Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: When Molly Veldt received very bad news from her doctor, she called it a dark day.

Molly Veldt: In my initial thoughts of that diagnosis, I didn’t feel thankful. I didn’t feel grateful. I didn’t feel like God was the one I could trust at that time. I was so just disappointed, so disappointed that this was the path that He had chosen for us.

Leslie: It’s Wednesday, June 6, and this is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Molly Veldt lost two children to a genetic disease and recognized God walking with her every step of the way. If you missed any of this moving story, you can hear it at ReviveOurHearts.com.

After her two sons died, Molly’s life grew even more complicated. Let’s pick up the conversation between Molly, Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Holly Elliff.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Holly, as we’ve been listening to this incredible testimony over the last couple of days, there’s a passage of Scripture from the Psalms that has come to my mind. Let me just read it.

Psalm 66 beginning in verse 10: “For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried. You brought us into the net; you laid a crushing burden on our backs;
you let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water” (verses 10–12).

We need to see that God’s people are not exempt from suffering, from trials, from affliction and to see that God is not absent in those times of fire and testing and crushing burdens and floods and all the things those can represent in our lives.

We’re hearing a testimony of that this week that is illustrating not only that point, but what the next phrase says: “Yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.” And that’s really what we’ve been hearing as we’ve been talking with Molly.

Holly Elliff: I love as Molly has been sharing her story that constantly she has made reference to the fact that God at every turn was there supplying what they needed, teaching them, growing them. I love that Molly and Matt, her husband, were faithful to constantly release those children God had given them back into His hand as He took them into new chapters of their life that they never anticipated or expected.

Nancy: Yes. It’s that very unexpectedness that is so much of what life is about from our perspective. And yet we’ve been seeing that there is a God for whom nothing is unexpected who has written the script, who has an eternal plan and purpose that is bigger and grander and greater than anything we could imagine. And yes, it does sometimes involve horrendous loss and tragedy from a human perspective.

And Molly Veldt, I want to welcome you again to Revive Our Hearts. Thank you for opening up your heart to the Lord, to His choices for your life, difficult as they have been at many points, and now to us and to our listeners. God has comforted you through some very hard times.

As Paul said to the Corinthians, that God of all comfort is pouring comfort through you to some of our listeners who the Lord knew would tune in on this day and their hearts would be comforted (see 2 Corinthians 1:3-11). Thank you so much for sharing with us today.

Molly: Thank you for letting me be here. It’s a treat for me.

Nancy: I know some of our listeners weren’t with us for the last couple of days. It’s a long and complicated story, but give us just the nutshell of where we’ve come thus far from your early marriage and early family. Just summarize for us for those who may have missed the first part of the story.

There’s another chapter coming that we want to pick up on today. But first give us an overview of how God walked you through just that first part of your story with God giving and taking children that you loved dearly.

Molly: Well, we talked about our early plans when my husband and I first got married, our plans to go on the mission field. That was something that brought us together and that was a dream that we really had to put on the back burner for a while.

The Lord gave us three children, and two of those were born with a degenerative neurological disease. The younger one—his name was Cameron—passed away when he was three and a half years old. And the older one we got to keep for almost nine years. He really surpassed his life expectancy. He died exactly at the time that God had to bring him home. That was no surprise to the Lord. But we were delighted that we were able to keep him a little bit longer.

As I just look back on those years, they were hard years. They were years that were full of disappointments, full of broken dreams. Because when you have children, you never dream that you’re going to watch them deteriorate and pass away. So those years were full of broken dreams.

But they were also full of the richness of God and experiencing Him and understanding Him in new ways and understanding new ways that God works. His workings are good. And that is a theme of our lives is just seeing and understanding that God is good.

Yes, He does allow difficult and painful things to happen. But He also wraps His loving, comforting arms around us through the process, walks us through it, brings from it some of the most beautiful things. In the process I have learned that He is trustworthy, that we can trust Him no matter what happens.

