Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Rescued from Bitterness

Episode Resources

Watch Lorna's story.

Leslie Basham: Karen Loritts says everyone deals with tough relationships. That's why we all need the hope that only God provides.

Karen Loritts: I don’t know what your issue is—whether it’s with your husband, your children. You just see no hope. Can you believe me? There is hope. If God can save a little, black girl from the streets of Philadelphia—a woman that was involved in ministry, that had an emotional meltdown, and He still loves me—what is it that He can’t do?

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, co-author of True Woman 101, for Wednesday, August 14, 2019.

Is there someone in your life, when you think about them or you hear their name or you picture them in your mind that the thought of them immediately brings up some past hurt or offense? Karen Loritts had a person like that in her life. She came to realize how bitter she was and how destructive that bitterness could be.

Karen's about to share how you can be free from unforgiveness and bitterness. We're going to listen today to the second part of a message that Karen gave at the very first True Woman Conference in 2008.

Yesterday, Karen talked about fear and the temptations that come along with fear. If you missed any of the message, I hope you’ll hear it at ReviveOurHearts.com. Now, let’s listen as Karen explains how you can be free from fear and bitterness.

Karen: Let me suggest to you out of those verses, James chapter 4, verses 7–10, six imperatives. And I’d like you if you’re taking notes or if you mark in your Bible, to mark them.

The first imperative He says,

1) “Submit therefore to God.”(v. 7)

And the second thing:

2) “Resist the devil.” And he will do what, ladies? “He will flee” (v. 7).

It doesn’t say he might flee. God says, “You resist the devil, and he will flee.” You take your stand against the devil. You just say, “Devil, you know what?” as I was talking to myself, “no more am I going to become a victim of the enemy. I am a victor through Christ.”

So you need to take a stand. You need to wear the armor of God and say, “God, I’ll submit to You, but also I’m going to resist the enemy.”

3) “Draw near to God.” (v. 8)

I knew that. In the midst of my emotional meltdown, I was still having my quiet times. I have no idea where those prayers went. I have no idea even today what I was reading. They were empty words. Do you understand what I’m saying?

God says, “Submit. Surrender." Put aside that pride and that arrogance, just knowing everything. Resist the devil. Resist the temptation to have those pity parties all the time, to believe those fear buddies that you’re nothing, that when your kids leave, your life ends, or when your husband walks out on you.

God says, “Resist the devil. Draw near to Me.” In that quiet time, those quiet moments, those prayer times, draw near to God and ask God to bring someone into your life that can pray with you and for you.

4)  “Cleanse your hands.” (v. 8)

5)  “Purify your hearts.” (v. 8)

Two things about this: Deal with sin in public and external, in cleansing your hands. First John 1:9—I understood about 1 John 1:9, but here was the deal. For many years, I was a bitter and angry woman. Now, verbally I wasn’t angry, but bitter I was. And I was really bitter towards my mom.

My mom did a bad job. She could not give me what she did not have, but I could not forgive her. I remember we had moved from Pennsylvania down to Texas to be involved in church planting. I was sitting there just hashing through all the trash that had been involved in my life growing up and why my mother didn’t raise me this way. Why am I struggling so hard as a believer to really grasp this thing about love and making that good commitment to God?

How come I wasn’t feeling the presence of God in my life? I knew that it was because I was harboring bitterness and anger towards my mom.

So I sat down and I wrote my mom a letter to let her know that I loved her. She knew that I was a Christian, but she never heard from me how much I loved her in spite of who I was, not condemning her, but putting it back on myself.

I remember saying, “I just love you, Mom.” My mother never responded to that letter. I saw her a week after that letter, and she never hugged me or thanked me, but I knew that she saw it, because I saw it opened on her dresser. And that was okay, because I had a burying party.

First John 1:9 says when you cleanse your hands, you do two things. You confess it, specifically tell God, “God I am angry and bitter with my mom and how she raised me. But then repentance means I had to turn my back on what I thought was my right to be bitter and walk away from that. And that, ladies, was freedom.

But I had to forgive my mom. I had to release her so that I can just look her in the eye and tell her with a clean heart that I loved her. It was as though someone had opened a prison door and let me walk out.

First John 1:9—when it says here in James to cleanse your hands, do business about your sin. Name it. But it also says to purify your hearts. I take that to mean our attitudes. It says in the psalms, “Create in me a new heart, O God. And renew a right spirit, a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10 paraphrased).

We have to have the right motives, holiness of heart and mind and thought and emotions. The inside me needed to tell the story on how the outside looks. Cleanse you hands, do business about the sin, and purify your hearts with an attitude.

6) “Humble yourselves.” (v. 10)

Humility was not a big thing for me. Like I said, I had a lot of pride. But it’s something when God gets your attention. During my emotional meltdown time, I was getting through October. I was coming up on the month of November. And the month of November is my birthday month, and I always go and have all those tests that you need to have—the OB guy, the GP guy—all these letters and things like that.

