Revive Our Hearts Podcast

True Submission

Leslie Basham: A Revive Our Hearts listener shared this story with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss (reading ROH listener’s story): “The next morning, I was reminded by Nancy through the Revive Our Hearts broadcast that I was not being submissive to God or to my husband, through my lack of support and my joy in his failures. I immediately repented and called my husband to ask for his forgiveness.

"No sooner had I hung up the phone than I looked out the window to see cattle running down the road toward our house. I laughed out loud. Literally, God wants me to be a willing servant till the cows come home.”

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. It’s Tuesday, August 12.

Nancy: Yesterday and today we’re sharing with you some letters that we’ve received from listeners. I take time to share these for a couple of reasons.

One, I hope it’s encouraging to you to see what God is doing in transforming lives and to see that the Word of God really is powerful and the Spirit of God really is alive and at work in women’s lives, in their marriages, in their work places.

He’s a transforming God. He’s a God who is redeeming and making all things new. You may be in a hopeless (or what seems to be hopeless) situation. I want you to know that God knows about your situation, and He really is able to make a difference there.

As many of you know, we have a comment blog on our website at the end of each day’s transcript for the program. There’s a woman who blogs regularly there, and she has such a sweet heart.

I’ve never had the chance to meet her, but I feel like I know her. She’s so responsive to God’s Word as she’s hearing it. She sent me an email not too long ago and said,

I want you to know about two small yet huge changes I have made in my marriage, by God’s grace, as a result of Revive Our Hearts. My husband is so blessed by them and tells me that often.

One is making him a breakfast, usually hot, virtually every day. I got the idea from a guest on Revive Our Hearts one time, but even before that your teaching had suggested such things, with the principle that service to your family is worship.

Before that, with many responsibilities as wife and mom, I thought I needed to do my morning quiet time at that time, and I didn’t have time to make him breakfast. You would think I would have known better, but I didn’t.

The other thing that has changed—it’s small, but it’s huge—is writing him a love note in his lunch box every day. They’re short, just on a Post-it. He loves them. Amazing how such little things can make a difference in our or someone else’s lives.

So the Lord, through this ministry, has made some small but significant changes for the good in my marriage.

The things God asks us to do can seem small and insignificant, but if it’s a matter of obedience, a matter of worship and love for Christ, then there is no small or insignificant change that God asks of us. Obedience.

Another woman recently wrote a letter that really, well, it made me laugh, but it also was such a vivid picture to me of the power and importance of obedience. Let me just read it to you the way the woman wrote it. She said,

Recently I learned a valuable lesson in being an obedient servant to both God and my husband. My husband, who is an attorney, has a cattle business. In the past I have not been very supportive of this venture, believing it is more of a hobby than a financial benefit to our family.

This woman was grappling with what I think a lot of women grapple with, and that is, if my husband is involved in something that I’m not very excited about or I don’t feel supportive of, how do I express that? Or what is my role in his life in that situation? She says,

One Sunday afternoon, a brave calf made a run for freedom, breaking through the fence, allowing $20,000 worth of cattle to escape. Instead of being a willing servant and assisting my husband in his cattle search, I made sure my husband knew I was never in favor of investing our money in cattle and was extremely disgusted that his investment had probably made its way to the highway.

Some of you are smiling because you can just picture this scene. How we can make the men around us feel so incompetent and small when they make mistakes, or things that we feel like are mistakes! Well, she says,

The next morning, I was reminded by Nancy through the Revive Our Hearts broadcast that I was not being submissive to God or to my husband, through my lack of support and my joy in his failures. I immediately repented and called my husband to ask for his forgiveness.

No sooner had I hung up the phone than I looked out the window to see cattle running down the road toward our house. I laughed out loud. Literally, God wants me to be a willing servant till the cows come home.

Well, I love that. What a picture that is of God’s grace and mercy in that woman’s life, but also the importance of being a willing servant and a cheerleader and an encouragement to the men in our lives.

Speaking of men, we do have some men who eavesdrop on the program, and periodically they write. One series that we aired back in April elicited a lot of response from men who were listening to that particular series. It was a series called For Women Only; and men were listening, apparently, to the For Women Only series.

I was interviewing author Shaunti Feldhahn. Also with us in that series of interviews was Barbara Rainey, the wife of Dennis Rainey from FamilyLife Today. We talked about this book Shaunti has written.

