Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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A Sweet Legacy

Dannah Gresh: Missy Schrader and Julie Tassey, two sisters who now have their own children, will always remember the times their mom sang to them before bed.

Missy Schrader: Mom used music to introduce us to Jesus. Even though Julie and I had our own rooms, we often had slumber parties. Mom would sit at our bed, and she would scratch our back, and she would sing to us. We called it “sing and scratch.” And in those sweet bedtime times, she taught us how much Jesus loves us and how we were His precious treasures, His precious jewels.

She’d sing: 

When He cometh, when He cometh to take up His jewels,
All His jewels, precious jewels, His loved and His own.
Like the stars of the morning, His bright crown adorning. 
They shall shine in their beauty, bright gems for His crown.

Dannah: This is Revive Our Hearts, with Nancy and Robert Wolgemuth, authors of You Can Trust God to Write Your Story, for May 8, 2020. I’m Dannah Gresh.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: So, Dannah, Mother’s Day is just two days away, but as we’re recording this, it’s still a few weeks out from Mother’s Day. And we don’t actually know at this moment what Mother’s Day is going to look like for families around the United States as they celebrate this special day.

Dannah: Yes. Our tradition is to go to the Nittany Lion Inn, this old, beautiful, historic Inn on Mother’s Day, and have this sweet gathering. But it’s possible that our gathering will be on Zoom this year. But either way, we’re going to honor our mothers.

Nancy: I know that any year, Mother’s Day, as we celebrate it here in the States, is a joyful, special time for some women, and it’s a really hard time for some other women.

Dannah: Yes. I have a lot of friends who work through mother wounds, mother abandonment, mother rejection. So they are sad for that reason as they approach Mother’s Day. And then, of course, I have several friends who don’t have their mothers here on this earth. So this weekend is a reminder of that great loss.

Nancy: And, again, other women who would love to be a mother and have not ever had that opportunity. I relate to that, never having children of my own. And yet, I’ve seen the beautiful grace of God in giving me spiritual children around the world and the opportunity to pour into their lives.

So wherever God has us today, especially as it relates to this Mother’s Day weekend, He also has sufficient grace for each of us.

As I’ve talked with lots of mothers and daughters over the years, I’ve often been reminded that that grace comes, not just because we’ve received the blessing we’ve longed for, but also by obeying the Word of God.

We go back to the Ten Commandments, and we see this repeated again in the New Testament that we’re to honor our father and our mother. They may or may not have been worthy of great honor, but in our honoring them, we obey the Lord. He says this is the first commandment that comes with a promise that God will bless us as we honor our parents, whether that is easy and natural for us to do or whether it may come with some difficulty and tears.

And, Dannah, I’m so thankful that my dear husband, or my “DH,” as I call him on Instagram . . .

Dannah: Dear Husband!

Nancy: . . . is able to join us again on today’s program.

Robert Wolgemuth: I’m so happy to be here, Nancy, and Dannah. Great to be with you guys.

Nancy: Yesterday we talked about our moms—your mom, Honey, and your mom, Dannah, and my mom. We honored them and thanked the Lord for a mother’s legacy that we’ve received from them. Not perfect by any means, but ones for which we’re so grateful.

And today we want to continue that conversation by talking about another special mom. This is your late wife Bobbie Wolgemuth.

Robert: Right.

We were married in 1970, and we had two daughters. Missy was born in 1971, eighteen months after we were married. And then Julie was born in 1974. And now they’re moms. So we have moms everywhere.

Dannah: Robert, yesterday we talked about honoring our mothers with a single word. What word comes to mind when you think of honoring your late, precious wife, Bobbie?

Robert: Singing. Was that fast enough?

Dannah: Yes.

Robert: She loved to sing. In fact, she sang her way into mothering and through mothering, and then when she was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer in 2012, she sang for the next thirty months almost non-stop.

Nancy: Your daughters both have beautiful voices. And the Wolgemuth family has a whole gene that I did not get in my family at all. Well, actually, my mother had a beautiful voice. We heard some clips from a couple of her albums. But I got my dad’s side of the gene which were: He couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket, as they say.

Robert: Well, my dad couldn’t sing either. He always just sat in the front row and cheered for us. It was my mother who had the beautiful voice.

Nancy: And you do, and your daughters do, and a number of your grandchildren do—they sing beautifully as well.

In fact, about fifteen years ago you were my literary agent, so I knew you and Bobbie that way. I knew that your family loved to sing hymns. You mentioned singing hymns even on vacations?

Robert: Oh, we did. We had a hymnal, literally, in the car. In fact, I remember this story: The girls used to say, “It sounds so nerdy, but we love it.” We had a hymnal in the back seat, and we would sing hymns on our trips to pass the time.

