, “I believe this is truth,” and to reclaim some of the ground that the enemy took years ago and is still taking away from Christian women in this nation; to be able to stand and affirm those truths together, and to see women making the choice to believe that is truth; to call it truth, and then to go home to live out that truth was just an astounding moment to me.

It’s one of my favorite memories. To see that come to fruition that day as the Manifesto was unveiled, but then affirmed by the women in that conference, I think, was a tremendous moment.

As we know now, it’s a moment that has had repercussions and is not decreasing but is spreading. That’s one of the things we asked God to do in relationship to the conference, to just multiply what happened there, and we have seen the Lord begin to do that.

Kim Wagner: Nancy, on our way back from the conference, the flight home, I was with several ladies from my church that attended the conference. We were meeting other women on that plane flight that had come from various parts of the country.

I was taking my time visiting with different ones, going up and down the aisle talking with them about the conference and what their highlights were. So many women remarked. They loved the messages, the workshops, but woman after woman said that historical moment when we affirmed the Manifesto and signed it was something—they all said it—“It was something I wasn’t expecting, but that was something monumental.”

One of the women I talked to, she was a grade school history teacher, and she said, “I know how important making historical declarations are, and this is not going to end here.”

Nancy: One of the things that I really sensed that Saturday morning as we were affirming the Manifesto that was very encouraging to me, because I know how counter-cultural this is. I know that it flies in the face of what is the prevailing way of thinking today; it’s even pervaded the church.

But it was so encouraging to see there really is a remnant of women—men as well, but women at this conference—who get it, who have not been co-opted by the culture. It’s like Elijah who said to the Lord in one of his low moments, “I’m depressed. I’m the only one who’s left who believes truth. Just kill me. I just want to die.”

There are moments in this battle when . . . I can’t say I’ve been suicidal, but there are moments when you feel very alone, and you feel like you are swimming against the whole world. Yet, God said to His servant, “There are 7,000 who have not bowed the knee to Baal” (see 1 Kings 19:18). I think at True Woman we saw there were 6,000. The Lord knows the hearts, but there was this sense among the women, it was almost like a pent-up desire to affirm the truth.

We’ve been told for so long by the culture what to believe and to believe things that are contrary to the Word of God, and if you dare pipe up with something different, you get, “off with your head.” You almost have to have thick skin today to say some of these things. So I think women have been silenced and have come to believe that there’s nobody else who still holds to the Word of God, or that there are very, very few.

So when we would come to sections in the Manifesto where some of the most radically counter-cultural statements—about the permanence of marriage; about the sanctity of life—the women would just break out into applause. It was like, “Finally, we have permission to say, ‘This is what I believe.’”

It was bracing. It was electrifying. It was not just hype. It was like deep answering to deep, that, “Yes, we do affirm truth.”

I think what that did for all of us was say, “You’re not alone in this. There are other women!” Yes, we are weak; yes, we are few, compared to the whole world out there. Once we left there we realized in the blogosphere how counter-cultural this is. But to realize in that one place, there were a lot of women representing a lot of other women out there who really do have a heart for truth and just needed the encouragement and the courage to speak it, to go out and live it.

I think that was just a very touching thing to me. That’s when I realized this is not just Nancy and Kim and Holly and a few of us. God is raising up an army of women—who are still a remnant, still in the minority definitely—but who love Him, love His kingdom, and, faltering and frail as we are, really want our lives to make a difference.

I can’t help but wonder how many of the women there and subsequently. . . There have been people from scores of nations around the world who have gone online to Revive Our Hearts and signed the True Woman Manifesto (and can still do it; that’s where we’re collecting these signatures). But a lot of women for whom this document is really an encapsulation of something that God’s Word teaches, they have never seen lived out in a significant way.

Kim: Right. That’s what I find so helpful about this. As you were teaching through this series, there was a women here at the recording studio who said, “I was a feminazi before I encountered Revive Our Hearts, but I didn’t even know it.”

When I was growing up as a young woman, I loved the Lord. I loved His Word, but I couldn’t articulate what a biblical woman was. I think just hearing terms like that even was a turn-off to me because I kind of pictured wimpy women who liked frilly things.

