Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: Nancy Lincoln realized she couldn’t change anything on her own, so she asked God for help.

Nancy Lincoln: I was trying to do everything on the outside, I guess you could say, and clean up my life literally. But God knew I needed a new heart. He knew I needed the Holy Spirit in order to live out the life that He was calling me to live as a believer.

So the first thought was of Jesus and of peace, and I felt love. I just felt like everything is going to be okay. It was the peace that surpasses understanding that was on my heart and in my life at that moment. I just know that’s what it was.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. It’s Tuesday, January 22.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Thirty-five years ago today the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the woman has a legal right to have an abortion. Since that day, the lives of over 40 million babies have been prematurely taken. On this day we grieve the loss of those lives. But we also grieve for the mothers, the fathers, the grandparents who’ve dealt with the pain and the regret after an abortion.

Yesterday we listened to the first part of a conversation that I had with Nancy Lincoln where she described a difficult home life as she was growing up and how she became involved as a teenager in a promiscuous lifestyle. She talked about the party scene that she enjoyed as a successful young woman professional and then the day she discovered she was pregnant and how her boyfriend gave her a choice. He said, “It’s me or the baby.”

At the end of yesterday’s program we heard Nancy say, “So I got the abortion. I went home and got drunk, and then I cried myself to sleep.”

On this anniversary of that fateful Supreme Court decision, we’re going to hear more of Nancy Lincoln’s story and how God, by His incredible mercy and grace, began to turn those ashes to beauty. We pick up in the conversation as Nancy is describing what happened to the boyfriend who had given her the ultimatum.

Nancy Lincoln: Once you have an abortion, it’s like having a trauma to your soul. So I think I was kind of a bummer. He wasn’t real happy with me after that, and I didn’t really have a whole lot of interest in doing things. The tear to your soul changes you. I believe that he sensed that nothing would be the same.

So six months later he aborted me. And that was the very reason why I got the abortion.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Because he said, “It’s that or me.” And you wanted him, gave up the baby and then lost him.

Nancy Lincoln: Yes. And so many women—that’s exactly their story. They do it to keep the relationship and they wind up sacrificing the child on the altar of their hopes and dreams and then they’re just dashed again when the relationships end. So now the baby is gone and the guy is gone, and you’re left to try to figure out how to pick up the pieces of your life and go on. And I didn’t know how to do anything but party.

I want to make clear that I’m a professional woman now working in New York City. I’m well dressed; I have a nice car. This isn’t somebody who’s partying. I’m saying the kind of partying that’s socially acceptable today. I’m at the bars; I’m smoking pot—not that that’s socially acceptable. But I’m not doing anything that’s really that abnormal in our culture today.

And I’m going through it.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: You’re not on skid row.

Nancy Lincoln: No.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: So you went back to the party.

Nancy Lincoln: Went back to the party, but now I partied harder.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: What does that mean? What did that look like?

Nancy Lincoln: Well, what that looked like was I left the job that I was working where I was involved with this gentleman. So I went and got a job at Seagram’s—do you know it’s a liquor company?—in the marketing department. I was working for executives that were marketing the scotches. So guess what I started drinking.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Scotch. Probably as much as you wanted, right?

Nancy Lincoln: Well, I used to get those little bottles, and we’d have all these parties that were going on—taste testing parties and little events for all the after-work gatherings and stuff.

So I started drinking harder, and then I started doing harder drugs. The numbing was what I was after.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: What were you trying to numb?

Nancy Lincoln: I think I was trying to numb the pain of life, that which life had stolen from me. I think I started to realize that something’s wrong. I’ve been deceived somewhere. But again, I didn’t have any information, and I didn’t have anyone else around me to tell me that. I just think that was something that God started to work in my heart. He started to show me that there was something different and something better.

Remember, I grew up having a form of religion, so I knew that God was out there. I just didn’t know how to find Him. So I think God started to, through the Spirit, to quicken my spirit, make me start longing for something different. But I didn’t know what that was.

But in the midst of that, my girlfriend . . . We had grown up together, and she came to Christ. We continued to have conversations, and she started to share about Jesus and she started to share God’s love with me and that God had a plan for me and that He had a purpose for my life. She was the one that had influenced me down that path of destruction, but now she was influencing me toward Christ.

