Revive Our Hearts Radio

Strength in Surrender

Leslie Basham: While she was in an adulterous relationship, Nancy Anderson discovered something about God.

Nancy Anderson: Surrender works. You cannot fight against God, but when you surrender your heart and ask for His strength to shore you up, to make you strong so that you can walk in His way and not your own, you will be amazed at the things He can do through you that you could never do yourself.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Tuesday, February 16.

Nancy, our listeners have come back hoping for a happy ending to the really messy situation we heard about yesterday.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: You know that we’re in the middle of what seems like a hopeless story. It’s gone from bad to worse.

Leslie: Yes.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Ron and Nancy Anderson have been sharing with us how their first couple of years were fraught with conflict and anger and criticism; and how ultimately Nancy ended up, one step at a time, falling into, (although you don’t really fall into these things), but ending up in an adulterous relationship with a man at work. When we left the story last time, it looked as if there was going to be no putting back the pieces of Humpty Dumpty who had fallen off the wall at this point.

Nancy and Ron, thank you so much for being willing to tell your story. The reason we’re sharing it is not to glorify sin or the failure, but to glorify the grace of God that is able to take hopelessly broken lives and pieces and make something of great beauty of them. So thank you for being with us again today on Revive Our Hearts.

Ron Anderson: Thank you, Nancy, for having us.

Nancy Anderson: Thank you. We’re glad to be here.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Nancy, when we left you as a couple last time, you had left Ron. You had let him know that you wanted to divorce him; you were in the process of pursuing life with Jake, the man at work. Yet the Lord was, unbeknownst to you, you couldn’t see this, but He was working to draw your heart back home. Actually, you ended up back at your condo one night unexpectedly.

Nancy Anderson: Yes, I did. I had only gone there to pick up a few things, and I wasn’t even supposed to be there that day, but I ended up there. Ron had left the key for me, and I went in and was packing a few things when the phone rang. My worst fear was that it would be my mother because I did not want to talk to my parents. They’re godly Christian people, and I knew they would not approve of what I was doing. So I had kept it a secret from them that I was having an affair. I had even kept our marriage difficulties a secret from them because I knew they would want me to fix the marriage, and I did not want to fix the marriage.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: So your mother was the last person in the world you wanted to talk to, and yet the phone rings, and there she is.

Now before we go on with the rest of the story, I thought as we were preparing for this interview it would be great if we talked with your parents because I read in your book, Avoiding the Greener Grass Syndrome, what a key piece of the puzzle that call turned out to be. So we’ve contacted your parents this morning. They’re joining us from California.

Mr. and Mrs. Alf, can you hear me?

Mr. Alf: Yes we can.

Mrs. Alf: Yes.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Thank you so much for joining us. I’ve never met you personally, but I just want to say how thankful I am for parents like you who have the wisdom and the biblical discernment and insight and courage to do what you did in this situation. So we want to hear you and Nancy together tell the story about that phone call.

Mrs. Alf, what was it that prompted you to call at that time? You didn’t know what was going on, but you had a concern on your heart.

Mrs. Alf: Yes. I was restless at night. I would have thoughts of difficulties that she might be going through. I had no idea what was happening, but the Spirit, I suppose, was telling me I needed to get in touch with her. We at that time lived in Minnesota, so we were a long ways away, and didn’t have contact as often. So the telephone was our only way of contact.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: So you had been praying, and you sensed that something was wrong, and you called to find out what it was?

Mrs. Alf: Yes. I was concerned about whatever, what was going on, but I didn’t know what. That was my reason for calling.

Nancy Anderson: When you called, and you said, “Is everything okay?” and, of course, I didn’t want to admit what kind of trouble I was in, so I continued to lie to you and say everything was fine even though I was in the midst of packing boxes.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Did you believe her, Mrs. Alf, that everything was fine when she told you that?

Mrs. Alf: Well, of course you know your children pretty well. One of her assets is, of course, telling stories. That’s why the book is so wonderful. But on the other hand, she also told stories that weren’t always the truth. We knew that about her, so I guess that was our reason for doubting what she was saying.

Nancy Anderson: I tended to color the truth in my favor.

Mrs. Alf: Yes.

Mr. Alf: That’s putting it mildly.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Since Nancy didn’t give you the truth, you decided to put your husband on the phone. Is that right?

Mrs. Alf: Yes.

