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He Restores My Soul: David & Meg Robbins

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
February 15, 2024 5:15 am

He Restores My Soul: David & Meg Robbins

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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February 15, 2024 5:15 am

Wondering why you feel constantly drained and emotionally exhausted? David and Meg Robbins walk through the passage of Psalm 23 highlighting the intimate and caring relationship between God and His people. Find the rest your soul's been craving. David and Meg are contributors to FamilyLife's all-new Art of Marriage group study! To learn more or order your copy, visit

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I think of still waters and I think of a green pasture with this quiet stream running through it, you know, but a lot of times that's not where the still waters are. It might be down into a hard place in our life. And I think most of us know and I think we've certainly experienced this in our marriage that a lot of times the place where we experience the fullness of what Jesus has to offer us and intimacy with Him is in those terrifying hard places. Welcome to Family Life Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Shelby Abbott and your hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson. You can find us at This is Family Life Today.

We've got the Robbins back, David and Meg Robbins, the president of Family Life. Welcome back. It is good to be back. We love getting around the table with you guys. We do too. And yesterday I feel like we went into some deep waters of ways to really help our marriages, making sure we're intentional, taking time to really connect with each other's hearts. So I'm excited today of the next gold nuggets you're going to give us. You know, I was thinking about our conversation yesterday and in this season there was a passage that was a very familiar passage, but the Lord really spoke to us through to help us.

You know, we talked a lot of practical yesterday to help us really go there and prioritize Him in it. Psalm 23. A lot of us are very familiar with it.

I memorized it as a young child. You did? Really? Yeah. The whole thing? I mean, yeah.

It was like when actually one of our youngest is doing that through school, but our older three went to public elementary school, so they didn't memorize it. Hey David, close your laptop. Let's see if we can do it.

Oh, probably not. Let's don't. At one time I hadn't really drilled in there, but I read a book by a guy named Philip Keller who was a shepherd. That's a great book. Like a real shepherd. It's called A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23. And yes, he was a real shepherd with real sheep in Africa and ended up becoming a pastor later.

But anyway, it is just phenomenal just hearing his take on what David is saying when he's talking about the sheep and the shepherd in Psalm 23. And so really, I've actually read the book before like 15 years ago, but I think I must have. I did have small children at the time. I really didn't remember a lot of it. It was like I'd never read it. I don't remember any of this, but there's underlines. Yeah, exactly.

Like, do you remember reading this? But, um, let's read Psalm one through 23. Let's do the first three verses. Okay. The Lord is my shepherd.

I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for His namesake.

There are a couple of places that just really stood out to us during this time of just trying to have some extra space for rest and restoration, really. Verse two, he leads me beside quiet waters or still waters. Just that reminder that he alone satisfies my thirst. I talked a little bit yesterday about how it's easy to think, you know, and run to David sometimes with things or think that he should satisfy longings in my heart.

But really, Jesus is the only one who can satisfy those things. And just the reality, one of the things Philip Keller talks about is that sheep need water, just like us, every day in an ongoing way. But the shepherd is the one who knows the source for the water. And, you know, sheep are really quick to go to whatever they see. They go to some mud pool that might be right there and it's this nasty hole full of sort of water and they'll drink it. And just because it's what's available, it's right there. They will also drink from streams that are completely contaminated.

They may look nice, but they're not. And the shepherd knows that and has to keep them away from it. But once they start drinking out of that, they don't realize they're filling up with things that aren't going to fill them. And I know I do that for sure myself. You know, I run to things that are, you know, not going to satisfy my soul. And sometimes that is relationships. Sometimes that is our spouse. We might turn to them.

I might go to David. I might go to my phone first thing in the morning, knowing, you know, thinking, oh, I got a text. I'm just going to check that one thing. And then before I know it, I've read three emails and I'm on Instagram. You know, and that's a mud pool in my life, if I'm honest, you know, and it's not a bad thing, but there's so much more real water for me. I mean, I love that you called, you know, Facebook or whatever you're going to a mud pool and we're not going to call our spouse a mud pool. I mean, I think one of the most enlightening moments in a marriage is when you do realize that. It's hard, but it's good. Like, I thought she was going to fill me up.

I thought he would fill me up. And they do, but they ultimately are not the source. And they never can. I read a quote not too long ago by Paul David Tripp, who we've had on here. And he said, if you're disappointed in your marriage, it doesn't mean you have a bad marriage.

It means you're married. And when you hear that, you sort of laugh, but it's like he's getting at something sort of profound, like your disappointment is normal. That's what people do with one another.

