Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Monthly Partner Favorites, Day 1

Episode Resources

Watch Marriage Miracle.

Listen to "A Hurting Couple Finds True Hope."

Leslie Basham: Early in ministry LeRoy Wagner was a sincere pastor . . . and a discouraged husband.

LeRoy Wagner: You can't share the gospel when things are not as they should be in the home. The more difficult our relationship became, it created more difficulty, of course, in ministry.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, co-author of True Woman 101, for Monday, March 25, 2019.

As a doctor, Pamela Edwards got used to taking charge of situations. And when she got married, she continued that practice.

Pamela Edwards: I was very authoritative. I came to our marriage wanting him to do things this way and that way and thinking that it ought to be this way and that way. I was pretty pushy. I remember being very insistent sometimes that he do certain things the way I thought they ought to be done. I got to the point where he just went into his cave and wouldn't come out.

Leslie: The Lord started using Revive Our Hearts and the teaching of Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth to speak to Pamela’s heart. She started to hear that she could use her strength for God’s glory, but do it in a way that respected her husband and left room for him to use his strengths too. Pamela remembers when she first heard Revive Our Hearts.

Pamela: I remember that I was on the treadmill and she was talking. I thought, She's a very interesting person. I made note of her. I'll never forget that first time I heard her. She was so common sense and very founded in Scripture. Her biblical truths were very solid. She was speaking biblical truth to women that applied to all women of all ages. It was something I found very encouraging and something I could relate to and share with other women . . . and I've just kept listening to her ever since.

Leslie: She wanted to support Revive Our Hearts because the ministry called women to a True Woman movement. And she realized that each one of us can make a huge difference. So joined the Revive Our Hearts Monthly Partner Team.

Pamela: This is something that I've received enough encouragement, and I was convinced that this message was what women today needed to hear. So I wanted to support it as long as Revive Our Hearts continues to put out such biblically solid information to women in a culture like ours today. I will continue to give what I'm able to.

Leslie: This month we’re thanking and celebrating our Monthly Partners. So for the next three days, we’re hearing from some of our Monthly Partners and letting them tell us their most meaningful programs.

Today, we we’ll hear part of a series that had a big effect on Pamela as she learned to embrace biblical femininity. The series was “A Hurting Couple Finds True Hope.” It told the story of Kim and LeRoy Wagner.

Pamela: I remember the story with her and her husband and how she kind of bossed him around to begin with. I related with that, because I had some of those issues to begin with. I learned a lot from her.

I think the me getting this type of information has made a major impact on how I related to him, and consequently, how he relates to me. Also, I have had other women mention to me that they've learned a lot by watching how our marriage has blossomed and how it's working.  

Leslie: So let’s listen to the story that had such a big effect on Pamela. Here’s Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth interviewing Kim and LeRoy Wagner.

Kim Wagner: It was a destructive cycle, a fairly common pattern in marriages where you have a strongly opinionated woman, or maybe just a woman that really has ideas of what she wants a husband to be like and her husband is expressing love in a different way than what communicates love to her.

She thinks, at least this is what I did. I thought, My biblical role here is to be the helper, so I'm going to help him become the man I want him to be! What I was doing was I was controlling him and manipulating him through how I treated him.

I remember one of the worst years in our lives was after Bible college. We moved back to the city where my parents lived, and he went to work for my dad. You would think working for my dad would be a cush job, but he had to travel and stay out of town sometimes three weeks at a time.

We were only five years into our marriage, and I hated it! I didn't think we would make it through that year. He would call in from the road. And you would think that he is probably expecting, "She's probably missing me. We haven't talked in a couple days. I finally found a phone booth (that was before we had cell phones)." 

He would call in, and I would answer the phone, "Hi." I was so cold and mean because I thought, I'm going to let him know how bad I'm hurting. He doesn't need to think that I'm happy here. He needs to know how miserable he's making my life. I was punishing him. It was so cruel, but I thought, This is for his good. I'm helping him. He needs to know. If I don't act this way, he won't know how truly miserable I am.

Nancy: And of course, this made you want to jump in the car and head home, right?

