Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Ten Years of Building Marriages

Leslie Basham: Lorna Wilkinson thought her relationship with her husband was over.

Lorna Wilkinson
: The marriage was just plagued with alcoholism and mistrust, and I did not want to deal with this anymore. I just wanted to be free.

Leslie:
Then she heard Nancy Leigh DeMoss on the radio.

Lorna:
There was a conviction that came over me, and I could not touch that dial. After that it was just like a miracle occurred in our home, Nancy.

Leslie:
This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. It’s Wednesday, September 7.

You’ve joined Revive Our Hearts in the middle of a week-long celebration!

“Congratulations on your ten-year anniversary.”

“What a blessing you have been to the body of Christ.”

“God’s used it to give me so much hope for the future.”

“Happy birthday Revive Our Hearts.”

Leslie: During this week of our tenth birthday, we’re focusing on some of the main themes that have affected listeners over this decade. On Monday, we focused on the topic of revival. Yesterday we looked at biblical womanhood. Today, we’ll consider marriage. How has God used Revive Our Hearts to affect marriages since this ministry first went on the radio in 2001?

Well, Nancy and our guests have spent a lot of time exploring biblical truths about marriage. Here’s just a small sampling.

“What we need as men is a helper. Here’s what we don’t need. We don’t need somebody to scold us.” (What Your Husband Wishes You Knew About Being His Wife, with Bob Lepine)

“There was so much I didn’t realize about what was going on in the minds and hearts of our men.” (For Women Only, with Shaunti Feldhahn)

“Every man is devastated, and it takes him forever to get over it when he hears her say,

‘I love you, but I don’t respect you.’” (Love and Respect, with Emerson Eggerichs)

“For him, he saw it as standing in opposition to him.” (A Hurting Couple Find True Hope, with LeRoy & Kim Wagner)

“We don’t need somebody to control us or to insist that your way is the right way, if it’s just your preference.” (What Your Husband Wishes You Knew About Being His Wife, with Bob Lepine)

“You stop holding your standards over someone else, and you say, ‘Lord, help me love my husband as You’ve made him as males are.’” (The Politically Incorrect Wife, with Nancy Cobb & Connie Grigsby)

“That’s one of the greatest ways we can show respect to our husbands—to value their judgment, even if we don’t agree.” (Liberated Through Submission, with Bunny Wilson)

“Our willingness to back up and allow our husbands to lead, God can work in us in ways that He cannot work in any other way.” (Affirmations of the True Woman Manifesto, part 2, with Cindy Easley)

“When we are married, the two shall become one flesh.” (When He Doesn’t Believe, with Nancy Kennedy)

“It is the superglue God gave relationships to bond them and to forge body, mind, and spirit.” (Three Gifts of Marriage, with Denise Glenn)

“I believe that it is a gift that God gave to married couples, and it’s a gift that He wants them to rejoice in because it’s from Him.” (Intimate Issues, with Linda Dillow)

“His redeeming blood can heal and can cleanse you all the way back to a state of purity where you can come in full surrender and make your bedroom a sanctuary where the two of you can be together body, mind, and spirit, and it is beautiful!” (Three Gifts of Marriage, with Denise Glenn)

“God has given me this man to love, and love doesn’t depend on my feelings. Love is an action. Love is a decision.” (When He Doesn’t Believe, with Nancy Kennedy)

“You don’t have to let a harsh, badly behaved man turn you into a harsh, badly behaved woman.” (Abigail: How to Live with the Fools in Your Life, with Nancy Leigh DeMoss)

“Once we start realizing that we can reach out to our husbands and love them the way that they need, and support them in the way that they need, it builds them up to be the men that God created them to be, and suddenly, they start becoming the men God created them to be.” (For Women Only, with Shaunti Feldhahn)

Leslie:
Nancy, the Lord has used these messages to affect a lot of relationships.

Nancy:
When Revive Our Hearts began ten years ago, I could not have imagined how God was going to use it to deeply and profoundly impact marriages. My heart has been so moved by the emails and letters we’ve received over the decade. We have truly watched God breathe new life into marriage that seemed and hopeless and even dead.
We’re about to hear one moving example, from my friend, Lorna Wilkinson.

