Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Starting the Journey

Leslie Basham: Karen Watts had discovered something about God: that she wasn't living according to His power. Here's Karen remembering that time in her life.

Karen Watts: I got a new religion. Yes, there is a God. He's out there somewhere and, yes, there's even a plan of salvation. But in between salvation and heaven, you're just on your own; you just make the best of it. This was my new religion, and I would tell people that.

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Thursday, October 7. Nancy, a lot of people sit in church week after week learning about God, yet they're still trying to control their own lives. They're really living by their own power.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: That's so true, Leslie. You know, I have a friend who, at one point, was trying to manage things on his own and was actually struggling with low-grade depression. As God began to deal in his life, he wrote a letter describing what happened. He said, "I had turned so much anger inward that it had become churning hatred which affected my entire attitude."

Then he said, "Since God has brought me to a new point of brokenness, I've described my life as one that has moved from being a black and white movie to being lived in a full color motion picture." Isn't that a great word picture? When we're willing to crucify the flesh, to give up our pride and to let the Spirit of God work through us, then we truly begin to live.

Over the next couple of days, we're going to hear from a woman who discovered that full color motion picture. She had lived a sinful life as a young woman and then she began to play a religious game. She was trying to look good on the outside while she was still desperate needy on the inside.

Leslie Basham: Well, let's listen as Karen Watts shares her story.

Karen Watts: I was 23, married already, had two children and had been through some tragedy: the loss of twin boys who died at birth and some other tragedies in our lives, so at 23, I was a pretty big mess.

Our marriage was definitely a mess. I had a horrible temper and to win an argument meant to at least make the other person say that they agreed. I was really a very difficult person to live with. On the other hand, I will have to say that I'm a fun-loving person. I love people and after I got through tearing them into shreds, I was fine.

And I wouldn't understand why they were so mad at me! My poor husband was taken off guard constantly. He's an only child and I came from a family of seven. So when we entered into that marriage, we had many things against us.

For one thing, we were very young. I was unsaved; he was saved, although not living for the Lord at that time. I had a violent temper, I demanded my way and I screamed at my children. I was very unkind to my children and I wanted perfection in my life to prove that I could make up for the years that I'd been such a mess. I came to know the Lord at a seminar, and I came home ready to change.

Of course, immediately, you know, the moral things, the drinking, the screaming, the foul language, the soap operas I watched on television, the way I treated my children, the way I responded to my husband, God just began to convict constantly and change daily.

I started memorizing scripture, Matthew 5, 6, and 7 is what God challenged me to memorize, and that was the course through that seminar to learn to be a loving, godly person.

But it wasn't long before I became a performance person. I had built a lifestyle and began to neglect my relationship with the Lord. I would parade this lifestyle of godly living, and it became a real legalistic type of lifestyle, looking down my nose at others who had not arrived at the place that I thought I was.

*Song

It was a good, clean life. I mean, I was doing the right things and avoiding the wrong things. I don't regret that part of it. It was that pride that began to build up in me, a spirit of condemnation toward others. It robbed me. It really robbed me of my relationship with the Lord, and I think it set my sons up for some very wrong decisions in their lives as well.

The first big blow that we had as a family was that our oldest son went off to Bible college, as a matter of fact, and immediately got into an immoral lifestyle and made choices totally against everything he had been brought up in. By the time he came home for Christmas that first year, he was a totally different man.

That just began a snowball, it seemed. You know, just building and going faster and faster and him marrying the young woman.

Then came the death of their child and their marriage was already in trouble. So he left town and left her with us, her and the next new baby. They had had another baby by then, and we lost touch with him for the most part.

He eventually moved in with and actually married a woman who was a dancer who had two children of her own. He got heavy into drugs and for about six and a half years, we didn't see him much at all.

In the meantime, our younger son had married a sweet, godly young girl and we, (I did, I don't know if Kyle did so much), but I had a new point of pride now. I had this son who was a youth director in our church and now I'm going to be okay because everybody is looking at this other son of mine. And, you know, everything's good.

