Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Risk, Adventure, and the Gospel

Dannah Gresh: Jaquelle Crowe looks to someone special as her role model: her mother.

Jaquelle Crowe: It’s changed my life. I just think it’s given me a legacy. I can look to my mom because she looks to Jesus.

Dannah: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Consider Jesus, for December 11, 2019.

Now, Nancy, I know one of your main life messages is the importance of gratitude. If fact, you wrote the book on gratitude!

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Well, I wrote a book called Choosing Gratitude, and I’m grateful for the way that the Lord has used it to challenge others, but it’s also challenged me to make thankfulness more and more a part of my life as I reflect on God’s endless grace and mercies.

Dannah: Well, the reason I bring it up is the fact that people can hear our voices right now is a reason for gratitude because we can’t bring this program to you without the support of our listeners. They’ve made it possible for us to be sharing today—you’ve made it possible. So, thank you!

Nancy: I especially want thank everyone who has given here so far during the month of December. This is such an important time for the future of our ministry, and that’s because some generous givers have laid down a challenge. They want to double your gift!

You can get all the details of the entire matching challenge by visiting ReviveOurHearts.com. That’s where you’ll be able to keep up with the progress on the challenge through the month of December.

Now, meeting this entire challenge will help Revive Our Hearts prepare for a new year of ministry. It’s going to make it possible for us to share the truth with more women around the world in the year ahead. And it will also enable us to develop new outreaches for younger listeners and to expand the digital reach of this ministry.

Dannah: So when you give this month as part of the matching challenge, your gift is doubled. So there’s really no better time of the year to support Revive Our Hearts than right now.

Nancy: But you do need to make that donation by December 31 to be part of this challenge. You can go to ReviveOurHearts.com to give your gift, or give us a call at 1–800–569–5959.

Dannah: As we talk about gratitude, I consider the fact that there’s nothing more precious, nothing more deserving of our gratitude than the gospel. And today we’re going to talk about how the gospel changes everything.

Nancy: And the author we’re talking with has written a book about this for teens. But the truth is, the gospel changes everything.

Dannah: Everything.

Nancy: For everybody. 

Dannah: All the time.

Nancy: Everybody of every age, not just teenagers, but our generation as well.

Dannah: Yes. My mind has been kind of exploding as I’ve been thinking about this program. I think something that helps me make it more tangible is to see it in action—story by story. How without Jesus in that situation, it just would have been a different story.

Nancy: I saw that recently when a friend of mine from our area, a husband and wife, took their eight children and moved to Cameroon to be missionaries. They had been raising support to do this for a couple of years. God had really put it on their hearts. They had such a burden, a passion to reach the people of Cameroon.

They landed there, set up house, and twelve days later, the husband was shot and killed.

Dannah: Oh my!

Nancy: And this woman was widowed with eight young children.

Dannah: Wow!

Nancy: I mean, not at all the script anybody would have written. And I’m thinking, This family took huge risks. They went into, really, a war zone as it turns out. It’s a country that has a lot of strife.

Robert and I had the opportunity to attend the memorial service for that man, and I got a chance to talk with the widow before the service. I’ve followed her on social media, and her message is: “Christ is getting me through this, and Christ is worth this. And we would do it again.”

Dannah: Wow!

Nancy: She’s deeply sad. She deeply misses her husband. She has no clue how God’s going to provide for her and these children.

Dannah: Of course

Nancy: But the gospel changed everything in terms of getting them to make this commitment to move to Cameroon. But now the gospel is changing everything for her as a young widow with eight kids, and how she’s going to survive, and how she’s going to find peace and joy and purpose and just perseverance in the middle of this trial, and how the church is going to come around her and minister to her and her family. The whole story, the whole picture is about how the gospel of Christ changes her perspective, is a resource, is her life, is her hope—everything.

Dannah: Well, if it were the end of the story, which it would be without Jesus, then the story’s written. It’s just a period. It’s a sad story.

Nancy: Exactly. There’s no hope.

Dannah: But she can look into the future and see that, “Hey! God has a hope and a future for me. I don’t know what that looks like right now, but I know it’s true.”

Nancy: And I know that the best is yet to come. And you know she’s not flappy happy about this. I mean, she’s a grieving widow. There are eight grieving kids and extended family on both sides. But in the midst of that . . . The service was extraordinary. I mean, it almost makes me teary thinking about it right now. The singing was unlike which you’d typically hear in church.

Dannah: Wow!