Lorna:
For about the last nine years of that marriage, the marriage was just plagued with alcoholism. And, of course, with alcoholism there is mistrust and so many other things that go along with that. You get to the point where if your husband tells you he is going to be at a certain place at a certain time, there is no trust anymore.

There was a problem with finances. It was just totally broken down because there was no responsibility there. It was mainly due to the drinking that really took precedence over everything in our home. After years and years of dealing with those issues, I did not want to deal with them anymore. I just wanted to be free.

My idea of freedom was to get a divorce and just be away from this man that I had loved for twenty-one years, who was a very good father and not abusive to the children in any way or to myself, but the finances in the home were just in a state of chaos.

Nancy:
How would you have responded during those years, those nine years of frustration? Were you typically patient with your husband or had you had some outbursts? How did you handle all that?

Lorna:
Well Nancy, initially, I thought that this would change, and I had a lot of hopes. It just got progressively worse. What started happening in my life was I became very angry; I became very frustrated, and I was very, very bitter. I, in a sense, disliked my husband.

I wasn't a member of a church at that time. I knew about God, but certainly did not have a relationship with Him. I was just lost at that point. I started lashing out and getting mean and hateful in the relationship. I didn't like myself for doing that so there was a lot of guilt and just so many things that were new that I wasn't used to feeling. I felt like something had to be done, and so I decided the best thing to do was just go ahead and get a divorce. This would end all of that.

Nancy:
So, it sounds like there was a lot of tension and anger in your home for quite some time.

Lorna:
Yes, it was because I could not trust my husband anymore. I would get dropped off at work, and I wasn't picked up. I would be there for hours sometimes, necessitating renting a hotel room that was close by. It was a very, very difficult situation. I endured to the point that I said, "I cannot endure this anymore. I have to be released from this."

After I filed for divorce, we had only one vehicle, and so I had to go out and purchase one. I purchased a used vehicle from a friend. The night I picked the vehicle up the radio program on the dial was 107.5 FM. In the past I never listened to Christian radio. I had no interest in it really.

I would have just tuned out that station, but at that particular moment, there was a conviction that came over me, and I could not touch that dial. It just had to remain there. I go to work early in the morning because my day starts at 6:00 for work. So on my way to work the following morning, the radio was still on, and you came on.

On the program you were talking about total forgiveness, and I listened to that. I was just completely broken. You spoke of 1 Corinthians 13 and how God defined love for us. There was no envy, and it didn't keep scores. You said we had to release ourselves and be able to forgive in order to get that release, not hold on to things. That program just went around and around and around in my mind. I just couldn't get it out. A couple of days later driving home from work I gave my life to Jesus.

At that point the divorce was filed, and I asked my husband to leave, to move away, so he did and so the need for the vehicle. A few days later I received a call stating from him that he was very sick. I was still frustrated and angry to some degree, and I said, "Why are you calling me? Why don't you call 911?" And he did hang up the phone, and in his sickness he did call 911. At that point he had had a heart attack.

At this point my heart was softened. The Lord was in my soul and all over me at that point. The family had gathered at the hospital, and they were wondering where he would live if he had recovered from the heart attack.

The Lord spoke in my heart and said, "Go and whisper in your husband's ear that he doesn't have to worry about a place to live, to come home." And with all the tubes and all the things that were attached to him, I wasn't sure if he heard me, but I went and whispered in his ear, "I want you to come home, honey. I love you. We will work it out."

After all of that, he was released from the hospital, and he came home. The Lord is such a wonderful God that we serve. He is so alive and so well. He hears us. Everything that we say to Him, we may not think at times that He is listening to us, but He is all ears for us. His arms are outstretched. I experienced that when my husband came home.

I remember he was sitting on the couch in the living room. I went there and I knelt in front of him, and I said, "You know, honey, there have been so many things that have happened in our lives over the past years where I have lost trust, and there are so many, many hurtful things. But I just want you to know today that I forgive you."

