2007 at 3:56 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
Here is the conclusion to Diane’s story...
We are the happiest family I know. Reid is a part of our family and his smile is one of the biggest blessings of our lives. The girls are not shy of people with handicaps and disabilities. They are sensitive to others. They are kind. They are gentle. They have always lived with limitations on where we go and what we can do, so they are grateful for all that God has provided for us. We have all learned to love expecting nothing in return, as Reid has never spoken or reached out to hug us.
One may look at a family like ours and wonder how we can even survive. We were encouraged to put Reid in a home for seriously handicapped children because our “quality of life’ was at stake. But we have learned what is important in life, so I think that we (especially Drew and I) are not tempted to have our way in petty areas. We don’t fight over which way the toilet paper is rolled out or how the toothpaste is squeezed! Life is far too short and precious for that nonsense. We laugh uproariously at the dinner table. We read books together a lot when the kids were younger, but now we discuss the books we are reading. We read to Reid. We play all kinds of music for him—everything from Bach to Leon Redbone! We take him with us when we can, although that is harder as he gets bigger.
Mainly, I love God more and I am closer to Him. I come to Him on His terms, not mine, and He is the answer to all my prayers.
Having a retarded or handicapped child does not mean you are sentenced to a life of hardship. Jesus makes us buoyant, and the Holy Spirit gives us comfort. I used to pray for total healing now. Now I pray that the Holy Spirit will speak to me and that I will know his voice. Our family is very close and very joyful. Life is good.
2007 at 5:48 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
I was ten years old when Reid was born to our friends Drew and Diane. At our church’s school, my math teacher Miss Kisiel led our fifth grade class in praying for him. God, would you please not let Reid die, and Jesus, would you please help him to feel all better? God heard those child-prayers. He did graciously allow Reid to live. But for reasons known only to Him, He did not choose to heal Reid—in this life anyway.
Reid was the first severely handicapped child I had known. And in our church family, Reid was something of a celebrity. His parents taught us how not to be afraid to talk to him. His sisters Erin and Vicki showed us how to love him. And Reid taught us too. He is still teaching us.
Drew and Diane are long-time friends of my parents—they’ve known them since before they were married—and are vital members of Covenant Life Church. As my high school literature teacher, Diane inspired me to love and read the classics through the lens of God’s Word. She inspired me even more by her tender, joyful affection for Reid.
So to us, it’s only fitting that we begin this series for mothers of disabled children with our dear friend. Thanks, Diane, for sharing with us the grace God has given you in the gift of your son, Reid.
It is difficult to write down 20 years worth of lessons that God has taught me by giving birth to and raising a handicapped son. Nothing prepared me to give birth to a severely retarded quadriplegic. He came when I was 23 weeks pregnant. He had a brain bleed when he was 6 weeks old. He developed cerebral palsy. I had a 16-month old toddler. Things were chaotic.
The first lesson I learned was that God allows suffering, and that doesn’t mean he doesn’t hear my prayers. For two years I believed that God’s will had to be total healing for Reid, and that would result in the entire staff at Children’s National Medical Center converting to Christianity. For whatever reason God allowed Reid to born early and he allowed him to develop catastrophic conditions.
The second lesson that I learned is that my relationship with God is more important than having my questions answered. Every time I demanded to know "why", I was plagued with the thought that maybe God doesn’t exist or that he doesn’t exist the way I have always believed Him to (Jesus as His Son, the Bible as His Word). I eventually came around to the resolution to believe in Him—even if I never know why he allowed Reid to be born early.
I learned how selfish I am. Having a healthy baby is enough to teach any woman this lesson, but to have a healthy active toddler plus a baby on life support who never gets toilet trained, feeds himself or dresses himself, and who is constantly needing to see doctors or be hospitalized, is beyond stressful. Erin spent her whole childhood going to doctor appointments with me!
I wouldn’t want anyone to think that we just breezed through the early years joyful every day. I had to walk through hardship and pain before the joy came.
But joy did come to Diane. Check back to read the conclusion of her story tomorrow.
