Is There Such a Thing as Picture Perfect?

Leslie Basham: While carrying her second child, Kim Jaggers received the kind of news every mom dreads.

Kim Jaggers: “My water had broken, I was in labor. The problem was, I was only 25 weeks pregnant. The doctor told us that the baby had only a 50% chance of survival.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss, for Monday, May 23.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Several months ago a dear friend of mine emailed me and said, “I met someone who you need to get to know, and I think who you would love to have share her story on Revive Our Hearts.” And finally today Kim Jaggers and I have had the chance to meet, and my friend who connected us was right.

I’ve just been able to sit down for a bit with Kim and hear some of her story, and am so grateful, Kim, that you’ve come in to our studio here in Michigan from your home in Knoxville. I'm thankful you are available this week to share with our listeners the journey that the Lord has had you on and how He’s using your life as a result of some of the difficult things you’ve been through. So welcome to Revive Our Hearts.

Kim: Thank you, thank you; it is a pleasure to be here.

Nancy: And today, Kim, you are a wife, happily married to your husband, Deron Jaggers, and a mom of three kids still in the home. But I want us to go back and unfold the story of what led up to where you are today in your life. And really, you have something of a fairy tale story at the beginning of your life . . . growing up in a Christian home and church. Tell us a little bit about your early life.

Kim: Well, I grew up in the South—which many of you now know, as you’ve heard my voice—in a Christian home. I really had anything that any little girl could want—loving parents, always in church, had my “fire insurance” in hand and went on with life. It really continued to go well for me. I made decisions based on things that would be the best for me, I thought, and life looked really good.

Nancy: And yet at that point, your life really wasn’t centered in Christ so much.

Kim: Not at all.

Nancy: And what were the evidences of that?

Kim: Basically, I made decisions based on what would make me happy. I chose a career because I thought that would make me happy. I chose what school I went to, everything was based on what the world would reward, what the world would pay, what seemingly were the things to have.

Nancy: And you got mostly what you wanted.

Kim: I did, and ended up meeting the man of my dreams. He joked with me that if I could help him pass a calculus class that he would marry me. Four years later of dating, I held him to the deal and we got married and we walked out to the song A Household of Faith,” because I’d always grown up in church and knew that we wanted to be in church. Then life continued to go well, from all outward appearances.

We built a very large home on 13 acres—it was our dream home. It had big white columns, and all our friends would joke and call it “Tara” from Gone with the Wind. That kind of that thing was going on.

Nancy: You say that was from external appearances.

Kim: External appearances.

Nancy: What was going on in your heart?

Kim: Well, in my heart I would acquire things, from a career to home. Eventually, I got pregnant, had a healthy beautiful baby boy, but there was just something inside of me that no matter what good thing by the world’s standards would come into my life, I just wasn’t happy.

We were in church, and I would look around and I would see others who just had a peace and a joy, and their lives didn’t look nearly as pretty as mine. In fact, some of their lives were falling part, but they had this peace that I wanted, but didn’t know how to get.

Nancy: And you had everything that you could have ever dreamed of, but you were empty inside.

Kim: Exactly.

Nancy: Did you express that to anybody, or were you conscious of it yourself?

Kim: I was conscious of it, and Rick, bless his heart, he would try. [Deceased first husband. For more, follow Kim's story this week.]  We painted the dining room three different colors, trying to make me happy, that maybe that would make me happy. I would secretly think, “Maybe I’m depressed; maybe I need to go on medication; maybe I need Prozac.” All these things would come into my mind because I could not look at my circumstances and find a reason that I should not have peace, but I didn’t have peace. 

I was sitting in church one Sunday and the pastor was talking. He was talking about a time when Jesus was in Capernaum and this demon-possessed man comes up to Him and said, “Hah! Jesus of Nazareth, I know who You are. You are the holy one of God” (see Luke 4:33-35).
 
It was in that moment that I sat there and I thought, “Now wait a minute, if the demon believes Jesus is the Son of God, and I believe Jesus is the Son of God, don’t we have a problem here? Clearly, something's missing.” It was one of those times in church I just wanted to raise my hand and say, “Wait, time out, I have a question.”

But thankfully, the pastor quickly got to the point where he said, “You know, it’s not enough to have a belief in Jesus Christ, belief that He’s the Son of God, to even believe that He came and died on the cross. You have to, you need to ask Him to be Lord of your life, to be boss of your life, and get to know Him in a personal relationship.

