Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Saying “Yes, Lord” When Life Is Hard

Dannah Gresh: Monica Hall had just lost twins in a painful miscarriage, but then she watched as a group of women put the love of Christ on display.

Monica Hall: They cried with me when I lost my babies. It was their tears that ministered to me; that they were carrying that for me so deeply in their own hearts. 

Dannah: This is the Revive Our Hearts podcast with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, coauthor of You Can Trust God to Write Your Story, for September 17, 2021. I’m Dannah Gresh.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Every one of our stories includes ups and downs. Monica Hall experienced that in a dramatic way. She’s a pastor’s wife who was serving the Lord faithfully, when suddenly some unexpected plot twists tempted her to despair.

Monica: I just felt very isolated, very alone, very hurt. I didn’t like the story God had written for me.

Nancy: In this dark season she even began to doubt God Himself.

Monica: [I said,] “God, I don’t even know if You love me. I don’t know if it’s true that You’re good.”

Nancy: If you’ve ever been tempted to think that way, stay tuned. You’re about to get a dose of hope and encouragement for navigating the twists and turns in life. But first, we’re going to go back a few years and get to know Monica Hall. 

The timeline of Monica’s story somewhat parallels the history of Revive Our Hearts, so we wanted to share this moving story with you as we celebrate twenty years of God’s faithfulness in this ministry.

Dannah: Yes, Nancy. In the early 2000s, Monica and her husband Clay were preparing for a life of ministry, but he wasn’t a pastor just yet. During this time God began working on Monica’s heart when she got a copy of your book, Nancy: Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free.

Monica: I read it, and it stepped all over my toes. 

Nancy (from "Lies Women Believe"): When we’re facing those trials, we’re vulnerable to believe things that just aren’t true. So we tend to believe, for example, that, “If my circumstances were different, I would be different. I wouldn’t be reacting this way if something had happened, or this had not happened . . .”

Another lie is, “I shouldn’t have to suffer! Everybody else does, but I shouldn’t have to.” Or, “My circumstances will never change. This will go on forever!” 

Monica: The first time I read through it, my heart was already there with a lot of things for my husband and for my children. So it was just confirming what I already knew to be true.

Nancy (from "Lies Women Believe"): There are moments when Robert and I look at each other and we think to ourselves (well, I can’t say what’s in his mind at any given moment), I don’t get this! I don’t get you! This is more challenging, maybe, than we thought it would be, in that moment.

And the glue that we keep going back to, what we found our love in, is God’s covenant-keeping love for us . . . and then the covenant we made with each other to choose to love each other with the love of Christ flowing through us by His grace . . . and as we said, in dependence on the power of His Holy Spirit.

Monica: My heart just resonated with it! And so from there I started looking for other resources by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Then in 2008 we heard about the [first True Woman] conference. But I had just had a baby, and I couldn’t go. I was so disappointed, because I thought it was a one-time thing.

I thought, I’ve missed the chance for this True Woman conference! In 2010, lo and behold, it came around again. I was able to go to the conference in Chattanooga.

Nancy (from True Woman ’10): Let’s just say, “Yes, Lord!” How about that? Because He’s the One who is going to enable us to do that. So let’s say, “Yes, Lord!” And if you’ve got that white “flag of surrender,” and you want to wave it on those “Yes, Lords,” you can feel free to do that.

Monica: I’d been to women’s conferences before, but this was a whole new level. I had never been to a conference like this. I was in a very dry place, a hard place, and it just filled me up.

Dannah: At that conference Nancy invited women to say the phrase “Yes, Lord!”—a statement of complete surrender. Each of us at the conference received a white handkerchief embroidered with that phrase. We were encouraged to wave it like a white flag of surrender every time we felt God was speaking to us about surrendering to Him. It was an outward sign that our hearts were trusting Him.

Nancy (quoting from the True Woman Manifesto at True Woman ’10): “[We will] seek to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.” 

Women at the conference: “Yes, Lord!”

Nancy (quoting from the True Woman Manifesto at True Woman ’10): “[We will] gladly yield control of our lives to Christ as Lord.”