Nancy: And you’re not just saying that because you read it in a theological textbook. You knew it in your head before. You’d learned that as a child growing up, and you knew it intellectually. But you’ve had that conviction tested. You’ve been through fire and through water and through affliction. God has laid crushing burdens on you at times, but you’ve come out on the other side saying, “God is still good. God is still faithful.”

You made the decision apparently, you and Matt, to not stop life; to move on and find out what else God would have for you, how He wanted to use you, what He would have planned for your lives even in relation to children. At this point you knew that because of this genetic disease that if you had children of your own naturally, there would be a huge chance of their having the disease.

So God opened the door for you to pursue adoption.

Molly: He did. And that was really a special, fun part of the story that He’s given to us, just the way that He provided for us. We had thought about adoption even when our biological children were alive. But I know my husband just thought, “We can’t really do that.” That’s not something we can afford to do was his primary concern.

So we didn’t think about it real seriously. And yet we came to a point in our lives after the boys passed away where we really wanted to grow our family, and the Lord provided us this amazing opportunity, this living situation. We were going to be dorm parents.

All of a sudden we found that God had provided a way for us to do this even financially through our living circumstances. So we saw God demonstrating His faithfulness over again, but in a whole new way. We’d seen His faithfulness as He’d walked us through difficulties and trials and provided for us in those ways. But now we’re seeing His faithfulness as He’s providing so generously financially so that we can grow our family through adoption.

So we have two great little boys. One of them is from India and one of them is from China, and I could tell you wonderful stories about them, too.

Nancy: And again, different than the way you had planned to grow your family.

Molly: Yes.

Nancy: But what I see in you, Molly, is a willingness to flex with God’s plans and to let Him change your plans and to find joy in God unfolding His plan for your life.

Holly: I think it must have been a process, Molly, of you going from the point of releasing Skyler. You’ve got Hannah, who’s a healthy little girl, and then God turning your heart toward these two children you adopted. What did God do somewhere in those years to get you to the point where you were ready to open your heart and your home in another direction?

Molly: I think early on God had put in our hearts a desire to have a big family. We both started out with that desire and that dream. So part of my angst in loss when two of our children were born with genetic problems was, “Oh, do I have to let go of this dream to have a family, a large family?” Because we really weren’t done having children or didn’t want to be done having children.

The Lord said, “Well, you don’t have to be done. I’m going to provide children for you in a new way. And it’s not an inferior way; it’s an amazing way. You’re going to see My faithfulness in ways that you’ve never seen before."

That’s how He provided these children for us. And yes, we were just so excited about being able to continue to grow our family, that we didn’t have to let that dream die.

Nancy: And about the same time, God began to resurrect your dream to be able to serve Him overseas. Finally, you were at a place where you could go, and you did, to Central Asia to serve the Lord in a teaching capacity there. So you took the two adopted children and Hannah, your little girl, and moved to Central Asia.

Holly: Molly, at this point how old were your children?

Molly: Let’s see. Tristan would have been about two, Cal was about four, and Hannah was in sixth grade.

Nancy: So you’re making yet another huge lifestyle change moving your family around the world, halfway around the world, but really believing that this is part of God’s call on your lives.

Molly: And I have to say that it was a big challenge of faith at that time. I mean, it was amazing for me to think of preparing our family to go and do this unique thing. We felt so called by the Lord to do it, but it was something that we’d never experienced before. So there were so many question marks on the horizon.

And yet I just remember thinking at that time being able to look back over our lives and seeing how faithful God had been. He had cared for us and provided for us and taken care of us as we had walked through these sad and painful days. We could look with great expectation that God has been faithful; He will continue to be faithful.

And the other aspect of that is just realizing that yes, we put our dream on hold. We had these plans to go on the mission field when we were first married. And these obviously were not God’s plans for us. These were our plans.

Nancy: At that time.

Molly: At that time.

Holly: God had a different timetable.

