Focus on the Family Broadcast

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email

Discovering God’s Freedom From Pornography (Part 2 of 2)

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email

Discovering God’s Freedom From Pornography (Part 2 of 2)

In this Best of 2019 broadcast, Nick Stumbo and his wife, Michelle, describe how their marriage has been restored after he found freedom from a long-time addiction to pornography and the overwhelming guilt and shame that accompanied it. They offer encouragement and hope to troubled couples who are struggling with the impact of pornography and infidelity on their marriage. (Part 2 of 2)

Original Air Date: February 28, 2019

Today's Guests

Episode Summary

In this Best of 2019 broadcast, Nick Stumbo and his wife, Michelle, describe how their marriage has been restored after he found freedom from a long-time addiction to pornography and the overwhelming guilt and shame that accompanied it. They offer encouragement and hope to troubled couples who are struggling with the impact of pornography and infidelity on their marriage. (Part 2 of 2)

Original Air Date: February 28, 2019

Episode Transcript

Teaser:

Nick Stumbo: In my life every time, and I think this is common for Christian men, every time was going to be the last time. Never again. I don’t need it. I don’t want it. And yet, there are systems being established in your brain and in your thinking, um, and how you’re dealing with life that just continue to take you back.

End of Teaser

John Fuller: That’s Nick Stumbo describing his nearly 17 year addiction to pornography. Nick grew up in a loving Christian home. He was a third generation pastor. He was happily married. But he couldn’t overcome this ongoing sin.

Today we’re featuring part two of a Best of 2019 Focus on the Family broadcast. And obviously, this is a topic that’s not suitable for younger listeners.

Your host is Focus president and author, Jim Daly. And I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, it is so good that we’re returning to these “Best of” broadcasts again at the end of the year, which is our tradition.

So many of our listeners connected with these programs and I’d encourage you to check out the entire collection for the month.

For example, we have a great conversation with Dr. Kathy Koch about how you can help your kids reflect God’s character. And Milan and Kay Yerkovich provided some great insights on how to manage stress in your marriage.

Plus, there’s an inspiring pro-life message from Emily Colson, the daughter of the late Chuck Colson.

Really good stuff. And you can learn more about our Best of 2019 collection at the website.

John: We do have a lot of details there about these superb programs and all the great responses that push them to the top of the list.

And we do have this powerful story, as well, from Nick Stumbo and his wife, Michelle. The conversation is based on a book that Nick wrote called Setting Us Free: An Unexpected Journey of Grace.

Jim: Now, if this topic of pornography is making you uncomfortable, or brings up some painful issues for you, we want you to know that Focus on the Family is here to help you. We have caring Christian counselors who can talk with you and pray with you and get you started on the path to healing.

And it’s all confidential. There’s no shame or risk in contacting us.

Our goal today is to simply help you get better so you can experience a stronger, healthier marriage, and walk with integrity in your relationship with Jesus Christ.

So, please, contact us today if you need that kind of assistance.

John: Yeah. As Jim has said, we’re here to help and you can schedule a time with one of our counselors or get a copy of Nick Stumbo’s book, Setting Us Free, when you call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. Or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Here now, part two of our Best of Focus on the Family broadcast with Nick and Michelle Stumbo.

Jim: Um, man, some difficult stuff, but, uh, the one thing just watching the two of you interact, you’ve really come a long way, you can tell. Your love and affection for each other, even through difficulty. Which I find the greatest point of hope for couples who are struggling with this. It’s natural. It’s, I think, reasonable to want to say, “I’m done,” whether you’re the wife…

Michelle Stumbo: Uh-hm.

Jim: …That has suffered through an addiction by her husband or vice versa. It just seems like the easy way out. But I’m telling you most couples that I have met that have fought through this battle have great intimacy emotionally, certainly physically, and spiritually. There’s something about fighting for your marriage in this way that there must be a sense of honesty that you both possess that really builds a better foundation than what you first had.

Nick: Yeah. Well, and it forces you to face all of your deepest issues, uh, as individuals and as a couple. And if you face them and work through them rather than run from them, uh, God does produce something even more wonderful. And we definitely refer to our marriage as before and after. You know, the 10 years before this process and the 8 years after. They’re so different. It is like night and day. It’s…

Michelle: Uh-hm.

Nick: It’s the before and after.

Jim: Probably two different episodes…

Nick: It really is.

Jim: …At least, if not two different types of marriages, right?