Nancy: I had heard about that, and one time when I was visiting Orlando, where you and Bobbie lived at the time, I asked if we could go in the studio and have your family talk about singing hymns as a family. It was you and Bobbie and Julie and Missy . . .

Robert: And Abby, who at the time was eight years old.

Nancy: Your granddaughter.

Robert: Yes.

Nancy: She was eight. She’s now a young, married woman in her twenties.

Robert: Yes, she is.

Nancy: And here’s a little bit about what they had to say about singing hymns as a family.

Nancy (from A Mother’s Songs): Now, did you sing hymns with your children from the time they were very little?

Bobbie: Let the girls answer.

Robert: Yes, they should answer the question.

Bobbie: Absolutely.

Nancy: Do you remember some of those hymns that you sang as little girls?

Julie: Yes. In fact, that’s the way we learned to read music was by looking at hymnals and singing hymns. Missy and I learned to hear parts and read music.

Bobbie: But I say even before, when you tiny, before you could read music or read words, you all would pretty much sing around the house with us.

Missy: I remember singing, “Into My Heart,” and thinking, I want Jesus to come live in my heart. I was four years old, and that song spoke to me as a child. I learned what it really meant to have a relationship with Jesus, to have Him come live in my heart.

Abby: I’ve loved to sing since I was three, and it really didn’t matter what I was singing. I just sang all the time. I love hymns, and I’ve been singing for a while. I just love to sing anywhere—in the shower, when I’m brushing my teeth, or at dinner.

Bobbie: What’s your favorite hymn, Abby?

Abby: I have a lot of favorite hymns, but one that I really like is, “Fairest Lord Jesus,” because I always think of how God is so great and that He always does things that are not always what we want, but always what is right for us.

Robert: Bobbie, you do a lot of teaching hymns to young children. How young do you think kids can be before they can begin to learn a hymn?

Bobbie: Well, right now I’m teaching three year olds. We don’t dummy it down for them. I teach them, “Holy, Holy, Holy.” The first thing I teach little children is, “Holy, Holy, Holy.” And the way that children respond, and the pictures that you’re giving them for their mind, it gives a child a repertoire so that they have something to pull from when they’re trying to put ideas on who God is.

I don’t like to start with anything too trite. I think, “A Mighty Fortress,” and “Fairest Lord Jesus,” and “Holy, Holy, Holy,” are good ones to start with. I love teaching children hymns because I think little children respond. And I believe they hear God’s voice through this music.

I’ve had the opportunity at my children’s school to teach hymns, and the questions that I ask as we’re doing that are: What does this teach me about God? And what does this teach me about myself? That’s the beauty of the hymn—it always answers those questions. It teaches you something about the Lord, and it teaches you something about yourself.

Nancy: That was a fun conversation, and we’ve linked to that conversation at ReviveOurHearts.com, on a page we call, “A Mother’s Legacy,” which includes several of these past interviews as well as a free download of two albums that my mother recorded many years ago—over forty years ago—and so that’s really old-time music. And it also includes an album that you and Bobbie and Missy and Julie and Abby recorded back in 2005 called?

Robert: Music to a Mother’s Ear. Bobbie’s vision was that other women, moms, could be encouraged with singing. So we put together this album. And, actually, this is the first time this music has ever been made available, and we’re going to make it available on Revive Our Hearts.

Nancy: I heard about it, and you pulled it out of the archives, because it had been recorded but never actually published.

Robert: That’s right.

Nancy: So here’s a little clip from one of those songs. (“Draw Me Nearer”)

That song, along with nine other songs, recorded by Bobbie and Julie and Missy—different ones on different songs—is available now as a free download at the page we’ve put together on ReviveOurHearts.com called, “A Mother’s Legacy.”

And something I also learned recently, Honey, is that Bobbie had written a ten-day devotional to go with this album. It’s called, “Ten Days to Tuning Your Heart to Your Savior.”

Robert: Yes. And I think it includes Scripture and a devotional thought with each one of these songs.

Nancy: So that’s available—never published before—now available as a PDF.

Robert: Oh, good.

Nancy: You can download it for free at ReviveOurHearts. You go there, and it will take you to this landing page called, “A Mother’s Legacy.”

Well, speaking of Bobbie Wolgemuth, your late wife, there is no better way to know what a mother’s legacy looks like than to hear from her children who rise up and call her blessed. And I saw that happen in a beautiful way back in October of 2014 as I watched the livestream of Bobbie’s memorial service.

