Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Your Effect on Generations to Follow

Leslie Basham: Betsy Corning reminds moms that your parenting could affect the world for years to come.

Betsy Corning: Ultimately, the purpose is to bring glory to God through perpetuating generations of people that rise up and praise Him.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Monday, July 2.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I can remember a number of years ago getting a phone call from Dr. Joseph Stowell. Dr. Stowell was, for many years, the president of Moody Bible Institute, and is now the president of Cornerstone University in Michigan. Dr. Stowell said to me, “Nancy, there’s somebody you’ve got to meet, and there’s a ministry and a resource you’ve got to get acquainted with.” I don’t think Dr. Stowell had ever called me and made a call like that to me before or since, but he said, “You need to know about Betsy Corning and Entrusted with a Child’s Heart.”

And I said, “What is that?” I just wasn’t familiar with it.

He said, “This is a great resource for moms who want to know how to raise their children in the ways of God. It’s something that my daughter and my daughters-in-law have been through, and I just want you to get acquainted with this ministry.”

Well, I’m glad to say that since that time I have had a chance to meet Betsy Corning and to get a little more familiar with this ministry which has some outstanding resources available for moms, grandmoms, dads, the focus is on moms, but anyone who is concerned about raising children to have a heart and a hunger for the Lord.

And I’m glad, finally today, to have in the studio with me, Betsy Corning, who is the founder, the teaching leader of that ministry, and to have her share with our listeners some of the insights God has put in her heart over the years about how to be a mom who leads your children to follow Christ.

So, Betsy, thank you for writing this material and for making it available now to the broader body of Christ, and thank you for joining us on Revive Our Hearts today.

Betsy: Thank you. Thank you so much, Nancy, for having me. It’s really a privilege to be here.

Nancy: I know we get a lot of emails and letters from listeners. I got one yesterday from somebody who said, “I have four children.” I think they were seven, five, three, and one.

Betsy: Oh, my.

Nancy: I was just thinking, “You have your hands full.”

Betsy: Yes.

Nancy: And what a huge responsibility that is, but also what an amazing opportunity to be passing the baton of faith on to the next generation. That’s what we’re encouraging women to do here at Revive Our Hearts. But so many of them write to us and say, “I don’t know how to do it. I don’t know how to do it. I wasn’t parented. I never saw a functional family.” Some of them will say, “I don’t know how to be a mom, and my children. . .” Well, children are sinners just like their parents, right?

Betsy: Exactly.

Nancy: But so many of them are struggling and clueless and really wanting to lead their children spiritually and train their children but just don’t know how to do it.

I’m so thankful over these last dozen or so years you have developed some resources to equip moms to be really godly mothers of their children—not perfect, but to be godly moms. And I know you’re excited about getting these materials into the hands of women in churches all across this country.

Betsy: Yes. We really thank the Lord for this opportunity to build into the lives of families, and I’d have to say the way it started was when we started a church in the Chicagoland area. My husband served as an elder for the first twenty-one years. I’d say that being in that capacity of leadership and doing so many different things, we saw struggling families. My heart was, "How are we going to build a strong, healthy church if we don't have healthy families?"

I really literally remember one day looking around and thinking, “Where are the strong dads?” Knowing so many stories, because the leaders would often have to meet with the families in crisis, and thinking, “Lord, how are we going to build this church if we don’t have strong, healthy families?”

And, knowing that we all go through many different trials and testings of our faith, but still thinking that there’s got to be a way to intercede for families so they don’t reach these incredible points of crisis. So that was planted in my heart in those very early years.

Nancy: And really, that was the fruit of a journey that had begun for you years earlier. You married as a young woman.

Betsy: Yes.

Nancy: You started your family as a young woman, but it was not all smooth and easy because you went into marriage with some expectations and hopes and dreams that were different than what it turned out the Lord had for your life.

You told me earlier that from the time you were five you had an aspiration. What was that?

Betsy: To be a doctor. I wanted to be a medical missionary with my whole heart and soul to serve the Lord but in the capacity that I loved, in medicine. So my whole life I kept thinking about what I wanted, how I wanted to really live that out and make it true.

It’s funny, because I tell moms that when they look at their five-year-old. So much of their life is sort of there already. I remember I could identify probably ten things about my life as a five-year-old that really indicated who I am as a person, and one of them is your life aspiration and the things that you'd really love to pursue, and, for me, that was medicine.

