Series: Disciplines of a Beautiful Woman: An Interview with Anne Ortlund
Leslie Basham: If the person you marry changes over time, is it possible to stay in love? Here is Anne Ortlund.
Anne Ortlund: You must keep falling in love with that person your husband becomes. You change; he changes. You just simply say, “Charlie, I take you all over again,” at least in your heart, “to be my lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward.” You have to keep recommitting yourself to this person who has changed.
This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. It’s Thursday, February 26. Here’s Nancy to introduce our guest.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Our guest this week on Revive Our Hearts is my friend and former pastor’s wife, well, she’s still married to the same man but her husband pastored the church I attended when I was a college student.
For over 25 years, Anne, I have been reading your books and hearing the heart of you and your husband, a heart for revival, a heart for the people of God, a heart for God Himself and a heart for the family. I thank you so much for taking time out to join us this week on Revive Our Hearts.
Anne Ortlund: Well I just say, “Hello not only to you, Nancy, but to all your listeners and just ask that God will use these few moments that we have together for His glory.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: We’re just touching on some things this week and one of the more than dozen books you have written. You are a wonderful writer and the one we are focusing on this week is called The Gentle Ways of the Beautiful Woman.
It’s a compilation of three of your best-selling books, one of which I read when it first came out when I was a college student called Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman and then a second one in the series Disciplines of the Heart and then a third one that we want to focus on today and tomorrow, and that’s Disciplines of the Home.
Our families are so needy today but you and Ray have demonstrated that it really is possible to build a godly heritage and really you were the product, as I have been, of a godly legacy. Tell us a little bit about your family growing up.
Anne Ortlund: Well you had wonderful parents, Nancy, and I had wonderful parents. God’s been good to both of us and our parents were good friends to each other. The first part of this book Disciplines of the Home begins with a little sketch of my parents, what they were like.
Daddy was a General in the U.S. Army. So I grew up as an Army brat and my parents had plenty of faults, the way I do and the way everybody does, but I noticed that they were faithful in three crucial disciplines of the home.
Number one–they built strong habit patterns that affirmed their love for each other. They always stood up for each other. They always affirmed each other and after they met the Lord their life direction together became more focused on teaching His Word.
Daddy and mother taught Bible classes on all the Army posts where they were stationed and led hundreds of officers and wives to Christ. It was wonderful. But anyway”¦their love for each other, I got ahead of my story.
And number two–they had the discipline of affirming their love for their children. Daddy hugged us all the time and told everybody else how wonderful we were. Mother was the one who spanked. We needed both.
Thirdly–together they built strong habit patterns that affirmed their love for God. Church-going was as regular as breathing. If we were on vacation, we certainly still went to church, wherever we were. Each night ended with parents and children on their knees in prayer. We had family devotions every day of our lives. We memorized Scripture. It was a strong foundation for us kids.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And you now have passed the baton on to your children who are rearing their children. You have how many grandchildren?
Anne Ortlund: Well, we have thirteen grandchildren but counting their spouses we have twenty one and we have nine great grandchildren. Our children walk with God, all four of them. Three of them are in the ministry and the other one feels strongly for Jesus. And now their children are in seminary, most of them, preparing for full-time Christian service and teaching their children, our great grandchildren, to walk closely with Jesus.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I want our listeners to have a vision for how their lives can be part of passing on the baton of faith from one generation to the next. I know your parents did not come to know the Lord until they were adults. My parents did not come to know the Lord until they were young adults. They did not inherit from their parents this great godly heritage, but they started as the first generation of believers and then were committed to passing that on to their children.
Anne Ortlund: That’s so exciting for your listeners Nancy because they may be the first generation.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: That’s right, they can start a whole new line.
Anne Ortlund: Absolutely and there are not only forty that have come from Ray and me who are all walking with the Lord, except the little toddlers that are pre-Christians, but also there are an even hundred now of my parents’ descendants, living descendants and they are all either in ministry or in very active Christian service.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: This is something that we need to be believing God for. I’m single, but I tell you what, I carry such a burden, Anne, for my friends and my sibling’s children and their grandchildren. This is the greatest means we have of evangelizing the world”¦
Anne Ortlund: This is the way to do it.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: “¦to bring up children who have a heart for God, and it really is possible.
