Series: Disciplines of a Beautiful Woman: An Interview with Anne Ortlund
Leslie Basham: There is one simple thing you can do to help you connect with your child. Here’s Anne Ortlund.
Anne Ortlund: If we are committed to at least one meal a day together as a family and we don’t start eating until everybody is there, that says “I belong. This is myparticular group.”
Leslie Basham: It’s Monday March 1; and this is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. When was the last time your family sat down together at the table? It might be hard to pull everyone together, but it could have long-lasting results for your children. Let’s join Nancy and her guest.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: We’ve had the privilege over the last few broadcasts of talking with a beautiful woman. Her name is Anne Ortlund and she’s written numerous books, but the one we’ve been discussing is called TheGentle Ways
of the Beautiful Woman.
Anne, you’re now in the later years of your life as a mom and a grandmom and a great-grandmother and I am so thankful that you have had the discipline to write these books about discipline to help younger women who are still building their homes and their lives to know how to do it in God’s way. Thank you for sharing with us on Revive Our Hearts.
Anne Ortlund: Oh, this is the best time of my life. I wouldn’t go back a day, Nancy.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And I look at you and I say, “I want to be like this when I grow up!” So, thank you for being a model and a mentor. You’ve discipled many, many women over the years on a one-on-one basis; you’ve invested your life in so many for the sake of Christ’s kingdom and you’ve laid down your life, you and your pastor-husband, Ray, and are now together traveling in ministry, Renewal Ministries.
This book, The Gentle Ways of the Beautiful Woman, is actually a compilation of three of your best-selling books: Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman, Disciplines of the Heart and the one we’re discussing today, Disciplines of the Home. How our families need the grace of God and the wisdom of God! I’ve challenged our listeners in this series that every woman needs a copy of this book, The Gentle Ways of the Beautiful Woman, because whatever season of life you’re in, you’ll find insight here that will help you in your walk with God.
You may be thinking, Well, I’m single. What would I do with a book like this? Well, there’s much in here that applies directly to singles, even this section on Disciplines of the Home is important for those of us who have family members that we love. I have ten nieces and nephews and I want to know how to pray for them and how to invest in their lives and we need to be committed to not only building our own homes but encouraging others who are in those childbearing and nurturing years.
You talked about a number of disciplines, do’s and don’ts, that we need in our homes and I wish we could do a program on each one of these. We talked in the last program about the importance of the parents being there for their children. We talked about watching out for the T.V. viewing and the habits there. And you talk about recouping male and female distinctions and differences and cherishing those rather than doing away with them. You talk about teaching respect to your children, teaching values, believing in God so that your family is not living a life based on fear but on faith.
Today I want us to talk about two of the “do’s” that you say are important for a godly family. The first one is one that you wouldn’t ordinarily expect to find in a book on the home. You say that we need to learn to “cocoon.” What do you mean?
Anne Ortlund: It’s a word that’s just coming back in, really, after being “out of it” for a lot of years because people were just out of the home for everything. A lot of times now you go into a restaurant and they say, “For here or to go?” People are more and more bringing home the food and trying to get reacquainted with each other.
We’re getting so lonely and feeling so isolated and the families are so scattered. I look at Psalm 128, Nancy, and this is exactly what it says: “You will eat the fruit of your labor” says Psalm 128:2 speaking of a godly man. “Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your sons will be like olive shoots around your table” (Psalm 128:3).
I want to camp on that for a minute because it pictures the children around the table and some of us are just rediscovering these days what it means to be “around the table” as a family.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: What a novel idea.
Anne Ortlund: Yeah, what a novel idea. We’ve just sat perched on stools, we’ve each had our own meal whenever we were free, you know with the T.V. dinners and all the rest and gone our separate ways. And we need to sit around the table at least one meal a day. It teaches manners; it teaches care for each other. My parents taught me to pass whatever was sitting in front of me at the table and not to eat until Mother took the first bite and just a lot of things that are so unknown today, so foreign because we don’t know table manners. But really, all they are, are care for one another.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Consideration…it’s love.
Anne Ortlund: And also commitment. If we are committed to at least one meal a day together as a family and we don’t start eating until everybody is there, that says, “I belong. This is my particular group.” Around the table things happen. You can have Bible study and prayer there; you can say, “How did it go today? What can we pray about?” You can laugh and cry.
After a while Ray got so busy pastoring a very, very large church–it was 3,500 then; it’s 5,000 now–it has continued to grow and grow. His life was so full in the evenings that he had many meetings in one evening, often two or three a night. So, we got to having breakfast as our family meal which was a challenge for me. I’m not a morning person. But, we had an hour to an hour and a half every single morning, five days a week that is.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Before your children went to school.
Anne Ortlund: Yes, and they were all junior high and high school then and we talked; we laughed; we sang. It was the big meal of the day. I really cooked and we had all kinds of things. In fact I put a whole bunch of menus into this book, Disciplines of the Home, and we shared our lives and what we needed prayer for. Interesting that this Psalm 128:3 says, “Your sons will be like olive shoots around your table.” Now Psalm 52 describes the full olive tree–that a godly person is like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God. This person trusts in God’s unfailing love forever and ever (Psalm 52:8).
