A Battle Plan for Moral Purity
*This message was taken from Susan Henson's True Woman '10--Chattanooga message.
Susan Henson: I’m Susan Henson. I am with Revive Our Hearts ministries. And I am so excited that you are here because our kids are the ones who are on our hearts, and there’s a great weight and burden, especially in raising our children in today’s culture.
I am so excited that you have chosen this particular workshop, because we are in great need in reaching our children. It’s hard parenting our children in today’s culture when they are being bombarded with negative influences from the world from every direction.
Our goal today is how do we as moms and grandmoms and teachers and aunts—wherever God has planted with the children in your life—how do we plant those seeds of purity into our children’s lives?
And I want to say to you that we do not have to live and raise our children at the mercy of our culture. Amen? We can make a difference.
I want to begin today on how to plant those seeds of purity. We’re going to go to prayer in just a moment, but I want to ask you to participate with me in something as a way of prayer. I have two stones in my hand, but would you pretend you have two stones in your hand?
And I want to ask you not to rest them on your lap, because I want you to feel the weight of just at least your hands as you hold those stones. I want to give an illustration here, and then we’re going to pray.
God told the high priest to take two stones, two onyx stones, and they were to carve the names of the children of Israel upon those stones. Then they were to take those stones and place them upon the shoulders of the high priest’s garment.
And that was to serve in two ways as a reminder—the sacred responsibility that was upon the shoulders of the high priest. But secondly the weight of those stones was to remind them what God commanded them to do to continually lift up the names of the children of Israel before the Lord.
They were to be the prayer warriors for the nation of Israel. So, ladies, we don’t have names carved upon stones, but we’ve got names carved upon our hearts, don’t we? And so that’s what we’re going to do.
We’re going to take these names, and we’re going to lift up these names before the Lord, okay? Can you go to the Lord with me in prayer?
Lord Jesus, we thank You that You are our High Priest. And we come before You and before Your throne. And You tell us that at Your throne, that there we will obtain mercy. And Lord, we need mercy. We need mercy upon our children and the culture in which they’re being raised in. How do we raise our children to have a heart for purity in the midst of an impure world?
So, Lord, we cry out for mercy. There at that throne of grace not only will we obtain mercy, but Lord, You tell us that there we will find help in our time of need. And Lord, our children are our need, and we bring them to You today.
Lord, we need help in knowing how to raise them. Father, right now You tell us in Lamentations 2:19 that we are to pour out our heart like water before the face of the Lord and lift up our hands toward You for the lives of our children.
Ladies, would you just say your children’s names out loud before the Lord? Lord, You’ve heard these names. They are precious. They are carved upon our hearts. But they are carved upon your heart as well.
So, Lord, not only do we lift up their names, but we open our hands and we lift our children to You and place them into Your hands, because we know there’s no safer place than right there in Your hands, Lord.
Father, I pray for these dear sisters that are in this room as we open up this time together. May You take the seeds that are going to be planted here, and would You rain down righteousness?
And may there be a righteous seed grow forth from this that a whole new generation of young children and boys and girls will have a heart and faith and virtue and heart for purity for Your Kingdom’s sake, and as we’ve heard last night to display Your glory among the nations and among those that are around.
So, Lord, we just bless this time. Lord, we ask Your blessing upon this time in the name of Jesus, amen and amen.
I want to share with you just where the Word found me and the burden and the weight of the urgency and the reality of the battle where the Lord found me.
I was actually reading the story of The Princess and the Kiss to my grandchildren. They were three and five at that particular time. (And I’m on the urgency and the reality part there.)
The story begins with a princess being born. On that day God blesses her with a special gift. And her parents keep this gift safe. They take her up in this high tower and present her with this special gift.
The king comes before her, and he says, “Now this gift is yours to keep or give away as you see fit.” But it’s the gift of her first kiss. The kiss is illustrated by this beautiful yellow glow under this bell jar. And it’s to give the illusion of something of great value, something of great worth. It’s something to be protected.
Then the king comes and tells the young princess, “Now be wise my daughter. Save your kiss for the man you’ll marry, and don’t give it away to strangers.” You see her taking to heart what her parents say and trusting God with her future.
I won’t spoil the end of the story. But I’m reading this to my grandchildren; I’m three-fourths of the way through it, and my five-year-old grandson, Wesley, sits up in bed and he looks very serious at me. And he goes, “But Maw-Maw, Emma who’s in my K-5 class, she didn’t save her kiss. She gave it to me.”
I’m going, “Okay, Lord, now how do you answer this one?” I promise you as parents you’re going to have those days that you’re not going to know how to answer their questions.
So, I said, “Well, Wesley, did you kiss her back?”
He goes, “No, Maw-Maw. I don’t want to marry her!”
But I thought, You know how awesome that just from reading this story he understood you save your kiss for the man you’ll marry.
Now, of course, this is a parable about God’s gift of purity. When they’re little, that’s where you leave it, as just a kiss. But you know what you’re doing? You’re planting those seeds at an early age. That is so, so necessary for that.
But I’m going to tell you what happened as my two grandchildren fell asleep in my arms just a few minutes later. I became so burdened in my heart thinking, Oh, my goodness. I didn’t think we were going to have to address these issues of purity until they’re nine and ten years old. And Lord what can we do now? We need to do something now. The urgency was there.
But there was another reason why there was an urgency and a burden upon my heart, because you see Wesley is the product of my daughter’s wrong choice. Now Wesley by no means is a mistake. God opens and closes the womb, right? Amen.
He’s a special gift from God. But I’ll tell you one thing I wanted was, “What can we do different? What do we need to do differently? What can we do now? How can we break this generational curse, this generational sin?”
There is an urgency and reality of the battle. The verse was even given earlier today that if we are going to be prayer warriors, then we’ve got to have a strategy.