Nancy: I mean, robust, heartfelt congregational singing of the gospel. This woman and her four oldest kids and other missionaries from Cameroon who had come to the States for the service got up on the platform in the middle of the service with their kids, and they sang all three stanzas of “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.” It was unbelievable. While they’re calling other people to rise up and go to Cameroon in the place of this downed missionary.

Dannah: Wow! Now that is something because they are telling a story of risk and loss and hardship. 

Nancy: And gain through Christ.

Dannah: And saying, “Come with us anyway. Come take a risk with us anyway.”

Nancy: Because He is worthy.

Dannah: That excites me because the author that’s visiting with us today, Jaquelle Crowe . . .

Nancy: By the time we air this, she won’t be Jaquelle Crowe any longer.

Dannah: She won’t be. She’ll be married. She’ll be Jaquelle Ferris. She has deposited the thought in my heart that one of the things missing in church today, for the younger generation, and probably for all of us, is that sense of risk and adventure.

Jaquelle, welcome all the way from Canada, here in Michigan today.

Jaquelle: Thank you so much.

Nancy: And, Jaquelle, when you were eighteen, you wrote a book which is . . . I’m a polished author, and I know this is highly unusual to be published at eighteen. Your book is called, This Changes Everything: How the Gospel Transforms the Teen Years.

Dannah: And, Jaquelle, you have this sense that Jesus doesn’t want half-hearted followers. He wants us to be all in. How did that thought unfold in your heart?

Jaquelle: I think, really, just by looking at God’s Word and the history of God’s people and how He uses His disciples. So you look at all of His disciples, really, and what happened to them. They went, and they followed His call. They were obedient. They were faithful. God called them to great things. God called them to small things.

And their lives did not end in comfort and security. Almost all of them were martyred for their faith. There was great risk and sacrifice involved. They knew that when they committed to follow Christ, it was for the long haul, and there was no easy path guaranteed. And, of course, that’s what Jesus tells us directly. The road is narrow, and it is hard.

And that is something that, even though it sounds counter-intuitive, my generation loves that.

Dannah: They crave it.

Jaquelle: Because we know it means something.

Nancy: So do they feel (and I know we’re generalizing here, which isn’t fair at all) but do some in your generation, who’ve grown up in the church, feel that they’re not seeing that kind of all-outness, wholeheartedness, that we’ve settled into a comfort zone? Is that part of what is making them say, “We’re not all that interested in the church”?

Jaquelle: Yes. I think it’s there. We have seen many of us model a comfortable Christianity, a Christianity that doesn’t really change anything, that doesn’t invite a sense of adventure and risk. And we wonder, Well, is it really worth it then?

Nancy: And yet, when you were in your teen years, and now as a woman in your twenties, you have seen something that made you want to be an all-out follower of Christ. What did you see, in your home, in your church, that made you want to have that kind of walk with Christ?

Jaquelle: Ultimately, a passion for Jesus. Jesus is the one who put that passion in me. But I saw that modeled from my parents. I saw it modeled from my church. I saw it modeled from Christians of the past.

Something that my parents did was we read missionary biographies together.

Nancy: Your parents, too?

Jaquelle: Yes.

Nancy: That was standard fair in my home for sure.

Jaquelle: And just looking at these Christians from the past, young and old, who were willing to give everything for Jesus. Right then I knew, “Hey! There’s something different about this. This is different than anything else.”

Dannah: David Livingston spent much of his life separated from his family. Amy Carmichael . . .

Nancy: Who never married. 

Dannah: Elisabeth Elliot lost her husband as a martyr on the mission field. Over and over, these stories counsel our hearts and remind us of the risk, but they also call us to the adventure.

Jaquelle: Exactly. And my parents are also great examples of that.

I was raised in British Columbia, Canada. That’s where all my family is. That’s where they were raised. When I was nine we moved to Texas so my dad could go to school to pursue pastoral ministry. And then we moved up to the complete opposite side of the country. I knew that was very difficult for my parents, especially my mom, who loved being close to her family.

But my parents prioritized obedience and faithfulness so much. They went where God called them to. And I saw that from a young age that my parents were willing to do whatever. They were willing to get out of their comfort zones to follow the call of Christ.

Dannah: That just reminds me of a time when the Lord called Bob and me to move fifteen hours across the country. The biggest fear for me was that it was going to ruin my children, that it was going to break their hearts. They were going to miss their friends. They were going to be so uprooted that they were going to be messed up.

Your story tells a different end—that that actually trained you to love Jesus, that that actually trained you to want to take the risk and adventure and obedience.

