Revive Our Hearts Radio

A High Calling

Leslie Basham: Here's Sharon Jaynes with a story about a young man running a long distance race.

Sharon Jaynes: When my legs hurt, when my throat burned and I felt like I was going to get sick, I could hear my mother cheering for me, and it made me not want to quit. I thought, "Wow! That's what we can do for our kids on a daily basis."

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. It's Tuesday, July 5th. If you missed any of yesterday's program, we continued an interview with Sharon Jaynes. You can hear it or order the CD by visiting ReviveOurHearts.com. Here's Nancy to continue that conversation.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: It's such a joy this week to be talking to my friend, Sharon Jaynes, who is an author, a conference speaker, and a radio host. She's a wife; she's a mom; she's a woman who loves and fears the Lord, and that's the thing I most appreciate about her. Thank you for your heart for the Lord and for women, and thank you for being with us at Revive Our Hearts this week.

Sharon Jaynes: Thank you Nancy. It's really an honor and a privilege to be here.

Nancy: We've been talking about 7 principles of the Proverbs 31 woman. These principles form the basis for Proverbs 31 Ministries where you serve. We're taking a day on each of these principles. The first principle, just refresh us, is . . .

Sharon: She reveres Jesus Christ as Lord of her life and pursues a personal and ongoing relationship with Him.

Nancy: So that's where everything starts.

Sharon: Everything starts right there.

Nancy: The virtuous woman, the woman who praises, the woman who fears the Lord; she's the woman who's building her life on a relationship with the Lord. We can't say it too often that that is the foundation for becoming the kind of woman God made us to be. The foundation is a relationship with Christ.

Then we said in the second principle that we looked at in our last conversation that the next most important relationship in a married woman's life is . . .

Sharon: . . . is with her husband. It is important that she loves, honors, and respects her husband as leader of the home.

Nancy: If the relationship in the marriage is not what it needs to be, then that's going to have an impact in her other relationships.

Sharon: Exactly.

Nancy: Then the third principle that we want to talk about today relates to women to whom God has entrusted children.

Sharon: The Proverbs 31 woman nurtures her children and believes that motherhood is a high calling with the responsibility of shaping and molding the children who will one day define who we are as a community and a nation.

Nancy: Now, that's all kind of lofty.

Sharon: It is lofty.

Nancy: The woman who is right now stuck at home with three toddlers and thinks her world is just spinning out of control, she doesn't feel like she's necessarily defining who we are as a community and a nation. Her calling may not feel like it's a very high calling right at this moment.

Sharon: You know what? It is the most high calling. I know when children are small it can seem so difficult. When I think about that, I think about how the Chinese grow bamboo. That picture just comes into my mind. They plant the seeds; they fertilize them, and for a year nothing happens. The second year they fertilize; they water, nothing happens. Third year, fourth year, fifth year, nothing happens. For five years they don't see anything. But then, all of a sudden, in a matter of six weeks that bamboo grows 90 feet.

Nancy: Wow.

Sharon: Now the question is: Did it grow in five years, or did it grow in that short period of time? We have no idea the impact we're having when they're little. But when they are grown . . . . See, and I also believe, Nancy, in Proverbs 31 it says, "Her children rise up and call her blessed" (verse 30). This is how I know it's not a typical day in her life, but this is a typical picture of her whole life because children when they're three aren't going to bless you. But maybe when they're grown they will. That's when we really get to see the fruit of all those years of investing.

Nancy: Of course our culture has so conditioned us for the last 50 years to believe that a career outside the home is more significant, more valuable, making a greater contribution than a woman being at home nurturing her children. In your Proverbs 31 Ministries you're really trying to give women a vision for the greatness of that calling. They are really, as they are molding these little lives, these moms are ultimately shaping the destiny of the community and of the nation and making a long-term investment in the future.

Sharon: Nancy, I know of no calling that's any higher than that.

Nancy: Yet when it comes to the day-to-day realities of being a mom, it's not an easy calling.

Sharon: It's not easy. I don't know of anything that's really worthwhile that's easy, come to think of it. I think that this is one the hardest jobs I've ever loved. And now seeing my son in college and seeing the things that he's doing, I'm starting to see some of those seeds start to grow, and it's just so rewarding.

Nancy: So you look back and you say it was worth it?

Sharon: It was worth it. It was definitely worth it.

Nancy: You'd do it again?

Sharon: I'd absolutely do it again. I don't think I'd change anything.

Nancy: Sharon, as you look back on the years of parenting now that you've got an adult child, what are some of the things that you're glad you did, some of the things you believe have paid off in the long run?

Sharon: Well Nancy, when I became a parent, as we mentioned on our earlier broadcast, I was not raised in a Christian home. So when I became a parent I began to be a student to learn: what do I need to do to be a great mom? I went back and read about men and women in history and what their moms were like. I listened to people talk about what good parenting looked like. I saw 7 key ingredients that continued to come up in good parenting.

I've outlined them with an acronym called blessed from Proverbs 31 that they "rise up and call her blessed." The "B" stands for beacon. She's a beacon; she's available; she's there in present in her children's lives much like you would see a beacon on the coast, a lighthouse. It's there to weather the storm. It's there to point the light when we are showing the light of Christ and that they can be at the safe harbor of home. Then we point the way for them to leave.

The second is "L". She's a listener. Nancy, that is so key. Most parents would think, "Oh I listen to my children." But I love what Ross Campbell said in his book, How To Really Love Your Child. He said that most parents really do love their children, but they don't know how to show it. The way he said that we show our children that we love them is by listening to them and looking at them when we're listening. He calls that focused attention.