Again, if you haven’t read the book or you didn’t get to hear the series, go to our website. You can find the transcripts from that series. You can find out how to order a copy of the book For Women Only. It’s a very practical, simple book. Shaunti interviewed a lot of men, asking them what they wished their wives understood about the hearts and the minds of men, and some things that we need to understand as women.

Well, a number of men wrote to us to say, essentially, “Amen. Thank you.” Let me read to you what some of these men said. This man said,

You hit the nail on the head in this series. Women may not know this, but a wife’s respect for her husband is what her husband needs most. I work with so many women who put down their husbands at work and yet talk about respecting them. What a farce.

That, by the way, is why we have continued again and again to issue this 30-Day Husband Encouragement Challenge. In case you’ve never heard that challenge, let me tell you what it is: For 30 days you can’t say anything negative about your husband, to your husband, or to anybody else about him.

Now, that may seem like an impossibility, but by God’s grace you really can do that. And here’s the positive part: Every day for 30 days, you express something to your husband that you appreciate or value or respect about him. You say it to him and you say it to someone else about him.

Well, this husband is just saying from his heart, “You women don’t realize how much that kind of respect means to us as men.”

So let’s hear that from the men and realize: We say that men ought to love us, that husbands ought to love their wives unconditionally, even if the wife isn’t being unlovable.

It would be unthinkable for a man to say, “Well, you didn’t behave in such and such a way, so I won’t love you anymore.” Well, why is it okay for women to say, “Because you haven’t acted in such and such a way, therefore I won’t respect you anymore”?

God calls women to reverence their husbands, Ephesians chapter 5, by faith and as unto Christ [see verses 22–33]. But so often women see that the dance step changes in their marriage when they’re willing to step out and give that kind of encouragement to their husbands, that kind of respect.

Here’s another man who wrote in response to that series with Shaunti Feldhahn and Barbara Rainey. He said,

I want to tell you how much I appreciate your willingness to dare to speak for the biblically designed woman in the midst of a contemporary culture, even a contemporary church culture that is often hostile to a biblical perspective on womanhood. What you’ve been saying the last couple of days on your program has really spoken to my heart, even though I’m a man.

I’ve been through so much in the past four years, and I’ve been repeatedly challenged, even by the church, to embrace a thinking about my role as a man from more of a cultural and psychological perspective rather than a biblical perspective. Yet it has been difficult for me to show disagreement when people say these things because I’m a man, and men can’t really do much to share with a woman disagreement about her beliefs on womanhood.

Please know how refreshing it is for me to hear you do battle for what Scripture is crying out for our culture to embrace, both for men and women. I specifically appreciate your emphasis on the 1 Peter 3 principle.

That principle is that wives are to be submissive to their husbands; to show, by the meekness and quietness of their spirit, the purity of their behavior; to be an instrument of God in their husband’s life. Then Peter says that even if that husband doesn’t obey the Word, he may be won by the pure behavior of the wife. This man says,

Anytime I have been around godly women who have applied this principle [listen up, women, this is a man speaking], it has caused me to want to jump through hoops to please them or to serve them in any way I can. I pray with a whole heart that the Lord would use your words and ministry to help a desperate society. I know we men are desperate for help to be what God has caused us to be as well.

I don’t know about you, but I found that encouraging. Here’s a man who says, “I want to be the man God made me to be, and thank you, women, for being willing to help by following God’s will and His calling in your life as a woman.”

Now, I have to share with you one other response that we received from a man who heard this series with Shaunti Feldhahn and Barbara Rainey and myself, talking about women respecting husbands. This man actually entered this as a post on the comment blog at the end of one of our daily transcripts so that other people were able to read it.

I picked it off the website because it struck me so powerfully. He says,

Ladies, if you get nothing else from this message, please, please, please hear and try to understand just how powerful and accurate is this message that was spoken by Shaunti and Nancy.

I’ve been married for 20 years now, been to many men’s and marriage conferences. I’ve listened to dozens of relationship tapes. I’ve watched Bible-based videos and heard literally hundreds of hours of great Christian broadcasts over the past 17 years to help improve my marriage.

Please hear me when I say that I’ve heard nothing more powerful and hopeful to me than today’s message. Each day when I wake and venture into the world, I can handle almost anything that life throws at me, even to the point of being diagnosed with cancer eight years ago; but my wife’s criticisms, lack of support, lack of trust, and lack of respect for me leaves me utterly and totally broken inside, filled with deep, deep pain.

He’s saying, I can handle cancer, but my wife’s lack of support and encouragement and respect is devastating to me as a man. He posted this on the Internet.