I forgave him because I heard that from you, Nancy, that we have to forgive to release yourself from the burden so we can love. And I told him that I had forgiven him, and that I would never ever think of those things again even if he were to bring those things back up in our relationship, I would dismiss them because as far as the east is to the west, that is how I had forgiven him.

Then I asked him, "Will you forgive me? I have been wrong, too. Will you forgive me?" He said, "Lorna, I can't think of anything I need to forgive you for. You have been wonderful." I said, "Thanks be to God."

After that, it was just like a miracle occurred in our home, Nancy. Total restoration, total recovery that overtook our home. . . . My husband totally lost the urge to drink. He smoked cigarettes. He totally lost the urge to smoke cigarettes. He obtained a full-time job. It was very difficult for him to work prior to that because sometimes he couldn't do his job. He couldn't get there on time because he was drunk, but this was just a total recovery.

The Lord brought us back in such a way that we started having family meetings, prayer meetings. There were flowers. There were postcards. There were quiet, candlelight suppers . . . just a host of things that very few people experience in a marriage . . . total love, total affection.

I have to back up a little bit. After he came home, I still had frustration and dislike in my heart, but the words that you said, "Many times you will not be able to love your spouse in the way the Lord intended you to love him, but if you will just say to the Lord, 'I cannot do this on my own, but if You will just let Your love flow through me to my husband, I will be most grateful.'"

Nancy, I was able to use that every single time I felt dejected and I felt hurt and I felt frustrated. Because when you first accept the Lord, everything just doesn't vanish. You still have to deal with those hurts. But I would just repeat those words, "Lord, I cannot do this. I cannot love the way you intended me to love, but I am asking You, Lord, to release that love, to give me Your love, just let it flow through me to this man."

Nancy, the Lord was gracious. The Lord was so gracious to do that. All the faults that I had created in my mind against my husband, all the wrongs, they just started melting. They just melted down, Nancy. They just melted down. One by one, the scales fell off my eyes, and I was able to see the glory of the Lord . . . the love, the love that 1 Corinthians talks about. The love that does not hold anything against anyone. You can just be released to love in the manner in which the Lord intended us to love each other.

Nancy:
So, you really started by forgiving as an act of your will before your husband changed, before you realized you were going to have this miracle in your marriage. You just obeyed God, and then God brought the restoration and restored your emotions and your heart toward your husband. It wasn't the other way around, was it?

Lorna:
No, it wasn't. It wasn't. It was not until I submitted, and there was another program that came right after that, Total Submission. For us wives to be able to submit to our husbands, and it is not being a dishrag or dishtowel or floor mat, it is submitting to him and respecting our husband. It is loving our husband and letting him know.
When the marriage becomes destroyed, you start taking over. And the more you take over, the more your husband falls into a place where he doesn't need to be. As I was able to submit to my husband I could say, "You are in control of this home. I submit to you."

Nancy:
Was that hard for you, Lorna, after those years of him not earning that trust and that respect on your part?

Lorna:
Yes, initially it was very, very difficult because you are scared to let go. You are wondering, can I really let go? Is this going to go back to the way it was, and I am going to start all over again with the hurt that I felt? But you have to get to the point that you trust God; that you know in your heart that the Lord will be there for you. The Lord is always faithful and just. He will never let us down. His Words will never turn void, so you just have to hold on to that strength and not be afraid to let go and let God.

Nancy:
Now once you did that, I know the Lord was not going to let you down, but were there times that your husband let you down after he came back and you forgave him?

Lorna:
No, we were very blessed. The Lord gave us total recovery. I suppose, Nancy, because there was a short time for us left where the home was at peace. My husband had returned to work. We were praying together. We were on our knees together, just asking the Lord to abide in us and us to abide in Him. It was just wonderful, total recovery.

I am here to say today that for some, Nancy, who are feeling there is no hope and the only thing that is left for them to do is to apply for a divorce and just be separated. I want them to know that the thing to do is not to take it upon yourself; it is to give it to the Lord, not in spoken words but totally and completely from the heart. Because we can say a lot, but it has to come from the heart, where you are willing to submit to God in all ways and to trust Him and to be obedient and to know that God will never let you down.

