Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Sowing Seeds in Your Child's Life

Leslie Basham: “You reap what you sow.” Betsy Corning applies this well-known phrase to you and your children.

Betsy Corning: If you want to reap something great, you’d better be sowing it right now. Or, what are you sowing right now that really isn’t going to reap something you want in your children?

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Tuesday, July 3.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: For the past few months, I’ve been leading a study in my home with a group of young women who are twenty-somethings. As we concluded this particular study this week, I realized that all four of the married women in this group are now expecting their first child.

As I looked at these young women, all getting ready to have their first child, I thought how much they need biblical help, wisdom, discipleship, and mentoring as they’re starting into what is a very exciting season of their lives, but what will also be an incredibly challenging season.

I’m so excited, in that context, to be able to introduce our listeners this week to a set of resources and a study that’s available for moms called Entrusted with a Child’s Heart.

On our last program, you met Betsy Corning, who’s the founder and the teaching leader of this series. Betsy, welcome back to Revive Our Hearts.

Betsy: Thank you so much for having us back.

Nancy: I’m so glad that there’s this kind of material available to recommend to women with young children, even the ones about to be born. It’s not too soon to start thinking about, “How do we want to raise these children?”

Betsy: Absolutely not . . . it’s not too soon to start thinking about it. And we even say that mothers of all ages can come together. Isn’t that the wonderful thing about the church? It’s all ages of women together. You’re not segmented by being a soccer mom or by the ages of your children.

That’s the wonderful thing about the church, that we can all be together and learn from each other.

Nancy: And this is material that you’ve actually used and tested over a period of many years in your home church. For years you’ve seen women go through this material and actually apply it in their lives, in their homes, and you’re probably starting to see some of the children who are growing up under this kind of teaching ministry.

Betsy: I love that. My daughter has four children, and then my son has two children, so I have six grandchildren. I’m seeing this go multi-generational, which is a blessing to see the generations carrying on the culture of parenting that is laid out in the Bible. That is biblical.

We’re not seeing families just doing life, as it says in Judges, according to their own whims, just “whatever seems right in their own eyes.” That’s really a big message today, and that’s why I brought my friends, to give us some insight on that.

Nancy: We want to introduce your friends, because not only are your children reproducing these truths in their own families, but you have for a dozen years or more been teaching these truths to younger women who are applying them in their own families.

So today you’ve brought with you from the Chicago area Gina Cho and Stef Caterer. We’ve really had some fun time talking over the last bit, over the time before we came to the studio . . . about how God has used this ministry in each of your lives.

So, Gina and Stef, welcome to Revive Our Hearts, and thank you for joining us on the program today.

Gina Cho: Thank you so much for having us; we’re so excited to be here.

Stef Caterer: Thanks, Nancy.

Nancy: I want to hear from each of you gals how you got involved with Entrusted with a Child’s Heart. Let me start with you, Stef. You were a young Christian when you first came across this material. Tell us just a bit about how you connected with it.

Stef: I was a very young Christian, probably about two years young. I had a friend who said, “I’m taking this great Bible study. You have to come with me.”

And I said “Okay.” I came and sat down and was really just punched in the soul, really impacted greatly by every day’s teaching, every time I went.

I couldn’t believe that I had been a wife and a mom before knowing what Betsy was teaching from the Word.

Nancy: As you think back to when you first got involved in that study, what was an area or two that particularly impacted you early on?

Stef: Keeping my finger on the pulse of my home is a great one that I didn’t know that I was supposed to do. I got saved later in life; I was twenty-seven. I never made my husband dinner. I had been married for a few years, and I just didn’t have a plan for my marriage.

I didn’t have a plan for my family, as a young mom. My son was one, and I didn’t know what was in the fridge; I didn’t know what was in the cupboard; I didn’t know what was in the bank account.

Nancy: You were basically clueless.

Stef: I was clueless about what I should have been an expert on. I went to Entrusted, and Betsy said, “Do you have your finger on the pulse of your home?” and I thought , “No, I have no idea what’s going on in my home.”

I try to continue to do that even now. I know exactly what’s in my refrigerator right now and what my kids are eating and what my husband needs for lunch tomorrow and whether I’ll be making it or not. So, that was a huge teaching for me.

Nancy: And even more importantly, you’ve learned how to keep the pulse of your children’s hearts and the heart of your home.

