Revive Our Hearts Podcast

The Walls Began to Fall

Leslie Basham: Denise Glenn clearly remembers how she and her husband marked their seventh anniversary. It was with a very strained conversation.

Denise Glenn: I told him I was leaving. I said, “David, I have had it. I am out of here. I cannot do this anymore. Tomorrow morning I am packing up the children, and I am leaving.” Nancy, I praise God that in that moment He intervened in our lives.

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Monday, July 11.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Well as you know, we have a mission here at Revive Our
Hearts,
and it is to help women experience a freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ. We focus on both the vertical and the horizontal relationships—first, our relationship with the Lord.

That is why our hearts have to be revived before we can be the women God wants us to be in every sphere and season of life. Then as our relationship with Him is right, He uses us as His instruments; instruments of His redemptive plan in others’ lives, whether it’s in marriage or as a mother or as a woman in the work place. He wants us to be in every way spreading the fragrance of who Christ is.

It is that vertical and horizontal relationship we focus on day after day here on Revive Our Hearts. We talk a lot about mentoring, about legacy, about older women teaching younger women and passing on the baton of truth to the next generation. One of the things I’ve found helpful in my own life is to get to hear the stories of women who have a vibrant and vital walk with the Lord—"True Women" as we like to say around here.

Women who are living out the mandates of the gospel. Mature women who walk with the Lord and have a seasoned walk with Him so that we have a pattern, an example to look to. And as they follow Christ, we can follow their example.

It is a joy to welcome to the studio today a new friend, Denise Glenn. Some of you are familiar with her writing, with her ministry, and we will be talking more about that, but she is a Titus 2 woman. Not an old woman but an older woman who is being used by God in a significant way to help younger woman come to know the Lord and His ways in every sphere of life.

So Denise, welcome to Revive Our Hearts, and thank you so much for joining us today.

Denise:
Thank you Nancy. I am delighted to be here; it is my pleasure.

Nancy:
With that set up I just gave you, True Woman, Titus 2 woman, older woman . . . you’ve got a lot to live up to.

Denise
: I don’t know if I can do that, but I love the Lord Jesus. He’s taken me on a journey, and I love to share that because it is through our life experiences that I think the Word comes alive for those we are sharing with.

Nancy:
And you have had a lot of life experiences. You’ve walked a journey and are further down the road than some of our listeners and at the same season of many of our listeners. We have a lot of older women who listen as well, and I think they’re going to be encouraged as to how their life can influence younger women around them. We want to hear about your journey. I think our listeners are going to really enjoy hearing just a testimony of a woman who is in process but seeking the Lord, knowing Him, and making Him known.

 

And Denise, for those of our listeners who are not familiar with your ministry, tell them the name of your ministryMotherWise. It is a mentoring and teaching ministry helping mothers, and not just mothers, but women of God in all seasons of life, to know how to experience the reality of Christ in their lives and in their various family relationships.

You’ve written a number of books that we’re going to make available through our website. If listeners will go to ReviveOurHearts.com they can get a link to your website, MotherWise. This is a ministry God has entrusted to you and your businessman/husband. You are currently living in Perth, Australia, down under.

Denise
: It is 11,000 miles from here, so it is a long way. Perth is the most remote city on the face of the earth. So God literally took us to the end of the earth.

Nancy:
And He brought you back for this interview, but not just for this interview. It gave you a chance to see your . . .

Denise
: . . . eight grandchildren and three daughters all living in the Houston area. So it has been delightful that I’ve gotten a chance to visit with the family.

Nancy:
We’re so glad you had a good reason; that you wanted to see them and that gave us a chance to talk with you as well.

We were talking last night over dinner. When I asked you about your marriage, your eyes kind of lit up. You love David and God has blessed you with a rich, fruitful, and blessed marriage, but it wasn’t always that way.

Denise
: No, it wasn’t.

Nancy:
So take us back to how you met this man and some of the early days of that marriage.

Denise
: David and I were 18 and 20 when we first met. We got married at the end of my sophomore year, his senior year at the University. We were just madly in love. He was so handsome, wore cute clothes, and drove a great car . . . what else do you need?! Godly, he was the president of the Christian organization on our campus.

