Revive Our Hearts Podcast

True Women Offer Practical Counsel

Leslie Basham: How can a wife and mom build the kingdom of God? Holly Elliff says that one way is to be a faithful wife and mom.

Holly Elliff: If we’re believers and we’re married and we’re raising a family, it needs to look like God’s design. Because if it doesn’t, then we’re tearing down the best tool God has given us, as married women, to draw somebody else into that truth, and give them hope that God can make that work.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. It’s Friday, July 22.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: How do you forgive when you’ve been deeply hurt? And why should you work at keeping your marriage vows in a tough marriage? How do you raise your children to follow the Lord when so many influences are telling them just the opposite?

Thankfully, God’s Word gives us insight into those very kinds of questions. The Lord also provides the body of Christ to help us learn how to put scriptural principles into practice. Today we’re going to see how that works, as some women friends of mine offer practical wisdom from God’s Word and from their own life experience.

In 2010, women who attended a True Woman conference listened to a panel of speakers discuss practical issues. We’ve aired portions of these panel sessions on Revive Our Hearts before, and today we’re going to share another portion.

I think you’ll find today’s discussion really helpful as these godly women, who are also very real, talk about how to live out the True Woman message in our various day-to-day situations.

Leslie:
Bob Lepine served as the moderator of these discussions, and we’ll begin with a question he asked Dannah Gresh. She speaks at the teen track at the True Woman conferences.

Bob Lepine: Dannah, I want to ask you, since you’re working with ‘tweens and teens, and since the culture is screaming at them regularly a message that is contrary to what we’ve been talking about, do we stand a chance? Are we making any headway with that?

Dannah Gresh: We’ve got 400 warriors sitting out there in the audience. (applause) I do want to say I am concerned with how the church is just going along with the culture. It’s about marriage. At the core of it, in Satan’s cross-hairs, is marriage. Because as Mary said last night, marriage is the picture of Christ and the Church. If that’s true, how motivated is Satan to see that picture destroyed in our lives.

What we know is that when you take these little girls, they’re seven, eight, nine, ten years old, and you dress them the way the world wants us to dress them . . . They’re seven years old, but you want them to act like they’re seventeen, with the music and the movies and television they listen to, and the clothes they wear, and the language they use, and the relationships they have. They don’t need a boyfriend when they’re in the fifth grade, moms. (applause)

Trace this with me for just a second: When they’re teenagers, those are the girls most likely to engage in early sexual activity, most likely to have eating disorders, and most likely to experience chronic depression, to the point of needing intervention of some type.

Because of those things happening in their teen years, they move into their married years with body image issues, with scars on their hearts. They are incapable of receiving the gift of covenant marriage that God has for them to enjoy.

What Satan is planting in our daughters when they’re eight, nine, and ten years old is for the destruction of their marriages when they’re twenty-five years old. We as moms have to stand up and say, “No, you won’t! Uh-uh!” (applause)

Leslie: This is radio broadcaster, Janet Parshall.

Janet Parshall: There’s a statistic we need to point out, too, and it’s amazing for those of us who grew up during the period that was known as the “sexual revolution.” There are more people co-habitating today than there were in the 1960s.

There are a lot of reasons for that, but one of the reasons is because this is a generation of children of divorce, and they’ve seen the pain, so they actually have a phenomenon known as “starter marriages.” This is where you marry somebody and figure, “One to five years, maybe, and then I’ll find the real love of my life. So I work out the kinks, I get rid of the pain, and then I go into a marriage relationship that lasts.”

If that’s not another reason to keep our marriages together, I can't think of a better one. Because what message are we handing the next generation?

Dannah: And we can be really smart about this. If you look at social science, it’s going to support what God’s Word says. One example is one of the most liberal studies out there on sexual satisfaction, conducted by the University of Illinois, Chicago. It says that the most sexually satisfied women are those who have never had a sexual partner other than their husband, are middle-aged, are married, and are religiously active. (applause)

Leslie: This is author, Kay Arthur.

Kay Arthur: My boys were not allowed to date until they were sixteen, and they could spot a “strange woman,” because I said I don’t want any dumb men around the house. That’s Proverbs 6 and 7, and when it talks about an evil woman (adulterous in the King James), she was called a “strange woman,” and a man “lacking sense.”

Leslie: Here’s author, Mary Kassian.

Mary Kassian: We had the rule that our boys’ first official date, one-on-one, was as a high school grad. That was fine with them. In fact, I think it let them off the hook, because then they could blame it off on Mom and Dad.

