Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Rescuing Young Women from Destructive Behaviors

Leslie Basham: Kim Wagner says a new generation of women is looking for examples.

Kim Wagner: So when they see a transformed life, then that points them to something, some reality that they can believe in.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Friday, March 26. Nancy is in Chattanooga today challenging those gathered for the True Woman conference. Please pray for all the speakers and workshop leaders and please pray that young women will be challenged and sessions geared for them. One of the facilitators of that teen track is with us today. Nancy’s here to introduce all our guests.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: When I mention the book Lies Young Women Believe, you probably wouldn’t expect 75-year-old women to have an interest in that book. But here’s an email we received that just delighted my heart. This woman said,

I am 75 years old. For many years I taught a young women’s Sunday school class. I have an adopted granddaughter 20 years of age and one granddaughter-in-law. I am using your writings to pass on my concern to them. I recently ordered two copies of Lies Young Women Believe, loaned one to my granddaughter and the other I gave to my pastor’s wife who has two young boys. She told me it was the best info she had read on this subject. She loaned it to another pastor’s wife, and they’re both interested in getting more copies.

Well, that’s a great example of how God can use older women to be having an influence in the lives of younger women, the women of this next generation. We’re talking today about the Lies Young Women Believe book, about its message, and about the blog at LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.

With me in the studio today I have Kim Wagner and Erin Davis who are two women who have a real heart for teenage gals. As I’ve been talking with you women about some of the things you’re seeing, hearing from young women who are responding to the posts on that blog, I feel like I’ve been getting a real education.

I wanted our listeners to be able to hear some of what you’ve been sensing, what you’re experiencing. Let me just say before we dive into some of this that some of what we get on that blog is pretty raw, and it’s pretty explicitly expressed. So I want to say if you’re listening to this program today and you have a young child with you in the room, you may want to just see if you can get them diverted and doing something else or perhaps listen to this program on the website at a later time.

Erin, I know that as you’ve been blogging with these young gals, you’re hearing some really desperate cries, things that I think maybe the average church mom might be really surprised to know that kids are thinking today.

Erin Davis: I think that your listeners should know the kind of girls that are on our blog. They’re Christian girls on the whole. They’re involved in their church. Sometimes they’re from solid Christian homes, but they’re struggling with some very serious issues. Homosexuality is a common one.

Two things we hear often are, “I am struggling with homosexual feelings, and I don’t know what to do about it” or “I don’t know how to respond to this homosexual issue. God wouldn’t have made people that way if there was something wrong with them. People are born homosexual.” We hear that frequently, and I don’t know how to respond to that.

Another thing we get a lot of questions and thoughts about is self-gratification. Girls frequently come on our blog and say that they are struggling with that behavior or they are engaging in that behavior and often then defend it. “It’s a way to relax. It’s normal.” Sometimes they even say, “It's how I keep my commitment to be pure.”

So we’re having to defend that frequently using God’s Word.

Nancy: And let me say this is not an issue that is just unique to teenage girls. We counsel with many moms, older women, grown women, mature women who are dealing with this kind of issue and with personal moral habits that they feel they are very much in bondage to. Married women, not just young single women.

So this is something that we can just pretend like it doesn’t exist or we can address it and try and help these women, younger and older, find freedom through Christ.

Erin: In fact, because it is such a sensitive topic, those of us who make the decisions about what goes on the blog and what doesn’t spent several months thinking it through and praying it through. But comments came so frequently and so often about that topic, we finally decided we needed to address it.

So that’s another one we get a lot of requests and comments about. Cutting is common. Self-imbedding is something that girls write about that they are doing. That is sort of the evolution of cutting. They are putting pins underneath their skin. They’re putting pencils underneath their skin.

It’s part of teen culture that those of us who are not teenagers think, that is just bizarre, and don’t understand it. It’s part of their culture, and they realize that it’s painful, physically, but there’s also part of them that realizes this isn’t right. LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com is a place that they hop on and say, “Show me in the Bible, give me some justification for not doing this because my friends are doing it.”

Kim: Let me just say, too, one of the beauties of this website is that girls can come here and talk about things that no one else may know other than God. They do not feel safe in talking about it anywhere else. They can come on here and talk and share and then they will have a response that’s a truthful response and someone connecting with them that cares and is going to point them to truth.

Erin: We’ve had several suicidal girls on the website, and we always point them to a counseling resource and try to get them connected with someone in their local church. But you’re right, there’s something about the Internet that feels safe. There is something freeing about saying it for the first time, even if it is on the Internet which feel anonymous.