2007 at 5:34 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
Tonight we’re getting together for a girltalk dinner to celebrate Mom’s birthday (which was actually June 1.) But before I fight beltway traffic to meet the better three-fourths of this blog in Maryland, here are a few links and a preview of what you can expect from girltalk this week:
A Little Shopping
It’s summer, and the search is on for modest clothing. Here are three websites to assist you in your quest to be modestly minded:
Down East Basics
DISCLAIMER: We at girltalk are not personally acquainted with the owners of these sites. Nor do we presume to put some sort of “girltalk stamp of approval” on their product or company. We simply want to point you in the direction of more modest and attractive apparel options. Please use the same discretion and biblical criteria when shopping at these sites as anywhere else.
For more on modesty: check out our “Fashion and Following the Savior” series and the “Modesty Heart Check.”
A Little Reading
No, in answer to your questions, we did not forget to start the book club. We were simply waiting to make sure everyone received their books. We’re patient like that. But we’re glad you’re impatient to start book club, round three.
About his book, Doing Things Right In Matters of the Heart John Ensor claims: “If you are ready to give thought to your steps and can muster the courage to be a nonconformist, this book will give you much to consider and lots of decisions to make.”
Are you ready? Then read chapter one by Friday and join our nonconformist discussion.
A Special Series
On Mother’s Day, we offered encouragement to moms who were encountering trials of various kinds. While we couldn’t speak to everyone, there is a group of women we especially wanted to encourage. But we decided to wait until we could do it properly—or at least as best as we know how. So please join us this week as we talk to, honor, and learn from mothers of children with disabilities. We’re sure you’ll be inspired by their sacrifice and love for the precious children God has given to them.
2007 at 11:56 am | by Carolyn Mahaney
Series Girl to Girl Talk Interviews
Nancy, we’ve come to the final day of our interview and I want to ask you about another major aspect of the work to which God has called you: writing. You’ve written numerous books—too many to list here. What do you most enjoy about writing? What do you least enjoy? Are you currently working on another book and how can we pray for you?
The Lord always uses the writing process to search my own heart and to sanctify me in deeper ways. However, to be honest, the only thing I really enjoy about the process of writing books is turning the final manuscript over to the publisher! For me, writing is an arduous, painstaking discipline that constantly requires me to say “no” to my flesh.
Dannah Gresh and I are co-authoring a book this year called Lies Young Women Believe. Our burden is to reach the hearts of 13-19-year-old girls with the truth that will set them free.
I am also in the initial stages of a new book on “gratitude,” which I hope to follow with a book on “contentment”—both of which are crucial qualities for Christian women to cultivate and are in rare supply today.
Recently I have sensed the Lord birthing in me another new book that I have been thinking about for nearly ten years—a call to Christian women to believe God for a counter-Revolution—a movement of biblical womanhood that will take back the ground that has been given over to feminist thinking over the past 50 years.
Are there any other major projects on your calendar for the coming year?
We have just finalized the decision to host a National Women’s Conference on October 9-11, 2008, in Chicago. FamilyLife Today and Moody Bible Institute will be partnering with Revive Our Hearts on this project. The purpose of the conference is to promote the mission and message of biblical womanhood. We are asking the Lord for 4-6000 women to join us for this special event. This is a huge faith venture for our small team. Please pray with us for the anointing of the Spirit on this undertaking and for God’s provision and enabling on every front. And pray about joining us for what I believe could be an historic occasion!
We are excited to hear about this conference and your upcoming books, Nancy, and we will be praying or you. On a different note, we’d love to know what you are studying in your personal times with the Lord. What is one aspect of God’s character you’ve learned about this past year?
For more than a year, I’ve been studying (and am now teaching) the life of Joshua. I was drawn into the study because my pastor preached a message from the last chapter of Joshua, which made me wonder how in the world he made it to 110 years of age, and was still a vibrant, faithful servant and lover of the Lord. (At that time, I was walking through some deep waters and wasn’t sure I was going to make it to 50!) I wanted to see how he stayed faithful all the way to the finish line, which is my goal.
It has been a wonderful study. When I got to Kadesh-Barnea with Joshua and Caleb (Numbers 13-14), the Lord opened my eyes to see the unbelief and rebellion that were at the heart of many of the struggles I had been having for months.
Finally, what in your opinion, is the most urgent need among Evangelical Christian women today?
To know Christ—really know Him; to trust Him enough to obey Him; to love and enjoy Him—“Christ in you, the hope of glory”; to “own” the Gospel in its incredible, life-giving, transforming fullness and implications; to be willing to lay down our lives for the sake of Christ and the Gospel.
