Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: Janet Lynn was a world-class athlete with opportunities to compete all over the world. Then she was faced with the same choice that a lot of young moms have to make.

Janet Lynn Salomon: Well, the choice was: Was I going to continue the opportunities that I had and leave my children at home with no parent there, with some sort of babysitter, or was I going to be supportive of my husband and the talents and gifts that God had given to him?

I had just wonderful opportunities coming up, things that I had only dreamed about, skating at the Metropolitan Opera and the Kennedy Center, which were once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, but I chose that by God’s grace it was not the right way to go.

Leslie: You’re listening to Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Wednesday, February 5.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Our guest this week on Revive Our Hearts is Janet Lynn Salomon. For those of you who follow figure skating, you remember Janet Lynn from the early 70s in particular. At the age of nineteen, she had won five U.S. National Lady's figure-skating championships and a bronze medal in the '72 Olympics and bronze and silver medals at world championships.

Janet, thank you so much for being with us on Revive Our Hearts this week and for sharing a little bit of your story with us.

Janet: Thank you, Nancy. I am so honored to be here and that God has provided this opportunity to me. I'm delighted to meet you.

Nancy: Now, to back up a little bit, as you were embarking on this skating career so young, something also happened to you when you were twelve years of age that really was the foundation for the rest of your life. Tell us something about your spiritual journey.

Janet: My parents were very faithful in bringing our family to church every Sunday from the time I was little. But I never really heard clearly the gospel of Christ and how He died for my sins and forgave me and had a wonderful plan for my life until I was twelve.

At that time I accepted Christ and His plan for my life. I desired to live for Him. At that time I gave my skating to him, at age twelve. And what He did with my skating is just beyond my wildest imaginations. I was such a normal child who was very shy, and here I found myself skating around the world, literally.

He used it in some incredible ways that maybe we can talk about at another time. It is quite a long story, but God used my skating, and I always tried to give the glory to Him. I still get letters from many people that were impacted by what I did. But I know that it was not me, it was Christ in me.

 Nancy: Janet, you were inducted in March of 2003 into the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame, which is quite an incredible honor. You and Dorothy Hamill at the same time, am I right about that?

 Janet: Yes. Yes.

Nancy: So you've had some incredible honors. My sister actually sent me a transcript of the remarks that you made at that ceremony. I was so touched by the way that you reflected glory to the Lord for giving you this gift and for allowing you to use skating as a means of reflecting the beauty and the glory of God.

Janet: Well, as I always say, there was no way that I could plan everything that happened. The people that were a part of my skating that taught me everything and the things that happened to me, there was no way that a person can plan that. It had to be a living God who had a plan.

Nancy: He has been incredibly orchestrating that plan for your life, as He does for all of our lives. The key is letting Him have His way and fulfill that plan in our lives.

I imagine that as a little girl you couldn't have dreamed that you would have all those incredible skating honors and opportunities and accolades. But probably you couldn't have imagined also, the pilgrimage that the Lord would take you on beyond your skating career.

Janet: I really could not imagine. I retired from the Ice Follies prematurely because I developed exercise-induced asthma. Then I got married and had three small children.

Then I went back to my career because my husband thought that it had been taken away from me prematurely. Diet and exercise and allergy discovery helped my asthma to clear up, so I did go back to skating. I think our sons were probably four and two-and-a-half. The twins were two-and-a-half. So I had three children within less than two years.

Nancy: Three boys! My mother had four girls and three boys. She said, "There's no comparison in the energy level required with boys!" You had these three young boys, one set of twins. And with your husband's encouragement you went back.

Janet: I went back; my career revived. It took a lot of hard work, but my career revived, and I was very successful in going back and really had wonderful opportunities. But in the process of all of that, I had a marriage and children. I thought that I was balancing everything just fine. I really thought  that my priorities were very clear that my family came first.

As a matter of fact, there was an interview that I did for PM MagazineIn that interview I said, "If I ever have to give up my skating for my family, I will." But when I said that, I had no idea that God would make me put my money where my mouth was.

Nancy: But He was actually going to ask you to do that.