Jaquelle: It’s true.

Nancy: I saw my parents do that in a little different way. That was in opening our home over the years to thousands, literally, thousands of people that they would invite to dinners. They would invite non-believers to our home many times a year where they could hear a gospel testimony—not a sermon—but a testimony of someone coming to faith in Christ. They would share the gospel with these people. (And these were business and professional people in the mainline Philadelphia area where you just don’t do things like that.) And they would give people an opportunity to trust Christ.

Dannah: So they were risking reputation. They were risking business deals. There were risks.

Nancy: Absolutely. And they were saying, “Our family is not an idol. We’ll involve the family in serving Christ together, but we’re not going to spend every waking moment just coddling our kids or doing things for our kids. We’re inviting you kids in to see what God is doing.”

Which means we always had extra people in our home. We had people staying there. We had Christian workers who would spend the night there and move into our home at times and extra people at the dinner table. And you can think, Well, how are my kids going to fare with all of that? What a great example that was for us.

Dannah: Exactly.

I was thinking recently about how our ministry frequently takes teens on missions trips—just a local piece of our ministry. And we live in such a legal world where the risk and the liability sometimes trumps the decision to obey and take risks.

I was thinking, If I led a missions trip where the kids got shipwrecked and imprisoned, and the two mission leaders ended up fighting and going to two different countries instead of the same country, I’d come back, and my church would say, “You’re never leading a missions trip again.” Right?

But that’s exactly what the apostle Paul did, and that’s exactly what called those early Christians to risk and adventure. He still calls us to the risk and the adventure of following and obeying Christ.

Nancy: I think you’ve seen this in another way, Jaquelle, as I was reading your book, This Changes Everything. In your mom, who’s been such a crucial discipling figure in your life, she’s had some health issues—kind of chronic. You’ve watched her example, maybe, I don’t know if you’d call this risk, but it’s still loving and trusting and following Christ when life doesn’t work the way you would like for it to work.

Just talk about how watching your mom handle hardship has impacted your life.

Jaquelle: I think it is a risk, and I think it’s a beautiful example of risk because it is doing something that is totally outside your comfort zone, that you didn’t want to do if it was just you.

My mom isn’t perfect—I will say that.

Nancy: She would say that, too.

Jaquelle: She would. She would. My mom, actually, she doesn’t really like it when I talk about her at all, but I love to talk about her because she has been faithful, and she is faithful.

I have seen her pray when she doesn’t feel like it. I have seen her pray and express to God how she feels sad right now, she feels pain right now. I have seen her read God’s Word when she doesn’t feel like it. And I have seen her bring God’s Word to me, tell me the psalm that she just read that lifted her heart. I have seen her go to church when she doesn’t feel like it physically, emotionally, spiritually, when she’s just walking through a drier season because of the physical pain that she’s dealt with. And in all of this, I have seen her seek to be faithful.

Nancy: And what has that done for you?

Jaquelle: It has changed my life. I recognize that I am young, and so I have not gone through as many disappointments and as much suffering and hardship as I know I will go through. And in one sense, I just think it’s given me a legacy to look toward. It’s something that, as I get older, and as I go through the particular suffering that God has ordained in my life, I can look to my mom because she looks to Jesus.

So I’m not looking to my mom as the ultimate example. That’s, of course, our Lord Jesus Christ. But the way that my mom has pointed to Jesus in the midst of the pain is something that’s a legacy I can only dream of passing down to my kids, too.

Dannah: I’m thinking again of Amy Carmichael and the risk and adventure of her life ended in a sick bed and yet she still was faithful to the calling God had put on her heart. She realized that her mission changed, and she wasn’t rescuing girls from sex trafficking. She was, really, before the term sex trafficking was the hot button issue in the church, she was doing that way back then—rescuing these girls in India and providing homes for them. But when she became sick, she realized, “I can still pray.”

Nancy: And that’s also when she did some of her best writing.

Dannah: Oh, yes. Some of her best ministry . . . She couldn’t have imagined. “Lord, You’re taking my ministry from me by this sick body,” and yet her prayer life entered her into this rich thinking and processing of God’s truth and God’s Word that turned into a legacy ministry that we lean on today to call us to risk and adventure.

So your mom, she’s like Amy Carmichael in that sense that she’s entering into that sickness in a way that the joy of the Lord isn’t being stolen.

Jaquelle: And my mom is a prayer warrior. She’s always been like that, but I think in the sufferings that she’s had to go through, it’s only strengthened her faith, and she runs to God. She’s the person that, when I tell her about something going on in my life, her first question is, “Have you prayed about it?” And too often my answer is, “No, Mom. I should have known you would ask this. I haven’t.”

