Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Thriving When You Feel Inadequate: Alejandra's Story

Leslie Basham: As a young wife, Alejandra was ready to give up on her marriage.

Alejandra: I said, "I didn't marry for this. This is all for me. Divorce is an option. Separation is an option. Many people do it. Why can't I?" I went online, and I decided to type "resources for women."

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Friday, December 12, 2014.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: During the True Woman '14 Conference a couple months ago, we saw so many evidences of God at work, calling women to freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ.

We heard a story while we were there that was particularly encouraging. It was about a young woman who was translating poetry into Spanish. Spoken-word artist Blair Linne wrote three works of poetry specifically for True Woman '14 and delivered them at the conference.

Blair Linne (at True Woman '14):

Bring praise to His name.
This Jesus fulfilled each of the three.
See, He is fullness, fruitfulness, and freedom.
You see, He is our life-giving tree.

Nancy: Now, the whole conference was being translated for hundreds of Spanish-speaking guests and thousands more listening to the LIVE stream. So imagine the pressure of translating poetry, especially when Blair's cadence and delivery were such an important part of the experience.

Blair (at True Woman '14): Although they put Him in the grave, we can now say He is alive.

Nancy: Today we'll hear the story of a young woman who leaned on the Lord's strength and His wisdom to take on a job that seemed impossible for her. I hope this story will encourage you to lean on the Lord when you don't feel you have what it takes to do what He's called you to do.

But not only that, this young woman has a life message to share about how the Lord helped her marriage and family thrive when she was ready to give up. Leslie's here with the story.

Leslie: Like thousands of other women, Alejandra started making plans to attend True Woman '14 in Indianapolis.

Alejandra: My name is Alejandra Cardoza de Slemin.

Leslie: She's currently living in Canada.

Alejandra: And I am from Dominican Republic.

Leslie: But in the weeks leading up to the event, she received a unique assignment. She talked with her friend Laura.

Alejandra: I regularly speak to Laura.

Leslie: Laura produces Aviva Nuestros Corazones, the Spanish version of Revive Our Hearts. Laura was finding translators for the various speakers at True Woman '14. These volunteers would translate each message in real time for Spanish-speaking attendees through ear pieces. And the translation would also go around the world on the Spanish LIVE stream.

Alejandra: She said, "Hey, can you translate?" And I'm like "Hmmm, I've never translated, but I could. We left it at that. I confirmed that I was coming, and she said, "Yes." I just started praying and asking the Lord to do something to help me utter His words and His heart for whoever I was translating. I didn't know for whom I was translating.

Leslie: Finally, a couple of weeks before the conference, Laura told her, "You'll be translating for Blair Linne."

Alejandra: Then I got more scared.

Leslie: Now, this had to be one of the more difficult translating assignments at the conference.

Alejandra: Because of the kind of work she does and the amazing work that lady does, I just thought, Wow! This is a challenge. It was a good challenge because it's amazing the art and how she links theology with the spoken word just in a natural amazing way. Her poems are amazing, so it was good.

Leslie: Blair Linne had been preparing for True Woman '14 as well. She composed three new poems just for the event.

Blair Linne: I was actually sent the messages from the speakers.

Leslie: This is Blair Linne.

Blair: I was sent the message from Mary and Janet and Joni, and so I had somewhat of a sense of what they were going to be presenting. Each night we just walked through some ideas and themes that might be helpful to talk about.

So the first night was "Amazed by His Wonder." I wanted to highlight Jesus and highlight His name. Then the second night I knew the poem would be right before Janet Parshall's message. Her message was all about "Do You Know Him?"—speaking of Mary Magdalene. So I wanted to highlight that.

Then the third message was kind of wrapping up the whole weekend with freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness and how Christ fulfills each of those three. So there was a lot of prayer that went into the preparation—a lot of prayer, listening to the messages, and just asking God what He might want me to say.

Then once they were written, then memorizing them and just continuing to practice and go over the poems. And then there was a lot more prayer that I might be able to present them clearly.

Leslie: Alejandra got a passion for this project even though it seemed impossible. She asked the Lord to help her not just get through it with as little work as possible, but she wanted to thrive in this role because she wanted Blair's messages to come through clearly to Spanish—speaking listeners. But she knew she could only thrive in this assignment through the power of Christ.

