Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Leslie Basham: Early in her marriage, Mary Kassian took ballroom dancing lessons and learned to follow her husband’s lead. That learning process extended to life as well.

Mary Kassian: The dance has gotten a lot easier, and the dance has gotten a lot more beautiful, and I’ve grown up into who God has created me to be as a woman, and so it doesn’t feel so awkward. It’s more: This is me, and I love it.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Tuesday, December 4.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Well, welcome back to this discussion with my good friend, Mary Kassian. If you’ve never seen the two of us, you need to know we have many differences—not the least of which is . . .

Mary: We are almost like exact opposites. Nancy is as short as I am tall. So it’s pretty funny when we stand on stage together.

Nancy: Or try to get in the same picture.

Mary: We keep telling our video guys, “You’ve got to have us sitting or something because it’s almost looks like Mutt and Jeff.

Nancy: Mary is married and has three grown sons and a daughter-in-law, and I have never married, have no children. Our personalities are different in many respects. But I love the way God puts different people together with different gifts, different styles, different perspectives, and allows us to work together to mutually glorify the Lord. And that’s what it’s really all about.

Mary: That is what it’s all about. When you look at the Body of Christ, there’s so much diversity. You can’t walk into a room with women and not see that we come in all different shapes and sizes and gifts and personalities. You’ve got your quieter ones and ones that are more boisterous and fun loving. There’s just so much diversity, and I think the Lord just delights in that—absolutely delights in that. And the diversity we see in creation, we see that in the way the Lord created His people as well.

Nancy: That’s one of the emphases of one of the resources we had the privilege of writing together, called True Woman 101: Divine Design. And it is by God’s divine design that we have those differences. This is an eight-week study on biblical womanhood.

Now, there are people out there trying to co-op that term or say there is no such thing as biblical womanhood. But we believe there is in the Scripture, a lot of teaching and very practical, powerful, beautiful help for what it means to live as women who love God’s Word and love God.

So this is an eight-week study that we wrote together, and we’re getting some great response to this study.

Mary: Yes. I’m hearing about it all the time.

Nancy: You were recently at a conference where you heard about some military wives who were using it.

Mary: Yes. It was a military wives’ conference, and there were several groups of military wives. There was a group of young ones that came up to me and were just so excited. They were in their early 20s and mid-20s, and they were studying True Woman 101 and just saying what a blessing it was and how challenging it was to really take a look at ideas they had just taken for granted that culture had taught them about womanhood, and to really take a look at Scripture and then wrestle with: What does that mean for me? Because it’s not a checklist. It’s not a stereotype thata every woman needs to look the same.

I also had just recently spoken to some women who were doing it in Japan. So that’s a different culture.

Nancy: This is not just Western biblical womanhood.

Mary: No. This is not just Western biblical womanhood. There’s women doing it in Japan. I’ve heard of women that are doing it in Germany, woman who are doing it in Korea.

Nancy: And in Latin America.

Mary: Yes. So it really is different cultures. That was one of the things we were really intentional about when we wrote this resource. We were trying to gear it towards womanhood—not just a married woman or a woman who has young children, but womanhood in general so that a teenager could study it and a grandmother could study it and a woman who is married, a woman who is single, and everyone could glean truth out of it.

Nancy: I love to see how God is using this resource with younger women who’ve grown up in a world where the very air we breathe is painting a very different view of womanhood.

I’m looking at an email here from a gal who says, “I’m twenty years old. I’ve been a Christian for little over five years. I’ve been reading True Woman 101 and never have I been so enlightened, encouraged, and compelled by the love of Christ to live a radically obedient life.” I love that!

Mary: I love that!

Nancy: I mean that’s the kind of thing we hoped and prayed would be the case—not that women would get stuck in this very narrow vice of what biblical womanhood is, but that they would be liberated and compelled by the love of Christ to live a radically obedient life.

Mary: Yes—that they would be captivated by a vision that was more beautiful—more beautiful than that upheld by culture.

Nancy: Yes. Now, speaking of culture, even within the Christian culture, as we talked about yesterday, there has been some pushback—a lot of it, honestly, on some of these concepts. I’m not sure why all this is, but we live in such an egalitarian era and world where, I think, for many women, it’s just unthinkable to talk about differences between men and women and their roles in the home or the church.

I get some of these blog posts sent in my direction—and here’s one. I won’t name the blog or the blogger, but she had a very strong, negative reaction to the True Woman Manifesto, which is something we talk about in this resource.

