Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: Janet Lynn Salomon has a great perspective on the power of a mom.

Janet Lynn Salomon: A mother who has faith in God has a very powerful position because she is impacting the future generations. She is impacting the future of what our world will be, and I don’t find that to be a waste of time at all. I find that to be one of the most important jobs in the world.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Friday, February 7.

Much of the world will be watching tonight as athletes begin their quests for gold medals in Sochi, Russia. Imagine a mom, watching the games with her kids, maybe catching up on some mundane house tasks while watching, feeling like her life is nowhere near as important as the athletes on top of their fields. But her work is extremely important. Nancy and our guest will explain.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: We’ve been talking this week with Janet Lynn Salomon. Janet Lynn was a five time U.S. skating champion and had a remarkable career, not just once but twice in the skating field, interrupted by several years.

When she returned to skating, she had a husband and three small sons at the time, and through a process that she describes as a metamorphosis and something of a struggle, God led her to the point where she left that lucrative career and all the standing ovations and the recognition that it gave to her and made the tough choice to come back into her home. And as she did, God began to give her a heart for her home.

Janet, thank you so much for sharing your story with us this week on Revive Our Hearts. Thank you for the inspiration that you have been to not only to millions of little girls who watched you years ago and thought that they wanted to grow up and be a figure skater, but now the inspiration that you’re being to women to be wives and moms and homemakers. Thank you for your life that gives a vision for doing that.

Janet: Well, thank you. I have not arrived. I have a lot to learn yet. But if I can help women to learn some of the things that I have learned, that there is more depth in homemaking than I ever could have imagined when I was skating.

I have learned that very many of the things that I learned as a figure skater, I could not have imagined that this would have happened, but I learned that they can be applied to my home and to homemaking.

Nancy: I can imagine. In fact, I want us to talk today about some of the things that women who are considering coming into a career of homemaking—objections that they may feel or that they may raise. One of those would be: Is it not just a waste of my education, my training, my experience, my abilities, to leave a career and to come into my home and be a homemaker?

You’re saying that many of the things that you experienced in the skating career before you started your family are things that have actually helped you to be a better homemaker.

Janet: Very much so. There is a lot to say about having an education and then giving up the career that you’ve trained for. I spent twenty-one years of my life training for skating. When I gave it up the first time, it was because I was sick. The second time was to be home with my children and support my husband in the career that he was pursuing. It was very hard because I thought, What do I do with all those skills and talents that I had?

As I was home for a while, I started realizing that so many things that I learned from skating could be applied to my home and to raising my children. In fact, who would be a better person to be raising my children than me who has had all of this experience and this knowledge about things that I can pass on to them.

I think that it has made their lives a little bit richer for the experiences that I have had that I have been able to glean information from or knowledge from that I have been able to use in teaching them and training them. Mine was not in an academic sense; it was in a different sense.

I took the kind of training that I had as a figure skater and realized that it can also be transferred to the academic area—the discipline and the hard work, the alertness that I had to have—finding love in what I was doing even if I didn’t like it. I didn’t like all my training. Some of it was not fun, and some of it was painful.

Nancy: Just hard work—a lot of it.

Janet: Yes. So I was able to find ways to take what I had learned and to apply it to raising my children and helping to find God’s purposes for them and how to build them as children. You could think of it as a waste. But you could also think of it as: I am applying it in the very best place that it could possibly be applied, by building a new generation.

Nancy: I think there are a lot of women, and I’m thinking particularly of many young Christian women today, who are deciding not even to have families but are choosing the pathway of a career and not wanting to have children. Or there are those who do have children and are not eager to be at home with them, who feel that a career of motherhood and homemaking is not as fulfilling or creative or rewarding as a career outside the home.

Janet: I did a whole talk to a high school group on the career. It was Career Day, and I did it on homemaking. If you think about all of the activities that a mother has to engage in in order to be an effective homemaker and manage her home properly, it takes the whole range of careers outside the home, and it takes little bits of each of those in order to manage a home well.

There are so many things, if you are creative in your home, that you can be doing. Chauffer is an obvious one. But to create a home also takes creative ideas in other areas. However, some women think, Oh my personality . . . This is probably what I thought because I was never at home. I didn’t have a life that allowed me to learn homemaking skills before I was at home or to be around children. Oh, maybe my personality doesn’t fit being at home. Maybe it’s not something that I can do.

But from what I’ve learned in coming home is that I can adapt to loving my children. It’s the heart in me. It’s what God has put in me—to love my children and to care for them and to create a place of refuge and a home for them and my husband.

It is a very important task, and I’ll give an illustration here. At one point in time our older children had learned chess at school. Our younger children were coming along, and I was trying to learn chess also a little bit, though I’m not good at all, but just to be able to play with the younger ones.

I read this book, and it talked about how on the chess board, the queen and the bishop, which represents to me the mother at home and the church, which is her faith . . . The book was saying the queen and the bishop together are the most powerful pieces on the board in this chess game.

