Revive Our Hearts Podcast

When Women Serve Other Women, Day 1

Episode Resources

Register for Revive '17: Women Mentoring Women the Titus 2 Way.

Leslie Basham: Do you ever feel like you’re not very good at serving others? What if you stopped trying and let God serve through you? Here’s Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: It’s that indwelling life of God that gives me both a supernatural desire and power to do whatever God has called me to do. That’s God’s grace.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of A Place of Quiet Rest, for Monday, April 24, 2017.

Coming up this September, women’s ministry leaders will be convening in Indianapolis for the Revive '17 conference. The conference theme is "Women Mentoring Women."

I hope you’ll join us. Nancy and other guests like Damaris Carbaugh, Mary Kassian, Blair Linne, and Susan Hunt will be walking us through Titus chapter 2 to see how we as women can effectively invest in the lives of other women.

Today Nancy’s going to show us why investing in other women is so important. She delivered this message to a group of women’s ministry leaders who were learning to counsel others. As you listen, would you ask yourself, Is the Lord leading me to speak the truth into other women’s lives? If that's intimidating, she'll also remind you that God's strength is all we need.

Nancy: Now let me just start by saying I’m not a counselor in any official sense. But I know, as do you, the Wonderful Counselor. It’s a privilege to be instruments that God can use to minister into the lives of others. This is a subject, women helping women, that I’ve never spoken on per se. As I’ve been reflecting on this time that I would have with you, I just want to share my heart—some introductory thoughts that I hope will be an encouragement to you as you think about the women that God has called you to help.

I really just want to give you four sentences. We’re talking about women helping women, that’s our topic today. Number one sentence is that women need help. Now that doesn’t come as any profound insight to you, and let me just add a parenthesis. Women need help (and do so men). We all need help, right?

We were created to be dependent on God. We're not self-sufficient. We can't make it on our own. We're not designed to be able to make it on our own. So any effort to try and make it on our own is guaranteed to be futile. We need help. Am I right? Do I hear any "amens" to "women need help"? Men need help; we all need help.

But it’s not just how we are created. Beyond that, at a result of the entrance of sin into this world, we are all broken people. We are broken because of our own sinful foolish choices. We’re impacted by the sinful, foolish choices of others some of those choices over which we have no control. We sin ourselves. We are impacted by other sinners. Life just doesn’t work and sin makes us all dysfunctional.

There is no shortage of need and opportunities for women to help women, particularly in the context of our local churches and out other relationships. There are so many needs around us.

I've been blown away in the last week by the number of emails and calls and conversations I've had about and with women who desperately need help, women who are hurting deeply. Let me read to you several of the things I've been made aware of in the last several days.

I talked to a woman over the weekend who was en route to this conference with her husband (they live in Colorado). They had planned to make an extended trip with the True Woman Conference in the middle. They were visiting relatives, going to a high school reunion before this event, and then going on to visit a son after this event. They were making a trip of it. En route, last Thursday night, they got back to their hotel room in Illinois and this man had a cardiac arrest, and he was gone. They actually made it to the hospital, but he never made it back.

As I talked to her over the weekend, her son that they had planned to visit was on his way to pick her and the body up and help them get back to Colorado. A hurting woman who was so drawing on the grace of God, but hurting deeply.

I heard from another woman who is planning on being here this weekend whose husband of thirty-seven years went home to be with the Lord suddenly. I heard from a girl who is planning on being at this conference. She and her mother (she's a teenager) won a prize at a Dannah Gresh event several months ago to come to this event. Since then, the mother has left the family. So the teenage girl is here with a mentor who brought her to the conference.

I got an email a few days ago from a husband whose wife is at this event. It's someone I've known for a number of years. He just poured out his heart and said, "You don't know this, but there are some really difficult situations in our marriage." He was praying that God would meet with him, meet with her this weekend. This is a couple that needs God's help.

I think of my friend, Holly Elliff, a pastor's wife from Little Rock who is here, she told me recently that (I think) within a week's span, that twenty-three women had come to her needing help—all different kinds of situations. Some of them desperate. Some of them in crisis. Some of them just "run of mill" sorts of situations. Women wanting and needing help.

There are people all around us dealing with loss and pain and fear and frustration and bondage and discouragement and disillusionment and doubt and desperation. What do all these people around us need? They need all kinds of things. Some need comfort or encouragement. Some need forgiveness, freedom from guilt or shame. Some need restoration or healing of relationships that have been broken. Women need wisdom dealing with various seasons of life.

