There is a real need for generational friendships in our culture today. Older women are instructed to mentor and teach younger women—younger women have fresh eyes and insight to offer older women! Tune in today and let’s rethink how we’re living in relationship with others!
Transcribed version of the podcast is below
Today’s Scripture Writing Challenge Verse
- Luke 6:31-36
Resources Mentioned in Podcast
Scripture Mentioned in Podcast
- 1 Kings 12
- Titus 2
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Leslie Nunnery is the co-founder of Teach Them Diligently Convention along with her husband David. She is the homeschool mother of four children who range in age from 12-19. God has given her a strong burden to minister to Christian families to help support, encourage and equip them to disciple their children, protect their marriages, and serve God in the ways He has planned for them. She is an advocate of home education with a strong focus on discipleship which is evidenced in her writings and the events her family produces. She is also heavily involved in mission endeavors through Worldwide Tentmakers, for which her husband serves as president and Teach Them Diligently supports.
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Hey everybody, this is Heidi St John. Welcome to the podcast. This is Meet My Friend Friday, and I will be having a repeat friend on the show with me today. Leslie Nunnery is here. She and her husband are the founders of the Teach Them Diligently Conference and she’s got a lot of encouragement for you. We are going to be talking a lot about relationships and mentoring and what that looks like in the culture today.
Stick around, I think you’re going to be encouraged
So thanks everybody for tuning in today. As always, I want to remind you a little bit about what’s coming up at my neck of the woods so that if you’re in the area you can come out and say hello. Also want to tell you we are just starting a brand new study at MomStrong International. We’re continuing our study in the fruit of the spirit and this month we’re going to do a little bit of a combined focus. I think you’re really going to be encouraged. If you’re not studying the Word of God with us, I want to just encourage you to do that. We’ve got almost 13,000 members now at MomStrong International—and what we’re doing is trying to teach you how to teach your children, and to lead and mentor other women, which is why I’m so excited that Leslie is here with me today.
So without further ado, I just want to let you guys know that here at the podcast, one of the things I want to do is introduce you to voices in the culture who are pointing other men and women back to the truth of God’s Word, and our need to follow Jesus. And Leslie is a wonderful example of that. She and I have been friends for many years. I love what they’re doing. Leslie is the co-founder of the Teach Them Diligently Convention along with her husband David. She’s a homeschool mom of four kids and she recently has a graduate. Her kids range in age from 12 to 19, and the Lord has really given them a burden to minister to christian families and help support and encourage them. And so Leslie and I are going to be talking about what that looks like today. Leslie, my friend, welcome back to the show.
[Leslie] Thank you so much. It’s awesome to be here.
[Heidi] So you have just come off of the Teach Them Diligently extravaganza season. We’ve seen each other quite a bit around the country this last summer. For those listeners who are not familiar with Teach Them Diligently, can you talk a little bit for just a minute about the convention?—how it got started and how people can find out about it.
[Leslie] Sure. Teach Them Diligently is actually geared for homeschool families, although not exclusively homeschool families, but we seek to celebrate discipleship in homeschool families. We think that homeschooling is a great tool for discipleship, but homeschooling affects every area of your life. So we talk a lot about parenting, marriage, relationships, and how all of this works together—and really trying to equip families to point their children to Jesus and give them a foundation so that when they grow up, they’re going to in what they’ve learned and pass that on to the next generation. It’s our hope and prayer that God will use Teach Them Diligently to really strengthen His church through these families that were able to minister to.
[Heidi] You guys have done a fantastic job of really keeping the focus of Teach Them Diligently on discipleship. So you’re right, we do talk about homeschooling, but really you can homeschool your kids and miss it, right? We’ve seen that happen for many years. You and I have both been in the homeschool movement for a long time. And it is possible to bring your kids home from school and still miss the most important thing—which is to teach him how to be disciples.
[Leslie] Well, yeah. And it’s also possible to have your kids in a school and still disciple them. And that’s what’s so important— is that no matter where you are in life, no matter what you feel like God’s call is for your family right this minute, you can count on the fact that God has called you as a parent to teach them diligently. And so it is our goal to equip you no matter what— to see your role as mom and dad as elevated as God sees it, and to see your importance in passing that faith onto the next generation.
[Heidi] Yeah, it’s so important. You guys also run a membership site, right? What’s it called?
[Leslie] Teach Them Diligently 365. I’m pretty sure we feel about 582 days a year.
