Get Acquainted with Revive Our Hearts’ Cohost, Dannah Gresh
She’s a popular author on biblical womanhood, modesty and purity . . . and already a familiar name to the ROH audience as Dannah has been featured on-air and at the True Woman events. Recently joining the daily on-air team as cohost, Dannah expands her assignments by anchoring the new weekend edition available October 3rd. We asked Dannah to share more about herself—read on to find out why she loves the ministry of Revive Our Hearts . . .
You’ve been a believer in Christ since you were a little girl. What eventually led you to focus on young girls (and their moms) for providing spiritual encouragement?
My mother handed me a devotional and a Bible when I was eight years old with the expectation that I could and should study the Bible. This launched a life-long love of God’s Word. Within months, I’d crafted a family flag and scheduled my mother, father, and brother to be my first students as I led a family Bible study. The mark of a teacher is that they love learning and have to pass on what they have discovered in their studies. I guess I’m a teacher!
Through circumstances, God directed that desire toward tween girls. It began when I was a twenty-something with a heart to influence teenage girls who were just a few years behind me in their Christian journey. I quickly learned that those who’d nurtured Bible study skills as young girls were the ones who were not just surviving their teen years, but also thriving in them. Suddenly, instead of wanting to graduate from ministering to teens so that I could lead women, I had a great passion to disciple “little women.” The ministry that is now True Girl launched in 2003. I love inviting tween girls to study the Bible like I did when I was their age. Children are capable of devouring spiritual meat. And they are the future of the Church. We must be intentional to nurture their faith into maturity.
You’ve been a part of the True Woman movement for many years. When did you first meet Nancy Wolgemuth and what attracted you to participate with the ministry in deeper ways recently?
Well, no one has ever asked me that and, honestly, it’s a bit of a secret. I have probably told three people this story. Maybe it’s time to tell it because the Lord is writing something beautiful that I could not have imagined.
I first “met” Nancy in 2000 at an international book-sellers convention the year we both came out with our first published books. I was introduced to this tiny, unassuming woman and she was notably sweet and powerfully charismatic at the same time. I liked her a lot.
Several hours later, I discovered that she would be filling the spot Elisabeth Elliot was vacating on the airwaves of Christian radio. Now, Elisabeth was a long-distance mentor I’d never met but who felt like a close friend. Even so, it was surprising that I was immediately struck with overwhelming jealousy that Nancy was being given this opportunity. It was extremely out of character. I told my mother who wisely said, “I believe God is giving you a prayer assignment. Whenever you have that feeling of jealousy, intercede for Nancy’s work to be blessed by God.”
For nearly six months, I was praying for Nancy quite a lot! During that time, my love and affection for her as a sister in Christ blossomed.
One day in 2008 a mutual friend, Greg Thornton at Moody Publishers, asked if I’d consider co-authoring a book with Nancy. She was looking for someone who was in touch with teens to help her write Lies Young Women Believe & The Truth That Sets Them Free. It’s important to note that I’m an extreme introvert who prefers projects where I fly solo. But I was actually excited about teaming up!
Weeks later, I flew to Michigan to have dinner with Nancy and to get to know her better. We’ve been partnering on ministry projects and growing in friendship since then.
There is a moral to this story, but I’ll let you sort it out.
Now let me tell you why I love Revive Our Hearts so very much. I once attended a missions conference where God placed a yearning in my heart. I saw all the flags of the world hanging in the sanctuary and heard the beautiful stories of lives changed by God’s love and something—or was it Someone— just burned inside of me. I went forward that evening, bowed my knee, and asked God to make me a missionary or a Bible teacher who would impact people in the nations represented by those flags. I was eight years old. (It was a big year for me!)
Fast-forward to today.
It has become something of a tradition at Revive Our Hearts events to announce the names of the nations represented. When we do, women wave the flags of their country demonstrating a desire to carry biblical truth back to the people of their land. Each time that happens, it feels like the prayer I prayed when I was a little girl is coming to life.
God is using me to support Nancy and the team mission to further the message of the gospel—especially to women—all over the world. That’s been my desire and the call on my life for over forty-five years. I adore the influence of Revive Our Hearts in the United States through radio, podcasts, blogs, and live events. However, I look at all of the women in this nation who love Nancy as part of a team which carries her teaching to other nations as we administrate, teach, support, donate, and pray. When I really think about it, I’m rather undone by God’s faithfulness.
You’ve just published a study from the book of Habakkuk. What’s the core message you think users will get out of that mostly overlooked book of the Bible?
The book of Habakkuk is about learning to believe that God is good and maintains control even when there is so much evil and tragedy in the world around us. Though this book is often overlooked during times of peace and prosperity, it has tended to be studied when believers needed to learn how to talk to God during epic events.
I could not have imagined the backdrop upon which Habakkuk: Remembering God’s Faithfulness When He Seems Silent would be released. On my very last day of writing, I heard of a deadly novel coronavirus infecting people in China. It quickly spread to break national health care systems, empty public spaces, crash economies, and leave once powerful clusters of urban activity silenced in grief. Before we sent the book to the printer, the COVID-19 pandemic had imprinted the world. We need the lessons of Habakkuk always, but in an urgent and desperate way right now.
