An Invitation to Hope: Finding God in the Most Unexpected PlacesFebruary 12, 2014
Once Vicki became a Christian, she began to pray that her husband would, too. Bill shares what eventually led him to give his heart to Christ and finally return home to the family he loved.
Once Vicki became a Christian, she began to pray that her husband would, too. Bill shares what eventually led him to give his heart to Christ and finally return home to the family he loved.
An Invitation to Hope: Finding God in the Most Unexpected Places
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Wednesday, February 12th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. We'll hear about the process that God took Bill and Vicki Rose through as He began restoring their marriage. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. You know, when a husband or a wife begins to lose hope in a relationship, it's really difficult for anything to stabilize or for them to move forward in any direction if there's no hope left in the marriage.
Bob: But when there is a spark of hope, or a glimmer of hope, or when something happens in a relationship to cause that spark of hope to rekindle, that provides a lot of inertia for a relationship to move in the right direction.
Dennis: You know, when someone is in a circumstance like that, Bob, they can decide to deny reality and just pretend it doesn't exist. Others can and have withdrawn, and completely pulled back from the battle, and ignore it, and do their best to live their own lives.
But there is another group—who can decide to stay and fight, and who can seek to redeem, and be a vessel of grace—to their spouse, to their marriage, to their children—and I think, Bob, to their legacy—to the generations that follow.
Bob: Yes, we've been getting to know a couple of fighters this week; haven't we?
Dennis: We have—[Laughter] Yankee fighters—New York Yankee fighters.
Bob: They used to fight with each other, now they fight for one another; how's that?
Dennis: For each other.
Bob: Yes, I pulled that one out of the—
Dennis: Bill and Vicki Rose join us, again, on FamilyLife Today. Bill, Vicki, welcome back.
Bill: Thank you.
Vicki: It's great to be here.
Dennis: We've learned, earlier, that Bill and Vicki are owners of the New York Yankees.
Bill: We have a little piece—
Dennis: A little crumb.
Bill: —which is why we're called Limited Partners—because it is limited.
Dennis: Limited—alright. He is also the CEO of DRM Sports Management. Vicki is a speaker, a teacher, and a writer. Together, they have two adult children who are married. They have a story of great redemption.
Earlier, we heard the story of Vicki coming to faith in Christ at a little dinner party for 900 people at the Waldorf Astoria. This is interesting, Vicki. I didn't mention it when you told this story earlier. I heard about this dinner party because it was hosted by Nancy DeMoss, the wife of Art DeMoss, who, for a number of years, God used mightily. That's where you met Christ and where the redemption story started.
Vicki: That's correct, in 1987—November.
Bob: And this was in the midst of a time when you were separated from Billy.
Vicki: We had been separated a year-and-a-half.
Bob: Is it okay for me to call you Billy? I mean, she calls you Billy.
Bill: She does, but most call me Bill.
Bob: Alright, I'll call you Bill from now on.
Dennis: If you call him Billy, I think of another manager for the New York Yankees.
Vicki: Feisty also! [Laughter]
Bob: There was another Billy in there for a while.
Bill: There was. He was a—
Dennis: He kind of reminds me of him, in a way—Billy Martin.
Bob: But you and Bill had been separated for about two years, at this point. You continued to be separated for about five-and-a-half years?
Vicki: A total of five-and-a-half years.
Bob: But when you came to faith, your perspective—on your marriage, on your husband, on God's plan for the future—all started to get realigned; didn't it?
Vicki: Yes, as I started to read the Bible and read what God says in the Bible about marriage—
Vicki: —that He hates divorce—that marriage is for a lifetime—one man and one woman—that if you do divorce, that remarriage is not an option. I started to read the Scriptures. I had come to a place in my life where I wanted to do things God's way, not my own, because I had created a mess on my own.
Bob: He hadn't changed at all—was still living the party lifestyle?
Vicki: Bill had not changed at all. I had grown up, just looking for things to fill me—job, marriage, children, et cetera; and none of it did. I was a single-mom, at that point, of two preschool children. I'd gone back to work, full-time, as a corporate buyer for Macy's. Life was pretty out of control.
Dennis: Vicki, God gave you some encouragement through your kids from time to time. There’s a great story I want you to share with our listeners.
Vicki: Shortly after I had been at that dinner party, and prayed, and asked Christ into my life, the woman who invited me gave me a great book called Leading Little Ones to God.
I started to read it at breakfast before school—just to calm things down more than anything—because getting two preschoolers and myself dressed and ready to leave for the day was always a crazy, chaotic time. So, we started reading Leading Little Ones to God. One morning, Douglas said, “You know, Mom, we should pray for Daddy to know Jesus.”
In my mind, I thought: “Pray for the guy? I’d rather kill him!” But I didn’t say that. I was really trying to not say negative things to the children about their dad. So, I said: “You’re right. We do need to pray for Daddy to know Jesus.” So, at breakfast, in the mornings, we started to pray that Daddy would come to know Jesus—and at bedtime, when I would pray before tucking them in. Every day, they prayed for their Daddy to come to know Jesus.