Instead of being my best friend and advocate, my wife has become my number one worst critic and adversary. My heart literally aches every day for her love as a result. I try so hard to rise above this fact, yet it robs almost every ounce of joy I could and should be experiencing as a Christian.

I am an intelligent, talented, good father and decent man, yet my wife’s attitude toward me leaves me at times feeling as if I were a dumpster for her dissatisfaction in life, or a horrible criminal.

Although I find my strength in my Lord and no longer depend on my wife’s approval in order to define my self-worth, it’s been a hard road for me to walk. I still long for nothing more in life than my wife’s respect and friendship, and I’m not exaggerating in saying, nothing is more desired by me.

Now, I want to be quick to say we’ve only heard one side of that story, and if we were to talk to that wife—I have no idea who she is, I have no idea who this man is—she might give a very different version; she might be quick to say, “There are these things about my husband that I find very difficult to live with.”

So I’m not reading that quote from that man to bash his wife or any other women, or to take sides in a marriage dispute. That would be foolish on my part. But I think it’s helpful for us as women to hear how deeply impacted men are by the way that we treat them.

When they sense that disrespect—that demeaning, putting-down spirit; that emasculating of them, making cutting comments, stripping them of a sense of value and worth—they may not say a lot, but we really do hold a great responsibility for the impact in their lives.

God has called us to build up one another, to encourage and affirm and support not only one another as sisters in Christ, but also the men God has placed in our lives.

Now, I’m not saying that it’s easy. There are some women that it’s probably easier for husbands to love, and there are some husbands that it’s probably easier for their wife to love and support and respect. But God didn’t say, “If this is easy, do it.” He says, “Do it!”

I’ll bet that sad comment that was posted on our website by a desperate husband will be an encouragement to some of you wives to say, “Is there more that I could or should be doing to be an encourager and a support to my husband?”

I also want to say, there may be a wife listening who God is speaking to your heart, and you realize, “I need to repent. I have been that critical and demeaning wife.”

We’ve talked about that kind of woman throughout the course of this Year of the True Woman. I don’t want to hammer on you. I just want to say, by God’s grace, you can be free from that kind of bondage. God wants to renew your life. He may have in mind to renew your marriage.

You say, “Well, if my husband would change, then I could respect him.” Don’t wait for your husband to change. Let God change you. Go before the Lord. Cry out to Him and say, “Lord, what do You want to do in my life to change me?”

If God convicts you that you’ve been that unsupportive, demeaning, critical, disrespectful, rebellious wife, then not only do you need to go to the Lord, you need to go to your husband and say, “I’ve sinned against you. Please forgive me. Would you let me have a fresh start?”

That doesn’t mean that overnight everything will be different or new. But you can start on a whole new path.

So that’s a very sad response, but I read it because I think it points out so powerfully how important it is that we embrace God’s ways for our lives as women.

Now, let me read to you another response here that we received very recently. It’s a long story, and there’s not time to read the entire thing, so I’m just going to read through parts of it. She says,

During the summer, my husband lost his job, and we were at a point of full surrender to God and living day by day with His sovereign grace. God provided in such amazing ways.

At that point I decided to start listening to Revive Our Hearts on a regular basis. Revive Our Hearts was so amazing for me, and listening to God’s teaching was just the confirmation I needed.

I noticed on ReviveOurHearts.com you interviewed and talked to a couple named Nancy and Ron Anderson, who had been through trials in their marriage. My husband and I had been going to counseling for better communication since January. As I began to listen, I was intrigued by their story.

For those of you who didn’t get to hear that series, this is an interview where Nancy, the wife, shared that she had been unfaithful—had ended up in an adulterous relationship with a man at work.

She tells the story, along with her husband, of how God brought her to a point of brokenness and how God restored her marriage to her husband over 25 years ago. He did a great work of intervention and now is using her to help challenge women about the issue of infidelity.

My husband walked in the door as I was listening to this woman describe her adultery and marital problems. I embraced my husband and started talking to him about hedges.

In that series we talked about the importance of women protecting their marriage morally and sexually by putting hedges around their relationships with men other than their husband.

We had discussed this issue of hedges just days before. Then my husband started acting strange, and I couldn’t figure out what the problem was. Then he confessed to me that on the Monday before—just two days prior to me listening to this program—he had gone to the home of a woman he worked with and committed adultery.

I was shocked. We called one of our pastors to come and help us because, after my initial screaming, I didn’t know what to do. I started praying, “God, please help me to respond in grace to this.” I started to open up my Bible just to get some encouragement.

