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Examining Your Part in a Difficult Marriage (Part 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
May 23, 2024 3:06 am

Examining Your Part in a Difficult Marriage (Part 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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May 23, 2024 3:06 am

Former Major League Baseball player Darryl Strawberry and his wife, Tracy, talk candidly about the past troubles they experienced in their personal lives and in their marriage, and offer hope to struggling couples as they describe how God brought them restoration and redemption. (Part 2 of 2)


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Inside, I had nothing.

I was empty inside. I was bankrupt inside. I needed to fulfill what was going on inside of me, so I used drugs. I was a liar. I was a cheater. I was a womanizer.

I was an alcoholic, and I was a drug addict, and I was a sinner. From our last focus on the family broadcast, Daryl and Tracy Strawberry. They talked about the brokenness they experienced in their lives. You'll hear how God restored and redeemed them on today's focus broadcast with Jim Daly, and I'm John Fuller. John, last time we learned how a former major league star and his wife got caught up in drugs and alcohol addictions, all the things that many people are struggling with.

These are not unique struggles. We talked about how they were trying to fill a hole in their heart, a void that was there. Today, we're going to talk about how they discovered the way to fill that void, and that's with a relationship with Jesus Christ.

If you didn't hear last time, I would encourage you to get the download, get the CD, get it, because I'm sure if it's not you, someone in your life is going through something very similar. Of course, we're talking about Daryl Strawberry, his wife Tracy. Daryl played many years, 17 years in the major leagues.

He played for all the teams you want to play for, the Yankees, the Dodgers. Those are the two I'd play for if I had any talent. But it was so good to hear from them, not so much about that and the exploits of being talented, but being right before the Lord. That's what I appreciate about Daryl and Tracy, and we're going to continue that discussion today. Let me say welcome to both of you. Welcome back. Well, thanks for having us.

Thank you. Last time, we did talk about right where you were at, the brokenness for both of you. Daryl, you expressed how you had made a commitment to the Lord, but kind of fell back into the traps of this world, those things that were keeping you snared, but you had an encounter with God. Tracy, you mentioned so eloquently what God was doing in your life in the way that you came from a good home. Your parents did the right thing.

They were working the right parenting formula. But you were just on a wayward track, and how they continue to love you, and how that made a difference for you coming closer to God. I want to pick up the conversation right there, because I want to know how God got a hold of you. What did he do to reach into your life and shake you up and get your attention?

Sure. He brought a person into my life that was just like me. And there was a woman who came from my lifestyle. So I could relate to her. But then I saw this other side of her that was attractive to me. And she didn't promote Jesus.

It was attraction, not promotion. And she loved me right where I was at, but kept inviting me and kept inviting me to come to spend time with her. And I wanted what she had.

So she had something to say that I really wanted to hear, because I couldn't wrap my mind around, Jesus loves you. Well, if you want a new life, you just have to stop using drugs. Well, I know that.

If you can tell me how to do that, then I'll listen to you, because I already know that. I'm beating myself up enough with my lifestyle. And I've lost my children.

I've been divorced twice. I already know I'm a horrible person. I believe that Jesus doesn't even want anything to do with a woman like me. So it was difficult for me to connect to a Christian who had just come up to me and say, Jesus loves you. Because I didn't believe that.

And my life certainly didn't reflect that and I didn't feel like that. Tracy, can I ask you a question about that? Darryl, jump in. It seems to me as Christians, we tend, it's a weird thing. We know you're in pain in that moment.

And it's almost I don't know if it's to make us feel more comfortable. That look at you. Yes. Look at that poor girl. Right.

I mean, don't you know God loves you if you just chose a different way? Right. The way you're describing this friend that you encountered, something was attractive to her. And we there's a lesson in this for all of us. How to get down in the messiness of life. That's a good point, because we have to really be able to show people that we are overcoming by the blood of the lamb through the way we live and the way we act. I think a lot of times we could talk about it. But if people see the way you walk, that was just the way my mother, I saw the way my mother walked the wall. She didn't have to talk it for us.

You know, that's why I came to the point in my life being able to repent to God and ask God to forgive me for my sins, because I saw the way my mom walked. She was an example. So we have to be as Christians, we have to be an example, not to boast about us. Not an example of perfection.

