Revive Our Hearts Podcast

— Audio Player —

Leslie Basham: After two years of hurt and separation, Jimmie Ruth Matthews welcomed her husband home. This was based on obedience, not on strong feelings.

Jimmie Ruth Matthews: I told him, “Lorne, I don’t feel anything for you.”

He said, “Well, you know, I don’t feel anything for you either.”

We both agreed that it was right for us to be together as husband and wife.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Monday, February 9, 2015.

Here's some of what we've heard over the last few days from Jimmie Ruth and Lorne Matthew.

Lorne Matthews: I really feel like God is calling me to be a Gospel musician. My dream is to marry a woman that wants to travel and sing Gospel music. If you think you'd like to do that to, I'd like you to be my wife.

Jimmie Ruth: This was our first date!

Lorne: I began to get puffed up in pride because of my piano gift. I thought that was my identity.

Jimmie Ruth: I think there was probably a clutchiness in me. I had to keep everything perfect.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: So you were controlling?

Jimmie Ruth: Yes, I was.

This woman's children were friends of our kids.

Lorne: I remember one time she was cutting my hair.

Jimmie Ruth: She was a beautician. She had a little shop in her basement.

Lorne: She said, "Haven't you figured it out by now? I'm in love with you."

We said, "Let's divorce our mates and get married. We are (in quotes) 'love.'"

I went to my wife after eighteen years of marriage. I had the big head. I said, "I don't feel any emotions for you anymore, and I want a divorce."

Jimmie Ruth: People were calling me and knocking on my door. It was almost like, "Yippee! Your husband is commiting adultery. Now you can get a divorce."

Lorne: I asked her, “Now, I’m committing adultery, and so you have a right to divorce me, so go ahead and divorce me.”

Nancy: So you wanted her to divorce you.

Lorne: Please divorce me. Here’s the papers. You can own the home, the car . . .

Jimmie Ruth: I just could not see that that was what God was saying in the Word. The woman called me one day. She said, “God has shown me that Lorne and I are going to be married.”

I said, “Well, there’s one problem. It goes contrary to what the Word of God says, and it won’t work.”

She said, “Well, we’ll see who wins in the end.” So it was like warfare was declared.

I just had to deal with me. I couldn’t settle Lorne’s problems. I had to deal with my problems when I saw how desperately wicked my own heart was.

Nancy: In terms of the way you responded to him?

Jimmie Ruth: To pray for God to kill him.

When I started focusing on me and dealing with me, I think that was one of the points when Lorne felt drawn back to me.

Lorne: My problem is not my wife or this other woman or even this woman. My problem is me. I was so weak, so dependent. I thought I had to have a woman for my identity. It was at that time in my life God began to turn me around.

Leslie: We know for some listeners this story may be a painful reminder of some tough real-world situations. If that’s you, this entire story will offer hope. The details of your story may be different than the one we are about to hear, so I hope you will listen to Nancy’s complete teaching, study God’s Word, and get counsel from your local church. Seek God for your situation.

When we left off yesterday, Jimmie Ruth and Lorne were separated, but they were each sensing God drawing them to Himself.

Jimmie Ruth: The Lord gave me a faith vision for Lorne. I knew that he was a weak, wimpy man. That’s just the way it was. I wanted a strong man spiritually, and I knew that he was not that man. He could perform for other people, but there was not that spiritual strength. This is what I claimed as my faith vision for Lorne. It’s found in Psalm 1:

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper (vv. 1–3).

That was my faith vision for Lorne, that he would become so enthralled with the Word of God.

Lorne: A man of God told me one day, “Lorne, you’re very weak because you have not been in the Word of God. You’re depending on a counselor or a wife or a woman or a teacher. You need to get into the Word of God for yourself.” He handed me a daily journal Bible study and told me, “Every day I want you to write the date, write out a Scripture that you read—write it out—and then write out your communication in prayer and thoughts back to God about the verse that you’ve read.”

Nancy: You’re holding some of those pages in your hand.

Lorne: This is number 1,265, which is twenty-six years and sixteen weeks. People ask, “How do you get delivered from adultery and perversion and addiction?” and all of the things that I was. I said, “I don’t believe there is any guru that can come to you and touch you and do it for you. I believe it is your relationship with Christ.”

The major part of it for me was getting into the Word of God every day of my life. I am so addicted to the Word of God now.

Nancy: And that’s what has renewed your mind.

Lorne: Absolutely. Without it, I was gone. The Lord led me on two forty-day fasts. It wasn’t something I did in the natural. I got stronger physically as I did this fast, but I poured the Word of God into my mind, crying out to God.