Alejandra: I said, "Lord, You've got to do something here because this is going to be challenging." I prayed and then I fasted, to tell you the truth.

Leslie: She also got copies of Blair's new poems. She set to work translating the printed text from English to Spanish.

Alejandra: I read them, and I was so moved. I thought, Wow! This is powerful, just even reading it off the paper, this is powerful. In reading her paragraphs just in English over and over and over and over until they actually just filtered in my mind. I was able to transmit them in English, actually. And then I opened my computer and start typing. I just printed the poems in English and had them next to me and then started typing them in Spanish.

I had to make a decision if I was going to translate concepts, if I was going to translate words, how this was going to happen, or if I was actually going to interpret the poem. And that is the key. Translators do it with paper and documents and words. But interpreters actually try to transmit the heart behind this paper or this speaker that they're trying to represent.

I mean even translating, I was asking the Lord, "Lord, I need this word. Like I need this specific word to go on this poem." It took me three hours to translate each poem, pretty much, I mean from like ten at night to like two o'clock in the morning. My husband was like, "You're not tired?" And I was like, "This is fascinating!"

Leslie: As part of this process, she wanted to get to know Blair Linne's background.

Alejandra: I went the whole way. I said, "I need to know her heart." So I listened to her testimony, listened to what she's been through, her family.

Leslie: Here's Blair's story in a nutshell.

Blair: I was raised going to church. But it was interesting because as I began to grow, I then got into acting, got into the entertainment industry. So I was acting, and the church that I was attending was more of a prosperity-focused, honestly, man-focused church.

They said, "Oh, you're being blessed with all of these opportunities to work on television. It's because you serve God. God is just blessing you with these opportunities."

So I just believed, "Oh, the Lord is with me. God is using me in these mighty ways." It was really based upon my own works. I mean, I wasn't fulfilled, and it was just this constant cycle of trying to be fulfilled, trying to attain a standard of beauty, trying to be thin, trying to fit in, wanting to be liked.

Now, I was twenty-three years old when I found myself at an informal Bible study and someone shared the gospel. Now, as they're sharing the gospel, they're talking about that Jesus says you must deny yourself and take up your cross and follow Him. I'm thinking, Deny yourself? Take up your cross and follow Him? What does this mean? Because my whole life it was about "God just wants to bless you."

They were just exalting Christ and speaking about the gospel—the good news that Jesus died for sinners. They shared that it should be a personal message understood by each individual and that there was the need for repentance and to trust in Him.

I mean, these were all new concepts for me. So what I did, by God's grace, I eventually submitted to God's Word. One day I found myself believing God's Word. I was reading through the book of Romans and saying, "This is me."

I cried out to God. I said, "Lord, I'm guilty. I deserve Your wrath." And honestly, I was in a state of hopelessness thinking that was going to be it. But while I was in that prayer, what I heard was, "And that's why my Son died for sinners."

And I thought, Oh my goodness. That's me! This is the gospel. Jesus died to save sinners. Me! The sinner. And I accepted it. I said, "This is for me." I went forward and certainly it's been a growing process of resting in God's grace rather than my works, because that's what I was accustomed to.

So I've just been growing and growing in God's grace. I'm so thankful to be a believer. I know that there are many people who may be in the situation I was in being raised in church but being so distant from God-professing with your mouth that you know God but denying Him by how you live your life. And so for the Lord to have been merciful toward me, I am so thankful.

It was really hard as I became a believer. I started to ask God, "Lord, do you still want me to act, because I had done this for myself. I had done this for my own glory." So I took a hiatus from it and just prayed about it. But it did not fulfill me. The only place that I ever see fulfillment is from the Lord.

Alejandra: I totally respect the fact that she doesn't just use words. She used theology. And in every single poem, she exalts the Lord, not herself. She doesn't draw so much attention to herself.

Blair (at True Woman '14):

We have heard the voice of Freedom.
How He calls prodigal daughters out of darkness,
Pulling them away from heavy-handed grasp of bondage.

Leslie: After days and weeks of translating Blair's poetry, Alejandra arrived at True Woman '14, and all of Alejandra's work began to pay off.

Blair (at True Woman '14 with Alejandra in the background translating):

Remember, we have communed with Fullness.
How He resuscitates us when we are left impoverished,
Heals our greatest need.
Sometimes allowing physical suffering to link arms with us
So we might fall into the everlasting arms of Him in whom we trust.