She had stopped the partying and the relationships, and she had started to become that vision of something better.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: So what did you think about that change in her?

Nancy Lincoln: I loved her and I laughed at her. I used to think, “Well, if that works for you . . .” You know that mindset of, “If that’s what you need and that works for you,” that postmodern understanding that everyone’s free to choose and I’m glad you found something. I hope it won’t interfere with our friendship kind of a mentality I had with her.

She loved me right where I was. She loved me unconditionally and from a distance. She would write me cards, and she would put in Scriptures and stuff. And I thought, “It’s time for me to go visit her. I’ve got to save her. I need to rescue her from this religion that she has found.”

So I went to California and listened to her and responded to the gospel. I heard the gospel. She shared clearly the plan of salvation with me, God’s redemption, God’s love. And I believed. I believed with all my heart that that was true, that was right, and that was the right thing to do.

So off to New Jersey. I went back and I attempted in the flesh, apart from the Spirit of God, to live the Christian life, and it didn’t work.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: What did you think that living the Christian life looked like?

Nancy Lincoln: No fun. Change everything about you. Just very legalistic. The big reason I think that I didn’t follow Christ was that I didn’t get involved in a church and I didn’t make Christian friends. I went back to the same environment, the same people, the same circumstances. While there was a seed of faith, I believe, that was planted in my heart, nothing on my external changed. And that makes a difference because I was very caught up in those patterns of how to find life.

So before long I returned to the lifestyle of just continuing in—I mean I probably gave it up for two or three weeks. I don’t want to kid you. It wasn’t like six months of wrestling to not party or anything. It was just like, “Okay, I tried it.” I’d be at parties and they’d be drinking and I’d say, “No thank you.”

Circumstances brought Patty and me back together. God told Patty, “Go home. I want to use you to save your friends.” So she obeyed and she came back. And circumstances brought us back together.

So she came back and we were living together. I met another guy that I started going out with, and he liked to do drug dealing and he was much further along in his addiction, his drinking, and his drugs and all that.

What happened with him was that he never wanted to go out. So for about one year we stayed at home and we partied and stayed up all night and just had this cycle of destruction that literally brought me to my knees because now I became addicted to the drugs.

I started doing cocaine and started not wanting to go to work anymore, started to just think about when we’re going to get more drugs. So that’s where it took me. It took me to a deep pit of darkness and lifelessness and hopelessness.

He used to talk to me about a twelve-step program, a recovery program. The reason that he was in that cycle himself and partying very, very hard is that he had been sober, clean and sober for two years, and he had relapsed when we met.

So now he’s filled with guilt and he’s partying harder, and he’s got somebody to party with. We would use drugs and he began to talk to me about getting clean.

Nancy, this will shock you. This was the first time I had ever heard of a lifestyle without partying. It was so dysfunctional. We would do drugs and here we would talk about getting clean. So we did that for a couple of months.

Finally I said, “I want to go to a meeting. Take me to a meeting.” And he wanted to go to a meeting. I think we both really wanted something better, but we just didn’t know how to get there. So he said, “Let’s go to the meeting.”

We went to the meeting and never did drugs again from that day on. Walked into that place surrounded by people that had lived that lifestyle of drugs and alcohol and found sobriety, became clean and sober. They stood up and talked, “I’m 30 days clean, 60 days clean.” What it was was God showing me a group of people who had spirituality. Some of them had Jesus, not all of them; but they had something better. That was the picture that God showed me.

So for the next month I was going to meetings every day, sometimes two meetings a day because I was so hungry. I just didn’t want to do drugs anymore. I didn’t want to do the alcohol anymore.

I didn’t know if I really wanted Jesus, I just knew I didn’t want to feel, and I didn’t want to run, and I didn’t want to numb. I knew that my hopes and dreams as a little girl wasn’t this. I just wanted to get clean and sober.

Then one month later, I think it was, my boyfriend relapsed and he went over to New York City. He was beat up and had a gun put into his mouth. We used to go over there all the time. So it was like God, again, I believe God used that to put that fear into me, that fear of death. Literally, fear of death.

What was happening was I was going to sleep at night and I could feel the presence of evil in my room. I could feel the darkness. I don’t know how to put that into words, but I could just feel something was going on in my room. I would literally wake up and run out of my room, frightened.

