Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Leslie Basham: Here’s Molly Veldt:

Molly Veldt: I was raised in a Christian home. I knew all the right answers; I knew the pat answers, and yet when it came down to really struggling with painful, hard things in my life, those pat answers weren’t working anymore.

But I think God welcomes us. I think He asks us, “Question me. I will answer. I will be here for you.”

Leslie: It’s Thursday, June 7, and you’re listening to Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

All week, Molly Veldt has been sharing a moving story with Nancy Leigh DeMoss and her friend Holly Elliff. They were able to connect while at a conference, and you’ll hear that the sound quality isn’t as good as we usually capture in the studio. But the heart qualities Molly Veldt exemplifies—all of us need to hear those.

Let’s join the conversation.

 Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Well, Holly, as we’ve been listening to this incredible story over the last few days, I know the listeners who have been with us have probably had to pull out some Kleenex. We’ve had some tears sitting around this table, hearing an amazing story of a human tragedy. But it is something that is so much bigger than that: a story God is writing that is a glorious story, a good story. God is redeeming death, loss, suffering, and pain; and He is manifesting Himself through that.

It’s been such a privilege for you and for me to be here with our new friend, Molly Veldt. Molly, I thank you for joining us and for being willing to live this story. Though you didn’t have a whole lot of choice in that, you have had a choice about how you have responded to God’s choice for your life.

For listeners who might not have heard the whole story, it’s available on CD, and I hope that you will order this. There is probably someone in your life that could benefit by your sharing this story with them. Even if you can’t think of somebody right now, down the road there will be someone.

I can think of people I know who would be encouraged and given hope by what seems like such a hopeless story initially. But it’s not hopeless, because God is in it. So, Molly, thank you for sharing this story and for joining us on Revive Our Hearts.

Molly: It’s been a pleasure to be here. Thanks for including me.

Nancy: For those who may have missed it, let me just give the briefest thumbnail sketch—I can’t do it justice.

Molly, you’ve shared with us about how you entered into marriage with hopes and dreams and a desire for a large family. God did bless you with three children initially, biological children, and two of those three were diagnosed with a rare genetic disease that ultimately took their lives.

You buried first one son, and then another. Then God gave you the privilege of adopting two children, growing your family through international adoptions.

Then, when it seemed that there couldn’t be any more hairpin turns in this story, as you were serving the Lord with your husband—fulfilling a dream by serving the Lord on the mission field in Central Asia—you got pregnant again, when you thought you couldn’t and wouldn’t, with a little Mary Grace.

It was just a matter of weeks before you discovered that she, too, had this disease. Then you walked, once again, through that process of releasing a child to the Lord and yet another funeral.

I mean, it’s hard to believe. Certainly you had to be thinking that. But I was so touched yesterday to hear you share how God brought you to the point of recognizing that this little girl, too, was a gift from God. You shared that God used Mary Grace to teach you something about His love that you might not have experienced any other way.

But it seems like each of your children was a special gift from God, with a special expression of God’s heart and His character to you.

Molly: Yes. I do love thinking about them. It seems like each of them has a little theme of their lives—or at least a special way that they ministered to me.

For example, when I think of Cameron, he was our second son, but the first one to pass away. That was our first time to walk through the valley of the shadow of death. When I think of him, I think of the Lord being our shepherd—that He is the one who tenderly cares for His sheep.

I remember a verse at that time in our lives that really encouraged me was the one from Isaiah that says, “He tends his flock like a shepherd: he gathers the lambs in his arms . . . he gently leads those that have young” (40:11, NIV). During the years that Cameron was with us, we felt God’s caring for us as gentle and kind and loving and close.

And then Skyler, whom we got to keep for nearly nine years—he really passed his life expectancy. He was precious to us in many, many ways, but one thing that I clearly remember about him was that he didn’t have much ability.

He was wheelchair-bound. His arms had very little arm control, but when you asked him to hold up his little light, he would—with all the coordination and strength he could muster—he would hold up his index finger.

I look back on Skyler, and I think of the verse that says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16, KJV).