Nancy Anderson: I was never able to lie to my daddy. So she put Daddy on the phone, and he said, “Your mother is concerned.” My father’s a smart man, because when his wife says something’s wrong, even though he might not feel it, he believes that she knows. So he listened to her, and he began to confront me.

Mr. Alf: Marian has a sensitivity to spiritual things that I don’t have, and so if she sensed something, then that meant something was wrong. So I pursued it a little bit.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And how did you do that? How do you recall the conversation, Mr. Alf?

Mr. Alf: Well, it’s been a long time, of course, and I just remember that Nancy put on a front of, “Everything is just fine.” We began to talk, and then when she finally did say that there was something wrong, she really didn’t tell me the whole story, but she told me that they were having difficulty. That was about all I remember of that first part of the conversation.

Nancy Anderson: Then you asked, you prayed for me. Do you remember the prayer, Dad?

Mr. Alf: No, not really, I don’t.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Nancy remembers!

Nancy Anderson: I remember the prayer vividly. It was a prayer for my eyes to be opened and for the veil to be lifted and for any bonds that were on me that were not of God to be broken. That, I think, was a huge turning point. I began to see myself. You kind of held a mirror up to me in a loving way, but very firm. I talked about wanting to be happy. You said, “We did not raise you as a goal for you to be happy, but for you to behave. For you to be a godly woman, and you are not fulfilling what is your calling."

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: A lot of parents, I think, at that point, if they hear their daughter say, “My husband’s not treating me right. He’s not making me happy. I’m miserable in this marriage.” I think a lot of parents might pick up the offense of their daughter and agree with her that her husband was the one at fault. But you didn’t do that, Mr. and Mrs. Alf.

Mr. Alf: Well, no, because we sensed, and we knew, like Marian said, we know our daughter, and we loved Ron. It was a difficult time to discern what was going on, but we knew that she had to hold up her part of the bargain, and she needed to communicate with him. I don’t remember if it was exactly at that point, but I told her that she needed to stay there until Ron comes home. That was my direction to her.

When I hung up, after finishing the conversation, I wasn’t sure she was going to stay there. That was our anxiety from that time until we heard something. Whether or not she stayed, because if she didn’t stay, then it wasn’t going to get corrected. But if she did stay, then chances are it might work out.

Nancy Anderson: When we hung up, I did stay, and I waited for Ron to come home. It’s a long story, but he wasn’t even supposed to be home. He was away at a convention. But he did come home that night unexpectedly.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Ron, when you got home, what did you sense?

Ron: When my friend brought me back unexpectedly, I said I had an anxiety where I was that I needed to go home.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Not knowing that Nancy was there.

Ron: Not knowing that Nancy was there. Now I realize the Lord was putting a burden on my heart. “Now is the time.” The Lord was telling me that I needed to go home, and my friend brought me home. When we pulled in the driveway, Nancy’s car was there. He asked, “Do you want me to go in?” I said, “No, it’s going to be all right.” And the Lord made it all right.

I walked in, and there was Nancy, and we began talking. She explained the entire situation that she had gotten involved with a man at work. She said she was sorry, and we literally stayed up all night talking. It was the first time we actually talked without yelling at each other. We talked to each other with a civil tone.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Was it at that point she told you about Jake?

Ron: Yes. That’s when she told me about Jake.

Nancy Anderson: Because after my dad’s prayer, I said my own prayer. I had not prayed; I had not spoken to the Lord in probably nine months, I would say. That’s when I said my own prayer, and then the dam burst. His love and forgiveness and mercy were showered on me, and I saw myself as the adulterous woman, as the woman in sin.

I clearly saw my sin, and it scared me how far I had fallen from what I knew to be true, what I knew to be right. I asked for the Lord’s forgiveness. He recalled to me the story in John 8 about when Jesus met the adulterous woman, and He did not condemn her. She was caught. She was guilty. But apparently she was repentant. She had her head down. He said, “Woman, I do not condemn you.” And then He said the most five powerful words, in my opinion, in the Bible. He said, “Go and sin no more” (verse 11).

I knew that was what I had to do, even though I knew it would mean giving up this man that I thought I loved and coming home to my husband, confessing my sin, both to the Lord and my husband, and putting myself at their mercy. I knew it was a matter of life and death for me at that moment to choose God’s will over my own.

