Lisa Shea: You know what? When you invite God into a situation and it seems like nothing changes, everything changes because God’s there.
John Fuller: Lisa Shea knows from experience how God can work in any situation, any marriage, and you’ll hear more in just a moment on Focus on the Family. Your host is Focus President Jim Daly, I’m John Fuller.
Jim Daly: John, last time Lisa shared very transparently about being married and divorced by the age of 23, think of that, going through a time of chronic illness and depression, and then accepting Jesus Christ as her Savior and finding healing through that. But she admits that she tended to keep God in her ‘back pocket’ – I kind of like that analogy – to be called upon only in an emergency – like when she was desperate – and after remarrying and having three children she was floundering again. Lisa and her husband Mike were barely speaking to each other, and she was desperate. A friend sent her a book by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs about the principles of Love and Respect in marriage, and even though she’d read 20 other marriage books, Lisa felt like she had to give “God’s way” a try.
Jim: And if you missed part one of Lisa’s presentation yesterday, please get in touch with us!! We can send you the entire message on CD – or audio download – or you can get the Focus on the Family broadcast app for your smartphone.
John: Yeah, that app allows you to listen on the go. And you can find those online at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast or call 800 the letter “A” and the word FAMILY, 800-232-6459.
Jim: And as we continue Lisa’s story today, you’ll hear what happened as she grudgingly started giving her husband something he desperately needed: respect.
John: Here now is Lisa Shea, speaking at Destiny Worship Center in Miramar Beach, Florida on Focus on the Family.
And we’ll roll back just a little bit to Lisa’s final thought from last time.
John: Here’s Lisa Shea, speaking at Destiny Worship Center in Miramar Beach, Florida on today’s Focus on the Family.
Lisa: And I felt like God said to me, “How are you going to teach your children to have faith in Me if you don’t have faith that I can do something in your marriage?” Uh! You know when you hear the truth and it brings you to your knees and it goes against every grain of your being, but you know that it’s the truth? I knew that was the spirit of God.
So what did I do? I grabbed three girlfriends and I said, “OK, sisters, meet in my living room. We are doing this together. There is no way I’m going through this by myself – uh-uh. (LAUGHTER) uh-uh! Lock arms, sister. If I’m going down, you’re coming with me.” (LAUGHTER) And my marriage – I was leading it and my marriage was the worst. Like, go figure. Like, who would even show up to a – who would show up to a Bible study like that? (LAUGHTER)
I have some good friends. So I decided and I determined to be obedient. I’m going to do everything to the letter that this book says I need to do. And when it doesn’t work, I can look at my kids and say, “Mommy even tried it God’s way.” (LAUGHTER) And then, on Judgment Day, I will stand before the Lord and say, “Heavenly Father, I even did it your way.” (LAUGHTER)
All right. So I was going to do it. Now, how do you do something you don’t want to do? One of the assignments – if you think about it, showing respect to another human being is simple. What makes it difficult is when that person has hurt us, we don’t trust them, we’re in fear.
And I just feel right now I need to say this – Father, I pray right now for a revelation of your perfect love. Your perfect love casts out all fear and, Father, I truly believe in my heart and our hearts that when we know your Word and we know what you’re calling us to do, that it’s fear that keeps us from stepping out in faith. Father, give us a revelation of who You are. In Jesus’ name, You are loving, merciful, kind, giving, caring, forgiving, and You will empower us to do what You’ve called us to do. In Jesus’ name, amen. All right. So I started. So one the things I had to do was say, “Hi, I’m glad you’re home.” (LAUGHTER)
How hard is that? Well, the truth is, I wasn’t glad he was home. (LAUGHTER) I wanted him to go to Guam, get a job there, send the checks, call the kids. That’s what I wanted. Glad he’s home – “I can’t do that because if I do that, I’m a hypocrite. I’ll be a hypocrite. I’m not going to be a – I refuse to be a hypocrite.” Ladies, if you feel that you’re a hypocrite for doing something that God’s calling you to do, could I just suggest that you’re actually being obedient? When you’re tired in the morning and the alarm goes off and you have to get to work, are you a hypocrite for going? No, you’re obedient, all right? (LAUGHTER)
Are you all having fun? (Laughter) All right, good. (APPLAUSE) All right.