And that has been our prayer. That was our prayer at the time as we cared for him. We prayed that God could use our lives—could use the story of our lives—to let our lights shine, to let Skyer be our example. If he could shine his light, we could shine our light. So that’s one way I remember Skyler.

Mary Grace took me personally on a different journey, and it was a bit more intense as it relates to how I interacted with God, because I was so disappointed—so shocked at the news of her illness, too.

I felt, as I said yesterday, betrayed. When Mary Grace was conceived, I had so much hope that since this was a child we didn’t ask for, that she was just an extra little blessing—a little gift that God was blessing us with late in life. I knew in my heart that He was just not going to take us down this path again.

I felt so confident that she would be well. When she was diagnosed, I really struggled, really wrestled with the Lord. I struggled with feelings of shame. I felt that God had betrayed us. I felt that He was punishing me personally—that He didn’t love me. I struggled with His love for me.

And yet, over the course of the weeks and months that we cared for Mary Grace, we understood and learned in new ways what a treasure she was, what a gift she was. God gives good gifts, and he gives them to His children, and we were His children.

This precious gift He had given us of Mary Grace was a precious and beautiful and wonderful gift. And the measure of that—how I knew that—was that the love in my heart grew with each day. I treasured her.

The verse that comes to mind when I think of Mary Grace is in Ephesians chapter 3, verses 18 and 19. It says, “And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God” (NLT).

I just feel like her little life, even though it was short . . . When it was time to let her go, I’ll be honest, I was not ready to let her go. One night I put her to bed, and the next morning she woke up in heaven. There was a bit of a wrestling match that I had with God then, too.

With my other children, their passing was a bit more of a sacred moment because we were so aware of God’s presence and us handing them off. With Mary Grace, I was wrestling with Him, and I wasn’t ready to let go of her. Our time was too short, but as I look back on her life, I realize that she is the child who took me to understand God’s love for me in deeper ways. I feel very, very, very grateful for that.

Nancy: Molly, when we were preparing for this, you sent an email to give me a summary of your story. Let me just read the first paragraph.

You said, “The Lord has been so good in and through our losses. I’m grateful for the children He’s allowed us to have and hold, even for a brief time. I’m also grateful for the children He’s allowed us to keep. I’m grateful for the many rich experiences He’s allowed in our lives. My heart is rich and full because of Him.”

I don’t think it’s any accident that you used the word “grateful” three times in your introductory paragraph, as you were thinking back. It’s not like all of this happened eons ago. Some of this is still pretty fresh. But you said, “I’m grateful.”

Molly: Yes. The first Thanksgiving after Mary Grace was born—she was born in June—and that Thanksgiving, at a time when we’re hopefully looking over the last year of our lives and looking for ways to say thank you to God, I remember not feeling thankful.

I wasn’t grateful. I was very disappointed—still in a place of disappointment with Him and not understanding why in the world He allowed this to happen again in our lives.

It’s been in a different way with each child, but particularly with Mary Grace, each day that I held her and had her, I loved her more and more. What you love, you treasure. What you treasure is a gift. What this gift is, comes from a giver. The giver is good. The giver is God.

God gave us a precious, treasured, and wonderful gift. So when you have this great gift, you have to say thanks. She is precious, and I’m so thankful for the time that we had with her.

Holly Elliff: Molly, as I’m sitting here looking at your face, I find myself wishing that all the women listening to this program could also be here looking at your face. What is coming out of you is not bitterness, resentment, and anger for the paths that God has taken your life on, but joy and a deep understanding of who your heavenly Father is.

The fact that God in His sovereignty had a different plan for you did not keep you from understanding who God was in that plan. What would you say to the women out there listening who are in the trenches of some hurtful thing that they didn’t expect in their lives? How do they keep from becoming bitter, angry women? How do they turn that so that God can bring good out of it in their lives?

