Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Stepping Off the Treadmill

Leslie Basham: Mayra Beltran de Ortiz realized she was worshiping a false god. Her idol was her career.

Mayra Beltran de Ortiz: I am intoxicated. My job is like a drug. But God is my provider, not my job.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Friday, January 24.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Yesterday we heard the first part in the story of Mayra Beltran de Ortiz. If you didn’t get a chance to hear that story, be sure and go back to ReviveOurHearts.com and you can read the transcript or, better yet, listen to the program as Mayra tells her own story.

Now in case you’re just picking up the story now, let me give you a little bit of background. For years, Mayra tried desperately to cultivate a picture-perfect image. In order to encourage her husband and children to look successful, keeping up appearances, she would try controlling them through verbal outbursts.

Mayra was the vice-president of a health club chain in the Dominican Republic where she lives. Her husband Federico had several real estate projects going.

Because they were just both living their own independent lives and weren’t on the same page, they weren’t communicating about his business and his increasing debt. Mayra had always been tempted to try to control her family, but once all this debt came to light, she clamped down even more.

Now, maybe that sounds reasonable. Is it really possible to respect a man who’s gotten into debt? Is it possible to follow a husband's lead when he isn’t leading? How can a wife encourage her husband to become the loving leader that God created him to be?

Well these are questions a lot of wives have. Perhaps they’re questions you have in your marriage. We’re going to touch on some of these as we hear part two of Mayra’s story.

Let me mention, I hope you’ll watch the video version of this story that our team shot in the Dominican Republic. Then send the link to others who will be encouraged and helped by this dramatic story of surrender to Christ. You can watch it at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Now when we left off yesterday, Mayra had found out that Federico owed money to a family friend and hadn’t paid it back.

Mayra: At that point, I lost it. I said, “Are you crazy? Are you out of your mind? What are you thinking? I’m ashamed!”

One of the things I regret the most is I told him it would be better if he were dead.

Nancy: Mayra hadn’t planned to come home for lunch that day, but at the last minute she changed her mind. That’s when she found Federico on the couch holding a glass of vodka.

Mayra: Again, I was not respectful. I said, “Now you drink on weekdays and watch TV?” I thought he was wasting time when he should have been working.

Nancy: As Mayra passed by the table, she saw an envelope with her name on it. Federico had written a three-page letter. It described all his debt, which was far worse than she had realized. Not only had he borrowed from banks, but he had also taken out informal loans from dangerous money lenders. He said that he had taken rat poison because he considered himself a rat.

When Mayra realized that she was holding a suicide note, she ran over and found that her husband was unconscious but still alive. She rushed him to the emergency room.

Mayra: When we were finally able to be with Federico, he was like a prisoner in a room with no windows. The doctors thought that he was in danger of trying to kill himself again. He really looked like a child. He was at the lowest point a man can be. He felt like he failed at everything he tried to do, even committing suicide.

The four of us hugged together, and we just told him, “We are not going to leave you. We love you, and we are going to help you.”

Nancy: This is Mayra’s daughter, Erika.

Erika de Ortiz: He looked like trying to survive. He had tubes and everything, and I remember I yelled at him, “Dad, don’t worry. You’re going to make it.”

Nancy: Mayra had grown up going to a traditional church, but to her, prayer was kind of like a good-luck charm. So something stood out to her when her sister-in-law arrived at the hospital and started praying.

Mayra: Her relationship with God wasn’t about tradition. She talked to God like she knew Him personally. It was the kind of relationship with God that I wanted to have.

Nancy: Another influence God used on this couple was a lawyer who knew their son. When he found out about their emergency, he dropped everything and went to meet with them. He presented a plan to help with some of the financial issues and dealing with the debt, but more importantly, he shared about his faith in Christ. He explained how Jesus had done all that was needed on the cross to cancel their debt of sin.

Mayra: Back at home I knelt down and prayed. This time it wasn’t like a good-luck charm. It was like a moment of spiritual awakening for me when I truly surrendered to the Lord. I prayed for real like I was talking to my father. I said, “Lord, I don’t have a father in this earth, but I know You’re there. I know You’re real, and I need You. I cannot do this on my own. You created me, and You know my heart, and I need You to give me the strength to cope with everything that I have at this moment. Please help me, Lord. I trust You, and be merciful to us at this moment.”

On that day I stopped trying to do things on my own. I put my faith in Jesus to forgive my sins and make me right with God.

Nancy: Federico’s sister read the Bible constantly there in the hospital, the beginning of a process of discipleship in Federico’s life.

Interpreter for Federico de Ortiz: I listened to her. She prayed for me, but I didn’t feel a change in myself. She recommended that I read the Bible every day. Since I wasn’t leaving the house, I wasn’t working, I didn’t go out, so I read the Bible daily—in the morning, at noon, at night. The main thing I did was read the Bible.

I felt as the days and the weeks passed, I wanted to know more of the Bible. I felt the need to know more of the image of Christ. I wanted to know more of God. So we set up this dynamic where I would read the Bible during the day, and when she would arrive, she would answer my questions. When she came in the afternoon, she would answer my questions and the things that were bothering me.

