Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: As a young girl, Barbara Hughes observed as her mother sang a lullaby to her baby brother. Here's Barbara telling us about what she learned about motherhood that day.

Barbara Hughes: Everything about it was lovely. But the loveliest thing of all, that just marked me, was that I saw how much my mother treasured nurturing that little baby.

Leslie Basham: It's Thursday, May 29; and you're listening to Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

What does it mean to nurture? We'll get a handle on that word today and find out why God gave women nurturing hearts. Here's Nancy to introduce today's guests.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: One of the major burdens we have here at Revive Our Hearts is to help us as women learn what it means to live as Christian women, to live out our lives under the implications of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to live in a way that is becoming of the Gospel.

We have with us all this week on Revive Our Hearts a couple who are helping us to better understand what it means to be godly women. Kent and Barbara Hughes are new friends and, Kent and Barbara, thank you so much for being here with us this week.

Barbara Hughes: Thanks, Nancy.

Kent Hughes: It's been enjoyable.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: You both have such a sense of joy and delight about what it means to live out life under His loving rule, as you say, Barbara, in your book Disciplines of a Godly Woman.

I want us to talk today about one of those disciplines that is a chapter in your book. And that is the discipline of nurturing. Now that's a word that has gone out of vogue for us as women.

We don't hear as much about it today as probably we ought. And yet you say that motherhood is the essence of womanhood. What do we mean when we talk about the fact that God made us to be bearers and nurturers of life?

Barbara Hughes: Well, first of all, as you know, I wrote my book as a companion to Kent's book, Disciplines of a Godly Man, and he has a chapter, "The Discipline of Fatherhood."

And I intentionally did not write "The Discipline of Mothering" but rather "Nurturing" because I think that women today, especially single women and women who do not have children think that this is an area that belongs only to mothers, those who have actually given birth or adopted children. I think that's altogether untrue and unbiblical.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: So you're saying whether we're married or single, if we are women, we were made to be nurturers.

Barbara Hughes: Absolutely! All the time. Every month. Our bodies were created with all the mechanics to produce and nurture life. And we're reminded of it once a month, whether or not we have children or bear children.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And yet our culture, for years and years now, has steered away from this concept of women as nurturers. In fact, we've come to the place for decades now, where a woman's value and role and place in life are defined in every way other than nurturing.

Barbara Hughes: That's right. And you know what? Women who have bought the lie that that is something that is really just for those who have gifts of mothering, they're unhappy. Motherhood is the essence of womanhood.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: When you say motherhood, of course, bearing children physically is part of that. But you're saying that it's bigger than that.

Barbara Hughes: Absolutely. Nurturing life. What does that mean to nurture life? Actually if you looked it up in a dictionary, it comes from a Latin word--the act of nursing or to suckle or nourish.

In our English language its broader meaning includes something like "to further the development of or to train." Well, women for centuries have been highly involved in the development or training of children--who have never borne children. It all ties together with your view of the church.

The church is the family of God. In the family of God we all are responsible for the children of the church. We have children to nurture and nourish. We have a responsibility, a particular responsibility, precisely because we are female, to nurture life on this planet in every form and in every way we can.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Kent, let me ask you as a husband, what are some of the ways that you think about Barbara as a wife and as the mother of your four children, what are some of the ways that you've seen her be a nurturer?

Kent Hughes: Well, she's a nurturer because she loves people and she loves children. So one of the things I notice with my wife is that she never patronizes children. She always talks with them as intelligent people, she doesn't talk down to them, she engages them, she loves other people's children. Our home was a place where all the children in the neighborhood were welcome and got mothered and got loved.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: So that's probably where they gravitated.

Kent Hughes: Right. I think this whole matter of nurturing, this spiritual nurturing, she is a spiritual nurturer herself. But I think of someone like Henrietta Mears. She was the Sunday School Superintendent of Hollywood Presbyterian Church during the 50s.

If you look at her progeny, then you can put Dr. Bill Bright right there. And you can put some of the great preachers of the day. She even kind of nurtured along Billy Graham at the beginning of his ministry, all kinds of things. And it came out of a woman who was single all of her life but was a major nurturer.

Barbara Hughes: She had a vision for what God wanted to do through her precisely for the kingdom of God and she didn't let her terrible problems with her eyesight or her singleness or any of the things that would be perhaps difficult for her to hinder her. She just forged right ahead.

"This is what I can do. This is my vision for the kingdom of God. And this is how I'm going to go about it." Really, she did it in a nurturing way, she nurtured life, she nurtured spiritual life in young men and women.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Now, Barbara, you got your heart for nurturing from your mother. I know your mother was in a situation where she had to be out in the marketplace, had to be working. Financially there was a situation in your family where that was required. You had an experience you talk about in your book where, when your youngest brother was born, you saw your mom as a nurturer.