Right. It's not an example of that. It's an example of we need to walk with neatness and humbleness and humility to show that I'm not that important. You know, I'm able to lead people to Christ today.

They look at me and they go, you don't even care about baseball. I go, no, I care about God. It's a process that God has to go through with you because he has to he has to do an inner surgery inside of you to break off things on you.

Not anyone else. I think too many people are looking at the other side instead of looking at this side of yourself. You know, and that's what happened with me and my wife and in our marriage, you know, the imperfect marriage.

What happened in that was so different from compared to, like you said, the confidence, the ego and all that stuff I have as a baseball player came to walking in a different way because God had to deal with me first before. So we. Right. And we need to get to that. I want to talk about how you guys found each other and what the Lord has been doing and teaching you in your marriage. Tracy, how did you meet Daryl Strawberry?

Sure. I met him in a recovery convention. We were both broken, not living for the Lord, far, far, far from the Lord. We were just broken and we came together and you can read the imperfect marriage for the details of the story, but we came together broken, incapable of loving because there's a difference.

God teaches us in the Bible, those who don't know him cannot truly love because they do not know God. He's very clear in his word, which I love the word. It's so simple. It keeps it clear for us. So when we came together, we came together full of dysfunction, full of all of these things that too, we're going to become one. And what Daryl brings, he's an individual, I'm an individual.

And what is inside of you is what you bring together to make one. We didn't have much to bring together. I was going to say, when you met, how far along in your faith journey were you?

Not far at all. I was one week literally saved. One week saved. And I was still trying to figure out what that word saved meant. So I was very rough around the edges, not living for the Lord yet.

Daryl knew the Lord, but was so far off from him and his lifestyle, faith didn't play a part in it until we started growing in faith. We came together. He was $3 million in debt. We had divorces. We had all of these children. We have nine children between the two of us. I had lost my children. He was estranged from his children.

We were hurting people. This was a nightmare situation that if you look at it through the natural eyes, say it is impossible. How could two people ever come out of this and make this work? Now notice I said through the earthly eye and from an earthly mindset and an earthly perspective, what we're going to jump into in this program and I'm excited about is an eternal perspective, the power, the divine power of our Lord Jesus Christ that can come in and will breathe life into a situation for two willing people, two willing people who are willing to say yes and make that choice to say yes because it all begins at the foot of the cross. At the foot of the cross is the new beginning from wherever you came from, wherever your marriage is, however you met. If you didn't meet in the right way, if one spouse is on board with Christ, if one is not, if you have estranged children, whatever nightmare or great thing that you think you come from or you think you have it together, a new beginning, eternal life, eternal perspective and the way we should really live according to God's word begins at the foot of the cross for everyone. Well, I mean, you are the preacher girl. I mean, it's amazing and what you're saying is so true, but I've got to ask you, Tracy and Daryl, what were the steps that the Lord took you through right there?

There are couples that are hearing you, maybe a wife who is just at the end of her rope because she doesn't know what to do with her husband because it's not working and you're speaking to her right now. And there's a whole chapter in the book just for a spouse in waiting, whether you're a man or a woman, a spouse in waiting. And when Daryl and I first came together, God was working on my heart and I responded, Daryl did not. So when we came together, we got married full of dysfunction and full of pain.

And how can this marriage work? It would have never worked that way. What did it look like just to... Fighting. We fought dirty. We called each other names. We threw things at each other.

We fought over money because there was no money to have. We had a blended family that we were trying to make work and our hearts weren't right with the Lord. So we didn't treat the other spouses correctly. We didn't treat the mother of the children and the fathers of the children with respect, like it should be done to make right a wrong situation. We had all of these dynamics that were happening. We were broken inside and blaming each other and trying to find our way and trying to lift each other up through brokenness. We had nothing to give.

It was horrible. What I think happens in some marriages, people don't deal with their own insecurities and God challenges you to deal with your own insecurities in your marriage because you have to deal with yourself first. You have to look at yourself first because we come together as two people and yeah, we could be married for a long period of time and we still don't know each other. We still don't know ourself until we allow God to come in and do his surgery on you and allow you to act according to the biblical principles. It wasn't until we started diving into the biblical principles and obeying and coming into obedience with God's word that we started to line up and realize that there was a different way that we needed to do this to make this work.