Nancy: Now that she was right with the Lord, Mayra wanted to make things right with other people.

Mayra: I went to my husband and asked for his forgiveness for my harsh words. And it’s amazing. I was even forgiven by God and by my husband for saying, “I wish you were dead.” It was amazing to be so free, to know that I didn’t have to pretend to have a picture-perfect life and keep up with appearances, and to know that I was truly forgiven.

Erika: I knew that they were changing, and we started seeing miracles after miracles how everything was getting better, and they were solving everything in a supernatural way.

Nancy: After Federico got out of the hospital, this family radically adjusted their lifestyle and worked at paying off their debt.

Mayra: We sold everything we could. We sold Federico’s car. We even sold our refrigerator and got a very small one. We moved out of our apartment and moved into a small, inexpensive place.

Nancy: Federico was in a lot of danger from money-lenders, and Mayra was tempted to be afraid, but she began to fill her mind with Scripture like Psalm 121.

Mayra: “I will lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot to be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” (vv. 1–4)

Nancy: Sometimes armed men would show up at Mayra’s office at the health club threatening the family if they didn’t get paid, but Mayra and Federico continued to trust God for His protection and provision.

Mayra: “The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.” (vv. 5–8)

Nancy: Federico wanted to honor the Lord by working hard. He got a low-paying job as the building administrator for a small shopping complex. He also wanted to give glory to God by paying off his debt and clearing his conscience with others.

Mayra: Every time we paid off a debt, Federico would ask forgiveness from that person. It was a beautiful process that taught me so much about God.

Nancy: Now, Mayra had surrendered her life to the Lord, but she still had a lot to learn about what that surrender looked like practically. During the three years it took to pay back their debt, she still had a tendency to control the people around her.

Mayra: I had 200 employees at work, and I was treating my husband like an employee.

Nancy: As this couple dealt with the effect of Federico’s financial choices, Mayra’s tendency was to clamp down and take control.

Interpreter for Federico: Because I wasn’t working and Mayra was working, I did feel like she had all the weight of the responsibilities of the home and the costs of the house and she covered it with her work. At first I felt bad because, in my pride, it made me feel that I wasn’t carrying the responsibilities that the man ought to cover. He ought to provide for his family. He ought to be a spiritual support and economical support of the home, and I felt very bad because of that.

Mayra: During these years I was still very tempted to control the people around me, especially my husband.

Nancy: Throughout this time Mayra continued to experience success in her career at the chain of health clubs.

Mayra: I started to think of the health club as my provider, and my job was becoming my god.

Nancy: Around this time, God was stirring the hearts of women in the Dominican Republic. A group was getting ready to travel to Chicago for True Woman ’08. Over 100 women from the D.R. made this trip, and Mayra and her daughter Erika were among them.

Mayra: I had been to a lot of conferences for my job at the health club, but this was so different. I had never been to a conference where women were seeking the Lord together.

Erika: All the ideas of womanhood was completely new to me, and it really changed my life and my perspective as a woman. During True Woman ’08, my mom and I talked about everything God was doing in us.

Mayra: I was really impressed with the speakers, like John Piper. He explained how accepting a biblical design for womanhood grew inside God. And Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Mary Kassian looked like executive women, but they spoke with such passion about the Lord. I don’t know of any woman from the Dominican Republic who wasn’t deeply affected by True Woman. It impacted me in every way.

Nancy: At the conference Mayra was convicted that she still cared too much about outward success.

Mayra: My job had become an idol. I was not honoring God by putting my trust in my job and by being in charge of my home. I said, “I don’t want what I am. I am intoxicated. My job is like a drug. God is my provider, not my job.”

Nancy: Instead of leaning on the Lord for her security, Mayra was leaning on her job. She began to wonder, In this season of life, does God have different priorities for me?

Interpreter for Federico: When Mayra went to that conference with True Woman, when she got back, she told me that there were many things that she had received. She felt like God had spoken to her through that conference and that she recognized things in herself that she needed to change.

Nancy: When Mayra got back to the Dominican Republic, she decided to step off the treadmill of performance and success and instead begin walking with the Lord step by step.

Mayra: When I came home from True Woman, I resigned from my job. My last day there was December 31, 2008.

Nancy: Immediately, God demonstrated that He truly was this family’s provider.

Mayra: When I quit my job, right away my husband received an offer to manage an office building. God provided what we needed right when we needed it. Then he started managing more buildings.

Nancy: Federico’s business started to grow. He now owns his own business managing commercial buildings.

Mayra: He’s well respected in his industry managing houses, apartments, and malls.

Erika: I’ve seen my dad taking more responsibility at his home, like, with us as a leader, and he really wants to be like the man of the house, and he’s doing a very good job. He’s providing for all our needs, and he has become more organized, more secure of himself in Christ, and he’s doing a very good job.

Mayra: The process has not been easy. I’m still growing, but everything is changing. We now share the same bank account. I am learning to talk to him with more respect.

Nancy: And now Mayra is investing in younger women, sharing honestly about her experiences.

