Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Leslie Basham: Luana Stoltenberg helps women find freedom from the pain of abortion.

Luana Stoltenberg: If we have 4400 abortions a day, there’s been over 50 million abortions since abortion has become legal, and we’re finding that there isn’t a great deal of difference from the world than there is from the church. So how many women in the church are suffering from this.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Thursday, January 22. It was on this day in 1973 that the Supreme Court issued the Roe v. Wade decision that effectively legalized abortion in this country. This action has affected millions of lives, including Luana Stoltenberg.

Yesterday we heard about the deep effect abortion had on her and the deeper effect the unconditional love of Christ had on her as well. She and Nancy are picking up the conversation.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Luana, the Lord has not only set you free from the bondage and the guilt, the shame, the lies, the deception, He’s given you a precious son. He’s also now using you to speak into the lives of other women. Tell us a little bit about the ministry He’s given you and how He’s using you to help other women not perhaps to have to go down the same road that you did.

Luana: God is so good. It always just amazes me that He can use people like myself. It amazes me because I have nothing to give to anybody.

Nancy: What you have to give to anybody is Jesus, though.

Luana: Amen. That’s it.

Nancy: The same thing your mother brought to you by praying for you. That’s what has changed your life and that’s all your offering. That’s all any of us can offer to anybody else is Christ.

Luana: That’s true. It is. When we see it like that, there’s just freedom in it, isn’t there? There is when we get out of the way. The Lord is doing such amazing things. I’m involved in Operation Outcry. I’m the state leader for the state of Iowa.

What Operation Outcry is is women who have had abortions begin to speak out about their pain and what they have been through so that other women can hear it and know that they can be set free as well.

Nancy: So they’re not just speaking out about their pain. They’re telling their story, but they’re also telling how Christ has rescued them and set them free from the guilt and the shame.

Luana: Amen. Yes.

Nancy: Operation Outcry is something that women can learn more about by going to ReviveOurHearts.com, and we’ve provided a link there that will take them to Operation Outcry. When they get to that website, what are they going to find? How can they get involved? They’ve had an abortion. How can that mess become a part of their message?

Luana: In the first place, we would encourage them to have post-abortion counseling or get involved in a Bible study like Forgiven and Set Free or some sort of a Bible study that will let them know that what they did God can forgive them for it. They can even name their children and make a memorial so that they can feel that healing and know the Word of God and just be healed before they begin to speak out.

Then they can go to the website and they will be able to see all the places in every state where we have chapters and they can get involved locally. What we do as women with Operation Outcry is we go to churches and we tell our testimonies so that women can be set free within the church and the body of Christ so that they can get involved in other ministries.

Nancy: Luana, are there a lot of women in our evangelical churches who have had abortions?

Luana: Yes, there are.

Nancy: Based on your experience in those churches, are there a lot of women who are still in hiding and keeping this secret?

Luana: Oh, yes, there are.

Nancy: Why are they afraid to come out into the open?

Luana: I can’t say for sure, but I would say maybe the same fear I had was that people will reject me if they knew what I had done or that it was the unforgivable sin and there wasn’t any healing. Or, depending on where they are in that place, there are different places after you’ve had the abortion that you go. They may be depressed and they just can’t find the light or reach up. They need somebody to help pull them out. Or maybe they are in so much guilt and so much shame, they just can’t receive what the Lord has for them.

Nancy: If there’s any place that they ought to be able to come out into the light and find grace and find help, you’d think it would be in our churches.

Luana: You would think so.

Nancy: Yet as I’m talking with you and with some others who are involved with Operation Outcry, I’m finding that there’s a lot of fear in the church for women to come and step out into the light. I’m just so thankful that you’re sharing your story and hoping that will encourage women to find someone.

They may not stand in front of the whole church and say this right away—or ever—but to go and tell someone, “This is what is a part of my past and I need to get God’s grace to get set free from this.” So we want to encourage women not to stay in the shadows, not to stay in secrecy because I think it’s the secrecy that the enemy uses to keep women in bondage.

Luana: Definitely. If we have 4400 abortions a day, there’s been over 50 million abortions since abortion has become legal, and we’re finding that there isn’t a great deal of difference from the world than there is from the church. So how many women in the church are suffering from this?

I think a lot of times pastors too may seem hesitant of it. They don’t want to feel like they’re condemning or they just don’t want to bring this issue up. But women need to hear it so they can be healed. I mean why not have women that are healed and empowered in the church to give the gospel rather than shrunk down in shame and in guilt.

