Revive Our Hearts Radio

When the Secrets Come to Light

Leslie Basham: Kim Jaggers will never forget the call she received from the police.

Kim Jaggers: They said, “We found your husband’s truck, and there’s a body inside.”

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Tuesday, May 24.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: We’re talking this week with Kim Jaggers, from the Knoxville, Tennessee area, who, as you’ll hear in just a moment, is a true southern belle. Early on, her life could have been described as being kind of a fairy tale life. She was a petite, dark haired, Southern Baptist girl who grew up and married the charming captain of his football team, and they quickly acquired a picture-perfect life.

She and her husband had promising careers. They had a beautiful home. They had a healthy baby boy, but in the midst of that picture, God interrupted her world to show her that she had religion, but she did not have true faith in Jesus Christ.

Kim, yesterday you shared that the point came as you were that young mom where you finally did place your trust in Jesus Christ, and your whole life really turned around from that point on.

Kim: It did. Jesus became real to me. He became daily bread to me. I developed a personal relationship with Him. I’d had a religion that had never changed my life at all. He became Lord. He became the boss of my life, the director of my steps, the lifter of my head, the reason for my peace, the reason for my joy. He began to show me things that not only helped me make decisions but helped me to walk through some very difficult things.

Nancy: And you were just about to come into some very difficult things. At the end of yesterday’s program, which, by the way, if you didn’t get to hear yesterday’s program, please go to ReviveOurHearts.com and pull up the program from yesterday. You can look at the transcript, you can read the transcript, you can listen to the audio because we’re just recapping here in a couple of moments what you shared with us yesterday, Kim, that your second child was born prematurely and with significant physical, health issues. Over that next year, you found yourself in and out of hospitals—mostly in hospitals—with a baby boy who was struggling for life.

Kim: It was a very difficult year. We spent 264 days in the hospital. During this time we saw not only our friends go on with their normal lives, but I would drive back and forth to the hospital, leaving a toddler at home. I would pump at night to take milk to my child that was in the Intensive Care Unit, who, just to breathe, just to gain an ounce was a struggle for him.

Also during this time we saw our finances crumble because I had to leave my very well-paying career to be home and to be at the hospital. We put our dream home—we’d built a very large home out in the country—we put that up for sale, and we moved into a doublewide trailer.

Life as I knew it, all the “pretty” was gone, but Jesus, in that time, still continued to give me a peace that made no sense. He continued to carry me through the days, the moments. His grace was enough for those moments to carry me through. But that trouble continued to grow.

Nancy: As I’m listening to you share, Kim, I’m thinking about something that I’ve often told women. That is that you’ll never know that Christ is all you need until He’s all that you have, and when He’s all that you have, you will find out that He really is all that you need.

So in the midst of your child struggling for life, and your finances crumbling, losing your house, moving into a doublewide, and more trouble yet to come—the story doesn’t get better outwardly for quite a while. In the midst of all that, you were testing and finding out that it really is true: Christ is enough. And that’s become a huge part of your life message.

Kim: It is. He’s more real than the air that you breathe. He will give you joy in extremely difficult moments. He’ll be your strength to go on. And those difficult moments for me,continued.

Our routine was that Rick would come by the hospital in the afternoons and bring me something to eat because I couldn’t leave Ben’s side to go to the cafeteria. He began to come later and later stopping by. I knew something just wasn’t right. For most men, when things are wrong, they’re fixers. They want to fix things. Clearly, he couldn’t fix anything.

He’d try to joke with me and try to make me feel better. There was an awful song out then about being the queen of my doublewide trailer—it’s a country song—and he would sing that. He would try, but he kind of seemed more and more distant. I started praying and asking God, “Lord, I want to see him turn to you. I want to see him turn to Your Word.”

Honestly, I had been more of the spiritual leader in our home because I was growing in my relationship with the Lord. So I started praying, “Lord, would You use these hard circumstances to bring Rick to Yourself.” At this point I was questioning is he really did know Jesus. I was also praying that he would be the spiritual leader of our home.

