Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Dannah Gresh: When your life circumstances are crazy, there’s so much comfort in remembering God’s grace. Here’s Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: What is the grace of God? The grace is whatever you need at that moment—God’s hands, holding you and carrying you.

Dannah: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of You Can Trust God to Write Your Story, for December 30, 2020. I’m Dannah Gresh.

Nancy: So, are you feeling a sense of relief that 2020 is almost over? I bet you are. I know I am. What a year! Right? I saw a little meme on social media a little bit ago, and it said, “If 2020 was a math problem, here’s what it would say: If you’re walking on the ice cream at 5 ounces per toaster, and your bicycle loses a sock, how much gravy will you need to repaint your hamster?” (laughter)

If 2020 was a math problem . . . you say, “That’s nonsense!” And isn’t that the way some of us feel about 2020? From a human standpoint, there’s so much about this year that doesn’t make sense. So much that seems meaningless. As a result, there’s a lot of stress. There’s a lot of uncertainty. There’s a lot of fear. I’m in communication daily with people who are experiencing the realities of 2020.

I’m thinking of a medical professional who’s been such a huge blessing to Robert and me this year. She wrote me recently and said,

The prospect of spending the holidays with my family was a bright spot on my calendar, so I’ve been quite frustrated with the restrictions. Pray that God will give me strength during these days. With the stresses of work, the continual isolation, and the anxieties of the election, frankly, I’m weary.

You get that, don’t you? A lot of us have felt that way.

Another woman who’s single wrote to me and said,

Recently my family decided not to gather for the holidays. My city has been a hotbed for the virus this entire time, and in recent weeks, my state has set record numbers each day. I really don’t leave my apartment anymore. Everyone in the family usually gathers at my grandma’s house. We’re concerned for ourselves, of course, but super-concerned about bringing the virus into her home.

And then she said—and I just thought this was so poignant and tender, but also sad:

This has been such a hard choice to make. It’s scary to think I’m giving up what could be my last holiday with my grandma. If that’s true, I know I’ll regret it forever. But what I would regret worse is taking that chance and getting her sick. I can live with missing my last holiday. I can’t live with killing her. This will be my first holiday not going home, and my first holiday alone.

Well, those kinds of challenges are so widespread—not only in this country, but around the world this year. And as a result, there’s been this huge spike in anxiety and depression and mental health issues. You’ve heard it addressed in social media.

In fact, a woman commented on my Facebook recently:

We are losing a whole generation who are suffering from depression and anxiety.

And let me say, there are plenty of reasons to be anxious and depressed. And it’s not just COVID. We’re living with a whole lot of other consequences of this world that is broken by sin.

I’ve been talking with a woman recently whose family is dealing with all the ramifications and the fallout of two of her precious daughters being molested by a relative. It is excruciatingly painful.

  • There’s sickness.
  • There’s the sadness.
  • There’s sin.
  • There is COVID.
  • There is cancer, in our case, perhaps in yours.
  • There’s a culture that’s imploding.
  • There’s contention everywhere around us.

You can’t open Twitter or Instagram or Facebook, whatever social media you use, without seeing that contentious spirit. No wonder people are anxious and depressed.

But in the midst of those realities, it’s been a real sweet thing for me to hear from some people who are in really hard places, who have testified this year to being carried by God’s grace through it all.

In fact, this little mini-series here today and tomorrow was inspired by one of my colleagues here at Revive Our Hearts. She’s a single woman who lives far away from her family. She recently heard that her brother tested positive for COVID and had multiple symptoms, and she couldn’t spend the holidays with her family.

So I emailed her to check in and see how she was doing, and I loved her response. Here’s a little bit of what she said. She said,

Actually, I’m doing really great. The Lord has been encouraging me through the Word, and I’ve had lots of joy this year. I’m in awe of God in spite of a pandemic and world news.

Then she said in parenthesis “I’ve been turning off the news most of the time recently.” That’s probably a good idea!

I sensed the joy and the freedom, and in fact, an elder from this woman’s church I was talking to recently. He said to me, “It’s just amazing to see the joy that she has had through this year, and how she is doing well in her soul.”