I went to my OB/GYN guy, and my little fibroid tumor was staying. It wasn’t growing too much. I was cleared for that. Then I had to go get my mammogram. You know what I mean? Time to get that old mammogram. I went, and for the first time—I always get it year by year—I got a call back. He said, “Mrs. Loritts, you need to come in because we need to check your mammogram. Something showed up.”

And wouldn’t you know it, they couldn’t fit me in for three weeks. So my little fear buddies surrounded me and distorted reality. That first one I talked about was doing a number on me. So I was trying to be good. I said, “No, I’m not going to fear. It was just a misunderstanding with the mammogram.” So I prayed through that.

Then I went to my GP guy, general practitioner. And of all the things, he told me I needed to lose weight, that my cholesterol was going out the roof, and to watch my blood pressure. So now I’m walking around the mall—I’ve become a mall walker. I thought I had at least ten more years to join the other ladies, and I’m walking in the mall.

I’m walking in the mall and crying. I said, “God, what’s happening? I’m having emotional meltdown in October and now a physical breakdown in November. Can I get through this year?” So God had my attention.

And with me (I don’t know about you) but it seems as though when crises comes into my life, those challenges, there’s always like a buffet. It’s never like here’s one little thing you have to worry about. It’s always a buffet of stuff. God got my attention!

Well, just to clear up, the mammogram was fine. I’m still walking the malls—genetics. But God brought me through that because my fear was trying to victimize me. And I thought that I was just reaching the top of the mountain, and I was almost through. Then November came.

God is an incredible God and the only One I could talk to—not my girlfriends. I don’t want to bore Crawford with that, because I don’t want him to fix anything. I had to fix it. Stop listening to yourself. Start talking to yourself.

I don’t know what you have to do, but I had to go in my bathroom and look in the mirror and say, “Karen, you know what? You’re a wimp. You’ve been doing a lot of whining, a lot of lying, because you’re telling everybody else in these conferences all the great things about God and look at your life.” I had a good talk with myself.

I said, “God, I surrender. I don’t know what to do. But I know that You know, and You know what to do. You do it, God.” God had gotten my attention. Everything checked out. My body was okay. The little fibroid is still there. We’ve still been working on that little fibroid.

But I want to tell you that I just love what Dr. Piper said, “Wimpy theology makes you a wimpy woman.” This is the only thing that makes sense. God is a God who loves us. I don’t know what your issue is, whether it’s with your husband, your children, your family—or like with my mother. You just see no hope. Can you believe me? There is hope.

If God can save a little, black girl from the streets of Philadelphia, from public housing—a woman that was involved in ministry that had an emotional meltdown, and He still loves me—what is it that He can’t do? What is it? There’s nothing our God can’t do.

Let me close with this. In Joshua chapter 1 Moses is dead. Big Moses, he’s gone. So God has to talk to the new man in charge, and He tells Joshua, “Joshua, out of all the things I want to say, there are three things I want to say to you.” This is Karen paraphrase. “Three things I want to say to you, Joshua.”

“Be strong and courageous. Be strong and very courageous. Joshua, be strong and courageous. Don’t tremble. Don’t be dismayed, because God is with you” (see vv. 6–9).  And I don’t know about you—get your hands up. God, I surrender to You.

Ladies, we have to be strong. We have to be courageous. Stop listening to yourself. Talk to yourself and talk to God. Let’s pray.

God, You are a God that’s incredible. You are the only One who can help us to be strong and courageous. But God, we have to do our part. We have to stop listening to the junk. We have to talk to ourselves about the God that we know.

Father, You called us to submit to You and with humble hearts, humble ourselves under Your mighty care. Lord, I pray this for my sisters here, Lord, that whatever buffet of stuff that they may have to go through, may they not crumble under the weight of anything but the Word of God because You’re a good Father.

We won’t embarrass You. We won’t embarrass our families. We won’t embarrass ourselves because we’re going to believe You for who You are. Give us a resolve to believe. In Your precious name we pray, amen.

Nancy: Amen. That’s Karen Loritts, speaking more than ten years ago at a True Woman  Confrence. It meant so much to the women in that audience in Chicago, as they were challenged to give the Lord their fear and to forgive those who had sinned against them.

After Karen spoke that morning, we listened to the story of Lorna Wilkinson. Like Karen, she was faced with a challenge. Would she forgive?  Let’s listen to Lorna’s story.

Lorna Wilkinson: The first eleven years of my marriage after Pascal and I were married were wonderful years. We experienced loving each other, having the children, sharing them, enjoying them. After then, something went wrong. My husband started drinking very heavily and became an alcoholic. I started displaying my anger and bitterness in that relationship by withholding. I grew bitter and frustrated and in a sense wanted to lash back.

