Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Two Hearts Turn Home: Cindy and Bernardo’s Story

Episode Resources

Watch Cindy and Bernardo's Story.

Leslie Basham: Here’s Cindy Cabrera.

Cindy Cabrera: This was the first time in all these many years that this marriage seems true and seems real, and it’s like there’s no barriers between us. That’s when I understood that God is the only one that can really hold up a marriage.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of The Wonder of His Name, for December 8, 2017.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Okay. Time for a quiz. Which of the following is true:

A. Success in my career will give me ultimate satisfaction.
B. Homeschooling and raising successful children will give me ultimate satisfaction.
C. None of the above.

Our guest today lived much of her life believing answer “A”—that success in a career would give her deep fulfillment. But she soon discovered that no job, no career success could satisfy. The real answer is "C." None of the above. Ultimately, nothing can give our hearts other than God Himself.

Our guest today, Cindy Cabrera, will tell us how her priorities shifted from her career to her home.

But the point isn’t that women should never work outside the home or that everyone has to homeschool their kids. The point I hope you’ll get from Cindy’s story is that each of us needs to find our fulfillment in Christ, and then do whatever He has called us to do in that season.

Now, let’s listen to Cindy and Bernardo’s story.

When Cindy was in her teen years, she became interested in health care services.

Cindy: I grew up with the idea that I was going to study hard, be a professional, work very hard, maybe get married, and maybe have one or two kids, but that was a maybe. Going to the university, getting a career and being a strong working woman, that’s the way I was brought up.

I remember that in my home I was even forbidden to do housework. My father used to tell my mother whenever she wanted me to help her out around the house that she should leave me alone and leave me enough time for studying and not get me very involved in the house issues because he said that women that get to love the home and homemaking, they usually don’t get to go to the university and get a college degree. So I was not about to help.

I used to take advantage of that because whenever she was calling me to do something, I would say out loud, “I’m studying, or I’m reading.” And my father would come from wherever he was and say, “I have told you, don’t get her involved in the home.” But whenever my dad left, my mom would say, “Okay, you get up now, and you help me do some housework.”

So homemaking, being at home, raising many children was not at all close to the aspirations that I had in life.

Nancy: Cindy pursued that vocation with gusto and became an excellent dentist shortly after graduating and eventually began her own practice.

Cindy: I think I worked more than many physicians that I know.

Nancy: Cindy was incredibly focused and determined. Those qualities were just some of the things that attracted Bernardo to Cindy.

Bernardo Cabrera: We actually met at a gym. One of the things that I remember very clearly whenever she was working out, she would put on these headphones—really big headphones. Like, you could tell she had them on. She would just be there, focused, doing her exercises. To her, it was like a protection. She would put these on, like, “Don’t mess with me.” It would make her very much out of reach, I guess. That was kind of good to see. She was focused. She was there to exercise . . . that’s it.

Nancy: Bernardo grew up in the Dominican Republic and the United States. As a child he attended an evangelical church. But in his teen years, he wandered away from the Lord. Cindy grew up with a traditional religious background. She considered herself Christian, but had never heard the gospel or experienced true salvation in Jesus Christ.

Cindy: Then I met Bernardo. I remembered that Bernardo told me he was an evangelical. And I was, like, “Really? An evangelical that dances and goes to parties?” Since I didn’t see in him a different lifestyle than the one I used to live, I didn’t pay any attention to it. I didn’t think it would come up later as something important. I just dismissed it.

Bernardo: We never really talked about our beliefs. She considered herself Catholic. I considered myself evangelical. And we still got married. We never talked about what we were going to do after we got married.

Cindy: And, of course, as soon as we decided to get married, the differences started to emerge.

Bernardo: She was always, I guess, taking the first step . . . always.

Cindy: Things started deteriorating very much within our marriage.

Bernardo: She was very focused on her work. She was working long hours.

Cindy: He worked long hours, also.

Bernardo: She would want to make the big choices of what we needed to do.

Cindy: Financial problems.

Bernardo: I just stepped back and, “If that’s the way it’s going to work, well then, whatever.”