LeRoy: Not quite, Nancy.

Kim: That is a great statement. It's the total opposite.

LeRoy: What began to develop in my heart was literally a crisis of faith. That which I had held so dear all of my life, I was saved as a very young boy, surrendered to preach as a young man, it began to just crush me.

The weight of all that I held dear and all that brought freedom in Christ actually began to crush me. I take full responsibility for that. But commitment to staying married, commitment to the wife that I was joined to, commitment to the gospel, commitment to the Word of God. I felt like it was not getting better, it was getting worse. I prayed and prayed and prayed. I didn't know how to deal with it.

All of my feeble attempts to deal with it had been unsuccessful, and I thought that there was no escape; that I must continue to bear this and somehow do the best I could. At the same time there was a great conflict because I had a commitment to preach the gospel and pastor. So that which I had loved also became a great burden because there was this gulf. You can't share the gospel when things are not as they should be at home. Yet I was committed to doing that. The more difficult our relationship became, it created more difficulty, of course, in ministry.

Nancy: Can just interrupt here and say, LeRoy, you were feeling what? Rejected? Criticized? From your perspective as a man, what were you thinking Kim was expressing to you.

LeRoy: I knew, because of Kim’s interaction with me, that I was not the husband that she wanted, that she expected, that she needed, and that I thought that I would be. I was not running around. I was not doing all that things we think about. I was trying to provide. I was a nice guy. I was not argumentative.

Nancy: There was a sense that you could not measure up to her expectations.

LeRoy: I could not measure up, and I felt like I could never measure up. There was no way that this could ever be resolved.

Then in ministry, she had such a strong, intense drive, that when we would discuss what was going on in ministry in the church, or when there was a decision that I would make, in her discussion, because she was so impassioned and intense, oftentimes she would often let me know that I should have handled it differently—that this is the way it should have been done.

Again, her desire is to have the right home, the godly home, to do the right thing in ministry. All of her motives were altruistic and pure, but they were achieving the exact opposite results of what she desired.

So I began to dread everything in ministry also—every meeting, every counseling session. Everything that I did, I began to question it. I began to be very insecure and withdraw more and more and more and more. Actually, I became very depressed.

Kim: And from my perspective, Nancy, I met this young man the first time I ever heard him preach . . . I still remember the message from Jude verse 22. “And some having compassion making a difference.” It was such a powerful message.

I saw this young man who had a passion and fire for God, who was a strong individual, begin to crumble, begin to go into this shell, hide in a cave. I could not pull him out of it. I could not find him again.

We reached a point that I thought, Either he doesn’t know the Lord, or we both were maintaining and staying married because of our commitment to Christ, and we didn’t want to shame Christ. 

We even reached a point in our marriage . . . I remember the intersection where we were. He was pastoring. We were five years into marriage and had a newborn. Finally, all those years of me saying to him, “You must not love me or you would do ___ fill in the blank.” Finally, he looked at me and he said, “I don’t think I do love you.” I thought my world was going to end because what I had so feared seemed to be playing out.

At that time we were operating from the worldview of “love is what you feel; love is what you experience.” The demonstration of love does evoke wonderful emotions and experiences, but love is the choice and willingness to demonstrate the love that God has demonstrated to us to others.

All that was holding us together for a few years was our commitment to Christ. It was our fear of bringing shame to Him. We both could look back and know that actually before we entered marriage, God confirmed to each of us that He put our marriage together. It was not an emotional union. It was God putting us together. So we could go back to that. We knew our covenant that we needed to honor Him with our marriage covenant. But we were living in a household, trying to operate in ministry without true unity, oneness of heart, mind, and soul.

There were two real spiritual markers that occurred that began to bring about change in our relationship. LeRoy was in a place of extreme depression.

Nancy: I think it is important to . . . I know that you’ve said this, but that both of you were committed to Christ; you were serving the Lord. This was not a pagan couple out here.

