Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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For Such a Time as This in Los Angeles

Dannah Gresh: A pastor's wife named Kesha would worship at the front of her church every Sunday. But inside, she was harboring bitterness.

Kesha Griffin: "How do you go to church," this is what I would ask myself, "and you sing praise and worship, and you're worshiping the Lord, and you know the Word, and you're serving in ministry—and yet, you can't forgive your father? That does not add up."

Dannah: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Choosing Forgiveness, for Wednesday, March 10, 2021. I'm Dannah Gresh.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Think of how many needs there are among the women in your community—the hurts they're carrying, the wrong ways of thinking they may have, the destructive choices they're making.

How might God want you to get involved in their lives, mentoring and sharing what God has taught you? How might He want you to get involved "for such a time as this"?

That's what a pastor's wife in the Los Angeles area has been asking the Lord. She has a passion for teaching the women in her church based on the encouragement in Titus 2 for older women to teach younger women. Kesha not only wanted to train other women, but she wanted to make sure she was sharing solid, biblical truth with them.

That quest for biblical materials led her to Revive Our Hearts. It also made her realize the need to deal with bitterness and unforgiveness in her own heart. We're about to hear that story.

Kesha and I first connected on Twitter. I had the joy of getting to know her personally. I love her heart to serve other women. I'm so grateful that she's been able to find resources to share with other women at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Dannah: Let's listen to what God's been doing in Kesha's life.

Kesha grew up frustrated with her father. Eventually that frustration led to bitterness.

Kesha: Honestly, I don't have many memories as a child of being with my father. The memories that I do have are not pleasant ones—just tons of disappointment, tons of empty promises, tons of never coming through, never being a man of his word, him not showing up when he said he would.

So my memories of him are just not good. I believe my father left when I was five or so. From age five to adulthood, it made me seek after affection or love in wrong places. I sought the attention of men because I didn't really have a male figure, or dad I should say, who could show me that love and the affection and the care of a man. It would cause me to search for that in other places.

He chose to leave the family. Unfortunately, he had a drug problem. All my years growing up I would say, "Well, this is his excuse; this is his reason. I'm giving him an out." But really, I was still harboring bitterness and unforgiveness toward him because I felt abandoned as a child.

Abandonment was the root of the unforgiveness. The way I became a Christian was through a very traumatic experience in college. I had an ex-boyfriend at the time who passed away. I was very distraught over it. I was just very empty, searching, trying to figure out, "What am I here for? What is this life about? Why am I experiencing all these hardships?"

And so, I became a Christian in my college bedroom, by myself. It was as if God said, "Are you ready to try Me now? You've done it your way; you've tried this; you've tried that. Are you ready to come to Me now?" So, I surrendered in my college bedroom.

Once I became a Christian in college, I started to attend our local church by myself, which was a little odd. I went from "party girl" to now attending church by myself. 

Dannah: Kesha continued separating herself from her father, who had caused her so much pain in her childhood. Eventually, she got married and became a pastor's wife.

Kesha: We got married at age twenty-five. We've been married ever since! Five years ago my husband was called to pastor. We've always attended church together, of course, when we were married. He was at our old church pretty much all of his life—thirty-one years. From there he was called to pastor, and we've been at our church about four or five years.

Dannah: Kesha was serving in their church plant in Los Angeles—helping her husband, worshiping the Lord—but bitterness was buried deep inside her heart.

Kesha: My father would try to pursue a relationship, but I would always kind of just brush him off, not really wanting to deal with him. He's been in and out of prison all my life. He would always reach out, maybe from prison through letters and calls. He has never just not been in my life. He's always been there . . . it's just that I wouldn't receive him.

I wouldn't receive the calls, I wouldn't respond to his letters.

Dannah: That unforgiveness was a secret. On the outside no one would have known Kesha was bitter.

Kesha: "How do you go to church," this is what I asked myself, "and you sing praise and worship, and you're worshiping the Lord, and you know the Word, and you're serving in ministry, but yet you can't forgive your father? That does not add up—as a Christian woman, or as a Christian period, that doesn't add up."

Dannah: As the church plant grew, she took on the role of Women's Ministry Leader and began searching for materials that would point women to Christ.

Kesha: Well, I started from the ground up with lots of prayer and trying to see what the best way was to start the [women's] ministry. I decided to research, "What are other women's ministries doing? What can we do to start from the ground up?"

I was a bit frustrated. I was a bit disappointed, because the resources I would come across, they were not about pointing women to Jesus Christ. It was more self-help—how to be successful in life, how to find a husband, how to make money.

I was so frustrated I almost wanted to give up looking for help, that's how frustrated I was. Then I came across the Revive Our Hearts website and looked at the leadership section. looked at the resources that were available. That's when I first came across the Seeking Him book, through the Revive Our Hearts website.

It was as if the Lord knew my frustration. He knew my desire to want to point women to Jesus Christ, wanting to equip us to love Him, to have a deeper intimacy with Him. Lo and behold, I find Seeking Him. It's as if Seeking Him literally just fell in my lap.