Stef: Definitely, that’s huge. Yes, I was talking practical application on the heart of my home. But yes, keeping the pulse of where my children are spiritually, and how they’re feeling, and what their ups and downs are, and how they’re doing, and yes definitely upon the hearts of my children and my husband.

Betsy: We do have a practical tool that we say, and it’s, “How do you know if you’re out of the home too much, and keeping the thumb on the pulse of your family?” And one of them is, “How much milk is in your refrigerator right now?”

If you cannot answer that question, you are not home enough. And then, of course, we go into many more examples of really being that connection, that spiritual connection with your kids, and what that all means.

But it’s kind of a good barometer for moms to say, “Do I know how much milk is in my refrigerator right now, and if I don’t, maybe I’m just not there enough to be clued in to all those things, all those details.”

Nancy: The Lord has used this ministry, Gina, to help you get more clued in to the needs of your family and to your own relationship with the Lord. You now have six children, but when you first encountered Entrusted with a Child’s Heart, you had three, and the Lord used this ministry in a huge way in your early family.

Gina: He did. He was so gracious because I stumbled upon the study almost by accident. I was looking for something, to engage with church, and met Betsy for the first time. The first lesson is just hearing her testimony and her life story.

As Stef said she didn’t have a plan, well, I realized I had plans for other things, except for my family. I had plans for my career, plans for my marriage. The key phrase is “my plans,” and I wasn’t seeking God’s plans for what He wanted in my life.

I think, over time, we just get busy and caught up in the day-to-day. I found myself the mother of three children, ages five, four, and three, a career mom with a CPA background, and I just loved to work. That was almost a curse, because I just got off track with the pulse of my marriage and my home.

I came to Betsy seeking hope and encouragement for, “What is the Lord’s will in my life?” At the time, I was just at the end of myself. My husband had just lost his company, and we were trying to figure out how we were going to support ourselves, and I was working. We were at a crossroads with education choices . . . do we do public school, Christian school, homeschooling?

And one practical element was just the biblical convictions versus personal convictions. What does the Bible say? Teaching the children God’s Word, but it takes different life circumstances, and God speaks to each of us differently.

So once I could organize my thoughts between biblical and personal convictions, He just made every decision fall into place and made it so much more clear.

Nancy: Now, I’ve heard you all talk about biblical convictions. As you think about marriage and family, parenting, what are some examples—and any of you jump in here—what are some examples of biblical convictions families need to establish, the earlier the better?

Betsy: I think there are all the truths, the principles, the commands found in God’s Word. Specifically to families they would be, to honor, protect, and understand what we are given in the gift of a child. God says children are a gift, they’re a blessing, they’re entrusted to us, we’re stewards of them . . . that would be a biblical conviction.

How we raise them to be honoring, that they would  grow up to lift high the Name of God, that would be a biblical conviction. We could go on to so many things . . . our idea of the sanctity of life. Mothers are the nurturers and bearers of children. We have roles in our marriages. I could go on and on.

Gina: And just recently, God renewed a desire to really keep the Sabbath holy. We always have gone to church for many, many years, my whole life. But I wanted to make it fun and exciting, like it was really a mental break from everyday life. So what we do now after our church services and Sunday School is we all do a family activity together, whether it's botanical gardens or Glencoe Beach or just something really out of the ordinary.

And it’s hard when you have a range of ages of children, from the ages of three to sixteen, and having six of them. They all want to do their own thing and hang out with their friends. But it’s just so nice. The first time it was really hard.

But after a couple of weeks, my older kids actually looked forward to it and were just looking for that security and routine of placing our family above other priorities. It’s just been a really fun bonding family time, and honoring the Lord.

Nancy: What you’re really saying is, in all these things, as a family, we don’t want our lives to be driven by the world, its system, its values, its ways of thinking. We want to be intentional about orienting our lives around the principles of God’s Word. Not just letting life happen, but by God’s grace, raising those families, those children to love and honor and fear the Lord.

Betsy: And what my husband is so great at is funneling lots of information down into concise ideas. What we have is our Corning family values that are written with a permanent black marker in our garage. I’m saying, handwritten by Dad with no ruler or anything.

Nancy: So what’s on your garage wall? Tell us.

Betsy: They are five biblical convictions:

1)     Love and obey Jesus—and he puts a reference with every one of these.