I opened up to the story in the Gospel of John of the adulterous woman. I read how Jesus said the one without sin should cast the first stone. I knew He was speaking to me. I knew if I cast a stone at my husband, I would be just a Pharisee. It still hurt very much, but I knew I had to choose to forgive him.

Second Corinthians chapter 2 has been a blueprint for me. [That’s where the apostle Paul said you need to forgive this person who has sinned and repented—you need to comfort him, and you need to reaffirm your love.] I knew that was what I needed to do for my husband.

It’s just been weeks since my husband confessed to me, and here I am ready to give God the glory. Yet God has more for me to go through than I even realize at this point. This young woman that my husband was with in the affair is just 19 years old. Over the weekend, she told him she thought she was pregnant.

I’m not sure what is true and what is not in what she has told him, but I knew if she is pregnant, I have to embrace her. She is alone—no family, no friends, no one—and she definitely doesn’t know God.

So I called her and left her two compassionate messages. Later the next night she had two negative tests. My husband had talked with her and made clear that he loves me and is salvaging his marriage and will not be leaving us for her.

On Monday night at 10:00 p.m., my phone rang. I ran to answer it, and it was this girl. She called me to apologize for what she has done.

GRACE—that is the theme of my life. Freely I have received, freely I must give. I talked to that young woman for 40 minutes and forgave her and ministered to her heart, sharing that she can have peace, hope, and joy if she gives her life to Christ.

I expressed that I am not forgiving her and my husband out of my own strength or because I’m a good person, but because of Christ in me. I may be the only Jesus she ever sees.

I’m waiting a couple of days to call her and see if she wants to get together. I don’t know what God has planned in this situation. I’m not sure how He’s going to take this evil and turn it into good, but I know without a doubt that He will, and I want to be open to whatever His plan may be, even if that means I have to die completely to myself (which I should be doing anyway) and befriend this lost and wandering soul.

Nancy and ROH, I hope you find this letter encouraging. My husband would not have confessed, and we would not be on the road to reconciliation, if it weren’t for that program. Praise God for being in charge.

That’s a heavy story, a tough one, and it raises a whole lot of issues and questions; but I just want you to see that God is a redeeming God who is able to take even the worst, the most horrific circumstances and situations, and redeem them for His glory and for our good.

In the midst of that, God is rescuing that husband’s life and the other woman’s life, because of a woman, a wife, who says, “I want to be a true woman, a woman who is seeking the Lord.”

She didn’t ask for this. She didn’t. It wasn’t her sin that got them into this situation.

But because she was seeking the Lord and letting God draw her to Himself—because she was willing to run to God for grace—God is building her life. God is salvaging her husband’s life, He is salvaging her marriage, and by God’s grace we trust that God will redeem the life of this 19-year-old girl who was involved.

Now, that’s a big mess, but God is able to untangle big messes and bring glory for Himself. Just think of the lives that may be saved, the lives that may be spared, the future generations that will glorify and please God as a result of one woman who says, “I want to be God’s true woman.” I believe that’s your desire.

Don’t underestimate the power and influence . . . your story may never approximate any like this one I just read or others that we’ve read today, but God has you here in your life situation for a purpose. He wants to glorify Himself through you, if you will just say, “I’m willing to die to self; God, I need Your grace to be a true woman in this life situation,” whatever that is, whatever that means.

Cry out to God for grace. He will give it, and He will use you to be a woman who makes a difference in this generation.

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been casting a vision of true womanhood for us. We’re calling this “The Year of the True Woman,” culminating at True Woman ’08, the national women’s conference in the Chicago area.

We’ve focused many series this year on true womanhood, and we’ve been hearing about the results of some of those series. One of the series Nancy mentioned was For Women Only with Shaunti Feldhahn.

I hope you’ll visit ReviveOurHearts.com. Take a look at the transcripts or order the conversation on CD. You can also learn more about Shaunti’s book For Women Only, which has helped a lot of wives understand their husbands better.

You can find information on the book and CD at our website. That’s also where you can learn more about the 30-day challenge that has transformed so many marriages. Find out about the 30-day husband encouragement challenge when you visit www.ReviveOurHearts.com.

How often do you pray for your children? Fern Nichols will help you understand the value of praying for your kids and learn how to consistently pray. I hope you can join us for that tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

Children: Revive Our Hearts is an outreach of Life Action Ministries, and our mom is a true woman.

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