Nancy: Was there a season in your child's life that you found was particularly important to be a good listener?

Sharon: I can tell you when it paid off the most, and that was when he was a teenager. I remember I was telling a friend about Steven telling me this story about this little dating situation in high school. They're going, "I cannot believe that Steven told you that." I said, "You know why he told me? It's because I listened to him when he was little."

Now it was hard when he was little when what he was telling me wasn't exactly very interesting. Maybe I was busy washing the dishes or dusting and those little hands would come and tug on me to stop what I was doing. It would be very easy to not stop what I was doing, but continue and say, "I'm listening; go ahead and tell me."

That doesn't do it for a child. They know that you're really not paying attention. What we really need to do is stop what we're doing, put down the dust cloth, put down the dishrag, kneel if you need to to make eye contact with that child, and then they know that you are really listening.

Nancy: Look in their eyes.

Sharon: They are valuable and important to you.

Nancy: Yes.

Sharon: You know I think about that with my own husband. I might walk into the room when he's watching a football game on television. You know he can push the little mute button, but that's not enough. I want him to turn it off and to look at me. I'm talking to him. It's the same way with our kids. If we do that when they're little, if we really listen, then when they get to adolescence, they will continue to talk to us.

Now another key ingredient to being a good listener to your children . . . I know every mother has had this experience. They pick up the child from school. They say, "What did you do today at school?" And they say, "Nothing." Or, "How was your day?" "Fine." So I think what we need to do is learn how to ask good questions. I'd love to provide for your website a list of good questions to ask your children to get them to be able to communicate with you.

Instead of saying, "What did you do today?" you say, "What did Mrs. Smith talk about in history class today? Who did you sit with at lunch today?" For younger children, things like, "What do you think daddy does at work?" Maybe when they get older, "If money was no object and you knew you could succeed, what would you like to do with your life?" Asking them good questions that cannot be answered with one word will help draw them out.

Nancy: Okay, so that's the "L" in blessed. What's the "E"?

Sharon: "E" is encourager. I have to tell you this is one of my favorite ones. One day, Nancy, I woke up and went to see my nephew, Stu, run in a cross country race. You know, cross country is not exactly a spectator sport if you have ever been to one of those. Basically, the boys line up, and then they say, "Go." They disappear in a trail down the woods and they're gone for about 20 minutes, and then they reappear again.

Well, I went to this race--I'd never seen him run before, and I went with his mom--and Pat began to yell. She yelled, "Go Stu!" It was incredibly loud. Then she'd run to another part of the trail, and she'd yell again, "Go Stu!" At one point a man yelled, "He can't hear you!" But she continued to yell for 20 minutes.

Nancy: She's his cheerleader.

Sharon: She was. After the race, this is the key, I said, "Stu, when you ran, could you hear your mother yelling?" He said, "Oh yes. I heard her. I heard her the entire time." I said, "What did that do for you?" He said, "It made me not want to quit. When my legs hurt, when my throat burned and I felt like I was going to get sick, I could hear my mother cheering for me, and it made me not want to quit." And I thought, "Wow! That's what we can do for our kids on a daily basis."

When they go out and face social combat every day, and kids can be very cruel, they can come back home and know that we're going to be their cheerleader. We can cheer for them to make them not want to quit. Nancy, as they become teenagers and they're playing the game of life, they're going to look up in those stands to see if you're cheering for them. If your seat is vacant and you're not cheering them on, they're going to look for someone who will.

Nancy: And you know, it's so much easier and more natural to fall into the role of the critic, the one who's always correcting, the one who is demeaning or belittling or putting down. I think this is a tough thing. I'm thinking especially of home school moms who are with their children all day long and they're having to correct things and point out things that need to be changed or fixed. But it's so important that your children are hearing more often than the criticism and the correction, that they're hearing the words of blessing and encouragement and affirmation. All of us blossom and bloom under that kind of encouragement.

Well we're not going to get to the other words in that acronym today. We'll pick those up in our next conversation. But we've sure heard a heart full today, enough to encourage moms in their role to say, "Look, you have a significant role."

So ask yourself mom, "Am I there for my children? Am I there not just physically, am I all there? Am I listening? Am I engaged? Am I cheering on my child in the race of life? Remember that the seeds you sow today probably won't reap an immediate harvest, but they will reap a harvest in time. In fact, God's Word says, "Don't be weary in doing well because in due season you will reap if you don't get tired and give up" (Galatians 6:9).

Leslie Basham: Nancy Leigh DeMoss and her guest Sharon Jaynes have been encouraging busy moms. If you'd like to learn more about staying in the race even when you'd like to give up, you can read about it in Sharon Jaynes' book, A Woman's Secret to a Balanced Life. You can order it by going to ReviveOurHearts.com. You can also order by calling 1-800-569-5959.

When you order, you won't pay any shipping costs, but would you think about giving an additional donation. It will help us connect with listeners like Julia. She emailed us and said, "Everyday on my way to school I listen to Revive Our Hearts. Not only is it a great way to help me focus on Christ as I make my way through high school, but it has really changed my perspective on simply living a godly life as a young woman. I never knew that while just driving to school I could learn so much about my heavenly Father."

If you'd like to help us invest in the lives of listeners like this one, you can send a donation to our new address. Here it is: Revive Our Hearts, Box 2000, Niles, MI 49120. What's a better title: housewife or stay-at-home mom? Sharon Jaynes will give us her opinion tomorrow. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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