2)     The second is: Be loyal to your family. Family is so important, and so how do we honor            our families, multigenerationally?

3)     Work hard and finish strong, be a hard worker for the Lord.

4)     Be honest, be a person of integrity.

5)     Be kind, be a kind loving servant of the Lord.        

And that’s just a simple little thing, and it’s so funny, because in the class I show that these are in my garage, inside on the wall. And people say, “Excuse me, why are they on are your garage?” And I say, “Well, I guess that’s the only place I would let my husband write with a magic marker.”

But as it turned out he just did that, and so it’s sort of become a tradition, because we’ve moved, and they still go up on the new house. But I love the fact that every time we drive in, our lights are flashing on that; every time we back out, we see that. Every time we opened the door, every time our kids took out the garbage, what we saw is that.

And honestly, even when we thought, “You’re in violation of one of our family values,” which are really God’s family values, we might send them out to the garage and say, “Go out there and look, then come in and tell us which one you violated.”

I think that’s just a good lesson. Kids can succinctly say, “These are the five things our family is about.”

Nancy: And that would be a great question for every family to answer, “What are our family values? If we had to reduce it to five things . . ." What do you want for your children?

Betsy: It is an assignment.

Nancy: And here’s the other question: Do your children know what those values are? And, as I’m listening to you talk about writing those on the garage wall, of course my mind goes to Deuteronomy chapter 6 where the Scripture says,

The Lord our God. the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and you shall talk of them when sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand . . . you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (vv. 4-9)

Now, it doesn’t say, “on your garage,” but maybe they didn’t have garages back then. But that’s an Old Testament statement of what you just really illustrated Betsy, and that is you want to, as a family, you determine what it is that God wants you involved in, to do, and how can we pass these on to our children so that they are reminded of them constantly? In a way that you’re reminded of them constantly.

Your children are growing up in an environment where they know this is what matters to their family, and this is what matters to the Lord. One of the values in our family—we didn’t have anything written on the garage wall—but as I’m thinking back about it, one of our family’s values was a heart for the world, a heart to see the gospel go out across the world.

How do I remember that? I’ve been gone from home since, actually, I went to college at fifteen, so I wasn’t at home that many years. But we had on our breakfast room wall a large map of the world. My parents and our family supported a lot of different missionaries in different ways, and so we had little tacks on different places on the map where these different missionaries were serving, with pieces of yarn out to their picture around the map.

We would pray for these families, we would read the newsletters of these families who were serving the Lord around the world, and from the time we were really little, every time we would have meals in that room, which was breakfast and dinner every day virtually, we did family meals, we had that visual reminder.

By what was on the walls, from the earliest times of my memory, we were being challenged to that family value, which is God’s value.

Betsy: And it sticks with you forever, your whole life. That’s just something that’s ingrained in you. You love to look for the needs of people, here and abroad, it’s just intrinsic in you because it’s really God’s work in you through your parents instilling that in you, from “little” on.

That’s a big thing that we say, “These things start little.” So be really intentional by thinking about what it is. We said in the last program that you reap what you sow. If you want to reap something great in your children’s lives, you’d better be sowing right now. Or, what are you sowing right now that really isn’t going to reap something you want in your children?

So we go through some really serious exercises to investigate those, and to really make some practical ways to make that so that we’re doing what we really want to be reaping.

Nancy: I’d like to ask each of you—you’re in different seasons of child rearing, different seasons of lif. But what’s something the Lord’s taught you through the Entrusted ministry (which has a lot of biblical content in it) that the Lord has taught you as a mom, that you’re really glad for? Something that has borne good fruit in your family that you would want to pass on to young moms?

You could probably have a lot of answers to that question, but just think of one or two things. Let me start with you, Stef.

Stef: Let your statement be “yes.” Let your “yes” be “yes,” let your “no” be “no.” There’s more to it than just yes, yes and no, no. Answer your children right away, answer them definitively and follow through with that. It is so discouraging and exasperating to our children when we can’t give them a clear answer.

They’re very black and white in their little hearts. It taught me to be a mom of my word, and to really be a woman of my word. They would say, “Mom, can we go to the park?” and I would say, “Well, it’s going to be really hard. I have to do this, this, and this . . ."