Amen to that, Nancy. Thank you for your example of passion for Christ and the gospel. And thank you for allowing us to get to know you a little better over the past four days. We pray God will continue to bless your ministry and efforts to encourage women to greater love for our Savior!
Girltalk readers: more information on how to pray for Nancy and her ministry is available in an interview on the Revive Our Hearts website.
2007 at 1:11 pm | by Carolyn Mahaney
Series Girl to Girl Talk Interviews
Today I want to turn to a topic that is close to both our hearts—biblical womanhood.
Nancy, you have strong convictions about the importance of biblical womanhood. Was this always the case? Why do you think this is such an urgent topic today?
Theologically, I always had strong convictions, because I believe the Scripture is so plain on this subject. However, on a personal and emotional level, that was not always easy for me to embrace. As a young woman, I so wanted to be used by the Lord to proclaim His Word, and felt deep down that if I had been a man, perhaps I could have done that more freely.
The Lord graciously began to help me understand more of His calling and purpose for women and the ways I could distinctively reflect His glory as a woman.
As a single woman, what do you think is most important for single women to understand about biblical womanhood?
Regardless of our marital status, we were made to glorify God and to reflect Him to our world.
God has made women to be bearers and nurturers of life—we can do that whether or not He chooses to give us husbands and physical children.
If a woman has a contented, grateful heart, she will experience joy, regardless of her circumstances (or marital status). If she does not have a contented, grateful heart, there is no circumstance (or marital status) that can make her happy.
How do you personally cultivate feminine qualities commanded in Scripture in your unique role of public speaker and leader of a ministry?
I am intentional about being in accountable relationships and submitting myself to others in the Body of Christ. I look for opportunities and appropriate ways to come under the spiritual covering and protection of godly men—sitting under the preaching of the Word and being responsive to the spiritual leadership of the pastors and elders in my local church; seeking counsel, direction, and input from the director of our parent ministry and from the Advisory Board that oversees Revive Our Hearts.
I am blessed to have mature believers—women, couples, and men—who care for my soul and are committed to speak into my life, to help me see blind spots, and to call me to repentance as needed.
Though I can’t do it as much or as often as I would like, I love opportunities to practice hospitality in my home and look for ways to have a more personal, nurturing role in the lives of women, children, and families that the Lord brings into my life.
2007 at 10:51 am | by Carolyn Mahaney
Series Girl to Girl Talk Interviews
Yesterday we learned about your growing up years and how God drew you to Himself and gave you a passion for ministry at an early age. Today you serve in many different arenas—writing, speaking, etc. Can you give us an overview of how you currently spend most of your time? What aspect of ministry do you enjoy most or get most excited about?
My time is divided between preparing and recording for daily radio, writing books and other resources, doing some speaking, and providing leadership for the ministry of Revive Our Hearts.
I love the variety of ways He has allowed me to serve Him and others. I consider it a great privilege to spend much of my time studying the Word, getting my own soul nourished, and then feeding others with the rich meat of His Word.
What is a “typical” day like for Nancy DeMoss?
Except for when I’m on the road speaking, etc., I spend the majority of my time sitting at my laptop, studying, developing new message material, writing, or working on email (which is a blessing, but can also be the single greatest distraction in my relationship with the Lord!).
Because I am single and work out of my home, I can generally work “two shifts” – in order to do that, I usually take a short nap in the afternoon!
I know that you work extremely hard. What are some of your favorite ways to rest and relax?
I love to read; I have a walking partner who pulls me away from my laptop; the Lord has placed some wonderful women and couples in my life who are a source of encouragement and grace; I love doing things with families—my friends’ children, some of whom I’ve known all their lives, are now having their own children—which makes me feel like a “Grandma”—I love it! A couple years ago, I started observing “computer-free Sundays”—that has been a wonderful and replenishing gift from the Lord—I only wish I had started years earlier!
How has your relatively new role as host of Revive our Hearts radio changed your life? What do you enjoy most about radio? What do you least enjoy?
The requirements of coming up with 260 programs every year, in addition to meeting publishing deadlines, developing new resources, and leading a growing ministry have forced me to be more disciplined.
I have a constant, conscious sense of my need for the Lord—that I can’t make it apart from Him (that’s a good thing!). I have seen more of my weaknesses and experienced more of His strength . . . more of my sinfulness and more of His grace. I’ve learned a lot (and am still learning!) about relinquishing control and letting the Lord and others manage things.
