Series: Disciplines of a Beautiful Woman: An Interview with Anne Ortlund
Leslie Basham: When you have something valuable, you protect it, right? One of the most valuable things you have is your mind. Are you protecting it? Here’s Anne Ortlund.
Anne Ortlund: Ask the Lord to purify our minds and, as far as we are able, to keep from our minds and our eyes those influences that would degrade us or make us less Christ-like.
It’s Friday, February 27; and this is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. It’s tough to raise children in a hostile culture, but there are things we can do to protect our kids and ourselves from harmful influences. We’ll hear some of them today from Nancy and our guest.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: “Today’s society is an impending avalanche sliding toward hell.” Well, those are really strong words and they come from the book of my friend, Anne Ortlund. She goes on to say, “Is your family caught in the slide and how can you gather up your loved ones and make a drastic leap to solid ground?”
Anne, welcome back to Revive Our Hearts and thank you for coming and sharing with us insight’s God’s given you about the disciplines of a godly home.
Anne Ortlund: Well, Nancy, may they be God’s insights into His Word because what I say doesn’t mean much, but if it comes from His Word then it’s worth saying, isn’t it?
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: It is. Your life, your marriage and your family has demonstrated such a great role model. I’m sure not perfect, but a great role model of what it means to have a family that is energized by the grace of God and that is based on the principle of God’s Word.
For those of you who don’t know, Anne Ortlund is an author. She has written over a dozen best-selling books, some of which influenced my life 25 years ago when I was a college student.
She’s written a wonderful book called Up With Worship, a book on children calledChildren Are Wet Cement and a book on marriage called Building a Great Marriage.
She’s a speaker, a musician, a hymn writer, a lover of Christ, a lover of her husband, Ray Ortlund, of fifty-six years, the mother of four children, the grandmother of thirteen and great-grandmother of nine.
She’s written a book that we’re talking about this week called, The Gentle Ways of the Beautiful Woman, a practical guide to spiritual beauty.
That book is actually a compilation of three of her best-selling books. The one that I am most familiar with is Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman. She’s written another one called Disciplines of the Heart, and then the one we’re discussing today, Disciplines of the Home. It takes godly, biblical disciplines to make a family survive the avalanche that our whole society seems to be on today, doesn’t it, Anne?
Anne Ortlund: Yes. I really believe in that middle book, Nancy, Disciplines of the Heart, because it says that we can’t just grit our teeth and pull ourselves up by the bootstraps and have this discipline. The middle one tells the source of the strength and it is only through God alone. We’re talking about what kind of home we should have. If God doesn’t put it together, it’s not going to happen. We need to simply go to Him. He’s our source.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Anne, you’re now an older woman. I don’t know at what point you say you became that, but you are. You’re a beautiful, radiant woman. I love the Christ that I see in you and I love your commitment to your family.
But developing a godly family didn’t happen for you or anyone else overnight. It really does involve some basic practical commitment. You talk about ten disciplines that you need to have in place in your home.
Now, we are not going to have time to talk about all ten of those today, but when we come back in our next program, we want to pick out some of those disciplines that help to build a godly home.
One that you talk about is “Do be there.” Be there for your children until the kids are out of the nest, and I suspect you would say even after they are out of the nest there’s still a sense that you really have to be there for your children. What do you mean by “being there?”
Anne Ortlund: Well, I have to say, Nancy, and somebody said this before me, once you have a baby, from then on your heart walks around outside your body. So in that sense, yes, even after they are out of the nest, you are still so tied to them. There’s this invisible thread and you want to tell them what to do and you mustn’t.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: But you pray.
Anne Ortlund: You keep praying for sure, but be there. I realize, Nancy, that we are speaking to single moms who say, “I would love nothing more. I can’t be there. I have to work. I have to put my child into a nursery or with grandmother or something.”
I think God is such a God of grace even if we can’t do it perfectly, He knows our hearts and He will somehow help that child become what we pray he will become and certainly prayer is a key.
But now we’re speaking to those who could be there and aren’t, which are most moms. It just gets kind of boring to stay home all the time with this little one and build blocks or draw with a crayon when you could be talking about exciting things with your peers over lunch or something. Why stay home?
We have a couple, who are dear, dear friends of ours. In fact, they are two that are on our board at Renewal Ministries. Sometimes he works and she stays home with the children. Sometimes she works and he stays home with the children. For several years they will do it one way and then they swap and for several more years they’ll do it the other way. No, I don’t think anytime have they ever both been home, but one has been home all the time.