[Heidi] And over there you’ve just completed a series about rethinking relationships. And before you and I got on the show today, we were talking a little bit about the lack of relationship in the culture. And as you look around and you see motherhood from a different perspective, because your kids are beginning now to grow up and leave your home, and as you’re looking at the younger generation coming up— you and I have both observed the same thing, which is a real need for a mentorship and a real need for discipleship for the younger generation. Why are you so concerned about this next generation of mothers coming up?
[Leslie] I talk to so many moms both onsite, and then virtually throughout the year, who just feel lost. They feel ill equipped for what God has called them to do. I think that we’re seeing in this younger generation, and it’s so weird that I’m now old enough to talk about the younger generation— I can not think of myself that way….
[Heidi] I know!
[Leslie] I have to wrap my head around it…but we are seeing in these younger moms that had these precious younger children, a lot of them have an insecurity in what they’re doing. They don’t feel well equipped—whether they just didn’t see it modeled in their own family growing up or they just missed it somewhere along the way. As I’ve kind of backed up off of that, what’s really been of concern to me is I’m not seeing a whole lot of people stepping up, just physically, to fill those gaps.
So I talked to people who aren’t connected to older ladies in their church, and just trying to assess—what is driving that, where are we missing the boat? And I really have come to the conclusion that we’re missing the boat on both ends—older moms are not stepping up and I think that there’s a myriad of reasons why, ranging from our own insecurity, maybe a little bit of pride they should ask me, different things like that. And then the younger moms who are, are either unwilling to ask for help for whatever reason, or they’re asking the wrong people: they’re going on a the same plane. They’re going to people their own age to ask for help. Which there’s their conversations to have with people your own age. But to really get that deep insight and that mentorship, you’ve got to go beyond.
I heard this when I was younger in counseling at a camp and it stuck with me so much—in order to lift you up, I have to be on higher ground. And you really need to find somebody who’s farther along in the journey that can pull you along, can tell you the good, the bad, and the ugly of what they’ve learned. Because a lot of times we learn by stubbing our toe, and we sure would like to see you not have to stub your toe the same way.
Right. Well, and there’s something to be said. I feel like the culture, as in by and large, rejects the wisdom and the advice of senior citizens. I think it sort of starts there and you and I are not in that place in our life. We’re not to that place in their life. I was talking to my mother-in-law about this a couple of weeks ago and she said she feels invisible. She said she’ll go places and she feels even at church she can feel invisible. Like here I’m 75 years old, I’ve gone through actually a whole lot of life. And because I don’t know the Internet very well, and because I’m not good at Facebook, and because blah, blah, blah, whatever it is, no one’s coming to me and they’re not asking.
And I started to think about that because I’m sort of the same way. I mean, we tend to look at our own generation. We’re so used to the internet. If you’ve got a problem, what do you do? You Google it, right? Although I would tell people, stop googling because Google is not your friend, or whatever. And it’s a whole another podcast. But really, we’re not looking to the older generation. And I think as a result, they’ve become sort of insecure and they’re not giving that wisdom anymore. They’re not offering it because they feel like it isn’t wanted.
One of the things I love about what your heart is, is to see moms stop overthinking what it means to be a mentor and start looking at it more as relationship instead of— let me pass on my wisdom to you. How about we walk in relationship with each other. I kind of feel like because of the internet—I mean we can blame an awful lot of things on the internet, right? But the example of Paul who mentored Timothy. Because it was through Paul that Timothy became a Christian and then they became very good friends. Paul was older than Timothy, and he described their friendship in Philippians I think it’s chapter two, He described their friendship as being like that of a father and a son. He loved him. He called him his son who he loved and Paul noticed something in Timothy and invited him into and involved him in his work. Right from the beginning. They made decisions together. It’s amazing what God did through that relationship of Paul being older than Timothy. It wasn’t like this— here, let me help you. It was— here, I see something wonderful in you, let me bring you alongside me and let’s walk the scene together. Because Paul knew he was going to leave this earth before Timothy did.
[Leslie] Oh yeah. Well and to that overthinking point that you started with there, we look at how we parent our children and we want it to be natural. The teach them diligently verse which we go back to all the time in our ministry as you walk, as you talk— that makes sense to us with a parent child relationship because we’re doing life together. But I think that we really should look at our relationships with other ladies in the same way. I’ve found that some of the most natural, beneficial conversations have been sitting around the pool while their younger children are playing and my older kids are playing with them to watch them— and we can just talk to one another. It’s not a— sit at my feet, allow me to pontificate and tell you all of this great stuff.