Nancy: There are so many issues that women are experiencing that may be tied back to this secret that they’ve kept for all these years and never told anybody. All anybody knows is they are depressed. They’ve got marriage issues. They’ve got sexual issues. Many times those issues do tie back to an abortion or more abortions that they’ve never really dealt with God’s way.

Luana: They do. There’s such fear I’m finding in women. Maybe after I’ve spoken, they’ll come up and they’ll secretly tell me, but they haven’t shared with their husband or they haven’t shared with their parents. There are some women that are in their 40s that haven’t told their parents. So there’s so much fear there that the enemy has just crippled women to be so fearful and so ashamed of what they’ve done that they won’t speak up.

It’s like what you said, that’s where the freedom comes. Once we start talking, what does the enemy have on us? He’s got absolutely nothing. We have just exposed him and now we can receive what God has for us. So the enemy has no weapons in his arsenal once we begin to talk about it. Nothing.

Nancy: So the woman who comes up to you after you speak and she says, “I’ve never told anybody this before,” what do you say to her?

Luana: I tell her that God forgives her and that He loves her and then I would encourage her to get involved in a Bible study or somewhere that she can receive that healing. I let her know that it’s nothing that she should be guilty or full of shame about.

Nancy: Assuming that there is a repentant heart.

Luana: Correct.

Nancy: That she’s not justifying this or defending it or blaming someone else but that she’s taking responsibility, as you came to the point of doing. Repenting of it—calling it sin, as God does. Then she can experience the grace and the forgiveness of God.

Luana: Yes, that’s correct.

Nancy: So you’re sharing your testimony in churches. You’ve shared it in schools, high schools. How do you get into the schools and what do you share with them?

Luana: I share my testimony a lot of times and then roll it into why they shouldn’t be sexually active until marriage because it’s such a sacred gift God has given us. So why not keep yourself as that gift to your spouse. A lot of times I tie my husband into it as to what did I have to give him except for a bunch of filthy rags and a mess.

Wouldn’t it have been so much more wonderful to maybe hand him a piece of paper that says, “I have covenanted with the Lord to stay pure for you. I am your gift to you. I am your marriage gift.” What an incredible gift we can give our spouses.

So I tie in how abortion affects us and the consequences of it. How you can just not experience any of that if you remain pure. The schools are my favorite places to speak.

Nancy: Are these high schools?

Luana: A lot of times high schools, yes, or junior highs.

Nancy: What are some things that girls have said to you after they have heard you speak?

Luana: A lot of girls will come up and they’ll thank me, and they’ll tell me that they’re just amazed, that they didn’t realize that. But then there are a lot of girls too that I can tell are feeling that shame, whether they’ve had an abortion or not, I know they’ve been sexually active.

It’s gotten the wheels turning and gotten them thinking about what could happen if I continue in this vein. What could happen? Trying to be proactive, I guess. There’s a place for healing, but then there’s a place to speak to the younger generation and say you don’t have to experience the pain that I’ve been through.

Nancy: I know you’re also involved in some legislative efforts. Tell us what you’ve done along those lines.

Luana: I’ve helped with different elections. I think that’s one way that we can be proactive is if we have a candidate who’s standing for life, we need to support him. We need to get the word out that this person is going to represent what our beliefs are, what our faith is. They’re going to make sure that maybe some day this will be overturned.

Nancy: This being . . .

Luana: This being abortion. We also, in Operation Outcry and just women, have gone before legislatures and shared our testimonies with them because many of the people that are sitting in our senate offices or congressional offices or even judges don’t realize the pain of abortion. They don’t know the consequences of abortion.

Some don’t even realize the procedure of abortion and that a life is taken and a woman is harmed through it. So we’ve gotten to sit before legislators and visit them and let them know how this is affecting our society as a whole. Many have changed and are moved by the women’s stories to hear what it’s really doing to our society.

Nancy: As you’re speaking to teenagers, young women, high schools, youth groups, college campuses, what are you hearing from these young women? I know that a lot of our listeners who are moms and grandmoms probably have no idea what these girls are really thinking and where they are? What are some of the lies that they are believing, some of the things that need to be addressed so we know how to pray and what the battle really is here?

Luana: There’s a huge battle because our children are being told such lies in the school system from very small all the way up to college. The youth in general are believing a lot of lies that they’re being told, like the safe sex myth, that condoms work. They aren’t being told the truth in the schools about the failure rates of condoms or the consequences of sex, which is sad. Our school systems don’t believe that our kids are strong enough to be able to say no.

I think it’s interesting how we can have a whole campaign around let’s say no to drugs, but we can’t trust our kids to be able to say no to sex and tell them the truth about what’s going to happen? That’s exactly what’s happening. These kids are believing these lies and they’re thinking, “Well, if I don’t go all the way, or if I just use a condom . . .” All the “if’s.”