I wanted to hear from others who were perhaps experiencing peace and joy and hope in the midst of disasters and catastrophe. So I posted this little comment on Facebook just a few weeks ago, “Have you experienced joy and peace in the midst of this crazy year? If so, I’d love to hear what you attribute that to, what mindset or what practices have contributed to your mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.”

And, wow! I got lots of responses! I just so enjoyed reading through those scores of them. Today and tomorrow I want to share some of those responses with you. I think it will be encouraging to you as we leave 2020 behind and head into a new year.

For example, here’s one from a single woman in Australia who lives alone and has been in strict lockdown, primarily by herself, for almost the entire year. And she said,

When my concerned friends have asked how I’m doing, I’ve been able to report that I’m content, secure in the Lord, full of joy and comfort. God is my constant companion, and I am keenly aware of His presence throughout every day.

During this pandemic I’ve been blessed [who thinks of being blessed during a pandemic?] with more time with the Lord and more study time in His Word. When I feel anxious . . .

And I’m glad she acknowledged that because we do feel anxious. What does it say in the psalms “What time I am afraid [we are afraid], but I will trust in You.” So she said,

When I feel anxious, the Lord lifts my head and reminds me to fix my eyes on Him and to abide in Him. He is so good.

That’s what that woman in Australia wrote.

Well, as I sifted through these responses that I got to my question on Facebook, I found that there were some repeated themes. I put them into six categories, and I want to share four of those with you today and two tomorrow. No matter what you have experienced this year, no matter where you are this year on the anxiety and depression scale or the peace and joy scale, and no matter what you may experience in the year ahead; my hope, my prayer is that these themes, these resources, these tools that God has given us will enable you to face whatever may come in the months ahead with hope, with peace, and even—can I say it?—with joy.

You say, “Well, 2021 has got to be better than 2020!” We don’t know what 2021 holds, but we know who is holding 2021, who is looking ahead, who is, in His providence, looking out for us. I want to say, no matter what 2021 looks like, there can be peace. There can be hope. And there can be joy.

Here’s the first of those six categories that these responses to my Facebook question brought.

The one that popped out at me first was gratitude. The attitude of gratitude. “How do you experience peace and joy?” I was asking these friends on Facebook. And they talked about gratitude.

One woman said,

Remembering to be grateful for what is given versus what is withheld. I am better off than I deserve to be.

She had a spirit of gratitude. Here’s another woman who said,

"1 Thessalonians 5:18 says to “give thanks in everything.” So at the onset of COVID, I thanked God and expressed faith in Him for whatever was ahead. I’ve also quoted the verse that “God does not give us the spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.” I’ve had a joyful, peaceful year for the most part—and even provision from the Lord with regard to my job that I never expected. God is so good all the time.”

Here’s a woman who, out of gratitude, is experiencing the goodness and faithfulness of the Lord and finding joy and peace. Here’s another one. This woman said,

Last month I went to be tested for COVID prior to a surgery. [As you know, that’s required most of the time now.] That morning the Lord reminded me to accept with joy the results of the test, whatever they might be. The test came back positive. I was disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to have surgery the next day, but as I gave thanks to the Lord and accepted His will. I was filled with joy.

A number of years ago I wrote a book called, Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to Joy. And that’s what this woman is saying. As she choses gratitude, God put her on a pathway, on a journey to joy. She said, “I was filled with joy.” She said,

It turned out that I had a very light case, for which I’m thankful, since I’m in the high-risk category due to age and health issues.

But she didn’t give thanks after she found out that it was a light case. She gave thanks when she tested positive, not knowing that it was a light case, and not knowing when her surgery would be able to be rescheduled.

So her giving thanks was not because she felt thankful. It was because, “By faith I’m going to obey God and give thanks.”And in response to her obedience and her faith, she says, “I was filled with joy.”

Here’s another one. This woman is a small business owner in the state of California, which, as you know, has had lots of regulations, lots of lockdowns and restrictions. This woman said, “I have been tempted to be afraid.” She wondered, Would she be able to provide for her employees? What if the business couldn’t keep going? It’s been a really up and down year—as for so many business owners.

Here’s what she wrote on my Facebook post. She said,

During this difficult time, I’ve been crying to God through the psalms. I’ve been also reading the gospels, focusing on the words of Jesus. God has been my provider and my sustainer, and I am full of gratitude every day. I’m trusting God to write my story.

