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Addiction Recovery: Our Story: Ron and Nan Deal

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
December 2, 2022 3:00 am

Addiction Recovery: Our Story: Ron and Nan Deal

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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December 2, 2022 3:00 am

Ron & Nan Deal continue their marriage's raw story through addiction recovery and its pain and anger. The good news? Hope gets the last word.

Show Notes and Resources

Regeneration Recovery: Get Help Now with the Same 12 Step Program Nan Used

Find out more resources from Ron Deal here

Sign Up for FamilyLife's Empowered to Love beach Resort Getaway in Sandestin, FL, Feb 13-17, 2023

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Matt Slick Live!
Matt Slick

Hey, I'm Shelby Abbott. Real quick, before we get to today's show, we wanted to share how God is transforming lives through family life today. People like one mom wrote in and said, This ministry helped save my marriage. There is no judgment on this show, just amazing grace.

I recommend it to everyone. That is so encouraging. It's incredible how Jesus transforms lives and He's choosing to do it over and over again through family life today. Would you consider partnering with us to take the life transforming power of the gospel to more marriages and families? You can partner with us right now by giving to family life and when you do, your gift will be matched dollar for dollar up to $2 million. You can give today at or you can give us a call at 800-358-6329.

That's 800, F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. All right, on to the show. There was a little window of time where we were struggling and working on some things and she started making some changes and I came to her one day and said, Yeah, I just want to let you know I've noticed you doing this and this and I just want to thank you for that. And she said, Yeah, I knew you'd applaud that just as soon as you figured it out. And I realized she was faking.

She was just putting on airs. And right then I made a decision. I'm not really trusting her. Welcome to family life today where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Ann Wilson and I'm Dave Wilson and you can find us at or on the family life app.

This is family life today. So we've been on quite a journey the last couple days with Ron and Nan Diehl. We love them so much and they've been sharing their story and it's been raw and intimate.

It's beautiful and it's unknown. I mean, Ron is the director of our family life blended ministry. He's a hero and you would never know behind the scenes there was this this journey that they were on in their marriage and yesterday Nan at the end of our program was just at this crucial moment where she's broken and God meets her in this moment.

And what he does is a miracle and we get to hear that part of the story today. So here's Nan. Ron comes home from that trip and the look he gave me was. I don't know who you are. And I thought it was over. I just didn't know what to do. So that next morning, I mean, as a school teachers, we don't know what we're supposed to do.

We don't know how to zoom yet. So they're just like, just stay at home. I don't have a job. I don't have anything.

And Ron gets up and says, hey, I got to figure out work online. I got to figure this out with my team. And so I'm left sitting there and I am just like, I don't know what to do here. I know I don't have him.

I know I don't have myself. I've apologized to my boys. And of course, their wonderful love for me. They're like, both of them on the phone. Do they know, Nan, like that night? Did you say this is what happened? Did you confess? Well, that Monday, I call them and I say, hey, I guess you could figure out I was drinking. And they're like, yeah, yeah, Mom.

Yeah, we pretty much figured that out. And I apologized profusely. I'm so sorry. I don't know what's going on with me. I'm just really hurting.

And on and on and on. I apologize to both of them. And they both say, there's nothing that you can do to make us not love you. Because I'm like, I'm so sorry.

Please forgive me. I'm not doing that with Ron, but I did that with my boys. And they're like, Mom, there's nothing you could do. But then that day, I'm like, hey, I got to do something that I don't know. And what's Nan good at?

Oh, Nan's good at like, just getting out there and physically doing something. So I'm like, oh, I'll go in my room and do yoga. That'll help.

That'll make me feel better. And I go into our guest bedroom and I lay on my yoga mat and I get on my back. I couldn't get up. I was just like, I can't do this anymore. I can't be angry anymore. I can't hurt anymore. I can't live like this anymore. I need your help, God. I need you.

And if you'll have me, I want to do it your way. And I think I even said, Uncle. And I cried for two hours. I said, I know I haven't gotten this right.

I've never figured this out. I've never felt like I knew enough about you or trusted you with anything in my life. I always look to other things or myself.

But if you'd have me. And so I got up that day and I went on with my day. But I just felt so different. I mean, I felt like a weight had been lifted and really literally that night I didn't have anything to drink.