But things did not quickly get better. In fact, they got worse. I was home at one point trying to reconcile the bank statement and trying to figure out where all our money was going, what can we do. I was going through the records, and there were 20 withdrawals for $20 on the bank statement. Being the math person in the relationship, Rick had never reconciled a bank statement. He didn’t realize that those 20 withdrawals on the same day would show up like they did on the bank statement and cause me to question what that was about.

I called him, and he told me that it was for work. I said I’d really like to see some receipts on that, what that’s actually for. In a matter of moments, he was home and was confessing to me that he had become horribly addicted to cocaine and that he had gone through thousands and thousands of dollars buying cocaine.

This was a person who had always been in church. He came up from a family that had always been in church, who did not drink. Someone told him, “If you smoke pot, you can forget your problems.” The hospital is located near what’s called “The Strip” at the University of Tennessee. He said that he had gone down there with the intent of buying marijuana to forget our problems, and they gave him cocaine instead. That began, for him, a terrible addiction.

I was sitting there, and I was mad. I was hurt. On top of a child in the hospital and moving to a doublewide trailer—all the things that had gone on—now I had a husband that was addicted to drugs. But I remembered a woman in my Bible study who had told me over and over that marriage is a commitment to the Lord. I knew from Bible study that she was exactly correct. Marriage is a commitment to the Lord, and I knew no matter how upset I was with him, and how he had betrayed our family and let us down, that I had promised God that I would love this man, that I would be married to this man and that I would stand by him.

Nancy: Let me just jump in here and say that something you did here is so key, and that is you trusted the Word of God, even when your emotions were screaming otherwise, because, from a human standpoint, you could have easily wanted out of that marriage. As you said, you were angry, you were hurt, you felt betrayed, but you anchored, you tethered your heart to the Word of God, and you made a choice to stay committed to that marriage in spite of how you were feeling.

Kim: And God gave me the strength to do that because I had been walking with Him, because I had a relationship with Him. I knew He would not let me down, that He wouldn’t leave me; He would not forsake me, that He would carry me. My hope, my only hope is to follow Him with absolutely everything I’ve got even when—and often mostly when—my emotions are saying to do something totally opposite—that I had to cling to Him.

Nancy: That’s such a crossroad because—we all face it, in small and big things in life—if we choose to go with our emotions rather than the Word of God, it’s going to take us on a whole different course.

Kim: Yes. The enemy loves to use our emotions and nine times out of ten, you cannot trust your emotions.

Nancy: For sure you can’t trust them when they contradict the Word of God.

Kim: Exactly. The Bible tells us to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. So one: We need to know what Jesus says. Then: When we do, we can have that soul rest. In that moment, I had hope that God could use this situation, and so we went and we talked to the pastor. Rick ended up making a profession of faith. He said that he’d been trying to do things on his own, that he’d tried to fix things—as most men would—and could not fix anything. He said that he needed the Lord, and he made a profession of faith. In that moment I thought, “Lord, this is what You’re doing. You’ve used all this hard, this whole year of terrible, to bring Rick to his knees.” I believed that God would use this moment, these times, to help him be that spiritual leader I’d been praying for.

Nancy: Which had to be really encouraging at the moment.

Kim: Yes.

Nancy: But there was more to come.

Kim: Yes. Rick was horribly addicted, physically addicted to cocaine. With our pastor, we checked him into a rehabilitation center to get him help to become no longer dependent on the drugs. At the same time, I went home to get two calls from the doctors. One was to tell me that Ben had a third and a fourth bronchial tube and the lobe of his right lung was losing weight, and the doctors wanted to do surgery. They also told me he had T-cells—his immune system wasn’t functioning. They told me that my son was a very, very sick little boy, and that this was a very risky surgery, and that we needed to take him home for the weekend and enjoy him. I knew what that meant.

I called the rehabilitation center. I explained to them what was going on with our son, and that he had been scheduled for surgery the next week and that this may well indeed be the last weekend that we could spend with him. They okayed for Rick to come home for that weekend.

At the time, Will is three, and Ben is one. Ben is on a heart monitor, and he’s on oxygen, and everything is hooked by all kinds of wires, and he needs medicine every hour and a half around the clock, but we brought Ben home, and we wanted to just pretend like life was normal.

Nancy: Be a family.