Janet: Well, just situations that came up that He brought into my life would place a decision before me. At that time, in my heart I felt like it was a choice between "the way of life and the way of death." And by His grace, I chose "the way of life."

Nancy: Now tell us a little bit about this choice, and we're going to hear more about that in the next program. But just give us a taste of that choice that you faced at that time.

Janet: Well, my husband had a wonderful opportunity to do something that he had always wanted to do. He would have to go away for three-and-a-half months, away from our family to be able to pursue this opportunity.

Well, the choice was, was I going to continue the opportunities that I had and leave my children at home with no parent there, with some sort of babysitter, or was I going to be supportive of my husband in the talents and gifts that God had given to him.

Nancy: Because the opportunities you had were taking you in travel around the world as you were skating.

Janet: I was traveling around the world. One year I was out of the country eleven times.

I had just wonderful opportunities coming up, actually things that I had only dreamed about in my lifeskating at the Metropolitan Opera and the Kennedy Center which were once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. I had to chooseI didn't have to choose, but I chose that by God's grace, rather ungracefully on my part, that it was not the right way to go.

Nancy: We’re going to talk more about that choice and some of the struggles that you had as God brought you back into your home full time, and then He gave you more of a heart for your home than you'd ever had previously. A heart you at the time probably didn't even realize needed to be further developed.

Janet, one of the things that struck me in just this little bit of time I've had to get to know you is that you made that choice to come back to your home and to leave a lucrative career and some incredible opportunities not because your emotions necessarily were telling you that was the right thing to do, but out of obedience to God.

You felt this was what God wanted you to do. You've shared with me that it wasn't easy then. It's not always been easy since, but you are so thankful that you have followed God's will and God's direction in your life.

You said something to me a little while ago, just before we came into the studio. You said, "I have such a sense that I'm in the center of God's will."

There's a joy and a sweetness and a freedom that I see in your face, see in your eyes and sense in your spirit because of making what is sometimes a tough choice to really obey the Lord.

I would want to say to our listeners, "I don't know what choice you're facing today that may be a really tough one. It may be the challenge that the Lord wants you to come into your home and spend more time focusing on supporting your husband and rearing your children. You may be a single woman, and you may be facing some totally different choices. But you know what God wants you to do. You're struggling to obey."

Can I just say that the freedom and the blessing come when you wave that white flag of surrender, and you say, "Yes, Lord. Whatever You want me to do, that's what I'll do."

Janet, I’ve read some of the things you’ve written about this journey. You said that while you were having this career and had these children at home, at times you felt fractured. That’s a word I’ve seen you use. What do you mean by that?

Janet: Well, as I said in an interview at my comeback performance, actually I said, "When I am skating, I feel like I should be at home. And when I am at home, I feel like I should be skating."

I felt like someone else owned part of my time when I was working, and I couldn't give my children the full attention that they really needed. As a matter of fact, I don't really know that I knew my children all that well when I was skating. So that "fractured" feeling was I wanted to be here but I wanted to be there, and I wanted to do it all well. And I thought, I'm doing it all well. Well, I found out that I really wasn't doing it all that well.

Nancy: You said something, "My life at home was shallow, but I didn't know it."

Janet: Yes, it was very shallow. And no, I didn't know how shallow it had become. When I got married and had children, my life had not been geared to the home.

I had skated since age two-and-a-half, and I'd traveled all over the world. My life was literally and figuratively out of the home. It was somewhere else. The only thing I knew how to do was make German chocolate cake and skate. That’s it. So I had to start from the beginning. Having children and I never babysat, I’d never been around small children at all, so I had to start from the very beginning.

I realized that God is in those little things, and He can take us from wherever we are and He can help us to grow in the area of making a home. Even if you're working, or you have to work, or you're at a place right now saying, "Gee, I'd like to get there, but I'm not there yet," God can start moving us in that direction.

The other thing I would just like to say for women who find that they absolutely have to work, that your children, I think, know whether what you're doing outside of your home is for their benefit or if it's for your benefit.

I think that message comes loud and clear.

Nancy: So  you didn't have a lot of background in homemaking. This was kind of a foreign world to you.

Janet: Totally foreign.

Nancy: Were you nervous about how to be a keeper at home?