Monica: They read through the True Woman Manifesto, and Nancy asked us to get our white hankies out of our bag and wave them if we agreed.

Nancy (quoting from the True Woman Manifesto at True Woman ’10): “We will embrace and express our unique design and calling as women with humility, gratitude, faith, and joy.” 

Women at the conference: “Yes, Lord!”

Monica: And my heart was just, “Yes! Yes!” A friend had gone with me, and my friend was like, “This is so silly! I feel so silly doing this!” 

Dannah: Monica’s heart resonated with the messages she was hearing, and she knew the truth would stick in her heart more effectively if she took a practical step of surrender and waved that “white flag.” 

She had a choice to make: Would she stay seated next to her friend, or would she wave the flag as an outward expression of what was happening in her heart?

Monica: I’m kind of a people pleaser, and I don’t want to stand out, but I had to. I raised that hankie, and I waved it even though she was sitting next to me with her arms crossed.

Nancy (quoting from the True Woman Manifesto at True Woman ’10): “And we will pray for a movement of revival and reformation among God’s people that will result in the advancement of the kingdom and gospel of Christ among all nations.” 

Women at the conference: “Yes, Lord!” 

Nancy: Yes, Lord, amen!

Monica: I prayed, “I surrender, Lord, whatever You’re calling me to do. I’ll say yes because you know, Nancy says you can’t say, ‘No, Lord.’ That’s impossible. If Jesus is your Lord, you have to say ‘yes.’

Dannah: As we’re about to hear, Monica’s attitude of surrender would be challenged when some seasons of life didn’t go the direction she wanted. But the bedrock truth that God deserves our full surrender, that was cemented in her heart at the True Woman ’10 conference.

Monica: I went home. My husband and I probably sat on the couch for two hours, with me just spilling out everything that God had done at that conference.

Dannah: Over the next couple years Monica took what she learned from Revive Our Hearts and shared it with other women.

Monica: I taught Lies Women Believe at my church and A Place of Quiet Rest at my church. I thought, I want to work with them [ROH] someday.

Dannah: That seemed impossible, because Monica was a busy mom and a pastor’s wife, far from the Revive Our Hearts ministry center in Michigan. But at the True Woman’14 conference, Monica heard about the Revive Our Hearts Ambassador program.

Monica: My ears just perked up! I wanted to know what that was about. I don’t know what that is, but it sounds like I’m kind of already doing it.

Dannah: So Monica and her husband talked and prayed. Some women are called to serve as official Ambassadors, but others may be called to serve in other more informal ways. 

Monica: It’s a calling, it’s not just something we do haphazardly or flippantly. I prayed; my husband prayed, and we both felt confirmed in that. I had wanted to be a financial ministry partner, and we just were not in the position to even do thirty dollars a month. We just couldn’t. 

We were having a baby every other year, and just in this little tiny pastorate. We just didn’t have the money. And my husband said, “Maybe this is how you can give back.” 

And so I said, “We want to do it.” I went through the process and came to training. That was six years ago.

I’m still giving back, and my hours have increased. I’ve been able to give [more] as my children have gotten older. When I first became an Ambassador, I had six kids from ages two to twelve, so I didn’t have a ton of time to give . . . but I was able to hit the bare minimum.

As my kids have gotten older, it’s freed me up a little bit. We homeschool, so I can give them something to do while I go do a call to a pastor’s wife or something, so I’ve been able to give more time. I just know this is what God has called me to do!

Dannah: What, exactly, does an Ambassador do?

Monica: We connect, encourage, and equip leaders to build up the body of Christ. We want to reach out to leaders in the church, whether that’s a pastor’s wife or a women’s ministry leader in title (a lot of them don’t have that title, but they’re organizing women’s ministries in their churches).

We want to do just that, just encourage them, be that safe place for them. Sometimes we’re able to equip them with resources. The ministry is so generous to give us resources to give to them. Sometimes we’re just able to gift them with the new Bible study that just came out or at least point them to it; we can just let them know. 