We disappoint. You never think your spouse is going to do that, but they do that. And when if you think, well, then I've got the wrong spouse because this isn't what marriage is supposed to be.

You go look in other places, but if you understand this is a part of a human condition that was never designed to fill me up, only vertical, only Jesus, only still waters, that changes everything. Because it's like, okay, we're disappointed. Maybe there's some things we need to work on and it requires work, but we need to turn away and go, I got to find life somewhere else. So that's Psalm, that one, I mean, we read it at funerals and we don't sit and go, what is he really saying? That's profound. It's profound because the way he leads us there often is not how we want it sometimes.

And that's what you're saying, Dave, like, wait, this isn't what this was supposed to feel like, look like, be like. But often it's those places that that take us to where the real living water is. Yeah, because oftentimes there's three places the sheep can get water. And the first two are deep wells, like natural wells and streams. And if the shepherd has had their flock grazing in green pastures, usually in order to get to that water, they have to go down steep cliffs, rocky ledges, like scary paths just to get to those still waters at the bottom.

They're usually way down in the valley. And if I'm honest, a lot of times I don't want to go down these treacherous paths that the Lord may be leading me on in my life or to scary places. I think of still waters and I think of a green pasture with this quiet stream running through it, you know, but a lot of times that's not where the still waters are. It might be down into a hard place in our life. And I think most of us know and I think we've certainly experienced this in our marriage, that a lot of times the place where we experience the fullness of what Jesus has to offer us and intimacy with him is in those terrifying, hard places. You know, sometimes when things are going really well and they're kind of, you're coasting along, you don't always experience the satisfaction and the need, the thirst that we have for him. But in those hard places, I feel like that's where we can experience intimacy with him and the water that he wants to give us.

Where has that been for you guys? You've gone through a lot of things. Is there a place or a time that you remember, oh, we had to like, getting to this water was really hard and we were desperate for a drink. I just want to say first before we get specific, coming to the end of yourself is the gospel.

Yeah. It's like when we first trust Jesus is when we realize we come to the end of ourselves, we can't make this happen, oh my goodness, he has made it all happen and the sufficiency of what he has done on our behalf. And we get to receive that. And then when we come to the places in our marriages where you go, I don't have it, I'm not enough, I can't pull it off, I can't keep going, there's an opportunity there to really drink deeply of still waters. And I mean, we were just talking before we started about our oldest that was playing sports senior year and just thriving in a lot of ways. But I think about the season where we had him and he had special needs.

We had had some challenges living overseas that certainly drew us, well, those were some significant ones too. Like all of a sudden this flashbacks of year after year and yeah, this is life in the world that we live in, a broken world is that we will come to the end of ourselves and need someone greater than us, Jesus himself to help us. But yeah, I think I'm very nostalgic right now. Football season just entered and we celebrated his senior football season. You're just like, Lord, thanks for being faithful to him. Wow. I'm reflecting back to what it meant for our marriage to process and to trust in those moments and continuing to trust. Those were really hard at times. I couldn't believe, God, you, okay, you have a special needs journey for us. We're accepting this. And that was a lot to trust the Lord with.

And he's been so faithful in it. But then I think recently, I mean, some of these reflections we're sharing from is, okay, we've been at Family Life for six years and there's been the pandemic and a lot of challenging things that any organization is going through in these years. And that effect on our marriage and coming to terms and really facing that and going down into the cliff of going, okay, what are default patterns? What are ways that I have focused more on ministry than I have on my marriage? That's some steep paths to go into.

But it's where we have found some deep satisfaction of drinking deeply from the living water. I mean, how have you two navigated? I mean, you just mentioned quickly, but let me sit there for a second.

You take over a ministry after a 40-year founder. You know how hard that is. I don't know if everybody knows that. Well, I mean, you knew before going in the success rate and that, you know, it's a big deal.

But then, you know, that's hard enough. You got the pandemic, which shuts down the cruise, which is a big source of income for family life. And also our weekend marriage conferences.

Yeah, and the weekend remembers are closed down. And so the financial part and, you know, a lot of us walking around here are not laying in bed at night with that on our mind. You are.

We're thinking about our own finances, but not a whole organization. All of us are carrying something that's in addition to our personal, you know. And we're sitting in a studio in Orlando. It used to be Little Rock, so that's a big—so anyway, you know all this. But you've carried a lot in the last four or five years, six years now. How does the Still Waters of Jesus—because you're on that rocky, steepy slope, and He's taking you down.