You know, the title of your ministry, Revive Our Hearts . . . Every time I hear you on the radio, I think, O God, thank You for reviving my heart. It was dead, but You brought life through Your Word. I was a deceived sinner, and I just cried out to God. He said, “If you will just repent and go back to your wife, I will use you in your brokenness.”

I said, “Will she take me back?”

That’s when I came back home. I came home to see our daughter graduate from high school, and my wife put her arms around me and said, “I believe in a God who can put together our broken home. I still believe that if you’re willing to repent. Let’s believe God for a miracle.”

Nancy: Your daughter was believing God for that, too, wasn’t she?

Lorne: Oh, my. I’ll never forget the influence she had on me when I came home to see her graduate. It was 1982. It was the year the Iranian hostages were coming home, so it was common to see yellow ribbons. When we drove in the driveway . . . My wife and daughter had picked us up at the airport, and we were driving together to see our daughter graduate. I remember at the airport my daughter ran in my arms and hugged me and welcomed me home. My wife came and we just shook hands. There were no emotions. I had killed all the marriage feelings.

Nancy: By the way, there’s a lot of emotions right now. Jimmie Ruth is sitting here crying, and so God has tenderized this heart in a way that didn’t seem possible at the time.

Lorne: Oh, thank God. When I arrived home, I saw all these yellow ribbons—hundreds of yellow ribbons—in every tree, every bush, every doorknob, every window. I said, “What is this? What does this mean?” She said, “Daddy, this is for a very special hostage.”

She said, “I think you think you’re coming home to see me graduate, but mother and I have been praying, and I feel like God is going to put you guys back together.”

I said, “Honey, it’s impossible. Listen, it’s ordinary for a child to feel that, but I’ve killed this marriage. I’m here to see you graduate, and then I’m out of here. There’s no way this marriage can be healed. It is dead. It’s over.”

She shrugged her shoulders and said, “But, Daddy, you forget. You raised me in a Christian home, and we believe in a God who raises the dead. This marriage is nothing to Him. He can do it.”

Jimmie Ruth: When he came home, he laid on the living room floor on his belly for hours and hours with an open Bible in front of him.

Lorne: I remember, Nancy, when I finally came home, I began to see that she was a changed woman. I studied my wife. I didn’t see the same person—this clutchy, fearful woman that was so blanketing and mothering and controlling wasn’t there.

Nancy: The Lord had really been doing a work in her life while you were gone.

Lorne: She’s the same strong-willed person, but the beauty of coming to the place where . . . She sat down with me and we talked, and she said, “I’ve learned something. I’ve learned my significance. With you or without you, I am significant in Christ. I am somebody because I know Christ as my Savior.”

So our relationship changed—not our personalities changed, not our giftedness, not our natural bent to languages of love—they’re all there, the same, but our identity now is in Christ. She knows that with me or without me she is secure in her relationship with Christ.

When it was about time to leave for the graduation that night (I was sleeping on the couch; I’m getting ready to leave), she did something I never will forget.

Jimmie Ruth: I was sleeping up in our bedroom, and he was down on the couch. I went down, and I told him, “You’re the king of this house, this home. Your place is in the king’s chamber. Whenever you’re ready to repent . . ."  And repentance is not just a few tears and being sorry. Repentance is turning around and going the other direction. So I said, "When you are ready to repent and turn from your sin, you are welcome to come back to the king’s chamber.” Later on that night, he came back to the king’s chamber.

Lorne: And I’ve been back every since.

Nancy: How could you do that so quickly—be willing for him to come back and have intimacy when you knew he’d been in the arms of another woman? Some women would say, “I’m sorry. I just can’t be intimate again—emotionally, the pictures, the images, the thoughts . .  . I just don’t know how you could go there."

Jimmie Ruth: Well, it wasn’t easy. I’m not superwoman by any means, but I started focusing on the Word. When I read the Word, I started looking for the things that I was to be as a wife and as a woman of God. I saw that this was all God’s design for us as a husband and wife.

When we came back together, there were no emotions. There’s a standard of the world, and there’s a standard of the Word. The standard of the world says, “If it feels good, do it.”

Nancy: And if you don’t feel like it, don’t do it.

Jimmie Ruth: Right. So I had to lay my emotions aside. I remember one night, we went for a walk, and we communicated honestly with each other. I told him, “Lorne, I don’t feel anything for you.”

He said, “Well, you know, I don’t feel anything for you either. I’ve killed any love that I ever had for you. It’s dead.”

We both agreed that it was right for us to be together as husband and wife, and we agreed that we would start speaking at least one compliment a day to each other.