Nick: Yeah.

Jim: One that’s built on falsehood, the other built on truth.

Michelle: Uh-hm.

Jim: And that’s a good thing. Nick, let me kick it off. In the book, you mentioned something about the gift of pain. That you believe this ended up being a real positive thing the way you’re describing it. But you called it the gift of pain from God. Now, we…

Nick: Yeah.

Jim: …Westerners aren’t used to putting it in that context.

Nick: Yeah, it was, uh, in 2010. So, we’d been married for 10 years at that point. And in my pattern of confession to her, which was happening, you know, once or twice a year, where I’d get up the courage and feel guilty enough I would kind of share that things were still happening. And I would always excuse or minimize my behavior to say, “It’s not about you. You know, this has been in my life long before I met you, so it’s not a reaction to your beauty or lack of sex. Things are great there.” And so, I would say to her – to say, “If you only understood, you wouldn’t be angry or upset because it’s not about you.”

Jim: Hm.

Nick: And the gift of pain was in this time in 2010 when I had relapsed, as I imagined myself needing to tell her, yet again, that I’d crossed those lines. The pain I was feeling wasn’t my pain. It wasn’t like, man, she’s gonna be mad. I have to go through this again. I think it was for the first time, I could see in advance the pain it was going to cause her.

Um, and it was heartbreaking to realize I would do this to someone I care about so much. And I could feel the way it was gonna make her feel because we’d been through this enough times that I – I could hear the words she was gonna say. And I was feeling her pain. And I think that’s what really opened my eyes to say, “This is, uh, a major issue that I have to address. I can’t just keep excusing it to say, oh, it’s getting better, I’m working on it. Like, if I’m causing someone I love this much pain, I’ve got to be willing to do whatever it takes to stop it.”

Jim: What year was this in your marriage?

Nick: It was year 10.

Jim: So, this is year 10. I mean, think of that battle. And this is when you first become empathetic to Michelle’s heart.

Nick: Yeah.

Jim: Um, some people’ll go, “Wow, are you dense? What happened there?”

Nick: Well, addiction dials down the empathy.

Jim: But I appreciate the fact that you got there.

Nick: Yeah.

Jim: Let’s look at the positive side…

Nick: Yeah.

Jim: …Of it. But answer both of those kind of emotional responses.

Nick: Yeah. You know, really, when we’re involved in any behavior, again, whether it’s pornography or a food addiction or drug, it’s actually a way of kind of numbing our emotions. And you can’t dial down one emotion in your life. So, if – if you’re feeling lots of shame and rejection and fear, and so you’re acting out to kind of numb those emotions, then you’re also dialing down the emotions – the healthy ones that you need for a good marriage. And so, I think what I was seeing in my life is what we see for so many men and women that struggle in this area is they don’t have much empathy. And, again, that’s why I think of it as such a gift from God because somehow, by his Holy Spirit, that night in 2010, He just – He broke through. And I – I felt things I had never felt before.

Jim: Yeah.

Nick: That – someone listening might think, well, why didn’t you feel that every time? And I would say, “I – I don’t know. I wish I had.”

Jim: Yeah, that’s interesting.

Nick: Because we probably could have, um, launched onto this journey of healing a lot sooner.

Jim: Well, and, Michelle, you know, turning it to you, you got tears in your eyes. (Laughter) You’re welling up. That’s a good thing. It’s OK because, you know, a lot of women are in your corner reliving this, thinking what was going on? Why were you putting up with this? What – you know, what was happening for you emotionally?

Michelle: I love this man, and he is a great dad, and he’s an amazing pastor. And I just didn’t know why God wasn’t freeing him from this struggle. You know, that was my prayer. Like, “God, we’re both wanting out of this. Like, why aren’t you helping him? He’s doing everything we know what to do.”

Nick: Well, and at this point, you had had enough.

Michelle: And at 10, yeah – so at this point, he had called me. And I think for every woman, there’s a breaking point. Like, you –  you know, try to fix him. You try to get counseling or whatever. You try to make it work. But then there’s, like, this breaking point of this is gonna be my forever. Am I OK with that or not? And then you either stay, or you leave. Like, there’s, like, this heart connection that just kind of breaks, I guess.

Jim: What – let me ask you – because, again, I so appreciate your transparency. It’s – it’s refreshing. It’s so healthy. But what did it feel like, I mean, to know that Nick was, you know, coming back to you a couple of times a year saying, you know, I blew it, I looked at things, I saw things – however that was expressed?