Before I introduced it to the women's ministry, which is about twenty or more women, I began the book with maybe five other women. It was a new book, a new opportunity to read as one huge group. So I started with five people, and as we were reading the book, we would meet, and we would discuss the chapters.

There were some chapters in that book that we had never heard before, as far as the content: holiness. Why is holiness something that I never really heard of in terms of "You, personally, being holy"? So, we were discovering content in the book that we'd never heard before.

As we discussed the book together, we realized how much growing we needed to do in Christ, how much we didn't know about being a woman of God, and the book just really struck a chord in in our hearts.

The "Forgiveness" chapter, for me personally, had me in uncontrollable tears. I didn't realize how much unforgiveness I was harboring in my heart, specifically toward my father. It was the first time I had to deal with unforgiveness in terms of my relationship with my father.

So, the "Forgiveness" chapter was very impactful to me. It was if God stopped me in my walk and said, "You need to deal with this. You cannot move forward, now that you are aware of the deep-rooted issues that you have in your heart toward your father."

Dannah: As she walked through the years of broken promises and the memories of pain, Kesha had a choice. She could remain in bondage to that bitterness, or she could forgive her dad and let her heavenly Father heal her wounded heart. She chose the path of forgiveness.

Kesha: So once I was convicted of that (of course, after much prayer), I decided to be more open toward a relationship with my dad. So, practically, the "Forgiveness" chapter helped me to start building a relationship with my father.

It was as if one day the bitterness was removed, and I was able to be open to receive him into my life. I began to speak to him over the phone more; I would accept his phone calls. I would actually check on him: "How are you doing today?" And that sounds really strange, that I would even have to make that first step—to even care about his day. That was a huge thing for me.

So I would just make calls, text messages, and then in August 2015, my dad visited our church for the first time. That was a surreal day! I couldn't believe. (And when I think about it, it still doesn't seem real to me.) I went from not having any contact with him, not wanting to deal with him, ignoring his phone calls, to actually picking him up, bringing him into our home, and going to church with him! No one but God . . . amazing!

His relationship with the Lord is . . . I wouldn't say he doesn't have one, but I would say he needs to strengthen his relationship with the Lord. He doesn't really attend church often, or consistently, so that's kind of what I'm trying to encourage him to do.

Again, he has addiction issues he has to deal with, and he has hurts and pain and things he's dealt with within his own life. So I'm trying to push him toward Christ even more.

Forgiveness is freedom. I felt like a ton of weight had lifted off my heart, lifted off my shoulders. Guilt lifted off of my heart, because again, I was feeling hypocritical: "You say you love the Lord, you worship, you pray, you praise, but you're living this secret life of unforgiveness." The forgiveness definitely allowed me to be free.

Forgiveness is freedom.

I would say to any woman who's dealing with hurt or bitterness, to not be afraid to make the tough decision to deal with it. Once you face that hurt, there is freedom, but we have to make the first step. We have to have some courage.

It takes courage to deal with bitterness and unforgiveness and hurt. It's a scary place, because you have to become vulnerable. I think we tend to not want to be vulnerable; we're already in a hurt place. So I would say to that woman who's hurt, who's experiencing any type of unforgiveness or bitterness or anger for whatever reason—be courageous. Face it and truly let the Lord deal with her heart.

Dannah: Kesha had forgiven, and now she was free. The small group of women at her church finished the Seeking Him study. But it didn't stop there.

Kesha: So the group of five, after we read the book, we decided, "We have to tell the other women about this book!" So we started another group study of Seeking Him, and this time there had to be almost thirty women involved.

As women were reading it, they were telling their coworkers and family members and friends. The next thing we know, it's about twenty-seven women: some from different churches, some coworkers. We were all reading this book together.

Most of the women found the book to be very, very helpful, very eye-opening, very convicting, very educational. For the most part, I think most of the women found it to be very challenging. The book challenged their Christian walk, their life in Christ.

So we went through the book again as a larger group.

After Seeking Him, we started the True Woman 101 book. I loved that book! Again, we were laying the foundation of what godly womanhood is about. After Seeking Him, we dived into True Woman 101. After that, we just finished True Woman 201.

We're really just trying to educate ourselves on the portrait of biblical womanhood. There are many, many different views on what womanhood is about, however the right perspective of womanhood comes from the Bible. That's what I love about True Woman 101, True Woman 201 and even Seeking Him. They are biblically rooted.

They're not based off of popular opinion or the culture, they're based on biblical principles.

Dannah: The resources from Revive Our Hearts have helped Kesha not just as a women's ministry leader, but as a child of God, a wife and a daughter. She sees the ministry equipping her for "such a time as this!"

Kesha: I did find the help that I was looking for. The resources on Revive Our Hearts are amazing . . . from the blogs to the books and the pamphlets and the videos. All of those resources help to equip leaders on how to lead an effective women's ministry.