Nancy: “Thanks for the reminder.”

Jaquelle: Yes. Sometimes she’d just sit down and pray with me about that thing right there.

Nancy: Jaquelle, I know we have a lot of moms who are listening to our conversation who would love to have a daughter talk that way about them.

Your mom has been a real key discipler in your life. Of course, your dad’s a part of the picture, your church is a part of the picture, but I’d love to just hear more about how your mom has invested in your life from the time you were young. From a daughter’s perspective, what are some of the things that your mom has done that have been formative in your life?

Jaquelle: Well, as you said, one of the biggest things is that she started young. I don’t remember a time when my mom wasn’t investing in me, just personally and spiritually.

Nancy: So what did that look like?

Jaquelle: Something that we started when I was around eleven is that once a week we started having these meetings. As a kid, I thought it was super cool. It was right after we had moved to this new place. My dad was pastoring a church. And the way that they explained his and my mom’s discipleship sessions with different members in our church was that they were “meetings.”

And so my brother and I thought that “meetings” were these very cool, adult, important things that our parents did. And our parents decided, “Hey, what if we had a ‘meeting’ with you guys?”

So once a week my mom and I would sit down for our “meeting,” and my dad would sit down with my brother. And for the first, probably, six years, we read books together, and that was the framework for how we met.

Nancy: I know that one of those books . . .

Jaquelle: I was just going to say that one of the first books we read together was Lies Young Women Believe, which is so crazy. Thirteen-year-old Jaquelle, if she had thought that she would be sitting down with the authors of that book, it would have blown her mind.

Nancy: And, Dannah, could we have imagined when we were writing that book that we would be sitting talking with a girl who was then thirteen but now has written her own book to teens?

Dannah: Oh, what a joy! That’s good fruit, Nancy.

Nancy: It is—sweet fruit!

Dannah: We’re glad to be a part of that—a small part.

Jaquelle: Oh, what a blessing! My mom and I read Elizabeth George books. We read Susan Hunt books. We read Mary Kassian books. We read all these books on biblical womanhood. We also read books on the Church. We read books on theology. We read these books, always with the thought in mind, for my mom, to teach me, but not in a oppressive, dogmatic way. Just by reading these books, they sparked conversation.

Dannah: And don’t you think just the conversations at that time was as big a part of how your spiritual formation happened as the assignments—the reading the books?

Jaquelle: Definitely. And my mom was always so good. We had the book talk time, but then she would just ask me very personal questions about my life: “What makes you sad right now? What makes you happy right now? What makes you upset right now? What makes you frustrated?” And then, very specifically, “How can I pray for you?” And then, right there, she would pray for me about those things.

Nancy: Did you have these meetings at your home, or did you go out?

Jaquelle: Usually they were at the house, but occasionally we would go out, and we’d have tea. And sometimes my mom and I would just go out and not have a “meeting,” and just have fun things together—we’d go shopping or whatever. And in those times, they were very informal sessions of discipleship, but at the time I never would have thought of them as discipleship.

Dannah: You wouldn’t have realized it.

Jaquelle: But my mom was taking an interest in my life, and because of that, when she did more formal discipleship sessions, I took it even better because I knew that she genuinely cared about me.

Dannah: Okay. I have a really hard question, Jaquelle.

Jaquelle: Yes?

Dannah: I have overheard you say that you have had a battle with perfectionism, and I hear moms all the time, as we have worked to minister to tween girls through the Revive Our Hearts True Woman/True Girl ministries, that their daughters are really struggling with perfectionism. What did your mom do to help you with that battle?

Jaquelle: I can think of two things immediately. First, she kind of celebrated failure.

Dannah: Oooo . . .

Jaquelle: Let me explain that a little bit. Not failure in sin, but failure when I didn’t make the perfect grade. Because she knew that I struggled with that, she wanted me to know that failure is okay, and even more . . . you need failure.

Dannah: How did she celebrate? I’m wondering, Did she get out a cake and light a candle? Like, how do you celebrate failure?

Jaquelle: Well, I was homeschooled, so my mom was also my teacher. So she would grade a test, and then, if I didn’t get that great of a grade, maybe we’d sit down, and we’d talk about it. And the way that my mom approached the subject was not, “You failed. Do better.” It was, “Hey, I saw that this a place that you can grow, and you can learn. And you’re going to get better in a way that you could not have if you did not fail.”