It’s more just natural conversation and the questions that naturally arise we’re able to grow. And I learned from them. I always learned from the younger ladies that I’m talking to because I get insight into how they’re thinking. And with a lot of the people that I talked to that are younger than me, their zeal and they’re open mindedness to different ways of serving is a real challenge to me. And that’s another thing that I think as older moms are missing out on is just the freshness that this generation brains, and their willingness to jump into so many different things if they really see the mission behind it. So that natural conversant hanging out, those opportunities are so valuable.
We were just in Israel, I think I had told you about that. We were in Israel as a family, back in May. And one of the things that I noticed that I had not noticed out of the context of being there, we were there with a few different Bible professors, who were kind of leading the tour. And those guys, my children were with me, and they would just walk alongside my kids from time to time and just point out— you know when Jesus said this? and they’re pointing at something specific— this is what he was really talking about. And really fleshing that out for them. And as I watched that, I thought, first of all, that’s how Jesus taught His disciples. They walked, they talked, he pointed at fig trees and different things along the road. And it was so very, very natural. But then I thought— how amazing that these guys are taking the time to pull myself children aside and walk with them. And that is what I so desperately long to see in our churches, in our families, just within this community of Christian women—walk alongside one another and talk and share and point out things that you’ve learned. And just let that natural conversation really grow the church.
[Heidi] Yeah. And we need to be looking to, hopefully…I mean the church has been stumbling in so many areas, you and I have talked about this hours on end. But the church is really struggling right now. They’re struggling with their identity, for one thing. And when you’re struggling with your identity, you can’t mentor other people until you know who you are in Christ, until you know exactly what you stand on. I think part of what we’re seeing happen with the younger generation of women is a failure of the church to get in there and say— hey, we’re gonna strengthen you as we ourselves are strengthened. But if we’re struggling, we don’t know who we are, we can’t. The church is grappling with basic issues right now. We’re grappling with things that we shouldn’t be grappling with. And I think falling through the cracks, it really is the younger generation. And you were talking a minute ago about seeking advice and giving counsel.
I’m writing a book right now. And so I’ve been reading through 1st and 2nd Kings, and I love the Bible, but I really love the Old Testament in the sense that it’s history, right? So 1st and 2nd Kings, especially os like a record of history of God’s people that was given to us. And we see all these mistakes that we made. So exactly what you said before— that we will learn from it and not make the mistakes again. And you watch in 1 Kings 12 where Rehoboam makes a devastating decision right after he got council.
And I think what we’re learning there is not enough to get counsel if we consult the wrong people. We gotta be surrounding ourselves with women and men who love the Lord and who can encourage each other to grow in our relationships. And as you look at the young women around you, I love that your heart is just saying— hey, come over and let’s sit around the pool and let’s talk about life and let’s do life together. Because that’s so much of it, right? Telling the stories of God’s faithfulness in your life and when we struggled. Because you and I’ve been around enough to have struggled quite a bit and be able to look back and go—well that didn’t work. Tell me, like when these moms come to you and they open up about the struggles having either in marriage or in raising their children or their fear in the culture— whatever it is. Do you feel like also, it sounds like you do, that you’re growing, just like Paul and Timothy, you’re growing right along with them?
[Heidi] There is no question. Another is part of that series you alluded to earlier, I did a video on rethinking your rear view mirror. I think a lot of us that are older and have a bigger rear view mirror, we underestimate the value of that. And even as I am interacting with with these younger moms, the Lord will bring things to mind that He taught me that was often not fun to go through. It’s in those valleys that we get such a wealth of lessons and we realize just how faithful God really is. And when we think those situations and then have to put them back in service because somebody else now needs that, they need to hear how I made it through whatever it was— whether it be total lack of sleep because I had three babies, three and under, or whether it is working through a death of a child or something else that God has placed in your hand— God can use those. And all of a sudden when He puts those things into service again, they have a whole new meaning, you have a whole new appreciation for the goodness of God and His grace in allowing you to serve other people, even through that hurtful and hard experience. And He really will grow us older moms so much when we just open our hands and allow Him to use what He’s put in them.