One of those things we’ve got to do is we’ve got to understand the culture of our day and we’ve got to understand the culture of our children. So, if we’re going to understand the culture of our children, we’ve got to be reality parents and we have got to be intentional.
It’s harder today than ever before because you have two cultures living in the same home. Because the acceleration of technology, our children are being bombarded with stuff so much earlier. And it’s harder.
I grieve for you as moms, young moms, raising your children today, because you have a harder job today than ever before. But we want to talk to you about someone who has not only their finger on the pulse of the culture of today, but someone who has their feet in the culture. And this is from an 11-year-old girl.
I want to set the stage for this. My friend Jill was having this conversation with an 11-year-old girl. They were at a ball tournament. And she just kind of adopted Jill as her BFF for the two-week ball tournament and just kind of out of the blue came up and sat with her at the ball game.
Two days later she has this conversation with Jill. And I believe Haley has something to say to us. You have on your chart “Understanding the reality of Haley’s culture” and then you have “What is the conflicting message?”
But do you see what it says there? “What is she feeling?” I want you to pick out just a word or two that describes what Haley is feeling, and I want you to write that down under “What is Haley feeling?”
Let’s listen to Haley’s story.
“Do you have any idea how hard it is being my age these days? It’s like a video game, except you’re the one being shot at. We’re seeing all this stuff, and we don’t even know it. It’s the peer pressure, the bad language. Like, why can’t they just say ‘crackerjack’?
"It’s the boy-crazy girls. The way they dress. And you should hear the things that the guys are saying.
"It’s just really hard to have a pure heart these days. Oh, and FYI, I used to think this all started about the fifth grade. No. Uh-uh. Not any more. Try the second grade.”
That’s a pretty sobering thought, isn’t it? When Jill heard that conversation, the next words that came out of Jill’s mouth were, “Are you sure you’re only 11? You sound like you’re a 30-year-old woman trapped in an 11-year-old body.”
What I want to do is, some of you up here raise your hand if you picked out a word of what she’s feeling—not words of what she’s facing, but something that she’s feeling.
Discouraged, stress, pressure, a lot of pressure. Misunderstood, overwhelmed, scared, fear.
Woman: She said she felt like she was being shot at.
Susan: Yes. Shot at. Bombarded that no matter where she ran to hide, she was still getting shot at. She was offended. One more. Victim. All right, good. Awesome. You all did great.
What I want to do now is I want to look at the lies from the culture. But what is the pressure? What is she facing? What are the lies that are being bombarded at her, that are coming at her from every angle?
I picked three phrases out of that that I want to talk about just a little bit. The one was the pressure—the pressure to fit in, to be cool, to follow the crowd really at all cost.
One of the surveys, I guess you would call it, that was done by Roper said that one of the number one concerns with preteen kids is the fact that they are being pressured into doing things that they don’t want to do. They’re feeling that pressure.
One of the words she said was “hard.” Did you hear that? She actually said that twice. Do you feel like your kids feel like, especially if you’re in upper elementary, that it’s hard these days? That’s what she was feeling—that it’s hard.
One thing I heard her saying was that her worth and value is coming from what her friends are saying about her. These are typical peer pressure issues.
But it’s her friends’ view of her and her view of beauty, her view of how you’re supposed to dress and how you’re supposed to have a boyfriend—that’s what the world is trying to tell her—and how to catch that boy’s eye.
How many of you have seen the Dove self-esteem commercial? I did not realize it was as graphic as it was. You can go to www.dove.com, and you can actually see this. I was actually going to show it, but after I watched it the third time I was like, “Oh my goodness, I didn’t realize it was this graphic. You’re getting that many images.”
But in this picture of www.dove.com, there is this visual of this girl, and she’s very innocent and her hair is blowing. Then all of a sudden, you get this camera lens that zooms in about this big. It starts off with shot after shot, I mean faster than you can blink your eyes. And it’s hundreds of shots all at once.
With that, it starts off with how to dress and how to flirt that skirt. It talks about just what the world says. It gives the message of how to dress and then makeup and hair. Then it goes to a sound bite in the middle of it, and it says, “This will make you firmer. This will make you thinner.”
Then it goes into cosmetic surgery, facial surgery, and then breast implants. It was pretty graphic. But I just did not realize we’ve got that many shots all at once until I watched it the third time.
Do you realize because of the acceleration of our technology that your children today are getting it from the time they get up in the morning? They’re getting it from iPods, their Gameboys.
They’re getting the lies from their culture coming from the playground, from their walking to the restroom line to the locker room. They’re getting lies from the culture and from the media. They’re getting bombarded with all these thoughts.
Have you thought about this—that your children are getting more lies and more images in one day compared to what their great-grandparents got in a lifetime? That’s what is bombarding our kids and coming at them from so many different directions.
We need to realize that we have got a harder job to be able to confront those lies that are coming at them.
Another one up there was how to capture love and romance. And really, that’s what we hear. The girls and the guys are on a boy hunt or a sex hunt. I mean that’s where we come to today.
But one thing that we really see today is that relationships are disposable. Our children’s understanding from an early age is that you can just date whoever you want to. It’s like a butterfly. You can hop from one relationship to another and not realize that you’re giving part of your heart and your emotions away.
But every time you give your emotions away to someone, you’re giving a little bit of you away. You want to save your heart and your mind, your emotions and your body for that special someone if the Lord chooses you to marry.
So, we want to begin. That’s countercultural today. I mean, we have the butterfly effect. And we as moms buy into that. We need to rise up and be true women and have courageous convictions and be able to give our kids a better way.
Did you get the last thing that was very shocking? Haley said she had come to the conclusion that it used to start when? Fifth grade. But it really starts when? Second grade.
Is that shocking to you? Let me say if the seeds are producing in fifth and they’re sprouting in second grade, when do we need to start planting the seeds? Even earlier. We need to realize we need that.
If Dannah Gresh is teaching lies young women believe, then we need to understand what those lies are so we can start planting those seeds.