But man, when you're on that slope, it feels like sometimes you're sliding down or you're hitting rocks on the way down. And you've done it as a couple. I know David's coming home carrying stuff out of meetings with the board, you name it. I'm not telling you, but I know what it's like to carry— Thanks for reliving it all right here, Dave. Keep going. You know, and even when I was helping lead our church, you walk around the building and we had a couple hundred staff.

You have more than that. But you know they're not carrying what we just talked about that involves their future and the future of this whole ministry. And you carry that home, sometimes alone.

So walk us into that a little bit. Probably the heaviest thing to carry is, Lord, we have a mission that has been around for decades, and we want to live out the full breadth of that mission and trust God for what He has in the next decade, in the next 40 years. And there's that weight, too, of not burying the talent, but yet trusting Him for, Lord, you want to keep working through marriages and families. And so there's that stewardship side of it, too, that can really get heavy. We would just say, and I'll speak for myself, you add on here, me going to the places where I have come to the end of myself and facing it, and facing the false places I go to for security or acceptance or approval and going, Lord, it has to come from you.

And I have got to root out any places for approval, acceptance, security that aren't you or else this will crush me. And so it has taken us down that steep, steep path into my own story and how that's living out in our current. And that brings more intimacy in marriage. It's hard to go there, yet to go into those places and to journey into those false beliefs I have, to keep life working when it's not working. But no, to come to the end of yourself, name those and then share those with your spouse and to journey ahead together with that. That's what's increased our intimacy and togetherness in this more than anything. It's by going to the weak, hard places.

What would you add to that? Yeah, I mean, I think it's just knowing our own desperate need for the Lord, you know, just knowing that we do come to the end of ourselves. And, you know, there are things I was thinking when you were going through that long list of things that we've been through, but even moving family life from Arkansas down here to Florida, that was huge, carrying the weight of leading in that and other people being sad about that, for sure. That was a lot to carry together. And I think even just our own family, you know, just on a little micro level, just what that was going to mean for our kids, having just moved to move again. Leave being really close to your family.

That was just an hour away. I mean, when I think about the rocky, some of the rocky cliffs, it's just the grief that comes with moving sometimes. And it's like this big nebulous loss that it's hard. It's not like the loss of a person. So it's different than a death, you know, that we've walked through those things, too. But it's just kind of this cloud, you know, that it's kind of hard to process.

But even in that, it's just like, OK, just coming back to being able to sit before the Lord with the hurt and the pain and knowing that He sits in it with us, you know, and He brings His water and restoration to those places and being able to sit in it together, you know, and be honest and real about what we're feeling and the hard things that are there. That's what I was thinking. I don't want to interrupt, but when you said together. And we talked about this at the weekend. Remember, it's really easy when a couple is going through a trial. It could be together. It could be he's going through or she's going through.

It's easy to do this. Separate. And again, we isolate because I'm sort of carrying something alone. And I want to tell her, but maybe I'm afraid whatever reason, if you don't invite them in, you will end up, you become isolated. And we say at the weekend, you know, oneness is intentional.

You got to do that. And part of it is when you're going down the Rockies and maybe God's taking you to the quiet, but you can't see it yet, you know, even since it's happening, you got to have her with you. Because I know when I share things with Anne that I'm carrying and she does with me, two things happen.

One, I feel better just saying it out loud. Like you were saying yesterday, you pin it and that starts a process. But then when we are at least one of us or hopefully both of us then go vertical and then share the same thing with the Lord. There is a real sense, at least for me, my soul goes, it's not over yet. I still have a lot I have to process. And maybe there's still going to be worry and stress, but the anxiety. But there's part that there's like the peace of God is able to start to, the water's starting, I can start to taste it.

You know what I'm saying? And it's because we do it together. So that you can release it to Him. So that you can then taste and see His goodness. And I will say, Dave, I look back on 43 years of marriage and I think some of the greatest moments of our lives were times in desperation where we were on our knees before Jesus. And every time when scripture says, and they cried out to the Lord, He hears them. And so I think for us, it was at our weakest moment and it became the strength of our lives as Jesus entered into.

And one of them was right here in the studio. I was going to say. Day one, like you're walking into the presidency role, we're walking into the host role. And he's just thinking, we don't want to mess it up.

This ministry has been so blessed and we can end with us. And so, yeah, it's a, it's a desperate moment. Yeah.

Yeah. Keep going in the Psalm. I mean, I'm thinking we're just starting to dip into it.