I was, I have to say, not prepared for the beautiful, the amazing tribute that your two daughters, Julie Tassey and Missy Schrader, gave to their mom just days after she had gone to heaven. I sat in my home and watched the livestream of the memorial service as they shared what they remembered about their mom. It was so moving, and I want you to hear just a little bit about what they shared that day.

Missy: And because she loved to sing, and because she was gifted in it, it seemed natural that she could be a gospel-singing star. But then she found out that I was coming, and three years later that Julie was coming—thank you, Mom and Dad—she decided to embrace her new, unexpected calling as mommy. And she mothered us with music.

We became her audience, and we were captivated by her love for us. She sang: (Julie joins in singing):

Two eyes that shine so bright. Two lips that kiss goodnight.
Two arms that hold me tight, that little girl of mine.
No one will ever know how much your coming has meant.
To me, you’re everything. You’re something heaven has sent.
You’re all the world to me. You climb upon my knee.
To me, you’ll always be that little girl of mine.

We were also captivated by her love for our dad. She loved him so well. And when you love someone, you sing about them. You sing to them. You sing for them. Dad would walk in the door from work, and she would stop whatever she was doing. She’d put it down, and she’d run over to him, and she’d wrap her arms around him, and she’d sing. (Julie joins in singing):

Oh, my man, I love him so. He’ll never know.
All my life was just despair ’til he was there.
(laughter)

It’s true! Mom used music to introduce us to Jesus. Even though Julie and I had our own rooms, we often had slumber parties. Mom would sit at our bed, and she would scratch our back, and she would sing to us. We called it “sing and scratch.” And in those sweet bedtime times, she taught us how much Jesus loves us and how we were His precious treasures, His precious jewels.

She’d sing, (Julie joins in singing): 

When He cometh, when He cometh to take up His jewels,
All His jewels, precious jewels, His loved and His own.
Like the stars of the morning, His bright crown adorning,
They shall shine in their beauty, bright gems for His crown.

Julie: We also sang in the car. We would take road trips, and headphones were forbidden. They were items under the ban. There was none of this. So on long road trips, we would sing.

Mom and Dad had this entire portfolio of songs that they knew, and they would sing, “The Hashtag Chorus,” and they would sing, (singing): “He owns the cattle on a thousand hills.” Missy and I thought, We’ve got to get in on this. They’re having way too much fun. We’ve got to get in on this.

So we would take hymnals in the car, and we not only learned how to read music, but how to hear harmony, and there were four of us. So Mom had soprano. Dad took bass. Missy got alto because she came first. So I’m a tenor. (laughter) And we would sing four-part harmony. I know it sounds really nerdy, but it was really fun. We loved it.

We were learning music. We were learning how to hear harmony. We were having a lot of fun. But we were starting to really bury these truths in our hearts. And these songs are still there.

We did not go to summer camp. Mom didn’t want to be away from us for a week. So we stayed home, and we learned hymns. (laughter) Do you know what a bulwark is? We do! Because when we were learning the song, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” we learned that God is our safe place. He is our refuge. He is our fortress. And we learned, (Missy and Julie singing): “A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing.”

Yes, and when we came to church on Sunday, and that song would be on the bulletin, and we wouldn’t have to use our hymnals because we knew all four verses, we’d wink at each other, and Mom would give us a look (laughter) And we were having fun.

Speaking of fun, music wasn’t just instructional. It was fun. Mom was not great at driving. There were a couple of things that she wasn’t great at: driving, cooking, and keeping secrets. She was not at all. So when it was time for Christmas, Mom would go shopping early to get some things for Christmas, but she could not wait for December 25. So she turned her inability to keep secrets into fun.

The month of December we would wake up to the tune of, “O, Come Let Us Adore Him,” being sung, but it had new words. And it was (Missy and Julie singing):

Oh, what is in my basket?
Oh, what is in my basket?
Oh, what is in my basket—
It’s Christmas joy for you!

And it was an early Christmas present that mom couldn’t wait to give us. And our kids love, “Oh, What Is in My Basket?” (laughter)

Julie: When I was pregnant with Harper, I got a box from Mom, and it was December. It was something cute for the nursery. And it said, “Oh, what is in my basket? I know what’s in yours.” (laughter)

Missy: When we had children, Nanny continued this sweet treat of teaching hymns to our children. She taught them, as I know she taught lots of your children, (Julie and Missy singing):

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty.
Early in the morning, our song shall rise to Thee.

In 2012, God gave Mom a new song to sing. Psalm 40, verse 3, says,

He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in God.

The new song, the mission, was to continue to live a life of continual praise with cancer.

Mom allowed God to use this as a gift by blessing others. In a way like never before, Mom shined Jesus, taking the cue from those cute little birds. She trusted her Savior and sang praise with joy and a contagious love for Jesus. That love drew people in. People wanted to know her Jesus. They were captivated by this new song.