Barbara Hughes: My mother just was a nurturing mom because she had six children although there are many who don't nurture when they have children, but my mother did. She was a loving, wonderful, godly mother. ,

One day I did come home from junior high school, I'll never forget it. I was fourteen years old. My brother had just been born and my mother always worked, but she was able to take a little time off when the baby was born. And I remember walking up to the door and before I entered the door I heard my mother's voice singing.

Well, my mother has, you know, a very average voice so I seldom heard her sing. She was singing a lullaby and she was rocking my baby brother. When I walked in the room the whole house just had a different atmosphere.

It smelled good, she had been cleaning; the house was lovely. But the loveliest thing of all that just marked me was that I saw just how much my mother treasured nurturing that little baby and how, though she worked, we were where her heart was. She loved and adored us; she nurtured us. She had to work, and we knew that it was because she loved us that she went out every day, not because"¦we weren't a burden that was thwarting her career.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Now my heart goes out to a lot of young mothers today who did not have nurturing mothers and have never seen that modeled. I have a friend who never held a baby in her arms until she had her first baby at age 27 and she had no concept of

Barbara Hughes: That's why we have the family of God, the church. We are aunts and uncles and mothers and cousins and sisters and brothers to the family of God. We need each other.

My daughter has a wonderful young woman, a single girl, who is a teacher, a member of the church; and my daughter is expecting her sixth child. One day she came and said, "You know, I just want to be a part of this family."

And she said, "I want to just come and take my Saturdays and give you time off to go do what you have to do. I just want to be with these kids." She was ministering to my daughter in her need and she was fulfilling her own need for nurturing. It works when we live out the way God intended for us to live in the family of God. It meets those needs, those nurturing needs.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: So, for a woman who feels, I'm not naturally a nurturer, how can she cultivate that?

Barbara Hughes: She can learn it from other women in the family of God. Absolutely, it can be learned.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: So find an older woman or somebody who has"¦

Barbara Hughes: Yes, just start being with women who are nurturers. You can look around and see. Put yourself in situations with them. Ask them.

It's really interesting. There was a study done where they actually believe that the very act of nurturing caused more female hormones to be released and that made it more compatible for conception because it happens repeatedly that women will be infertile, then adopt a child and then become pregnant.

And I write about this, talking about Germaine Greer, for those of you who remember her terrible book, "The Female Eunuch." She was one of these women, an ardent feminist, who told women, "Absolutely do not get pregnant. Avoid it all costs. Abort it if you do."

She was violently opposed to mothering and nurturing. But one day, later in life, she offered to care for the child of a friend. And it was absolutely like an epiphany for her. She writes about it and says that it brought out, it just brought something into her senses that she had never experienced, the care of this innocent little thing.

She wanted a child but it was too late for Germaine Greer in her lifestyle and what she had done. But I believe that it did absolutely cause her to be more feminine in those moments, that there was something in her, that nurturing, that beautiful fulfillment that she experienced, she'd never known.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: You know, in accepting that call to be nurturers as women, to be bearers and nurturers of life, we're really fulfilling the Gospel in our lives as women. I think about that passage in 1 Thessalonians, chapter 2, where the apostle Paul says, speaking of his ministry to the Thessalonian believers, he says, " we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children," he says, "we affectionately longed for you so much that we were willing to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives because you had become dear to us."

What a picture of the calling of the Gospel in our lives as women--to be gentle, to cherish one another, to care, to nurse, to nurture, to long for them and to be willing ultimately to lay down our lives for those who are dear to us, even as Christ has laid down His life for us.

Leslie Basham: What a high calling God has given us, to model the Gospel by our nurturing, caring spirit. We've been listening to a conversation between Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Kent and Barbara Hughes.

Maybe you know a new mom. She's probably facing a lot of stress, feeling like all she does is feed and clean and listen to crying. She would probably be encouraged by today's program on the "The Value of a Mother's Nurturing Heart."

Why don't you get her a copy? Today's program comes as part of a weeklong series with Kent and Barbara Hughes on cassette for a suggested donation of $5 or CD for $7. You can get a copy by visiting our Web site ReviveOurHearts.com or call us toll free at 1-800-569-5959.

How many messages do you hear in a typical week that affirm the high calling of motherhood? Unfortunately, you probably don't hear many. At Revive Our Hearts we want to encourage women who are trying to live according to a biblical model of womanhood.

If you believe in our mission and would like to partner with us in teaching God's Word to the next generation of ladies, would you consider supporting us with a monthly contribution?

We're able to come to you every day because our listeners give. And you can send your donation to Revive Our Hearts. Thanks so much.

We know that the Bible teaches that good deeds can't save us. But, still, we are instructed to perform good deeds. Why? We'll talk about it on tomorrow's program. I hope you can join us for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is a ministry partnership of Life Action Ministries.

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