Nancy: Did you have the same picture, Holly? I did.

Holly: Well, honestly, as a younger woman, when I would go to conferences, I would run from anything that sounded like they were going to talk about biblical womanhood because the picture in my head of a biblical woman was not flattering. I don’t know exactly what it was, but I didn’t want to be one. Maybe it was because of some negative stereotypes that I had been affected by. I had been affected by the tenets of feminism and didn’t realize it.

I loved the Lord, but I didn’t want to go to sessions. I would rather go to something on interpreting God’s Word for yourself, how to become a student of God’s Word.

Kim: Something that sounded more theological.

Holly: Those things were challenging, but I didn’t want somebody to say to me, “You have to spend the rest of your life in your kitchen making cream puffs with your hair in a bun.”

Nancy: If you all could only see Holly’s face right now. This is like the worst thing in the world you could think of.

Holly: That scared me to think that that’s what I was called to do.

Kim: That’s one thing I appreciated so much about how John Piper in his message brought out the truth. This is the truth, that wimpy theology makes wimpy women, and that actually living out the truth of God’s Word takes great strength of character and takes great endurance and perseverance, denial of self, courage, and intelligence.

Holly: I think part of, as Mary Kassian would call it, “the buzz” coming out of True Woman is that younger women, who maybe had the same impression I had when I was younger about biblical womanhood, are realizing this is not about being any one particular woman in this box. It is about being who I am called to be as a woman under God’s authority, believing God’s Word to be true.

That’s going to play out in my life different than it does in someone else’s life, but I am affirming that I am going to be the woman God has called me to be, and that it will not just be the words on that piece of paper. It will be a lifestyle.

I think that part of what we saw at True Woman is that women began to realize this is about a life calling that will affect future generations.

Kim: I think that what helps women, and is helping women, is to read this in print, and now for you to be teaching through it. There are also articles written on it on the True Woman blog for women to be able to actually take and see in print: “All right, this is what it looks like, and this is why I should do this—it takes it back to Scripture—and this is how I live it out.”

Holly: I think the greater challenge now coming off of this, having signed it and dropped it in the bucket at True Woman, or signed it online; or maybe you’re in the Dominican Republic and you had sisters who were at the conference, and now you have read the Manifesto and signed it online in your country. Now the reality of what that looks like in our culture for a woman who says, “I am; I do desire to be God’s woman, to be a true woman, but how does that play out in my day-to-day life, as I love my husband, as I live as a Christian single, as I raise my children? How does this affect my everyday life?”

Nancy: That’s what we’re going to keep unfolding in the rest of this Manifesto as we talk on specific tenets, specific affirmations and points. Having just now given these introductory days to this teaching, we’ve said that as Christian women, “We desire to honor God by living counter-cultural lives that reflect the beauty of Christ and His gospel to our world.” Now, I find that inspirational. I find it motivational. I find it gives vision, but what is that going to look like?

We’re women in different seasons of life, and what are some of the ways—there is no way we can exhaust that here because women are different—but what are some of the practical ways, what might that look like for a woman to reflect the beauty of Christ an His gospel to our world?

Let’s take it from theological speech, which is the foundation, to flesh it out just a little bit. You’re women in different seasons of life. You’re ministering to women. Give us some pictures of what practically that might look like for women.

Kim: It’s making tough, hard choices according to Scripture. For me, and I’ve shared this before on Revive Our Hearts, but, for me, it’s going beyond just seeing it in Scripture or having head knowledge of it. It's taking it home in how I treat my husband and how I treat my children. I’ve shared how, in the early years of marriage, because I was such a strong, opinionated woman and would state what I believed in a very dogmatic sense without applying a lot of the truth of Scripture, the sanctifying aspects—graciousness, gentleness, humility, kindness . . .

Nancy: It all makes a difference in how we express those opinions.

Kim: It does. So because of that, not too many years into our marriage, I remember my husband looking at me and saying, “I don’t love you anymore.” There was a season in our marriage where both of us would say—we wouldn’t say publically—but both of us knew that the only thing holding us together was our commitment to Christ.