But it’s not true. What we need to do is say, “If you do this, this is what could happen. If you have sex, you can get pregnant. If you have sex, you can get an STD and possibly become infertile because of the STD or because of the abortion that you had.

We need to tell our young people the truth because they’re not hearing it, and they’re believing the lies of the world. It’s amazing being involved in the school system to hear the things that kids talk about and what they’re so involved in.

Nancy: Such as . . .

Luana: Sex. Very young. Very young. It didn’t even cross my mind until I was 14 or 15, but now we’re seeing it in the elementary schools. I’m involved in the schools in other ways too, not just speaking in them, but just the job that I do. I remember thinking I could send my son off to school and trust them and I thought everything would be fine.

Then as I became active in the school system, just realizing the language that was being used and the things the kids were talking about and how much earlier they’re getting sexually involved and thinking it’s okay. I was absolutely horrified that my son was in the middle of all this and wondering, is he believing what I’m saying or is he believing what they’re saying? I hope he’s believing what I’m saying.

It began a whole lot of speaking to Zachary about what sex is and what is appropriate and what is not and dating and just everything that they really don’t cover in the schools, that they just go all the way to Z without going through everything first. So I would encourage anyone who’s listening today who is a parent to definitely open this discussion with your children and talk to them about what is appropriate and what is not.

What are they hearing? What are they seeing? As uncomfortable as it may be, I would say do a Bible study with your child about it. Just talk to them about it and let them know the true danger that’s involved in it.

Nancy: I think there are probably some parents who think, “Well, my child’s in a Christian home. They’re not being exposed to that stuff. Plus, they’re in the youth group.” But they may be in a church youth group and still be exposed to things that their parents really have no clue about.

Luana: Most of them are. I was that parent. I really thought because we had sheltered Zachary and we were praying and he went to youth group and we were so close to the Lord, I don’t know why, I just felt like he was in this bubble and he was protected from it.

When I literally saw the same kids he was hanging around with and the classes he was going to and just the things that were going on on the bus, I literally was appalled. I was. I was living in a bubble and I think sometimes as Christians we do. We think our kids are sheltered and we’ve done our job, and we haven’t.

Nancy: You can’t say, “That’s the youth director’s job. That’s the church’s job.” Parents have got to take that responsibility. Not just with the girls, but as you said, with the boys as well.

Luana: They do. We have to teach them to value themselves and realize what their worth is in Christ. How they are a temple of the Holy Spirit and how valuable they are to Him and how valuable they’ll be to that mate and how much easier it will be to go into a marriage when they’re pure and when they know this person loves them and they don’t have to compare—is this person comparing me to his other mates or the other sexual partners they’ve had?

We just have to teach our kids those valuable things, and we have to pray for them. I mean prayer above all. We have to pray for them because those things do surround them. So we have to pray that the Lord hedges them about and does protect them from those things and that they do make the right choices.

My husband and I had the opportunity to go to Israel and then go to India this last year. While we were in Israel, we met a pastor that was from India. It was so amazing. We were just drawn to him because my son is from India. So we got to know him and he started saying, “I come visit you, I come visit you . . .” So he did. He came to visit us. This was about three or four years ago.

I introduced him to my pastor and my pastor just fell in love with him. This man’s vision was to build 100 churches in India. It was in the villages in the remote parts of India. He had a vision to build a campus as well to help with the medical needs and abstinence and different things.

This pastor, as I talked to him, I found out he had forced his wife to have an abortion. He was a Hindu and his wife was a Christian. So his wife led him to the Lord. He repented over the sin of the abortion.

Nancy: And then subsequently became a pastor himself.

Luana: Yes and had a vision to build up these churches and to bring people to the Lord but also heal them from abortion. So he shared his vision with my pastor.

I didn’t think anything of it, but the Sunday before this pastor was going to go back to India, my pastor called Zachary, which is my son, up on the platform. He put his arm around Zachary and he said, “Zachary” (and he didn’t know what Zachary’s name meant), I want you to know you are a precious gift from God to this congregation and to our nation. You have brought the love of Christ to our nation.”

He said, “And because we have been so blessed by you coming to our nation, we want to bless India, so we’re going to build a church in India.” For this pastor it was the tenth church, and it just so happened to be our tenth anniversary in our church.

I just began to weep because I literally saw the hand of God all over it. I thought, what are the odds that we would go to Israel, meet a pastor from India, then he would come to America—I mean, the connections the Lord makes—and then our church. Someday I believe my son is going to preach in that church that his home church in America built. I have no doubt it’s probably going to be in his hometown.