Kim: Be a family—enjoy our boys. It was the first U.T. football game which, if you’re ever around Knoxville, you know the whole city is orange, and it’s just a lot of fun. We were going to go to my mom’s and watch the game and eat some snacks and just enjoy our kids.

But that Friday night, we got in an awful fight. I was so upset with the circumstances. I remember just going to bed mad. But I got up the next morning, and I know it was the Holy Spirit, He just prompted me to go and just tell Rick I loved him, and that I thought everything would be okay. So I did.

Rick had told me, “I’ve got to go take the garbage.” We were living in the trailer park, so there’s no garbage pickup, so he was going to take the garbage. He said, “I’ll meet you at your mom’s in a little bit.”

Nancy: For the football game.

Kim: For the football game. So I packed up the kids and all the paraphernalia that went with Ben and went to mom’s. The game came on, and Rick wasn’t there. The game went off, and he still had not made it there.

Nancy: So you went back home after the game.

Kim: I went back home, and I sat by the window, and I looked. We, at this point, didn’t have a cell phone, so I could not call him.

Nancy: And he never showed up that night.

Kim: He never showed up. I’ve always been a chicken. I was kind of scared being there, but I looked out the window and watched, and he never came.

The next day, I packed up my boys in my little car, and the oxygen tank, and I drove everywhere I imagine that he could be. Will, who’s three, was crying for a Happy Meal. I was crying because I was so worried that something was very wrong. I looked everywhere and could not find him. Friends were looking for him.

On Monday, I checked Ben into the hospital, and they did the surgery and placed him in ICU, and I filed a missing persons report from the ICU. Wednesday came, and there was still no word from Rick.

On Thursday, Ben was lying in the bed with tubes coming out, and friends were there, and the police came to the hospital. They asked to see me in a room by myself. They pulled me out and sat me in a chair, and they told me. They said, “We found your husband’s truck, and there’s a body inside, and visual identification is not possible.”

I remember just falling to my knees, not being able to breathe, not being able to think even. This was my best friend; the love of my life. At this point, we’d been together for ten years, and he was gone. He had driven to a warehouse owned by his company, and he had put a hose that was attached to the tailpipe into the cab of the truck, and he had died in a matter of minutes. But his beautiful body was so badly decomposed that they could not tell me if he had even been using drugs, and there was no note.

People started coming to the hospital. There were whispered discussions all around me. It was just a blur of people telling me I needed to go home and make arrangements. I remember thinking, “I don’t want to have a funeral. I just don’t want to have one.”

Somebody gave me a sedative, and it just made my thoughts even more blurry. They told me I would have to leave, and I could not imagine leaving Ben there. Nurse friends arrived and said, “We’ll sit with him. You can go.” Someone brought Will to the hospital. Will is three, a very talkative, very energetic little guy. They put Will on my lap, and they wheeled me out, and I remember people looking at me, and I remember thinking, “Do they know that my husband has just left me? Do they know that he chose to die?”

I remember thinking, “Should I have seen warning signs?” All these thoughts are going through my mind. They wheel me out to the car, and they’re putting me in the car, and they’re buckling Will beside me, and all these questions are just going through my mind. Then suddenly it’s interrupted because Will looks at me, and he says, “Momma, where my daddy?”

I remember thinking, “I should read a book first. I don’t know what to say. How do I even handle this?” Then I looked at him, and I said horrible words that those little ears should not have heard. I said, “Baby, your daddy has died.” Even though he was just three, Will knew what that meant because our dog had died two weeks earlier. He just laid his little head over, and he just cried.

We went home to my mom’s house, and Mom took me into her room, and she put me in her bed, and laid little Will beside me. I remember holding him, and just wishing so bad that I was the one being held, that those great big strong arms were around me, that Rick was telling me, “Everything’s going to be okay.”

I remember praying, “Lord, give me rest.” And then Scripture came to my mind. “I will lead them along the ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them” (see Isa. 42:16). And then the Scripture about how He will make the rough places smooth (Isa. 42:16). And He did.

Once again, over the next days and the next months, God proved Himself true to every word in His Bible. He and He alone was the reason that I could go on. He was strength for the day. His daily bread gave me the ability to walk through those gut-wrenching, hard days. He became a father to the fatherless, and He reminded me over and over again that He would never leave; He would never forsake me. He was enough; He is enough.