But he’s just a shoot when he’s around the table and you’re picturing what he will later be as you pour your prayer and love and the Word of God into him. He’s a shoot now; he’ll be a tree later, praising God and living for Him.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: You know, Anne, as I look back on my own upbringing, I’m the oldest of seven children, the first six of us born in my parent’s first five years of marriage, so we were all about the same age and mealtimes were a challenge. We were all outgoing, none of us shy, and often all talking at the same time and we did our share of arguing and tousling with each other.
But my parents also made a priority of mealtimes, for us it was breakfast and dinner. Today that’s almost unheard of, but we did have breakfast. It wasn’t an hour or an hour and a half, but a brief time together as a family before we went off to school. And then in the evening we waited to have dinner until 7:00 in the evening because that’s when my dad got home from work.
We thought that was cruel punishment to have to wait that late for dinner when everybody else ate at 5:00 in the afternoon. But as I look back on it, it wasn’t that any particular mealtime was so very important, it was the habit of being together, of hearing adult conversation, of talking with each other, learning to deal with disputes, just being together and knowing the family was and is important.
Now one of the things that for us was a practical outworking of this was a daily time, most days, in family devotions. Is this something that was a practice as you were bringing up your children? Did you feel like this was important?
Anne Ortlund: Yes, and my parents had brought me up this way. My parents were saved when I was six and my brother was nine and immediately Daddy gathered us in the evening and he began reading the Bible to us and praying and Mother got up early mornings and had her quiet time and prayed for us.
We memorized scripture; we prayed for each other. Then when Ray and I were married and our babies came, we did exactly the same thing. Ray says, “Short children, short devotions. Longer children, longer devotions.”
But, through the years, we read out of the Living Bible because that was written for Ken Taylor’s eleven children after his wife died. We read from Dr. Barnhouse’s, Donald Gray Barnhouse’s, Teaching the Word of Truth, with little stick men. His wife died when their four children were young and he braided the girls’ pigtails and raised them and didn’t marry until they were grown. He put his children through spiritual doctrines of the Bible and they knew them when they grew up.
We did the same thing with our children with other Bible story books but mostly the Bible itself. We prayed; we memorized scripture; we sang. It gives a sense of identity, doesn’t it? You knew you were a DeMoss. Our kids knew they were Ortlunds. If sometimes the deacon’s kids were doing something that we didn’t want them to do, we’d say, “Look, we don’t care who else does it, you’re Ortlunds and you don’t do this.”
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: My parent’s line was, “It doesn’t matter who they are or what they do, you belong to the Lord and this is the way we feel that it needs to be for you.”
Anne Ortlund: Oh, that is so important. When kids have family devotions, one thing they learn is that this is what’s important more than flossing their teeth or going to the right school or taking the right vitamins. The most important thing is God and His Word and prayer. They will look back on this when they’re raising their own kids someday and they’ll say, “That’s what my parents considered most important. That’s what’s going to be most important when I raise my kids.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And you’re really passing the baton of truth that your parents handed to you. You’ve passed it on to your children and now they’re passing it on to their children and on to their children. That’s what God’s Word says is that we should teach our children so they can teach their children so they can teach their children the ways of God.
Anne, I just want to thank you for being a model of a beautiful woman who has taught your children the ways of God. You’ve loved your husband. You’ve been and are a Titus 2 woman and you’ve been teaching us in this series what it means to walk with God and to lead our families to walk with God.
I hope that all our listeners are going to order a copy of your book, TheGentle Ways
of the Beautiful Woman. It’s filled with rich and powerful and biblical and practical insights about so many areas of life.
Leslie Basham: Here’s how you can get a copy. You can go on-line atReviveOurHearts.com or call 1-800-569-5959.
Well, this is the final program in a series of interviews Nancy Leigh DeMoss conducted with Anne Ortlund and if you missed any you can get a copy on two CD’s or two cassettes. The suggested donation is $8 for the cassettes and $10 for the CD’s. If you enjoyed our conversation with Anne Ortlund, would you let us know?
Tomorrow Nancy will begin a new series on relationships. We hope you can be here. Now, here’s Nancy with our guest, Anne Ortlund.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Anne, I would just like to ask if you would close our series together by just praying for wives and moms in particular who are listening to Revive Our Hearts, would you?
Anne Ortlund: Oh Father, we thank You so much for each precious woman who is listening right now. You know their situations. Lord, you know the ones with hurting marriages; you know the ones who are divorced and feeling so rejected and so hurt. You know the single moms struggling to put food on the table and yet raise children and we pray, Father, that they may know how much You love them and how full and complete Your care for them is, that they don’t need to think of themselves as the number one care giver–You are. Lord, give them that assurance, that peace and comfort from knowing that You are the head of their home. So we commit each listener into your hands in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Used with Permission. Revive Our Hearts