Blair: I was able to meet Alejandra and hear about the translation she had done. And yes, she told me all about what she had been doing. I think that is so wonderful. That means so much that she has taken the time to pray and fast. I heard that she has gotten down the cadence and the rhythm. I just said, "Praise God that the poetry might be able to go out and minister to Spanish-speaking women."

Blair (at True Woman '14 with Alejandra in the background translating):

Like the red velvet rope separating the poor on Thanksgiving,
Not knowing that God has prepared everlasting food for you
Through His crimson cord.

He is so giving the eternal meal is here since the Bread of Life is near!

We can say we have sweetly tasted Fruitfulness.
Regardless of circumstances, persecutions, difficulties, and imprisonments.
We can STILL preach Christ for the sake of reaching the nations
And bear pleasant fruit despite our trying situations
.

Leslie: Do you know this kind of translation is happening all the time? A team of translators are constantly at work interpreting Revive Our Hearts into Spanish for the radio program Aviva Nuestros Corazones.

Alejandra: I believe certain people are anointed for certain jobs. And the women that do the translating and mostly speak what has been translated, I believe have been called for such a time as this to do that job. That makes a huge difference.

You could have the best translator say the same script they have to read and not do it because his heart is not there. But these women have prayed to have this revival come to the Spanish-speaking world. They have that heart and live that life. I personally know them. It's an honor to be able to have in our language and have such a great job done when they speak it.

Leslie: So we've seen how the Lord helped a young woman named Alejandra thrive in her difficult translating assignment. But this is just one episode in the wider story of how the Lord is helping Alejandra thrive in Christ. At one point, her marriage was not thriving, and she needed help.

Alejandra: And I went online, and I decided to type "resources for women." I came across on YouTube the conference where Pastor John Piper came.

Leslie: That conference was True Woman '08.

Alejandra: I heard that message, and he mentioned Nancy Leigh DeMoss. I thought, Oh, I need to see who that lady is and maybe there is more to it. So I went on the web again and found it. It opened everything that pretty much transformed my life after that and came across Revive Our Hearts. That was 2008, and since then I've been listening to it.

I grew up in the church. I am a pastor's daughter, whatever that could mean. But the way I was raised, my mom was a great example and everything. But the way I was raised and the way I was thinking was not so much how I could be a Christian woman, but how I could be a woman in society.

So when I married and I faced all these challenges, I had no idea how I needed to be a woman of faith and a Christian woman and how a Christian woman was supposed to be dealing with these issues.

Revive Our Hearts was like this link that connected me with the Bible that I had been reading since I was seven years old, five years old, and the reality I was living. They walked me through how I was supposed to do things and what was supposed to be my attitude and mostly what the Word said.

I think the fact that it focused so much on the Bible and on Christ drew me closer to the Lord and helped me grow closer to Him and face so many issues that I know many women face. It's just that we hide ourselves in makeup and clothing and Sunday morning. We don't face them. But at home they're lost. So that's I think how it's still helping me. I'm sure it will keep helping me.

Leslie: Now Alejandra's in the habit of listening to Revive Our Hearts and Aviva Nuestros Corazones every day.

Alejandra: Usually, I listen now to the Spanish one first and then the English one. It's usually sometimes in the morning, sometimes when I'm doing chores, and sometimes when the kids are napping, depending what kind of series it is. Some of them I do have to open my journal and the Bible and sit and highlight. It depends on what they're going through.

There's so much need for this in our culture. We as ladies in most Hispanic countries were raised to be presidents or to be this lawyer. That's what your identity is. Not many churches are preaching that you need to be in Christ so Christ is in you and then that transforms your life and the way you live as a Christian woman.

Leslie: When you give to support Revive Our Hearts, you're making it possible for us to speak to women like Alejandra just when they need it.

Alejandra: If it wasn't for Revive Our Hearts, I think I would have been divorced with one child living at my parent's house. Totally, that was my plan. I said, "I cannot. I didn't marry for this. This is not for me. Divorce is an option; separation is an option. Many people do it. Why can't I?"

Revive Our Hearts told me why I couldn't. They took me to the Word, and then I found out why I couldn't and what was my responsibility—not so much my husband's but my responsibility. He had his issues to deal with. But that was not what God was trying to do through all the issues. He was trying to deal with my heart, too.