Nancy: And yet the journey wasn’t over because there were a lot more days to come with now two little children, one of them with serious physical needs. Again, I hate to cut us off here—we’re going to come back to see how God, over the next season, began to redeem that journey. What Satan had intended for evil, how the Lord ultimately intended it for good.

But Kim, as I’ve read your story and heard you share it, the thing that I keep hearing you say is that God really is enough, and that His Word is what has sustained your heart. His promises, His truth, that is what has sustained your heart through some very, very dark nights.

It didn’t keep you from going through the dark nights. It didn’t keep you from having the hardship and the pain. In many senses, your life before you became a Christian was better—it certainly didn’t have all the heartache and hardship. But you have found His presence, and His grace, and His promises to be there, to be real, to be true, and to be what you have needed as you’ve walked through this journey.

As we’re going to hear when we come back the next time on Revive Our Hearts, God had plans for your life. God wanted to bless your life. He wanted to make you fruitful. He wanted to encourage and strengthen you, and He wanted to use your life and what you had been through to be a means of blessing and ministry to other people who are going through hard times.

So those desperately dark and painful and difficult times have, in fact, become a stepping stone to greater fruitfulness and ministry into the lives of hurting, aching hearts, and particularly single moms.

We want to talk more about that when we come back on the next Revive Our Hearts with Kim Jaggers.

Leslie: Kim’s been talking with Nancy Leigh DeMoss in a series called, What to Do When Life Falls Apart. If you have any questions or comments for Kim Jaggers, I hope you’ll visit the Revive Our Hearts listener blog. Kim will be a guest there through Thursday, ready to interact with you. To be part of that online discussion with Kim Jaggers, visit ReviveOurHearts.com, click on today’s program, and scroll to the end of today’s transcript.

While you’re at ReviveOurHearts.com, you can get a copy of the CD Nancy’s been talking about this month. She’s here to tell you about the effect this CD is having.

Nancy: A dear friend of mine had heard me talk about Hidden In My Heart, as you may have over the last few weeks, but she figured that since it was a lullaby CD, she wasn’t interested. Once she finally heard these songs for herself, she says, “I was blown away.”

She wrote and said to me, “Immediately, my heart was quickened to worship. I know it probably sounds a little unbelievable, but I haven’t been able to listen to anything else since then. This CD so ministers to my heart, I play it from early in the morning until time for bed.”

Song from CD:

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

Nancy: She went on to tell me that because she and her husband have really different musical tastes, she wasn’t quite sure what he would think about this lullaby CD playing in the house, but she says, “He loves Hidden In My Heart as well.” And she said that’s because of the Scripture passages that have been set to such beautiful musical arrangements and lead the listener to worship in reverence and awe before the Lord.

Well, we’d like to send you a copy of this CD that is bringing peace to so many hearts. So when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any amount, we’ll send you Hidden In My Heart.

Now, let me just express that your gift at this time is very important to us. We could not be coming to you by means of this broadcast each week day if it weren’t for listeners who support this ministry financially. May 31, just a week from now, marks the end of our fiscal year when we re-evaluate our budget for the coming year. So this month we’re asking God to provide the funds needed to wrap up our Spanish language broadcast, which is just in its embryonic stages, and also to meet the continuing expenses of our English language broadcast as we head into the summer months where giving can be down.

That’s why we’re asking God to provide at least $350,000 during the month of May.

Now, if you’ve benefitted from the ministry of Revive Our Hearts but you’ve never invested back into the ministry, we especially want to hear from you. We’ve been sharing during this month about a special matching challenge of $60,000 where some friends have offered to match the gift of every new supporter.

We’re hoping that by the time this broadcast airs, that challenge will have been met, but we still need your help of meeting the overall goal of $350,000 or more during the month of May.

When you contact us, be sure to ask for the CD, Hidden In My Heart. I’m confident that it’s going to minister to you in a really sweet way as it has to so many others of my friends.

Leslie: How do you hold things together when your husband has committed suicide, and your child needs medical care? Kim Jaggers will be back to explain tomorrow. Please be back for 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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