Janet: Well, my husband taught me how to cook and clean. Then I found that I was trying to do it, and I'm not that great of a homemaker even now.

As a matter of fact, a number of years ago I got an award as full-time homemaker of the year. And the week before I went to receive it, I had to call the fire department while I was cooking dinner. I'll let you imagine why!

Nancy: I actually could tell a few stories of my own along this line.

Janet: So I'm not the consummate homemaker, but I do want to say that God has a plan for the little things in our homefor the cooking of the meals and the cleaning and all those. I found that God's blessings are in those little things, and through those little things are powerful messages to our children about what's really in our hearts.

Nancy: It was as you came back into your home to be a full-time wife and mom that God really gave you a heart for your home.

Janet: My heart definitely came home after I came home. My heart was not at home at first. But as I came home and my heart came home, I found that our family started growing in new and wonderful ways.

Nancy: Did some of your friends think you were nuts when you made this decision?

Janet: I didn't ask them. I just kind of disappeared from the skating world.

Nancy: You just knew that was what you were supposed to do.

Janet: I knew that I had to do this. In my heart, I knew. Like I said, it was the way of life that I had chosen. It was something that was going to work, and I knew that God wouldn't have asked me to do it if He wasn't going to provide a way to do it.

Nancy: Now, this was a huge change in lifestyle for you. Obviously financially, it was a change in lifestyle. You'd had this lucrative career. You mentioned that for this position your husband was taking, he was also taking a pay cut at the same time.

Janet: A very large pay cut.

Nancy: So, financially it was a lifestyle changetime-wise, priorities, it was a lifestyle change. What was that transition like?

Janet: Well, it was painful, but I want to relate it to the pruning of a rose. I did a speech a number of years ago, and as I was preparing for it, everywhere I went I started seeing roses as I was praying about it. So I looked up a rose in a book.

I went to get a gardening book, and it talked about the pruning of a rose and how when you cut down the rosebush to almost nothing, the roses will come up more beautiful than they've ever been before. So my life was pruned by God so that there could be more blossoms and something more beautiful than had been there before.

Nancy: And that pruning can be painful.

Janet: It can be painful. But the good thing about that kind of pain is you know that it's done in love so that something else good is going to come from it.

Nancy: I've heard you say several times just in the little bit we've been acquainted, "being a full-time mom at home is a struggle."

Janet: It's a holy struggle.

Nancy: It's a holy struggle. That suggests that it's not easy. I must think that some people think that this is just the lazy way, the easy way. You've been reminding us that there is a struggle involved. What is some of that struggle about?

Janet: There’s a struggle first of all to learn why you’re there, and that took me some time. I did a lot of research. I started reading everything I could find. One of the publications that made a huge difference in my life was The Family in America because it was from an intellectual basis as to why I am doing this. There are reasons why I was at home, and they’re very broad, but they’re also very intimate reasons why I was at home.

So the struggle as I see it now, it’s like a metamorphosis. I'll give this story. I was reading a little story by Chuck Swindoll to our children one morning. It was about the metamorphosis of a butterfly and how you go through this struggle, and then the butterfly is free. It's so beautiful and can fly freely.

I had said to our children, God has done something like that in my life, and one of our sons turned around and said, "Yeah, God made you into a mom."

Nancy: Wow! Your metamorphosis was into a mom, and your son realized that.

Janet: Yes.

Nancy: What a change!

Janet: What a revelation to me because I had not been home that long when he had said that to me.

Nancy: On the next Revive Our Hearts, we're going to ask Janet to share some of the reasons that she learned for being a homemaker as she began to study this and develop a way of thinking and a philosophy about homemaking.

But I just want to stop here for a moment and say, "This struggle, this metamorphosis that Janet allowed God to take her through, may be a metamorphosis that God wants to take you through.

It is possible to be in your home full time but not have a heart for your home, not to have a mother's heart and a heart for supporting your husband.

I know that we have listeners who write to us and say, "I would love to be able to be in my home but through this or that set of circumstances, I am not able be right now.

Can I say that God wants to give you, wherever you are, a heart for your home. It may involve a struggle because it means laying down your own desires, your own aspirations, your own plans, self-gratification. We'll talk some more about that with Janet on another day here.

