We are thrilled to feature this interview with Liz Curtis Higgs from our “Titus 2 Woman: With Wisdom, She Speaks” series, first published in the SURRENDER issue of Joyful Life Magazine. To know Liz (or Lizzie, as her friends call her) is to love her! She truly radiates the joy of the Lord.
Liz is the author of 37 books and counting, with 4.6 million copies in print. She is also an internationally recognized speaker, having graced the stages of more than 1800 women’s conferences worldwide. Delivering profound Biblical truth through encouraging down-to-earth anecdotes and tear-inducing humor, it is a joy and a privilege to share her words of wisdom and experience with you here. You can connect with Liz at: www.lizcurtishiggs.com
WHAT IS YOUR SALVATION STORY?
In our small town, going to church on Sunday morning was expected. As a child, I went because my mother took me. As a teenager, I went because my friends were there. Once I left for college, church was reduced to a Christmas-and-Easter experience. I enjoyed singing the old hymns and going through the familiar rituals, but mostly I loved catching up with neighbors and friends.
It was good. It just wasn’t about Jesus.
In the decade that followed, I did all the things parents hope and pray their kids never do. From sleeping with men I’d only just met to chopping cocaine into a fine powder with a sharp razor blade, I stumbled down every dark path that promised a good time. Southern Comfort by the fifth. Amphetamines by the bottle. Marijuana by the ounce.
Finally I hit bottom. For many of us, that’s what it takes before we wake up, look up, and cry out for help. I was working at an oldies radio station at the time, spinning records during the day and hanging out in bars at night. When I found myself slumped across the driver’s seat of my car one morning, reeking of alcohol and cigarettes and worse, not remembering how or when I drove home, I began to wonder if the world might be better off without me.
Then God, who’d patiently waited for me to come to the end of myself, brought a husband-and-wife morning team to our radio station. They were attractive, funny, talented — and brand-new Christians, eager to share the Gospel with anyone who stood still long enough to listen.
I liked them immediately, hung out with them regularly, and heard about Jesus whether I wanted to or not. At first, I thought they were kinda weird. They carried a Bible with them everywhere they went and talked about God’s love nonstop. They also never commented on my immoral lifestyle, never told me to clean up my act, never insisted I needed to believe in God. Instead they said, “Lizzie, God believes in you. God has a plan for you. God loves you.”
I was convinced I’d gone too far and done too much and sinned beyond redemption’s reach. Yet, here were these two people I loved and respected, assuring me it was not too late. That God would welcome me home with open arms. That He loved me still, and had never stopped loving me.
In the winter of 1982, His love finally pierced through the hardened walls of my heart, and I embraced Him as my Lord and Savior. Oh, happy day!
HOW DO YOU PRIORITIZE YOUR TIME WITH THE LORD? WHAT DOES THIS TIME LOOK LIKE? WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE BIBLE STUDY TIPS FOR STUDYING GOD’S WORD?
As a new believer, I had an insatiable hunger for God’s Word, which could only have come from Him. I bought the thickest Bible I could find—the Ryrie Study Bible, New American Standard version—and dove in. Because I was single at the time and lived alone, I could spend hours studying the Bible without interruption. This may sound a tad over the top, but I also unplugged my television for a couple of years, so I wouldn’t be tempted to waste my evenings in front of the tube. Again, God’s idea, not mine.
Here we are, nearly four decades later, and I still hunger and thirst for the Word. While I’ve never been one to read Scripture at a scheduled time each day, I make sure to reach for the Word often. I have some two dozen Bibles on my bookshelf, yet I tend to do serious studying on my laptop, using BibleGateway.com to compare various English translations and BibleHub.com to explore the original Hebrew and Greek. I also have several favorite commentaries I turn to when I’m struggling to understand a particular passage in its ancient context.
All this sounds very dry and studious. Trust me, in the middle of things, I’m reading God’s Word as the love letter it truly is, with tears in my eyes and my heart filled to overflowing. As for prayer, I often pray as I read—praising His Name, seeking answers to my many questions, and acknowledging His love and His truth.
WHAT IS A CHARACTER TRAIT OF GOD THAT YOU’VE COME TO KNOW BY WALKING THROUGH A TRIAL? HOW DID GOD REVEAL HIMSELF TO YOU THROUGH THAT STRUGGLE?