Gratitude! The power of a grateful spirit. I’ve shared here at Revive Our Hearts and in social media how gratitude has been such a lifeline and a life preserver for Robert and me during this bumpy year, and how we’ve said again and again, “We’re not just going to give God thanks for the good days or for the good things or the easy things, but we’re going to give God thanks for the hard things and in the hard days as well.”

So I can so affirm that gratitude is a pathway to experience peace and joy and hope. That’s number one: The attitude of gratitude.

Here’s another response. We got a lot of Facebook responses in this category. I’m just going to read you a few, but it has to do with the power of Scripture—the power of God’s Word to minister grace to us in our point of need. I said, “How did you find peace? How did you find joy? How did you find hope?” People kept saying, “It’s the Word. It’s the Word. It’s the Word.”

Here’s from one of our Revive Our Hearts team members. She said, “My rock through these COVID days (now, keep in mind, our staff have been working offsite mostly, and this single woman has been living offsite, working from home) #wordsfrommywindow.”

And you say, “What in the word does that mean?”

Well, this woman has posted on 3x5 cards Scripture verses that she’s written out by hand, and she’s put them on her blinds that she looks at as she looks out her window every day from where she works. And she said,

The Word has been my rock, my shelter, and my source of hope in these days. His promises are faithful.

I’ve seen pictures of that #wordsfrommywindow—maybe we can put one up on ReviveOurHearts.com so you can see it, just to look at it. You say, “These are the promises of God!” She’s been looking at these every day, looking at the world through the promises of God, through the Word of God. And she said, “This has been a rock to me.”

    

Here’s another woman who said,

I’m so thankful for my Bible. The better I know God, the better I know His character [and you find that here] the stronger my faith has been.

Another woman said,

I’ve been encouraged in His Word. God has proven over and over that His Word is true.

Then she quoted from Isaiah where it talks about how we will be like a watered garden in times of drought. She said,

That’s exactly how I would describe God’s provision and His faithfulness in this season. I’m beyond grateful. And even with everything that has happening around us, God has been beyond faithful.

How do you get beyond grateful? How do you come to see God’s beyond faithfulness? You pick up this Book. You get into it, and you get it into you. Get it into your heart. And you soak in His promises. And you say, “Lord, I trust You. I trust Your promises. I trust Your Word.”

Scripture talks about how God sent His Word and healed them. The Scripture is so powerful for healing those frayed, fearful parts of our personalities, our souls, our emotions. He comes, and He ministers medicine. He ministers balm. He ministers healing to the inner parts of us as we get into His Word.

Another woman said,

Saturating my mind with the Word of God instead of focusing on the chaos around me has helped me put my faith in the sovereign God that we have. [And she said again what others have said.] Indeed, God is true to His promises.

“Saturating my mind with the Word of God.” Are you doing that? Have you been doing that? This is a recipe for peace and for joy that overcomes our anxious and fearful thoughts.

Here’s another one—there were several on Facebook that were in Spanish. I just used the little translator there, so I’m sure the translation isn’t perfect, but here’s how it came out. It said,

Difficulties will always exist. Surely this difficulty is difficult. [I don’t know if that’s the actual best translation—surely this difficulty is difficult.] The woman encourages us. Without the voice of our Father found in His Word, we would be as the world is—burdened, distressed and scared.

We would have no reason to be anything else. Right? But burdened, discouraged, distressed, and scared if we didn’t have the voice of our Father coming to us through His Word.

So gratitude, the Word of God, and here’s a third category that people said, “This is how I’ve been experiencing peace and joy.” And it has to do with prayer—prayer.

One woman said,

Thanking Him every day, bring Him my burdens, praying for others keeps my view what it should be, and it just doesn’t leave any room for anxiousness.

I love that! As we’re praying, as we’re bringing our own needs to the Lord, bringing the needs of those we love to the Lord, she said, “It displaces anxiousness. There’s just no room for anxious thoughts when I’m in prayer.”