Ron: It’s very difficult to hear your wife tell you that she’s in love with another man, that she’s involved with another man. That’s what she came and told me that night.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: When you say very difficult, I mean, like the worst thing in the world?

Ron: Yes. It’s like being run over by a car. It knocks all the wind out of your life. There’s an element of feeling of failure that you’ve lost your wife to another man. I felt like a failure. The process of how we got there, I didn’t expect this to be the outcome. There were these underlying resentments that were never resolved that pushed my wife into this man’s arms, and actions that she took. I didn’t see it coming—no way, shape or form—until that night when she confessed to me that she was involved with another man.

So there’s a lot of emotions. There’s anger. There’s resentment toward her. There’s a feeling of failure. There’s a strike against my male ego, which was a pretty heavy hit. The Lord helped us keep all of that under control that night. We literally were up all night. We spoke until 9 o’clock the next morning at which time Nancy had made a decision that she would quit her job at this company.

She called up the president of the company and confessed that she had gotten involved in an affair with a co-worker and told the president of the company, “I’m not coming back. Take everything on my desk and throw it in the trash.”

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: This is like 15 hours after the phone call from your parents, Nancy. I mean, this is a dramatic change of heart.

Nancy Anderson: In 24 hours everything changed. My heart changed; my behavior changed; my marriage changed.

Ron: What’s amazing is how the Lord orchestrated this. Nancy was not supposed to be at the condo that night. The moment she walks in the door, the phone rings. Her mother’s calling. So the Lord leads Nancy’s mother to call at that moment in time. Nancy was led by the Lord to come back to the condo. I was supposed to be out of town for three days at a convention. In the middle of the first evening’s event, I break down in tears and tell my friend, “I need to go home.” I did not know why I needed to go home.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Because your wife hadn’t been there when you left.

Ron: My wife wasn’t there and wasn’t anticipated to be there, but the Lord had put it on my heart, even though I had pulled away from the Lord. The Lord was telling me, “You need to go home.” I go home, and so these three things took place all within that two hour period.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Then once you got home, Nancy, the way the Lord was just working in your heart to break down your justifications and your defenses and change your heart.

Nancy Anderson: The timing couldn’t have been . . . If he had come home an hour earlier, I was not ready yet. I needed to say that prayer of repentance and brokenness before I could have faced him. That’s when I made the decision that I would not see Jake anymore because of the Lord’s words, “Go and sin no more.” Obviously that meant I couldn’t continue in a relationship with a man who was not my husband.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I’m struck by the fact, though, that you were emotionally involved with this man. You were not emotionally engaged with your husband at that point in any positive way, and yet by the next morning you say, “I’m going to quit my job, now, today. I’m going to break off this relationship.” You didn’t pass “Go;” you didn’t collect $200; you didn’t stop to think about it. I can’t imagine that your emotions for Jake just stopped. You can’t turn that off like a faucet, but you made some choices in spite of your emotions.

Nancy Anderson: That’s exactly right. I chose to be faithful to my husband, even though I did not “love him.” In fact, we didn’t even like each other. We were not getting along. We were not friends. This man at work was who I loved, in the sense of my emotions were with him, but I knew that I could not continue in the relationship. So despite my feelings, I followed the Lord’s instructions.

That was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, but I knew that it was right. The Lord gave me strength to do it. I made the decision, and then my actions followed what I knew to be right, despite my feelings. I think that’s part of the reason that Ron was so calm and receptive to when I finally confessed because he could sense in me that I was a different person. It’s almost like I was reborn. Even though I had accepted the Lord when I was in high school, for me it was a turning point in that the Lord became my heart, and I surrendered fully.

I had been fighting against God, but when I surrendered my will to His will, He gave me the strength to fully confess to Ron without any excuses. I did not blame my husband.

Ron: I actually heard my wife say she was wrong, which was something she would never in a million years do. For the two previous years, she would never admit that she had done anything wrong.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: So you really saw a change of heart there.

Nancy Anderson: There was a calmness, and it was miraculously peaceful because here I am telling him the most volatile thing a wife could ever say to a husband, and he did not react in anger or cursing . . .

Ron: . . . which was my typical M.O.

Nancy Anderson: His typical thing when I would hang a towel rack, he would yell at me. So here I am telling him this horrific thing, and yet the Lord’s peace was in the room and covered us and let us converse about it and not yell and scream, and we made a plan. He said, “My friends think you have a boyfriend. Do you?” I said, “I did, but we’re going to call him in the morning.” And after I quit my job, Ron and I called Jake together.