She talks about the injustice of inequality that she believes we’re promoting. She says, “Complementarianism is one of those theological words that obscures an ugly truth: Christianized sexism.”

I read that, and I thought, “Wow! I don’t want to be promoting Christianized sexism.”

So I want us today to talk about some of those misperceptions, misconceptions about biblical womanhood. Some do consider this to be promoting an inequality and injustice and Christianized sexism. How do we respond to that?

Mary: I think that we need to acknowledge first off that there is a real problem of sexism, that sin can rear its ugly head in the problem of sexism. Actually, we talk about that in True Woman 101. We spend a whole week talking about the pain of brokenness when it comes to manhood and womanhood, and acknowledging that there are a lot of women who are abused, there are a lot of women who suffer at the hands of a man who have a very sexist attitude towards women.

And it even shows up in the church, sadly. It breaks my heart. And we would be dishonest if we didn’t acknowledge that.

Nancy: Yes. Sinful sexism—and it shows up on both sides—in manhood and womanhood.

Mary: It does. It shows up on both sides—in manhood and womanhood. We’re broken as male and as female. God gave sex specific judgments against man and woman at the time of the fall, and so sin does affect us, sex specifically. It affects men as men and women as women. . .

Nancy: In different ways.

Mary: In different ways. So the problem of sexism is very real, and it’s very destructive. I am hoping that through this resource that’s something that we stand up very strongly against, and that I think the church needs to be addressing it.

Nancy: And yet there are those who would say that it is sexist or unjust or promoting inequality to say that there are differences of roles between men and women in the home and in the church.

Mary: That’s a common idea—that if there’s a difference, there’s an inequality, that you can’t have two things that are not the same and yet those two things are equal. I would disagree with that, and I think the Word of God disagrees with that.

I think that in Scripture we see that you can have two different and distinct roles and yet an equality that exists despite that.

Nancy: For example, within the Trinity itself.

Mary: We see that in the Trinity, and actually, the Trinity is really our model for it because we see the Father and the Son and Scripture tells us that “Jesus did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,” so there was an equality there.

In Philippians it goes on to talk, “but then He humbled Himself and took on the form of a servant and became obedient.” (see Phil 2:5–11) He was obedient to the Father, and so there’s a distinction in roles. The Father sent Christ; Christ came. There’s a distinction. There was equality, and the overriding characteristic of that relationship is the oneness and unity—a profound oneness and unity that we see in the Godhead, and Christ often talked about that.

I think that was one of the things that Christ expressed so well in His prayers—that oneness He had with the Father.

Nancy: And yet honoring the differences.

Mary: And yet honoring the differences.

Nancy: It’s not just a formula. In the Trinity—we can’t fully understand or grasp all of what that means, and I think there’s mystery also in the manhood and womanhood issue in how God created differences that contribute to our unity.

Mary: Ephesians talks about that. It talks about the mystery that has been revealed, and the mystery really was Christ and the Church—that God created male and female and marriage, really, to reflect truths about Christ and the Church, and that mystery was revealed when Jesus came—the ultimate plan of God.

Nancy: Let me just read that passage in Ephesians chapter 5, and actually, the word mystery is used a number of times in Paul’s letters and in the book of Ephesians. But here in Ephesians 5, it’s talking about husbands loving their wives; wives submitting to their husbands. This whole thing of the relationship between Christ and His Church, it’s putting it all together. And then he quotes from Genesis 2:24: “Therefore man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”—he’s talking about the marriage there.

Mary: Unity.

Nancy: Unity. And then Ephesians 5:32—“This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband” (vv. 32–33).

So he says there’s a profound mystery here in relationship of Christ and His Church. There are differences, there is complementarity, and yet there is unity. So in marriage, he says, there are differences, and yet those differences are to contribute to a great, mysterious oneness that points to the relationship of Christ and His Church.

Mary: And I can speak to that as a married woman, saying that it is like a dance, really.

Nancy: I understand you and Brent know a little bit about this—rumor has it.

Mary: Well, we did take dancing lessons at one point. We kind of left that behind a long time ago. But that was actually a fascinating exercise. We went into this big, old gymnasium, and there was an elderly couple that was teaching all of us young fledgling couples how to waltz—and it’s just a beautiful dance.

Nancy: And you just got out there right on the floor and made beautiful dance and beautiful music right away. Right?

Mary: Oh. It was painful. It was so painful.

Nancy: It probably looked painful, too?