I didn't take any of those pills and I had not one withdrawal. I knew that that was God's grace and mercy on my life. And I started thanking him. And I went to bed going, if I have to stay up and had these terrible feelings I have to throw up all night.

I mean, I was prepared that I'm like, I am not going to do this anymore. I'm done. And he just said, okay. And it was really literally as if he picked me up off that mat and he just took his hand and he just wiped all of that black, all of that.

Everything just wiped it all off. And he said, okay, let's go. I think you're ready now. Let's go.

You and me, let's go. My child had heard about a book from Julie Slattery on the cruise earlier that year and I started listening to podcasts. And every podcast was about creating me a clean heart, oh God. Psalm 139. I opened up my Apple Music. I had stopped listening to Christian music.

I wouldn't let any of the light in. And that was something that Connor and I did so well together. He took the lead and I sang harmony and I typed into my Apple Music, create in me and five songs came up. And I started listening to those songs every day, over and over again. I go for long walks and I just started praying the Lord's Prayer. And I started praying those prayers that Mrs. Burns taught me. I even started listening to Amy Graham again in father's eyes and listening to those scriptures and thinking, okay, what was Terry trying to tell me about that? And it was like God took a fire hose of His grace and mercy. And He was like, it was like Bible 101. And I couldn't get enough of what He was trying to teach me, what He was trying to tell me.

And I'm not kidding. Every single podcast, sermon, everything was like, I'm going to teach you about this clean heart. I'm going to teach you about my grace and my mercy and my love. And then on one of those walks, it was about two months in, He said, it's time for you to tell Ron. You need to start confessing. So I went in and I told you everything. And I had also during that time researched what alcohol and certain drugs did to each other and together. And I figured out why it had some memory lapses and there were some things that were so hard for Ron. I mean, some things that I'd get up and scream at him in the night and get so angry. And I didn't even know I'd done some of those things, which is not an excuse. And God was just leading me by the hand into redemption.

Ron, so you probably see Nan having this turn. Tell us what's going on in your mind. Well, I did see it and I think I did the same thing she did 14 years earlier when I was convicted. And when I came to the end of myself, I liked what I saw and I didn't trust it.

I wouldn't lean into it. I just, there were so many triggers in my heart. We were talking about this this morning, a few years before Nan's, we call it the miracle on the yoga mat. Before that moment happened, there was a little window of time where we were struggling and working on some things. And she started making some changes and I came to her one day and said, yeah, I just want to let you know I've noticed you doing this and this and I just want to thank you for that. And she said, yeah, I knew you'd applaud that just as soon as you figured it out. And I realized she was faking. She was just putting on airs. And right then I made a decision. I'm not really trusting her. So fast forward now, miracle on the yoga mat happens and I'm going, yeah, right.

Come on, how long is this going to last? You know, tonight she'll be screaming at me again. And so I was trying to be as godly as I could be, but I would not trust her. And God kept saying to me, stay in your lane, stay with me, stay in this lane with me. And that's what she did. She just kept walking that road of confession.

It doesn't matter what he thinks, just you and God, you and me. And I got a book by Linda Dillo about prayer and I started praying those prayers and learning how to pray to God. I started memorizing scripture, letting the light back in. I started figuring out how God wanted me to transform my mind and my heart, forgiveness. I started confessing like nobody's business, anybody I could tell.

The boys first and my daughter-in-law, friends, family, anybody I felt like I had hurt. And let me just say, somewhere in the middle of all of this journey for her, what I noticed that I finally began to lean into was instead of her running to me, like that's how our marriage started, and that I was her Savior and whatever I wanted, that's what she would try to do to make me happy, she was not living for Ron anymore. She was living for God.

That's what I was going to say. That was a radical change that was very, very clear to me. And it just took a long enough road for me to go, this is real, this is not phony, there's something here and I need to get on board. And then I was convicted that I hadn't been trusting her enough and I hadn't been supporting her and leaning into bringing her my trust would be a statement of affirmation about her value and worth to me. And so then I had work to do. It wasn't just she's got to get her life together. No, it's always a two-person journey.

That's what marriage is. That year of Mother's Day, we go out to visit my mom. She says some things to her mother and I was like, wow. Yeah, I said some things to my mom. I just said, Mom, I just want to thank you for being my mom. Thank you for taking me to the library, my love of books, my love of teaching. My mom was a teacher and my sister looked at me and she goes, oh, that was cool.