Dannah and I had lunch together yesterday. She said, “We need to start planting these seeds early.”
And I said, “You’re right on target. That’s where we are. That’s where our heart is at Revive Our Hearts.”
I want to talk about the consequences from the lies from the world. There’s a great book on our Revive Our Hearts book table back there. It’s called Teaching True Love to a Sex at Thirteen Generation. It’s by Eric and Leslie Ludy. A great recommendation to you.
But you know what? That was written a couple of years ago. Statistics are coming in that if they were to reprint that, they would have to change the sex at 13 generation to an even younger age.
Let me give you the consequences from the lies that are bombarding our kids. Did you know that by the age of 12 three out of ten kids are sexually active, according to the People Magazine and NBC poll?
And in March of ’07, the Associated Press reported that five fifth graders were arrested in New Orleans and that this particular class at school, a fifth grade class, was inadvertently left behind for a school assembly. So, they were left in the classroom by themselves. And four of the five kids were arrested for having sex in front of their classmates during school.
And you think, Well, that’s just an isolated case.
Even last week in a county next to us a third grader and a fifth grader were arrested for trying to force a kindergartener girl to have oral sex with them on the bus.
We need to understand we are in a different culture today. Because of the acceleration of technology, our kids are getting exposed so much more than ever before. I’m here to give a wake-up call, ladies, that we need to be aware of what’s happening in our culture.
Today 8,000 teens will get an STD. When I was hitting my teen years, there were only five STDs. Now there are over 25.
There’s one sexually transmitted disease that’s on the top list of those that teens are contracting in the teen years, and it is chlamydia. The thing is, they will never know they have it because there are no symptoms. But we’re going to soon have an epidemic in our country, because it causes people to be sterile.
So, if you ever find out that your children or you know of someone that’s sexually active, please get them tested because the stakes are so much higher today. Our culture is bombarding our kids with the hook-up, “friends with benefits” culture.
What the media is not telling you is the gaping holes that it’s causing in our young people. And it’s happening younger and younger. It’s creating those soul ties. We heard that this morning—the addictions, the depression. It’s affecting a whole culture there.
And the complications and the consequences are so much more difficult and complicated today.
I want to tell you the end of Haley’s story. Jill could tell it better than I could. But the end of the two-week tournament is over, and everybody’s loading up and pulling out of the parking lot. And Haley spots Jill across the parking lot.
She rolls down the window, flings herself out, and she’s waving as big as she can. And she’s going, “Jill, Jill, don’t forget me! Don’t forget me! Remember I’m 30!”
We laugh at that, but you know what? When I thought about that, I started to cry. I really heard the Lord tell me what Haley is saying. Listen to Haley’s voice. She’s speaking to us because she’s saying, “Don’t forget me. I’m an 11-year-old, but I’m dealing with adult-size issues.” I mean she’s 11 years old, but the culture is forcing her to deal with adult-size issues.
I pray that Haley’s voice would go across this nation to wake us up to realize this is not just for an 11-year-old. It’s happening with second graders and even younger.
We need to realize that Haley is out there waving. And we at Revive Our Hearts are waving, too.
Let me tell you one more true story that happened on Mother’s Day. There was a young father who loaded up his two small children to go deliver a Mother’s Day present and gift and hugs and kisses to their mother who was working as a surgical nurse.
So, they went to the hospital, delivered all the hugs and kisses, and then made their way back down through the parking garage. It was a darkened parking garage. He places his three-month-old son on the sunroof while he buckled in his 20-month-old daughter.
He slips into the front seat of the car and drives the downward spiral through the parking garage, out onto the main downtown streets, onto the Interstate. When he gets up to 55 miles per hour, he hears a scrape on the roof of his car.
He turns and looks in the backseat where his son should have been and at that same glance he hears another scrape on the roof, and he sees his son sliding off into incoming traffic.
I know. It should take our breath away, shouldn’t it?
Let me say the baby was recovered. He was safe. He had no harm. I figured that whoever had that car seat probably got some good promotion out of it.
I wanted to say this because I want to relate this to us, ladies, that we need to understand. That really burdened my heart that no one waved; no one honked. No one tried to stop and warn him of impending danger.
That is the reason why we’re here at Revive Our Hearts and the burden upon my own heart and Nancy who works at the pregnancy care center there in Clinton, Iowa, and is starting our Pure in Heartconference and casting that vision in her area.
We are here to say that we are to be the wavers. God says He’s called some to be the watchmen upon the wall. It says those who make mention of the Lord shall not be silent.
Ladies, we cannot be silent when we’re looking and seeing what the statistics are saying and what’s happening in our culture. But we need to know what we can do to make a difference. What can we do to make a difference?
If our children are getting bombarded with lies, how do you defeat lies? With what? With truth. And not just with truth, ladies, but truth and spirit. Jesus is both truth and spirit.
And it must be done in the right spirit as well.
Let me give you a simple illustration, because what I want you to understand here is that there’s a different mindset growing up in our culture—we’ve had a cultural shift. Truth is no longer truth according to God’s Word. Our children are no longer learning that they are to live under the umbrella of God’s Word. It’s the filter.
Truth is no longer truth. What we have in today’s culture is a mosaic philosophy. You pick and choose. We’re living in a morally tolerant relevant culture where you pick and choose what you want to believe—what you want to believe about God, what you want to believe about marriage, what you want to believe about dating. The whole gamut. It’s everything. We have a mosaic philosophy.
And our children are growing up with it. But what you don’t understand is it’s bombarded on them from Disney and from the sexualization of children’s clothes. Have you tried to go find modest clothes lately?
So, it’s hard. I mean the girls look like they’re going to a nightclub with the way the clothes are. If they’re being bombarded with all these lies, we’ve got to be able to combat them with truth.