But practically speaking, you didn't fall into that. You had to take action. You had to realize, okay, this isn't working and we've got to read together.

We've got to pray together. What were some of those things that you started to do together functionally that gave you the tools to disagree more respectfully, to do it more biblically? I mean, that's like going from this low level to a high level. Yeah, but you know what I think you learn over time as you start studying the word of God.

I think sometimes a lot of people just go to church and they go to church for that Sunday and then they hear the word from the pastor and they don't go home and apply it to their life and they just put the Bible on the shelf until next Sunday come or next Wednesday come and they just keep doing the same thing. Well, nothing's changed. Nothing's changed until you actually start getting in the word for yourself. I think the word is what really changed me. Tracy was always studying the word and I kind of like really looked at her and I wanted what she had. Well, God says you got to do what she does.

She studies the word. So the word is what really transforms a person in life and I think most people don't realize that the Bible is the really transformation of who you are. Everybody in that Bible when you learn and go through it and you learn that all those people and the disciples and everybody that came across Jesus, all of them had issues in some kind of way. Even being in front of Jesus, they saw the miracles.

They still had issues. So we're going to have the same issues here too and we're going to have to learn to do exactly what is taught to us in the word of God and I think most people don't realize that their marriage can be strong when Christ is the center. Christ is the center of you first. It has to be the center of you first to make a we. We want the we but we won't put Christ in the center. We want to do it in the natural and we won't allow the spirit to dwell in us because the spirit that dwells in us and once we start operating in the spirit and we start listening to what the Holy Spirit is telling us, that's when you start coming together in a marriage that's been broken. I mean, yeah, you were saying it and I would say this too. When you look at that whole design that God created for two people to come together and really what the simplicity of it, as you said earlier, Tracy, is I'm going to bring the two of you together and you're going to really irritate each other but I want you to learn my character, which is to lay your life down for the other. And the more I think about it, the more obvious it is, even in the marriage, the most intimate relationship you can have on this earth. What he's trying to say to you is give your life over to somebody. Lay your selfishness down.

It's so hard for us as human beings. It works against the flesh. But it works.

It does. But you got to do it. That's what you said, you got to do it. And when you can, Daryl and I came from adulteries, repairing things with our children, restoration needed to be there, addictions, we lost everything financially. So we had to be restored in every area of our life. And there was a woman who came into my life.

And I keep saying that there was a mentor who came into my life. Discipleship is key. I think we need to be very careful when we meet someone who's struggling.

The goal is not the sinner's prayer and conversion. In 20 minutes, the first step for me was getting me right on the inside, not looking at they're not looking at their own with all his flaws, even with all his flaws, because I was like, but look at him, he's committing adultery, he's with these women. He's the one and he's spending the money and he he he and he treats me like this. And he treats me like that.

And when God got hold of me, and I was praying one day, he said, Daryl is none of your business right now. You can't change him. You do not have the power to change him. I am the power that will change him. And you're not looking at you. You are lost.

You are far away from me. You're not living out your purpose in me. And I need to heal and restore you. You need to get on board with me. You need to surrender to me.

So what's your answer going to be, Tracy? Wow. And my answer to the Lord was yes.

Yeah. And I surrendered everything. I didn't know what to do with the marriage. I didn't know what to do with the kids. I didn't know what to do with the money. But the Lord taught me what to do with him. And I would this woman, I showed up at her house, and she would go through the word with me, she would pray with me.

But it was also practical steps. I had to get a job. I had to do what was right and work on my relationship with my children. I learned to treat Daryl with respect, even with the way he was living, I became that wife, that live for the Lord. And he started to look at my behavior. I didn't try to change him. I let it go literally.

How do you do that? Because I'm thinking of many wives whose husbands have been unfaithful or fill in the blank. They're just abusive.

They're distant. To find that center of gravity called the relationship with God, so that you are whole, even when someone is not treating you appropriately. And in many ways, from a human perspective, you have every right to go after him.

You have every right to divorce him, even. Yet to say, Okay, Lord, what do you want me to do? Yes. And that's key. Powerful. Let me explain to you how that happened. I can explain it because I had to watch it, because I was that way and I was that person. And what I saw was a transformation shift of her love for God that was real. I saw her getting up every morning at 5.30 to go study with God. And she still does that today. But I was watching how she was doing it over and over, regardless of what I was saying and what I was doing. She wasn't feeding into my madness. She wasn't feeding into my sickness. And I got kind of jealous because I saw that she, I would wake up every morning, come down. She's already been up since 5.30.