Another woman said,

Any time I feel the weight of the tragedies that have happened in my life this year, I go to prayer. Before speaking to God, I take a moment to remember who it is I’m talking to. After I’ve done this, without fail, my spirit leaps into a place of gratitude. Now, sometimes I may start my prayer with tears and questions. [And can I say, “That’s okay”? There’s lots of that in the Scripture.] But as my spirit aligns with His, my prayer always seems to turn into joy and smiling. It’s not that I take pleasure in the tragedies, but I can see God bringing eternal value from them.

All these women are just affirming what Scripture tells us in Philippians, chapter 4,

The Lord is near. Don’t worry about anything. [That’s anxiety. Don’t be anxious.] But in everything through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (vv. 5–7).

Do you believe that? It really is true. And that’s what these commenters on Facebook were affirming.

Let me give you a fourth one. Gratitude, the Word of God, prayer, and here’s a fourth ingredient they talked about in many of these responses: “How have you experienced peace and joy and hope in this crazy year?” And they referenced many times the grace of God. What is the grace of God? The grace is whatever you need at that moment. It’s a supernatural supply of God giving you, infusing you with whatever you don’t have that you need.

This woman said,

A year ago today we buried my wonderful husband of sixty-two years. I can hardly believe the grace God has been giving me. Of course, there were times that were hard, but through it all there was always the joy of the Lord and peace that passes all understanding.

Can you imagine this, after sixty-two years of marriage, you lose your mate? And she said, “Yet there’s joy and there’s peace.” This doesn’t make sense, humanly speaking. But it’s the grace of God.

She said,

I’m seventy-nine years old and had COVID in July, but the Lord has been everything to me. And when my mind starts to go in bad places, I remind myself to take one day at a time, accept the grace God gives me for today and not worry about tomorrow. [That’s a wise seventy-nine year-old woman.] I continue to go by what God says in His Word, not based on how I feel.

Here’s another woman who’s had a really hard year. She said,

When this pandemic began, I was already in the depths of grief since my husband of forty-one years left me for another woman. All that has sustained me is the grace of God. Day by day His hand has held me, carried me, and strengthened me through it all. There’s no other explanation.

No other explanation. What’s the explanation for your life? Is it the grace of God giving you something that’s supernatural, that you can’t explain how you’ve been sustained, how you’ve been through grief, through loss, through pain? The grace of God is God’s hand holding you and carrying you and strengthening it through you all. There is no other explanation.

Well, tomorrow we’re going to look at two more categories, themes, as people shared how they have found peace and joy in 2020, and how you can find peace and joy in whatever storms you may be facing in the year ahead.

Now, let me just close here by sharing that in recent weeks I’ve been meditating on those chapters in the gospel of John, just before Jesus went to where He would be betrayed and arrested and crucified—John chapter 14–17. He would be leaving His disciples. He had told them this. These poor disciples. They loved Jesus, and they were so confused, so afraid, and so sad.

In John chapter 14:1, Jesus says, “Don’t let your heart be troubled.” He tells His disciples this. How could they not be troubled?

At the end of that chapter, verse 27, He says, again, “Don’t let your heart be troubled or fearful.”

Now, that’s kind of crazy counsel if it’s not for the gospel of Christ.

Coronavirus? “Don’t let your heart be troubled.”

Cancer? “Don’t let your heart be troubled.”

Election craziness? “Don’t let your heart be troubled.”

Social upheaval? “Don’t let your heart be troubled.”

Economic uncertainty? “Don’t let our heart be troubled.”

Job stress? “Don’t let your heart be troubled.”

Family brokenness? “Don’t let your heart be troubled.”

Personal loss? “Don’t let your heart be troubled.”

You say, “How? How can you go through all that stuff and not have a troubled heart?”

Well, Jesus says in verse 1 of John, chapter 14—I didn’t finish that verse, but I’m going to now. “Don’t let your heart be troubled. Believe in God.” Believe in God.

  • We may not be able to choose or control our circumstances, but we can choose to believe in God.
  • We can choose to believe His promises.
  • We can choose not to let our hearts be troubled.
  • We can choose not to be fearful.
  • We can choose to receive the peace that He has promised to give us.

And that’s exactly what you find when you get to the end of John 14, verse 27. He says,

My peace I give to you. I do not give as the world gives. Don’t let your heart be fearful or troubled.

You see, the world’s peace, the peace the world can give you is dependent on peaceful circumstances. So you’ve got to have an end to the craziness or solution to the problem or the pain goes away or the cancer goes into remission or the coronavirus goes away. The world’s peace is dependent on peaceful circumstances.