Let me give you a simple illustration. I have this beautiful glass vase, and it has a heart on it, and so it angles toward you with this heart. I want you to picture this tall slender glass as your child’s soul—their mind, their heart, their body, and their soul.
Inside of this is filled with dog food. It’s a great illustration if you want to use it sometime. That dog food represents all the lies that our kids are being stuffed with. But if you take a huge pitcher of water, if you pour a little bit in there (and that just represents truth), that’s just what they get in their head. We’ve got to get down to the very inner core of their heart.
It’s about capturing their heart for Jesus and capturing those lies with truth. But if you just put a little bit in, it gets mushy. You’ve got to pour spirit and truth into their lives. And when you pour that in, all this dog food just comes right up to the top and filters out.
You know we can get in, and we can teach our children a little bit at a time how to get in there and get some things out. We can teach them manners and those kind of things. Those are some outward things.
But we’ve to get to the inside. So, that pushes what’s on the inside out. We want to give spirit and truth to our children. We’ve got to lay that foundation of truth.
You want to picture it as if you’re building a bridge, digging a foundation. And as you dig that foundation, you’re building a bridge with all the different things you’re teaching them.
But not only do you want to build that bridge of truth to your children, you want to paint a vision. You need to be a builder, but you want to paint a vision for their future because without a vision the people perish.
If your children only live for today, they’re going to be selfish. We want to paint a big picture. And the two visions we want to paint—the first one is the vision of His love and kingdom purpose. We’re just going to talk about that one first.
The one thing Haley understood that she was being bombarded with was where her worth and value came from. We want to give our girls and our boys a vision of God’s value. Their value and worth is not determined by what their friends think about them.
Say, “Honey, even though your friends are saying this about you, that’s not who you are. This is about who and whose you are.” We heard that great illustration last night that we are to be His bride.
We want to be able to put to our children that girls need to know that you are His royal princess bride. And for the boys, they need to know that you are God’s courageous knight. We want to give them a vision of not only whose they are, but the kingdom purpose that they have.
I wear a ring on my pointer finger on my right hand. In the Jewish culture when a woman is betrothed to a young man, they do not put an engagement ring on the left hand as we do, but for the Jewish bride it is placed on her pointer finger. It is to be a sealed pledge of promise of a deep relationship to come from her bridegroom. He’s going to be gone for 12 months because the wedding takes place at the father’s house, and he’s preparing for the wedding. Because, girls, he’s in charge of the wedding, not the bride. So far different from our culture.
For some reason, my ring catches the little girls’ eyes, because it has a crown on it and it has a scepter through it. And they’ll say, “I like your ring.”
And I’ll say, “It’s got a story behind it. Do you want to hear it?”
I am able to tell them that you are God’s precious princess. And the royalty of this world does not compare to who you are in Christ. You are God’s special treasure. He paid an incredible bridal price for you.
Then you share with them that Jesus needs to be number one, because this is to be a sealed promise to the deeper relationship to come. But it’s also to be for the bride—it is for her to remember that he is to be number one. There’s not to be another higher relationship other than her bridegroom.
Isn’t that a great way to be able to give your girls a love story—because God’s put a love story in us girls? We need that love story. We need to be able to do that for our children.
The next vision we want to give is how to embrace true love in God’s gift of purity. Let me pick up where I left off with Wesley’s story when I said, “What else can they learn from reading this story?”
Every time I read that story, these life lessons just jumped off the page at me. So, I began to write down these life lessons. About a month later, I called Nancy Leigh DeMoss who is my dear friend and mentor.
Actually it was 25 years ago this week that God brought Nancy into my life in a very desperate place. With her kneeling beside me, I cried out, “God, I want to know You—not just in my head, but I want to intimately know You.”
She had such a contagious life even 25 years ago that it sparked in me. She had something that I didn’t have. She had a deeper love relationship with her Bridegroom, and I wanted it.
But I called Nancy—this has been about six years ago—and I said, “Nancy, do you remember that prayer you shared with us that somehow God would use Revive Our Hearts to raise up a countercultural generation?”
And I said, “Well, Nancy, I think God’s up to something.”
I said, “If we’re going to reach this generation, we’ve got to start with the kids.”
As a result of that, the life lessons were written. Of course, we contacted Jennie Bishop and I co-authored that with her since she’s the main one who’s written the story The Princess and the Kiss.
We’re now six years beyond that, and we’re beginning to see the fruit of God’s raising up that righteous generation.
But the life lessons are there. You see that on our table. We take 21 life lessons pulled from the story. Through the whole planting of the seeds it’s primarily for children 7–11—you could even stretch it to 12. We want to plant the seeds of God’s gift of purity as something of great value, something to be protected, that it’s worth waiting for God’s best. And there is a better way. It’s not about a “No, no, no!” We want to be able to tell our children that it’s about a “Yes, yes, yes!” from God. It’s a yes from God. This is something special and a special gift from God. And it’s worth waiting for.
If we give them the “No, no, no,” it will be the enticement of the forbidden. So, we want to give them that it’s something better to wait for. And one of the number one lies of the enemy in the Garden—even Eve heard it—that God is trying to keep something from you. But what is God really saying? No, I’m wanting to save that for you for something better and something wonderful.
I want to give a quote by Eric and Leslie Ludy. It says, “When you fail to offer a vision for lifelong faithfulness, purity is often interpreted as ‘just save sex until marriage.’ There is so much more. Let’s give them a vision for a lifelong love story.”
Is that what you want for your children? For them to have a lifelong love story? Let me tell you, purity is a lifelong battle. It’s for us, too, girls. It’s for us. And many times we’re the ones who are stealing the seeds from our own daughters and our own children by what we allow them to watch and the way we allow them to dress.
One thing I love about the book, it talks about how to teach your children how to turn the pen of their heart over to God and let God write their love stories.
Let me give you one verse there. I call it the North Star compass, because it helps you navigate through those rough waters. First Timothy 1:5: “Love comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and a sincere faith.” Because the world is going to tell you you have to capture love. Well, this tells you how to have pure love.