So I feel very responsible when those kinds of things happen, and we do a lot of praying. I’m always glad that they are at least saying it sort of out loud online for the first time. Almost always once they’ve taken that step, they’re willing to talk to somebody else about it.

So we have a lot of interesting things happening on the blog, a lot of great things too.

Nancy: Just a reminder that oftentimes the bondage is in the secrecy. Whether we’re younger or older, the willingness to come out into the open, to let the light of God’s truth shine on those sinful, shameful habit patterns in our lives can be the very first step to freedom.

That’s one of the things God is doing on this website, is helping girls step out of the darkness into the light and then having the truth of God’s Word shine on their hearts, on their situation, on their issue. That’s what takes them into freedom.

Kim: Right, and it also gives them an opportunity to hear from other young girls that may hop onto that stream of comments and say, “Hey, I was there once, but this is what God’s done in my life. I was practicing that same sin, but now I’m set free.” So it builds a little community there of fellow believers that are encouraging one another.

Erin: That’s where your listeners can do something. A lot of times girls come on the blog and say, “I’m struggling with this, and I can’t tell anyone.”

Nancy: You tell me, Erin, that you’ve heard that from a number of pastors’ daughters.

Erin: Just about every week a pastor’s daughter hops on and says, “I can’t tell anyone because I’m a pastor’s kid. The consequences are too steep. My family’s image is at stake.” I’m a pastor’s wife. I understand that to some degree, but I really encourage them to find somebody that they can talk to.

These things that we’re talking about are shocking. Certainly if a young woman in your congregation comes to you and confesses that to you, you might be shocked. That’s why this website is good. It can prepare you a little bit for what might be coming. But I would encourage all of the women listening to be a safe place for these girls to come and talk to you about whatever they’re struggling with.

They’re not just going to come to you when the stakes are high and they're in sin. You’re going to have to develop a relationship first. Take them out to coffee tomorrow. You might have to take them out to coffee 20 times before they’ll be willing to tell you anything of consequence, but they need somewhere to go that’s not the Internet, or in addition to the Internet to talk about these things. Because you’re right, freedom comes in the telling, when it’s taken out of the dark and put into the light.

Kim: Let me just say, too, to women that are listening that have never been involved in interacting with younger women or women of this generation and maybe you don’t even feel called at this time to do that. I want to encourage you to go on the website, start reading some of these comments and praying specifically.

If we could raise up a body of older women that would be praying for the Bries, the Mollys, the Jennys, the Beckas that write us and are crying out for help, to know that there was a band of older women praying and interceding for this younger generation, oh, what God might do.

You may be sitting there thinking, “Well, I’ll never go on a blog. I’ll never comment to one of these girls. I’ll never even be able . . . I’m homebound. I can’t even get out to actually in a practical way fulfill the Titus 2 calling of interacting with young women.” You can be praying and interceding for these girls.

Erin: I think that may be an unintended benefit of this blog. We certainly didn’t intend to use it to strike a passion in older women, but get on there. See what these girls are going through. See how high the stakes are. See their need for truth and their desire for truth but their inability to really discern it on their own, and you will become passionate about this generation even if you don’t have daughters and granddaughters who fit into the profile of the girls on this website.

They need truth bearers. They need hope bearers. They need truth speakers. And you can be it. I think this blog will ignite the passion for that in you.

Nancy: That web address is LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com, and then you just click on the blog. You can read daily the interaction that’s going there on the blog. Today we’re making available that set of Lies Young Women Believe book and the companion study guide to anyone who sends a donation of any amount to ReviveOurHearts.com.

Just request the set of Lies Young Women Believe books. You can call us at 1-800-569-5959 or go to the Revive Our Hearts website—that’s ReviveOurHearts.com. You can make your donation and request that set of books, which I hope you will read first yourself and then put into the hands of your youth pastor or his wife, someone who influences the resources being used in your church. Or get a group of young women around you yourself and say, “Would you like to study this together?”

Now back to the blog. I know one of the topics that has incited quite a bit of interaction is modesty. Modesty and dress issues. What are you picking up on that front, Erin?

Erin: Well, there are sort of two camps. There are those girls who desire to be modest but aren’t really sure how to execute that, judging by what’s on the racks. Then there’s another camp of girls who don’t get why it matters but are willing to talk about it, and are willing to hear the other camp’s point of view.