Then through some circumstances that we're not quite sure of even to this day, she just changed her mind and didn't want to be married anymore. And she walked out on my son.

So there they were, the youth directors of our church, and he was terribly devastated and I was devastated. There were some other things going on during this time, as well.

Of course, all this other stuff was still going on with my older son, and my father-in-law got Alzheimer's and had come to live with us. I remember the day that she filed for divorce; I cried out to God. I fasted and prayed and begged and had family prayer meetings. It was a pressure cooker.

I remember the day when inside I said, "I'm done. I'm done with the Lord. He did not do what I expected him to do. I did everything right and He didn't follow through with what I asked Him. He didn't follow His promises. I raised my kids right, and now look at them."

I would try to read my Bible, and there were mocking voices, You really believe this? I mean, look at your kids and look at your situation. This was not how it was supposed to be. I had swallowed a philosophy that if you live for the Lord and dedicate your life to Him, you just won't have to face this stuff.

When my dad died, it gave me an excuse, a valid excuse in front of people that know me to give in to all that bitterness that was beginning to build up. I was still going to church, by the way, and I was still teaching Sunday school, four-and five-year olds. I never prayed, I never opened my Bible. If you talked to me about the Lord, I would tell you, "I don't know Him."

My sisters were devastated. Interestingly enough, my sisters were not serving the Lord when all this started. But during this time, the Lord had gotten hold of them and revived their hearts in a big way, and they began to pray for me. They were seeing the bitterness, depression and suicide I wanted. I wanted out of this life. I was thinking that someday I would get up the nerve to swallow enough of those pills to end it all.

I was totally helpless and hopeless, and I wanted out. I would even hear a little voice that said, "You know you're saved, you'll go to heaven and you can just get out of this. You won't have to face any of this anymore."

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: At this point, Karen Watts story sounds pretty hopeless, doesn't it? You want to be sure to be with us tomorrow as Karen shares how the God of all grace came to her rescue and delivered her from this downward spiral that she found herself in.

But, I want to pause here and speak for a moment to some of our listeners who may be able to relate to Karen's story. You may not be considering ending your life as she was, but you're trying to keep up appearances and yet you lack the power of God in your life.

Can I encourage you to surrender yourself entirely to Him? To humble yourself, admit your weakness and your sin, no matter how desperate your situation may seem. He is the God of all hope, and He will send His grace racing to the scene of your need, as you cry out to Him.

You can do that right now, wherever you are, whatever you're doing, just stop and say something like this, "Oh Lord, I really, really need You. I can't keep going in my own strength. I've been trying so hard to be a good Christian, to live the Christian life. I need Jesus to live the Christian life in and through me. I can't do it on my own. Lord, please come and rescue me by Your grace. I pray in Jesus' name, Amen."

Leslie Basham: If you just prayed with Nancy, we'd love to hear about what God's doing in your life. If you send us your prayer request, our team will pray for you. You can send a note to Revive Our Hearts.

You can also send an e-mail by visiting ReviveOurHearts.com. While you're there, take a look at Nancy's book, Brokenness. If you relate to the story we heard today, if you're tired of maintaining a spiritual facade, this book is for you.

All of us need to approach God in brokenness every day. When you order a copy of Brokenness: The Heart God Revives, we'll include a list from Nancy that contrasts proud people versus broken people. It's distinct, yet powerful, printed on a card a little bigger than a bookmark.

You can order on-line at ReviveOurHearts.com or call 1-800-569-5959.  When you order, you won't pay any shipping or sales tax, but if you'd like to make an additional donation to the ministry, it'll help us bring you programs like the one you heard today.

Today Karen told us about her son who is on drugs and in an immoral lifestyle. Tomorrow we'll find out what happened when he came home. Please join us for Revive Our Hearts.

 

Sara Groves, "This Journey Is My Own," Word Entertainment, 2001 ASCAP.

 Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is a ministry partnership of Life Action Ministries.

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

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