I come down at 9 o'clock, 10 o'clock, and she's like, Hi, hon. And I was like, Why is she so happy? But I realized that, and I kept seeing it, kept seeing it, and I realized that it was the joy of the Lord that had become her strength. And it wasn't me anymore. And that, I really got jealous of that.

Interesting. I really got jealous of that because I saw joy that was surpassing every understanding of what was going on in our life. And I was like, Well, why is she so joyful?

Why is her life so good? So what did you do with that? I took it as a sign from God that I needed to do something different in my life of watching her. I realized that she had said yes to Jesus. And I think a lot of people don't understand what yes to Jesus means. You know, I know what it means today.

I didn't know back then. But yes to Jesus, it's a three-letter word, is you enjoy salvation. You yourself get to enjoy salvation when you say yes to Him, not someone else. And that's what happened to Tracy. She was enjoying salvation in her life. So her circumstances weren't dictating her joy or her relationship with God.

And I got curious, you know, it's like, man, who's she going down there to be with every morning in the house? You know, I'm thinking in myself and realizing that she has entered into a serious relationship with Jesus. You know, I was still struggling in all my areas of my life as a person and my hope. And I could see clearly that there was a great relief in her life. There was hope no matter what, no matter what the condition we were in, there was hope for the marriage and there was hope for her and there was hope for the children. And she was right. And I got on board and you know what?

She was right because God restored everything and restored our children and multiplied us more than we could ever imagine because we ended up both coming together and saying yes. On our own terms, you know, you got to get to that place yourself. You know, a lot of men are not there and their wives are there and the men won't show up and they won't commit. And that's why their life don't get better and they walk with Christ. And it's not until they come in for themselves and say God, deal with me, deal with my issues.

I have these true problems in my life. I think too many of them sit around and they're very shameful but they won't bring you to the cross. And they will say God won't heal me because God will heal you when you stop living in the secret of your life. Well, I mean, that applies to the Christian and the non-Christian, doesn't it?

That's right. When we make that choice and because the majority of what hurts us and in Darrell's life, just speaking in our life, our consequences punished us, not God. Our consequences punished us, not God.

We made the wrong decisions and we have to live out these consequences, some of them for the rest of our life. But God met us right where we were at and he said, I'm willing and I'm ready to get you right on the right path anytime and at any place. At the time, the Lord didn't release me from my marriage.

I didn't feel peace in that. But the Lord told me, you walk with me, get responsible, make a boundary, get a job, start doing those practical things and you keep walking with me and more will be revealed along the way. And that walk with me, it means spend time with me. Spend time with me.

Which is what you did, what Darrell was just saying. And set yourself apart to sanctify ourselves unto the Lord, to set ourself apart, putting away the cell phone, spending time in prayer. How much time do we spend in prayer? We all have busy lives. The demand on us is all. Children, bills to pay, hardships and heartaches.

But shutting off the TV. I mean, I spent hours with the Lord. I set myself apart. The things I didn't know what to do, I learned how to pray. I studied prayer. I studied faith. I studied joy.

I studied peace. I went after the Lord with every fiber in my being. And I said, I am not going to settle with you.

I'm like Jacob right now. And I'm going to wrestle with you until I get my blessing. I'm not going to fall into the world. I'm not going to quit. Lord, I'm holding on to you with everything I have. And they said you would show up and guess what?

He did. Well, Tracy and Darrell, I mean, there are people that are in that spot right now where they need that kind of tenacity that you're talking about. They need to hang on and they're not sure they can. And your book, The Imperfect Marriage, Help for Those Who Think It's Over is a perfect resource for people who are desperate. But it's going to take your action. You've got to do it. You can't just have the one time experience with God and then walk away as you did, Darrell. You know, you've got to stick with it. You've got to learn how to hit and how to feel and how to love and how to love unconditionally, which is so hard. What a beautiful story you both have. Thank you. You really do. And God's hand is all over your relationship.

And if you're sitting here listening thinking that's good for the strawberries, it's not for me. Call us, please. Let us help you begin some steps towards some reconciliation in your marriage relationship or another family challenges that you have.