Molly: He had a different timetable, and I believe that God waited because He wanted to give us a story to tell. He wanted for us to be able to tell a story of His faithfulness. And the Lord has used that story in the lives of our friends in Central Asia.

Nancy: Now once again the story took, God’s story, took a turn that is the last thing in the world you were expecting. I think I’m going to get weepy here just thinking about this. But the last thing in the world you were expecting at that point was to get pregnant again.

Molly: It was. We got overseas. We were there for a very short period of time. I really felt like that chapter of my life had been closed. We had made that decision that we would not try to have more biological children and that we would grow our family through adoption, and the Lord had provided that way.

So it was quite a shock. Before we had left for Central Asia, I had to take care of health problems that I had had. And one of them was a surgery. I mistakenly thought that I would be unable to have children after this surgery.

So when I had symptoms of early pregnancy and went to the doctor and had a sonogram, I still can almost remember that feeling of having to pinch myself. I couldn’t believe that it was true.

Nancy: And you’re in Central Asia.

Molly: Central Asia.

Nancy: With a little girl and two little boys.

Molly: Yes. And a very risky pregnancy. I saw the little heartbeat on the sonogram and my heart just went crazy. I mean, I was so excited to have this little birth inside of me. But there was a lot of risk. I was 40 years old, or nearly 40 by that time. Because of this surgery that I had had there were health issues for this new life.

Nancy: And you knew there could be issues with this genetic situation.

Molly: That was something that at that time I wasn’t really thinking about because I just felt so excited that God would bless us with this new little baby. I really had a lot of confidence that we weren’t going to walk down that path again.

Nancy: Even though you knew there was a one-in-four chance.

Molly: I knew there was a one-in-four chance.

Nancy: You had already lost two.

Molly: Yes.

Nancy: And so it just didn’t enter your mind at that point?

Molly: Well, it’s not that it didn’t enter my mind. It’s just that I was so sure that the Lord was providing a healthy child through this pregnancy. I felt so confident of that at that time.

Holly: And Molly, you use the word “confidence.” I was just thinking about Hebrews. In chapter four it says, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need ” (Hebrews 4:16).

And you didn’t realize it, but you were headed into another time of really deep need as this pregnancy progressed and your next daughter was born. What happened then?

Molly: As I said, we were in Central Asia, had the sonogram, and talked to my physician here in the States. Because of all the risks, we decided that almost as quickly as we had gotten there that I at least needed to come back right away with our two little boys. Then my husband and daughter followed at the end of that semester of the school year.

I came home and really had this hurdle of pregnancy to get through. There were some complications initially. So we just prayed us through this pregnancy and had many people supporting us and praying for us during that time.

And sure enough, in June of 2000, Mary Grace was born. It’s funny how the tables were turned. I had so much confidence that she was going to be fine. My husband who usually tended to look on the bright side of things; he was the one who had concerns about Mary Grace early on.

And we didn’t have to wait very long. She was three weeks old when we got an answer. They took blood at her birth and were able to find out. Much has transpired in the last ten years or so in the research end of this disease, and they were able to do it now because of DNA mapping. They were able to figure it out.

Holly: So the diagnosis was much more rapid than with your older boys.

Molly: Much more. She was three weeks old when the doctor called me. That was a very dark day for me. It was very, very sad to find this news through our physician that she too was impacted by this disease.

Holly: So she had Leigh’s Syndrome, the same as your other two children who had died.

Molly: She did. And there began a new struggling and wrestling with God. In my initial thoughts of that diagnosis, I didn’t feel thankful. I didn’t feel grateful. I didn’t feel like God was the one I could trust at that time. I was so just disappointed, so disappointed that this was the path that He had chosen for us.

I had felt so confident that God was blessing us with a healthy child. We weren’t looking to be pregnant. We weren’t asking for this. This was just a gift that He was giving us. And I knew that she was going to be fine.

So when the diagnosis came, there was a sense of betrayal in my heart. There was a concern that bitterness would really set in. I remember feeling like that because I was in a pattern of spending regular time with the Lord. But I remember when I would sit to read my Bible or pray that I almost felt like I needed to hold my head in shame because God was now punishing me.