Mary: It looked painful, no doubt. And there was a lot of stepping on toes that took place. But here’s what’s so interesting about dancing, and it’s just such a great analogy, this dance analogy.

So here we are, and Brent is supposed to be doing the leading in the dance. So he’s supposed to be the one giving me the cues as to which direction we go. Now, the cues aren’t to be heavy handed ones—it’s just a very gentle nudge.

Nancy: And if you’re watching from the sidelines, you might not even be able to see it?

Mary: You won’t even notice them. They’re very gentle—or just a very gentle pressure on my hand to go this direction. I am to be very attentive and paying attention to these cues and be responsive to them, governing my behavior based on his behavior. And then he, in response, reads what I’m doing and then decides what our next dance move is going to be.

When we started doing it, it was just so profoundly painful. We were concentrating on every step, and we’re knocking knees, and we’re stepping on toes.

Nancy: Any arguments?

Mary: Oh, well.

Nancy: In moments of tension?

Mary: Yes. I was actually upset that he wasn’t leading me the way I thought he should be. So it was just . . .

Nancy: A picture of life here?

Mary: Oh, it was a real picture of life. Sometimes there’s just this pulling and tension. But let me tell you this: As we got better, it became less and less about the steps and more and more about just enjoying each other and enjoying the dance. And it is this mystery, and I think sometimes, as complementarians . . .

Nancy: And complementarian—for those not familiar with that term—spell it out for us, just briefly.

Mary: A complementarian is someone who believes that there are complementary roles between male and female; that our roles complement one another; that we are complementary expressions of the image of God.

Nancy: And that gets applied in the home and in the church.

Mary: It’s much bigger than the marriage relationship. It really comes down to the essentials of who God created us to be as male and female.

So just going back to that dance analogy, ultimately, the goal is that we’re dancing as one.

Nancy: Can you give us an illustration of early on in your marriage about the awkwardness of the dance in a marriage?

Mary: Yes. I’ve shared this illustration often—probably one of the most profound one was when Brent and I were on our way to his brother’s graduation. I was pregnant with our first child, and he was driving in a way that I did not appreciate.

Nancy: Meaning?

Mary: Meaning a little bit too fast because we were late, and the reason we were late was because I had spent too much time at my mother’s house visiting her for her birthday. And so there were these competing interests in that I wanted to make sure my mother felt affirmed for her birthday, and he wanted to get to his brother’s graduation on time.

Then the worst thing that could happen happened—and that is that I left the graduation tickets at home, and so we had to drive all the way back to get the tickets, and then by the time we got to our home, I went in and grabbed the graduation tickets and threw them into his open window and said, “You can go without me.”

He looked at me and said, “Mary, get into the car.”

And I said, “No.”

He said, “Mary, get into the car.”

I’m standing out there in the middle of the road, all pregnant and defiant and angry, saying, “No. No. I will not get into the car.”

And then at that moment the Lord just brought to mind: Mary, are you going to do things My way? Or are you going to do things your way?

It was probably one of the very hardest things I ever did at the beginning of my marriage, and it sounds silly because it was such a trivial incident. 

Nancy: Life’s made up of a lot of those moments.

Mary: Yes, but it was a watershed moment for me, and it was out of love for Christ. It wasn’t out of love for Brent at that moment because I really did not feel that much love for Brent at that moment. It was a commitment to live as a woman of God that caused me to go back in that car. I can’t say that it was without muttering, but it was really interesting that that led to one of the most fruitful conversations we have ever had in our lives where I was able to express to Brent just how very difficult it is to bend my will and submit when I perceive that he’s being demanding or harsh.

Nancy: So it wasn’t that you didn’t talk about that kind of thing?

Mary: No. I was honest about it. I was honest about how hard it was, and honest also about why I was doing it. It wasn’t because I thought that he was more right. It was because of me wanting to honor God with my life that I’d made that decision.

Nancy: There are two things that I see there that I think are required on both sides. One, as you said, is trust in God. And ultimately, doesn’t it come back to not trusting the other person as much as you trust the Lord who has both of your best interests in heart and is working in that situation. But it also requires a big does of humility on both parts—a willingness to relinquish the right to be right and to take a place of humility—not just you but Brent as well—and apart from that trust in the Lord and a humble spirit, there isn’t a marriage that can have that beautiful dance.