So I’m like, “all right, we’re going to do this.” Hi, I’m glad you’re home. (mmmm) And I would go out to my garage. “God, that was the hardest thing. That was so hard, but I did it for you. I did it for you.” Do you know that we can put on respect toward our husband, boyfriend, father, brother? We put on respect toward another human being out of our reverence for Christ. It’s not whether they deserve it. Now, this doesn’t mean that we respect sin and we turn a blind eye to sin. No. And if you are in harm’s way, if you are being physically hurt in your home, get out. God wants you safe. Respect does not mean you take a beating and smile, OK? (APPLAUSE)
Respecting someone doesn’t mean you turn a blind eye to sin. It means you respectfully confront the sin. Your tone, your facial expression, your demeanor, the timing, your voice, caring, speak the truth in love because you believe in them, because they’re created in the image of God. OK. So I started doing these things. And one of the examples is tell your husband you were thinking about him and tell him that you respect him and then walk out of the room. I had to practice in the mirror, and I have – I have led hundreds of women in this over the last 10 years. You got to get in front of the mirror, ladies, and you got to go, I… (LAUGHTER) re….re… Respect – respect. I respect – respect you. Eventually, it will come out. So… (LAUGHTER)
“Hi, I was thinking about you today, and I just wanted you to know that I respect you.” Now, you would think that when you’re speaking their language that he would have jumped up from the chair, run across the room, swept me off my feet. “Lisa, my darling, you are the love of my life. I’ve been so cruel to you. (kissing noises) Forgive me.” That’s kind of what I was hoping for, but no. So I said, “I was thinking about you and I just wanted you to know I respect you.” And I turned to walk away because you don’t want to get, you know – just turn and walk away. And he said, “I bet you do.” (EXTENDED LAUGHTER)
I promise you I took karate…. in high school. In my head – don’t do this. I did not do it, but I admit – I confess to you in front of God, in my head, I did the (karate sound effects) – nope, “self-control, fruit of the spirit, self-control.” I went out to my garage. (LAUGHTER)
God, did you just see what he just said to me, and I did that for you (eu-eu-eu-eh). Can I tell you that God already knows what you’re thinking? He knows what you’re gonna say. He knows how you’re feeling. So when you have to vent, instead of taking it out on your husband, boyfriend, family, even your girlfriends, go to God. Go out to your garage. Go find a punching bag, and cry out to God. He knows it anyway. It’s not going to shock Him. There is nothing that you can say to Him or – or about how you’re feeling or about your circumstances that takes Him by surprise. He knows it anyway, so get it out to Him. But then sit back and listen. He said, “Lisa, this may not be about you right now. This may be all about him. And you don’t know what I’m doing in him. I love him just as much as I love you. Do you trust me? Do you really trust me?” Another, “oh, that was God. I have to trust Him. Oh, this is so hard.” And I continued. I did not do this perfectly. I still don’t do it perfectly. None of us do this perfectly. But I recognize that I know now “say you’re sorry, move forward, begin again.” “When you fail, get up, begin again.” So as time went on, my marriage got worse. Oh, yeah, let’s sign up for that, yeah, oh, yippee! (LAUGHTER)
So I’m typing “Dr. Emerson, October 1, 1 a.m.” It was the year 2004 – 10 years ago. “Dr. Emerson, I’m doing everything that you’re telling me to do, and nothing’s working. Things are actually getting worse. I think he has emotional problems. I am – I convinced the man has emotional problems. The light at the end of my tunnel is about to go out – hopelessness. I’m doing this God’s way, and it’s getting worse.”
Ladies, do you know that the enemy will not give up good territory without a fight? (Audience: Yes!) So guess what. If you start to do things, whether it’s in your marriage or anywhere else, whenever you step out into obedience to God and things get worse (clapping) good, keep going! You are on the right track. (applause) The enemy does not give up good territory. (APPLAUSE)
So keep going. He wants you to think it’s not working. He wants you to quit. He wants you to give up. And God’s saying, “Oh, no, girlfriend, you don’t know what I’m doing. I’ve got you. And I’ve got him or whatever situation you’re in. I’ve got them. And I’ve got you. And I’m watching.” So I continued again, moving on. All right. And then I got weary again, and I called my friend Amy. She was one of the other three girls in the living room.
Anyone have those go-to girls? You just make that call and they get it done. I’m like, “I need a hotel. It has to have an inground pool or indoor pool. My kids need to think we’re going on vacation. I can’t do this. I cannot do this.” “I’m on it. I got it. I’ll be right there” – boom – suitcases in my garage. She pulls up. I’m crying. She gets out of her van. She’s crying. She’s like, “I’m sorry.” And I’m like, “I’m sorry, too.” Again, I can laugh about it now, but if you’re there, hang on. Hang on. “I’m sorry.” “I’m sorry, too.” No. And she goes – looks at me and she’s like, “I’m not sorry about that.” I’m like, “What are you sorry for?” She’s like, “I’m sorry that I was going to help you leave.” “You are going to help me leave.” “No, I’m not helping you leave. You and I both know that God’s called you to do this. You get back in that house and you fight for your marriage.” Ladies… (APPLAUSE)
Sometimes we have to love someone enough to let them hate us for a while. She gave me the best gift. I wanted to be rescued. I wanted to be swept out of there. She gave me the truth. I’m here because she kicked my butt back into my house. OK. So I’m like, “You’re right, you’re right, you’re right.” Even though I hated her in that moment, “you’re right.” OK – all right, determined obedience. I came across a Scripture – 2 Corinthians 4:18 – that says “set your sights on what is unseen because what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
I was like, “You know what, God? This is what you’ve asked me to do. Your Holy Spirit empowers me to do it. I may not like it. But you’re calling me to do it. I don’t understand how this is going to work. I don’t – but you know what? It’s not about me. I want to be who you’ve called me to be. Even if nothing changes here, I want to honor You.
