Revive Our Hearts Podcast

A Transformed Marriage

Leslie Basham: After living with an alcoholic husband for nine years, Lorna Wilkinson came to this conclusion. "Something had to be done, and so I decided that the best thing to do was to just go ahead and get a divorce and this would end all of that." This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Monday, April 18th. Here's Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Here at Revive Our Hearts, we get letters from so many women who are trying to survive in difficult, painful marriages. If you are in that situation and feel like giving up, I hope you will listen over the next three days to the story of Lorna Wilkinson. I first heard Lorna share this story when I was speaking in Houston a year or so ago. It was such an encouraging story that I asked her if she would share it with you as well. Here is Lorna explaining what life was like with her husband.

Lorna Wilkinson: For about the last nine years of that marriage, the marriage was just plagued with alcoholism. And, of course, with alcoholism there is mistrust and so many other things that go along with that, you get to the point where if your husband tells you he is going to be at a certain place at a certain time, there is no trust anymore.

There was a problem with finances. It was just totally broken down because there was no responsibility there. It was mainly due to the drinking that really took precedence over everything in our home. After years and years of dealing with those issues, I did not want to deal with them anymore. I just wanted to be free.

My idea of freedom was to get a divorce and just be away from this man that I had loved for twenty-one years, who was a very good father and not abusive to the children in any way or to myself, but the finances in the home were just in a state of chaos.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: How would you have responded during those years, those nine years of frustration? Were you typically patient with your husband or had you had some outbursts? How did you handle all that?

Lorna Wilkinson: Well Nancy, initially, I thought that this would change, and I had a lot of hopes. It just got progressively worse. What started happening in my life was I became very angry; I became very frustrated, and I was very, very bitter. I, in a sense, disliked my husband.

I wasn't a member of a church at that time. I knew about God, but certainly did not have a relationship with Him. I was just lost at that point. I started lashing out and getting mean and hateful in the relationship. I didn't like myself for doing that so there was a lot of guilt and just so many things that were new that I wasn't used to feeling. I felt like something had to be done, and so I decided the best thing to do was just go ahead and get a divorce. This would end all of that.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: So, it sounds like there was a lot of tension and anger in your home for quite sometime.

Lorna Wilkinson: Yes, it was because I could not trust my husband anymore. I would get dropped off at work, and I wasn't picked up. I would be there for hours sometimes, necessitating renting a hotel room that was close by. It was a very, very difficult situation. I endured to the point that I said, "I cannot endure this anymore. I have to be released from this."

After I filed for divorce, we had only one vehicle, and so I had to go out and purchase one. I purchased a used vehicle from a friend. The night I picked the vehicle up the radio program on the dial was 107.5 FM. In the past I never listened to Christian radio. I had no interest in it really.

I would have just tuned out that station, but at that particular moment, there was a conviction that came over me, and I could not touch that dial. It just had to remain there. I go to work early in the morning because my day starts at 6:00 for work. So on my way to work the following morning, the radio was still on, and you came on.

On the program you were talking about total forgiveness, and I listened to that. I was just completely broken. You spoke of 1 Corinthians 13 and how God defined love for us. There was no envy, and it didn't keep scores. You said we had to release ourselves and be able to forgive in order to get that release, not hold on to things. That program just went around and around and around in my mind. I just couldn't get it out. A couple of days later driving home from work I gave my life to Jesus.

At that point the divorce was filed, and I asked my husband to leave, to move away, so he did and so the need for the vehicle. A few days later I received a call stating from him that he was very sick. I was still frustrated and angry to some degree, and I said, "Why are you calling me? Why don't you call 911?" And he did hang up the phone, and in his sickness he did call 911. At that point he had had a heart attack.

At this point my heart was softened. The Lord was in my soul and all over me at that point. The family had gathered at the hospital, and they were wondering where he would live if he had recovered from the heart attack.