Nancy:
 So, not just intellectual assent to who He is, but really yielding control of your life to Him.

Kim: I had never . . . I had been in church my whole life, but I had missed it for years. I’d had a religion that absolutely never changed my life. I had gone and made decisions based on the world and what the world would say and what should make me happy, but I had never gotten to know this God/man, Jesus.

I’d never spent time understanding who it is that I’m trusting for my salvation for eternity. I also had never realized that He wanted a personal relationship with me here and now, in the land of the living. That I could walk with Him and that I could know true peace and true joy and true hope in a way that I’d never known before.

Nancy:
And yet, during all those years, if somebody had asked you, “Are you a Christian?”

Kim: I would have said, “Yes! I go to this Baptist church; I’ve been there my whole life.” I think for a long time I thought I was a Christian. But on that day I realized I had not ever surrendered my life to the Lord, Jesus Christ. I had simply a religion but no relationship.

That day I asked Him into my heart. I asked Him to be Lord of my life. I asked Him to reveal himself to me so that I could walk with Him in a way to know Him, to honor Him, to understand who He is, because I wanted to have that peace that the Bible talks about that surpasses all understanding.

But I also realized that when Jesus is Lord, that that means something different. It's not just living your life and going to church on a Sunday and thinking that’s enough. There's a daily walk with Him, and I had been missing all those blessings that come from knowing Him personally.

Nancy: Don’t you think there are a lot of people in our churches today who are just where you were, up until that point?

Kim: I think so, and I think we do so many things to try to make our lives look pretty. We try to talk to people and tell them everything’s fine and that our children are doing great, and that we’ve got it all together, but on the inside we know we’re missing something. We know we’re missing Someone, and we need Him so desperately.

Nancy: Thank God for that sense of emptiness, because that’s what ultimately presses us to Christ.

Kim: Yes, yes, right, and it’s only in that walk with Him that place can be filled. We try to fill it with everything, with lots of good things. We try to do different good works, but those things will never, ever satisfy. It’s only that true relationship and that true submission to the Lord Jesus that satisfies.

Nancy: And at that point, according to God’s Word, when you placed your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, you became a new person, as 2 Corinthians 5, verse 17 says. What changed, as you look back on your life at that point?

Kim: The way I started looking at things differently. I started reading His Word and understanding that He can take hard things and bring good from them, and that He can use all things. So when hard circumstances would come into my life, instead of immediately trying to fix them or get someone else to fix them and make me happy, I would look at it differently and say, “Lord, how are You going to use this? What are You doing?” My whole perspective on life changed at that point.

Nancy: And your relationship with the Word of God changed, too.

Kim: It changed dramatically. It used to be sort of a chore to read my Bible. I knew I should read my Bible. I heard people say they really liked to read their Bible, and I would try, but it just did not come alive to me.

But I became hungry for His Word, and it became daily bread to me. At one point, the Holy Spirit prompted me to pray that I would crave His Word more than chocolate, and I love chocolate; I adore chocolate; I have chocolate every day!

And He answered that prayer to the point that I cannot go a day without wanting to sit at the table and eat of the Bread that is the Word of Life. It is alive, and it’s active; it’s not some just old history book. I used to think that it was history, but it’s the way the God speaks to us every day for the circumstances of the day that we’re living in.

We can look to Him for joy and peace, but also for direction. I used to think that He had lots of rules, and those rules were kind of hard to follow. But I began to understand that that’s the way He guides us to His best and that His thoughts for us are all good. He wants to give us exceedingly abundantly more than we could ask or imagine, and the way He does that is by showing us how to follow Him.

He’s directing our steps when in all of our ways we acknowledge Him, that He will set our paths straight, and that even when the circumstances of life are not good, that we can still experience that peace that surpasses all understanding and joy that doesn’t go away (see Pr. 3:5-6). My life dramatically changed the more I got to know Jesus Christ through His Word, through His living Word.

Nancy: And let me just say that I know we have people listening to us right now who can relate, perhaps, to what you just described. They have lived a good life. They’ve grown up in and around Christian things in the church, perhaps made a profession of faith, but they don’t have life.

There’s not a hunger for the Word of God; there’s not a peace regardless of what their circumstances may look like; there’s not the desire or the power to please the Lord. They may be performing spiritual acts or deeds, but they’re not living by the grace of God and not being enabled by the power of His Holy Spirit. They’re religious, but they’re not righteous. They don’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ.