You know what? When you invite God into a situation and it seems like nothing changes, everything changes because God’s there. He changed my heart. “Well, I don’t want my heart to be changed.” If you have Jesus, if you have God’s DNA in you, you do. That is in our core, that we want to become more like Christ. We’re not going to like it. Who likes it? Nobody likes it. But that’s OK because “for the joy set before Him, Jesus endured the cross.”
There is a sacrifice. And it was like God said, “Whoo! Pft! I finally have you where I want you. You’re doing this for me, treating people the way I want you to treat them out of your reverence and your love for Me, whether they deserve it or not, whether their actions, whether they reciprocate. Trust me.” Isaiah says “your Maker is your husband. The Lord Almighty is His Name.” When my husband wasn’t being the husband I thought he should be, “God be my husband today.”
John: You’re listening to Lisa Shea on Focus on the Family….And you can get a CD or audio download of this entire presentation, so you can listen again or share with a friend, at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast-or call the Letter “A” and the word family. When you get in touch please donate generously as you can.
Let’s go ahead and return now to more from Lisa Shea.
Lisa: Some of you may be thinking, “if I do these things, I’m going to be a doormat.” No, you’re going to be a welcome mat for the power of God in your life. I promise you that. I promise you. Couple of days later, standing at the sink, my husband will tell you that he intentionally said something very mean and hurtful just to (puh!) poke me. Well, like, “that’s not very nice.” But he did. And I remember whatever it is he said really made me angry. Now, again, I am a strong woman.
So he said something. And he was fully expecting me to atomic-bomb blast him back. Bssht! And I didn’t. I bit my tongue. I took a deep breath. And I said something kind. And I went out to the garage. And I just said, Lord, I didn’t do that for him. I did it for you. But what he said really hurt me. And I turned around. And there was my husband. And with this look on his face that I never saw before. He said, “will you forgive me?” What I just did back there was horrible. And the way I’ve been treating you has been terrible. I’m so sorry. I love you, and I want this marriage to last. I’m not leaving. God moved. (LAUGHTER)
God moved. (applause) He is no respecter of persons. He wants to do something in your life, too. He does. It may not look the same, but He’s the same God. And He loves you, too. Tonight is an invitation. To step into a faith walk with Him. I’m going to tell you now in both of those situations, both of my desperate hopeless pits – when I cried out to God, He became so tangibly real to me. I would never trade those horrible moments for anything because He became tangibly real. And when we do that, it strengthens our faith. Some of you have stories from way back here. And life has happened, and you’ve forgotten. You’ve forgotten. Remember. Go back to where he rescued you. It may be 30 years. That’s OK. A day is a thousand to God, and a thousand is a day. It doesn’t matter. Just call out to Him.
There’s somebody here right now who saying, “Lord, this is not me. This isn’t for me.” Yes, it is, sweetheart. Yes, it is. It’s OK. It’s OK. God sees the pain. He’s with you. All right. So what did I do? Now, Mike and I are better. Things are good. We still have our moments. Like I said, we’re both human. Whoops, sorry – had a bad day. We’re human. But what made me be obedient besides my love for God and my remembrance of what He did for me back there and my hope that He might do something for me here? He showed me something, and I want to share this with you so that you can walk out of here tonight with practical applications. And we’ll go through this really quick.
The first one is three R’s. OK. So the first R – we need to recognize the lies that we’re believing. When I would walk into a room and Mike would say, “what’s wrong now?” I would hear “He’s hopeless. You’re pathetic. This will never change. This is bad. Your kids will be better off without him.” You need to recognize what those lies are. Second Corinthians 11:3 says, “but I’m afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.” There is a simplicity in your devotion to Christ. But we can let hurt and pain distract us. And when we’re distracted, we become deceived. So you need to recognize, what is that? “Things will never change.” Or what about, “ooh, respect – I can’t do that.” Replace is the second R. Romans 12:2 says “do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you’ll be able to test and approve what God’s will is, His good and perfect will.” We need to transform our mind. We need to recognize what the lies are that we’re believing. “Things will never change.” “Hm…That’s funny because God’s Word says, ‘with God all things are possible.’” Ephesians 3:20 says that God can do more than we can think, ask, imagine or dream. “I can’t do this.” Obviously, I said that a lot. And I acted on it by emailing Dr. Emerson and trying to leave. But Philippians 4:13 says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” God does not give you a command that He doesn’t equip you to do. (Aud: Amen!) He will help you do it. He knows you can’t do it on your own.
