Revive Our Hearts Podcast

An Update on Vonette Bright

Leslie Basham: Here's Vonette Bright with a great way to wake up in the morning.

Vonette Bright: Just before I open my eyes, to be able to say, "Lord, this is Your day; and I want You to live it through me. Take away any anxiety and take away any apprehension. Let me express Your thoughts. Let me be Your mouthpiece." It's giving Him control today.

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Friday, July 23rd. Here's Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: It's been such a blessing to be talking with Mrs. Vonette Bright all this week in an interview that we recorded shortly before her husband's homegoing just a year ago.

And now we're able, today, to talk with her on the phone and to get an update on what God has been doing in her life and how God's grace has been real and rich to her during this past year.

So, Vonette, thank you so much for joining us here on Revive Our Hearts today.

Vonette Bright: It's always a special, special treat, my dear, to be with you. I'm just so grateful that we have this privilege of visiting together and connecting in this way.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Well, you've been a precious friend, as we've told our listeners during this past week, for many, many years. It's been such a blessing and a challenge and a joy to me to watch how God's grace has sustained you through the last days of Bill's life here on earth and then through this past year as you've been a widow.

Let's go back to those final days and months of Bill's life. Now, as you reflect back, what are a couple of the most precious and special memories that you have of those final days with Bill.

Vonette Bright: As we look back at the last days, of course, you were here that last week of his life. You left on...

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Just a few days before he went to heaven. It was a little bit like being gathered on the portals of heaven, there.

Vonette Bright: Well, it was so special, but it was so wonderful that you were here when Bill was still able to talk with you. He knew you were here, was delighted you were here.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And was still dreaming up new things to do for the Lord and telling others what they should be doing too.

Vonette Bright: That's exactly right. I was so grateful that we could have him at home. He was delighted to be at home, as a matter of fact. I didn't realize how delighted he was until one morning, about, I guess, maybe two weeks before he passed away.

He had a dream that he was in a nursing home. It was just devastating to him that there were so many people who were there that were staring at the wall, that were not challenged to really think mentally. There were few people who came to see them, and it just seemed to be an entire waste of humanity.

He began to think. He was praying, Lord, what could I do to help them? He came up with the idea--and you might rather suspect this of Bill Bright--that they could pray. They could have a part in helping to change the world by praying for the world and praying for many of the circumstances and it would be so stimulating to them.

He put together a little booklet for prayer, encouraging particularly the senior citizens, called As Long as You Have Breath. At the same time, he was rejoicing. Any time you asked him how he was, he would say, "I'm rejoicing." Even when he was in serious pain, it was still "I'm rejoicing."

It was during the last month, I would say, of his time of being alive, I had said to him, "Honey, have you ever thought about why God may be having you suffer like this?"

He was so perky and his eyes so bright, and he said, "I am not suffering. Jesus suffered and the disciples suffered and the martyrs suffered."

One day, he asked me, as he was having a harder time reading, he said, "Honey, would you read 1 Peter to me?" He was looking a lot to 1 Peter those last few days. It's 1 Peter 1:7, "These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold, and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold. So if your faith remains strong after being tried by fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world."

Isn't that a beautiful verse?

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: So those sufferings are purposeful and they're purifying...

Vonette Bright: Trials for the present, but God has a purpose for them and we will be brought through victorious if we just simply praise Him. And Bill Bright did it right. It was just really so special, but Bill did not feel he was suffering. I'm so grateful that God made it possible and that I could be so available to care for him.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: What is it that you miss most about daily life with Bill Bright?

Vonette Bright: I miss him! I miss his sense of humor, his laughter. I miss his arms around me. I miss just snuggling up with him. I miss being able to go to him for counsel.

I can't say that, you know, I haven't had one single moment of despair. I've had times of semi-loneliness, but I have such a wonderful support system around me. Oh, I have to tell you this to laugh: I am very definitely human. I'm not super-human.

But this particular afternoon, I guess, I was experiencing a little more loneliness. Anyway, I walked into the living room and I thought, I'm going to be courageous to say this aloud, "Being a widow is the pits."

Alone in the living room, I looked out my west window and here was the most gorgeous sunset, and it was as if the Lord said, "Yes, and I'm taking very good care of you."

I had to chuckle. It was off my mind; I had said it. So then I went over to a couple of friends who are widows and I said, "I got brave. I said the words to the Lord" (in terms of what happened).

But when I said, "Being a widow is the pits," they both said in unison, "I agree." Both of them, at the same time. So we had a little pity party quickly and laughed and prayed and thanked God for who we are and what we have and the way in which He's caring for us.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: How have other people been a blessing to you during this time, and what are some ways that we can minister to those who are in times of suffering or loss or to those who are lonely? What's been a blessing to you?