But the more that you are willing to lay down your own life as that caterpillar sheds its outer coat and takes on a new dimension in personality as a butterfly . . . Maybe God is wanting to bring about this metamorphosis in your own heart to give you supernaturally by the power of His Spirit, a heart for your marriage, a heart for your children, a heart for your home.

I want you to stay with us over these next few days of Revive Our Hearts because we're going to be trying to paint for you a vision, a picture, of the beauty and the wonder of what it is that you are doing when you are building a home.

But first of all, start by asking the Lord, "Lord, would You give me a heart for my home? If it means You have to do a metamorphosis to make me into a mom, into a wife, a woman who really has that heart, Lord, would You do that?" Being a mom is a lot more than having biological children. Being a mom means reflecting the heart of God and the heart of Christ into the lives of your children.

So maybe you're at a place where you just need to pray today, "Lord, I don't really have a heart for my home, for my marriage, for my children, but I'm willing. And if it means a struggle, I'm willing to go through that. I'm willing to say 'no' to my own desires and plans, and I'm willing to let You give me give me Your priorities for my life. I want to have Your heart for my family."

Thank You, Lord, for our friend Janet and just the way that her life illustrates the beauty and the wonder of Your plan for our lives as women. I thank You for the blessings You’ve brought into her life as she’s been willing to make that choice to be a bearer and a nurturer of life, to be a mom, a wife, and a keeper at home.

Lord, I just believe there are blessings that You want to bring into the lives of many, many other women who are listening to us today as they are willing to say, “Lord, please give me Your heart for my home.”

Lord, how I pray for a revival and a reformation in the hearts of women throughout this country that would give us that heart of Christ that we would represent You well. I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been talking with figure skating champion Janet Lynn Salomon.

This mom went through a process of seeking out her purpose, and Nancy, I think that conversation will encourage a lot of moms to ask: “What is God calling me to do? What is my point of surrender?”

Nancy: Leslie, you never know how God will use a message like this to speak to women’s hearts. God uses Revive Our Hearts to connect to women in ways that we can’t predict.

Brooke: My name is Brooke Ansel, and I’m from Hockinsville, Kentucky.

Nancy: This young mom was working as a house keeper. She was in someone else’s home, cleaning, and Revive Our Hearts was on the radio.

Brooke: I thought, “Yeah, right. Her voice is so pure sounding, pristine clean, and the things she’s talking about, holiness and godly womanhood, that’s not really for me.”

My past is wicked, and I was just rough, rough around the edges, but it just pierced my heart. The Word of God that she was speaking and teaching pierced my heart, and I was hooked, so to speak, to the teaching, the truth. I had a hunger and a passion to hear truth, and she was willing to say it. I was just drawn to that.

Nancy: The program that God used to speak to that woman’s heart that day was on the radio, thanks to listeners like you, listeners who sacrificed in order to support Revive Our Hearts financially. Your investment paid off in a big way.

Those donations are continuing to pay off as this young mom is now in her own home, focusing on serving her own husband and children.

Brooke: It’s just so powerful when God chooses to touch supernaturally in that way. Really, I feel like that’s what He did. As I was cleaning, just this little old me, really nobody special, in a room cleaning or mopping, and there He met me.

Leslie: Nancy, thanks for sharing Brooke’s story with us. 

When you donate to Revive Our Hearts, you’re a part of making stories like this happen.

If you’ve benefitted from Revive Our Hearts but have never supported the ministry, now is a great time. When any listener makes a donation of any amount this week, we’ll say thanks by sending a brand new book, The Wonder of His Name. This is a companion guide to a new series Nancy will be teaching starting March 5.

When you go through this book, you’ll read thirty-two daily devotionals from Nancy, each on a different name of Jesus. The artwork for the book is from renowned artist Timothy Botts. So it’s beautiful and meaningful.

We’ll send you a copy when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any size. Ask for The Wonder of His Name companion guide when you call with your gift. The number is 1–800–569–5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

To be a world-class skater takes practice and training, but Janet Lynn Salomon says, “So does being a mom.” Join us as she and Nancy discuss that 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.