Molly: I think one thing that I would say is don’t be afraid to be honest with God. He is big enough for our honest questioning, our wrestling. He is big enough for that, and I think there have been times in my life when I knew all the right answers. I was raised in  a Christian home and I knew the pat answers, and yet when it came down to really struggling with painful, hard things in my life, those pat answers weren’t working anymore.

Holly: It wasn’t enough.

Molly: It wasn’t enough. But I think God welcomes us. I think He asks us, “Question me. I will answer. I will be here for you.”

For women that are struggling in the trenches, just be honest with Him, and He will meet you at your point of need.

Nancy: Molly, I think it would be easy, having been through what you’ve been through, to turn inward and recoil—to kind of tighten up, close your heart, and think, “I don’t want God tampering with my life anymore.” How do you walk into the future without dreading what’s around the next corner?

Molly: Yes. I can’t say that I’m immune from fear. I have fears too. But when I have those moments of fear, I can, one, look back and see God’s faithfulness and know and remember from history that He is big enough for whatever it is.

And, two, I can trust Him, even though I don’t always understand why this circumstance is happening the way it is or why this child is acting the way he or she is. I don’t understand it all, but I can choose to trust. Because God’s been so faithful, we learn to trust.

Holly: Molly, as I’m listening to you, I’m thinking of a verse in Isaiah 26, which you exemplify as you’re talking. It says, “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You” (verse 3, NASB).

So it’s not that you don’t have moments when it’s so difficult to understand why God has taken you there, when you are tempted to be drawn into fear, but you have made conscious choices to walk and trust—to get to the point of trust in your relationship with the Lord.

Out of that He brings a perfect peace that’s not of your design or making, but something God is giving you that is evident in your life as you speak about what God has done.

Molly: And let me just say—you say I’ve made conscious choices. I’ve made conscious choices to trust, but there are plenty of examples in my life of times when I’ve chosen not to trust, and fear has welled up in my heart.

So I want to be clear to say that this story I’m sharing is not a story of my faithfulness. This is a story of God’s faithfulness. This is a story of a work that He has done. And because He has shown Himself to me in huge and faithful ways, I can have the courage to trust Him and can choose to trust Him—only because of what He’s done for me.

Nancy: That’s encouraging, because all of us know, at some of those hard times, that if God left us, we couldn’t hold on. We couldn’t hang on. We couldn’t keep loving Him.

It’s encouraging for me to know it’s not me who has to keep holding on to God. Ultimately, it’s the fact that He’s never going to stop holding on to me, and that He will be faithful even when my faith lags and I yield to fear.

Holly: It produces so much fruit in the life of a woman who makes that choice to release herself into God’s hands.

You mentioned, as we were visiting earlier, about a woman in another country who heard your story and now has come to faith in Christ. As she saw you walking through tough things, it gave her the courage to want to know for herself who this God was. That is such beautiful fruit coming out of that choice.

Molly: It is neat. We don’t always get to see the fruit of the sufferings that we go through. But the Lord had been very generous to let us see an example of one woman in Central Asia who, when she heard our story—or heard God’s story, the story of His faithfulness—she took a look at that same God that we worshiped.

Eventually, several months later, she chose to receive Him as her Savior, and has consequently led several family members to the Lord.

It was so neat for me to hear her share her testimony and hear that it was our story—or God’s story of faithfulness—that impacted her. I remember thinking that none of the tears I’ve had over the years have been wasted. The Lord is redeeming them, using them, and producing eternal fruit, not just in my life, but in the lives of other people.

Nancy: And that’s just a little glimpse. You said somethin, early in our conversation a few days ago, that the God you thought you knew so well, you had come to see as mysterious. There’s so much more of Him we don’t know than we do know.

And I think that willingness to be content with mystery is a huge thing in the Christian life—to say, “Lord, thank You for the glimpses You give me that give me a little bit of understanding about what You’re doing or why”—but recognizing by faith that there’s so much more we don’t know.

God has purposes in all of this that you won’t know this side of eternity.

Holly: The story is so much bigger than just our lifetime even.

Nancy: And it’s okay not to know the ins and outs. If we knew all that God knows, we would be God, and we’re not. These stories remind us of our creaturely-ness, and of His greatness.