Cindy: Our first son was even diagnosed with abandonment syndrome, being left alone with a very harsh nanny. So we had many, many problems. It was a very difficult marriage at the start.

Nancy: Cindy and Bernardo’s lives were not only unraveling relationally, they were also becoming spiritually desperate—especially Cindy.

Cindy: I used to tell him, “I just need us to go to some church. We need help. This is really not working out.”

Nancy: In her desperation, Cindy compromised with Bernardo and began attending an evangelical church in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Cindy: I was so hard in my heart. I told him, in my horrible tone of voice, “We’re going to go one Sunday, and we’ll take it one Sunday at a time. If I don’t like it the first Sunday, I’m not going back the next. And if I don’t like it the next. . .” That’s how it would go.

When I heard our pastor preaching for the first time . . . I had never heard the Word of God preached in that way coming from the Catholic Church. So when he started speaking, I couldn’t believe it. The Lord started something in my heart with His Word, and I started to have doubts and debates and everything. So it was that initial stage of questioning.

I talked to Bernardo’s mother, who was a Christian, and I told her, “I just want to know the truth, and I don’t know what is the truth. I’m afraid because I don’t want my soul to get lost.” And my mother-in-law told me that whoever searches for the truth, God will show it to them. “If you want to know the truth, you will know.”

In that time of all of that debate, they announced to the church True Woman ’08. I don’t even remember now if I saw the announcement in church, on the screen, or if it was on the bulletin, but somehow I saw the announcement. I was used to coming to the States for dental conferences. I thought, Hmm, that’s quite a change. I might go to this thing for a spiritual conference.

So I just registered for the conference.

Nancy: Cindy really didn’t know what to expect when she arrived at True Woman ’08. But as it turned out, this was the place where God would meet her and show her the truth that would set her free.

Cindy: Never, ever would I know that my life was going to change in such a drastic way! The preaching started, and John Piper started preaching about biblical womanhood, but I still didn’t get it. I felt to myself, I don’t know what he’s talking about. I just couldn’t understand what he was saying.

Then the next morning, when Mary Kassian started talking, I don’t know why, it was just like the Holy Spirit decided to just open my eyes, and it was as if all of a sudden I could get it.

Nancy: Cindy finally understood and accepted the gospel. She realized that she was a sinner and that Christ had made a way of salvation through His death and resurrection. Cindy trusted in Jesus as her Savior that day, and the truth of the gospel set her free from the condemnation of her sin.

Cindy: Everything that I thought of myself, God reconstructed. Every session after Mary Kassian’s one was delight. It was amazing. It was the best weekend I have ever, ever had in my life up to this day.

Nancy: When Cindy returned home, she started reading her Bible and began noticing that she was now able to make changes in her life; whereas, in the past she had been powerless.

Cindy: I was really, really convinced of what the Word of God said about marriage and family and raising children. It was hard to put it into practice, sometimes sin still dwells in us. But in my mind and in my heart, I was really convinced that it was God’s way and that it was good.

And I knew that, but I didn’t know that a really hard blow was coming to test us.

Nancy: God was aiming to do a complete work in this family. One of the things that God began pressing on was Bernardo’s relationship with Him.

Right after True Woman '08, Cindy and Bernardo’s church hosted a men’s retreat. That weekend, God convicted Bernardo of some things that had happened before he married Cindy that needed to be confessed.

Bernardo: When I was at the men’s retreat, the Lord said to me, “Look, if you want to be clean, you have to get rid of—you have to confess.” I had stuff from my past that I hadn’t told Cindy about—stuff that happened before we got married.

I remember praying on my knees before talking to Cindy, just very intensely. At one point I really didn’t know what was going to happen, if things were going to be ruined, if we would be able to go on, if she would be able to forgive me.

So I came back from the retreat very much convinced of what I had to do.

Nancy: Eventually, Bernardo got the courage to confess Cindy the sins of his past.

Bernardo: And, obviously, she was very hurt by it.

Cindy: At first I was angry—all those emotions. I was so angry, I couldn’t sleep. So what I did was . . . I was through my Bible reading that I had just started recently after the conference. I was reading the Psalms. I would be reading the Psalms at night. I knew that God didn’t want me to divorce him, even though I could have an excuse, I knew that if I did so, I would be doing it against God’s will. I could never have had that understanding if God hadn’t taught me about marriage in True Woman ’08.

