In Lies Young Women Believe: And the Truth that Sets Them Free by Nancy DeMoss and Dannah Gresh I discovered truth on every page and continually found reason to applaud the authors’ straight talk about hard issues.
At first, however, I had a negative impression of the book; its design bordered on too busy (a lot of pull quotes, sidebars, and ornate page decorations) and seemed to pander to media-hyped generation. But I had to remind myself that DeMoss and Gresh did write it for a generation trained to have a short attention span, so I admire them for trying to reach everyone while not succumbing to worldliness or a “cool” grungy look to their book. All those elements, pretty and feminine, make the book easy to skim through, and since many girls may only deign to skim it, they will still benefit from this valuable book.
Among many other pertinent issues in this book, DeMoss and Gresh took an exceptionally strong stance on the lie “having a career outside the home is more valuable and fulfilling than being ‘just’ a wife and mom.” They interviewed girls who made comments such as “it has become uncool to want a husband and a family” and “for me the whole family idea is kind of overrated.”
Those quotations reveal a disconcerting direction of our society. What if a society had just a few families or no families at all? What if a world existed where only the “uncoolest” of people get married and have children? Such a picture should unsettle and frighten us because God created the unit of a family; he has built nations on the building blocks of families. Leaders and world-changers come from families, modeling their behavior and ideals after the good examples they see in their own families. So what will happen if families disappear?
The parents of our generation still have some of the family-focused mindset. I still hear of mothers who pray endlessly for their children, fathers who guide their children in godliness, and siblings who support each other through life, but we find such people more in our grandparents’ generation than our parents’. If such a decrease in training children in godliness continues, what of our current generation? What of our next generation? Unless something changes, a focus on godliness will disappear further still because people today hold such a skewed perspective on the vital nature of the family.
As much as this anti-family mindset may unsettle us, I understand it. And for a while I even embraced it. Different influences of my life have fed me the anti-family lie. A number of circles I have spent time in have deemed the desire for marriage and children as “uncool” or inconvenient. They viewed it as just a “thing” to do at some point in life—if it fit in. And they always looked at it in regards to self-fulfillment. They never saw it as a higher calling, a desire to devote one’s lives to other people, a willingness to nurture another generation. No, I thought, that was homeschooler frumpiness, right there with the white tennies and denim jumpers.
But I was wrong. Time had to pass before I could untwine the truth from the lies, fads, and clichés, but now I have come around to what I hope is the right perspective, the biblical perspective. As DeMoss and Gresh truthfully explain in Lies, God created the woman to help the man: “Her relationship with her husband was the first [back in the Garden of Eden] and primary sphere in which she was made to live and serve.”
While some women do not marry and should not marry, marriage is normal and good. Also, in addition to raising a godly family if the marriage produces children, women should seek to complete their husbands. They should not choose spouses because of self-fulfillment, although they will experience this satisfaction in any sphere of life when they obey God. Instead, they should find marriage partners to devote themselves to, to support, to love, and to nurture.
Marriage is almost like a job in some ways; it involves finding a man to work with for the rest of one’s life. That is not to say that a woman cannot have a job, a career, or a focus of her own. But marriage is not about two people headed in their own directions who happen to share a house and a bed. It is about two people working together in the same direction for the glory of God. A godly couple should more effectively serve and glorify God married than as separate individuals.
Although we see the “uncoolness” of marriage and motherhood prevailing in secular realms, it also exists in the church. As DeMoss and Gresh say, “In 1987, only 20 percent of Christians felt that women should not emphasize these two roles. In 2007, just twenty years later, this had grown to 47 percent who felt that the roles of marriage and motherhood should not be emphasized for women.”
Forty-seven percent! Satan’s lies have not crept into the church—they have overtaken it. That many people fail to see the importance of the family and what a positive influence the family can have. What a selfish, selfish generation we have turned ourselves into! We have created our own blinders that only allow us to see ourselves, as the world and the family unit crumble around us.
One of the greatest besetting sins I have found among teenage girls is an intense self-centeredness, which feeds most of the lies DeMoss and Gresh discuss in their book. But I fear such a perspective does not end at age 19.
As Christians we need to turn our eyes from ourselves and look to the future, to what we believe the Lord would have us do to benefit our generation and all the ones that follow. A woman can influence the world in one of the greatest ways possible by raising godly children. Those godly children can grow up to glorify God. And the children can have children of their own, raising them up into godliness for generations to come. One faithful woman can potentially influence hundreds and thousands of people in the simple act of raising children according to biblical standards. Because of our potential for benefiting others and glorifying God, we need to have a wider perspective than our own desires or preferences when we decide whom we should marry, if we should have children, or how many we should have.
As noble this journey of mine appears, however, I still feel myself reacting to certain issues. I do not like certain ideas that I have come across in searching out issues like this one, and I initially have not agreed with some of them—even concepts apparently straight from the Bible. But I have learned that often I react at ideas that my self-focused sin nature fights very hard against. I do not like certain ideas because of me. Because of what I want. What I find important. What I want to do with my life. How I want to see myself as an individual. What I want my future to look like. However, regardless of my personal feelings, I need to take my eyes off me because my life is about something far bigger than I can comprehend. And I have come to realize that I can live in no better a situation than humbly submitted to God’s desire for the world, for others, and last of all for myself.
I feel as if I am finally being unbrainwashed. The “lies that young women believe” that I have found in my own life are finally losing their grip. This process has been long and often unpleasant, but ultimately it has been good—for God’s glory and not my own.
Lies Young Women Believe holds many timely truths for teen girls to hear, regardless of the girls’ backgrounds. Parents of younger teen girls from conservative families may wish to save a few chapters for their daughters to read later, but overall most of the topics are relevant and appropriate for any teen girl. And even an older crowd can benefit; although I am nearly a decade out of my teen years and read the book with the idea to help others, I found much truth in it for my own life.