We both went to church every Sunday. We were both from West Texas—not just Texas but West Texas. We "got" each other, and we really believed because we were so madly in love and because we had so much in common—the Lord and our culture– that marriage would just be a piece of cake. I don’t know what I was thinking! But when we had been married three days, I cried myself to sleep. I literally thought to myself, “I have flushed my life down the toilet. This is the worst thing!”

Nancy:
Why? What made you think this?

Denise
: Well, our expectations going into marriage; I had my expectations and David had his.

Nancy:
How were they different?

Denise
: David’s family is a ranching family and a wonderful, precious family, but hard working. So for them, family life means hard work. You don’t sit around telling each other every minute of the day how much you love each other and all that. They have a lot of hard work to do and they do it well.

My family—I come from a family of four girls, my daddy is a minister of music, and very affectionate. And so, I grew up with this “lovey-dovey, kissy, huggy” family who was always very verbally affectionate. When we had literally just been married a few days, we had no money for a honeymoon, so David went to work.

We got married on Saturday night. I’d taken finals on Thursday, got married on Saturday night and on Monday I am a housewife in a home having no clue what wives did. I didn’t know what wives did. David went off to work, came home, and found his 19-year-old wife with boxes piled to the ceiling—I hadn’t even opened one—playing solitaire on the floor because I don’t know what wives do! And he walked in and said, “Where is dinner?”

I looked around the house, and I said, “I' don’t know. Where is dinner?” He did not think that was funny. In that moment he began to criticize me. This is his testimony; he tells it, I am not telling on him. He started letting me know what wives do. His expectation was his mom who, bless her, is a gourmet cook and made his father’s silk ties. I mean, unbelievable woman and I love her to death, but I couldn’t measure up to that.

My expectation is that my husband would walk in the door and tell me how wonderful I was and how much fun we were going to have, and he was going to take me on a 50-year date! I mean, what was this work thing? So our expectations immediately were shattered. My knight fell off his horse.

Nancy:
You had no clue of this when you were dating?

Denise
: None, because in our dating relationship it didn’t resemble anything of the expectations and even the responsibilities of marriage. I was a teenager. I was still living in the dorm, eating dorm food.

What my story is, Nancy, that my heart’s cry is for churches and mentoring moms to actually invest in young couples who they know are going to get married and to begin training them with God’s Word and God’s principles of marriage. In our case, that just didn’t happen. Someone showed us a birth of a baby film and that was it. That was our pre-marital counseling.

So we’d had no training in the Word of God,and we did not know what our roles were. We didn’t know what we were supposed to be doing. We had literally been in church every Sunday of our lives. I was born on a Sunday, for crying out loud, and in church two weeks later. But if someone preached a sermon on marriage and the roles in marriage, I am sure I was chewing gum and talking to my friends, but I didn’t hear it.

So at that point our marriage began to spiral down. We started this arguing pattern in our relationship. We’d never done that in our dating life, but as married partners then, the more he criticized me, the more I fussed back to him. So there was this negative, critical, arguing cycle that we began to get in, and I shut down my heart. I put up a wall. Literally, the third night of marriage I put up a wall in my heart that said, “You are not going to hurt me like that. I am not going to let you in to that deep and intimate place in my heart. I’ll give you my body; I’ll learn how to cook, but you’re not going to have my heart.”

I backed off emotionally and began to build the wall. Well, it just started little by little by little, but Nancy, I spent seven long years of building a wall between us. David didn’t come from a real touchy-feely family, and so he wasn’t totally in touch with where I was emotionally. He was like “okay, fine, as long as you do sex and food that is all marriage is about anyway.” He didn’t know what his role was.

Nancy:
Was there a lot of conflict through those seven years? Could someone looking in have seen there is tension here, there is conflict?

Denise
: There were nights we stayed up all night long, literally until 5 o’clock in the morning, fighting and arguing. Sometimes it was Saturday night, and then we’d get up, take a shower, put on our Sunday school smile and go to church. Hello! Go teach Sunday School! No one knew. We did not share with our family; we didn’t share it with our friends; no one knew.