Michelle: Yeah.

Jim: I mean, as a…

Michelle: It was…

Jim: I mean, as a woman, what did it feel like?

Michelle: It felt like, um – like knife cuts. Like, where, you know, he, like, hurt you. And, like, you’re bleeding out. And, like, then they’d heal. And there – but there was a scar left. But there – that was just over and over and over. And there wasn’t much life left at the end of 10 years to give back, to keep working. So, my – I’d kind of decided like, OK, I’m gonna figure out how to move to where my parents were, live with them. And…

Jim: So, you began…

Michelle: …So that was…

Jim: …To think of your escape plan.

Michelle: …Starting to think…

Nick: Yeah.

Michelle: Yeah. And then I was like, well, that’s not fair to the kids. I can’t, you know, take their dad away from them. So, when the kids are gone, I’m out (laughter).

Nick: Well, and I know every time I’d confess you would tell me that it made you feel like you weren’t good enough, like you had to compare to these images.

Michelle: Right.

Nick: And even though I would say it’s not about you…

Michelle: Right.

Nick: …That wasn’t your reality.

Jim: Well, and that was…

Michelle: It wasn’t my reality, yes.

Jim: …The point there because that was the feeling question I had. Because even though Nick may have been saying that…

Michelle: Right.

Jim: …You had to feel…

Michelle: Oh, yeah, I felt…

Jim: …Fill in the blank.

Michelle: …Not enough.

Jim: Inadequate.

Michelle: Yeah.

Jim: Not enough.

Michelle: Why am I not enough? I don’t understand why I’m not enough. Because it – from him, it was separate. For me, it wasn’t. Because for – I think for a woman, in order to do the acts that men do to their wives, we would have to hate them to do those things. But for men, it’s – it’s so separate. It’s not…

Jim: We compartmentalize.

Nick: We compartmentalize. Yeah.

Michelle: It’s not – because there’s – and it – they almost – it’s not even about you. But for us, it’s like, how could it not be about me?

Because I remember sitting in churches where speakers would come up and say, “Oh, I’m freed.” And I’m sitting there thinking, well, why aren’t we freed? We’re doing all those things, too (laughter).

Jim: Right.

Nick: Well…

Michelle: You know, like…

Jim: It’s a fair question.

Michelle: …So…

Nick: And the important thing is that our journey of freedom wasn’t just about how to stop the behavior. That’s what we realized in our…

Michelle: Right.

Nick: …Our yearlong healing process that, you know, continued beyond the year – that it wasn’t about changing the behavior, it was about changing the way you do life. And when you do that, you start to get into – you know, for me, what are these core issues that are driving me? How am I dealing with shame? What do I believe about God and myself? The way that opened up conversations in our marriage, not just about pornography or sex, but about what did we believe about ourselves, what did we learn from our families of origin, what were the wounds that we were bringing in that – that I’m treating you in a way because of how my dad treated me – and we don’t even see that we’re doing it. And then all of a sudden, it’s like our eyes are opened to how all of these things contribute. So, I say in our – our healing journey that we had conversations we’d never had before, not that we didn’t want to. We just didn’t even know how to have them.

Michelle: Uh-hm.

Nick: And it connected us emotionally, spiritually, sexually as a couple in ways I don’t know how else we would have gotten there. So, we do look back and say we’re so grateful for that pain and that journey because of what it brought us to.

Jim: Yeah. In the book, you talk about the two Nicks. I think you describe it that way and – and the sinful Nick and the good Nick – you know, the one that wants to pursue the Lord and be holy and live a life that’s pleasing to Him.

Nick: Yeah.

Jim: Um, what was God speaking to your heart in that moment about the two Nicks?

Nick: Yeah.

Jim: I mean, I think every man knows exactly what you’re talking about.

Nick: Yeah, I think we – I call it the public me and the private me. It’s like the me I want you to see and that I believe I am. And the private me is where I’m dealing with sin and brokenness and stuff I don’t like. Um, and the real danger, uh, in what I discovered is we can convince ourselves that the public me is the real me. That that’s the best version of us, that if we could just get rid of all this other junk, we could be that.

Jim: In fact, you asked God to destroy that private Nick.

Nick: Yeah, because it feels like somehow that’s not us. But I – I remember I was – I was out running and just feeling so broken by it and asked God to take it away. And it was one of those few moments in my life I just really clearly felt I heard His voice, not, you know, audibly, but just that whisper in my soul of saying, “But that’s the Nick I died for.”