No. Let it be yes, or let it be no. They don’t have to know how hard it’s going to be for me to get there. Yes or no. I think that was a teaching that was highlighted in Entrusted for me, that I’m still struggling with, I’m still working on, but the Lord continually is showing me how to do that for my kids.

Nancy: Very practical. How about you, Gina?

Gina: The one thing that was amazing for me: All these parents have these general, great things they want their kids to learn and be. With this ministry I learned the true definition of “obedience.” Trying to teach that to a two-year-old and a three-year-old, and basically it’s three simple things. I have them repeat to me.

To obey means to do it right away, all the way, with a happy face. So, when have them repeat it over and over again, it’s like positive brain-washing. So we’re in the grocery store, and they disobey, and I ask them, "What does it mean?" They repeat it.

It’s amazing how you reap what you sow. Here, I’m thinking, I’m trying to sow seeds of truth into my children’s hearts. Then I’ll catch myself in the middle of the day, “Am I responding to the Lord right away, all the way, with a happy face?” when I don’t like what’s happening in my life, or in my day, or when something goes wrong.

Sometimes I’ll just be in tears, like, “Lord, I didn’t know that You brought me to the Word to teach me.” I forget that I’m a child of His, that He’s my Father, and it’s not just us pouring truth into our children. It’s like a boomerang that comes back to us.

God challenges us in our personal walk with Him. “Are you doing it with joy, and are you doing it all the way, or with just half a heart?”

Nancy: And along that line, Betsy, I know one of the things you teach in this material is how important it is that moms model toward their husbands the kind of obedience and respect that you want your children to have towards you as a mom.

Betsy: Yes, it’s so important that you model this before your kids. We talk about what biblical submission is because sometimes you submit to your husband, knowing that maybe you have a little bit clearer understanding, or you think you’re right.

It’s so much better that you follow your husband’s leading and model this to your children, rather than that you make a point which isn’t going to make any difference in the long run.

So we really talk a lot about marriage. Of course, marriage is huge in raising children.

Nancy: So important, so foundational. There so much more we want to talk about, insights for moms’ hearts. Thank you for the practical ones that have been shared today. I want to make sure that our listeners know how to get hold of this material.

If you go to ReviveOurHearts.com, we have a link to Entrusted Ministries, and you can find all the different resources there. There is a twenty-two week curriculum. It includes DVDs and a really full, robust workbook that goes with it.

It’s Betsy’s teaching, and this has been tested in years of classes, through the local church. As a ministry, we would love to see it in many, many local churches. It’s been spreading over the years. This may be something with which you’d like to go to your pastor or elders and say, “Is this a class we could incorporate in our church?”

All that information is available from Entrusted Ministriesand you can go there from our website.

Leslie: Thanks, Nancy. And I’ll mention that we’d like to send every listener one of those resources from Betsy Corning. You can get the book Entrusted with a Child’s Heart when you donate any amount to Revive Our Hearts.

Nancy, I know a lot of our listeners are going to want to contact us and read the book Entrusted.

Nancy: The book includes sixteen lessons. You can do it as a couple; you can do it as a small group. You may even have a husband that doesn’t know the Lord. You could read this as a mom and get started with a group of moms. It can be done as a mom or couples. That book is available, and we want you to take advantage of that.

I know we have a lot grandmoms listening who have a burden for their adult children and grandchildren. This would be a great gift for you to pass on to the next generation, as they’re the ones who have been entrusted with their children’s hearts.

Leslie: So if you’re a mom or know a mom, just donate any amount at ReviveOurHearts.com, or ask for Entrusted when you donate any amount by phone. The number is 1-800-569-5959.

What questions or ideas did today’s program bring to mind? I hope you’ll share them on the Revive Our Hearts listener blog. Our guest, Betsy Corning, will be interacting with our listeners today. So visit ReviveOurHearts.com, scroll to the end of the transcript, add your comment or question, and then see what Betsy is posting to our listeners.

Tomorrow, Betsy Corning, Gina Cho, and Stef Caterer will again be speaking to Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy: When we come back on the next Revive Our Hearts, I want us to talk with these three women about some of the behaviors that exasperate children. Scripture says that parents should not provoke their children to anger, and one of the lessons in this material talks about behaviors that will provoke your children, will exasperate them.

We want to talk about what some of those are when we come back and consider more of what it means to be “entrusted with a child’s heart.”

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries. 

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