You know, real quick before you go there, I'm just sitting on, there is another place that you can, the sheep get water also. And I think, you know, there's the journey toward the deep ravines and the deep places, the challenges. But there's actually also a daily way that it's a different source. But I think it also, there's this, you know, long narratives that we travel sometimes and we have to persevere through and stay steadfast through.

And ultimately by leaning on Him, the ultimate steadfast one and faithful one. But there's also the daily showing up in the midst, even when it is hard. So, yeah. The other places that water from the dew on grass. And so if they get up and eat before the sun shines on the grass and dries it up and the sheep just go and graze on grass that's wet from the dew, then they can get enough water to last them for the whole day most of the time.

Which is fascinating to me. So that's the daily you're talking about, David. Yes. And so in the same way for us, you know, it's like if we get up and choose to eat from God's Word first, you know, and certainly that's bread for our day. But also it can be an access, a way to be filled with God's living water, too, that will last and keep nourishing us as we go on because He will bring back to mind things that we encounter and see and experience with Him in the morning. You know, those things will keep feeding us throughout the day and it will remind us, I know for me at least, if I choose to keep my phone wherever it is and leave it and go to God's Word first and spend time with Him and pray, then, you know, God is going to continue to recall those things to my heart and my mind throughout the day. And that's just going to kind of be my my bent for the day is to go to Him because I went to Him first.

So keep going in Psalm 23. That's good. It just was worth saying. There is that daily nature of there's a source there. Yeah, if you think the only way you're going to get water is go down a rocky cliff.

Yeah, right. It's refreshing to know he might not have to go down a rocky cliff to get water. OK, but yeah, the next verse, he restores my soul and just that he pursues us. You know, he restores my soul. I love that it doesn't say get up and go restore your soul. You know, we don't do that for ourselves.

Jesus says that with love and tenderness, compassion, a lot of patience. One thing I found so interesting that Philip Keller talks about is that sheep, they like to burrow out a comfy little hole in the dirt and just rest for a while. But if they're not careful, they will keep digging in deeper and deeper and their feet will eventually go up over their heads and they become what's called a cast sheep. And they literally cannot get their feet back on the ground. Once their feet go up in the air, they're stuck that way.

And within two days, their circulation will get cut off and they'll die. And so you think about a shepherd counting his sheep. And as soon as he realizes one is gone, one of the first thoughts that comes to his mind is they could be cast somewhere. And, you know, even the strongest, fattest sheep who seem like invincible, they can get cast.

And actually, they might even be more likely to because of their body distribution. But I know for me, I mean, this just resonated so much for me because when we were in the middle of this time of just trying to take more rest, keep our schedule a little more clear, and I was certainly having more time to connect with the Lord and I felt like my emotions were kind of coming alive again. But I realized really quickly that I couldn't really cry in front of David. And I was kind of like wiping my tears and like I would feel these things kind of bubbling up and I would kind of press it down and hide it. And I quickly realized I was frustrated with myself because that's kind of a sign for us, you know, in our marriage when I'm like not letting him in to the emotions I'm feeling in the moment, I know, okay, there's distance there and like we need to figure this out. And I felt disappointed in myself. I felt frustrated. I was like, here I am kind of like in my little rut and there's separation here. But I feel like God was so kind. It was like he was like, no, I'm not frustrated with you. Like I am restoring your soul and I'm bringing some of your emotions back to life, back to your eyes. They're getting a little leaky and that's okay. Like just make that choice right now to let David in.

And so I did. I was like, hey, I just noticed I'm like my tendency was like wipe my tears. And why do you get to that point where you want to hide it?

What is that? I think probably it comes from like having a little ongoing distance for it can even be a short period of time, but just feeling disconnected. And there's a place of vulnerability.

Yeah, I think it does. It's a choice of whatever this thing is, even if it's small or big, like just that, okay, this is kind of risky to let you in. Even after almost 22 years of marriage, you know, it's it does still take vulnerability.

And the hard thing about vulnerability is risky. There is I can mishandle that moment. And you've been very kind.

But when I do and come back and apologize, you forgive. But yet what I appreciated about when you did realize that come to me, it's like my heart. It just was like a melting, you know, just like I've created an environment where you're hesitant to share with me healthy emotion that's surfacing.

And I own that. And let's go there. You know, it was like a lean in moment, not a how dare you not come to me moment. And I think we all obviously are our different relationships in different seasons may not always be in that moment. But yet that is the invitation God gives us because he's the source.