And to know that He loved me and that part of myself. And to become open to the idea that maybe that broken, struggling part of my life was actually more authentically me than anything I was publicly presenting as this cleaned up persona, was really an eye-opening part of this journey. And that is, as I look back to see how God worked through that, that all of that brokenness was actually revealing, um, where God’s design had been corrupted. And as He was able to bring in His truth in an experiential way and rewrite some of that faulty thinking, it really brought me alive. And what I feel happened – it begins to destroy that public me-private me divide. We don’t…

Jim: Yeah, I like that.

Nick: We don’t need to have both.

Jim: Yeah.

Nick: We need to be able to just be in public who we are in private and not fear that – that we’ll be rejected for it. We just need to be vulnerable and humble and allow God to keep transforming us from the inside out.

John: Hm. This is Focus on the Family with Jim Daly. And, uh, our guests today are Nick and Michelle Stumbo. And as we’re talking about this topic, if it’s resonating with you, um, if sin has a hold of you and you just don’t know where to turn, um, shine some light on it. Make a phone call. Uh, talk to us here at Focus. We have caring Christian counselors. And our number is 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. You can also find help and resources, including Nick’s book Setting Us Free: An Unexpected Journey Of Grace at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

You’re describing a tension point. You’ve been touching on this for some time now in our conversation today. There’s Paul in Romans talking about, “You know, I’m a sinful man. I do the things that I don’t want to do. And I can’t quite straighten it all out.” Did you identify with Paul’s writing as you struggled, as you confessed, as you came back to that sin? What relationship did you have with that passage of Scripture?

Nick: Oh, yeah, absolutely. I think Romans 7 describes the plight of anyone battling some sort of besetting sin. It’s like, it’s there, and the harder I try it seems like the more it comes back. You know, and then declaring with him the victory of who will set me free, thanks be to Jesus Christ, our Lord, who leads us in victory. And that hope of one day, I’ll really be able to say those words with conviction. Because one day, I’ll be free. One day, there will be victory. But right now, I’m stuck in the why do I do what I don’t want to do?

John: Uh-hm.

Nick: Um, and, in fact, that was part of when we shared our story with our congregation – um, referencing that passage to say, “I feel like I’ve lived this passage for a number of years, even as your pastor” and asked for their forgiveness. Asked for their help in starting groups for men and women that struggled. And tried to create an environment to say this is the human predicament, not just for a few of us – that couldn’t we all look at our lives somewhere and say, “In spite of my best intentions, I do the things I don’t want to do.” And it opens our eyes to see this isn’t about just pornography or sexual sin, but really where do we, as humans, get off the mark? And what does recovery and healing look like?

Jim: Hey, let’s get to the bow of the story because it’s so beautiful. 10 years – we’ve gotten to that point – all the angst – and I appreciate, again, your vulnerability to share that. Let’s talk about how the Lord tied this together when you did make that final decision to say, “It’s done.” Both of your reactions, the role that Pure Desire Ministries played in that regard, the one you now lead and took over from, I think, the founder.

Nick: Yeah.

Jim: Um, just describe that for us and the fact that you’re in a much better place now. You’re helping hundreds if not thousands of people with this, uh, sexual addiction problem. Tell us what happened.

Nick: Yeah. Admittedly, I still was so minimizing. I didn’t think I needed it. But Michelle heard those same words of invitation to get help, and she knew we did. And so, I took this intermediate step to go meet with a counselor friend in our district, um, who asked me, really, three life-changing questions. Because I said, “I don’t think I need – I just need a little bit of tips how to avoid pornography.” But he said, “Nick, let’s think about this. Number one, how long has this been in your life?”

Jim: Wow.

Nick: So, by that time, it had been over 15 years.

Jim: Yeah.

Nick: He said, “OK, number two, how many times have you tried to stop?” And I actually chuckled because I said, “Well, every time’s been the last time. So, I’ve tried to stop literally hundreds, if not thousands, of times.”

Jim: Right.

Nick: And he said, “OK. And is it causing you or people you care about significant amounts of pain?” And I said, “Well, yeah, I believe if I don’t change my wife will leave me.” And he said, “Well, put that together, Nick. It’s been a problem for a while. You’ve tried repeatedly to stop and can’t, even though it’s causing you or people you love pain.” I said, “Yeah, that’s pretty good description.” (Laughter) He said, “Nick, that’s a clinical definition of addiction.”