Dannah: You have to instill that in your son when he’s little. You’ve gotta do that when he’s sixth grade, seventh grade.

I remember a time when Robbie, because his youth pastor shaved his head, my sixth grade boy shaved his head. It wasn’t one of my great parenting moments. I heard about it at dinner from my dad.

When his hair grew back, it felt so sweet. Lexi and I were just touching him all the time. Lexi, who is three years younger than him, came home from their Christian school and said, “Mom, the girls are touching Robbie’s head.” There were three girls who were walking around school who had named him “Velvet.” (laughter)

I thought my little Lexi was overreacting. But one day I pulled up in my white, hot mini-van to pick up my children. Robbie popped in the seat and these three girls, who I know, and they’re from great Christian homes, put their hands in my mini-van. They started rubbing his head and saying, “Good-bye, Velvet.” Errr-aaagh!

Janet: Did the electric window go up?”

Dannah: I'll tell you what. I got out of that car; I walked over to those girls. I said, ”Girls, come here. I love you. I love your families, but I’ve got to tell you something: That is my 'Velvet.' That is mine.” I took time in the next few weeks to kind of mentor them. In fact, one of those little girls I mentored all through high school.

I took Robbie home that night and said, “Robbie, that was not okay. It’s okay for you to say, ‘Guys, that’s not cool. Leave my head alone,” or whatever. But you have to teach them when they’re little to recognize the strange woman.

Kay:
I used to get on the phone and tell them, “I’m sorry, honey . . ." They’d call and ask, “Is David there?” “No.” “Click.”

I said, "I want you to know, my son will know your number, and he will call you if he wants to. But nice girls do not call my son, and I don’t want you calling my son.” (applause)

Leslie: Blogger, Lindsey Wagstaffe, was part of the True Woman panel discussion.

Bob:
Okay, how did you get to be an eighteen-year-old blogger on true womanhood, and true beauty, and be here, because there aren’t a whole lot of eighteen-year-olds in California who are kind of marching in the same direction as you’re marching?

Lindsey Wagstaffe: I can only attribute that, honestly, to the sovereignty of God, because I am no different. There’s nothing special about me. God was so gracious to give me family that poured biblical truth into my life from a young age, but even then, my heart was not naturally receptive to it, at all.

At twelve I was a little feminist without even knowing what the word feminist was. Only through His Word He opened my eyes and gave me a new heart. It was after I became a Christian, after He showed me what a sinner I was and opened my eyes to grace for the first time, that’s when a softening in my heart started to take place toward the whole idea of biblical womanhood. The two are so related, to me. I can’t even separate them at all.

Bob: As a single woman, you’ve had to wrestle with what it means to be distinctly feminine without asking the question, “What does that mean as a wife and as a mom?” What have you found is the essence of femininity that isn’t defined around the home?

Leslie: This is author Carolyn McCulley.

Carolyn McCulley: It was the result of a couple years of study to realize that femininity, although often described in relationship to men and the roles that we have, is not necessarily conferred upon you, just becoming a wife and mother. When you are born, you’re born female, made in the image of God, to manifest those qualities in such a way that glorifies Him.

The roadmap is the same for all of us. The emphasis is different in different seasons of life, but it’s not like you are cruising on this path, and then you get married and oops there’s this change over here to be something different.

Proverbs 31 shows us what is to be in all of our lives in every season.

Bob: Somebody said to me, “I live in a part of the country that’s like the “Bible bell-bottoms. We’re so far away from the 'belt,' as far away as we can get.” But you also interact with a lot of non-Christian women, and again the culture, for years, has been screaming at them a message. Are they starting to see the counterfeit nature of that, or is it just so inculcated into what’s going on that they don’t know any other way to live?

Carolyn: I sense a lot of confusion because what the culture is proposing as a solution isn’t bearing the fruit they’re looking for. They’re confused by it. When you come in and say, “I’ve been studying the history of women in our nation and what we’re in the midst of now would be called ‘third-wave feminism,’ and it proposes to be pro-sex and pro-pornography . . .”

When the church is talking about modesty and other issues like that sometimes young girls can hear it like, “La, la, la, make me dress like Grandma.” The idea is not trying to make people fashion-backwards. But the idea is to say, “If you understand what the culture is proposing right now, that pornography is the highest ideal . . . And if you’re young you don’t realize that the culture didn’t used to be as pornographized as it is now. You used to be able to go to the shopping mall and not see erotic pictures all over the windows. You used to be able to go places where women were professionally dressed, and you didn’t see all their body parts.