And Ron looked at me and he goes, now I know something's changed in you. And that was real. That was from the heart. That was Holy Spirit right there.

Then on our way home, we stopped at the cemetery and it had been 12 Mother's Days. I remember going to Connor's grave and I said, Son, it's not good that you're not here for me to hug on Mother's Day. But God is good. God is good all the time.

You know, since Connor's death, I hadn't heard her say anything like, God, I can trust you. And I was like, okay. God's done something here and I just got to figure out what it is and I just got to try to join in the process. And, you know, we tell people COVID was really good for us to help us lean into Him in ways that we just couldn't quite do together and then lean into one another in new and radical ways.

Regeneration is a 12-step process and it's not just for addictions. I mean, I had a lady in my group. She said, I'm just angry at everything. You know, my thing is anger. You know, some people come for pride. But it was inventory, the fourth step that busted me wide open. I mean, I thought Ron had cornered the market on pride and his family had.

And nope, I'm right there with him. I was a very prideful person in my hurt and my pain and my loss. And one thing I learned in my recovery is that I'm not the defender of my heart.

I've been trying to do that for so long, defending myself from pain, abandonment, words, overworking, loss. You know, music has always been such a balm for me and such a place to go. And I learned that God is the defender of my heart. And there's a song called Defender and I love this line. This is the line that just floored me in this song.

It says, when I thought I'd lost me, you knew where I'd left me. You reintroduced me to your love. You picked up all my pieces and put them back together. You are the defender of my heart.

And I can just see the Lord with that shield and that sword going, okay, fears, shame, anything. He's defending that now and I can rest in that. I can go to him with my losses. I mean, Ron could overwork. He can. All of that stuff could happen again.

I could lose another child. But I know that God has never left me or forsaken me and that he never will. And even more, he's been chasing you down, chasing me down. He's been pursuing us. And I just love how he tried to take care of our marriage two years before Connor left because I really honestly know we wouldn't have made it without his provision.

Even though I was still a mess, it's kind of like he had to take turns on working on us. I want to read Ephesians 2, 1-10. I hope and pray that I spend the rest of my days telling everybody that will listen how good God has been to me. That if he could take a wretch like me and he can change that hardened heart, that heart in Ezekiel, the heart of stone, and give me a heart of flesh. And I have so much more work to do. We all do.

Yeah. But I cannot thank him enough for his grace and his mercy and his love. So sweet. Ephesians 2, 1-10. But God.

But God. Being rich in mercy because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ. By grace you have been saved and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace and kindness towards us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing.

I could not have stopped on my own. It is a gift of God, not a result of works, because man cannot do anything here so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. I was knit together in my mother's womb. I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

You are. Our marriage is like everybody else's marriage. It is making us.

It is making us more into the image of Jesus. And, you know, if I have one frustration, it's that it seems to take a long time. Definitely, Ron. Why can't it be shorter?

But I just don't think it works that way. Where's your marriage now? Oh, man. We are enjoying each other. We like each other. Does it feel like a different marriage or a new marriage or a real marriage?

Yes, it does. Absolutely. We sort of laugh that we have the passion and the energy and the drive that we had when we first fell in love, but now we actually have some maturity to go with it so we don't act like fools in the midst of our passions, you know. And we are so grateful. It's gratitude.

Like, we wake up grateful every day for that mercy. We remember who we were and we know what we can become. And, you know, part of what we're teaching out of this these days is, like, what I know about me is I can be prideful and I've got to manage that. And Lord help me, because when I do these things, this is who I become and this is what it does to my marriage. And Nan knows what I know about me is I can feel abandoned and I can run to something that's going to numb me.

And instead, I've got to stay in the game and can't do that. Like, all of these hard, hard lessons are teaching us how to somewhat reflect the image of Christ. I hesitate to even say that. I feel so far away. But at least I feel like we're closer.

We're much, much more closer. What do you say to the couple who's got secrets that you had? Or it could be totally different secrets, but they've got pain, they've got darkness.

Nobody knows. We didn't know about yours. But they're, I mean, they're listening right now and they're like, I am scared to death to say out loud to my spouse or to anybody what I'm struggling with. Well, I would say a couple of things. Finding a safe person to tell is the good first start. And honestly, it might not be your spouse. It might not be at all. And it may not be a counselor. Right. It could be, but it could be a friend.