And I remember I sat back in my chair like he’d sucker punched me because I was a pastor. And I…

Jim: This was the first time it came together for you.

Nick: I truly loved the Lord with my whole – I mean, as much as I knew how to love Him – with my whole heart. And the idea that I could simultaneously be that and be an addict was as foreign to me as, you know, the German language would be if I tried to speak that. Like, that language was so bizarre. But when I allowed that to sink in, the openness of maybe this is why I can’t just stop it on my own, um, and gave me the willingness to go down and meet with Ted and Diane Roberts. And we got to go together, which I think was so important, that – that from the get-go, they worked with us as a couple, um, so we could deal with her – my wife’s pain and sense of betrayal and the lack of trust and then also the behaviors in my life. Um, and we met with Ted and Diane Roberts and started to go through the counseling process. And probably the most significant thing they required of us was to be in a group, um, which I also did not want to do because I already had Saturday night services, and elder meeting with a small group. And who needs one more nightly commitment a week. But, uh, Dr. Ted said to me, “If you don’t do this, you won’t change.”

Jim: Wow.

Nick: Because he saw the central role community has to play in recovery. So, I went to a group. Um, I didn’t like it at first. But, um, I found about eight or 10 weeks in, as we’re going every week, that one night as I was driving up – I’ll just tell this one part of the story, and then Michelle can kind of share hers. Uh, I was driving up to my group, and I realized I had been looking forward to it all week. I thought this is so bizarre. I’m going to a place where people know the very worst things about me. I’ve told them things I’ve never told anybody else, and I can’t wait to get there. What is going on? And, again, it was one of those moments I heard the voice of the Lord just whisper to my soul. And he said, “Nick, it’s the only place in your life you feel real.”

Jim: Hm.

Nick: And I realized that was it, that everywhere else I was so involved in that public me that I felt like if people knew they’d reject me. But in that group, they knew the private me like no one else ever did. And I was a part of that group. I was loved and accepted. And it was that group that really, along with the counseling, created such transformation where I know didn’t have to posture or pretend anymore for love. And when you experience that from other people, that’s where I think I most deeply experienced the love of God.

Jim: Yeah.

Nick: That I’ve been a pastor for 10 years – and I knew knowledge-wise, head-wise all about the love of God. I could preach about it. But I don’t know that I’d ever really experienced it…

Jim: Yeah.

Nick: …Because of that voice of shame that said people would reject you. When I experienced the love from those other men, that’s where the love of God became real.

Jim: Yeah.

Nick: And so, from then, marriage and ministry became ministering out of the love of God rather than ministering in the hope that I might achieve the love of God. And that was a night-and-day change for me so…

Jim: Well, and that’s the common phrase about being known. And that is – that is the Christian life, that God loves you even though he knows you. And I think it’s hard for us to believe that he truly knows us. We try to hide those places…

Nick: Yeah.

Jim: …Thinking that the Creator doesn’t know us.

Nick: Yeah.

Jim: I mean, it’s kind of idiotic to…

Nick: Or we know he knows. We just think he has a very disapproving opinion of most of our life.

Jim: Correct – even worse – he’s got the club. All right, Michelle, so your best day.

Michelle: So (laughs) my best day – well, that was one of them, when Pure Desire came and they were up there telling about this program, I was bawling. My eyes were, like, big as a saucers. Like, this is it! Lord has answered my prayer today. Like, this is it.

Nick: There’s hope.

Michelle: This is what’s going to save our – my marriage. And then I look over. And he looks over at me. And I’m just, you know, crying. And to hear him not – like, not realize that he was going to be all in…

Jim: (Laughter) Right!

Michelle: …Was still kind, like, of surprising. Like, “Why would you be running up there and, like, ‘pick me?’” That was a big important day. And then meeting with Ted and Diane was wonderful. I didn’t want to go to a women’s group, though. I had little kids at home. And…

Jim: You were both busy.

Michelle: I was thinking…

Jim: It’s so funny to hear you guys both talk like that.

Michelle: “…Why do I need a group? This is his problem…”

Jim: Yeah.

Michelle: …You know? But then going through – it’s called Betrayal and Beyond women’s groups – and seeing all the other women there. All Christian women whose husbands struggle with this. Or some husbands have left, but they’re there working on, you know, their stuff. And to hear all their stories – and all our stories are so different, but it all – we all feel the same pain. We all feel the similar…

Jim: Same material, same cloth…

Michelle: …Realities.