Nancy: So when you got married, you were a college student.

Betsy: Yes.

Nancy: And in your mind you were pursuing this dream of becoming a medical doctor, going to med school, becoming a doctor. But there came a crisis early on in your marriage where you realized that was not necessarily going to be the case. What happened?

Betsy: Well, David and I got married very young, and I’m almost afraid to say it because I thought my kids will marry way too young if they know this, but David was 19, and I was barely 20. We had finished a couple years of school, and what happens to young married couples is, I got pregnant a year before I was done with school.

And I thought, “Oh, my goodness. How am I going to handle this? How am I going to finish college and then get into medical school?”

And David said to me, “There is no medical school in your future. You’re now going to be a mom.”

I didn’t really realize that all of my life priorities had changed in an instant. I was still on the track of, “No, you don’t understand. I’ve got to make this happen. This is who I am.”

Nancy: So you weren’t initially very receptive to his plan?

Betsy: Not at all. Thankfully I had women in my life that I looked at who modeled godly marriages and home life. With my whole being I wanted to honor the Lord, but I couldn’t imagine a different way. I thought, “How could this really be the case? You’re taking something so precious from me. You can’t possibly understand me. You don’t know me. You can’t possibly understand what you’re asking me to do.”

Nancy: So were your conversations with David this calm?

Betsy: Well, I would say nonexistent would probably be the better word. We lived in a tiny, tiny little apartment, married housing complex. It was basically a bedroom at one end, the kitchen/family room/living room/dining room at the other end with a bathroom in between. So you were either on one side or the other side, either in the bathroom or in the main room, and we just were quiet.

So I’d be studying in the bedroom, he’d be out in the other room. For three days we went on and on like this. I just didn’t talk, and he didn’t talk. I was punishing my husband. I didn’t realize, I thought, “I will submit because I thought the Lord’s calling me to submit to his decision,” but I really wasn’t submitting because I was fighting it.

After three days, this was so traumatic, because I would say, even though we didn’t yell at each other, this is the biggest fight we ever registered on the marital Richter scale. He said, “Come out in the kitchen. We’re going to talk.”

And I thought, “I’ve gone too far with this,” because I’m actually causing my husband to be more angry. Whereas initially I thought, “I can just punish you,” but have gone actually too far.

He called me out in the kitchen, and he set two chairs face to face. He said, “Sit down here.” Our knees were touching, and he took both of my hands, and he said, “This is a waste of life. We don’t know how long we have together on this earth, and we have wasted three days.”

That went on for three days of the silent treatment. During those three, you know how I was thinking? I was thinking dramatically. I was thinking, “I’ve married the wrong person. Everything is falling apart for me. How can this be happening? How can I salvage this? What am I going to do for the next fifty years being married to the wrong person?”

When David talked to me, he said—and I love the graciousness that he said to me because he said, “We have wasted three days.” Not, “You have wasted three days, and now I’m so mad at you,” because in my heart, I thought, “If you blast me with what I feel I really had coming, was due me. . .” I would have just crumbled up and died because I was so discouraged, but he actually encouraged my heart.

And I said, “Well, didn’t you think you married the wrong person, or we weren’t right for each other?”

And the funny thing is he said, “Not for one second.”

And I said, “Really?”

And he said, “No, of course not. All I thought was we had a couple of things to work on.”

That has meant so much to me that I could just decompress, relax, settle down, and just really talk. This has been a huge thing that we teach and address: you need to live in understanding and agreement with your husband. It is so critically important. And not that I just learn to understand my husband, but that he learns to understand me, and that we be students of each other so that we can come to those agreements because we come with such different things. We’re opposites, and God uses those opposites in great ways when we can use them for His glory.

Nancy: So you resolved this stalemate.

Betsy: I did. Whereas I was thinking dramatic, end-of-the-world sort of things, David was thinking, “We have a little thing to work on. It’s just a little blip. What should we do?”

So he had been in his Bible, and he had decided, “You know what? I think there are some things that we should decide as a family since we’re starting a family. And here’s what they are.”

I remember he had a little piece of paper there, and he said, “I think that you can pursue certain things up to—and we had a balance—and said, “But let’s set down some goals for our family.” And that’s another big thing that I like to teach young moms.