It's somebody who is a safe person. And here's the thing. I can totally relate to what I'm about to say. There are moments where you just feel so overwhelmed, you cannot see the path out of this mess. Take the next right step. Whatever that next thing is, you feel called to do. And how do I put on kindness in this moment?

Like, that feels so small compared sometimes to the size of the mountain you have to climb that you just think, what's the point? It's not even worth it. But that is the next right thing to do. You never know what God is doing behind the scenes. You never know what the next step's going to be.

You never know what fruit that's going to bear. Just be faithful in the next step. I would say you've got to submit yourself to God.

I love James 4.7. It may sound so simple, but I had not submitted myself to God. I hadn't. And I wasn't resisting the enemy.

I wasn't. And I wasn't drawing near to God. I didn't want Him to draw near to me. I didn't feel worthy. And I'd just say, submit yourself to God. Cry out to Him. And that means submitting your pain and your anger and your animosity and your whatever it is, the ugliness of it all.

That has to be submitted to. I've been crying the whole time. I feel like the studio has become this holy sanctuary because of your story, because of your honesty, but mainly because the hero of the story is not Ron Deal. That's right.

That's right. This hero for me is not Dave Wilson. The hero is Jesus who died for us and He has redeemed us. It's a miracle. And so as I listen, I'm like, man, we all need a miracle on the mat. Yes. I even think of the wrestling mat when they thought, you know, like, yes, you're down. You're pinned.

And what do you do? Tap three times when you surrender, right? Yes. It's like that surrender moment.

It's not your husband needs to be better or your wife needs to do this. It's that our God is pursuing us and wooing us and there every second of the day. And He's longing for us to call upon His name. That's all you did, Nian. You just called.

Like, I can't do it. And He's like, I'm right here. And so when I hear that, I'm like, it's the gospel. And you said sanctuary. This place is that because that's what we do is worship. I mean, okay, our whole marriage, 36 years, we've heard the do the devotional every day thing. And, you know, hit or miss, yes, no, seasons, sort of.

Let me tell you, we are doing that now. And it is beautiful. It is fresh. It is genuine.

It is authentic. Sometimes we're processing things that happened yesterday, sometimes three years ago or 20 years ago. And we're all seeing it in a very different light and we're seeing God's work in the midst of all of it. And we know this journey is not over.

Like, please don't hear me say, hey, isn't this a great little tie a bow around it and it's done? No. What year are you in, marriage? 36.

So that's helpful. Yeah. So many couples at 20, 30, they're just stale. They're going through the motions and they think the best is behind us. We had some great years, but we'll just ride to the end.

And you're saying, nah, the best could be, but it requires total surrender. I will say this too, bring it into the light because Satan wants no more than to keep you isolated and to keep it in the darkness. And in Psalm 139, if you read further down, the darkness is as light to him. When I started confessing that and confessing that and confessing that and then letting a mentor speak into me, letting the light in and not hiding in the closet anymore, I literally was in my closet at night and I have a cool story. So, Ron would fall asleep. I would get mad because he had given to every, you know, we know the story given to everybody and not to me had fallen asleep. I do my thing and I'd be in the closet and I used to hide stuff in there.

Because I didn't want anybody to know I'd hide bottles, I'd hide this, I'd hide that. But in my recovery and in this redemption, I started going into my closet to pray and get on my knees. Prayer closet. Yes.

Wow. Redeem it. And I got on my knees one day and I got on my face before God because I needed Him to restore my marriage. I knew how broken that bridge of trust was out. And I'm on my face before God.

I got my hands up and I'm just praying to Him. And out of the clothes comes an empty bottle in front of my face. Tink.

That I had no idea was still in there. Wow. And He said, yeah, you know what?

We're doing this in here now, not that. I am the God. And you think I can't restore your marriage?

I can. Because I am your God and I've got you. And I didn't keep that bottle. I threw it away.

I'm just so grateful. God is the God of your addiction. God is the God of your secrets. Tell Him first and start confessing. Find a friend, find a community.

Take that step. The enemy would want no more than for you to be trapped in that for the rest of your life. He wanted to seek and kill and destroy me. And God has come to give life. You're listening to Dave and Ann Wilson with Ron and Nan Deal on family life today. And Dave and Ann have some takeaways from this week's powerful conversation with Ron and Nan. But before we get to that, Dave and Ann want to share something very important with you. I have a feeling that today's conversation with Ron and Nan has probably triggered just this gamut of emotions for many listening today. Don't you think?