This was not in my mind at that time, this was not a gift. This was punishment; for what I did not know exactly. But I felt that He was punishing our family. So there was a real struggle over the next few months, a real wrestling with Him, a real groping to understand what this path was and why and why again are we going through this?

And one day I realized that God had not turned His back on us, that He was right there in my face and that I was going to experience His presence once again in a new and profound and deep way. I realized that God was right there with me and that He would go through this with me.

And along the way of caring for Mary Grace, day by day she grew in our arms and in our hearts and in our minds as not a punishment, but this treasured, treasured gift. I am so grateful that we got to have her even for three and a half years. She was the most beautiful, precious little thing. She’s still very much a part of my memory. We’ve only been without her two years next month.

She was such a gift. But it took time for me to recognize and realize what a precious gift she was. I think I’ll remember her as the child who taught me to understand God’s love for me in deeper ways that I have never understood before.

Nancy: And Molly, even as I look into your eyes—now it’s been just about two years since you buried your little Mary Grace—I’m seeing something in your countenance, something in your spirit that most women don’t have. It is a gift of God’s grace and His work and His Spirit in you. We’d all like to have what you have in terms of the spiritual radiance and the beauty. But so many times we’re afraid to let God take us on the path, whatever that may mean, that will give us that kind of rich fruit in our lives.

I don’t mean to suggest by that that if we want to be spiritually radiant or mature or godly that that means God’s going to take children. And you’re not suggesting that. But I think we have to know that there are no shortcuts to sanctification and to God’s glory filling us and to knowing God in the intimate ways that you’ve come to know Him.

In your case, God’s pathway involved a lot of tears, a lot of loss. But I’m thinking about God’s promise in Psalm 30: “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).

And Lord, I do thank You for this incredible picture of Your love and Your grace to my new friend Molly. I know there are many listeners who have been following along this story and have shed tears and have entered into Molly’s story as she has opened her heart to us.

But I know, Lord, that there are many listeners who are shedding their own tears, and their own story is being written right now. I just believe for each of them that You are wanting to show something of Yourself, Your love, Your grace, Your presence that maybe they would not experience under any other circumstances.

So Father, I pray that You would speak hope and courage and faith and grace into the life of each listener who is carrying a heavy burden, and that You would give a sense of perspective and value and the glory of what You are about and what You are doing.

And Lord, help each of us in those valleys of tears to lift our eyes upward and to do what You have given Molly grace to do—and that is to say, “I know that You are faithful. I know that You are good. I know that Your grace will be sufficient. And I know that what You have chosen for me for this season of my life is indeed a great gift.” Help us to receive it as that. I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

Leslie: Today is a gift, whether it looks like it or not. Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been giving us that perspective. She and Holly Elliff have been talking with Molly Veldt about the pain this life brings and the hope eternity gives.

Maybe you’ve been thinking of someone who needs to hear Molly’s story. Maybe your friend is going through some kind of difficulty and would be encouraged by Molly’s faith. Why don’t you order the entire conversation for them on CD? They’ll learn from Molly’s surrendered attitude and get insight from Nancy and Holly Elliff.

When you order the CD series, we’ll include a book by Nancy that will explain how to lead the kind of surrendered life we heard about today. The book is called Surrender: The Heart God Controls. It’ll show you what the Bible has to say about giving everything to Christ and trusting His plan. It will show you areas of life that you need to surrender and walk you through that process.

The book Surrender and this week’s series on CD are yours when you make a donation of any amount to Revive Our Hearts. You can do that by visiting ReviveOurHearts.com, or ask for the book and audio series when you call 1-800-569-5959.

We’ll hear more of Molly’s story and find out more about what she learned in the brief lifetime of Mary Grace. Please be back tomorrow for Revive Our Hearts.

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

All Scripture has been taken from the English Standard Version.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.