Revive Our Hearts is so rich in resources, and they might not know that this exists. We also connect them with each other. Like I said, it can be a very lonely thing in a lot of cases, though not for everybody. But I might know someone in this town and someone in this town, and they didn’t know each other and they’re only twenty minutes apart. I can connect them with each other so that they’ve got someone—even if I’m not local to them in West Kentucky and they might be in East Kentucky). I can connect them with each other so that they’ve got someone just to walk on the journey with. So that, I think, is the core of our focus.

Dannah: When Monica became an Ambassador and started encouraging pastors’ wives, she didn’t realize she would enter a season of needing that very same kind of encouragement. A few years ago, Monica’s church went through a season of conflict.

Monica: My husband was a pastor, and there were just some hard things going on there. We didn’t know if he was going to be asked to leave or if we were going to have to resign. I just felt very isolated, very alone, very hurt. 

Dannah: Around the time Monica was going through pain at church, another sad chapter was developing at home.

Monica: I have six children, and we had always wanted to adopt. We were at a place that we felt like we were ready to do that. My youngest child was three at the time, I think, or four. The Lord led us to embryo adoption.

Dannah: When couples undergo fertility treatment, they sometimes leave behind embryos that remain frozen. Monica and her husband had a strong sense of conviction that these embryos needed to be brought to term and given a family. They felt called to adopt two of these embryos and spent two years raising the needed funds.

Monica: It’s a grueling process, physically, for a woman who goes through that, and so we did. The embryos were transplanted in November of 2017. We did two, and I miscarried those. I’d had two miscarriages prior to that, but this one was just harder, it was different.

You know, I’d been walking with the Lord for years at that point; I’m a pastor’s wife. But it just took me to a place I hadn’t been before, to where I was questioning everything because I was so puzzled by why God had led us down this path, called us to this—which we firmly believed—and then to not let these babies live.

I didn’t understand the point in why we had to go through that. My body didn’t recover well from it, so I was experiencing physical problems that I wouldn’t have been experiencing if we hadn’t done it. It was a financial strain for us to do that. And I just had this longing for adoption—that was our heart—for those babies I had lost. I was angry. 

Dannah: Around this time, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth re-released a book that had made such a difference in Monica’s life years earlier.

Monica: It was the spring of 2018 when the new Lies Women Believe came out, that was updated but it also had new material. I was really curious to read that because I had loved the other one so much, and because as an Ambassador, I knew I wanted to stay current on the resources. So, yeah, I read immediately!

A lot of it was, “Okay, yeah, this is just reiterating where I’m already at.” But when I got to the chapter on unfulfilled longings, that’s when it stopped being, “I want to read this book to just know what it says,” and more of a, “Wow, God is using this book to do a work in my heart!” After I read it, it was a while before I was really able to say, “Yes, Lord.”

Dannah: Nancy’s next book also spoke to Monica’s exact situation. Nancy and Robert Wolgemuth released You Can Trust God to Write Your Story.

Nancy (from “You Can Trust God to Write Your Story”): Maybe you’ve been a Christian for a long, long time, but you’ve lost a sense of the fact that God cares about your story and that God is intimately involved in your story in ways that maybe you can’t see. God is writing a story in and through your life!

Monica: I’m not going to say that finished the process, but it definitely let me progress . . . because I didn’t want the story God had written for me. After that, we looked into other avenues of adoption, and every door closed to us: foster care, doing embryo adoption again, or just domestic adoption. All the doors closed, and that was it.

I couldn’t have any more children biologically. Every door for more children was closed, and I wasn’t ready for that. I didn’t like the story God was writing for me and I just had rebellion in my heart towards what He was doing.

Nancy (from “You Can Trust God to Write Your Story”): I have a story, you have a story. Everyone has a story, no matter what age you are, no matter what your background. Your story is unlike anyone else’s story. Now, you may think as we talk about your story, Well, there’s nothing special about my story. I just have a boring, ordinary story.