What I love about the Revive Our Hearts ministry is that it's rooted in Christ. There are no other gimmicks or tricks or traps to try to get women to come and buy their resources—or anything of that nature. It's just about Christ—pointing women to Christ and freedom in Christ.

I think, in the times in which we're living, it's very difficult to be a Christian. We're going against the grain when we're sticking to biblical principles on all different topics, from homosexuality to abortion. We're standing firm, hopefully, on the Word of God. It's a challenge.

The hostility toward Christians, to me, it's heating up. So we definitely need to be strong. We need to stand firm on the Word. We need to be just firm on what we believe and trust that God will keep us in this time.

Revive Our Hearts—the resources, the information—teaches me the Word. So, once I know the Word, I'm able to stand firm on it. The truth is what Revive Our Hearts helps me to stand firm on. It helps me know what the truth is. Once you know the truth, you are free from the culture. You're free from the pressure.

Truth is found in the Word of God.

Dannah: Wow, what an amazing testimony.

Nancy: And timely too, Dannah, as these issues are so much at the forefront of our national conversation—hat we see happening in our country and in our world. So I love hearing stories like Kesha's! I'm so encouraged by what God has done in her life over these past several years.

Here she was serving God in ministry, yet bitterness and unforgiveness were keeping her from being the servant of the Lord that He wanted her to be. She was on a search for biblical material she could trust for the women in her church. When she found ReviveOurHearts.com, what a lifeline that proved to be not only for her own heart and the process of transformation in relation to her own unforgiveness and bitterness, but also now, she's multiplying sharing these resources with the women from her church and beyond. It's a beautiful thing to me.

What I really love is that ReviveOurHearts.com, with all its resources—thousands and thousands of helpful resources—that was there when Kesha needed it. That's thanks to listeners who have donated to this ministry. What an investment that has been. Now you're hearing today, if you've given to Revive Our Hearts, you've heard in Kesha's story the fruit of your investment.

Dannah: Thank you so much for being a part of her story. Let me remind you that a very big part of that giving comes from our Monthly Partners. They are people who believe so much in what God is doing through Revive Our Hearts, that they’ve stepped up and said, “I want to be part of that on a regular basis.” Nancy, I’ve frequently heard you say our Monthly Partners are the “lifeblood” of this ministry.

Nancy: Yes, I've used that term "lifeblood," I've used the term "backbone," I use any word that shows that they are really critical. They are vital to the ongoing outreaches of this ministry around the world.

So these are people who commitment to prayer for Revive Our Hearts, they support the ministry financially at  $30 or more each month. We have a lot at $30, some at $40, some at $50. We have some at a $100. There are some who are at $500 or $1000 a month because the Lord has provided and made that possible for them. But whether it is a seeminly large amount or seemingly small amount, these Monthly Partners make it possible for Revive Our Hearts to be there for women like Kesha in this country and around the world. 

Dannah: That's why Bob and I have chosen to be Monthly Partners. We see this fruit. We have a front row seat to it. It's beautiful, and we love being a part of it. That's why I'm overjoyed to invite you, to ask you, would you consider joining our Monthly Partner Team? You'll have that same thrill that Bob and I do when you see the fruit of your giving. When you take that step and become part of the monthly team, you’ll receive a special welcome gift from Revive Our Hearts this month.

Nancy: It includes a lot of goodies that will be a blessing to you in your home. One of the items included in is a new booklet that our team has produced called Glad You Asked: Answers to 10 Essential Questions. One of the questions in this booklet is particularly relevant to Kesha's testimony today. It's the question, “How do I forgive when I've been hurt so deeply?” This is something all of us battle with at times. And you'll find this a helpful resource. In addition to using it for your own personal growth, it’s a tool you can use in a discipleship or small group setting.

Dannah: This Glad You Asked booklet is just one way we want to say thank you for becoming a Monthly Partner. You can find out more about how we'll welcome you to the team when you visit ReviveOurHearts.com. You'll also be able to sign up there. Or you can call us, we always love to hear from you, at 1–800–569–5959.

Nancy: Do you ever feel like God isn’t hearing your prayers? Or what do you do when God doesn’t answer you the way you hoped? Tomorrow we’re going to hear some wisdom and encouragement on this topic from a woman who was very special to this ministry. Her name is Elisabeth Elliot. I know many of our listeners consider her to be their friend. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants to help you find freedom through forgiveness. It’s an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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About the Teacher

Kesha Griffin

Kesha Griffin

Kesha Griffin is a wife and blogger who is passionate about helping women know that the Bible contains everything we need pertaining to life and godliness. As a sexual abuse survivor, she seeks to give Christian survivors hope in Christ for their healing, freedom, and victorious godly living. She is the founder of Bible Thinking Woman, co-host of Kaleoscope podcast, and also has a Facebook support group for sexual abuse survivors within the church. Currently, she is pursuing biblical counseling certification from ACBC. Kesha’s greatest joy is supporting her husband as he serves as pastor of their church in Gardena, CA.