Over and over the Bible assures us, “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:8). Now that I’ve experienced that truth in a profound and deeply personal way, I know His faithfulness is the real deal.
When I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer in 2017, life got a little scary there for a minute. Then His Word washed over me and His peace surrounded me. In the weeks and months that followed, I was so aware of His presence and His strength, I was able to go through all the necessary steps of my cancer adventure without sinking into despair or feeling abandoned, even when I huddled under my blankets, too exhausted to move.
Was the seven-hour surgery pleasant? No way. But God was with me.
Was chemotherapy fun? Decidedly not. But God was with me.
Was radiation a walk in the park? Nope. But God was with me.
Was learning I had a second tumor good news? It wasn’t. But God was with me.
Am I enjoying ongoing treatments every three weeks? Nah. But God is with me.
As Jesus promised His followers, so He promises us, “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
WHAT ARE THREE WAYS YOU HAVE PRIORITIZED BUILDING UP YOUR HUSBAND?
In Proverbs we read, “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down” (Proverbs 14:1). Who wants to be foolish, when we can be wise?
Our husbands look to us for support, encouragement, and assurance. When the world beats them down, and it certainly does, they count on us to build them up.
Here are three simple actions that never fail to bring a smile to Bill’s face:
- I praise him for the many things he does right, and try—not always successfully—to keep from pointing out the few things he gets wrong.
- I speak well of him when we’re around others and especially when I’m on the platform.
- I pray for him every chance I get, sometimes when I’m alone, but more often when I’m with him, hoping the words will find a nesting place in his heart.
WHAT IS ONE THING YOU BELIEVE YOUNG MOMS STRUGGLE WITH TODAY THAT WASN’T A STRUGGLE WHEN YOU WERE YOUNGER? WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO THEM?
The Bible tells us Martha was “overly occupied and too busy” and “distracted with much serving” (Luke 10:40, AMPC). Does that sound like busy moms today or what?!
Without question the biggest distraction we all wrestle with is our cell phones. Even if we silence them, turn off all the notifications, and stuff them in our purses, they have a magnetic pull. Soon, they are back in our hands, and our eyes are glued to the screen.
For young mothers in particular, smart phones may provide a much-needed adult connection, but it’s often at the cost of a vital mother-child conversation. Long before children can speak, they engage with their moms, listening to our words and reacting to our expressions. If we’re looking at our phones instead of at them—well, the negative consequences are pretty obvious.
Of course, this isn’t simply an issue for young mothers; it’s an issue for all of us. When Bill and I sit down for a meal, we remind each other to put aside our phones, and turn them upside down to avoid temptation. Otherwise, we’re soon scrolling through social media and forgetting the person we care about most is sitting across the table. If we simply must find out the latest news, we look at it together or read it to each other, and then make the headlines part of our conversation.
For young moms, try doing FaceTime with a friend and including your child, so he or she sees who you are talking to, even if they can’t join in the discussion. Reading a children’s ebook or looking up a website with lots of colorful pictures are also fun ways to use a phone to stay connected with our little ones.
WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE FOR WOMEN TRYING TO BALANCE WORK AND HOME LIFE?
“Balance” is a tricky word. It suggests we can do everything equally well, all at the same time, no balls dropped. That’s not how life works, especially not for those of us taking care of business at home and at a job.
My goal is simply to be fully present and immersed in the moment at hand. That means I don’t try to multitask. Instead, I do one thing at a time to the very best of my ability.
So, if I’m speaking with a family member, I give them my complete attention, making eye contact and listening with my whole body. For that small stretch of time, nothing and no one else matters, and they know it. Then, when I turn to a project I’m working on, it moves to center stage, and so does my focus. No need to feel guilty about what I could or should be doing for my family. At that moment I’m doing my bit to provide and honoring my commitment to my employer.
When my children were still at home, people often asked how I got any writing done. Here’s how: I marked a wall calendar with the usual family and work commitments, then added several blocks of time filled with a big W in ink. That meant Mom would be writing, and was not to be disturbed (unless fire or blood was involved).
Those hours were considered sacred at our house. No dentist appointments, no haircuts, no quick trips to DQ. The good news was, when I was writing, I didn’t feel bad about not being with my family, since everyone knew it was W Time. And when I was with my family, I was free of any sense of, “Oh, I should be working on my book.” No W, no writing, no worries.