For women there is always some season of life that puts us in a position of needing help. There is adolescence—we all need help. I cried the whole year I was twelve, for no reason at all, and for every reason. I needed help then. Then there is for a lot of women a prolonged season of singleness. (For some women to be single for six months is prolonged.) Then marriage. There are some young married women here who say, "Yes, we need help." Then the children season—toddlers grow up and become teens and they grow up and become young adults. And in every season we need help. Then there is empty nest and menopause and widowhood and aging parents and our own body aging. We need help our whole lives.

We need perspective. We need purpose. We need perseverance to deal with life. We need power, the ability to change, freedom from sinful bondages. So many women come to this event this weekend who are in bondage to various types of sinful addictions, habits—they need freedom. We need rest for our souls.

I’ve just been struck in the Word so many times recently with how God calls His people to rest. And how often are we in a season where we say, "What I need is rest for my soul." We need joy. So many needs. One of the things I think we need to do as we serve other women is to ask God to give us eyes to see and ears to hear and hearts to sense the needs all around us. For me, I’ll just have to say, so many times I’m so preoccupied with my own needs and all the help I need that I can become oblivious to the needs of the people who are right around me—the people who are closest to me.

I’ve been awakened at times to find out that somebody that I see a lot, somebody I know well or thought I knew well was dealing with hurts and issues that I just never took time to listen to or to ask questions that would give them the freedom to share what was on their hearts.

So to ask God to give us sensitivity to the needs of those around us. What’s going on behind the smile? What’s going on beneath the surface conversation? And say, as we go to our families, as I go to my church, as I go into my community, would you help me to see that women need help, that women have needs, the women around me? Help me to see what those are. Give me eyes to see and ears to hear. Women need help (so do men). We all need help. That’s sentence number one.

Here’s a second sentence. The Lord is our helper. Thank God there is hope. The Lord is our helper. Our help comes from Him. "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." Now, I’ve been thinking in recent days about . . . I know the Bible says He’s our helper, so that makes it true. But I’ve been meditating on what qualifies Him to help us. I mean some of our needs are pretty great. Some of the needs of the people we are trying to help are pretty deep and significant. What qualifies God to be our helper?

Let me give you a few suggestions here. First, He understands. He understands. He alone can accurately diagnose people’s hearts. He alone knows the real issues that underlie our problems. And He alone knows what to do about those issues. He alone knows what people need—the people we’re trying to help, the people we’re engaging with—God alone is the only one who really understands what they’re going through and what they need. He’s the only one who fully understands both the problem and the cure.

I think that takes a lot of pressure off of us because we don’t have to be able to figure all this out. We don’t have to have a PhD in some type of psychology or counseling or whatever when we know that we have a Helper who understands, who knows, whose eyes see and know all.

But not only does He understand, we have a God who is qualified to help because He cares. He cares. We have a God whose heart is tender and compassionate toward people who are hurting, people who are needy, people who are failing. He cares so much that before the first man and woman had even ever sinned, God had in eternity past devised and set in motion a plan to redeem fallen mankind and to redeem this earth from the curse of sin. That’s how much God cares.

He came up with that plan before man had even sinned. He cares so much that when the Israelites were groaning in Egypt under the thumb of those Egyptian taskmasters in bondage, God heard their cries. He was moved with compassion, and He sent a deliverer to rescue His people. God cares so much that when He saw the sons of men in slavery to sin that He sent His Son to this earth to take on our humanity, to live our life, to die the death that we deserve, and to deliver us from the ravages of sin. We have a God who cares that much.

When the Son of God was here on this earth, don’t you love seeing how He cared for people? And not just people who could do something for Him, I mean, He was God. He was self-sufficient. But He cared for the least of these—people who had nothing to offer—those who couldn’t help themselves.

I love seeing how Jesus goes out of His way to minister to lepers and to grieving parents and to widows and to people afflicted with demons and people trapped in sin. I see how Jesus as He goes and moves and travels—how He notices these people. He loves them, and He takes time for them. He cares for people no one else cares for. He serves them. He helps them. He meets their needs, and He gives His life for them.

Now that encourages me, too, because so often I really don’t care about the needs of the people around me. So often I'm tired of caring for people and their needs. So often I find myself avoiding what I can spot as high maintenance women (HMWs). You've got them in your church.

You know when they say, "Do you have just a minute?" that it's not going to be just a minute. In some cases you are wondering if ten years of therapy will help. There are times when I run out of compassion. My natural compassion lasts hardly any time at all. I’m not a naturally caring woman. I’m like, “Get a grip.” I mean, actually, I was more that way until I hit fifty and the change of life. Now I’m a little more compassionate. But if I have any mercy or caring or compassion, it’s because He puts it in me. He gives. And that’s where we’ve got to go to get that.