That’s why the Holy Spirit’s called the helper. We need help. And when we fail, we get back up. And we keep moving forward. Recognize, replace – the third one, repeat – “Faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of Christ”. Romans 10:17 – do you know the more that we speak God’s Word out loud our faith gets built up? And you’re putting the enemy on notice. So when your things start to get – if things get worse before they get better – it doesn’t happen all the time, so don’t freak out. But sometimes it does, so don’t be shocked. Be prepared. Just be prepared. Like, “oh, yeah, I saw this coming.” And as you speak the sword of the spirit, which is the Word, the only offensive weapon in the armor of God – you speak that out. You’re praising God and reminding Him of His promises, not that He needs reminding. But you’re praying for that. You’re putting the enemy on notice of who you’re believing and who you’re serving. And you are building your faith.
And do you know what happened to me the very final time I walked into that room and I heard, “What’s wrong now?” The spirit of God came back to me and said “with God all things are possible,” and “you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.” And when you have the Word of God come out instead of the negative lies, ladies, you are empowered. I want to tell you that when you’re obedient to God, yes, even in your marriage, even when you’re respecting your husband, He will elevate you to a place in your home that you used to fight for. My husband would start coming to me saying, “Hey, could I have your opinion? Could you tell me what’s going on? I’ve got a question. What do you think about this? What do you think…” – you mean, I don’t have to just stop in and say, “I think you need to do.” You know what? You don’t think you make those faces. We do. “No, I just told him very kindly, well, I really suggest that maybe you should consider…” – no, you got this look on your face. “What are you doing it that way for?” Think about it. Here’s an assignment. Go home. Think about a little discussion – a loving discussion that you had and create the mood but then don’t keep it the whole night. Do it in the mirror. And see your – look at the face that your other half sees. Ooh! You’ll be shocked. Recognize, repeat, repeat. What a shame that I could have missed God’s best because I was believing lies, because I didn’t want to let go of…pain and hurt and disappointment. Some of you have been deeply wounded by your spouse or by someone else. The blood of Jesus heals all things, all wounds.
I’d like to pray for you now.
Your name is written in His book and has been since the beginning of time. And it is no accident that you are here tonight.
So if you have never made Jesus your Lord and Savior, if you have never experienced Him in a personal way, if you’ve never committed your life to Him, I’d like to invite you to do that now. In your heart, quietly [music comes in] repeat after me. “Jesus, I’m a sinner, and I’ve made a lot of mistakes. And I’m sorry. Forgive me. I believe that you died on a cross a horrific death and rose again on the third day, all for me, just me. Come into my heart. Be the Savior of my life but also be the Lord of my life. Holy Spirit, fill me fresh with your presence. Fill me with renewed hope and joy. Fill me to overflow. Have my life.” In Jesus’ name, amen.
John: Wrapping up two days of a very forthright testimony about how God saved her marriage. That’s Lisa Shea Focus on the Family.
Jim: Wow John, I really want to thank Lisa for her honesty. It’s not easy to get up in front of a crowd and admit to some less-than-charitable thoughts and feelings ….and believe me, I know, I’m out there speaking to groups quite a bit! But we all need to remember that no one is attracted to “perfect” Christianity – we need to be “real” in talking about how we’ve struggled ourselves, so that we can share what God has done for us! It’s that, you know, that we become lesser he becomes greater.
John: Yeah, that’s a great perspective.
Jim: Well remember, if your marriage is in trouble, please “be real” and call us. We’ll have one of our caring Christian counselors call you back, they’ll hear you out, and refer you to a like-minded counselor right there in your area.
And if you feel your marriage needs an “intervention”, let me highly recommend our Hope Restored marriage intensive experience. Hope Restored offers husbands and wives the tools they need to thrive in their marriage, and 4 out of 5 couples say they’re doing great, two years later. That’s quite a success rate.
If you donate to Focus on the Family, THANK YOU! We couldn’t do ministry without you. And if you want to help marriages thrive, please join us with a regular, monthly pledge – that’s the best way to help us provide these services month after month. And when you make a pledge of any amount, we’ll send you Dr. Emerson Eggerichs’ comprehensive book called Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires, The Respect He Desperately Needs. Get a copy when you make a monthly pledge of any amount to the work of Focus on the Family. And if you can’t make that monthly commitment right now, that’s okay, just get in touch and we’ll get the book to you for a one-time gift of any amount. We want you to have this amazing resource!
John: It really is a great book so call today. 800 the letter “A” and the word Family. Or you can donate online and request the book, Love & Respect, at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.
Be sure to be back with us next time, when you’ll hear how a woman who struggled with envy and how she found freedom in Christ!