Revive Our Hearts Radio

The Testimony of Iris Blue, Part 1

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Monday, July 29, 2002.

We all know people who grew up in church but now are living far from God. How does that happen? Well, today we'll hear the story of a religious girl who became a rebellious teenager. To introduce our guest today, here is Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: You know, it's been almost twenty years since Iris first came to faith in Christ; but she still can hardly talk about it without being a little bit weepy because it's all so fresh to her. She's never gotten over the wonder of when God found her, and what He has done in her life.

Since that time, Iris has become a dear friend. And I am so grateful for this opportunity for you to meet her and get to know her as well.

Iris Blue: I was always in trouble, but we were in church and we went to all the activities. I won a blue ribbon one year for being the fastest on the draw when I was ten years old at vacation Bible school. I went every year. During vacation Bible school, we practiced all our little plays and memorized our verses, ate our cookies and did all the things you're supposed to do.

Then the preacher, instead of preaching on Friday night like they would normally do, he invited one of those evangelists who would hit the pulpit and scare everybody. He preached on hell for about forty-five minutes, with the heat up. And I mean he really had our attention.

Then he started asking a real dumb question. He said, "Now, how many of you want to go to hell?" I thought, Oh, my! And I wanted to peek so badly. You know, they tell you not to peek. But I found out everybody does. Well, I didn't know back then. So I didn't look, and I wondered if anybody was stupid enough after hearing all these descriptions of hell, is anybody going to say, "Let me give you my answer Friday. I've got to think about this a while." I knew there could not be anybody in that building, after hearing what he just described, that would say, "I think I want to go there."

So, when he asked that question, I was with everybody else saying, "I don't want to go!" And I never changed my mind in all those years, but I hated that it took me a long, long route to discover that not wanting to go to hell is not salvation. I didn't meet Jesus at that time, I just didn't want to go to hell. And so what happened was that he started snapping his fingers and saying, "Now, if you don't want to go to hell, come on down."

Honey, I ran and all the rest of them did too. But I did not really meet Jesus that day. I didn't want to go to hell. And I was crying. And for some reason, if you're crying in church, your mother thinks you're saved. Now, you can cry when your dog gets run over; and your mother doesn't think you're saved. But if you cry in church, and you're really sincere...I was considered a Christian.

I started facing some real issues in life; and I didn't know how to handle them. I am convinced that every young person has to deal with these issues, and if they don't learn how to deal with these issues, they are going to have a mess.

The first one was the issue of being liked. You all haven't noticed I am big. I was six-feet-three at age twelve. I was the biggest kid in our school. The teachers would raise their hands and ask me permission to go to the bathroom! I didn't understand why this had happened to me. I remember the day I ran home because a little boy had asked me to carry him piggyback. And that wasn't what I had in mind.

You see, I started liking boys in the incubator. I loved them. And I thought, Oh, there is a God; and He made boys. I liked them, and I would try to flirt with them and look sexy. And I would lean up against the locker, and it would cave in. My dream was that I wanted some boy to carry my books or treat me like I was valuable or open the door for me.

I just wanted somebody to think I was special. For the little boy that I had a crush on, that's what he was afraid of, that I was going to crush him. He came up to me and he said, "I need to ask you something." And he was real nervous, so I thought he was going to ask me to go steady or something. But he asked me if I would carry him piggyback.

My little computer started saying, "Now listen, you're big and ugly. And if you don't do something, you're not going to get his attention because you see who gets to hold hands in school. It's those little-bitty cute girls. You're never going to get it. And deep in my heart I wanted to say, "No, my dream is that you'll carry my books home, not that I'll carry you on my shoulders."

And I hope this doesn't sound really immoral or real perverted, but I'm convinced after I met Jesus through prayer that this is where my life really started messing up--that I compromised what my dreams were, even in elementary school. I wanted desperately just to be treated like a lady, but I didn't think I qualified. So I told him just to go on, and I was hoping inside...I wanted to cry. But I didn't want anybody to see me cry because I didn't want anybody to know.

I ran home to my mother and I said, "Why am I so big? Is there a pill I can take or an operation or something? I am a freak!" My mother reached as deep as she could into her heart and gave me the best answer she could come up with. "Honey, God made you that way." You're kidding, and you want me to worship Him? No wonder everybody in church looked so sad, I said to myself. I really hated church. I mean, you should see some of you. I mean, I was mad. Everybody looked like somebody had shot their dog on the way to church; and I thought, I don't want to be there.

I mean, you know, what's the deal? You're talking about the King of Kings and everybody's so angry, so sad and so pitiful. So I wasn't very impressed with church. So, my mother then told me that God made me big. And I thought, That's what's wrong with them. He's pulled a dirty trick on every person in the church. And that's why they look so mad--like I dare you, just try to make me smile.