He’s qualified to help because He understands, He cares, and not only does He care but I love this. He is able to help. It would be one thing if He cared and He understood but He couldn’t do anything about it, but He is able to help. He’s able to save and restore broken lives. We need to keep reminding ourselves and those we’re trying to help that He is the only one who can truly, deeply, lastingly help.

We need to believe that God really can help people. And not just nameless people, but people whose names and faces you’re thinking of. The hardest people to help, He can help. He can meet their needs. He can change their lives.

I’m so thankful for the emails I get to read from women, some of you in this room, who’ve shared your story of how God has transformed your life. And Julie, oh, my. I was just talking with her and she’s shared this publicly, so she wouldn’t mind my saying it. But one of the women in this room was a Gomer, as in Hosea’s Gomer, when we first contacted each other. And here’s a woman who for years, by her testimony, had been in bondage to sexual sin and wrong desires. God rescued that woman, has transformed her life, has transformed her marriage. Now she is serving other women, helping other women to the glory of God. God can change lives.

My dad used to say, “There’s no tough nut for God to crack.” And Julie, I kind of thought you were a tough nut at first. But you know, she wasn’t too tough for God’s grace to crack. So many in this room that could share similar stories—women who’ve been in prison, women who’ve been in all kinds of sinful bondages, and God has set us free. He sets people free. That’s to know that He is able to help. "I will lift up my eyes to the hill. Where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth."

I think that we’ve lost confidence today in the power of God to really help people. So we struggle and strive to help them, and we can’t do it. So we give up, and we relegate them to somebody else—give them books, send them to somebody else, sign them up for this program. But we’ve lost confidence in the power of God to help people. People need the Lord. He is the supreme helper in every situation, in every season of life. When people have been to all the counselors, what we need to do is get them to the Wonderful Counselor. It’s just a reminder here that we are not the answer to people’s problems. We’re not the Savior. Christ alone is the Savior. He alone is the helper, and what we need to do is point people to Him.

So first sentence was women need help (and so do men). Second sentence was the Lord is our helper. Here’s the third sentence. He wants to use us as His instruments to help others. You’re here today because at some level you are in position to help women. I want to just affirm that God wants to use you, and He will use you and He is using many of you as an instrument to help others. But in order to be helpful to others, we first need a heart to help—that’s the motivation, the want to. Then we need the means to help—the ability to help. We don’t have either of those left to ourselves. Left to ourselves we don’t have the desire to help others nor do we have the ability to help others.

And I have good news for you. That’s where God’s grace comes in. It’s that indwelling life of God that gives me both a supernatural desire and power to do whatever God has called me to do. That’s God’s grace. We need God’s grace in order to help others. Christ provides both the heart and the means—the motivation and the power to help those in need. That’s why we are so dependent upon His Holy Spirit. He lives in us and cares through us and ministers through us. God has provided the means for His people as we are filled with His Spirit to minister effectively into other people’s lives.

Now, again, I want to say here that so many people today, even those of us in ministry, have bought into the belief that people’s problems, or some people’s problems, are so complex that they can only be addressed by medical and psychological professionals. There’s a lot of that way of thinking going around—that some people’s problems are just so different or so complex or so deep rooted that the only way they can get help is to deal with medical and psychological professionals.

Now let me say what I am not saying. I’m not saying that there is never any value for medical professionals, for psychological professionals, for people who can deal with specific types of issues. But what I am saying is that we have been intimidated to think that God’s grace and Spirit flowing in and through us cannot help difficult people with difficult problems. The power of God supersedes all the professional help that any amount of trained and educated and degreed people could provide. The power of God is greater than all of that.

Say, where do you get that in Scripture? Well, you just look at the character of God. But let me just give you one verse that helped my thinking on this years ago and has really been a marker Scripture for me—one I go back to and remind myself of this.

The apostle Paul said in Romans 15:14, “Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another” (NIV).

Now that word admonish in the ESV is actually translated “instruct.” You’re able to admonish or instruct, and it’s a word that means “to warn, to instruct, to advise, to admonish someone concerning an issue.” Now keep in mind who this verse was written to. It was not written to professionals. It was not written to mega-church staff members. It was written to average believers in small churches. That’s us, in many cases.

Paul said to these believers, first, I’m convinced that you are full of goodness. What is he saying there? Not that you’re good of yourself but that you are being filled with the Spirit of Christ and that His character is being formed in you. You’re being sanctified. You’re becoming like Jesus. You’re full of goodness.

And then he says you’re filled with all knowledge. Does that mean that you know everything? No, but it means that you’re growing in your understanding of God and His ways. You’re getting true wisdom which comes from the source of all wisdom. You’re filled with knowledge.