Another verse is 1 Thessalonians 4:1–8. The first part tells you—it’s a contrast—how to find God’s mate. You want to tell your kids, “You know what? I do want you to find God’s mate.” And by the way you need to be praying for that mate as you heard Fern Nichols talk about earlier. You need to be putting prayers in that “big bowl” for your child’s mate even now and for their purity as well.
The first four verses tell you how to find God’s mate and then the second four verses, the last four verses, is the contrast of how the world says you’re to go about finding a mate.
One of the things I want to do now is talk about the practical seeds. What are the seeds, and how do we cultivate the ground? What seeds to plant and how to plant them. I want to give you a practical strategy to take home, some ideas of how to deal with some of these issues of the heart.
Remember the parable of the sower and the seeds, and there’s different types of seeds that all fall on different soil? Sometimes we have to do the weed eating in our children’s hearts, and sometimes we have to do the planting, sometimes the cultivating.
We need to be the gardeners of our children’s hearts. We need to capture their hearts at an early age before the culture does. Because I promise you, ladies, if we do not do that the culture will, their friends will, and the media definitely is already.
Number one is cultivating a heart soil, and plant seeds early. We’ve already heard that from Haley. If those seeds are being planted, are sprouting in second grade, we may even have to go down as early as two and three to start planting those seeds. We’ll find out some of those.
Last spring I picked up some flower seeds that my mother-in-law had given me. She’s one of those that has a green thumb. And mine, if it needs anything more than water, Lord help it, because that’s about all the green thumb that I have.
I was reading the instructions, and it had this term called “hardening off”—that you plant the seeds really, really early in the spring indoors.
Then you take it out when it gets about an inch high, and you put it in the morning sun for just an hour, then you bring it back in. You do that every day for a week. And then the next week, you put it out there for a little bit longer.
I’m reading it, and I go, “Forget that. That takes too much time.” But then the Lord convicted me and said, “Susan, that’s exactly what we’re doing in our parenting.” We want an easy fix, and God says, “You know what? We can’t dump all this on them at one time. We’ve got to be planting a little bit at a time, putting them out in the sun a little bit at a time, planting the seeds.”
This is not about the “big talk.” Every time I’ve shared this people are thinking, Well, I thought I had until they’re nine or ten years old. Nope.
If you start early in planting those seeds in the time they’re three years old and start cultivating those seeds that need to be planted along the way, then when you get ready for the big talk, did you know you’re going to know when that right time is? Did you know that’s one of the number one barriers for moms not talking to them because they don’t know what to say? And then the other one is they are scared to death of what do they say.
But you will know, and it will be a precious, sweet, sweet time. And you will be prepared for that. So, you want to start planting those seeds very early in their life.
Proverbs 4:23 is another one of those North Stars that you want to plant in their hearts, because it says, “Above all else, guard your heart because out of the heart springs issues of life.”
Do you know this is the way God is trying to break each one of us to stop acting and reacting according to our flesh? Your five senses are the doors to your heart—through your eyes, through your ears, what you breathe in and what you do with your hands, what you taste, where you go with your feet.
We want to teach our children very early that those are the areas by which we need to guard our hearts. And you saw not only did The Princess and the Kiss get developed but also The Squire and the Scroll.
The whole theme of The Squire and the Scroll for the boys is the tale and rewards of a pure heart. It’s all on guarding their eyes, their ears, and all the different doors to their hearts. It’s a great way especially for boys about the issue of the eyes. I’ll tell you more about that in a minute.
We want to plant those seeds into their hearts. But also one of the life lessons in The Princess and the Kiss is about the king’s wisdom that he gave to the princess: “Don’t give your kiss away to strangers.” Now for little kids, their strangers are someone who’s just passing by that they don’t know.
Did you know in God’s economy and in His Word, He said, “Do not intermarry with the strangers of the land because they will do” what? “Turn your heart from Me to idol gods.” This is something that’s lost among our culture today. We want to start planting seeds early that you don’t even think about ever marrying someone who does not know God, who does not love God, and who does not want to serve in His kingdom.
I love the fact that in The Princess and the Kiss story that Jennie Bishop wrote, which she is an incredible author and she’s a C.S. Lewis kind of flair writer. But anyway the one part of that is that when the young farmer who has saved his kiss as well and is offering to the princess, asking the princess to marry him, he says, “I’ve worked in your father the king’s field for many years.”
You know what? We need to teach our kids that we need to look for those that really have a heart to not only love God but to serve God. So, that’s something very important with cultivating that seed that needs to be planted.
The second was combat lies with visuals. Anytime you can use a visual it’s going to be very, very important to do so. Let me give you one illustration that we are going to do with the Pure in Heartconference happening April 18th.
One of the things we’re going to do is called the Princess Quest. I’m doing the opening session with both the moms and the daughters. We’ve done this in our Squire Club, and so my son and I are the ones who came up with the idea. It was incredible when we watched the boys do it, so I thought, I’m going to do this for the opening session for the girls.
We set up this live, big, huge mousetrap maze and real mousetraps. We sent the boys at the other end and told them to take off their shoes, but we didn’t tell them why. Then we had them come back and we go, “Now, how many of you think you can walk this mousetrap maze?”
The boys were really tough. “Yeah, sure I can do it.” Then my son pulled something out of his back pocket. “What if you’re blindfolded? Do you think you can do it then?”
And my son says, “Do you trust your dad? Do you trust your grandpa?” So, we blindfolded the boys, and one by one they walked through the maze.
One particular young boy was there with his grandpa, who is raising him. And his grandpa took his hands off his shoulders. Immediately Dalton goes, “Papa! Papa!”
You should have seen the discussion question time when we had the Q and A with the dads afterward. It was so incredible what we were able to communicate with the boys. You know what? You’re on a journey toward being a man.