We recently had a hot discussion on prom dresses. What style is modest and what style is immodest and there were differing opinions even among those who desire to be modest. Is strapless modest or is it not? Are spaghetti straps modest or are they not?

So they’re having a hard time discerning what’s modest and what’s immodest, and we try to equip them with that. There’s sort of this opinion that as long as I’m more modest than many of the women who are highly esteemed in our culture and pop culture icons, then I’m modest. So we’re always trying to come back to the heart issue with them.

We talk about swimming suits. We talk about prom dresses, with the changing seasons. We’re always trying to equip them.

Nancy: I remember one girl I saw that weighed in there saying, “Are you saying we ought to always just wear turtlenecks?”

Erin: Right. Yes, that one got very heated. She thought that was my point of view, that women all needed to wear turtlenecks, which of course is not my point of view. But the great thing about blogs is that we can keep talking about those things. If they don’t get mad and click away from us and never come back, then I think we can prove to them that we’re reasonable and we have their best interests in mind.

Modesty is a very hot topic.

Nancy: Our goal is not to just give them a list of rules or a list of to-do’s or not-to-do’s, but to teach them how to think biblically, how to think from a Christian worldview, how to be discerning, and how to deal with the heart issues because ultimately modesty is first an issue of the heart.

We’re wanting girls who love Christ, who have a passion for Him, whose lives are being shaped by the gospel of Christ. What does that mean? What does it look like?

Does God Really Care What I Wear? That’s one of the resources that we’ve offered on the blog. We want girls to understand, yes, God cares what you wear. But what He cares about first is the condition of your heart and your relationship with Him.

I think some of these gals who have grown up in the Christian subculture either have been in a setting where there just was not a lot of discussion about this and people didn’t think it was important, or they’ve grown up at the other extreme where they’ve heard a lot of rules, been given a lot of lists but not been given the heart. So they’ve perhaps reacted to that, or they’ve embraced it but not for the right reasons and not with the right heart. So that’s what we keep trying to go after with these gals.

Kim: I’m so thankful that we do have that opportunity through the blog to do that. We can present truth in a winsome, gracious way, and we can communicate with these girls personally. A girl I would never meet—in Zambia, Africa, or wherever—I can communicate with personally and let her know we care and present the bigger picture and give her a vision for what God wants to do in her life that is more beautiful than what she’d even imagined.

Erin: I tell you what, I had a conversation with Paula Hendricks, who's another blogger recently. I said, “When I started, I wasn’t sure ministry could happen online.” I had some real doubts that any real ministry could happen here. But it is, and I think our primary goal is to equip them.

So we’re always giving away fun resources and giving them challenges. Kim just offered them a great 10-day challenge trying to get them in the Word and enticing them free books and that kind of thing to do that.

But you’re right. It’s not a list of do’s and don’ts. We’re not handing down bulleted lists of rules or even condemnation for things that we feel like they’re doing wrong. I feel like the best way to describe our readers is that they’re Christians, and they want to do God’s will, but they don’t know how to do that. They don’t know how to apply what they’re learning about God’s Word to every corner of their lives.

Kim: Many of them have never seen women do it. So we’re able to share with them out of our own life experience/life story, or other young women come online and say this is what’s happened to me and this is how I’ve applied the truth.

Erin: That’s right, and I just feel like they’re my own little flock. I mean real ministry is happening, and we are equipping them, and we are teaching them. Kim’s a great example. She wrote about biblical womanhood in a way that was so gentle, and they really responded to that.

So it’s fun. We have a lot of fun there. But hopefully we are training them to live out the principles of God in every area of their lives. That’s the goal.

Nancy: One of the most exciting things to me has been seeing some of those young women actually come to faith in Jesus Christ.

Erin: Yes, we’ve had several salvation stories. One of the lies in the book is, “Of course, I’m a Christian. I . . .” Fill in the blank. Any number of things: grew up in a Christian home, volunteer in my church, my mom said I walked the aisle when I was four. Any number of things. That comes up pretty frequently on the blog.

“My mom says I’m a Christian because I . . . [whatever], but I don’t feel like I am.” So I get the great privilege of presenting the gospel to those girls as we go back and forth. We’ve had several girls put on the blog, “I made a decision to accept Christ. I’m going to go tell my pastor about it. I’m going to go tell my youth pastor. I’m going to tell my parents.”