And Kim, you have just touched on what is one of my great burdens for the church today. For churched people, people who have religion, but they don’t have Christ. They’re professing something they don’t possess. They’re enduring Christianity rather than enjoying Jesus, the author of Christianity.

I think we pray and we talk about a burden for revival in this nation. When God sends a revival to our churches and to our nation, I think one of the things that happens is that millions of people in our churches who’ve assumed they knew Christ—they had some childhood experience, they walked an aisle, they signed a card, they prayed this prayer or that—but they don’t really know Christ. I think a lot of those people are going to discover that they’re not Christians. They need to be born again.

So talk for just a moment (we’re going to continue in your story) to the person who’s listening and thinking, “I’m not sure I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I have that emptiness you were talking about. I don’t have the power. I don’t have the love for the Word of God.” What would you say to them?

Kim: I would say to them to take a moment and get on your face, ask God to reveal that truth to you. I am greatly concerned that many people will hear the words, “Depart from me, I never knew you” (see Matt. 7:23). I think that if you have been walking through this life without a conscious awareness of His presence in your life, if you are not hungry for relationship with Him daily, I think you have to question, do you really know Him?

It’s hard to really trust somebody you don’t know, and this is the biggest decision you can ever make. You need to know for sure if you know Jesus Christ. Do you know about Him or do you know Him?

Is He Lord of your life, or is He just something you do on Sunday, or something you do because you think you should do? Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus? You can take a moment and you can answer that question right now, wherever you are, because it’s not an accident that you are hearing these words.

Nancy: Yes! Right.

Kim: He is pursuing your heart, and it is time to know for sure, and you can know for sure today.

Nancy: And the fact is, Kim nor I can tell you whether you have a personal relationship with Christ; that’s the job of the Holy Spirit. If you’re not sure, if you’re wondering, if you have some question stirred up in your heart just as a result of what you’ve been hearing, then as Kim has said, let me appeal to you to get alone, get a quiet heart, a quiet place, get alone with the Lord and His Word. Maybe take the little Epistle of 1 John, which was written to help people know how they can know that they have eternal life.

Get into God’s Word and open your heart to the Lord and say, “Lord please show me where I am in my relationship with you.” And the Lord loves you enough that if you don’t have a saving relationship with Him, He will show you thatthen respond.

If needed, wave the white flag of surrender and say, “Yes, Lord! I do trust You to be my Savior.” Realize that your salvation has nothing to do with any and all of the good things that you could do. It has everything to do with what Christ has done for you on the cross, dying in your place to forgive your sins. I just believe that there are many people listening to us right now that God is speaking to.

Kim: Yes. I think He is calling us to know Him, and so many times we want to get everything fixed in our life, we want to understand, but He will do all of that. He will reveal Himself to you.

He just wants you to walk toward Him and say, “Lord, I want You. I don’t know what everything about that looks like it, but I want You to take all of me, every area of my life, I want You to be Lord, to be boss of my life, Lord.

That’s the difference. We need to know Him in that daily walk with Him. It’s one big decision, but then it’s lots of little decisions to follow Him every day for the rest of your life.

Nancy:
For the rest of your life. If God is speaking to you today about your need to trust Christ as your Savior and Lord, let me encourage you to write or call us here at Revive Our Hearts, or go online to our website at ReviveOurHearts.com and send us an email and tell us you want to be sure that you are a child of God. We’ll be glad to send you some information that will point you to the Scripture and help you walk through that process of coming to true faith in Jesus Christ.

Now, Kim, prior to this point, it seemed like everything was going right in your life. It was that inner need that God used to bring you to faith in Christ. I think some people have the notion that once you become a Christian, that life from that point on is just a picnic, a bed of roses.

Kim:
Right.

Nancy: But you came to find out that those roses had some thorns and it was actually after you gave your life to Christ that life started unraveling in some ways. What was the first sign that that was happening?

Kim: Well, I was at a point in my life (where I still am) where I love God’s Word, where I love the part about being fruitful and multiplying. I found myself pregnant with our second son. At this point, life from many aspects was good. Walking with the Lord, and things were just good for our family.

However, I was going to church, going to Bible study, trying to learn more about Jesus. I read verses that said things like, “In this life you’re going to have trouble,” (see Job 5:7). Pretty soon we had trouble. I found myself on Father’s Day in 1995, we were sitting in church, and my back started hurting.

Nancy: This was while you were carrying your second child.

Kim: I was pregnant with Ben and my back was hurting. Long story short, I ended up finding out that my water had broken, I was in labor. The problem was, I was only 25 weeks pregnant.