Do you have another book in the pipeline?
Ruth: Becoming a Girl of Loyalty is a Bible study that releases in 2020 for girls ages 8-12. I may be moving into some opportunities for adult women, but my heart will always be with the littles! And, my husband and I are writing a set of books for couples. We feel a need to testify about how God has taken incredible challenges and pain in our marriage.
Those of us who read and listen to your teaching would say it’s authentic. You share transparently about your own journey. Was there a point when you made the decision to be so open?
It was a necessary defense against the lies of the enemy.
As a teen who was slipping away from my love for the Word and into some bad choices, I really thought no one needed to know what was tempting me. I ended up in sexual sin and the shame that is its aftermath. Of course —then, I really believed no one needed to know! Anyone who has felt shame knows how pervasive it can be. I am so thankful that God allowed me to sink deep into the dark pit of the loneliness that comes from keeping up appearances. I discovered James 5:16, which encourages us to confess our sins one to another so that we’re healed. Let me tell you, it’s true! I have lived in the power of this piece of Scripture!
For the record, I’m transparent but also wise. There’s a lot of what I call “barf sharing” where men or women share more than they should. The point of confession and transparency is not to dump everything so you feel better or cross repentance off your list. It’s to get the advice and wisdom you need to progress in your sanctification or to testify of the freedom you’ve found so someone else can experience it. There’s wisdom and self-control within that kind of authenticity.
But we also need to be bold about telling our stories. The book of Revelation declares that we overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony! If someone is not able to tell my why they have needed the Lamb’s blood, it is hard for me to believe they’ve truly discovered the power and beauty of it.
Tell us how you met Bob and what attracted you to him?
Bob and I met in an advanced writing class in college in which we were part of a writing team he named The Misplaced Modifiers! He’s been making me laugh ever since. His sense of humor is an important part of our relationship because I’m very type-A and would forget to enjoy life without him. He makes me stop to smell the roses…and play with fainting goats and swim with sting rays at night.
When we met, I was reading Elisabeth Elliot’s Passion and Purity. She posits the thought that the only good reason for two Christians to marry is that they believe they will be able to serve God better together than apart. We broke up for many months as I pondered that thought. Could we serve God better together? I’m so glad that when I prayed, I felt like the answer was yes! There is no doubt looking back on thirty plus years that we serve God well together. Bob’s sweet forgiveness of my sin, gentle encouragement to be brave with my story, and faithful diligence to nurture the opportunities I’m given have been essential ingredients in having influence on women, teens, and tweens. He serves me even though he’s a leader of his own ministries and a great influencer himself.
I also love his boldness, both in how he lives, and how he shares God’s Truth. He’s a gifted truth-speaker and carries great wisdom.
You’re mom to three children, all grown. What’s the best part about this season of your role as a mother?
Addie and Zoe. I’m a new grandmother to twin girls and it’s the most fun in the whole world. Our first born, Robby, and his wife Aleigha have given us this gift but it was not without a great need to walk in faith. The girls arrived through a high-risk pregnancy, and we watched our son lead his wife in prayer, faith, and godly decisions. That is truly the greatest thing about this season as a mom—watching my children walk in faith. No greater joy!
Your website features a picture of you with a couple of beautiful horses … are those your horses?
Bob and I live on a hobby farm with about twenty critters, including Trigg (our Tennessee Walking Horse) and Truett (our half Arabian). We also have a mini-donkey, four mini-silkie fainting goats, llamas, peacocks, chickens, a cat, and a dog named Moose. We’re not professional farmers. YouTube comes in real handy! But so far, we do a pretty good job of keeping everyone alive.
On a farm there are probably always chores to do but when it’s time to relax how are you likely to spend the leisure time?
Yes, the chores! They say if you pray for rain, be prepared to deal with the mud. Well, if you pray for horses, be prepared to deal with the muck. The farm is my leisure time. I love riding the horses, picking wild black raspberries to make freezer jam, growing sunflowers, sitting by our fire pit, and watching woodpeckers.
Bob and I also love Winnie the Pooh. He reads it to me sometimes. You may not know this but Pooh hunts Woozles in the Hundred Acre Wood. (They are the equivalent of snipes! If you don’t know what those are, I cannot help you.) For Christmas a few years ago, Bob cut a 1.5-mile path in our woods and named it Woozle Way. We like to walk on it and often take our small herd of goaties.
You are a prolific author yourself (more than 20 books) … anything currently on your nightstand for reading?
I’m reading Love Like You Mean It: The Heart of a Marriage That Honors God by Bob Lepine and Becoming Elisabeth Elliot by Ellen Vaughn. I’m sure there’s also something by A.W. Tozer on the nightstand. I’m always reading and re-reading his books.
Someday we may be loosed to travel freely again … where would you like to go that you’ve never been before?
Bob and I were scheduled to swim with whale sharks, the world’s largest fish, this July in the Caribbean. This trip has been on my bucket list for a long time and for Christmas Bob wrapped up a pair of fuzzy socks with whale sharks on them to symbolize that this was the year. Apparently, it wasn’t. The pandemic closed the door to that opportunity, but I’m wearing my socks until I get to go! I hope it’s soon.