Mary: Yes. It also does require that back and forth. I think that one of the misconceptions about what God calls us to is that it’s a unilateral relationship. But that’s not the case at all. There’s so much reciprocity in a dance—there is. You’re watching it, and I mean, it’s not just sort of one person doing it. It’s both responding to one another in a sense. Brent is reading my movements, and I’m responding to his gentle cues as to where we’re going to go and which direction we’re going to go in.

There’s this interaction in a good marriage, in a godly marriage. There’s a lot of interaction. It’s not like it’s the husband sitting there unilaterally deciding what he’s going to do, issuing out orders, coming down heavy-handed. There needs to be very good communication in a marriage. There needs to be this one-another relationship where—and I go back to that example of standing there as a young pregnant woman not wanting to get into the car.

I could have just gotten into the car and settled it with the Lord, and that would have been the end of it. Perhaps I would have just held some resentment in my heart, though, about the situation, but I saw it as an opportunity to share with my husband and to express my heart to him and to express my feelings to him and to really be honest in a way that was respectful, in a way that was kind, in a way that was—well, it wasn’t all that kind always—but it was aiming towards being the kind of woman God wanted me to be.

And the thing is, we’re all in process. We hit those snags. It’s not like we’ve got godliness down.

Nancy: You hit those snags now even after thirty years of marriage?

Mary: Yes. I still hit them sometimes, but let me say this: That the dance has gotten a lot easier, and the dance has gotten a lot more beautiful. I’ve grown up into who God has created me to be as a woman, and so it doesn’t feel so awkward. It’s more: This is me, and I love it.

It really works. Part of that is because I have such a great dance partner in my husband who really is also trying to honor God and to walk in His ways and to love me as Christ loves the church. I mean, he takes his responsibility as seriously as I take mine before the Lord, and so that makes for it to be a lot better kind of a dance than a lot of women experience.

But regardless of that, God is calling us to trust Him and to do things His way. I believe that for every woman there will be the blessing in her life when she does that.

Nancy: And there will be grace for whatever situation she finds herself in. So whether you’re in a difficult marriage or a great marriage, or perhaps, like me, you’re a single woman—what matters for all of us is that we’re trusting the Lord and seeking to do things His way. In every season and situation and circumstance of life, we can all be learning and growing in what it means to be women who glorify the Lord.

Mary and I want to help you explore what that looks like, and we’d like to send you a copy ofTrue Woman 101: Divine Design. It’s the eight-week study that we’ve been telling you about during this series on biblical womanhood.

And today and tomorrow only, we’d love to send you a copy of True Woman 101 when you make a donation of any amount to the ministry of Revive Our Hearts. I just want to say that your donation means so much to us here in the month of December.

Hosting a large conference like the True Woman '12 Conference back in the fall resulted in some extraordinary ministry and outreach into women’s lives from all over the United States and around the world by means of the lifestream. But that event also created some financial challenges as well.

Some friends of the ministry know about those needs, and they’ve established this year a matching challenge of $450,000. That means that they will double your gift, however much it is, up to the challenge amount when you donate by December 31.

So if you give $50, it will be doubled and become $100. If you give $200, that will be doubled and become $400. Some can give less, some can give much more, and we’re grateful for whatever God puts on your heart to help us continue calling women to freedom and fullness and fruitfulness in Christ.

We need to hear from you this month in order to meet that challenge amount, and beyond that, we’re asking the Lord to help us far surpass the challenge amount which will help us meet the current needs and then also help us plan for more ministry in the year ahead.

Remember, today and tomorrow, when you help us meet this challenge with your donation of any size, ask for True Woman 101: Divine Design, and we’ll be glad to send it to you as our way of saying, “Thank you for partnering with us in this ministry.”

The number to call is 1-800-569-5959. Let us know that you’d like to make a contribution to help with the matching challenge, and then ask for a copy of True Woman 101. Or if you prefer to make a donation online, you can visit us at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Just a reminder that when you visit our website, you can watch that moving video that Mary Kassian told you about earlier. I think you will be motivated as I have been to cry out to the Lord for revival and spiritual awakening when you see the video of this woman, advanced in years, kneeling at the altar at the True Woman conference.

It’s one of several videos and stories that will we will be releasing throughout the month of December, thanking God for some of the stories that He has authored in women’s lives in 2012. So keep checking back for more stories at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Now, there’s a word that’s been popping up a lot lately in this discussion of what womanhood is all about. The word is: mutuality. What does it mean when you hear authors use that word? Mary Kassian and I will be back to talk about it tomorrow. So please join us again 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.

About the Speaker

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 …

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