We’re going to do this with the girls. You’re on a journey toward being a woman. And you’re going to have choices in life. But you know what? Along those choices there are going to be traps.
And you know what? The reasons why your grandpa or your dad or your mom doesn’t have a blindfold on is because they’ve already walked this path. But they want to say they are for you.
Do your kids know that you are for them in this area of purity, or have you been silent? In Psalm 78 it says, “We will not hide these truths from our children.” But we do. We hide them from our children. So, we want to combat lies with visual truths because they can connect that into their own minds and hearts.
That’s just one way to be able to do that. And this next one of cultivating and planting seeds would be to create time and a safe place of communication. We need to create time. If you are not intentional about creating specific times to talk to your children about purity along the way, guess what? Someone else will plan your day for you or life will itself.
Because you can be so wrapped up with just laundry piled up to here and you’ve got to get dinner on the table and you’ve got to get baths and homework. It can just be so consuming.
Did you know that in the parable of the sower, the seeds planted on the stony ground the thorns came up and choked them out? And then Jesus gives the understanding of the illustration of what that really means.
He says, “The cares of this world will choke out truth.” Ladies, do you know that we can be so loaded down with just the cares of being a mom that we forget to get to our children’s heart and deal with those issues?
It was said of Ephraim’s children in Psalm 78 that they were sent to war with an arrow and a bow. They were armed. But yet they turned back in the day of battle.
Do you know why? Because they were given the physical things of life but they weren’t given the inward courage in their hearts to stand up in the day of battle.
As moms we can give our kids a great education. We can make sure they have all the sports that they need to be socially acceptable and all this stuff. But if we don’t deal with the issues of the heart, we’re not getting to the issues of teaching them how to be courageous when they’re faced with temptations or tests.
We need to be intentional. You can do that through the club setting with The Princess and the Kiss and The Squire and the Scroll. You can do two lessons at home and every third lesson you can do in a club setting.
It is so awesome to see the accountability that that offers in the clubs. Nancy, how many clubs do you have now in your area? I know you’ve got like 12? Twenty. She’s got 20 clubs. She’s taking up the mantel and the vision, and she has 20 clubs in her area in the Clinton, Dewitt, and Davenport area. She’s picked up the vision.
We really need to see, ladies, that it is up to us as taking this information back and saying, “You know what? We can be about planting these seeds and creating these clubs because we as the church ladies, we are the church. We need to wake up and realize that we need to equip the parents so the parents can equip their children.”
And you grandmoms, you say, “Well, I’m not really good about teaching.” Well, you may have a bigger house. Get your kids. Open up your home. You can be a part of this as well.
But create those special times. Whether you’re driving down the road, you see a billboard on the sign, use those times to be able to plant seeds of purity into your children’s life.
And then also a safe place of communication. Ladies, if you do not use your voice, the world will. You’ve got to use your voice to be able to plant these seeds.
But number one, you have got to give your children a voice. When they come to you say, “You know what? You’re getting ready to go into kindergarten. You’re getting ready to go into first grade. You’re getting ready to go into middle school.” That’s where Haley was. She was facing those issues.
Say, “You’re going to go in there. You’re going to hear things. You’re going to see things. And you know what? You have a voice. You can come tell me anything you want to tell me.”
And I promise you I’ve already had moms come cry on my shoulder and say, “Goodness, how in the world do I deal with this? My daughter just came home the other day, and she says the little girl in her playground who’s just in first grade told her she’s having sex every night with her pillow.”
And you’re thinking, First grade! How in the world do you combat those lies? How do you get those images out of your child’s mind?
We’ve got to be able to say to our children, “I don’t care how embarrassing it is. I’m not going to jump on you. And I’m not going to shame you.” We’ve got to give them a safe place to have a voice. Do you understand the importance of that? Safe place for your children.
One other thing we need to say, we cannot presume upon God. Going back over my situation with my own daughter, I presumed upon God. I presumed upon God because my daughter was being taught things that I never was taught. She grew up with godly principles in the home. But I presumed upon God thinking she would not struggle with the issues that I struggled with growing up.
We need to understand our children are sexual beings. They will have issues. If you think that they will not, you’re mistaken. Wake up. But your voice to them is a powerful tool.
One of the things we also want to do is to create courageous convictions and strategies to battle real issues. And Revive Our Hearts is in the process of developing more resources.
But we’ve got to be courageous in our convictions. One of the things that I want us to understand is we’ve got to determine what those courageous convictions are going to be before the fact. Like, you need to already begin to understand the issues of dating and courtship.
What are going to be your convictions for your family, and what are those? You need to not wait until they’re in fifth grade, and they’re already thinking about boys and thinking about whom they’re going to date or whom they’re going to marry. You need to determine what those convictions are going to be way before then and start developing those courageous convictions about dating.
You can do that by starting to plant those seeds about the friends that they will choose. When our sons were 13 and 14, my husband sat down with our boys after this happened with our daughter.
And he said, “You know what? God made relationships and emotions with young girls to progress. So, my advice to you is that until you can have a job and afford a wife and you’re two years in college and you’re ready to get married, there’s no need to date. Because what are you going to do with those feelings?”
You know, that is exactly what they did. They waited until they got into their junior year of college before they ever started beginning that process. And believe me, the girls were following right behind them.
Girls are very bold today. But one of the issues, one of the strategies that we need to deal with about real life issues is the issue of homosexuality. In the story of The Squire and the Scroll there is a scene where the squire has gone into this cave with the older knight, with the king’s first knight, because the lantern of purest light has been stolen from the kingdom.
And the light represents that purity and innocence have been stolen from our culture as well as from our children. Amen? Isn’t that what’s happening?
But inside this cave, the knight was captured by these jewels on the wall. And let me tell you, sin is going to be enticing, isn’t it? It’s going to be very sparkly and jeweled. And so he’s reaching for that.