As a result of seeing Him come through on my behalf and the ministry’s behalf again and again and again (we call them “Red Sea moments”), I have even more reason to trust Him and less reason to doubt Him or to panic or be anxious in the midst of storms. Not that I never doubt or panic—I do! But my heart is steadied as I remember His faithfulness over these past six years.
The two things I most love about the radio ministry are (1) the times I’m actually recording new teaching programs (which I do with a live audience)—after all the hard work of preparation is behind me. I sometimes think as I’m teaching, “This is what I was made to do!” (2) Getting to meet and hear from the women whose hearts and homes have been revived as they have heard and responded to the message we are delivering. Though I do not have physical children of my own, the Lord has blessed me with many spiritual children—I have no greater joy than to know that they walk in the Truth.
2007 at 2:08 pm | by Carolyn Mahaney
Series Girl to Girl Talk Interviews
Today, we are excited to offer the first installment of a four-part interview with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.
Nancy, you were raised in a godly home. Can you tell us a little about your parents, your growing up years, and how your childhood shaped your desire to serve full-time in Christian ministry?
How old were you when you repented of your sins and put your faith in Jesus Christ? Can you tell us a little about your conversion experience?
[I combined these two questions into one long answer.]
My spiritual pilgrimage began months before I was born, as my parents dedicated me to the Lord and purposed to teach me (and the six children that would follow) the Word and ways of God.
Much as a greenhouse is designed to nurture young plants and protect them from influences that might damage their tender roots, the climate of our home was carefully controlled to minimize influences that could possibly be unwholesome (we did not own a television or take a paper, for example) and to provide constant nurture in the Word of God.
In that spiritual climate, the Spirit of God cultivated the soil of my heart, making it tender and responsive to His wooing, and making me aware of my need for a Savior. My earliest conscious memory is trusting Christ as my Savior at the age of four on May 14, 1963. (At the time, my parents were using a book called Leading Little Ones to God in our family devotions. This book is a chronological, doctrinal survey of the Scripture; it is still in print and is a great resource for parents with young children.)
Early in my Christian life, I learned about one of the most essential ingredients in nurturing a personal relationship with the Lord, as I became aware that my father began each day with a practice that he called “devotions.” From shortly after his conversion in his mid 20s, until the day he went to heaven, he never missed one single day of this devotional practice. Nothing was more important to him than cultivating his relationship with the Lord, and he believed strongly that nothing was more essential to maintaining that relationship than a daily time alone with the Lord in the Word and prayer.
Daily devotions was not something my parents forced on us, but the influence of my dad’s example and training in this area was profound. The image of my dad on his knees before the Lord is indelibly etched on my mind and in my heart.
My early years were also deeply impacted by reading biographies of great men and women of God and by meeting and interacting with godly believers and Christian workers that my parents hosted in our home. I loved to sit and listen to them talk about the Lord, to ask them questions, and to hear them pray. The Spirit used these two influences to give me a passion for Christ and for ministry.
You pursued music—piano performance—in college. What did you want to do with your life? How did you begin serving in ministry instead?
By the time I was six or seven years old, I had a conscious sense that God’s hand was on my life and that He had set me apart to serve Him. Although I had no idea what shape that calling would take, I have never been able to fathom doing anything other giving my life to further His Kingdom.
Early on, the Lord provided opportunities for me to serve Him and others. I taught my first Sunday School lesson when I was eight years old. From the time I was in junior high school, I began having regular opportunities to teach the Word—which I loved to do. All the way through high school and college, I made myself available to serve as the Lord opened doors. Most of those opportunities had to do with teaching or writing.
I studied piano from the time I was four and continued doing so through college. But much of my time in high school and college was spent in various types of ministry. God never wastes experiences—the disciplines, training, and sensitivity I received through my music studies have all been put to great use in the work to which He has called me.
Can you tell us about your early years with Life Action Ministries?
As a young teen, as a result of reading accounts of spiritual awakenings in the past—both in history and in the Scripture, God placed in my heart a deep burden for genuine, Spirit-wrought revival in the church. But I didn’t know anyone else who seemed to understand or share that burden.
When I graduated from college, I went to work in the children’s ministries of a large local church. That is where I first connected with Life Action, at the age of 20. I thought I had died and gone to heaven when I discovered a whole ministry that was devoted to the mission of believing God for revival in the church!