We had one vehicle that we used for work and he would frequently drop me off. Many, many times my husband did not come to pick me up. I was just there and I had no place to go. My children were at home alone, and I would just walk to the closest hotel that was available to me and spend the night there.

I thought that the answer to my problems was divorcing my husband. I asked my husband to leave. When he left, we had one vehicle that we were using. At that point there was a need for a second vehicle for one of us. So I purchased a vehicle from a friend.

When I picked up the vehicle that evening, the dial was set on a Christian radio station. Normally, I do not listen to Christian radio, but for some reason unknown to me at that time, I reached over to turn off the dial and my hand just could not make it there.

The next morning, going to work, Nancy Leigh DeMoss came on. Her program spoke of forgiveness—total forgiveness—and submission to your husband in a family. That really touched my heart. I could not stop thinking about that all day long. Divorce at that point, was apparent to me, was not the answer, but God was.

After I asked my husband to leave, he left. One night he called and said he was very sick. I asked him, “Why don’t you call 911?” In God’s wisdom, he did. I later learned that at that time when he had called me he had a heart attack. He had ended up in the hospital.

After that happened, God had already touched my life in such a tremendous way that it could never be the same. The Holy Spirit asked me to just go and speak to him and let him know that he should come home and that I loved him.

After I forgave Pascal and asked him to forgive me, it’s as though a total change occurred in our relationship. Pascal no longer had a need for drinking. Pascal became the type of husband that God wanted him to be. We had many candlelight dinners together. There were many sweet cards expressing his love and admiration and friendship together. It was a total and complete change in our relationship.

On a Tuesday morning around 4 a.m., my husband woke me up and he said, “Lorna, I just want to let you know that a man should love his wife with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his mind, and I want you to know at this time that I love you that way.”

Around one o’clock in the afternoon I was called at work and told that I needed to get home. When I got home, my son was at the door and he said, “Mom, the ambulance just took dad, and I think we’ve lost him.”

I said, “Lord, when I prayed on Sunday, I asked You for healing, but You’ve gone one step further. You’ve given Pascal not just healing on earth, but eternal healing—life with You.” I did not know that when God restored our marriage, we only had four months together. The children remember those four months of their lives.

Son: It was actually like a loving marriage, like the kind you see on TV or something. I was able to experience something like that, even if it was for a brief period, I now know what it’s like. When my mom offered my dad the forgiveness unconditionally and we all saw that, I was able to release a lot of the things that I had to.

Lorna: When we forgive, we release that burden. You have a victory. You have a freedom. You’re loosed and you’re not anxious and frustrated because that burden is gone. God speaks of that forgiveness and once you forgive, you’re free. You are free to serve God. You are free to really and truly be who God intends for you to be.

Nancy: Years after this video was made, I was in Houston, and I had the privilege to see Lorna again, and to see how that woman is so filled with joy and with peace. Wow, what a blessing it was to see firsthand the long-term transformation in her life.

She’s what Mary Kassian would call “the right kind of strong.” Mary wrote a book by that title to look at how God calls us to be women who order our lives according to the Word of God, just as Lorna has. Mary says that women who are spiritual strong are women who adopt some surprisingly simple habits. We'd like to send you Mary's book as our way of saying "thank you" for supporting Revive Our Hearts.

Here in the summer months, donations are typically a little lower, so it would be great to hear from you today. And if you’ve been blessed by this ministry but you've never given to Revive Our Hearts before, now would be a great time to start. Would you ask the Lord if He would have you give a gift at this time to help this ministry continue and so it can be multiplied into the lives of many more women around the world?

As I mentioned, when you donate any amount this month, we’ll say "thanks" by sending you the book by Mary Kassian, The Right Kind of Strong. Ask for it when you visit us online at ReviveOurHearts.com, or call us at 1–800–569–5959. Let us know what amount the Lord is putting on your heart to give, and also be sure to request the book by Mary on being a strong woman.

Now, not only should we as older women be faith-filled, strong women for the Lord, but we also want our daughters and nieces and granddaughters—the next generations of women—to become true women of God. Tomorrow, we’ll hear from Dannah Gresh, who will cast a vision for all of us. She’ll tell us ways we can invest in the future by investing in the lives of girls today.

Dannah Gresh: I can't overemphasize that we need to be rooted in Truth ourselves. We can try to root our children in Truth as much as we want—do every Bible study, read every book and resource, take them to events—but we are not modeling that Truth in our own lives, we are going to undo some of the work. It has to be authentic.

I see it in moms and I see it in my own heart. I have to confess in each of the workshops I've been doing, I've been doing a little devotional of what God is doing in my own heart for that very day. At one of them a few weeks ago, I had to pretty much confess that my own heart had not been rooted in Truth. I needed to see the lie that I was believing so I could stand in the Truth for my children. I needed to uproot the lie and plant the Truth in myself.

Nancy: Be sure and join us and join us next time on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is calling you to freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ. It's an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the ESV unless otherwise noted.

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

Join the Discussion