I thought that’s such an illustration of a mother who has faith in God. She has a very powerful position because she is impacting the future generations. She is impacting the future of what our world will be. I don’t find that to be a waste of time at all. I find that to be one of the most important jobs in the world.

Nancy: Even women who don’t have children of their own, maybe have never married or maybe God has not blessed them with children, there is a sense in which they can fulfill this calling and mission as well.

Janet: I think wherever you are, even if you find that you cannot be at home right now, God can give you a heart for your home, and your children will know that.

But women who the opportunity for having a home may have passed them by; however, they can still uphold the home and encourage the home as a high and holy calling in other people and maybe take some of the burdens off of them or have a ministry to people who need a little bit of a break sometimes.

Motherhood is a very taxing job. It takes every bit of your physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental abilities to do it. To have someone come in and say, “We’ll give you a few hours off and take good care of your children because God has called us to do that” is a huge blessing.

Or just to say words of encouragement to someone. I have held onto words of encouragement that someone has said to me, and I will hold onto those for weeks because there is not that much encouragement for mothers at home. So, just words of encouragement.

If you see a mother who is doing a good job with her children, tell her that. If you see a father who is showing love for his children in a remarkable way or you see the closeness, tell them that it’s a good thing. Those words.

I think we were talking earlier, Nancy, about the words in the tongue is life and death (see Proverbs 18:21). You can give life to someone’s soul and spirit by just giving words of encouragement.

Nancy: Now you’ve said that when you gave up your public career, and I’m quoting something I read here, you stumbled upon, it seems, “The only profession which is strangely no longer publicly esteemed or given encouragement. Yet it’s the key to the constant cries for a more civil and moral society.”  

I so appreciated the way you made that connection. We’re concerned about the violence and the lack of respect in our culture and the crime and the lack of moral values, morality. We know that the family really is the foundation and the means God has given to develop young men and women who are ladies and gentleman (as my dad used to say he wanted us to be) and to develop the values and the morals and the character for our culture.

It’s built in the home and yet the career to do that—to be a mom—is no longer given the recognition that it once had. You probably haven’t had as many ovations or cheers for being a mom as you did when you were skating on the ice.

Janet: Probably not. (laughter) But I think that God has shown me and I have learned over the years. Basically, I did a lot of intense research as to why I was at home. There’s a vision that motherhood is very, very sacred. It is the most intimate with the soul of a child. It’s taking a child hand in hand, a mother and a father, taking them hand in hand.

It’s touching mind to mind, emotion to emotion. It’s touching soul to soul. It’s touching those places in a child’s heart and in ours. God is not finished with us as parents either in building us into people that can make our society better and to show goodness in the world and to build something. One of the quotes that I love is, “The heart of a mother is the heart of a nation; whereas, a mother’s heart will tell where the nation is going to go." And our children are the future of this nation and other nations, too. Our children are so important.

Sometimes we think as women, I know I felt this way because I didn’t have any experience in any homemaking skills or around children, that my personality didn’t fit at home. But I have learned that you can build a home reflecting your own personality. You can be the queen of your home, if you want to use that word, and reflect your personality in your home while building something wonderful.

Who else is going to teach children those intimate lessons of the issues of life, morals? In the public sphere, it’s very difficult to teach morals now and really in the public it’s very hard to reach that tenderness of a teachable spirit to be able to do that.

A mother and a father have the place to do that in the most remarkable ways. It is a struggle. I call it a holy struggle because we’re dealing with, from a Christian perspective, human beings that are sinful and sometimes we have to deal with our own sin before we can deal with our children’s. Sometimes we have to learn that God wants us to grow in a certain way. But who else is going to do that kind of a work?

We have a garden, and we’re planting seeds in that garden. It’s the garden of children. It’s the garden of the future. It’s the garden of our homes. And what kind of seeds are we planting, first of all? How are we tending that garden? What kind of seeds we plant and how we tend the garden will depend on what kind of garden we have. What kind of garden do we want?

Nancy: Janet, you have five sons. I’ve seen that you want for them to have wives who love and please the Lord and have a heart for home as you do. So think about younger women today who are getting ready to start their families or just starting their families.

How would you encourage those women to catch a glimpse of the power and the influence and the potential of being a wife and a mom? What would you say? Now, can we call ourselves older women? We are, and we are now having the privilege to train and influence a younger generation of women. You don’t have daughters but what would you like to say to younger women today?

Janet: Well, I would like to create in them just to have a glimpse of a vision of motherhood that it is not something that is something to be afraid of. It is not something that is insignificant. It is the most significant job in the world that you can actually influence another human being.

There is a man named G.K. Chesterton who has written about the family and he says, “How can it be more to be one thing to many people and less to be everything to one person, a child?”

How can it be broad to teach one discipline to many people, as I used to teach skating, and narrow to teach a child about the whole universe? There is something so subtly powerful in making a home and in raising our children and really learning to love them.

The Bible talks in Titus 2 about older women teaching younger women how to love their husbands and their children. It’s because that love is not the love that the world is portraying. It is a different kind of love. It is a sacrificial love. That word sacrificial is just really not even accepted anymore. But it’s a sacrificial love that brings more blessings to the woman who sacrifices than anything.