I think many women that are facing issues in their marriage and struggles put it all on their husbands. It could be all ninety percent their fault, but we keep forgetting that it's God's purposes for my life, too.

It was not a mistake. I am His daughter. And this is the walk that He wants me to walk right now. I have to figure a way of doing it holding His hand. And the best way is through the Word.

Revive Our Hearts took me to that place, to that position of "Wake up." If you keep feeding your mind and your heart with the wrong things, you're going to end up making the wrong decisions. Make the right decision today to get mentored, to get encourage, to get taught .

I had to humble myself. I was a Christian my whole life, and I never paid attention to this. I thought I was a pretty good Christian. I mean, I'm a pastor's daughter. Come on, it doesn't get closer to God than that.

But I wasn't. I was proud, and I needed the Lord to break me and to mold me and to teach me. No other resource that I was faced with was able to reach, grab my heart, and to say, "This is the day where changes need to start happening." They walk me through it every day, and I hear that mentoring not only from Nancy but from so many women.

That's what I love. It's like many friends getting together saying, "Hey, I know about this. And I know about that." You hear those voices, and you think, I'm not alone up there in Canada. I'm not alone.

Leslie: Our other guest today, Blair Linne, also appreciates the way Revive Our Hearts helps her thrive in Christ.

Blair: When I first became a believer, I was disciple, and we walked through the Seeking Him book. That was my first introduction to Revive Our Hearts and to Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

From that I began to also listen to some of the radio broadcasts online and be ministered to—just a personal revival. I was always pointed to Jesus, and I appreciated just the humility that I was encouraged towards.

Later hearing the "Brokenness" series . . . I remember having it on my iPod at the time, and being able to watch that series and be thoroughly encouraged about the need to be broken before God.

Then I remember receiving the book Lies Women Believe and thinking, Maybe I'll be able to relate to one or two lies or so. But like literally, the Lord used that book to minister to my heart. There were just so many things where I said, "I believe that, and I believe that, and I need to hold onto the truth." So that was a huge blessing to my life as well.

And then for True Woman 101, I had the privilege of actually endorsing that book recently. That was another huge encouragement to just be challenged on womanhood. And specifically, the questions that were asked just felt like they challenged my heart. So the Lord has deeply, deeply used Revive Our Hearts to really impact my life.

Leslie: Nancy, today's story is another example of how the Lord works in women's lives in ways we can't orchestrate.

Nancy: Leslie, it's such a joy to see what the Lord is doing to call women to freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness around the world. The story we've just heard is just one example of how He's working in ways that we can't control, we can't predict. All we can do is to be faithful to what He's called us to do.

And for Revive Our Hearts, that means offering women daily encouragement in God's Word. And our listeners play a crucial role in helping us do that.

I love how Alejandra listens to Revive Our Hearts each day in both Spanish and English. She's able to hear those programs and to thrive in Christ thanks to the support of listeners like you.

In the coming year we want to help women like Alejandra grow in their relationship with Christ, and we need your help to do that.

As we've been sharing with you recently, over 40% of the donations we need for the entire year typically come during the month of December. So your gift at this time will allow us to continue ministering in the year ahead. We're are also asking the Lord to make up for a downturn in giving that we experienced over the past several months.

If you appreciate the daily encouragement in God's Word that you receive through Revive Our Hearts, would you consider supporting the ministry with a generous gift here during the month of December? Every gift that's given between now and December 31 will be doubled as part of a matching challenge of $650,000!

In order to meet the needs that we're facing at this time, we really need not only to reach that goal, that $650,000 match, but we also need to significantly exceed it. Now, if you want to be part of helping us reach women like Alejandra, you can make your donation at ReviveOurHearts.com, or you can give us a call at 1-800-569-5959.

Thank you so much for praying, for supporting this ministry, and for helping us help women thrive in Christ.

Leslie: Thanks Nancy. If you appreciated what you've heard on the program today, check out the videos at ReviveOurHearts.com. You'll see Alejandra's story. And you can see all of Blair Linne's poems from True Woman '14. Again, it's ReviveOurHearts.com.

Well, last year, Nancy Leigh DeMoss spent Christmas day in prison! And as you might have guessed, there's more to that story than the way it sounds. But she will explain why she was in prison and tell us why it was her best Christmas ever. That's Monday on 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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