Vonette Bright: Well, just the support, just being there. People who call, and, you know, say, "Let's go to lunch together," or "Can I take you out to dinner?" People just call to say, "I'm thinking of you and just trust everything's going well."

Flowers continue to come all the time. Someone sent me 55 beautiful, American Beauty red roses for our 55th wedding anniversary. Our grandson, (actually, the children were here) our 16-year- old, Christopher, walked to the front door; he said, "Grandmother! There's a field of roses out here!"

I had said, "Grandfather has ordered red roses for me."

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And sent them from heaven.

Vonette Bright: And sent them from heaven. Well, they had somebody else's name on them. I know that Bill ordered them and Jesus gave somebody the privilege of delivering. It was such fun. So there have been lots of joyful times.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: How has this whole experience affected your perspective on heaven and on eternity?

Vonette Bright: Oh, it's made heaven very, very real. I imagine Bill, I know, in fact, in the Living Translation, it talks about how--when everything is ready--"I will come for you," Jesus says. I've always thought it was an angel that came to pick us up, but He says, "I will come for you, and I will take you unto myself" [John 14:3].

I imagined at that moment when Bill was breathing his last breath; in fact, I had said to him, "Honey, why don't you just let Jesus carry you to heaven?" As I turned and looked back, I thought his heart had stopped.

Then I saw a heartbeat and I saw a flutter, but he had never taken another breath. I saw his last breath here and his first breath in heaven. I think I witnessed seeing his heart but knowing that it was there.

He is more alive today than he was here. And I often think, I wonder what awesome experience Bill is having today. I wonder what is really awing him at this moment. I am enjoying his time in heaven. And I am enjoying my time here. And because I know he's rejoicing, I'm rejoicing, Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: You're continuing to carry out the mission and the vision that God called you and Bill to so many years ago of taking the Gospel to the world, living as surrendered servants of Christ and you are not sitting around doing nothing. I know that. What are some of the special projects that God's put on your heart that you think Bill would smile upon.

Vonette Bright: Well, I have finished three novels, that is in the Sister Series; then, the fourth one, we're working on at this moment. It will be out in October of '05.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: You're still a mother, a grandmother?

Vonette Bright: I'm a busy gal. I've got lots of things going. I'm doing a lot of speaking. And I'm telling the story, particularly of the journey home for Bill and how he finished so strong carrying on his testimony. I'm just delighted to be a servant of the Lord and doing what He directs me to do.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: So much of what you're doing now is the fruit of a commitment that you and Bill made the Lord back in, what, 1951 to surrender everything to Christ as Lord and to make your lives available for His purposes. You're really just continuing to live out that contract and to say, "Lord, my life is still Yours. Take me and use me for Your purposes."

Vonette Bright: That's very true, and even this morning, you know, the habit of just before I open my eyes to be able to say, "Lord, this is Your day and I want You to live it through me. Take away any anxiety and take away any apprehension. Let me express Your thoughts. Let me be Your mouthpiece." It's giving Him control today. That's what Bill and I did for 54 years, six months and 20 days.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And you're continuing to run the race, and you're running it so well, Vonette. I just thank you so much for the model that you are to so many of us. I'd like to just take a moment to pray for you and to thank the Lord for you and to just pray a special prayer of blessing on you in this season of your life.

Lord, I thank You for this precious sister, for Vonette, and the lover that she has been to her husband and the way that she has modeled what it means to honor your husband, to follow his leadership and to partner with him in their mutual calling in life.

She's been a fruitful woman, and still is, and is using the gifts that You've entrusted to her to invest in Your kingdom and to invest in the lives of eternal souls.

Lord, we just want to pray that You would continue to meet every one of her needs. Lord, we don't ask for her or ourselves that You would make it an easy road, but we thank You for Your presence and Your going with us on this road that is leading us to Your very presence, where we will join You and others that we've known and loved, not too very long from now.

We pray a blessing on her. Keep her; may the countenance of Your face shine upon her and be merciful and gracious and fill her in the days ahead. I pray Your peace and Your continued joy. I pray for Jesus' sake, Amen.

Leslie Basham: Isn't it great to listen in on a conversation between two godly women? We've been learning from Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Vonette Bright. Sometimes it's hard to catch everything. We need time to think and pray about what we heard. By getting a copy of their conversation, you can do just that.

The entire week of interviews comes on one CD. When you order, you'll get additional pieces of their conversation that we didn't have time to air. You can get a CD for a suggested donation of $8. To order, just call us at 1-800-569-5959 or go on-line at ReviveOurHearts.com.

On Monday, we'll tackle an important, practical topic, moral purity, with our guests, Josh and Shannon Harris. We hope you can be here for Revive Our Hearts.

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

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