And so, I didn't want to be saved. And I thought, No wonder I just didn't like it. And I almost made a deliberate decision that I didn't like God. And I didn't want anything to do with Him, just like a ten-or-eleven-year-old kid because my heart was just so broken over what I was.

The other thing that I think started my life was--again I think every young person has to deal with this--rebellion. It started ruling, and that's what happened in my life. I just ran looking for freedom and excitement and thrills. That's what I, in my rebellious stage, lived for.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: As I listened to the segment, we just heard two things that strike me. I was raised in a family that was in church. My family had four kids. We had two good ones and two bad ones. The good ones were the kind who were honor students, and our parents put on honor roll bumper stickers because they were excited. But they never made a bumper sticker for my kind. I saw one the other day that kind of came close, that said, "My kid can whip your honor student." And that's about as close to a bumper sticker as I got.

I can still remember the first time I heard Iris Blue tell the story that you're about to hear. There were several hundred women gathered together at a conference, and Iris and I were both speaking. But when Iris finished, there was hardly a dry eye in the room as she told about her background--quite different from my own--about how the grace of God had found her and rescued her and now has given her a powerful life message. Having an emotional experience doesn't necessarily make you a Christian.

The first is that Iris found herself as a young girl really angry at God over something that she really had no control over--the way that God had made her. She said, "I thought I was big and ugly. And if God was the One who made me that way, I didn't want anything to do with Him." I wonder how many women today relate to that kind of struggle. In fact, I can remember as a young woman, wrestling with the fact that God had made me a woman, thinking that if I had been a man perhaps I could do something more for God.

Iris came to realize what I had to realize as well--that freedom comes from embracing what God has done and how He has made us and giving Him thanks, knowing that He has purpose in His choices. You know, when it comes down to the liberating truth, it is that He is God and I'm not. And that He can be trusted with the choices that He makes for our lives.

You know, I also appreciate what Iris said about the experiences that she had as a young girl, where she heard that preacher preaching about hell (and was scared into making some sort of profession of faith), that at the time, others may have thought was real because she was crying. And it was an emotional experience. But I'm so glad that Iris reminded us that just because we don't want to go to hell, and we have some kind of emotional experience that doesn't mean that we have actually been born again, or that we have come into a relationship with Christ.

It wasn't until years later--you'll hear this over the next couple of days--when Iris came into a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ. You know, I think that many of our churches today are loaded with people just like Iris, just like that little girl. They have heard the truth, and they've had some sort of encounter where they went forward. Or they've responded to some sort of invitation. Or they've had some emotional experience, and they've had a dose of religion. But they've never really encountered Christ. They've never surrendered their life to Him.

Perhaps that's why so many people in the church today have difficulty with the kinds of issues like rebellion, self-image and immorality that Iris struggled with because they don't have the power of the life of Christ within them enabling them to live a Christian life. Jesus is the only Person who was ever able to live the Christian life. And until He comes to live inside of us, we are powerless to be the women that God wants us to be.

So, let me encourage you to examine your own heart. If someone was to ask you if you are a Christian, you might be quick to say, "Of course, I am." But what would be the basis of your saying that? Would you just go back to some childhood experience where perhaps you were afraid of going to hell, or you had some emotional experience? Or could you point back to a time when you knew that you came to the end of yourself, you surrendered the control of your life to Jesus as Lord, He took over your life and you received His life as your life?

If that's never happened to you, God has allowed you to hear Iris' testimony this week so that you can see your need for God, for a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ. Even before you hear the rest of Iris' story, you may want to just bow your head there before the Lord, wherever you're at and say, "Lord Jesus, I need You. Please come into my life, take over my life, forgive my sins. Thank You for Jesus who died to pay the price for my sins. And right now I surrender my life to You as the Lord of my life, for Jesus sake. Amen!"

Leslie Basham: If you just prayed along with Nancy and made Christ the Lord of your life for the first time, we'd like to give you a booklet. Just give us a call at 1-800-569-5959, and we'll send you Right With God by John Blanchard. It will help you understand what it means to walk with Christ, and it will encourage you to grow in faith.

You can also get a copy of Iris Blue's testimony on cassette. To order you can visit our Web site at ReviveOurHearts.com, and you can also call us at 1-800-569-5959. We're suggesting a $5 donation for the cassette.

Maybe hearing Iris Blue's story brought to mind your own testimony. We'd love to hear it.

When you write, would you consider supporting the ministry of Revive Our Hearts through a financial contribution? We love to provide the kind of programming you've heard today. We also like to give resources to people who need to hear the Gospel message. We can only do it with your help.

Tomorrow you'll hear where Iris' rebellion leads her. It's a gripping story that you won't want to miss. We hope you can join us tomorrow for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss is a ministry partnership of Life Action Ministries.

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