Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth’s love for Christ and His Word is infectious. Though Nancy and I haven’t met in person, we share a passion to see women experience the life-giving reality and grace of Christ and to be deeply satisfied with His steadfast love. I am struck by her frequent reminders that we can rest in His Providence, confident that . . .He is good. He is faithful. And He can be trusted to write our story. It’s a grace to welcome Nancy to the farm’s front porch today…
Sometimes it seems that the shards of broken marriages are washing up all around us.
But then we encounter someone like Lorna Wilkinson,whose story reminds us that the grace and power of God really can restore broken lives and homes.
I met Lorna at a Houston, Texas, church where I was speaking.
At the close of a gathering she stood and asked if she could share a brief testimony. For the next several minutes, we all sat spellbound, listening to her amazing story of grace and redemption.
Lorna and her husband, Pascal, were married for twenty-one years, and for many of those years, Pascal had been a good husband and father.
But eventually, Pascal’s alcohol abuse ravaged their home.
For nine years Lorna lived with broken promises, lying, and the financial chaos caused by Pascal’s obsessive drinking and chronic irresponsibility.
“I couldn’t trust my husband anymore,” Lorna recalled.
“He would drop me off at work and then forget to pick me up. Sometimes I would be left there for hours, finally having to rent a hotel room close by. It was a very difficult situation. I endured to the point that I finally said, ‘I can’t take this anymore. I have to get out.’”
Lorna filed for divorce and asked her husband to leave. It was all she knew to do. Needing her own transportation, she purchased a used vehicle from a friend.
The night she picked up the vehicle, the radio was tuned to a Christian station. She never listened to Christian radio, so she reached over to change the station.
But as she did, “a conviction” came over her, and she could not touch the dial. So she listened . . . all the way home.
The radio was still on the next morning as Lorna drove to work, and this time Revive Our Hearts was playing. In God’s Providence, my message that day was on forgiveness. I spoke of the fact that true love doesn’t keep score (see 1 Cor. 13:5).
As Lorna listened, she remembers, she “was completely broken.”
After the program ended, the words she had heard continued to go around and around in her mind. She couldn’t stop thinking about them.
A couple of days later, while driving home from work, Lorna gave her life to Jesus.
Having received Christ’s forgiveness, she knew she needed to forgive her husband. But it wasn’t easy to release all the pain he had caused her and her children.
“I despised Pascal. I didn’t want him to touch me. I wanted no part of that relationship.
So I prayed, ‘God, you know my heart. And you know my feelings toward my husband. I do not like him. I do not love him. But I know that You are love. And I’m asking you to let Your love flow through me.’”
A few days later, she received a call from Pascal telling her he was very sick. Still frustrated and angry, she said, “Why are you calling me? Why don’t you call 911?”
He must have done so, because the next thing she heard he was in the hospital.
He had had a heart attack.
The family gathered in the waiting room, unsure whether he would survive.
At that point God began to soften Lorna’s heart. She felt Him prompting her, Go and whisper in your husband’s ear that he doesn’t need to worry about a place to live, that he can come back home.
Hard as it was, she obeyed.
Carefully navigating all the machines and the tubes that were attached to him, she made her way to his side and whispered in his ear, “I want you to come home, honey. I love you. We will work it out.”
Pascal recovered and did return home. A few days later, as he was sitting on the couch in the living room, Lorna went and knelt in front of him.
“You know, honey,” she said, “there have been so many hurtful things that have happened in our lives over the past years that I have lost trust in you. But I want you to know that I forgive you.”
Soon after that day, in response to the grace he had received from Lorna, Pascal surrendered his life to Christ.
The transformation that followed was dramatic — nothing short of miraculous.
Pascal immediately, remarkably, lost his urge to drink, and “total restoration, total recovery” came to their home. Lorna recalls that “we started having family meetings, prayer meetings. There were flowers, postcards, and quiet candlelight suppers . . . a host of things that many people never experience in a marriage.”
Four months later, at about four o’clock on a Tuesday morning, Pascal woke Lorna up. “Lorna,” he said tenderly, “a man should love his wife with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his mind, as God has loved us. I want to tell you at this moment that I love you that way.”
Those were the last words Lorna ever heard from her husband.
A few hours later, while she was at work, he had another massive heart attack and went to be with the Lord. And though she still misses him, she thanks the Lord every day for His grace in her life and in her marriage.
She says, “I don’t know where I would be today without it. My husband probably would have died some place, and there would have been no forgiveness. The children would not have known what it was to have the love and leadership of a husband and father in the home. They experienced this in such a profound manner that today we can rejoice as a family and remember the wonderful times the Lord gave us for those four months.”
God created marriage to tell the Story of His amazing grace and covenant love.
Not surprisingly, the enemy works hard to keep that from happening.
But the Holy Spirit is able to infuse hope, help, and grace into the life of any person who is willing to let Him write (or rewrite) the story of his or her marriage.
Of course, no amount of effort, prayer, or faith can guarantee that a marriage will be miraculously restored.
One spouse cannot control the choices of another.
But God’s love and mercy hold firm and steady regardless of the outcome.
Your story may not include an alcoholic husband (or a husband at all). Yet, for all of us, there are parts of our stories we desperately wish were different.
Lorna’s story reminds us that God is always at work in and around us, redeeming and making all things new.
You can’t see the end of the story — yet. At the moment, you’re in the middle of a paragraph, in the middle of a page, in the middle of a chapter, in the middle of a whole book.
You can trust God not just for the paragraph you’re in, but for every paragraph and chapter to come.
And what’s more, not only can you trust God to write your story; you can be sure that, in the end, He will right your story!
Every sin or injustice committed against you, every sinful or foolish choice you made, everything you feared would permanently mark your life, all that was confusing and convoluted and corrupt . . . one day it will all be made right.
In the light of that promise, we can pray, in the words of Scotty Smith:
Grant us fresh grace to wait upon you
For the future and hope to which you have called us . . .
Turn our whines into worship
Our daily carping into carpe diem,
And our frets into faith.
Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love for Christ and His Word permeates her online outreaches, conference messages, books, and two daily nationally syndicated radio programs—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him.
In their first book together, Nancy and her husband Robert share biblical and modern-day stories of God’s Providence at work, including their own story of finding love and marrying—the first time for Nancy at age fifty-seven and the second time for Robert, a widower. You Can Trust God To Write Your Story will inspire you to face the unexpected, even painful, twists and turns of life with confidence in His faithfulness, goodness, and love.
[ Our humble thanks to Moody for their partnership in today’s devotion ]