So I would be awake all night, reading through the Psalms and praying to God. I went and said to him, “You know what? I don’t feel like doing this because what I feel for you right now is anger and hate. But we’re in this until death do us part. So I forgive you for this because I understand that this is forever. I don’t feel like forgiving you. I don’t feel like loving you. But I choose to forgive you, and I choose to love you.”

And it’s amazing. You know what happened? I woke up, and I felt this incredible love and real feeling of forgiveness, and I didn’t even want that! I wanted to keep on hating him so I could keep on punishing him. But I just couldn’t do it because I had this tremendous . . . I don’t know . . . it’s just amazing.

So those were steps that I couldn’t have taken in the flesh, and I couldn’t have done it by myself. So that conviction of sin He gave to Bernardo, and that confessing his sin was the initial point of the big restoration of our marriage.

Bernardo: Everything that happened between True Woman ’08 and the men’s retreat, us having our conversation, me confessing and her forgiving me, that was kind of just God making us one marriage, kind of instilling in us the belief and, I guess, the commitment to say, “Okay, this is for life. There’s no backing out of this. It’s you and me. We’re married, and if we’re going to honor God, we’re going to remain in this no matter what.”

Cindy: This was the first time in all these many years that this marriage seemed true and seemed real. It’s like there’s no barriers between us. That’s when I understood that God is the only one that can really hold up a marriage.

Bernardo: It was the beginning of us both kind of walking in the same path.

Nancy: Until that time, Cindy had been the leader of their home. She made the major decisions. She was the main financial provider, and Bernardo was discouraged from leading their family.

But as Cindy grew in her faith, she realized that she could trust the Lord, and that she needed to let her husband lead their home.

Cindy: I had the conviction that I had to go down and let him lead. I had to leave a vacancy on the rope so he could step up and grab it, because who’s going to grab up a position that’s already taken?

It was very hard in the beginning—very, very hard—because I have a very controlling nature. So I would say to him, “Well, okay.” So first he took the lead in managing the finances of the home, but I would be watching—“What is he doing?” But it was a good thing that it was so difficult for me to do due to my personality, because it really has made me realize that I’m dependent on the grace of God every single day.

Nancy: Bernardo also began sensing the Lord calling him to assume the main responsibility to provide for his family financially so that Cindy could have more time with their children. But this meant a huge change in their lifestyle.

Bernardo: In our country, it’s very different from here in the U.S. Having maids and drivers—that’s something that here is very rare that people have a lot of money. But in our country, most young people, where they both work—the husband and wife—you need to have a maid helping you at home, and you need to have a chauffeur to drive the kids around because the kids need to be picked up from school. They need to be taken to classes. We had like a small company in our home. We had all these staffers to help us out to be more or less more functional.

So we started getting rid of a lot of that. 

Nancy: Cindy cut back on her hours at work and began investing in their children. And as she did, she began seeing the struggle that her kids were having at school.

Cindy: We had struggled for several years concerning the education of our children.

Bernardo: Our second son, he’s very extroverted. His family was his friends from school. That was his family. Those were the ones he was really connected to. We were losing him. He was just drifting off.

Nancy: One day, Cindy heard about a mom who taught her own children at home. Now, a lot of people here in the U.S. are familiar with home education, but that was a foreign concept to Cindy since homeschooling is not something that’s done often in the Dominican Republic.

Cindy: That night I googled home education, Christian home education. I was up until 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. searching web page through web page through web page. I was amazed by the huge amount of Christian curriculum, tools, online classes, math books, resources, conventions. You name it. And when I saw all that, I don’t know, the Lord convinced me in a couple of hours.

I woke up the next day, and I told Bernardo, “You know what? I want to homeschool our children.” And you can imagine his reaction. He hadn’t even heard of it before, as I hadn’t the night before. He dismissed me, like, “You’re crazy!” But I started praying about it because I really wanted.