I met your mother today, Nancy, and the blessings that God has given to her through all that she has given is just remarkable. Your family’s story is remarkable and the fullness, the abundance of life. There is a whole world within the home.

Now I thought skating was a pretty broad world. I was all over the world skating. Even when my three younger boys were small, I was all over the world and I thought, What a great impact I can have on society.

But when I came home, I started reflecting on the impact I could have publicly versus the impact that I have privately. As I did that, I started realizing that these children that I’m raising, what I am building into them will be seen in posterity for good or for not good.

I am planting seeds. What am I planting? How am I trying to do this? It’s not going to be perfect. I’m not going to be perfect.

But those children are going to go out. As I said, there is a verse that talks about sending our children out like arrows to do the mission God has for them. What are we sending out into the world when our children go out? Is there not something important about trying to make that arrow straight and true? Does an arrow maker make a crooked arrow? Or do they spend time making it straight and true?

I just see that it’s a mission. It’s a holy mission, and I just desire for women at whatever stage that they’re in to realize that God esteems women very, very highly whatever they’re doing. But God also esteems the women in their home as they are doing a very high and holy calling. It is sacred motherhood.

Nancy: Father, thank You so much for the mothers that You have given to us and the way that they have invested in our lives. Thank You for the way that they have taught us, in many cases, those of us who have had godly mothers, taught us of Your ways and Your word and given us a foundation for life.

Lord, regardless of what kind of mothers we may or may not have had, thank You that, as women, You have called us to be bearers and nurturers of life. Even as single women and women who are not able to have biological children, you still call us to be loving the next generation and investing in their lives.

But I especially want to thank You today for those of our listeners who are choosing that high and holy calling of motherhood and I pray that You’d bless them in their work, that You’d strengthen their hands, that You’d give them a sense of the vision and the reward and the hope that they have ahead as they’re investing today.

Give them perseverance. Help them to be faithful. Encourage them. Enable them. Fill them with Your Holy Spirit and, Lord, would You raise up a generation of mothers who love You, who walk with You, who are committed to Your purposes for their families. Then would You bless us with children who grow up to know You and love You and walk with You and will be those arrows that we send forth into the world to accomplish Your purposes so that You may be glorified in this world. I pray it in Jesus’ name, amen.

Leslie: If you’re a mom, I hope today’s program has encouraged you to keep up the important work of making straight arrows. Janet Lynn Salomon has been talking with Nancy Leigh DeMoss about this important job. Nancy, it’s been a great reminder. A mom truly has a huge influence on the generations that follow.

Nancy: That’s an influence that can be positive or it can be incredibly negative. We received an email that shows the influence moms can have on their daughters’ sexual choices. This listener from Minnesota wrote, “My mom encouraged me to wait until marriage. But when I needed that encouragement most, she changed her mind.”

I can hardly believe it when I read that email, but it just shows how important it is to proclaim biblical truth to women who will then pass those truths on to another generation. This listener went on to say, “Moms have a bigger influence than they may realize.” This email also shows why it is so important for Revive Our Hearts to be there for women and to be faithful to the Word of God and to our mission.

This young woman shared how Revive Our Hearts has been there and has been speaking into her life even when her mom hasn’t been there. That kind of ministry is possible thanks to listeners just like you who support us financially.

If you benefit from Revive Our Hearts, it's been an encouragement to you, a help to you, but maybe you have never given to help support the ministry, would you ask the Lord if maybe this would be a time that He might want you to get involved? We really need to hear from you—especially if you've never contributed to this ministry in the past.

For any listener this week who makes a donation of any size to Revive Our Hearts, we want to send you a copy of my new book called, The Wonder of His Name. This devotional will lead you through thirty-two life-changing names of Jesus. It was such a joy for me working on this book and just meditating on these names and what they tell us about Jesus and what those names mean for our lives.

There are some beautiful illustrations, paintings, throughout this book from renowned artist and calligrapher, Timothy Botts. And you can follow along and be reading during a new teaching series starting March 5, also called “The Wonder of His Name.” We want to be sure you have a copy of this book in time to start that series with us.

We'll be glad to send you the book when you send a gift of any size to Revive Our Hearts. So give us a call at 1–800–569–5959, or you can visit us online at ReviveOurHearts.com. When you do, be sure to let us know you'd like a copy of my book, The Wonder of His Name.

Leslie: Thanks, Nancy. 

When a full cup gets jostled, whatever’s in the cup spills out. In the same way when you’re jostled, what comes out tells you what is filling you up.

Nancy: If I have a full cup of water and it gets shaken, what's going to come out is not lemonade; it's going to be water. It's whatever is inside. We think, I'm not an angry person, until we get jostled, right? Then out comes these attitudes and words that spew out. Maybe I am an angry person, and I didn't realize it.

So when we get shaken, we find out what we are full of. What we are filled with is what flows out in those crisis moments.

Leslie: Nancy shows you how to be filled with the power you need for all that jostling and bumping. Please be back Monday 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.