Or you may be kind of on the other end of the scale, and you think, My story is such a mess! I can’t imagine that this story could ever turn out well!

The mess you’re referring to might be because of circumstances in your life that were beyond your control. Some of the mess may be the result of (and this is true for all of us, by the way) foolish or sinful choices that you have made. 

But maybe all this has come together, it’s a big mess, and you are ashamed of your story! It is not a story you would really want to share with anyone. And you think, There is no way my story will ever become something of great worth or great beauty. There’s no way God could use my story; there’s no way God could use me.

Now, the fact is, whether you think that your story is too ordinary and insignificant to matter, or you think your story is too messed up to ever have a happy ending or to be useful to anyone; the fact is, your story matters to God! God cares about your story. And you may be listening to this program today and maybe this is the first time you’ve ever listened to this kind of Christian teaching, and you’re thinking, God cares about my story?! He does!

Maybe you’ve been a Christian for a long, long time but you’ve lost a sense of the fact that God cares about your story and that God is intimately involved in your story in ways that maybe you can’t see. God is writing a story in and through your life.

Monica: Reading that book, then, was really instrumental in helping me understand that He’s the Author of my story.

Nancy (from “You Can Trust God to Write Your Story”): Not every chapter in this life has a happy ending, but we can be confident that every true child of God will live happily ever after. You can trust God to “write” your story, and you can be sure that in the end, He will “right” your story!

Dannah: As a Revive Our Hearts Ambassador, Monica had supported discouraged pastors’ wives in the past, but now she felt like she had nothing to give.

Monica: I just had no capacity to do that, and my Ambassador sisters, they “ambassadored” me at that time. My birthday was in that same season, and Angela had texted or called and said, “Can we video chat?”

Dannah: Angela Temples is the National Field Director for the Revive Our Hearts Ambassador program.

Monica: I didn’t know it, but she had contacted several others of the Ambassadors and asked them to join in, and they just prayed for me. (That was over Zoom. We weren’t together; we were all spread out.) I had prayed my whole life for godly friends. My whole adult life, I just struggled finding . . . I mean, we moved frequently with my husband’s ministry, so that was part of it. 

But with the Ambassador program, I didn't expect that aspect of it. I don’t think any of us expected what it has turned into, but that’s where God answered that prayer. And so, I’m walking through the hardest season in my life, and honestly just questioning God: “I don’t even know if You love me. I don’t know if it’s true that You’re good. I don’t know if I even want to do this anymore!”

They “held my arms up” on a day they didn’t know it was a hard day. I would get a text from one of them. They cried with me when I lost my babies. People didn’t understand; a lot of people don’t place that as an actual human life. So people would say, “I’m sorry it didn’t work out.” 

But they cried with me. It was their tears that ministered to me; that they were carrying that for me so deeply in their own hearts. That’s what they did for me, but that’s what our Ambassadors long to do. At that season, I was the lonely pastor’s wife that we’re called to reach out to.

Pastors’ wives are so lonely, in a lot of cases, and they’re carrying such burdens. We as Ambassadors, our hearts are just to help them carry whatever it is that they’re carrying. And that’s what they did for me. You know, that was my role, but I couldn’t do it right then; I needed them to do it to me. 

And that’s what they did to me. They are my dearest friends to this day, and I will forever be thankful for God calling me to this program. Now I’m in a better place. God has done so much work in my heart. We’re at a new church, and He’s blessing that.

Somebody said this morning, “It’s like you stepped out of the woods into the sunshine!” And that’s what I feel like. Now I’m so eager to finally be able to do the work that He’s called me to do and to pass that on to other women’s ministry leaders or pastors’ wives.

You can’t confide in people in your church all the time. We can be that for them. We can be a safe place. They don’t have to be afraid to tell us things about church members because we don’t know those ladies, but we can pray for them. I’m excited to do that for others the way it was done for me.

Dannah: If you’re in need of that kind of support, I hope you’ll reach out to Revive Our Hearts; connect with an Ambassador in your area. Visit ReviveOurHearts.com/Ambassadors. Nancy, I know a lot of women are listening, and they’re feeling like Monica. They might be walking through a very dark season of their own right now.