Jim: …But different stitch.

Michelle: Yeah.

Jim: Yeah.

Michelle: It was just like, whoa. And just to see all of us feel so, like, not enough.

Jim: Yeah.

Michelle: And I think that’s just the way that Satan gets to us – is, like, you’re not enough.

Jim: Yeah.

Michelle: But we are.

Jim: You know, it’s impressive the way you highlight community and the importance of being vulnerable in a group where you can be real. I mean, that came through loud and clear the last few minutes and how few people actually experience that today in modern community. I mean, it’s just so fast. Everybody’s busy. “How are you?” “I’m great. How are you?”

Michelle: Yeah.

Nick: And the nature of sexual sin – it isolates us.

Jim: Yeah..

Nick: And so, when we try to fix it in isolation, that doesn’t work. And we want to be better and not have anyone know about it. But the pathway to being better is having other people know about it and be part of that journey with us.

Jim: Yeah. Talk to the length of time to get counseling, to work on these things intentionally. What was that period of time like? How long was it with counseling and help?

Nick: Yeah. Initially, what I would kind of call the intense change process was about a year long of the counseling and being in groups. But the healing continues. You know, the second time of going through the group material, where I got to lead it in my church and help other men, I was still learning so much about myself because, really, that first year, in some ways, is like triage, where we’re stopping…

Michelle: It’s true.

Nick: …The bleeding and the pain and figuring out how to arrest the behavior. You know, the behavior in my life actually changed very quickly. But the underlying issues – those things don’t change overnight. And so, it was a full two to three years of working through performance and shame and guilt that occurred. And that’s what we really try to encourage people to see – is this change isn’t something you can do in a five-week study or read a good book, and you’ll be OK. And it’s funny to say that as the author of a book. But (LAUGHTER) to really take the long view to see – if these are issues that developed in my life over years and maybe decades, it may take a year or two of intentional work to unravel what’s gone on.

Jim: Yeah. I mean – and I think that’s pretty fast-paced.

Michelle: And it’ll take the wife about two to five years to rebuild that trust. And…

Jim: Yeah.

Michelle: …Work on it.

Jim: Boy, that’s encouraging and discouraging.

Michelle: Yeah.

Jim: But it’s true.

Michelle: And I had to actually go out through book one twice because the first time, I was pretty numb.

Jim: Yeah.

Michelle: Like, I just wasn’t – I didn’t have much feeling. I think that’s how I coped with our struggle…

Jim: Right.

Michelle: …Is I just numbed out to it all.

Jim: Yeah. And that, again, is reasonable. So that’s a process for the victim – in this case, the spouse….

Michelle: Yeah.

Jim: …Who’s experienced that. So … Boy, this has been so good. I hope you, the listener – you have appreciated what Nick and Michelle have done here. They have laid their life out to maybe 2, 3 million people through Focus on the Family. And that takes great courage. And I so appreciate it. And I’m telling you, John, our phone should be ringing off the hook for people who want to get counseling help. And I hope you’ll do that. You’re not going to shock us or surprise us. This is us. This is humanity. This is what God is believing in us, that we can do better, live for him in authentic ways. And I appreciate your model. I really do. Nick, I can’t imagine the pressure you must have felt being the pastor, facing very straightforwardly this issue. And that takes incredible courage. And Michelle, I’ll give you credit. It takes more courage to be his wife, to be blunt…

Michelle: Yeah.

Jim: …And to suffer through that for 10 years.

Nick: She’s the real hero.

Jim: Yeah. And I – you know, I applaud you. And I would really – to the best of my ability – to encourage a wife particularly to fight for her marriage, not to give up…

Michelle: Right – right.

Jim: …That God is honored in fighting for it. And, you know, try to make the right moves.

Michelle: Uh-hm.

Jim: And he may be a rascal. He may have done some things that really hurt.

Michelle: Uh-hm.

Jim: But get on that journey of healing. And man, I think when you go through that, you are a powerful couple for Christ because there’s no hidden nothing.

Nick: Yup. The enemy wins when we’re alone. But when we start to tell our story – and that’s why we do this. We tell our story because we know that if it brings other people out of hiding…

Michelle: Right.

Nick: …That the Lord can begin to win. And, you know, the enemy only can win it by subtraction, by one at a time, isolating us.