But I think that little glimpse of that woman coming to faith in Central Asia—that story is a reminder that God does have purposes, and that they are far grander, far greater, than anything we could ever imagine. We could never write the script the way God does.

Molly: It will be so exciting one day to see how He’s woven all these little details in our lives—and all these things that we’ve had to go through—how He’s woven them together for this amazing purpose.

I believe that a lot of it is to redeem others to Himself, to bring them to Him.

Nancy: You know, God’s Word says that He is the God of all comfort, and He promises in 2 Corinthians, chapter 1 to comfort us in our times of affliction (verses 3-4 ESV).

The three of us sitting around this table have experienced that—Molly, you have in some ways that Holly and I haven’t—but all of us in different ways.

Then He says that’s not the end of it. There’s purpose beyond our own comfort. He says one of the purposes is so that we can, at some point, comfort others with the comfort that we have received from the Lord.

I so appreciate the fact that you have not only come to know the God of all comfort—and found Him at your side and present in you at the funerals of three of your children—but that now, God is giving comfort through you to others who suffer. If they will receive that comfort, someday they will become an instrument of comfort, blessing, hope, and grace in someone else’s life.

So it’s not just about us. It’s about God, and it’s about other lives that He wants to touch and bless and reach and comfort through us.

Molly: That’s so true. It’s encouraging to think that when we do suffer, and when we do struggle and go through hard times, that it’s not wasted. He reuses it in the lives of other people. That lends so much purpose to what we go through.

Nancy: Molly, we often close Revive Our Hearts by praying for our listeners. You’ve come to know something of the Father and the shepherd-heart of God through your sufferings that some of us only dream about knowing, or only know intellectually.

I wonder if you would join us in praying for a listener who is suffering, who is fearful, who is maybe wrestling with God, wanting to know why, maybe struggling with bitterness, maybe deep in bitterness—for all different seasons and situations of life that listeners are facing.

Would you just pray for those listeners, and ask God to be to them in this moment and this season of life—and in every season—what you have found Him to be in your life?

Molly: God of all gods, God of comfort, I come before You right now. We join our hearts together and cry out on behalf of the listeners here today who are struggling for whatever reason, Lord, for whatever pain or sorrow they’re feeling right now.

We cry out to You on their behalf, and we pray, O Lord, that You, the God of all comfort, will pour Your heart of comfort into each and every one of them. I pray that they would experience Your presence in their lives in new ways.

I pray that they would understand You as a God of love, as a God of purpose, as a master weaver and designer who is working, as they struggle with what they’re feeling right now, for eternal purposes—both in their lives and in the lives of those that they touch.

Lord, I pray that you would multiply eternal fruit in each and every hurting listener today. Lord, that You would use their struggle, their pain, and their suffering to draw them closer to You.

I pray that they would feel Your presence. We pray that You would pour out Your love and Your comfort in their lives in new ways. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Leslie: We’ve had to trim some of the conversation between Molly Veldt, Holly Elliff, and Nancy Leigh DeMoss in order to fit our time slot on the radio. But you can hear the full interview when you order this week’s series on CD. We’ll send it your way when you make a donation of any size to the ministry of Revive Our Hearts.

You’ll also receive a book by Nancy called Surrender: The Heart God Controls. The details of your story will be different than Molly’s, but tragedies will come into your life like they’ve come into hers. Will you surrender to God’s plan in joy, like Molly has? The book Surrender will guide you through that issue, show you how Scripture relates, and lead you into a more abandoned adventure in God’s will.

Again, the book Surrender and the CD of this week’s conversation are yours when you make a donation of any amount. Make your donation online at ReviveOurHearts.com, or ask for the series and book when you call in your gift to 1-800-569-5959.

Maybe you’re moving through the kind of heart-wrenching circumstance that made Molly Veldt’s life so complicated. There is great hope and comfort in God’s Word, and that’s where Nancy will lead us. She’ll teach from Psalm 23 tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.