Our number is 800-AFAMILY. And Darrell, you mentioned earlier that your dad was abusive toward you, very physically abusive and emotionally in the home. And you were estranged.

I mean, you went into the major leagues and he really had no part of your life whatsoever. I'm curious if you ever got back together with him. You know, I remember about three years ago when God spoke to me when I was going to speak at a men's breakfast. He spoke to me.

That's Friday night. And I was going to speak Saturday morning. He says, your father's in the hospital. And I knew my father was in the hospital.

And he says, I want you to go down to San Diego on Sunday morning. I want you to go down and repent to your father. And you had not had relationship, any contact with him for how long? No relationship for years.

Years? For what he had done. God said, I don't want you to go down and talk about what he has done to you. I want you to go repent for keeping him out of your life.

And did you go? And I went, not only did I go, and I laid on his lap and I asked him to forgive me and I repented to him and I cried. And then God said, lead him to the Lord now. And I led him to the Lord. See, God said, this is not about you.

You need to understand. I need to use you for others, you know, and we can get out of the way and ask someone to forgive us for our wrongdoing. But for those that didn't hear last time, Darrell, this is the man that beat your mom, beat you and your brothers.

Yes. But God spoke to me and goes, that night, he goes, how dare you? I forgave you. How dare you not forgive?

And he was clearly right. I didn't know I was going down there to lead him to the Lord. I knew I was going down there to ask him to forgive me for keeping him out of my life, my career, my success and everything else. But God, at that particular moment of asking him to forgive me, he said, yes, I forgive you. And God says, right now, lead him to the Lord, asked him, do he want to accept the Lord? He says, two wrongs don't make a right. He says he didn't know any better. So he says, you know better because I forgave you and I saved you. And when I got back in the car with my brother, I cried again because God made it clear for me to understand this is never about you.

You know, Darrell, there's so many things that come to mind. What a beautiful story about the healing in your family, given everything that had transpired. Well, Tracy, when you see your mom and dad today, what is that like with all this history that the three of you have had?

And of course your sisters as well, but to sit with your mom and dad and to have them look you in the eye and you look them in the eye. Wow. What a journey. Yes. What do you say to each other?

It's amazing. I mean, they cry, I cry. And the life that I live now, just as a strong godly woman, helps them. And for them to know that it was worth it. The love was worth it. The prayers were worth it, even when they couldn't see, even when they didn't know. They never gave up on me in the spiritual realm. They never quit there. And they're so grateful that they did not. We just don't know the bigger, greater picture.

We don't know. Prayer is powerful, teaches us that in the Word. You either believe the Word is true or it's not.

And it's powerful. And I believe that the prayers that they said that I didn't know, the love that they showed for me, it brought me back. So when I see them now, it's just sweet. It's so sweet. And it's just a celebration in the Lord over and over and over again, that the child who was lost came back, their prayers didn't go in vain, and that God was with all of us the whole time. And when you really think about it, all three, they were reaching for the Lord.

But I finally said yes and reached for him too. And it brought us all together into a great place. It's a beautiful story. Thanks for being with us.

Thanks for having us. Daryl and Tracy Strawberry have shared about the miracle that God has done in their marriage and in healing other family relationships out of brokenness. And what an inspiration for us today on Focus on the Family. John, just as we've seen God mend their broken marriage, many other married couples are finding hope through Hope Restored, our marriage intensive program with highly trained counselors. Four out of five couples who enter the program are still together two years later and doing much better. So if your marriage is in trouble, call us and we'll tell you more about our program called Hope Restored. Our number is 800, the letter A and the word family, or look for the links in the episode notes. We'll encourage you to get Daryl and Tracy's book, The Imperfect Marriage, which should offer a lot of hope to you. It does chronicle their story and provide some great insights for those who are struggling in a difficult marriage.

Ask about that when you get in touch. And let me add, if you can donate to Focus on the Family today, we would so appreciate that as you help us to strengthen marriages every day through broadcasts like this one and so many other things here at Focus. With your donation of any amount, we'll send the Strawberries book to you as our way of saying thank you. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for joining us for Focus on the Family. I'm John Fuller inviting you back as we once more help you and your family thrive in Christ. Thank you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-23 05:22:00 / 2024-05-23 05:33:48 / 12

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