So I had all these things happening. God was, I believe, calling me by name to come and to surrender.

Finally one night, the fear gripping my soul, I was just so hopeless that I began to weep uncontrollably, I mean one of those sobbing bending over; the sounds are not even coming out because I am just so devastated by what’s happened in my life. I just cried out and I said, “Jesus, please save me.”

I remember laying in my bed lifting my hands and saying, “Oh, Jesus, please save me because if You don’t, I’m going to die.” Then I just passed out; I don’t even remember falling asleep. I don’t remember anything after that. But then waking up the next morning, the first thought that I had was of Jesus.

And I had peace. I had hope. I felt new. You know 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” I believe that I was born again through that night.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: So you had been in a process there of getting clean from drugs through that twelve-step program, kind of having a moral makeover. But this was something far deeper beyond that that had to do with becoming a new person from the inside out.

Nancy Lincoln: Yes, I was trying to do everything on the outside, I guess you could say, and clean up my life literally. But God knew I needed a new heart. He knew I needed the Holy Spirit in order to live out the life that He was calling me to live as a believer.

So the first thought was of Jesus and of peace, and I felt love. I just felt like everything is going to be okay. It was the peace that surpasses understanding that was on my heart and in my life at that moment. I just know that’s what it was.

I went out to the kitchen and told my girlfriend and of course she was ecstatic, but she had also heard that from me before. I had had my ups and downs with the Lord and with her along the way. So she was a little bit skeptical with my decision.

That morning I was in my closet getting some stuff out of a box, and I came across a Bible that she had given me. I began to devour the Word of God. I began to read the Bible, and I began to ask her questions, and I began to go to Sunday School. Literally, God delivered my life from the pit.

That night when I woke up, the Word of God became the healing bond to my soul, and I began to see myself through God’s eyes. It was a transforming experience, an awakening to my soul. Everything became new.

I would go outside and hear the birds singing and I would think, “God made those birds.” I would think, “I know the God of the universe!” It was such an amazing transformation, an amazing from death to life experience.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: So now you’re a new creation. You’re in Christ and there’s a hunger, and you’re starting to grow. But you’ve still got all these years . . .

Nancy Lincoln: Baggage.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Baggage and wrong choices and botched decisions and relationships, an abortion. Did that all of a sudden just go away? Were you still dealing with guilt and shame issues? Emotionally and as a woman, what was happening in you as you thought about your past?

Nancy Lincoln: I was forgiven, but I wasn’t free.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: So you knew that you were forgiven? Was that something you became conscious of pretty quickly?

Nancy Lincoln: Oh, yes. I knew from the Word of God that there was “therefore now no condemnation in Christ Jesus” and that all of my sins had been removed “as far as the east is from the west.” It says in Psalm 103 that all my sins were covered under the blood of Christ and that I was forgiven. I was so thankful.

But what I didn’t realize then was that choices had consequences.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: So in what sense were you not free?

Nancy Lincoln: I still felt guilt. I still felt shame. I still felt deep regret. I still had a lot of damaged emotions. It’s one thing to know you’re forgiven. It’s another thing to be living in the consequences of all your choices. So I was kind of in a battle to try to figure out how to resolve that.

And I did. I went for counseling to deal with some of the hurts. God is gracious; He brings one thing up at a time. So as He would bring that one thing up that I would be dealing with then, I began going for Christian counseling and I began to start to uncover and resolve some of the hurts, some of the reasons why I ever began down that process of making those wrong choices.

God started to unravel one thing at a time and have me face it through the Word of God and see it from God’s perspective. So I began to resolve one thing at a time.

Of course, remember I’m getting all of my needs and all of my significance and all of my love from my relationships with men.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: In the past.

Nancy Lincoln: Yes. But now I’m a Christian and I’m surrounded by all these men in these programs that I’m going through, and I’m wanting to relate to them the same way that I was before. But now I know that that’s not right. So now I needed more information. I needed some help, some discipleship.

I began to get some training, some understanding. Right away I decided I wanted to help people. That was something God had put on my heart. I wanted to become a counselor. I thought, “I have some good information that people need to know, and I would like to be able to help people with drugs and alcohol problems because I understand the pain of drugs and alcohol and I want to help people find freedom.”