And therefore, we can risk invulnerability because the other person's not the source. Jesus says, I mean, what you just said, I think is a great question to ask your spouse. Have I created an environment that you feel hesitant to share yourself or be vulnerable? When they're a book title called What's it Like to be Married to Me?

Yeah, Linda Dillo. That's a great question. Like what you just shared is, man, that's that's a little scary to say.

Have I created? Because I know I've done that. I'm just it's an interesting thought. I'm just thinking as women get older and they're in their marriage, they become less emotional. And I'm wondering, like, why is that? Is it because they're hiding some of their emotions because they haven't dealt with their emotions?

I don't know the answer to that, but it's an interesting thought. I mean, even the other day we were watching these little short films that were about the holidays and they were really sweet. And of course, one of the kids is like, Mom, are you crying? And I feel like there is almost culturally. And I was like, yes, I am, because that is just really sweet. I mean, it was about like kids growing older.

And of course, that's like what we're in the middle of, you know, just having a senior. But I think there can be some shame in hiding, you know, a tendency to kind of like cover up what we're really feeling, you know. And yet there's a sense of is my soul healthy?

Yeah. Because a healthy soul will feel emotion. And I've had periods of my life where it's like blocked. I was at this men's thing just recently and guys were sharing and I'm like tearing up and crying. I'm like, oh, that feels good.

You know, it wasn't like I want to hide this from these guys because there's only guys in the room. But I thought there's something good happening in my soul that I'm it wasn't sad crying. It was like, oh, this is this is emotional. This is good.

I'm feeling right now. Yeah. And sometimes it takes space to allow that to happen. That's right.

Yeah. I had a coach recently that said the number one spiritual discipline is creating space. Because every one of the disciplines actually requires that type of space and stillness. But Dave, the way you were sharing that made me think of a seminary prof who in teaching, he said, we like keeping the thermostat like our parents told us, never touch it. You know, keep it between these two numbers and don't you dare, you know, like keep it right here in the comfort zone.

I think that's what my parents called it. This is the comfort zone. Do not don't dare go hot or cold outside of it. And there is lament of going outside the comfort zone and healthy tears and sorrow that is good to be able to experience and share with your spouse and family. And there is joy and ecstasy and life that you go, we should celebrate.

This is amazing. But yet we're so quick to go keep it here, right here in the comfort zone. Keep it normal. Be normal, please.

I think the Lord, you read the Psalms. Is it the comfort zone or the dead zone? Yeah, the neutral zone like to stay flat, stay numb and neutral. And the Lord invites us, yes, to have a lot of steady moments, but then to also to bring our lament and sorrow and to bring our joys and rejoicing to him and allow space for that in our marriages together and to not shun or shame a spouse who's bringing that to you, to actually hold it sacred and to tune into it and to see what's there. You know, when I feel like I'm going to the extremes, either to the low end or the joyful end or the high end, sometimes I do feel a little bit weird, like we were just talking about. And the Psalms, if anything, give us permission to live on the margins.

Because when you read the Psalms, they're often in places like of deep lament or really extreme joy to the point that you read it and you're like, David, get your life together and get a grip. You know, nobody's really this sad or nobody's really this joyful, but people are. We are. And that gives us permission to live on those margins as well.

If it was good enough for King David, it could be good enough for me. I'm Shelby Abbott, and you've been listening to Dave and Anne Wilson with David and Meg Robbins on Family Life Today. I really enjoyed this conversation today because we're talking about marriage. And sometimes when it comes to your marriage, you can feel stuck.

Do you feel that way? Well, we created a marriage study that's designed to help you get unstuck. This is Family Life's Art of Marriage. We'd love for you to gather some friends together, hit play and watch people open up as they realize that they aren't the only ones that struggle with the blahs in marriage. This marriage study is really designed to help you grow deeper together, grow closer to God and grow more connected with your community. It gives space for authentic and vulnerable conversations around challenging marriage topics. So you can begin to explore God's love for us and how his love can be displayed through our messy, imperfect marriages.

Yes, even your messy, imperfect marriage. You can go to the show notes or you can go to to learn more and grab your leader kit today. We're really excited to share the all-new Art of Marriage with you and hear how it's impacting your marriage relationship.

Now, tomorrow, what are some of the signs that indicate a marriage may be running on empty? Well, David and Wilson are back tomorrow with David and Meg Robbins to talk about just that. We hope you'll join us. 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 donor-supported production of Family Life, a crew ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-15 07:43:26 / 2024-02-15 07:55:58 / 13

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