Nancy: Cindy trusted the Lord and waited to see how He would work in Bernardo’s heart. She was determined not to force her way on this, but instead, to wait and to pray. After some time, and through a medical emergency with one of their children, homeschooling became their only option of how to educate their children that particular year. Now, several years later, Cindy and Bernardo are homeschooling all of their children.

This is the same woman who never thought that being a wife and raising kids could be a satisfying calling. But the truth of God’s Word set her free.

Now Cindy understands that her value in life doesn’t come from what the world might view as a prestigious position, but from being in the center of God’s will, following His instructions for that season of life, and serving those God has entrusted to her care.

Cindy: There’s no better place to be than in the middle of the will of God. It’s not necessarily if you’re in public school, private school, home school. It’s just that when you are in the middle of the will of God, that’s where you know He backs you up, and things go well.

Nancy: Bernardo, too, has seen the difference that Christ has made in Cindy’s life.

Bernardo: That switch in her attitude of being able to sacrifice these things that she really likes in exchange for the kids, for me . . .

Nancy: As Cindy has embraced her calling as a wife and a mom, she has experienced deeper peace in her heart than ever before.

Cindy: Even though, on a material level, things are sometimes difficult—the finances or the struggles of homeschooling—but really, I am joyful, and I am happy.

As the pieces started falling into place, I felt this huge relief and peace that comes with believing in a biblically ordered home. Like, for example, taking the stress out of me of being the provider, the financial provider for the home. Now that I understand my role, his role, even the fact that he makes most of the decisions, instead of fighting that, now I am relieved. I don’t have the responsibility of those decisions. So, really, God has given me some quietness and joy and peace in this new model.

Our home is a lot more peaceful, and we can see the fruit in the kids and in our relationship. I marvel at the faithfulness and mercy of God, and it’s a privilege that we could never earn or deserve.

Nancy: I’ve had the joy of getting to know Cindy and Bernardo over the past several years, and it’s so encouraging to see the way that Christ has rescued them from faulty ways of thinking and has showed them the truth that has set them free in so many ways.

God is enough. I’m so thankful that God chose to use several outreaches of Revive Our Hearts to point Cindy and Bernardo to the truth of His Word. He used the True Woman conference and our publishing outreaches, and now the ministry in the Dominican Republic has exploded and Aviva Nuestros Corazones, the Spanish version of Revive Our Hearts, is spreading rapidly across Latin America.

Aviva Nuestros Corazones is the fastest growing outreach of Revive Our Hearts, but it’s just a few years old, and it still needs a lot of support to get it up and running. Our audience in Latin America hasn’t grown up in a culture that’s accustomed to giving to ministries, and so Revive Our Hearts, stateside, still subsidizes a significant portion of the financial needs.

We’re thrilled to support what God is doing through this daughter ministry, but we’re only able to do it thanks to gifts to Revive Our Hearts from listeners like you.

Close to half of the donations that we count on for the entire year typically come during the month of December. So your support this month will have a huge effect on the future of Aviva Nuestros Corazones along with all of our other ministry outreaches.  

So, would you ask the Lord what He might want you give?  There are a number of ways that you can make your donation. Go to ReviveOurHearts.com and click the donate button.

And the exciting thing is that when you donate this month, your gift will be doubled! That’s because a group of ministry friends has provided an $800,000 matching challenge. Any gift you make between now and the end of this month will be doubled until that challenge has been met.

Well, there are so many more women like Cindy, in the United States and around the world, who need to know the truth that sets them free. Will you help Revive Our Hearts connect with them?

Give us a call to make your donation today at 1–800–569–5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

And thank you so much for your part in helping women find greater freedom, fullness and fruitfulness in Christ.



Leslie: Thanks Nancy.

Earlier this week Nancy opened God’s Word and gave us insight on some of the most familiar characters in the Christmas story. We heard about the shepherds and the angels who gave glory to God.

On Monday, Nancy will introduce you to an unknown hero in the Christmas story. Our traditions don’t give much attention to this important actor in the story, but we can learn a lot from his life. Nancy will tell you who he is, Monday on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants to help you worship Jesus this Christmas. It’s an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

Join the Discussion