But because the young squire knew how to guard and shield his eyes, he saw things through innocent eyes. And he saw strange faces on the walls.
I really highly recommend that you using that as an opportunity, because it says it was strange images. You can go to Romans 1:24–32. You need to be able to know what God says about homosexuality and how they exchanged the natural for the unnatural. And you see the consequences of that.
Actually a friend of mine called me, I think it was last year, and there were two boys that were in high school that were caught kissing in the cafeteria. And the kids were all oohing and aahing about it. The principal came up and grabbed them and said, “Not here. Not now,” and sent them to the principal’s office.
But do you know that the kids in the school rose up in protest against the principal because they said, “They have a right to like who they want to”?
We’re in a bold, bold culture today. They have the mindset to pick and choose what they want to choose. So, we need to understand that this is something we need to do.
We also need to know how to navigate our child’s private world. I won’t go into that other than Vicki Courtney has a great book called Logged On and Tuned Out. What it’s saying is our children are logged in and we’re tuned out because we don’t realize how to navigate our children’s private world.
Another issue of that is the strategy of modesty. And, ladies, I have to say as girls we don’t understand the seriousness of the moment. But we have to understand that we have got to protect our boy’s eyes.
You need to teach your children, especially your girls, because we as women don’t even understand this. But we need to help them understand that there is literally a chemical that is released into a young boy’s brain (as well as men, of course). Even as early as eight, nine, and ten a chemical can be released into the brain when they’re stimulated by visual sights of different things.
One of the things that concerns me is all this overstimulation of video games, because that’s doing the same thing. It may not be really bad, bad stuff, but it’s still sending that chemical release to the pleasure centers of the brain, and it’s overstimulating it.
So, they want more hard-core stuff. They want another higher level. They don’t want to do the little easy stuff anymore. They want the hard stuff because it’s overstimulated that brain, that chemical in that brain, that pleasure center.
We need to teach young girls to protect their brothers’ eyes. And this is where we as moms and women steal the seeds from our young girls by the way we dress. Our men in our church battle this all week long. They should not have to battle it when they come to church.
We have got to start standing up and saying, “Ladies, please dress modestly.” We’ve got to start addressing the issues with our daughters.
The other day we had an event, and there was a college-age girl standing at the door handing out stuff and she had short shorts. I’m thinking, What do the men think that they’re being invited into?
You can go to www.ReviveOurHearts.com/topics/downloads and get a great article called “Don’t Let Your Daughter Send an Invitation to Her Party.” There are some great downloads there to help you with that.
One more I want to give you, and that is claiming and reclaiming your child’s purity. This is a real burden upon my heart—the fact that there’s one in four children, one in four women in this room, that have been sexually abused. Every single time that I share with a group of women, I will have moms who come up and say, “But how do I teach my daughter to save her purity when her purity has been stolen?”
It grieves my heart, because see, I am a product of that. I understand, and I want to illustrate this by a special way of the fact that children do not know how to process pain. That may come out in other ways. I’ve even talked to a mom earlier this morning about that there are already symptoms with her daughter, especially in the issue of masturbation and those kinds of things.
By the way, if your daughter or your son, either one, is dealing with that, Passport to Purity is a great CD back there to be able to help you to address those issues. Another great strategy is a Getaway Weekend. That would be for ages ten, 11 and 12, but probably more like 11 and 12. You can let Barbara and Dennis Rainey give the big talk if you’re scared. But it is great. I really highly recommend it.
But what I want to say to you is that children do not know how to process pain. Therefore, they view life from behind this veil of shame. And shame has a voice to it. It says, “Don’t speak. Don’t tell.” It protects self and it protects many times even the perpetrator, because the perpetrator is someone very near them.
But it has whispers of shame. And the actual meaning of the word shame means small emitted sounds of scornful whisperings. There’s that talking down. You are of no worth. You are of no value.
Along with the outcome of abuse is also the issue of self-esteem, of all that shame. Not only do they feel like this is a shame issue that’s come against them, but they feel like they are a shame. There’s a big difference there.
We need to be aware that we need to teach our children at age two getting out of the bathtub how to be modest. You know we want to just let them little booties just run down there and say, “Oh, isn’t that cute?”
But we need to teach them about modesty and protecting their bodies, especially protecting their bathing suit areas and that no one should touch them. Give them a voice. Say, “If anybody ever does, don’t feel ashamed. You can always come and talk to me.”
I had one mom come tell me that she actually had one of her daughter molested in a McDonald’s playground area. I know that’s going to scare all of you to death. But you know parts of it are closed in. You can’t see where they are. Just be aware that we need to be more aware of our children’s surroundings.
I want to give you one illustration here, and that is an email that I received. It was a mom who was a foster mom. And she began to share The Life Lessons of the Princess and the Kiss with her foster daughter.
She said when she first started, the daughter was very quiet and disinterested. By the end, the girl said, “But so many people have messed with me.” Her head dropped and her countenance was so sad.
But the mom said, “Honey, those things were taken from you. You still have your perfect gift from God to give as you choose and when you marry.”
Then the little girl’s countenance changed from one of shame to one of joy and pure innocence. The lady wrote back, “Thank you for this wonderful life lessons study that brought healing and hope and redemption.”
Let me tell you one more picture of hope. Remember my grandson Wesley, who was five. This last spring—this is the hope of a countercultural revolution and making a difference—he went through The Squire and the Scroll. My oldest son is the one who led our first pilot program with The Squire and the Scroll clubs.
This last spring, my husband and my oldest son and my grandson Wesley spoke at two men’s conferences. When the men came out of the session, they’d come running to the tables to get the resources. They wouldn’t let the women in.
So I said, “How did my guys do?”
They said, “They all did great. But I want to tell you when Wesley spoke, he made us grown men cry every single time.”