I can think of one girl who made that decision online. She told us about it, was baptized, came back on and told us about being baptized. I mean neat things are happening and they feel like, again, it’s a safe place where they can say, “I don’t really understand this grace thing" or "I don’t understand this sin thing.” Or a girl just wrote, “I don’t understand hell. Is that a real place? Do real people go there? Or is that just a fake thing that we talk about or an idea?”

So we get to use God’s Word and say, “No, it’s a real place, and here’s how we know that” and present the gospel in that way. So it’s really exciting when girls come to know Christ and develop a personal relationship with Him and then get plugged into churches where they are as a result of the conversations we’re having.

Nancy: Kim, I know that you’ve had a burden for young people for a number of years. Just take a moment, would you, and share your burden, your passion. Why this matters. Why we as older women need to care about reaching this younger generation.

Kim: I just recently wrote a post about the number of this generation that are falling away. I know so many people are aware of the statistics. In the Southern Baptist Convention 88% of students the year after they leave high school, students that were in Sunday night, Sunday morning, Wednesday night services, grew up that way all of their lives, a year after graduation no longer attend church.

It’s a little less and a little higher in different denominations. But we’re seeing this generation, which we refer to so often as the post-modern generation, falling away from believing in absolute truths, believing in the reality of God, the reliability of Scripture. And these are students that grew up in our churches.

I have a great burden for this next generation. They need to be pointed to truth and realize and recognize that there is truth. There is something bigger than themselves to believe in. The way this generation though is pointed to truth is through experience, not through handing them something in black and white and saying this is truth, believe it. But when they see transformed lives, they can’t refute that.

I am hoping, I am asking God, I am praying for this generation to have a few warriors that will stand up and begin proclaiming God is real. He has transformed my life and begin making a difference in their generation.

I see Lies Young Women Believe as a vehicle for that to take place. For young women, when I read some of the women’s responses, when I see young women like Molly or others that come on the blog and are getting it; those are the young women that I’m praying, "God, capture their hearts. Let them have a vision for who You are, what You can do, what You desire to do. Raise them up for this next generation to be a generation of believers."

Nancy: Kim, as you’re sharing that, it takes my mind to Psalm 78. We’ve quoted it often on this program. It’s such a passage about legacy, about caring about the next generation. Not just knowing Christ ourselves, but making Him and His ways known to the next generation. Scripture says,

I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old, things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God (Psalm 78:2-7).

I want to just ask you what you are doing to pass on the truth of God to the next generation. You may be like that 75-year-old listener that we referenced at the beginning of the broadcast. And it may be a granddaughter or a mom with teens. But you get a hold of these resources, Lies Young Women Believe and the study guide that goes with it. We’re making those available to those who contact us and request them.

Get a hold of those resources, pass them on. Get on the Lies Young Women Believe blog. Just go to LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com and begin reading and get yourself educated about where the hearts and minds are of this next generation. Pray for them. Ask the Lord who you can point to that website and who you could get engaged in that dialogue.

Pray for our bloggers, for Erin and Kim and Paula and Dannah, and others who are posting on there. Ask God to give them wisdom as they respond to the tough questions and issues that are being raised on this blog.

Erin and Kim, I just want to thank you for your heart for that generation. I’d like to just take a moment and pray that God will bless the work of your hands and that God will raise up an army of intercessors to join with you in that effort.

O Lord, how I thank You for the privilege of having received truth ourselves and then we want to accept the mandate, the responsibility as older women to be training younger women in Your ways. These women who are posting on that Lies Young Women Believe blog are going where angels fear to tread. They are tackling some tough issues, answering tough questions, ones I wouldn’t really necessarily feel equipped to respond to myself.

I pray that You would give them wisdom and discernment and winsomeness and biblical-centeredness. Enable them, Lord, to speak into the hearts and the lives of these young women. I do pray that You would raise up an army of praying men and women, older believers who will care about passing on this baton of faith to this next generation.

I pray that You would rescue and redeem that generation from the claws and the clutches of the evil one, from the lies that he is foisting on them, and that they would receive the truth; that we would be able to shine the light of Your truth into their hearts.

Would You save them? Would You rescue them from themselves? Would You give them a heart and a passion to be godly young women, women who know and love Christ and will pass that truth on to the next generation to follow. I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

Leslie: Jesus faced incredible loneliness on the cross. Focus on Jesus’ death and resurrection all next week in a new teaching series from Nancy. Please be back Monday for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version.

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