Mayra: Now God is using our story to affect others. We lead a couple’s group at our church, and I counsel a lot of women who have questions about how to love and respect their husbands.

Interpreter for Federico: For some years the church has assigned us the responsibility of shepherding or guiding a group of couples. Right now we have thirteen couples in that group where we study books to help us all in our relationships as couples and with our children—bettering our family relationships.

We are the coordinators of this group, and we are also counselors, pre-marital counselors and married life counselors. We help them so that they can better their family relationships and as a couple.

Nancy: And now Mayra is part of the team translating Revive Our Hearts into Spanish. Her work is heard on Aviva Nuestros Corazones, the Spanish version of Revive Our Hearts.

Mayra: As I translate Nancy’s dictation, I am growing so much. I sometimes have to stop the translation to cry and pray. A lot of times I’m counseling a woman, and I don’t know what to say. Then I listen to Revive Our Hearts and hear just the answer that I need to tell her.

Interpreter for Federico: I think that in the life of Mayra there have been many changes as well. After all this process that we’ve lived through, after she went to True Woman, and in her work of translating radio materials, all the materials she translates always has something of importance to her life. The Lord has a word for her through the material, and she puts forward an extraordinary effort to put it into practice—not only the intellectual part of it, knowing it and translating it properly, but also putting it into practice in her life.

Mayra has changed. She has become a different person over the years.

Erika: Every day she sends me an email with a quote or with a Bible verse. Or when I call her, she says to me, “Oh no, I can’t talk. I’m translating Nancy’s things, and I’m crying. Everything is impacting me.”

Mayra: So I’m thankful for everything that’s going on at Revive Our Hearts and in the Dominican Republic but especially in my life. For so many years we were seeking so many things. We were seeking our very life. We were seeking money and success. I was seeking respect. I was seeking control.

Through all the things we’ve been through, I have discovered that nothing satisfies except for knowing God. I want to spend the rest of my life seeking Him.

Nancy: Well, I’ve heard Mayra’s story many times now, and each time it’s freshly touching and encouraging to me. I think it challenges all of us to let God search our hearts and ask if we’re looking for satisfaction from anything or anyone other than Jesus, even those of us who have been walking with Him for a long time. We need to make sure that our love for Him isn’t being subtly replaced by the approval of others or the drive for success or anything else.

As Mayra discovered, true freedom and fullness and fruitfulness come as we surrender every area of our lives to the Lord and take whatever steps He may be leading us to take, even if those steps seem really radical.

I wonder if there’s any action that He has put on your heart as you’ve been listening to this story, any area of surrender that you need to follow up on today?

And so, Lord, I just thank You for Your amazing grace in Mayra’s life and in her husband's. I think You for redeeming their lives from destruction; for meeting with them and giving them Your mercy and Your grace; for setting them free from idols and from having to stress and strain to live that picture-perfect life as they have found Christ to be their true righteousness.

I pray that You would search each of our hearts and show us if there are idols, things, people that we’re looking to to satisfy needs in us that only You can meet.

Show us where we may have priorities that have been misplaced, where maybe we’re involved in activities or things that are not right for this season of our lives. I don’t know if maybe there are some moms that You would be calling back into their homes or some different issues that You may be dealing with us depending on our season of life.

Just help us to hear, Lord, what You are saying, to be sensitive to the prompting of Your Holy Spirit, and to be quick to say, “Yes, Lord, whatever You say, whatever You want.”

Lord, some of as women just need to relinquish control. We’re trying to control the people and the circumstances around us, and we’re driving ourselves and them crazy. So, Lord, help us to unclench those fists, to just open up our hearts to You, and to let You fill us with Your Spirit and make us the true women that You created us to be. Make us a blessing to our families, to the people we work with, to those around us.

Thank You, Lord, for Your amazing grace and mercy, and we pray it in Jesus’ holy name, amen.

Well, the Spanish version of Revive Our Hearts that Mayra is helping to translate is still in the early stages, and it needs a lot of help. That team down in the Dominican Republic has been working without offices or studios of their own. Revive Our Hearts has been able to support Aviva Nuestros Corazones to help get it off the ground thanks to listeners like you who support this ministry. Your gift helps us keep bringing Revive Our Hearts in English, and it also helps us support new initiatives like Aviva Nuestros Corazones.

If this ministry has been a blessing and an encouragement to you, and you want to see it spread to potentially millions of women throughout the Spanish-speaking world who don’t have any kind of program like this in their own language, then let me ask you to consider making a gift today to Revive Our Hearts.

Leslie: Thanks, Nancy. When you donate any amount to Revive Our Hearts this month, we’re saying “thanks” by sending you a CD Nancy recorded on the piano. It’s called Be Still. We’ve heard from a lot of listeners who are using this CD to focus their hearts on the Lord while being stretched by a crisis in their lives.

Ask for the CD Be Still when you donate any amount to Revive Our Hearts. Our number is 1–800–569–5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

Maybe while you listen to the story of Mayra and Federico de Ortiz, you can relate to some of the emotions they went through at various times. I hope you’ll listen next week as Nancy teaches a series called “Dealing with Depression and Doubt.” Please be back for 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.

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