And then you’re able to admonish one another. This implies that God’s people are doing life together as a community of faith and that when we need to be admonished there are others in the body who can admonish us. When others need to be admonished, God can work through us to be an instrument of admonishing or instructing them.

Now, keep in mind the sequence there. Our ability to minister to the needs of others effectively flows out of two things. First, a godly life and character. And number two, an understanding of the ways and heart and character of God. If we’re not growing in those areas, we’re not going to be able to effectively minister to the lives of others. We may be able to give them books or recommendations or teach a lot of good content, but if our lives are not incarnating the truth, if we’re not growing in our wisdom and our fullness of God and His goodness, then we’re not going to have a full tank that can overflow and bless and minister to the lives of those around us.

So when we talk about helping other women, about effective biblical counseling . . . don’t let that word counseling scare you. It's not a bad word, but it comes with a lot a baggage. What we’re really talking about is discipleship—the process of sanctification. Paul says you’re able to help each other in those areas of your lives that need to be sanctified. You’re also able to help lead each other into wisdom—the ability to see all of life from God’s perspective.

So the woman who has a sexual addiction, the woman who has an eating disorder, the woman who is dealing with a prodigal son or daughter, the woman who’s dealing with same-sex attraction, or the woman who can’t stop eating or can’t deal with some other major issue in her life, it’s a sanctification issue.

If she knows the Lord, then God has given her resources (we'll come to that in a moment) that enable her to be the woman—whether shes grieving or hurting or failing or sinning, whatever the issue is, it's a discipleship issue. It's a sanctification issue. It’s a wisdom issue.

God wants that woman who may be in the midst of circumstances that are desperate, that she cannot control, it may be a season of life and she’s dealing with physical issues that are making it so difficult for her to have joy, to be at peace, whatever the issues, God wants her to see that issue from His perspective. God has grace to give to her in that season of life, in that situation. It doesn’t make it easy. But it means that there is grace, there is wisdom for her. What we do as we come alongside of women is to help get them to the throne of God’s grace. It's to help open God's Word and to help them see and discover the riches of His wisdom that are available to them.

So we’re called and equipped by God to disciple as women, to teach and lead and train and take them to the throne of grace. And by the way, it’s not just supposed to be a small subset of women in your church who do this. The goal is that all of us would be becoming the kind of woman who can do that for others. We’re all older women.

Now I used to say that before I really was an older woman because at every age we’re an older woman to someone, right? But now I really am an older woman. I’ve realized that God didn’t just intend for a few teachers and speakers and authors and women’s ministry leaders and pastors' wives to do all the admonishing and counseling and instructing and discipling. He wants us to be reproducing that heart in others so that my friend Holly, who’s a pastor’s wife, who has twenty-three women come to her needing help . . . Holly’s goal in her church is to be discipling other women who can be helping help other women. And that ought to be your goal as well in your church.

Leslie: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth will be right back.

She recorded that message at a meeting of women’s ministry leaders. And you have the opportunity to be part of a similar meeting this year. Here’s Nancy to tell you more.

Nancy: When you want to tackle something important, you need some concrete steps to know how to implement it. In Titus 2, we’re told that older women should teach younger women. That’s important. You hear us talking about it all the time on Revive Our Hearts. But important as it is, if you don’t take some concrete steps to learn how one generation can invest in the next, probably nothing much is going to happen. Here's a way to take some concrete steps.

Revive Our Hearts is excited to present a conference this fall called Revive '17: Women Mentoring Women. At this conference we'll have a lot of different speakers walking us through Titus chapter 2 to show us what it looks like to live out God’s beautiful design for our lives aswomen and how to also encourage other women to do the same.

Mary Kassian will be there. Listeners will recognize her from this program and from True Woman events. Susan Hunt will speak. And she has a life message of helping churches encourage their women to mentor other women. Susan has been sort of a grandmother to the True Woman movement, praying for decades that something like this would come along.

And then we will be hearing from some younger speakers who have been mentored by Revive Our Hearts. I think you will be caught up in the energy and excitement of my sweet friend Betsy Gomez from the Dominican Republic who left a job as a marketing executive so she could focus on her own family first, and also invest in other women for God’s glory. And you’ll hear from Blair Linne, a spoken word poetry artist and pastor’s wife passionate about speaking to the next generation.

That's just a glimpse of what will take place at Revive '17 in Indianapolis, September 29–30. I hope you'll join us there. You can still get a discount if you register this week. The early registration deadline is May 1. Visit ReviveOurHearts.com for more details, or call 1–800–569–5959. 

Leslie: Thanks, Nancy.

When you invest in other women, what’s the goal? How do you know that you’re being effective? Nancy will talk about that tomorrow. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants to help you serve other. It's an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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