The doctor told us that the baby had only a 50% chance of survival. This was the beginning of lots of hard days for us. I spent the next seven weeks in the hospital, going in and out of labor. The doctors would come in and they could put in a synthetic amniotic fluid, because my water broke. So I’m losing fluid and the baby is being stressed the whole time. But we’re trying to stop the labor to give him another day because every day would help.

At 31 weeks, though, I developed a fever and they were worried that I had a staph infection, and so they decided to let Ben be born. He was born weighing two pounds and 12 ounces. He could not breathe on his own. He had heart, lung, and stomach abnormalities, and just looked like a little, tiny bag of bones. It was extremely difficult to see him struggle for every breath.

But God during that time continued to pursue me, continued to bring truth to my mind, to help me walk through those days. There was one point when Ben was in the hospital when he developed a staph infection. His first year he spent 264 days in the hospital. He had developed a staph infection, and they rushed him into surgery.

Rick couldn’t get up there quick enough, my mom couldn’t get there, no one was there. I ran downstairs in the hospital to the chapel and it was during this time that I sat there and God just prompted me to pray and just to tell him, “Lord, I know You’re enough. Even if You take this baby from me, Lord, I know that You’re enough. I know that You are still good.” And He carried me through.

Nancy: And Kim, much as I hate to do it, I’ve got to break in here because we’ve come to the end of our time today. We’re going to pick up this story tomorrow.

I want to let our listeners know that God did spare Ben’s life, but it wasn’t the end of some really, really hard days for you and your family, and God had much more of a story to unfold than what you could have ever imagined at that point.

But I think what we’ve already begun to sense, is that because you had come to have that personal relationship with Jesus Christ and you were in God’s Word, getting to know Him, being filled with His Word and His presence, that God was giving you the grace that you needed at that point—and at many hard points yet to come—to respond to those difficult circumstances. In the midst of your world falling apart, there was a peace that was available that didn’t depend on your circumstances, but on Christ, who had come to live inside of you.

We’re going to pick up this story the next time on Revive Our Hearts—you won’t want to miss it, because what God has done in and through Kim Jaggers’ life is really such a tribute to His power, His grace and His goodness. I think it’s going to speak very powerfully to many of our listeners.

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been speaking with Kim Jaggers about true peace. Perhaps you can relate to some of the circumstances that threatened Kim’s peace. Maybe you’d like to ask her a question. She’s available this week on the Revive Our Hearts listener blog.

Just visit today’s transcript at ReviveOurHearts.com, scroll to the end, and add a comment, or address a question to Kim. She’ll be participating on the listener blog today through Thursday.

Well, if you need a reminder of the peace God promises, Nancy has a resource to tell you about.

Nancy: Over the last few weeks, I’ve been telling you about my new favorite CD. It’s called Hidden in My Heart. It’s actually a lullaby CD with Scripture passages that‘ve been set to beautiful musical arrangements.

So you might be wondering, why does a single woman with no children enjoy listening to a lullaby CD? Well, the reason I get so much out of this CD and have listened to it over and over again is that it provides scriptural reminders of God’s promises.

Song from CD:

Be still my soul.
Be still and know that He is God.

A friend wrote recently to tell me about the first time he listened to this music. He said, "It’s been a season of stretching for me at work and church. My soul was deeply encouraged by this music." He liked the CD so much that he bought a copy of the CD for his wife’s birthday. He wrote, “We played the CD over dinner that evening, and it’s become an instant favorite. Hardly a day goes by that we’re not playing this CD.”

So when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any amount, we’ll send you the CD. Your gift at this time will help us to reach an important goal in the month of May. We’re asking God to provide at least $350,000 as we end our fiscal year.

If you've never supported Revive Our Hearts before, you have a chance to help us reach the goal even more quickly. That's because this month some friends of the ministry are doubling the gift of every new supporter up to a challenge  amount of $60,000.

Meeting this goal and ending the fiscal year in a strong position will help us finish out the studio space that’s under construction as we speak, and will also help us make some important decisions about expanding the outreach of Revive Our Hearts through a Spanish language broadcast.

Be sure to ask for the CD, Hidden in My Heart when you call with your support. The number to call is 1-800-569-5959, or you can contribute online at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Leslie: “We found your husband’s truck, and there’s a body inside.” When Kim Jaggers heard these words, her life would never be the same. She’ll tell us the story tomorrow 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 radio series.

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