So what we did at that point was we developed non-negotiables. I never thought of that term before. It’s something we decided to label it now. But we were setting down some convictions that our family would live by.

Nancy: Based on the Scripture.

Betsy: Based on the Scripture, but also based on who we were going to be uniquely as a family. So we had decided some things like, “I will always be home when my children leave for school and when they come home.” And I did that their whole lives, and I’m so grateful.

We set up some things like that for every season of my life. Because I know that I’m going to reap what I sow, I re-evaluate and reassess those non-negotiables.

Nancy: And those might look different for your family.

Betsy: They will absolutely look different for every family. That’s why we call those personal convictions. What we teach and entrust is that every family has biblical convictions that we all universally as believers will adhere to and follow wholeheartedly . . . or we ought to.

Nancy: Because those are not optional.

Betsy: Those are not optional. Those are things like protecting the unborn, being a generous person, giving your life to ministry, observing the Sabbath. Things like that. Not demanding, not being a demanding person of your rights, things that are clearly laid out in the Scriptures. And those are no-matter-what principles that we all live by universally, believers all over the world, that never change in time or culture.

But then there are things, personal convictions, that do change because of time and culture and because we are called by God to set up certain standards for our own family. I love what it says in Romans 14 because it talks about not imposing your personal convictions on other people because you don’t raise them to the level of “thus sayeth the Lord.”

So the biblical convictions, yes, we don’t steer from those at all, but personal convictions, families really need to set up to have a stable life. Then we take some of those, a handful of our personal convictions, and we call them our non-negotiables.

And that means that this year I’m going to take some of those things that I want my life to be about, and some of them are biblical convictions. For instance, I will say that I want to be in the Word every day. That is a biblical conviction, obviously, but it’s one of those non-negotiables that I know that at the end of the year I can look back and I can say, “I kept that.” So we just identify some particulars so that we know in a year we will be reaping what we have sown.

Nancy: So from the earliest days of your marriage and family . . . Ultimately, you did have three children.

Betsy: Yes.

Nancy: You and your husband set out to be intentional about what kind of marriage you wanted to have, what kind of family you wanted to be, and how you wanted to honor the Lord as parents. You weren’t going to just let this happen.

Betsy: No. And we were so young and so green. I’m very, very thankful for some women in my life that were a little bit older. We were involved in the Navigator Ministry for six years there in Kalamazoo, and I just watched them so much.

Nancy: What did you observe? 

Betsy: I observed how they talked to their husbands, how they were hospitable, how they served, how they submitted in a gentle, gracious way, but I also observed how their husbands treated their wives and how they made ministry a part of their lives, in their homes, and they invited us in their homes. It’s modeled. It’s really the core of my Christian life of how it all started.

And I would say that “Entrusted” grew so much out of what those women modeled for me. I think now, as an older mom, “Entrusted” is a gift that I give to younger moms who feel that they have not been parented or feel that they just need some structure in life. I think that period of life in the 70s and 80s, so many women would agree—and husbands also—that they were not parented.

Nancy: Yes.

Betsy: It was just the cultural thing. Mom was told, almost, to leave home. I can remember taking classes where they were teaching assertiveness training and everything opposite and counter to what we teach in “Entrusted” and what the Bible teaches.

Nancy: And as you watched these women who were influential in your life, did they have children?

Betsy: Yes, they did have children. So they were three to ten years down the road.

Nancy: What did you see in their parenting, seeing them as mothers, that you said, “That’s something I want to pattern my life after”?

Betsy: Well, I saw that their children were not just pets or that they weren’t just there as a convenience or that they didn’t just constantly farm out their kids. They had a connection with their kids. That’s another thing that I feel is so important.

We’re not just trying to get through the day, but we’ve genuinely been entrusted with our children by our Heavenly Father. A big thing for me is why. Why are we entrusted with them? Well, we are entrusted with them that we ultimately bring glory to Him.

One of my favorite verses is Malachi 2:15 that says, “Did He not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union?”

Nancy: Speaking, of course, of marriage, husbands and wives.

Betsy: And then it goes on to say, “And what was He seeking?” What was God seeking out of this marriage? It’s His godly offspring. And I love that.

So marriage isn’t just about, and home life isn’t just about the husband and wife and having a great fun time together. It’s ultimate purpose is to bring glory to God through perpetuating generations of people that rise up and praise Him.