But the peace that Jesus gives is dependent on His presence and His promises even smack dab in the middle of the most troubling circumstances.

So Jesus repeats this theme in John chapter 16, verse 33. He says,

I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace.” He said, “You will have suffering in this world, but be courageous, [Be full of courage. Don’t be fearful. Why?] because I have conquered the world.

Now, we don’t yet see Jesus reigning as King of this whole world. We see the enemy still reaping havoc in this world. And we see sin and sadness and darkness and evil prevailing. But Jesus says, “I have conquered this world.” That’s what He did at the cross.

And one day we will see by sight what now we can only see by faith where Jesus said, “I have conquered the world.”

So, Lord, as we head into a new year, wrapping up this one, we’d like to put it all away and think there will be no problems in 2021, but we know there will be. We don’t know what they will be.

  • So, Lord, we choose to believe in You.
  • We choose to trust Your promises.
  • We’re going to choose not to let our hearts be troubled.
  • We’re going to choose not to be fearful.
  • We’re going to choose to receive the peace and the joy and the hope that You offer us.
  • We’re going to choose to be of good courage.
  • We’re going to believe that You have conquered the world.
  • We’re going to trust You.

So, Lord, give us an attitude of gratitude. Help us to soak deeply in Your Word. Help us to lift up prayer to You. When everything around us is so confusing, help us to just take these needs to You, and help us to lean hard into Your grace because Your Word has said that Your grace is sufficient for us. So we’re going to choose to believe that and thank You for it, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Dannah: Wow, Nancy. I don’t know about everyone else listening, but my heart sure needed that at the end of this difficult year. Thank you.

What felt really good was to hear that other women are fighting for joy just like me. So thanks for sharing those testimonies, but also thanks for reminding us of those practical tools we have because sometimes we need to remember to open up our toolbox.

Nancy: You know what, Dannah, this is so good for me because when I’m saying these things, I’m preaching to myself. I need to hear these. And my own heart is being infused with grace as I remind others of the beauty and the greatness of God’s grace and His promises. So my own heart is encouraged as I’ve been trying to encourage our listeners.

Dannah: Well, I hope your heart is encouraged, too. Did you need that, that reminder that we have these practical tools? Today we covered four of them: Gratitude, the Word of God, prayer, and the grace of God. As Nancy reminds us that we can keep our hearts and minds joyful if we keep them in the right place.

And I want to remind you that this is just the kind of comfort we want to keep bringing to women all over the world, but we need your help to do that.

By now you’ve probably heard that some friends of the ministry have offered us the matching challenge of just over one million dollars so that we can enter next year financially poised to minister to women all over the world. And every gift made, as a result, in the month of December has been matched, dollar for dollar.

You can be a part of helping us take advantage of this wonderful opportunity by making a tax-deductible gift. But we need to hear from you by midnight tomorrow, December 31. As you’re considering that prayerfully, I want you to know your gift means so, so much to us.

I hope you’ll consider right now visiting ReviveOurHearts.com to make such a gift, or call us at 1–800–569–5959.

We don’t often say this, but if you want to, you can slip it in the mail. It just needs to be postmarked by December 31. The address is Post Office Box 2000, Niles, Michigan 49120.

Now, Nancy, we’ve heard four of your six categories as you encourage us to end this year joyfully. Tomorrow, will you be back to tell us the last two?

Nancy: I absolutely will, and we’re going to close the year tomorrow with just a sweet reminder of God’s faithfulness, His goodness, and some testimonies you’re not going to want to miss. As we move from this year into the next year, we have peace and joy and lifted by the grace and promises of God. So be sure and join us tomorrow for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants to move you from anxious jitters to sheer joy. It’s an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the ESV.

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About the Teacher

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 for Christ and His Word is infectious, and permeates her online outreaches, conference messages, books, and two daily nationally syndicated radio programs—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him.

She has authored twenty-two books, including Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, Seeking Him (coauthored), Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, and You Can Trust God to Write Your Story (coauthored with her husband). Her books have sold more than five million copies and are reaching the hearts of women around the world. Nancy and her husband, Robert, live in Michigan.