LeRoy: All the while we were doing all of the external. And we were doing them because we wanted to honor Christ; we wanted to serve the Lord; we wanted to see people come to know Christ and grow in Christ. So there was this tension between what we really, honestly wanted from our heart to do to honor Christ, to live for Christ, but we are not able to connect the dots in our relationship. We are not able to overcome these giant obstacles that had built up in our way.

The harder she tried, the higher those mountains, the deeper I went into a cave. So it was not getting any better.

Nancy: And you were pastoring. I want to let you get to those two markers, but did anyone else know what was going on in your relationship, that all was not well?

LeRoy: We had really no one in our life that we felt like we could come to with this at this point. We just felt like we would have to struggle on our own and either sink or swim.

I knew that God was going to have to work a miracle, but I had gone past the point where I . . . Really it was a crisis of faith“God I know You; I believe You; I trust You; I’ve tried to live for You, but I don’t see You working. I don’t see that this can ever be resolved.”

I knew that committing suicide would be a sin. I knew that just leaving my family would be a sin. I hated what I had become in front of my wife and children. I hated standing up to preach knowing it was not as it should be. My whole life was filled with fear and dread and just a horrible weight of condemnation.

I prayed that the Lord would allow me to get in some kind of accident or be killed in some way, rather than going on like we were going.

Nancy: And the tone, was it tense, was it loud?

Kim: I was the only one that was loud; he was always quiet. The more he would back away from a conversation or discussion, the more intense I would become. I kept thinking that I could draw him out; I could pull him in. But he would run the opposite direction because it scared him to death.

LeRoy: Although Kim was responding in a way that she has repented of, I also was responding in a way that was not godly. It was not right. Even though I was . . . You can be quiet and non-combative and still be in sin.

In every situation, no matter how difficult, no matter how hopeless, no matter how overwhelming, I believe that as a Christian, believing and trusting in God’s Word, that there is grace sufficient to match every situation.

I as a follower of Christ failed the grace of God. The grace of God did not fail me during those times. I failed to appropriate the grace of God. That allowed the situation to continue, and it cut off the Holy Spirit from being able to do what He wanted to do. Not that He is still at work on ways not related to my disobedience, but He’s always at work. But I could have allowed Him to work through obedience on my part and allowing His grace to change me and work in my life. But instead, I became more depressed and more defeated and more emasculated as a man.

Nancy: So, the start of a turning point . . .

Kim: We were at a really bad point in our marriage. I went away for a weekend to a cabin for two reasons. One, I just wanted to get away from our whole marital situation. I just wanted to get away. Secondly, ironically, I was supposed to be preparing a 1 Peter 3 study for my women. Isn’t that ironic?

Bear in mind, I’m teaching on submission. I've been teaching a Bible study to women every week most of our whole married life. I counseled women on what to do. I had head knowledge, but I did not even have an understanding of a submissive heart—a disposition of the heart that was submissive. But I had a lot of head knowledge about the role of women.

While I was at that cabin, sovereignly and providentially, when I opened up my Bible, in the flap of my Bible cover was a little booklet, Nancy, that you had written. I'd never heard your name before, didn't have a clue who you were. And it was called A Biblical Portrait of Womanhood. It's simply a booklet filled with diagnostic questions and Scripture.

In that time away, I stopped working on the 1 Peter study, and God began working on my heart. As He took me through Scripture and through these very convicting questions about where my heart was, my attitude toward my husband, my treatment of my husband, my view of men; He took to some very convicting places. I could feel Him peeling away layer after layer of sin.

I would fight every little bit. I would say, “Wait a minute, Lord. Don't You remember him? He's the one that needs to change. He has not been the spiritual leader. He hardly ever prays with me. He doesn’t lead me spiritually.” I started listing all of his failures. "He is not living out biblical manhood to me."

God kept taking me back to one of the verses you had in that booklet—it was from Titus 2. It says that we're to love our husbands so that the Word of God will not be blasphemed. He kept taking me back to the fact that I was blaspheming the Word of God in how I was treating my husband. He didn't let me bring up all the excuses and justifications of how my husband was treating me. But He kept bringing me to, “What are you doing? Where are you?”

He began changing my heart totally.