Oh yeah, for sure. And that's what happens when we stick our finger into those tender places in our heart. That first feeling that comes along is just sadness and we say, oh, that hurts so bad because we've identified some problems. And we've remembered a few of our own painful mistakes.

But the next feeling that comes along is far better and that's hope. And we have hope because we've learned some things that will carry us to this higher place. And so just for a moment, we want to speak directly to those in our listening family. You guys are our listening family and you carry that burden for today's families with us.

Your heart is so soft toward all the things of God and His ability to bring relationships back together. And really, for more than 30 years, God has used family life today. It's pretty amazing to restore homes, to heal marriages, to help families thrive.

And I tell you what, you may not know this, but that doesn't just happen on our own. We partner together with you, our listeners, who pray for us, pray with us. And many of you give financially to make this ministry possible. And I want to invite some of you that have never done that, and maybe you can't and we understand that, but if you can, man, we're asking you to jump in with us as we approach year-end. This is a critical time for our ministry. And help us help other marriages, bring help and hope to their homes, just like we have to your home.

And here's the really good news. If you give a year-end donation, your gift will be doubled. We have generous donors that said they're going to match what you give.

So, boy oh boy, join in with us. And Dave, I think a lot of our listeners might be our age where we have kids that are gone and we're empty nesters. And you guys, there's a lot of young families that are in a place that they can't do it themselves. They can't give the money.

Maybe that we can do now, but they need understanding folks just like you that can do some of that heavy lifting. So, I just hope and pray that you'll take this opportunity to leverage your gift right now. Whatever that amount that you can give, it's doubled. That's right, Anne. And thanks to some generous ministry partners, your gift will be matched dollar for dollar until we hit $2 million.

You can give today at or you can give us a call at 800-358-6329. That's 800, F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. Okay, now here's Dave and Anne with some reflections on this week's powerful conversation with Ron and Nan Deal. So, that was a powerful three days.

It was so emotional. I mean, you said this studio feels holy and it really does. What do you feel? What do you think? I think the thing that really struck me was the importance in our marriage to have first the intimacy with Jesus, the honesty with Jesus, and then the intimacy and honesty with one another.

Like, they were inspiring. It makes me want to have a better marriage with you, doesn't it? Yeah, I felt the same thing. And I think we live in such a culture that we think intimacy is physical. And I think we heard real intimacy.

Me too. I mean, physical can be a part of it, and God's blessed a marriage for physical intimacy. But don't have secrets.

Don't hide. Intimacy is trust. I mean, when Ron talked about trusting Nan again, that for me was a powerful moment because I think we can see our spouse making strides and not trust it. And he didn't.

But then he did. And it made me want to trust you. And it makes me want to be trustworthy for you.

Oh, that's cool. I'm thinking like we are a ministry about marriage and family. And yet, I hope our listeners never forget that our ministry is first about Jesus. And what He can do in our lives.

That's what I'm just struck with. Like, if I want a better marriage, I need to fall on my face before God because I need Him every day. My happiness doesn't come from you. It comes from our Savior. He gives me life.

And you give me good life too. Yeah, nothing like our Savior. And here's one other thought that hit me is Nan was so honest about feeling like God would not take her back. And He did.

He always does. I think we all feel that at times. Our shame. Unworthy. We have blown it worse than anybody else.

We're not worthy of grace. And it was just such a good reminder, no matter how dark it is, no matter how deep we've gone into the darkness, when we turn and surrender, whether it's on a yoga mat or in a car, it doesn't matter. When we turn to Jesus, He is already running to us with His arms open to say, come home. I'm your home. You could dive in deeper on this topic with Ron and Nan by joining them on Valentine's Week for Family Life's Empowered to Love Beach Resort Getaway in Sandestin, Florida.

That's happening February 13th through the 17th next year in 2023. Head over to for more details. Now, what separates a boy from a man? Well, stay tuned because next week on Family Life Today, David and Wilson talk with Brant Hansen to explain God's purpose for men. On behalf of David and Wilson, I'm Shelby Abbott. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a production of Family Life, a crew ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-02 09:38:16 / 2022-12-02 09:51:00 / 13

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