Anne Ortlund: Disciplines of the home, that’s where it all begins so we have to have the right dos and the right don’ts.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Let’s talk about what some of those are. We won’t get to cover them all and I am hoping each of our women listeners, as I have been saying this week, will purchase a copy of this book. It’s a beautiful hardback, thick book but it is worth going through every page of it. It’s called The Gentle Ways of the Beautiful Woman and you talk about a couple of drastic don’ts as it relates to building a home for God.
One of those in particular just goes against the whole culture today. You say, “Don’t divorce from now on, whatever your past.”
Anne Ortlund: And this means that there are people listening who have divorced in the past and I just love the thought that God is the God of new beginnings. They can’t go back and fix yesterday so they have to start where they are and ask God to forgive their sins.
This He does when they receive Christ and that shed blood on the cross is ample to take care of all the divorces and all the baloney of past days. But wherever they are right now, especially you who are believers, you must keep falling in love with that person that your husband becomes.
You change; he changes and you fall out of love and you fall out of love and you fall out of love and you fall out of love so what do you do? You just simply say, “Charlie, I take you all over again,” at least in your heart, “to be my lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward.” You have to keep recommitting yourself to this person who has changed.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Even though he may not even be a believer; he may not have a heart for God and there may be a lot of tension and pressure in your home. But the way to deal with it is not take the escape route.
Anne Ortlund: You know this is a very extreme illustration but then there are a lot of extreme situations these days. Ray and I have dear friends. He was a drinking, womanizing no-good for 30 years of their marriage and Mary simply was patient. She just hung in with him.
Sometimes Mary would call Ray, her pastor, and they’d go from bar to bar looking for him and then practically carry him home. After 30 years, he accepted Jesus and from then on, they both lived a long time. Those last years of their marriage he treated her like a queen.
He was so thrilled that she had not given up and divorced him and there wasn’t anything good enough for Mary. I just see how the legacy that they left was not of a divorce but as something that finally turned out good. And the children remember after all was said and done at the end of the day they were a couple in love.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And yet so many Christian counselors and, even sadly, some pastors today would have said to that woman, and you can sure find books in the bookstore or somebody to tell you, “You shouldn’t stay with that man.”
Anne Ortlund: Yeah, I see nothing about that in the Word of God. I just think that we need to go back to the Scriptures and see what it says. First Corinthians 7 [:15] does say that if he insists on leaving you because you are a believer or because he’s unfaithful, if he will not stay, let him go; but if he will stay, though he is a bum, she should stay with him for the children’s sake because then they have more of a chance to be sanctified, rather than ungodly.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: You know the Mary, the woman you described, is such a marvelous picture of the love and grace of God toward us and the faithfulness of Christ to us.
He is our Bridegroom and we are often a faithless, adulteress bride but His love is consistent. It’s unconditional. He is loyal. He keeps His covenant. He is a covenant-keeping God and the woman who is willing to stay in that marriage against all odds and when her emotions are crying out “I can’t go on” this woman will find the grace of God because she is representing and illustrating the heart of Christ not only to her husband but to a watching world that so desperately needs to see what God is like.
Anne Ortlund: Yes, so if you have that kind of husband, listener, take a look at 1 Peter 3 verses 1-5 that will tell you how to live with this man when he’s not a perfect husband, maybe saved, maybe unsaved but giving you trouble; 1 Peter 3:1-5.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And what does it say? It goes back to this matter of beauty, talking about a woman having that internal heart beauty of a gentle and a quiet spirit.
Anne Ortlund: And that’s what will change her husband. God will use it. She can’t do it. God does it. But it’s through her being the kind of woman that she needs to be.
I want to encourage you to get a copy of Anne’s book The Gentle Ways of the Beautiful Woman because she has so many more practical helps and insights in this book and we’re just scratching the surface this week.
We are going to come back tomorrow and talk about some do’s in building a home for God, building a family that reflects the heart and spirit of Christ and Anne’s going to have some very practical insights to share with us.
Used with Permission. Revive Our Hearts