You know, you think about this. It could have been a disaster. It could have been a situation that could have turned bad. But because there was repentance on my daughter and son-in-law’s heart, they have been intentional about planting the seeds of purity into my grandson’s life.
Even that same time I was going into Target and I didn’t even realize I was doing this. And I needed to go get some pantyhose. So, I was going through the lingerie, and Wesley was with me. And he stopped and he goes, “Maw-Maw where are you going?”
I said, “I need to go over here.”
He says, “I think I’ll wait for you right here.”
Because why? He learned to guard his eyes by doing The Squire and the Scroll and the importance of that.
In one of our actual blessing ceremonies, one of the dads when he was giving the blessing ceremony—the boys get knighted in with a real sword—one of the boys was getting knighted in. One of the dads said, “Son, not only do I want you to guard your eyes but I’m putting myself in accountability with you for you to help me guard my eyes.”
We’re seeing the fruit of a righteous generation. And may God water the seeds that are being planted and being planted here today.
I just want to say one more thing for you that are single moms and give you some hope. When Paul looked at Timothy he said, “Timothy, I see a sincere faith in you, but I first saw it in your grandmother and in your mother.”
So, don’t negate your influence. Even though you may be a single mom or may have a mom that doesn’t have a man in your life to be that leader of the home, you can be.
What we’re praying for in the Pure in Heart movement is that that will be the launching ground for what God wants to do. But we’re just using this as a platform to be able to see these young girls get planted these seeds of purity.
Now, I want to give you the final charge. Remember the story of Nehemiah when he went in to help rebuild? He got resources from the king, remember? And he took it in, and he looked around for three days and watched them. And they were stepping over the rubble and going in and out.
And for 142 years, they had been doing this. But he went in and he says, “Don’t you see the mess we’re in?” Don’t you see the mess we’re in?
Just think about this is a new generation that has grown up in this 142 years of exile and persecution there. But he calls them to wake up. And he calls them to put away their excuses and to rebuild.
In chapter three, it says that they lock arms. In the whole chapter it says, “And next to them they built. And next to them they built.”
Then at one point the enemies come in so hard against them. And he comes back to them and they rise up and they’re afraid, and Nehemiah says, “Do not be afraid. Remember the Lord great and awesome, who is great and awesome.”
So, ladies, remember the Lord great and awesome.
And then he tells them, “Fight for your brethren. Fight for your sons. Fight for your daughters. Fight for your spouses. Fight for your homes.”
In Nehemiah 6:15, it says the walls were completed in 52 days. Then it says that the enemy rose up, and they said they even perceived that this was the work of God. It was a work of God, and it was done by God.
So, what are we to do? We are to stop all excuses. Let me tell you Nehemiah, the people in this city, they had all kinds of excuses. But you know what? We’ve got to stop our excuses, and we’ve got to ask God to deal with our own. We’ve got to push past our past.
You know the number one barrier is our own weaknesses, our own failures. And we think, How in the world can we do that, talk to our daughter, when we didn’t have that?
There’s a great illustration of The Princess and the Kiss thatyou’ll be able to listen to on the radio broadcasts on www.ReviveOurHearts.com/princess.
But we’ve got to stop all excuses, because now’s the time. If we’re going to be true women, now’s the time. When is it? Now. Now’s the time to rise up and enlist in the army, engage, and lock arms together with our children.
Take this information back. Plant the seeds of purity in your children’s ministry department, with your women’s ministry department, and in your own life and your own home. Then pass on that legacy baton to your children. Believe that you can make a difference.
I don’t know about you, ladies, but I refuse to bend to Satan’s lies and the culture’s tactics. And I say, “Let’s take up arms. Let’s fight together for the lives of our children.”
We are the answer to this generation’s most urgent need. We do not have to be a perfect hero. We just have to be willing to rise up to the challenge and fight on their behalf. We do not have to let the warped agenda of this culture win. Amen?
But lastly, we need to go back to where we were. We need to be prayer warriors and intercede. In Matthew 25, it says, “There was a cry that went out. The bridegroom’s coming.”
It didn’t say the bridegroom came at midnight. But they said there was a cry that went out at midnight. Let me tell you, midnight is resting upon us, the church ladies. It’s resting upon our nation, upon our entire world now. And it is time that we rise up and we realize we’ve got to wake up and be the bride of Christ that God wants us to be.
There’s a cry that’s gone out from True Woman. And we’ve got to rise to the occasion and say, “Yes, Lord.” Are you willing to say, “Yes, Lord, I’m willing to rise up and make a difference in my children’s life, my grandchildren’s and the children in my church”?
Would you bow your heads? We’re going to have one closing prayer.
God, today You’ve heard the seeds that have been planted. Lord, I pray You would water it and rain down Your mercy and Your grace. And Lord, pour out a righteous seed upon a righteous generation to rise up that we might have a countercultural revolution birthed right here in this very room to spread across this nation.
Lord, I pray that today You would rally an army of intentional women willing to say yes and who are believing, courageous, bold women of God to come together and plead until You come and rain down and visit this generation with Your power and mercy.
Lord, I cry mercy, Lord, mercy, Lord, on this generation. Would you cry mercy to the Lord? Mercy, Lord. Mercy on this generation, Father. Mercy.
And Lord, would You come and rain righteousness even this very day? Lord, I pray You’ll bless these women as they go out of here. And Lord, may the seeds that have been planted, may they see hope and see that in Isaiah 41 You tell us, “For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”
May we parent out of faith and truth and righteousness and by Your Spirit and with the right spirit. In the name of Jesus, amen and amen.
Leslie Basham: This message was presented at True Woman ’08 in Chicago. Check out all the messages delivered there and more by visiting www.truewoman.com. There you’ll find even more ways to connect—from books and resources you can order for yourself, your friends or your life group, to on demand multimedia, to ongoing conversations you can be a part of. And we’re updating it all the time.
True Woman ’10 is a ministry of Revive Our Hearts, helping you become God’s true woman.