So I feel like, if we’re teaching our children that life isn’t everything centered around the Lord, then we’re missing out. And this is what I observed in those families—the kindness, the fruits of the Spirit in their lives and how they related to each other, and I thought, “There’s no observable strife in these families. There’s something there that is so pleasant and peaceful and comforting.” And that’s how I wanted my home to be.

So I wanted to listen to these women in everything that they said. And they’re still precious to me today.

Nancy: So those were older women.

Betsy: Yes.

Nancy: Who, by their lives, were teaching you as a younger woman. It sounds like it wasn’t particularly structured or formal training as much as doing life together.

Betsy: Exactly. It was. We did a lot of Bible studies together, and we did a lot of service projects together, but the training wasn’t this mentoring that you hear of so much today where you sit down one on one. But, one-on-one discipleship is a huge Navigator concept, so we were doing one on one, and maybe they knew it. I didn’t know it at the time, but it’s just a precious memory to me of being with them, and I still have contact with them all today.

Nancy: What I love, Betsy, is that not only did you set out to live out the principles that you were seeing in the lives of these other women to follow their faith and to learn from their lives. But as your family has matured, as you have grown and are now a grandmother, you have set out to become that older women to younger moms and to teach them by your example and by the sharing of insights that God has given to you.

Betsy, thank you so much for joining us today. We’re going to pick up the conversation tomorrow with a couple of women who have been a part of this ministry for moms: Entrusted with a Child’s Heart. I think this is going to be a great encouragement and a help to many moms who are listening today.

Betsy: Thank you so much, Nancy.

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been talking with Betsy Corning about the ways older women can encourage younger women to invest in their children. You can benefit from Betsy’s wisdom when you let her mentor you by way of a book she’s written called Entrusted with a Child’s Heart. We’ll send it to you when you donate any amount to Revive Our Hearts.

We’re able to stay on the air through the gifts from our listeners, and, Nancy, every donation will make a big difference here in July.

Nancy: Absolutely, Leslie. In the summer months, our giving usually goes down, but we still have bills to pay. So when you contribute to Revive Our Hearts, especially during these summer months, that means a lot to us.

Your gift at this time will help us continue speaking to women like this pastor’s wife who wrote from California and said,

I don’t have a lot of opportunity for fellowship with other pastors wives, so listening to you is one way that I feel like I can be mentored. I’ve been listening to you for about three years, and I now have a two-year old and a four-month old. My two-year old loves to listen to you. Yes, he will actually ask to listen to "Mancy Moss." What is even better is that he recognizes that you are talking about Jesus and will often pick up things from your program and repeat them. So you’ve already impacted the next generation through my two-year old. I know that you have sacrificed much for this ministry, and I’m so thankful for that.

Well, there are a lot of people who’ve sacrificed to make Revive Our Hearts possible, including listeners like you who support this ministry financially. Without that support, we wouldn’t be mentoring that pastor’s wife in California or anyone else.

When you make a donation of any amount, ask for your copy of Betsy Corning’s book called Entrusted. The number to call is 1-800-569-5959, or just visit us online at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Leslie: We’ve told you how our guest Betsy Corning mentors women one on one. We’ve also told you that you can learn from her insight through her book. Well, you can also interact with Betsy today on the Revive Our Hearts Listener Blog. She’ll be answering as many questions as she can.

You can post your questions or your thoughts at ReviveOurHearts.com. Click on the link for today’s program, scroll to the end, and add your comment. Again, our address is ReviveOurHearts.com.

Well, tomorrow we’ll hear from some of the women Betsy Corning has been mentoring.

Woman: I had plans for my career, plans for my marriage, and the key word is “my plans.” I wasn’t seeking God’s plans for what He wanted in my life. So I think that over time you just get busy and caught up in the day to day, and I found myself, the mother of three children ages five, four and three, was a career mom, a C.P.A. background, and just loved to work. That was almost a curse because I just got off track with the pulse of my marriage and my home and came to Betsy just seeking hope and encouragement for what is the Lord’s will in my life.

And at the time, just was 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, home school?

And one practical element was just the biblical convictions vs. personal convictions, and what does the Bible say, and just 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.

Leslie: See the relationships between older and younger women in action. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

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

 

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