So God, being gracious as He is, led me to a ministry called His Mansion. I went to the ministry and I was hoping to go on staff there. I went through some training to be a biblical counselor and began to work through even more of my deeper hurts through the process of being on staff there.

Within a couple of months they said, “We have an opening in Chicago.” So I went to Chicago and stayed there for a year. I wound up making the pledge to God that I would stop being sexually active, that I would stop making those same destructive choices that I had been making all along in my prior life before Christ.

I had people all around me and I made the commitment to abstinence. I said, “Lord, I’m going to commit my purity to You, and I’m going to walk in holiness. My body is a temple of the living God, and I’m going to not defile my body anymore. I’m going to save myself for my future husband.”

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Well, Nancy Lincoln’s story offers hope to anyone who has made sinful choices, which is all of us. As I listened again to today’s portion of Nancy’s testimony, I was reminded of that verse in Isaiah chapter 61, verse 1. It’s a prophecy of the ministry of the Lord Jesus and it says, “The LORD has anointed me to . . . proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.”

How I praise God that He is a great redeeming God who sets captives free through the saving work of Jesus Christ.

As we share messages and testimonies on Revive Our Hearts, my prayer is that you will not just be a spectator, listening to other people’s stories, but that you will be a participant in what God is wanting to say and do in your own life.

I wonder as you’ve listened to Nancy’s story, is there something perhaps that you’ve related to, maybe not in the details, but something in your past that is haunting and troubling you to this day?

As we think about the subject of abortion on this anniversary of Roe v. Wade, perhaps that’s the issue that’s bothering your conscience. How many women I’ve met and talked with over the years who had never told anyone that they had had an abortion. It's just that deep, hidden, dark, shameful secret that they’ve kept buried within, and they’ve not been able to walk into freedom and to get beyond their shameful past.

Maybe it’s not the issue of abortion; maybe it’s something else. Whatever it is, would you be willing today to step out into the light? Confess it to the Lord. Reject the lie that you could never be forgiven. And by faith receive the forgiveness that Jesus Christ made available for you when He died on the cross.

That doesn’t mean that all the scars and the painful memories of your past will magically disappear. But it does mean that you can be a whole, forgiven, cleansed woman of God. And beyond that you can become an instrument of grace and blessing for other hurting women.

Let me go back for just a moment to that passage in Isaiah 61 that I referred to just a moment ago. Scripture says that He wants “to grant to those who mourn . . . a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified” (verse 3).

God wants to be glorified through your life as you agree with Him about the sins of your past and let Him set you free so that your life can bring great glory to Him.

When we return tomorrow, we’ll pick up with Nancy’s story and hear how God is using her today as an instrument of righteousness, being used to glorify Him in the lives of others.

Father, how I thank You for Your great, wonderful, redeeming, amazing grace. Thank You, Lord, that it found me and it’s found so many of our listeners. I pray that this would be a day, a turning point of walking into the light and finding newfound grace and forgiveness and restoration in the hearts of many of our listeners as we say, “Lord, I’m a prisoner. I’m in bondage. But thank You that You came to set me free.”

And Lord, would You restore and renew and redeem and revive the hearts of Your children that our lives may bring great glory to You. I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been calling you to freedom from guilt and condemnation. If you just prayed with Nancy, we’d love to hear from you. Visit ReviveOurHearts.com and let us know how this program has intersected with your life.

We’d like to be praying for you and to rejoice with you if you’ve experienced some freedom today. If you or someone you know is in trouble, if you can relate to the story Nancy Lincoln’s been telling, visit ReviveOurHearts.com. You’ll find links on pregnancy care and information on abortion alternatives.

One great piece of information available on our website is the transcript of today’s program. Why not read it and email it to a friend? Or share today’s program by ordering them a copy on CD.

When you order, you’ll get additional interview material that we didn’t have time to air today. If you know someone who needs some hope, this program could provide exactly what they need and it would be a great resource for your teenagers. It could generate a great discussion about choices and consequences.

Order the CD by visiting ReviveOurHearts.com, or call 1-800-569-5959.

She didn’t realize it at the time, but Nancy Lincoln’s abortion was going to significantly influence her future marriage. We’ll hear the story tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

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

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version.

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