And she boldly walked into other people’s lives and entered their world. She would be in the clinic and would see other patients. She’d walk over and say, “Tell me your story.” It was amazing to watch. It was amazing to watch the dross be consumed and the gold to be refined. She chose joy every day. She chose to be more and more like Jesus and to sing this beautiful song, the gospel.

The truth of the gospel was her strength. She said, “I’m okay. I already died. The life I’m living is a life in Christ. I’m not afraid of death.” Her hope was in the firm foundation of Jesus Christ.

Missy: And when we would sing, “How Firm a Foundation,” this was our favorite verse to sing together: (Missy and Julie singing):

When through the deep waters, I call thee to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not overflow.
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctified to thee thy deepest distress.

Philippians 2:12 and 13 says, “Do everything without complaining or arguing so that you may be pure and blameless and shine like stars.”

Remember how Julie and I messed up her dream of being a gospel-singing star? Well, when the Lord gave Mom this new song to sing, she became the most incredible gospel-singing star. She sang the gospel everywhere she went—in her home, in our neighborhood, in the clinic, at the pharmacy, in her Bible study. She sang the gospel wherever she went without complaining.

She ministered with a smile. She sang for God’s glory. She forgot about herself, and she blessed others.

Dannah: Wow! That is so moving, Nancy. I can’t help but think of some of my friends who will not be celebrating Mother’s Day with their mothers in two days. What a comfort it is to hear those precious words of honor.

Nancy: And that entire tribute, it’s about twenty minutes long, a video of it is available at ReviveOurHearts.com, on the landing page we’ve called, “A Mother’s Legacy.”

You’ll also find there a free download of the album, Music to a Mother’s Ear, along with a ten-day devotional that Bobbie wrote to go along with each of those songs.

And also, the two albums that we excerpted yesterday that my mother sang—a very different style of music—but forty-five-plus years ago, how that music still comforts my heart today as I think about the legacy of a singing mom.

Dannah: I just want to encourage you, as a mother, it’s been a very overwhelming time for us as a nation, as a world, and you may not feel like you’re getting everything right as a mom. You may have said some things to your kids that you wish you would have said with more tenderness. You may be very frustrated with having to learn to homeschool on the spot. You may have been short-tempered with your husband.

But today, as every day, the mercies of God are new, and they’re for you. So, moms, do what I do when I mess up: Push reset today and go ahead and receive the blessing of your family as they celebrate you this weekend.

Nancy: Yes, Dannah. Thank you for that word that I know is going to encourage a lot of moms.

And then just a word, again, to those who, like myself may not have children of your own, and perhaps a weekend like this leaves you feeling like you have empty arms and a heart that would long to have had children; know that the story God is writing for your life and for mine is a good one. It’s a beautiful one.

So we thank the Lord for moms—all of us have had a mom. Imperfect as she may have been, we thank the Lord for how He has used them, failures and all, in our lives. And we thank the Lord for the opportunity we have as women, all of us, to be spiritual mothers, to draw others close to us who need someone to love them, to care for them, and to extend the grace of Christ to them.

Well, we have one special guest left for today’s program. And, Dannah, this is a little bit of a surprise that we pulled off for you. We texted one of your children—you have three children. But to your daughter Lexie, we said, “Lexie, could you just share with us a word of your heart for your mom?” And I want you to hear what she had to say:

Lexie: I am so incredibly grateful for my mom. She’s so steadfast and loving, and she’s just always been a pillar of light in my life. So, Mom, thank you for always standing by me, for lifting me up, and for covering me in prayer even when I don’t know that you are. You’ve really shown me what it means to abide in Christ. And you’ve always invited me to abide with you. So thank you for that. I am so blessed to be your daughter and to have you as a mentor and to have you as my best friend. I love you, Mom.

Dannah: Oh goodness! I was crying when she said, “I,”—the first word!

Robert: She had me at, “Hello.”

Dannah: Ye, absolutely! What a precious gift. Thank you, friend.

Nancy: Thank you, Dannah, for modeling a mother’s heart and for the way that you’ve mothered so many teen girls, young girls, tweens, the True Girl Ministry.This tribute from your own daughter, Lexie, could be echoed by your daughter Autumn and your son Robbie, and now will be echoed in years to come by those precious twin granddaughters, Addie and Zoe.

So thank you for being a mom to your kids, a grandmom to your grandkids, and a spiritual mom to so many. Happy Mother’s Day to you, Dannah.

Dannah: Oh, thank you so much, friend.

Encouraging you to honor your mother, Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth 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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