Nancy:
But you both knew.

Denise
: We knew; the war that was brewing between us on our seventh anniversary. We had gone through so many things together. We’d gone through infertility. We’d gone through three babies in four years; all sorts of things had happened in our lives. I had thought in each one of those cases, “Okay, God is going to give us babies, and this is going to solve our marriage problems.”

Well, babies don’t solve the problems of their parent’s marriage. Nothing was solving this deep ache in my heart about my relationship with my husband. So, because this was the 1970s and I was being inundated with the world’s message . . . I was watching Phil Donahue in the afternoon—that was before Oprah—I was reading Lady’s Home Journal, Parent’s Magazine. Everything I was reading and everything I was getting from the world was, “You are woman. You are strong. Don’t let anybody tell you what to do. If you don’t like your marriage, well, you can just get out.”

Nancy:
Did that thought enter your mind?

Denise
: Oh, all the time. In fact, I threatened to leave. Probably after about five years of marriage, I started threatening to leave. And David didn’t believe me because he knew I wasn’t 100% serious. But on the seventh anniversary, literally, I can tell you when it was. May 6, when we’d been married seven years, I guess it was 1979, I looked across the table at my dear husband and I told him I was leaving. I said, “David, I have had it. I am out of here. I cannot do this anymore. Tomorrow morning I am packing up the children and I am leaving.” Nancy, I praise God that in that moment He intervened in our lives.

I know our parents had prayed for us all of our lives, and God intervened. He used my husband. David would not take “no” for an answer. If there are any men listening to our voices right now who are wondering how they are going to recapture the hearts of their wives . . .

Nancy:
And there are some men like that.

Denise
: There are lots, and we hear men who actually come to the MotherWise website and say, “Would you please pray for my wife, pray for my wife. She is ready to leave me.” My husband stepped in that night and became the spiritual leader of our home, for the very first time. He looked across the table at me and said, “You are not leaving. You are not doing this to our children. I don’t know what we’re going to do.”

At that time in the 70s, Focus on the Family was just starting and FamilyLife was just starting. All these ministries were just starting, but we didn’t know about them. We did not have all the resources that are available today, and we literally did not know what God was going to do to rescue our marriage. But that night, David said, “You’re not going to leave me, but we’re going to go home and get down beside our bed. We are going to pray a one word prayer because God doesn’t need to hear a lot of theology from us tonight.”

We went home and cried, “Help! Help, Lord!” That moment that we humbled ourselves, got on our knees and cried for help, Jesus immediately came. Now, it wasn’t instant tea. Our marriage didn’t get solved; our marriage problems didn’t get solved in one night, but it started the process. We started the move back together and the walls began to fall. David began to humble himself before the Lord and ask my forgiveness, and I asked his forgiveness, and God began the healing process on that night.

Nancy:
I know there are many listening right now who are right where you were on your seventh anniversary. They didn’t get there overnight; it has been a process. Maybe the details are differentwho started what, who said whatbut they are at a desperate point. The Lord took you and David to the place where every couple has to get if they’re going to have God’s kind of marriage, and that is acknowledging your own inability to solve the problem. Turning to the Lord and saying, “Help.”

Denise
: Some of our listeners are to that point of desperation. My heart’s cry for them is that as they kneel before the Lord, that they would expect God to come in and begin the healing process, and He will. He loves the prayer for help.

Nancy:
That word help is really expressing a heart of humility. The going to the knees, the bowing before the Lord is saying, “I’m turning from my own way; my own way hasn’t worked. I’m giving up my own way. I’m giving up my own right to solve this problem my own way.”

It brings to mind that wonderful passage in 1 Peter, chapter 5, which we find in a couple of other places in Scripture as well, but it says,

Clothe yourselves all of you, with humility toward one another, for "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxiety on him because He cares for you” (vv. 5-7).