On a Tuesday morning my husband woke me up. It was about 4:00 am in the morning. And he said, "Lorna, I want to tell you right now that a man should love his wife with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his mind as God has loved us. I want to tell you tell you at this moment that I love you that way." Nancy, those were the very last words spoken from my husband. A few hours later he had another massive heart attack and went to be home with the Lord.

I had no way of knowing this. I had left work that afternoon. The minute I arrived home I was met by my oldest son. He said, "Mom, the ambulance just took Dad. I think we have lost him." Nancy, I don't know where this came from, but the words that came from my lips were, "Thank you Jesus. Thank you Jesus. Thank you Jesus."

The Sunday before my pastor had called for an altar call, and he said, "If there is anything that you need to pray for, then come on up." I went, Nancy, up to the altar, and I prayed to the Lord for my husband's health to be completely restored, just to be completely restored and that his heart would heal and that it would be totally mended.
But at that moment, Nancy, I realized that sometimes we ask for blessings in the flesh, but God knew better than I did. He wanted to give him eternal healing. He wanted never again for him to hurt or to suffer from his heart, and so He blessed us in such a wonderful way with eternal healing. He took Pascal home. He took him home to be with Him. It was such a wonderful thing, Nancy.

When my son had told me that the ambulance and taken him, I knew he had gone to be with the Lord before I got to the hospital. And I said, "Lord, I thank you. I thank you, Jesus, for the work that you have done . . . for your eternal healing."

Joel 2:25 tells us, "I will restore to you the years that the locusts have destroyed." And you know, we had twenty-one years of destruction and the Lord restored those years in a matter of months. We would say, "I don't have twenty-one years left," but the Lord's time is not our time. In four months, all was restored. Thanks be to God for His blessings and His faithfulness.

Nancy:
We’ve been hearing the story of Lorna Wilkinson and the power of God to breathe life into a dead marriage. I’m so thankful God has allowed Revive Our Hearts to affect marriages like Lorna’s. Hardly a week goes by when we don’t get email from women who have watched God transform them, their husbands, and their marriages.

Please join us in praying that God will continue using this ministry to call wives to submit themselves to the Lord, to respect their husbands, to trust Him to breathe life into struggling marriages, and in some cases, to give them the grace to endure and to press into what may continue to be a difficult marriage. Through God’s grace and with the help of your support, we want to continue providing a biblical perspective on marriage that will have a huge effect on homes for the next ten years and beyond.

Leslie: Thanks, Nancy.

We’re celebrating the tenth birthday of Revive Our Hearts this week, focusing today on marriage. We’ve seen how God has used the program to radically change the relationships between husbands and wives.

If you believe in this ministry and want to be part of this kind of change, would you consider supporting Revive Our Hearts? When you donate any amount to the ministry, we’ll say thanks by sending you Nancy’s classic book, Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free. The book will help shape your thinking on relationships, through chapters like:

  • I have to have a husband to be happy.
  • It is my responsibility to change my mate.
  • If my husband is passive, I’ve got to take the initiative.

Along with Lies Women Believe, we’ll send you a booklet called, “Up Close and Personal.” It describes the process Nancy went through to say “yes, Lord,” surrendering herself to God’s plan. That eventually led to Revive Our Hearts being on the air.

Ask for Lies Women Believe and “Up Close and Personal” when you donate any amount. The number is 1-800-569-5959, or take advantage of this offer by visiting ReviveOurHearts.com.

You’ll find a lot of helpful resources at that site, including a longer series featuring the story of Lorna Wilkinson. You can listen online or get the complete conversation on CD at ReviveOurHearts.com. Look for the series, Transformed Women: Meet Lorna.

I also hope you’ll watch a short film our team created to celebrate the ten-year anniversary of Revive Our Hearts. It considers the impact of the ministry on one mom and one daughter. You can watch it at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Tomorrow, we’ll continue the celebration, thanking God for His provision—ten years of calling women to freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ. 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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