If you understand the level of temperature that is in this “pot of water” that we’re living in, and how it’s “rising” you’ll understand that:

1) God is, as we’ve heard, pro-sex. It was His idea. He created it for marriage.

2) Then you understand, too, that what is proposed to be a good theory on relationships isn’t working.

So you have the opportunity to come in and say, “Look, even the culture is sometimes coming back and trying to explain the false ideas.”

One of the things that fascinates me the most is that one of the writers of a show I do not recommend, Sex and the City, is a married man who had to explain to the other female writers on the show, he’s just not that “into you,” to understand their own lives and the decisions they were making.

He writes this book, He’s Just Not That into You to explain why the message of Sex and the City doesn‘t work in real life; why, if men value you, they will pursue you, and you don’t have to trash yourself.

I’m looking at this saying, “What a franchise! You’re speaking on both sides.” It’s kind of sad that there’s such confusion that you have to parse through the culture and say, “Okay, this exists for this reason, this exists for this reason, and now here’s the truth of Scripture.”

Even for me, as an unbeliever, the truth of Scripture was compelling to me because of the fruit I saw in the lives of the people who were in my church, and it made sense.

Bob:
So if you were engaging with a non-Christian thirty-something woman today, who’s feeling some of this angst, that, “Yeah, the way I’ve been taught isn’t working, but I don’t know what does work.” Maybe you’re not ready to sit down and open The Four Spiritual Laws with her, but you want to whet her appetite for something different. How do you engage on that?

Carolyn: I used to try to come in with my whole exposition, but now I’ve learned to ask a lot more questions, and to listen and to try to find the heart issues for her. I try to lead her through questions, so that she helps to see her own lifestyle and her own philosophies that might be not working out. It’s not a one-size-fits-all model when talking to women.

Janet: I’m on the same side of the country as Carolyn, and it’s always good to go back to the basics. One of the most important parts about a true woman is a life that’s been transformed. If you hear all of these debates and the chatter that’s going on in that market place of ideas, I think the most compelling argument is the life that exudes authentic Christianity.

You hear women who have tried it all, who are climbing up the corporate ladder, who are demanding equal rights, who are complaining about what they don’t think is equal pay for equal work, and all of the old issues they go over again and again and again. Then they encounter somebody like a Carolyn, and they see a peace that passes all understanding.

They don’t see the same striving for the same kinds of issues. They see a kind of calmness in the midst of a cultural storm that they can’t quite identify yet by name. There’s the open door to start the conversational evangelism, to slowly move them to a point where, over a cup of less-expensive coffee, they say to you, “I don’t get it. Why do you seem to be able to not be bothered by all of these things?”

It begins to open the door for dialogue. So in the end, it isn’t about entering through the head, it’s about entering through the heart, because they’ve seen something in our lives—the living epistle—that says, “Honey, whatever you’ve got, I want it.” (applause)

Leslie: This is Holly Elliff.

Holly: As Carolyn said, there is so much confusion that it does make the value of our homes really, really important. If we’re believers and we’re married and we’re raising a family, it needs to look like God’s design. If it doesn’t, then we’re tearing down the best tool God has given us, as married women, to draw somebody else into that truth and give them hope that God can make that work.

Bob: I heard Tim Keller say one time that as he engages in New York City around the gospel, he says, “I will less often talk about moral absolutes, because that’s in play in the cultural mindset. But what I will talk about is, can we have some consensus that things in the world are broken? They’re not the way they’re supposed to be?”

Then he’ll say, “Would you agree that in your own life things haven’t worked out exactly the way you hoped they would? That something’s broken? How do you think that happened? Where do think that brokenness came from?” And all the sudden, there’s a door that’s open. Because people who might want to argue with you on the moral rightness and wrongness of premarital sex or abortion or gay marriage will admit to you, “Yeah, things are broken. They’re not the way they’re supposed to be.”

All of a sudden, you’ve got a common point from which you can begin to pursue the gospel.

Leslie: At one of the True Woman conferences, Karen Loritts talked about a friend who betrayed her family and caused a lot of pain. This was the backdrop as she spoke on the True Woman panel.

Bob: I guess the question I have for you is the whole issue of forgiveness and rebuilding trust. You talked about this being a twenty-year friend of the family who had violated your family. How have you processed this in your own heart? Have you come to a point where you’re able to forgive him?

Karen Loritts: I made the choice earlier on that I don’t have the right not to forgive. Because where much is given, much is required. One thing I’ve learned—maybe people think of me as in denial, being naïve—but I just look at myself and say, “God has forgiven me much.”