When we’re in the midst of a marriage or workplace environment, with a parent-child relationship or a friend, that tension, that conflict, that wall in a relationship, the tendency, as was true in your marriage, is to point the finger and to say, “It’s the other person who is at fault. It is the other person who is insensitive. It is the other person who needs to humble himself. If my husband would just humble himself . . . If my teenager would just humble herself . . . If my parents would just humble themselves . . . ”

But God says, “No, you humble yourself.” The powerful principle there is that those who are proud, God opposes. And really, up until that point in your marriage, God had been setting Himself against you and your marriage because you had been proud. Your husband had been proud and God was opposing. That word means "God sets Himself in battle array against those who are proud."

But what does He do for those who are humble? He pours grace; He lavishes grace, and that is exactly what God did for you and David at that moment. He poured out the desire and the power for things to change.

I want to just say to a listener, if God is speaking to your heart, and we’re going to hear more of Denise's story and the pathway that God set her and David on and some of the principles that God used to give them a new start in their marriage, but Denise you’ve just shared the starting place and that is the cry of humility, the cry of help. I would just say, don’t wait for your husband to take you there. You go there even if he is not willing to go. If there is a man listening, you can go there even before your wife does. But get there; get there as a couple as soon as you can, get there by yourself if that is what is required, but get there.

I wonder Denise, before we go any further, I want us to join our hearts together and pray for someone listening right now who needs to say, “Help, Lord!” and to realize there is hope through Christ. You have now been married 37 years, and what was true of those first seven years is past. God has changed it; He has transformed it. He has given you a future and hope and godly children. He’s given you a ministry to women all around the world. So there is hope. Why don’t you lead us in prayer for a listener who is where you and David were in asking God to intervene and bring them to that place of humility, even now as they are listening.

Denise
: Lord Jesus, we come before Your presence for the listener whose heart is crying out to You. Father, we join them in this heart’s cry. We ask you to intervene in their circumstance. Father, I thank you for the one who is willing in this moment to humble themselves before Your presence. Father, I pray in the name of Jesus that as You take them to that place of humility and emptiness and brokenness at the foot of the cross. Father, I thank you that in that very moment in that place, You intervene.

Father, we ask you to completely take control of the circumstances, and we bring the circumstances of their life and of their heart under the dominion of the Lord Jesus Christ. We ask for a blessing upon this person who is praying and upon their family and their situation. You have even gone before us. You go behind us, and Your hand of blessing is upon us.

And so Father, we thank You, that as we cry out to You, You are right there in the midst of that heart’s cry. So we give You the glory and the honor and the blessing as we fix our eyes on You. Our hope is in You, our faith is in You and You alone. In Jesus’ precious name we pray, amen.

Nancy:
I am just believing that even this day God is in the process of renewing, restoring marriages, and livestaking people to the cross and giving a fresh new start. That’s not to say, as you reminded us Denise, that the changes will all take place over night. But immediately God will come and begin that process of rescue and redemption in that life, in that marriage.

It may be that your husband will not come back. It may be that the pride and the dysfunction have gone so far that he is not willing to turn his heart. But you can turn your heart, and God can give you grace. I would encourage you, if you have cried out to God today with that prayer, “help,” if you’ve humbled yourself before the Lord and said, “God, I cannot go on this way. Would You intervene in my life, in my marriage?" If you’ve cried out that way today, I want to encourage you to go to our website, ReviveOurHearts.com, and email us.

Let us know that you’ve prayed that prayer today, and we have a team of prayer partners who will pray for you. They will pray for your marriage. We’ll do whatever we can to encourage and serve you in that process, believing God, the redeeming God, who is making all things new to do that for you and for your marriage starting today.

Leslie Basham:
That’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss and her guest, Denise Glenn. To follow up on Nancy's suggestions to write to our team, visit ReviveOurHearts.com. Toward the top of the screen you'll see a button that says, "Contact." Once you click that, you'll be able to send an email that's only seen by our staff. If on the other hand you have a comment that would be helpful for everyone to read, leave it on the Revive Our Hearts listener blog. At ReviveOurHearts.com, scroll to the bottom of today's transcript then leave your comment there.

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Ask for Wisdom for Mothers when you call with your gift of any amount. The number is 1-800-569-5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

Well, today we heard how Denise Glenn and her husband prayed the one word “help” to the Lord. Tomorrow we’ll hear how He answered that prayer. I hope you’ll be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts
with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.  

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