As we were looking at Deuteronomy 6 [:4-6] which begins, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the Lord is one!” and “Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might.”
Then it says “These commandments that I am giving you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the way, when you lie down and when you get up.”
But the fact is that somebody, one parent must be there to be with them in those “instant” moments when they ask a question or an insight opens for you to share with them or when they fall down and hurt themselves and need instant hugs and prayers.
Jesus will help you. A godly parent talks about God’s Word and teaches them (whatever age they are) how to love the Lord their God with all their heart and soul and strength. Somebody has got to be there. It can’t be the nanny.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And that may mean a willingness to make sacrifices.
Anne Ortlund: Totally. Our own daughter has never worked.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Outside the home?
Anne Ortlund: Outside the home.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: She works.
Anne Ortlund: She doesn’t get paid for it. Well she does that, too, but not in money. Walt put himself through seminary, house painting. Walt never let Sherry work. It was his idea to simply live on less because they wanted to raise their children to love the Lord more than anybody.
The fact is that the two girls now are married to guys getting their doctorates. They’ve finished seminary and want to teach in seminaries. The third one wants to go into the ministry. He’s just starting into Viola University this year. They all have raised children who are just “all out” for Jesus. They did it by being there and by being available to teach them the Word and to pray with them and love them. You have to be there.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Now that brings up another discipline that you mention and that is slashing TV watching. It’s possible to be there but still be raising the children by means of electronics and entertainment.
You point out that there are some inherent dangers in letting the television raise your children. I’m so glad you bring this out because I had the blessing of growing up in (what today is hardly comprehensible) a TV-free home.
My parents, both young believers when they started our family, were determined that they did not believe we should have a TV in our home, not because they said it was sinful, but they didn’t want our lives centered around the television.
So as long as we were in the home, there was no television. I can remember some people feeling sorry for us and wanting to give us a TV or loan us a TV or buy us a TV and my dad would just say, “Thanks, but that’s not the way we’re going to bring up our family.”
Anne Ortlund: Thanks, but no thanks. Sherry and Walt have done the same thing. They used to have a television. About ten years ago they threw it out and they have not had one since, for the same reason.
In the evening they sit and read wonderful books and talk. I look at Psalm 101 [:2-3] and I say this with “tongue in cheek” because this was written before television came into being but it says, “I will be careful to live a blameless life. I will walk in my house with a blameless heart. I will set before my eyes no vile thing.”
A lot of stuff on television is vile and we would not speak it or do it but it comes over the screen and it infiltrates our homes with an atmosphere that is so anti-Christian.
It is certainly, often, the enemy’s propaganda and we get desensitized to it; our children even more so because they haven’t lived long enough to get a strong sense of values and so it looks pretty good to them. You know, they look pretty cute and they look like they are having fun. This is really bad propaganda.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: It’s interesting how even secular studies in recent years have shown some of the educational dangers of having children raised with television, the stifling of creativity and imagination. I think what you pointed out from the Psalms is an even more serious matter and that is the defiling of our spirits and our hearts. It’s one thing to do it to ourselves, but then to do it to children.
Anne Ortlund: Even on a less than spiritual note, the sedentary life that they are living now means that they are fatter not fitter so that, too, physically plays a part but even more the minds–what they are putting into their minds.
Let me just tell you, Nancy, we have a son Ray who is a narcotic’s detective. He’s a police officer but he drives a plain car, wears plain clothes, goes undercover and buys drugs. If they discover who he is, he’s dead.
He says to me, “Mother, I used to confront evil as a police officer; now I mirror evil. I have to be like them.” He says, “Pray for my mind. I want to be Christ- like inside and then pray that they won’t realize that I am different.”
Oh, Satan is subtle. So we need to ask the Lord to purify our minds and, as far as we are able to, keep from our minds and our eyes those influences that would degrade us or make us less Christ- like.
We’re talking with Anne Ortlund about her book, The Gentle Ways of the BeautifulWoman, and what an impact a woman can have if her relationship with God is as it ought to be, on her marriage, her children, her grandchildren and others around her. Anne, I’m looking forward to picking up this conversation in our next time together and looking at a few more of the disciplines of the home.
Used with Permission. Revive Our Hearts.