Ron: Tell them what the president of the company said when you called him.

Nancy Anderson: Well, it was really amazing because, to my knowledge, he was not a Christian man. But I told him that I had been having this affair with Jake, and he said, “Well, we suspected as much.” I said, “I’m not coming back. I know that puts you in a horrible position job wise.” He said, “There is no job more important than your marriage.” Then he said, “You are doing the absolute right thing. We will give your assignments to other people. We will cope. You need to go back home and work on your marriage.” Which was an amazing encouragement considering the source.

And then we both switched over and talked to Jake that very day and told him. I told him I would not be seeing him anymore, and then Ron spoke to him, too.

Ron: I spoke to him and said that Nancy and I were going to try and get our marriage back together. And just to make sure we were all on the same page, I said, “Now, Jake, can I count on you not coming around?” He said, “Yes.” And we never heard from him ever again.

Nancy Anderson: No. He was faithful to his promise as well. When we hung up the phone, it was a very emotional phone call, all three of us were crying, but for three completely different reasons.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Yes. Nancy, there’s a woman listening right now who is in an emotional affair or physically adulterous situation. She knows she needs to get out. She’s scared. She thinks she can’t. She thinks she can’t break the emotional attachment. What do you say to her?

Nancy Anderson: I say that I know how you feel. I know how strong the bond is. I know the pull of it, the magnet that you’re feeling being drawn toward him. But I also know the freedom that breaking those bonds brings. It’s such an amazing thing to be guilt-free and to have your secrets brought to light, because our secrets keep us in prison.

You don’t even know how wonderful life can be. I was blinded by sin and by selfishness, and I blamed my husband. I was critical and complaining, but that didn’t work. Do you know what works? Surrender—surrender works. You cannot fight against God, but when you surrender your heart and ask for His strength to shore you up, to make you strong so that you can walk in His way and not your own, you will be amazed at the things He can do through you that you could never do yourself. Because when He calls us to His higher purpose, He also equips us to walk in His way.

So I would say that, today, stop fighting. Surrender—surrender to the Lord; surrender to His will; surrender your heart to Him. He is the Lover of your soul. He will never let you down.

  • He will take your feelings and slowly, as you surrender your life to Him, you will begin to love your husband again.
  • You will begin to water your own marriage.
  • You will begin to grow in the direction that He wants you to grow, which is away from sin and toward the light.

But you must choose it. It ultimately rests with your decision to follow the Lord’s will or to follow your own will. And today is your day of decision.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Nancy, you made that decision, and we’re sitting here 25 years later looking at a couple who is, as you say, “Crazy in love.”

Nancy Anderson: Yes.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: But that change didn’t happen overnight. Your surrender happened overnight, and your obedience. It’s a message of hope, redemption and grace, but it starts, as you said, with a point of surrender.

Our prayer—my prayer—for each listener who is in that bondage right now is that today would be a point of coming out into the light with the Lord, with your mate, and saying, “Yes, Lord.” Just wave that white flag of surrender, and say, “Yes, Lord.”

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been talking with Ron and Nancy Anderson. All of us need to say, “Yes, Lord.” It’s true whether you’re dealing with unfaithfulness like our guest, and it applies to whatever issue you’re grappling with right now.

“Yes, Lord,” was one of the themes repeated at True Woman ’08. The thousands that gathered in Chicago, and even more that watched online, remember that the speakers kept repeating that important line, “Yes, Lord.”

The True Woman conference coming to Chattanooga is bound to prove equally memorable. Have you thought about coming? This could be an event God uses to make some lasting changes in your life. Years from now you may find yourself looking back to March 25, 2010. You’ll remember being in Chattanooga with thousands of women hungry for all that God has for them, discovering God’s purpose for you as a woman and finding out how to live that calling in your home and community.

Start making plans by visiting ReviveOurHearts.com.

Tomorrow we’ll hear more from Ron and Nancy Anderson on the healing available after adultery, and we’ll continue to hear from Nancy Anderson’s dad.

Mr. Alf: All of us know what the Lord wants. His Word is very clear in these instances like this, and there’s a right thing to do and a wrong thing to do. Obviously, if a couple decide to get married, and they’ve made a covenant with each other, they’ve made some promises that need to be kept.

Leslie: Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

 

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the radio series.

Join the Discussion