I haven’t really told Zachary that because I don’t know how he’ll receive it. As I closed my eyes and just began to thank God as I was crying, I thought, Lord, You are so awesome. He has an awesome plan for Zachary’s life. He didn’t spare his life in India to bring him to America for no reason.

So it was just another unbelievable gift and hug from the Lord to tell me that He loves me and He loves Zachary and He is in the middle of what we’re doing.

Nancy: He is a God who brings beauty out of ashes, and He has done that in your life. Luana, you are a radiant, beautiful woman. I see the grace of God in you. What a joy to see the grace of God flowing through you now giving life to others. I just think the enemy, when you were having those abortions, was thinking that he was winning. But God said I’m going to have the final word. By His grace and through your repentance and faith, the Lord has not only rescued you, but is now using you to be a rescuer of other lives.

God can do that. He can do that for you. He has done that for you. And He can do that for the listener who thinks my life could never go anywhere, could never do anything. God has a purpose and a mission. It comes back to repentance and faith in Christ. In Christ alone. It’s what He did on the cross that gives us forgiveness and hope and the capacity to go on. Not just to survive but to thrive and to become a life giver.

Each time you’re speaking in those schools, you are counseling in that pregnancy care center, you are giving blows to the enemy’s plan and his efforts. You’re shining the truth, which is so much more powerful than the deception and the light, which is overcoming the darkness, not only in your life but a lot of other lives through you.

So thank you for being willing to be open and transparent and to share your story and to share the life of Christ in you. It’s been a blessing to me, and I know it’s been a blessing to our listeners as well.

Luana: Thank you. Thanks for having me. It’s been a privilege. It really has.

Leslie: Our guest, Luana Stoltenberg, and Nancy Leigh DeMoss will be right back to pray.

We hope many women will find healing from the guilt of abortion through this conversation. If you’ve missed any of it, we’ll send you the CD when you make a donation of any amount to Revive Our Hearts. These programs will make you more informed on the abortion issue and help you find freedom however the issue has touched your life.

This CD series includes the conversation with Luana Stoltenberg along with Alan Parker from The Justice Foundation and Sandra Cano, one of the women involved in the Roe v. Wade case. Get your copy when you donate at ReviveOurHeartsRadio.com, or give us a call at 1-800-569-5959.

Do you ever bump against your weakness and wonder if true change is possible? Tomorrow we’ll hear from women who have been transformed. You’ll be so encouraged by the change taking place in their lives.

Now let’s get back to Luana Stoltenberg and Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy: Luana, I know that there are listeners right now who desperately need God’s grace, God’s forgiveness. God’s been using you to speak into their heart. I wonder if you would just take a moment to pray for that listener and ask God to make Himself and His grace and His forgiveness and His love known to her and that she would receive it and believe it right now.

I want to say to that listener, if you’re in a place where you can stop. Stop your car. Pull over. Get into a private place if you’re listening in your home or at work and just bow your heart. Maybe get on your knees if you can and pray with us as Luana leads us in prayer.

Let this be the moment where you say, “Lord, I receive your grace and your forgiveness for my past. I’m willing to do whatever is required to come out into the light, to repent, to come clean, to clear my conscience, to talk to whomever.” But just pray with us as Luana leads us in these next moments.

Luana: I would love to do that.

Lord, we just thank You. We praise Your name because You are worthy to be praised. Lord, we know that You are still on the throne and that nothing moves You and nothing shakes You. So Lord, I lift these women up to you right now and I pray that, Father God, You would reach down.

You see them. You see that woman who’s driving her car. You see that woman who’s listening. Lord, I know You see her, so I ask that You reach down, that You touch her heart, that Lord, You would remove any deceptions that the enemy has told her or lied to her about. But Lord, right now You would allow her to know, by Your Spirit, that she is worthy, she is worthy because You did it all on the cross.

What You did at the cross was enough. We don’t have to add one single thing to it, Lord, because You loved us that much. So Lord, I’m asking that You reach down and right now and that those women that are there, even men maybe that are listening to this, that Lord You will touch them and allow them to receive what You have for them. Remove any stony places. Remove anything that would stand in the way.

In the name of Jesus Christ allow them to receive the love that You have for them. Lord, Your Word says that You loved us even when we were yet sinners. Even when we were in the midst of our sin, You still loved us. So Lord I thank You that these women and these men are receiving all that You have for them. That this is the day of their salvation and this is the day of their freedom in Jesus’ name.

Now I would come against anything the enemy would try to say to them or lie to them about in the name of Jesus and I say, Lord, You just have a direct line and let them know Your Word is true; it’s yes; and it’s amen. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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

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About the Speaker

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love …

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