Nancy: Feel it or not?

Jimmie Ruth: Feel it or not, and positive things. And we would do things that happily married people do together.

Nancy: By faith, really.

Lorne: Yes, exactly.

Jimmie Ruth: Exactly. It was exactly by faith. I remember on that walk that night, we started through the alphabet. I said, “You’re adorable.” He went to “B”—“You’re so beautiful.” It was just very cut and dried, but it grew after days and weeks and months of pouring positive . . . You see, whatever you feed, grows.

People who are in adulterous relationships, if they would put the same energy toward their husband or wife, they would be feeding that marriage relationship, but they are pouring all of that affection and gifts and special treatment to an adulterous person. That’s the reason that it grows and it feels good.

I remember laying by Lorne and praying, “Lord, this was not our idea. This was Your plan. I submit to You, first of all, and I submit to my husband because I know it honors You.” So it was years of just walking the Word.

Nancy: How long was it before the emotions were restored?

Jimmie Ruth: Years.

Lorne: Yes. It was two years the relationship of infidelity, and it took at least two years to get back to square one. We began to do things in our human process like submitting to the Word. She is amazing. What man has a gift like I have in her? She submitted to the Lord, and she submitted to me.

I hear about all these ministers who are falling and getting away from their wives. The greatest thing I believe in the world is the power of influence of a godly woman to love her man no matter what, and I have been given that treasure, and I am so grateful.

I believe, if there’s anyone listening, and you think you’re going to be able to get away with divorcing your wife and marrying another . . .

Jimmie Ruth: . . . the consequences are not worth it.

Lorne: No. And the Word of God is definitely the only road map, and it is adultery.

I believe, Nancy, we’re living in a society of adultery. We have them call us by the hundreds through the web page.

Nancy: We want to say to them that through repentance, there is forgiveness and grace, but you don’t get that forgiveness and grace by continuing to defend or to rationalize or to blame. There has to be that repentance that God brought you to.

Lorne: Amen. The Word is so clear, and when you do repent, you’re free.

Jimmie Ruth: In 1 Corinthians 3:3 in the Amplified Version, it says,

For you are still (unspiritual, having the nature) of the flesh (under the control of ordinary impulses). For as long as (there are) envying and jealousy and wrangling and factions among you, are you not unspiritual and of the flesh, behaving yourselves after a human standard and like mere (unchanged) men?

The human standard is this: If it feels good, do it.

One of the things I learned is that obedience to the Word is not always comfortable. In fact, sometimes obedience is very painful.

Nancy: You have to go against everything that’s screaming inside of you to do the opposite.

Jimmie Ruth: You go against your nature. Yes. There were times when my faith was really strong, and I would even set a place for Lorne at the table. I would tell the kids, “Someday your daddy is going to sit here and eat again with the family.” I’m sure a lot of people think that’s nuts and foolishness, but it was just an expression of my heart to the Lord that I was believing that he would come back.

Lorne: People ask, “How did you put the brokenness together?” Well, I was focusing on the Lord, and the Word, and repenting. She was believing God. Our focus was not on sins and anger and getting even.

Jimmie Ruth: It wasn’t even focused on we two human beings.

Lorne: The sign language has a sign for sweethearts. You’d think that sweethearts would be fingers all entwined together, but what their sign is is two strong personalities together facing each other.

Nancy: You’re putting your fists together.

Lorne: Yes, fists facing together. So here we were agreeing with the Word. For the first time, really, I began to live in agreement with the Word of God in relationship to the marriage and keeping myself clean and pure, and also, my wife and I began looking to the Lord. We finally concluded, Nancy, that if we never sang again, if we never wrote another song, never preached another sermon, it wasn’t necessary to have a ministry. All we had to do was hold hands, show up in church, and sit together.

Nancy: That was a ministry.

Lorne: We had a ministry. The performing thing was gone. Instead of a human doing thing, it was a human being being molded by Christ.

I have guys come up to me constantly when they hear about what happened. They tell me their situations. I say, "There's hope. Don't give up. Don't try to change your wife and manipulate her. Change yourself. Become the man of God that God wants you to be. Meet her needs by being that kind of a man."

I can't believe what we went through. We don't talk about this a lot anymore. Reliving it here is . . . I can't believe the things I went through. I'll never forget when I came home. The Lord said to me very clearly, "If you will repent and tell the story, tell the truth, I will use you to help other men to stay away from this."

There are consequences to that adult listening to this voice right now. If you think that you can without consequences sin the kinds of sins that I committed and not bring results that are horrible on your family, you are kidding yourself. Children hurt.