Jim: Right.

Nick: The Lord wins by multiplying healing.

Jim: That’s good.

Nick: And so, the victory can come a lot faster.

John: Mm.

Jim: Yeah.

Michelle: And I was thinking about the second – my second favorite part was when he disclosed to our church because it was all – I didn’t have to carry that burden alone anymore.

Jim: I bet it was an exhale for you.

Nick: A big sigh.

Michelle: …To be like Galatians 6…

Jim: Yeah.

Michelle: …Where we carry each other’s burdens together. So…

Jim: Well, isn’t that the way to do it? Thank you so much for being with us. Thank you so much.

Michelle: You’re welcome.

Nick: Yeah, absolutely.

John: A great two-day conversation with Nick and Michelle Stumbo on this Best of 2019 broadcast of Focus on the Family.

And it’s our hope and prayer that you’ll take Nick’s words to heart and seek out help if you need it. It may be that you lived with a quiet, private struggle that you just cannot imagine telling anyone about. But you can tell one of our counselors. Contact us and start that journey into the light.

Our number is 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. 800.232.6459.

Jim: And John, we also want people to contact us about getting a copy of Nick’s book, Setting Us Free: An Unexpected Journey Of Grace. It’s a powerful story and a great resource to have in your library. Or maybe for someone you know who is struggling with this issue.

And I hope you’ll reach out to Focus on the Family here at the end of the year. We really need to hear from you. Your prayers and financial support mean so much to us. And when you “Share the Gift Of Family” you literally provide the fuel we need to help the hundreds of thousands of married couples and parents and single adults who will contact us in this coming year.

This month is critical because we have a matching gift opportunity for you. So, anything you’re able to give will be doubled, and that means more marriages rescued, more parents equipped, more preborn babies saved. All because of your generosity. So, please partner with Focus on the Family today.

John: We’d love to hear from you today. And you can donate at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast or by calling 800-A-FAMILY.

And when you make that generous gift of any amount, either a monthly pledge or a one-time gift, we will say thank you by sending a copy of Setting Us Free.

Coming up next time, a rather convicting message from British evangelist J.John.

Teaser:

J.John: One of the things about the Christmas season is that we can get so preoccupied with the baby Jesus that we miss it. You’ve got to move on and look at His life, and you’ve got to move from the cradle to the cross.

End of Teaser

Share:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email

Recent Episodes

Focus on the Family Broadcast

Discussing Family Values With Vice President Pence

Vice President Mike Pence discusses his family, faith, the importance of protecting religious freedoms worldwide, and the sanctity of human life. Join us for an insightful discussion about the vice president’s values and how his Christian faith guides him daily.

Focus on the Family Broadcast

How God Redeemed My Teen Pregnancy (Part 2 of 2)

Lindsay Pepin Ophus, her mother, Scarlet, and her aunt Bethany share their inspiring story of how God brought about redemption in their family when Lindsay became pregnant as a teenager. Our guests describe how God’s grace turned distress into hope when Bethany was moved to adopt her niece’s baby. (Part 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family Broadcast

How God Redeemed My Teen Pregnancy (Part 1 of 2)

Lindsay Pepin Ophus, her mother, Scarlet, and her aunt Bethany share their inspiring story of how God brought about redemption in their family when Lindsay became pregnant as a teenager. Our guests describe how God’s grace turned distress into hope when Bethany was moved to adopt her niece’s baby. (Part 1 of 2)

You May Also Like

Affair-Proof Your Marriage (Part 1 of 2)

Pastor Dave Carder offers couples practical advice for protecting their marriages from adultery in a discussion based on his book Anatomy of an Affair: How Affairs, Attractions, and Addictions Develop, and How to Guard Your Marriage Against Them. (Part 1 of 2)

Affair-Proof Your Marriage (Part 2 of 2)

Pastor Dave Carder offers couples practical advice for protecting their marriages from adultery in a discussion based on his book Anatomy of an Affair: How Affairs, Attractions, and Addictions Develop, and How to Guard Your Marriage Against Them. (Part 2 of 2)

Balancing Gender Differences in Your Marriage (Part 1 of 2)

Robert and Pamela Crosby help married couples understand and celebrate their gender differences so that they can enjoy a stronger bond and deeper intimacy. Our guests offer practical tips for improved communication, successful conflict resolution and offering affirmation to your spouse. (Part 1 of 2)