Dannah: I was recently counseling a college student, and she was really struggling with an issue of sin in her life—from teen years, college years. She had told youth pastors, youth leaders, but she just could not overcome this sin issue. And when we got to the root of it, it was rooted in the lie, “I have to perform to be loved.” So it was rooted in perfectionism. Right?

So I said, “I have an idea: The next time you have a big test (because she had a 4.0, she was in college), instead of studying, let’s go out for dessert.”

So we went out for dessert. We went bowling. She didn’t study.

Nancy: This was before the test?

Dannah: This was before the test. We went out for dessert the night before the test, yes. And she did not ace that test. She brought back, I think it was an A- or a B+. It was still pretty good performance. And we went out to celebrate. That was an important part of her spiritual formation.

It sounds silly. We laughed a lot, though. We had so much fun. It wasn’t overnight, but it was very quickly after that that the pool for that particular sinful habit began to lose its strength. And she went on to have a complete victory.

Jaquelle: Wow! Something else that my mom did, related to that, is champion me in the small victories. So the kind of things that weren’t glamorous or that didn’t make me popular, the things that wouldn’t get put on social media—the things that my perfectionist heart wanted to do so that I would be able to get those likes and whatever. But my mom made sure to emphasize that, “Hey, when you clean your room (as a pre-teen) . . .”

Nancy: That’s a like in a mom’s heart.

Jaquelle: Exactly! “Hey, that’s good. Good! Pursue those. Pursue those small things, there’s faithfulness in those.” And that was very difficult for my perfectionist heart because I wanted to do everything and the big things perfectly. But pursuing faithfulness in the small things was something that really spoke to my particular brand of perfectionism.

Dannah: Wow! What a great way to attack perfectionism because we’re all prone to believe, “Who I am is up for a vote. I’ve got to prove my value.” Doing those little quiet things takes you away from that lie.

Nancy: Jaquelle, I’ve got to ask this because there are some moms listening who are saying, “Wherever this daughter came from, she’s from another planet. My daughter is not going to respond to me having “meetings” with her. Were there ever times, as you became a teenager, that you weren’t all that excited about having a “meeting” with your mom and she kind of persevered through that?

Jaquelle: Oh, for sure, yes. I was not always a model teenager. I was definitely not a perfect teenager. There were times that I just didn’t feel like it. I’m very good at following rules and going through motions, but my mom is always able to see through that.

So there were times that my mom threw out the script, and we didn’t go over the book. There were times that we took breaks between books, and she just prayed for me, or she just tried to get at the roots of maybe what I was feeling, what I was frustrated about, what was really going on in my life and just said, like, “You know what? Let’s forget everything you think we’re supposed to do, and let’s just talk about how are you actually doing?”

And sometimes I didn’t want to respond to that, that well, but my mom persevered through it.

Nancy: She sounds like she pressed into relationship with you. She said, “I’m going to be here. I’m not going to abandon this pursuit of a relationship.”

Jaquelle: Yes, that’s right. She did.

Nancy: And now she’s able, with you as a young adult, to experience some of the sweet fruit of that, and it only gets better.

Dannah: Yes. Oh so sweet.

Speaking of “meetings” and books, have we got a book for you to have a “meeting” with your teenage daughter or granddaughter, or whatever teenage girl is in your life. It’s actually written by our guest today, Jaquelle Crowe. 

Nancy: Who is now Jaquelle Ferris.

Dannah: That’s right. She’s been married since she was in the studio with us.

The title of this book is, This Changes Everything: How the Gospel Transforms the Teen Years. And we would love to send you a copy of this book as our way of saying, “Thank you for making a gift—in any amount—to Revive Our Hearts.”

You can make that donation at ReviveOurHearts.com, or you can call us at 1–800–569–5959.

Nancy: And what I would suggest, Dannah, is that, when they make that donation, we send them this book, This Changes Everything, that you read the book first for yourself or skim through it. But then I would encourage you to give that book to a teen in your life—maybe your own teenager or somebody else’s teenager that you have a relationship with—and then say, “Could we read this together?”

Dannah: And maybe schedule a “meeting.”

Speaking of scheduling a “meeting,” be sure to put it in your schedule to join us tomorrow for Revive Our Hearts.

Nancy: We’re going to be talking with Jaquelle one more day about something that’s important, not only to teens, but to teens’ parents—to all of us—a social media heart check. I know that’s a heart check I need, and one we all need. So be sure and be with us tomorrow for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth loves to encourage older women to invest in younger women. It’s an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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