When God began transforming my heart and my life—and a lot of it was simply living out, applying the truth of things like what we read here in the Manifesto, applying that to my life—then I began to see my marriage change. I began to see my marriage transformed. I am living in a transformed marriage today, and it excites me so much to see what God has done in our home, in my life. That's one reason I have such a motivation to share this with women. God’s truth is powerful. It is transforming.

Holly: Transformation, I think, is a word that comes to mind when we think about not just the True Woman conference and the kick off of that, but the reality of what needs to happen now that these truths have been put in place. As I live those out, though, it is not something I just sign my name to. It is something I choose to do in the walls of my home so that, whether I’m at a True Woman conference or standing in my house, my life is the same. It’s not that we live in this True Woman bubble where . . .

Nancy: . . . we’re going to start selling those—True Woman bubbles.

Holly: If there was one, I would like one.

Nancy: You’re never going to have one with all those children and grandchildren.

Holly: I know, but what it means is that, as we live real life, just like our lost neighbor who may be dealing with the same life issues, we have a different platform from which we view life. It affects the choices we make; it affects how we relate to each other, how we relate to that lost neighbor. We’re living before them the example of the Christ life that God intends for us to have.

Kim: Our lost neighbors should be able to look at our lives and say, “I know she loves her husband by how she treats her husband. I know she is intentional in loving her children and training her children.” They should be able to see and recognize those things within us so that we do have a witness of the power of Christ.

Nancy: That’s interesting. I found myself asking myself recently, when responding to pressure and circumstances that were out of my control, “How is my response to this situation any different than a woman would respond who didn’t know the Lord?”

Kim: It should be.

Nancy: It should be, but a lot of times it isn’t. That’s where this Manifesto, this document, calls me back to those moorings. It’s not that something in this Manifesto is any different than what’s in the Scripture. It’s that it calls me back to those markers, the sovereignty of God, that sovereign ruler thing that we’ve been saying over and over again in this first part.

If we will counsel our hearts according to that truth, that He is God and we are not; that He has the right to make the final decision, then that is going to affect the way that I handle stress and sorrow and bad news, and good news for that matter. So many times I find myself reacting in ways that are so natural rather than supernatural, and that’s where I say, “This is not true woman behavior. This is not true child of God behavior. This is the same way that anybody in the world would respond naturally if they didn’t have the power of God and the Word of God, which I do have, so I can respond differently."

Holly: I talk to my kids all the time about internal control. Of course, when they’re young, they have to just learn to practice self-control or internal control, but as believers, if we don’t learn that the control center has to be the Holy Spirit in our life, then we cannot possibly live out the tenets of this Manifesto because we can’t do it in our flesh. We cannot do it apart from God. We can’t do it apart from the enabling work of His Spirit in our life.

So when we do get in those moments when we know we’ve stepped outside God’s perfect will, what happens is, as we mature and we grow, then maybe the first time it takes me two days to step back into what I know is true. But the longer I go on that path, it may just take seconds for me to respond.

But the more quickly I have ears to hear when God prompts my spirit and my heart to return to Him, to rend my heart, to counsel my heart, like you said, according to His Word; then as I grow and mature in the Lord, I turn more quickly. I respond more quickly so that over the course of my life, I may look very different in ten years than I look now. But over the course of my life, there is a progression in my life. If someone where observing it, it leads, it points toward Christ.

None of us are ever going to be perfect women, but we must be women who are consistently looking more like Christ. The longer we live, the more we move along in our lives in each season so that God is more and more glorified as we live. That’s part of the purpose that we’re here—to be conformed to the image of Christ is why we’re still here on earth.

Leslie: Tomorrow, Nancy Leigh DeMoss will pick up that conversation with Holly Elliff and Kim Wagner. They'll talk about this: When darkness surrounds you, living as a true woman of God will really stand out. Hear why next time on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants to help you stand on the truth. It's an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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About the Teacher

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love for Christ and His Word is infectious, and permeates her online outreaches, conference messages, books, and two daily nationally syndicated radio programs—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him.

She has authored twenty-two books, including Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, Seeking Him (coauthored), Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, and You Can Trust God to Write Your Story (coauthored with her husband). Her books have sold more than five million copies and are reaching the hearts of women around the world. Nancy and her husband, Robert, live in Michigan.