The Lord spoke in my heart and said, "Go and whisper in your husband's ear that he doesn't have to worry about a place to live, to come home." And with all the tubes and all the things that were attached to him, I wasn't sure if he heard me, but I went and whispered in his ear, "I want you to come home, honey. I love you. We will work it out." After all of that, he was released from the hospital, and he came home.

The Lord is such a wonderful God that we serve. He is so alive and so well. He hears us. Everything that we say to Him, we may not think at times that He is listening to us, but He is all ears for us. His arms are outstretched. I experienced that when my husband came home.

I remember he was sitting on the couch in the living room. I went there and I knelt in front of him, and I said, "You know, honey, there have been so many things that have happened in our lives over the past years where I have lost trust, and there are so many, many hurtful things. But I just want you to know today that I forgive you."

I forgave him because I heard that from you, Nancy, that we have to forgive to release yourself from the burden so we can love. And I told him that I had forgiven him, and that I would never ever think of those things again even if he were to bring those things back up in our relationship, I would dismiss them because as far as the east is to the west, that is how I had forgiven him.

Then I asked him, "Will you forgive me? I have been wrong, too. Will you forgive me?" He said, "Lorna, I can't think of anything I need to forgive you for. You have been wonderful." I said, "Thanks be to God."

After that, it was just like a miracle occurred in our home, Nancy. Total restoration, total recovery that overtook our home . . . . My husband totally lost the urge to drink. He smoked cigarettes. He totally lost the urge to smoke cigarettes. He obtained a full-time job. It was very difficult for him to work prior to that because sometimes he couldn't do his job. He couldn't get there on time because he was drunk, but this was just a total recovery.

The Lord brought us back in such a way that we started having family meetings, prayer meetings. There were flowers. There were postcards. There were quiet, candlelight suppers . . . just a host of things that very few people experience in a marriage . . . total love, total affection.

I have to back up a little bit. After he came home, I still had frustration and dislike in my heart, but the words that you said, "Many times you will not be able to love your spouse in the way the Lord intended you to love him, but if you will just say to the Lord, 'I cannot do this on my own, but if You will just let Your love flow through me to my husband, I will be most grateful.'"

Nancy, I was able to use that every single time I felt dejected and I felt hurt and I felt frustrated. Because when you first accept the Lord, everything just doesn't vanish. You still have to deal with those hurts. But I would just repeat those words, "Lord, I cannot do this. I cannot love the way you intended me to love, but I am asking You, Lord, to release that love, to give me Your love, just let it flow through me to this man."

Nancy, the Lord was gracious. The Lord was so gracious to do that. All the faults that I had created in my mind against my husband, all the wrongs, they just started melting. They just melted down, Nancy. They just melted down. One by one, the scales fell off my eyes, and I was able to see the glory of the Lord . . . the love, the love that 1 Corinthians talks about. The love that does not hold anything against anyone. You can just be released to love in the manner in which the Lord intended us to love each other.

Leslie Basham: We have been listening to the story of Lorna Wilkinson. She has been talking to Nancy Leigh DeMoss about the power of God to change people and marriages. Lorna's life was changed when she bought a used car, and the radio happened to be tuned into a Christian radio station, and she heard Nancy teaching on love from 1 Corinthians 13.

Well, maybe you know someone in a marital situation a lot like Lorna's. You can order a copy of that teaching on CD. Just ask for the series, How's Your Love Life, when you call us at 1-800-569-5959. That is 1-800-569-5959. You can also order on-line at ReviveOurHearts.com.

We are so thankful for the way God has provided for Revive Our Hearts. We were able to come into Lorna's life and thousands like her because listeners have been willing to give. In the first few years of Revive Our Hearts, a handful of generous listeners have given substantially to get the program off the ground. We need many more to support us monthly as Revive Our Hearts continues into the coming years.

Well, Lorna's story had a happy ending today, right? But the story is not over. We will hear more tomorrow. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

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

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