Nancy: Yes, I’ve had conversations with a number of women like that just in recent days—lots of different circumstances and details, but some really hard stuff. So, I think it might be helpful just to repeat some of the themes that we’ve heard today. 

These are biblical truths, Dannah, that you and I have had to cling to again and again when circumstances seemed too hard to handle:

1. You really can trust God to write your story! That’s not just a throw-away phrase. That’s not a glib something that’s just a Band-Aid on a hemorrhaging heart. It really is true that God can be trusted, because God sees what we can’t see, and He knows what is for the ultimate best in our lives.

And that’s why we can say—no matter what’s going on around us—“Yes, Lord! Yes, Lord, I receive this hard thing and trust You to bring glory to Yourself through it.”

2. And the reminder that we can trust God with our unfulfilled longings, which we all have, because ultimately our fulfillment comes not from a life circumstance, not from receiving something we’ve desired, but from resting our hearts and our lives in Christ. That’s our ultimate fulfillment!

Dannah: You’ve been returning us to these themes for the last twenty years, and it’s so exciting to see how God has used this ministry in one life—Monica’s—and made such a huge difference in her story!

Nancy: I know Monica personally, and I’ve watched this process in her life and seen the beautiful way that God has redeemed the pain and is using her to speak into the lives of people who have their own pains.

There are so many beautiful stories like Monica’s being written in the lives of women around the world because of the truth they’ve been exposed to through this ministry. And over these past twenty years, God has used so many people to pray for Revive Our Hearts and to support the ministry financially.

If you’ve been involved in partnering with us in this ministry, you’re part of Monica’s story . . . and all those other stories as well. I want you to think about this for a moment: Over the next twenty years and beyond, stories of women will be unfolding all around the world.

We want to continue being there for them, pointing them to the truth of God’s Word and to the encouragement that is ours through Christ, in whatever ups and downs they may go through. But we can only keep doing that through the support of friends like you—day after day, month after month, year after year.

When you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any amount this month, we want to say thank you by sending you a workbook that Mary Kassian and I wrote together. It’s called True Woman 101. This study will help you better understand the basics of God’s design for men and women and your unique calling as a woman.

Dannah: And, Nancy, when we send that True Woman 101 book, we also want to include a special art print designed to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Revive Our Hearts. The inspiration behind this print is the phrase that meant so much to Monica Hall: “Yes, Lord!”

When you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any size, you can let us know you would like the “Yes, Lord!” print and the workbook True Woman 101. You can give at ReviveOurHearts.com, or call us at 1–800–569–5959.

On Monday we’ll take a look at a woman who was a powerful world leader, but she met someone even greater than herself! Find out why her humility can be such an example to you, next time on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has been calling women to freedom, fullness and fruitfulness in Christ for the last twenty years.
 

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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.

About the Host

Dannah Gresh

Dannah Gresh

When Dannah Gresh was eight years old, she began praying that God would use her as a Bible teacher for “the nations.” When she sees the flags of many countries waving at a Revive Our Hearts event, it feels like an answer to her prayer.

Dannah is the founder of True Girl which provides tools for moms and grandmothers to disciple their 7–12 year-old girls. On Monday nights, you’ll find Dannah hosting them in her online Bible study. She has authored over twenty-eight books, including Ruth: Becoming a Girl of Loyalty, Lies Girls Believe, and a Bible study for adult women based on the book of Habakkuk. She and her husband, Bob, live on a hobby farm in central Pennsylvania.

About the Guest

Monica Hall

Monica Hall

Monica Hall makes her home with her pastor-husband and six children in a rural community in the Bible belt. She spends her days homeschooling and chauffeuring her kiddos, dreaming up family road trips, and curling up with a tall glass of sweet tea and a good book. She loves talking with women, sharing how Jesus has transformed her heart, swapping stories of life and ministry, and finding encouragement and laughter for the journey.

Contact Monica at MHall@ROHAmbassador.com