[Heidi] Yeah. It’s so good. And to be honest, I think oftentimes mothers get to the end of homeschooling their kids or whatever… and if you’re Heidi St. John, you’ve been homeschooling since the dawn of time. I told Jay the other day, I think I’m 187 years old in homeschooling years. And you get to the end of it and part of us just wants to be done. We want to be done. We want to stay home, we want to start knitting or whatever it is that we do because we’re tired. But part of getting off the bench, which is what we talk about all the time here at the podcast, is to say— you’re not actually done until the Lord takes you home. Until the Lord says you’re off the field, you don’t bench yourself. So as long as I have breath, as long as my body is healthy and I can— actually, even when it’s not for goodness sake, look at Joni Eareckson Tada. Perfect example of somebody. She could have taken what happened to her and just use that as an excuse to get off the field. But instead she’s allowing God to use it. And so for the women, I think there’s a challenge here for young moms is to say— hey, don’t be afraid to walk up to a mom who’s been there and done that and say: Hey, can we get together for coffee? And then for older moms who are listening—invest in the lives of these younger women, they absolutely need it.
[Heidi] And we also need it. I think we can underestimate what you were saying—we also need it. And all through the Bible you see generations working together. I think one of the failures of the church church is we segregated everybody. So we’ve got the young moms meeting over here, the widows and the older moms have their Bible study on Tuesday morning when there’s no way that a younger moms could ever attend. And so maybe we can look at opportunities to see that culture inside the body of Christ change.
[Leslie] Yes, absolutely. It takes both sides being willing to open themselves up. For you younger moms, I can’t imagine a situation where if you walked up to an older mom and said— hey, I’d love to have coffee with you— that she would be offended by that. I mean honestly, she may not have thought of it, but I don’t think that she’s going to be offended. And for you older moms, it’s the same way. I think that we have put up these walls and some of it is just the insulation that we put around ourselves. Some of it, there may be a little bit of pride of not wanting to expose ourselves and our past or our questions. We all have to look like we have it all together. And when you’re talking to somebody on that level, it’s very apparent that neither old nor young have it all together.
God, is working in both of us. But we have to be willing to do that. We have to step outside of our comfort zone. God’s Word tells us in Titus 2 that the older women are supposed to be investing in the younger women. We’re even supposed to teach the younger women how to love their children. We have a privilege as moms to love our children in such a way that you have to be taught how to do it. That’s pretty incredible to me. I think that that just really shows how elevated our role as moms really is. That it takes somebody really walking alongside and showing you how to love your child on that level.
[Heidi] Yeah, it’s so good. And even when you’re tired, even when you think—I just don’t have anything else to give. The Lord is saying— Hey, walk with me and I’m going to help you. For the mom who’s tired and just thinks— man, I just don’t know if I have anything left to give. Or maybe you feel like you’re a failure. Or maybe your child walked away from the Lord, and so you’re the mother of a prodigal now— and you’re looking at some of these younger moms saying, I don’t have anything, I don’t have anything to offer. It’s not true because God does His best work in the deep. The person who’s most likely to be able to minister to the heart of a mom whose child is making bad decisions is not the mom who’s never experienced that, it’s the mom who’s walked through it and can say it’s all right, God’s never gonna leave you.
[Leslie] Yup. Amen.
[Heidi] So important. Leslie, you have an incredible ministry in a heart for moms. Where can moms find you guys online.
[Leslie] Well, you can find us at TeachThemDiligently.net. We have a blog, we have a membership site there. But I would really encourage those that just want to dive deep— there’s an email series that I wrote that’s free that just walks you through 35 days of praying for your children or praying for your spouse. There’s two different ways that you can enter it. It just looks at how when you pray scripture for these roles that you’re playing, how God will work in your heart, and we’ll give you insight into the ones that you love and we’ll really improve your relationships within your family. So I would encourage people to go check that out. It’s just teach them TeachThemDiligently.net/pray and you can choose either of those series, but that also walks you through kind of a mentoring type exercise. Because I just talk like we’re sitting across the table at what God taught me through praying that way for 20 some odd years.
[Heidi] I love it. I love it. I love it. So for those of you want more information, you just heard Leslie say it. I’m going to link back to it in the show notes today.I know you guys are going to be blessed. Leslie, I love you. I love your heart. Thank you so much for coming on the show and, and blessing my listeners today.
[Leslie] Oh, you’re welcome. Thank you. And I love you too. Very grateful for your friendship.
[Heidi] Thank you. For more information about Teach Them Diligently go to the Heidi St. John podcast and click on the show notes. They are transcribed for you. For those of you who want more information about Mom Strong International, go to MomStrongInternational.com. We are in the middle of right now of launching a new summer Bible study for the month of August. I love God’s heart for us, it’s clear from the beginning of creation that He has designed us specifically for relationship—first our relationship with Him. And then for relationship with other people. We hope you guys have been encouraged to walk in that relationship today. Thanks for listening, everybody. Have a fantastic weekend and I’ll see you back here on Monday.
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Heidi St. John
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