LeRoy: She came back broken and just apologized to me in front of the children, apologized to the children. There was just a marked, dramatic change. I was taken aback by it, but I was also watching to see if this was going to be lasting. I was very cautious, very leery. But at that point, God began to do a work that He is so faithful that when He begins to do a work He will watch over it to continue to perform it.

I thank God, Nancy, that He used you, that the Holy Spirit was orchestrating behind the scenes. You entered stage left of our lives and of marriage although we didn't even know you. God used His Word through you. God used the heart that you’ve been relaying to women for years to change the heart of my wife in a very drastic way.

Kim: At that point things changed with me. But it took a while for things to change with LeRoy.

Nancy: You say things changed with you. What changed?

Kim: My attitude toward him first. I began to bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ that I had toward LeRoy. My thoughts of why doesn't he do this? Why doesn't he treat me this way? Why won't he be like this? And bringing those thoughts captive and becoming grateful for the man that he was. I was having a heart for submission where I would begin to recognize how my questions to him about leadership decisions were affecting him.

Now I wasn't there yet at all as far as being able to fully practice all those things yet. I was just at the beginning point of my heart turning and recognizing a need to change. My heart began to change, but I hadn't yet developed a habitual, godly treatment of him.

LeRoy: And I could tell that God had done a work in her heart. No doubt in my mind that that was true, yet I did not feel secure in coming out of the cave that I was in. I think a lot of men in order to lead, in order to be the men—I’m talking about Christian men—they know what God has called them to be. It's in their spiritual DNA to be the men that women respect and that women want to follow.

I think men need to feel safe to make the decisions, to be the leader because they can encounter all sorts of difficulties out in the world, outside the home. But the one place that is most important for a man to be validated, to be affirmed, the one place that they cannot be seen as a failure, as a loser, as “you're never going to make the right decision” is from their wives. If that is not communicated to them, those men will always be insecure about everything in their lives no matter how successful they may become.

I think that is the one area that God placed women to be godly influencers, that men can dare to make decisions, dare to fail. At home they're going to be affirmed and loved even if they're beat up out in the world, even if they fail or a decision that they make did not turn out well. At home if they’re affirmed, I think they’ll still continue to grow in their leadership and grow in being the man that God desires them to be and that they desire to be and that their wives desire them to be and that their children so desperately, desperately need to see.

Leslie: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has been talking with Kim and LeRoy Wagner about the power of a woman’s influence. Kim is the author of Fierce Women: The Power of a Soft Warrior. And Kim and LeRoy together wrote Men Who Love Fierce Women.

We only skimmed the surface of Kim and LeRoy’s Story. To hear the whole interview, look for the series “A Hurting Couple Finds True Hope” at ReviveOurHearts.com.

We heard that story today as a way of thanking the Revive Our Hearts Monthly Partner Team. We’ve been talking with several monthly partners this month, and one series that keeps coming up as a favorite is Kim and LeRoy’s story.

Monthly Partners hear programs like this and think, I believe in this! Everyone needs to hear it. Programs like this one can fuel a True Woman movement in our day, but for it to happen, we need listeners to realize that it starts with just one person. You can make a huge difference by joining the Monthly Partner Team.

Here’s what goes into becoming a Monthly Partner. First, you commit to pray for the ministry. You also share the message with others. And you support Revive Our Hearts financially with a gift of at least $30 each month.

Pamela Edwards does that, and like all our other partners, she receives a lot back from the ministry. For example, each month a new daily devotional arrives in the mail. Plus, she gets a yearly registration to one Revive Our Hearts conference.

Pamela: I have enjoyed that, but I would support the ministry even if I didn't get those things.

Leslie: When you join the Monthly Partner Team this month, you’ll get a special welcome gift bag full of resources from Revive Our Hearts. For all the details, or to sign up as a new Monthly Partner, visit ReviveOurHearts.com, or call 1–800–569–5959. 

Tomorrow we’ll continue hearing favorite programs from Revive Our Hearts Monthly Partners. Hear one of Nancy’s most powerful messages, that God used to lead many people to a place of brokenness before Him. That’s tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

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