I have served with Life Action for more than 28 years—it has been a rich, rewarding relationship—a wonderful place for spiritual growth, encouragement, accountability, and partnering in ministry with like-hearted believers who take God seriously.
2007 at 8:39 am | by Carolyn Mahaney
Series Girl to Girl Talk Interviews
I first met Nancy Leigh DeMoss at a Family Life/Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood conference in March 2000. She probably does not remember our first conversation, but I will never forget it. We were walking to one of the sessions together and I asked her a question about her schedule—which to say the least was very full and demanding (and still is!). After a few moments of sharing, she turned and looked at me with tears in her eyes and said: “Isn’t it such a wonderful privilege to serve our Savior?” I was immediately struck by her sincere love for Jesus Christ, and as I’ve had the privilege of getting to know her better, her passion for our Savior has only become more obvious. Her love for God is displayed by a commitment to personal holiness and dedicated service to the body of Christ. No doubt many of you are already familiar with Nancy’s ministry and radio show, Revive Our Hearts, and I’m so glad you’ll have a chance to get to know her a little better through this interview. So grab your coffee cup and let’s sit down for a chat with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss
I was born in East Orange, New Jersey.
One of the best “spiritual” books I’ve ever read (besides the Bible) is Fenelon’s The Seeking Heart; Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret . . . (I am a huge consumer of biographies!).
A “non-spiritual” book I enjoyed reading was David McCullough’s John Adams and 1776.
Right now I am (re-)reading Amy Carmichael’s The Gold Cord—an inspiring look at the principles that undergirded her ministry. I have found her insights extremely helpful and challenging as I seek to build our ministry on a godly (rather than a worldly) foundation. During Lent, I read F.W. Krummacher’s The Suffering Savior – wow! God used that book in a powerful way to give me a fresh picture of my sinfulness and to deepen my sense of need and my adoration for His atoning sacrifice and redeeming grace.
I’ve watched ____________movie more times than any other. Don’t laugh—I enjoy Pollyanna . . . I love the way her grateful spirit transforms her world – and it reminds me that I don’t want to become like the cantankerous older woman in the story!
The music you’re most likely to find me listening to is simple, quiet, instrumental hymns/familiar choruses.
My favorite food is anything high carb – pizza, pasta, breads, potatoes—all the stuff you’re not supposed to eat!
In the morning I drink… I pretty much stick with water—morning, noon, and night. I know—boring!
The household chore I most enjoy is…Is running the dishwasher a household chore?
If I have free time, you’ll most likely find me having dinner with friends; reading; playing Text Twist on my laptop; doing jigsaw puzzles.
My favorite place in the world is home!
A Bible verse I return to often is “And Mary said to the angel, ‘How will this be? . . . . And the angel answered her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you . . .’” (Luke 1:34-35)
The woman I most want to be like is Mary of Nazareth—I love her heart in responding to God’s supernatural calling on her life: “I am the Lord’s handmaiden; may it be to me according to Your word” (Luke 1:38)
2007 at 9:42 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
The high demand for the New Attitude messages caused the Sovereign Grace Store website to crash. But they are now available at this site. Be sure to listen.
2007 at 10:37 pm | by Janelle Bradshaw
Fun Stuff Friday Funnies
These comics sent in by our friend Jenny gave us a good laugh. Enjoy!
Catch ya Monday!
Janelle for the girls
2007 at 3:09 pm | by Carolyn Mahaney
Here are two yummy fruit salads to finish out our summer salads week:
Orange Cream Fruit Salad
1 20-oz. can pineapple chunks, drained
2 11-oz. cans mandarin oranges, drained
2 chopped bananas
2 cups halved fresh strawberries
2 apples, peeled and chopped
1 pkg. instant vanilla pudding
1½ cups milk
1/3 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
¾ cup sour cream
Beat pudding, milk, and orange juice concentrate for 2 minutes. Add sour cream. Combine with fruit and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.
2-3oz. pkgs. black raspberry jello
2 cups boiling water
1 cup crushed pineapple, undrained
1 can blueberry pie filling
1 8oz. cream cheese
½ pint sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
½ cup sugar
½ cup chopped nuts
Stir together jello and boiling water until dissolved. Add pineapple and blueberry pie filling. Pour into 9x13 dish. Chill until set. Beat together cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Spread over salad. Sprinkle nuts over top.