One of the problems that I’m finding is the reconciliation part. It takes all parties involved. This person is dealing with their own stuff, but I have embraced this person, looked this person in the eye, hugged this person, kissed this person, told this person that my love is there for them. It’s been real sweet. It’s been a learning process for me.
Anybody can fall into what this person had victimized our family with, so I had no right to withhold forgiveness.

Bob: There is a difference, though, between choosing not to continue to punish a person and re-establishing a trust relationship. You said reconciliation is different than forgiveness.

Karen: Oh, yes. Reconciliation takes some work. This person has torn down the walls of trust, so it’s going to take a lot on that person’s part to rebuild trust. Fruit of repentance needs to be shown, and give them the space to do that.

For me, forgiveness was the release that I’m not holding that person, I’m not being vengeful. I can’t do that because God will turn the “guns” on me. I’m smart enough to know that God is not playing with His children. I don’t have the right to withhold forgiveness, but reconciliation’s going to take the parties, and rebuilding of trust is going to be there, and it’s going to take work.

I’ve been helping minister with my children, helping them to walk through that process, because we’re all in the reconciliation process. It’s hard. Whether a person steals your money, or whatever the thing is, it takes a while to trust. My problem in the early days of that is that I wanted everything to get back to normal really, really quick, but it’s not that way. Everybody has their opportunities to work toward that.

One of the Scriptures that I tell my friends or my children, I say, “Be careful, because in 1 Corinthians chapter 5 it talks about that brother that sinned (this is the Karen paraphrase) that the body of Christ kept their thumbs on him and wouldn’t let him forget. So we have to be careful that we give them a place to repent for that." I just don’t have the opportunity to shun him away. You can’t do that.

One of the things I’ve learned is that people that mess up, they’re messed up, but we’re the ones going to sleep bitter and angry, and they’re going to sleep fine and dandy. I just get off the table, and say, “God, you help me to help my children. Forgiveness is off the table. Reconciliation is another issue.”

Nancy: That’s my friend, Karen Loritts, giving us a real-life picture of forgiveness. At each of the three True Woman conferences in 2010, we held a panel discussion. We’ve been hearing portions from those discussions today. It’s the third broadcast we’ve devoted to these panels, and now you can get all three of these broadcasts on one CD. To order that CD, just visit us at ReviveOurHearts.com.

The discussion we’ve just heard is a taste of what a True Woman conference is like. I hope you’ll take advantage of the next opportunity to experience a True Woman event for yourself, which is going to be in September of 2012. The theme is, “Seeking Him Together.” This is a conference for every woman who longs for a deeper relationship with the Lord.

The next True Woman conference is coming to Indianapolis, September 20–22, in 2012. I know that may seem like a long way off, but be sure to mark your calendar now so you can save that date and join us for this very special event.

There’s another conference that’s coming much sooner. It’s called revive ‘11. If you’re a woman who is involved in ministry to other women in any way, I hope you’ll join us for that special weekend. I’m talking about pastors’ wives, church staff wives, women’s ministry leaders, Bible study teachers, counselors. If you’re involved in serving women, revive ‘11 is for you.” You might wonder, “Why have a conference just for women’s ministry leaders?”

At Revive Our Hearts, we’re limited in what we can do. Women need practical help in applying God’s Word to specific life situations. They need the local body of Christ to meet them right where they are, and we can’t do that through a radio program.

Our team has been talking to various leaders in local church women’s ministries, finding out what their needs are, and here’s what they’ve told us. They’ve said their ministry is challenging, and that sometimes they feel alone and like they don’t have anyone in their church that they can talk to. They also want fresh ideas from other leaders, and they have insights and ideas that they want to share with their peers.
Finally, they’ve told us that sometimes they get discouraged. They’re pouring themselves out, ministering to women, and they need a chance to get refreshed themselves.

So revive ‘11 is a chance for women’s ministry leaders to connect, to gain new ideas, and to get recharged. I’m confident that you’ll return to your church from revive ‘11 with a fresh vision for what God has called you to do.

I’ll be at revive ‘11, along with pastor Crawford Loritts, Susan Hunt, Holly Elliff, Kim Wagner, others that you’ve heard on this program, and Fernando Ortega will be leading us in worship. November 4 and 5 of this year, revive ‘11 is coming to Indianapolis. If you’re involved in ministering to women, I hope you’ll make plans now to join us for that very special weekend.

Leslie: “My child is in middle school. All is lost!" Rebecca Powell says a lot of parents face middle school with that attitude. But they can embrace this time and invest in their children during this season of change. She’ll talk about it next week, on Revive Our Hearts.

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

 

 

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