HOW IS THE LORD GROWING YOU IN YOUR CURRENT SEASON?
This season is all about the joys and challenges of maturing. I avoid phrases like “aging” or “getting older,” but I can’t ignore the reality of what is happening to my body, my energy, and my daily routine.
If I’m not careful, mornings can become rise and whine, instead of rise and shine. Trips to the doctor have gone from every six months to every six days (I may be exaggerating slightly). Everything on my body is moving, and not in the right direction. If that’s what you mean by “growing and stretching,” the Lord is doing a stellar job!
The good news? He’s stretching my mind and heart as well. His Word promises, “Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16). That renewal process is golden, teaching me to celebrate what I can do and let go of what I can’t do.
HOW HAVE YOU PRIORITIZED FRIENDSHIPS WITH OTHER WOMEN? HOW HAS GOD USED THOSE FRIENDS AS A MEANS OF GRACE IN YOUR LIFE?
For the last 20 winters, I’ve gathered with four other women who are speakers and writers, but most of all, sisters in Christ. We meet for two or three days of intense Bible study and equal measures of talking, eating, and laughing. We call ourselves the Summit Sisters (no one remembers why), and our days together are some of the best of the year.
Now we text almost daily, chat via conference calls monthly, and always hold each other accountable, even if that means stepping on each other’s toes. With “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15) as our goal, we boldly say what needs to be said, whether it’s marital advice about a relationship gone sour, honest concerns about how we’re caring for (or not caring for) our bodies, or spiritual counsel about how to keep God at the center of our lives.
The Bible says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17). That sharpening is meant to make us stronger. When my Summit Sisters tell me I need to make changes in my life, I listen for the love between the lines, because it’s always there. Again, as we read in Proverbs, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted” (Proverbs 27:6).
WHAT IS A PIECE OF ADVICE YOU RECEIVED FROM AN OLDER, TITUS 2 WOMAN THAT HAS IMPACTED ON YOU?
Doris calls herself my “Kentucky Mom,” and she’s been that and more to me from the day I met the Lord—opening her home, sharing her family, including me at Thanksgiving and Christmas in my single years, serving cake at our wedding, inviting me to Bible studies in her living room. Most of all, she modeled what a Christian wife and mother looked like, which this Former ‘Bad Girl’ desperately needed to see.
As for that vital piece of advice, Doris once confessed she was so busy serving others at church, her husband decided the only way he could get a stray button sewn back on his shirt was if he filed it under “Church Work.” When I came back with, “Let him fix his own buttons!” Doris shook her head. “Don’t miss the point, Lizzie. My family is my first ministry. My home is my first mission field.”
As always, Doris was right.
Get to Know Liz
Where is home? Home-home is a small town in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where I was born and raised with my five brothers and sisters. Home-until-heaven is Louisville, Kentucky. After living in an old farm house for the last two dozen years, Bill and I recently moved to a much smaller home on a tree-lined street, closer to town and closer to our grown children. Pure Joy!
How many years married? Bill and I married in March 1986, so we’re celebrating 33 years together.
How many children and their ages? We have a married son, who will turn 32 this summer, and a single daughter, 30. No grandchildren yet, but a vast number of four-legged creatures—at last count, four dogs and five cats—reside at their houses.
Favorite current worship song? “In Christ Alone” and Hillsong’s “What a Beautiful Name.”
Favorite Bible verse? Though I have dozens (more like hundreds!) of favorites, this one spoke to me as a new believer, and remains close to my heart: “You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever” (Psalm 16:11, NASB).
Favorite way to spend an evening at home? I love gathering my family around the table for a simple meal, then quickly clearing the dishes so we can play Bananagrams or Scrabble.
Favorite TV Show? Period dramas set in Britain are my go-to, including Downton Abbey, Victoria, Foyle’s War, and The Crown.
Favorite vacation spot? Because I often travel to speak, home is truly my favorite place to relax and recharge. But when time and resources are available, we slip off to the Outer Hebrides of Scotland.
Favorite meal to make for your family? I am definitely not a cook, but I can make a tasty lasagna, following the recipe on the box. I double the ricotta cheese and use ground round for a bit more flavor.
Favorite hobby? Like all writers, I’m an avid reader. Historical novels with plenty of drama and a hint of mystery are my faves.
What is something God has been teaching you recently? The virtue of rest and the value of a good nap.
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