I feel the Lord is using us to call people to repentance. I don't know what it's going to take, Nancy, for real revival. Your ministry is Revive Our Hearts. What will it take to bring a true revival? But I pray that it will come and that there will be repentance. After repentance, there is life; but without repentance, there is no hope. I believe we need to repent.

Jimmie Ruth: There was one thing I requested when Lorne came home. I think the comfortable thing is to move and relocate.

Nancy: Where no one knows you or your story.

Jimmie Ruth: Right. And our story was public because we had been public people. I told Lorne, "I don't know how long it will take, but I do request that we stay here in Akron, Ohio until the people who have been hurt by us and the churches who have been hurt that not only will we receive the grace of God, but as we receive the grace of God, then that healing will pour out on these people. We just in this past year felt a release—twenty-six years. We moved from Akron, Ohio to Lakeland, Florida. I'm so thankful for the way God has restored and healed the Body of Christ in our home area.

I think my focus was taken off of a human being in my husband to expect something he was not capable of doing. There is no human being who can love us with perfect love, and it did cause me to focus more on the Lord and His perfection.

I don’t ever want to go through what I’ve been through again, but I really thank God for the things I’ve learned through it.

I don’t think I can ever recall a time when I experienced the presence of God in my life like I experienced it when Lorne and I were separated. I maybe wasn’t aware of it as much at the moment, but as I look back now, it was some of the most precious times.

I remember I kept an open Bible on my kitchen table, and I’d journal. One of the things I found that was very healing for me, when I do my journaling, is not only to journal the Word. I find journaling prayers, writing my prayers, puts me in a different context in speaking to the Lord than it does verbally. I found that journaling what I was feeling at the moment was a tremendous form of healing for me.

I had always kind of denied it if I was angry because if I was a Christian, I shouldn’t be angry, but the Scriptures really do say that we can be angry, but we’re not to sin with that anger. I couldn’t even get my emotions straight toward Lorne. I wanted to love him, and yet I despised him all at the same time.

As I learned to journal, there were many times when I had to write down what I was feeling at that moment and go to the cross and just kneel at the foot of the cross and allow the blood of Christ to cleanse what I was feeling. It was just terrific therapy to be able to give that to God and to know that He could handle it.

Leslie: Do you believe in the God who raises the dead, even dead marriages? Jimmie Ruth and Lorne Matthews have been challenging us to believe even when it looks like a relationship is hopeless.

If you appreciate what you’ve heard today, you can thank the listeners who support Revive Our Hearts financially. Their gifts have made today’s program possible.

Nancy, those gifts, and the ministry that results is having a huge affect on listeners.

Nancy: We hear so many examples of that. Let me just share one. We get these day after day. I got an email from a woman who said,

I listen by podcast every morning as I get ready for work and sometimes as I drive to visit my elderly father in a neighboring community. I’m so grateful to our heavenly Father for your ministry. He is so faithful to provide exactly what we all need just at the right time.

This woman went on to describe some of the struggles she’s had in the past with depression and the way that God has been transforming her life—her thinking, her mind—through the resources we’ve made available from Revive Our Hearts.

Listen, every time you donate to this ministry, you help those kinds of connections to be possible. And when you support Revive Our Hearts this week, we’d like to say "thanks" by sending you the book The Incomparable Christ by Oswald Sanders. I really want to get you this book. That’s because I want you to be reading it as I teach a related series on the life of Jesus beginning February 18. 

So each weekday through Easter you’ll read a chapter—they are short chapters, easily readable—in The Incomparable Christ. Then you’ll hear related, yet different, material being taught on Revive Our Hearts on many, many different aspects of the life of Christ. It's a great way to journey through the Lenten Season—to walk with the Lord through the weeks leading up to Easter.

And along with the book we’ll send you a journal with some "making it personal" questions about these different aspects of the life and ministry and passion of Christ. 

Ask for the book and journal when you donate any amount to help this ministry continue in the lives of women in the United States and around the world. The number is 1–800–569–5959, or visit us at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Leslie: Thanks, Nancy. When Jimmie Ruth Matthews was in her darkest days, abandoned by her husband, she needed the support of her local church.

Jimmie Ruth: They prayed with me and for me to a certain point, and then after that I felt like they would have been more comfortable if I had gone down the street and joined the other church, and then they wouldn’t have to deal with me any longer.

Leslie: We’ll hear more of the story, tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

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

 

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

Support the Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Darkness. Fear. Uncertainty. Women around the world wake up hopeless every day. You can play a part in bringing them freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness instead. Your gift ensures that we can continue to spread gospel hope! Donate now.

Leave a $5 gift

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 …

Read More