Bob: So you started inviting your husband to these dinner parties. He said, "No, no, no;" and then, came to one and left in the middle.
Bob: And you kept inviting him to them?
Vicki: I did. At that point, I had read Matthew, Chapter 6, where God talks about supplying all that we need.
Bob: "Seek first the Kingdom of God, and all these things will be added unto you."
Vicki: That one, exactly.
Vicki: And Matthew 6:33—my life verse. I really felt led to leave my job at Macy's and the salary and stay home, as a full-time mom, and work part-time for the ministry—which is what I did. I left Macy's; and I had figured out our finances, like, to the penny.
Bob: Yes, you weren't divorced. So, were you getting any kind of child support?
Vicki: Yes, Billy was giving me child support and paying rent. I was earning what I was earning. As I read Matthew, Chapter 6, I thought, "Gosh, how much am I making here?" And I added up what I made, what it cost me to go to work—transportation, child care, dog care, clothing, and so forth. What was left over—finally, with new eyes—it didn't seem like that much. I thought, "Wow—all that I'm sacrificing—my kids and not being home with them all the time, and being able to teach them, and raise them the way I would want to—in the Lord."
Vicki: And the babysitter didn't know the Lord. She didn't discipline as I would like to, and she played favorites, and all sorts of things.
So, I saw this amount of money. I thought, "Wow, if I don't buy clothes ever again—which is fine because I have plenty in my closet—and if I don't do anything, if I don't have any babysitters, we could probably make a go of this." I left my job at Macy's, and, with Billy's permission, started working part-time for Executive Ministries as a secretary, basically. I think $6 an hour was the salary. I worked only the hours that the children went to school—so it was three hours a day.
If someone was sick, I needed to stay home. The first time that happened, I—"Oh, my gosh! How am I going to pay the electricity bill?" I thought: "Well, God really knows my needs, and He says He's going to supply them, so I am not going to be afraid. I am just going to trust that we will have what we need, and then I'll be home when I need to."
Dennis: Billy, you know, here you are—you have this drug habit—you're doing lines of cocaine, costing $100 a day. That's a lot of money you're paying for drugs. Now, you're paying money for child support and keeping a family unit going. Did you ever resent that money that you sent back home?
Bill: No, I never—no.
Dennis: And so, as she began to invite you to these dinner parties, then, the invitation finally fell on some—at least, some kind of open heart—some kind of fertile soil. Tell us what took place then.
Bill: Well, I mean, the first one—she called me. She thought she had heard that my baseball hero, growing up, was a guy named Bobby Richardson—wasn't quite sure but thought she had. There was a baseball chapel luncheon down at the Downtown Athletic Club, which is where the Heisman Trophy used to be given. She wanted to know—said the guest speaker was Bobby Richardson—“Would I be interested in going?”
I thought: "Yes, that would be kind of cool. You know, I get to meet Bobby.” So I went down there for the luncheon. Bobby shared his faith and his testimony and was very eloquent. Someone introduced me to Bobby. He came back with me to the restaurant, The Sporting Club—that I owned. He spent a good two hours with me and prayed for me in my office. I was not ready to do anything further than let him pray for me.
Dennis: Was he sharing his faith with you—his faith in Christ?
Bill: Yes, he did. He also shared it at the luncheon; but we just talked about the Yankees and our past second-base history. He wore number one, and I wore number one; and—
Bob: He went a little farther than you did; right?
Bill: He did. Thank you for bringing that up. [Laughter]
Bob: So you just swapped baseball stories. He said, "Can I pray for you?" You said, "Yes, that's okay."
Bill: Yes, I mean, what was I going to say, "No"? That was my boyhood hero.
Bob: And he took off; and you said: "Well, that was neat. I got to spend the afternoon with Bobby Richardson."
Bill: He did; but he said he would stay in touch, and he did. So, that was where I started—and then, what happened was—I started to get really tired of feeling hopeless: “Is this all there is?” And on Sunday mornings—Sundays were my biggest day at The Sporting Club because it was football. We showed every single game, live, simultaneously—the only place that was doing that, at the time.
I remember just being in tears on Sunday morning—praying out to God—not really knowing who I was praying to—but I was praying out to God, crying out: "This can't be all there is! There's got to be something better than this, and I don't know how to get out of it."
I actually started watching some of these TV evangelists on Sunday morning. Yes, most of them got into trouble; and most of them did that, but you know what? I was there, listening, and started to really seek. That was the start of my journey out of a life that should have led me to death, really. I should—from all the drugs I did—I should have been dead, without questions asked.
Bob: I'm just thinking: “This is about the time that John Belushi was found dead in a hotel room in Los Angeles because he's been partying.” That has to—you have to read stuff like that and go——
Bill: Yes; but you always think, "It can't happen to me."
Dennis: How much of what was taking place in your soul was having watched your wife and her life change over a three-/four-year period? I mean, you had to be seeing a different woman emerge, who had not just different values, but there was a sparkle in her eye that hadn't been there before.
Bill: There was, but I really—it was still more about me, at that time. It was really about: “This was a life I didn't want to live anymore,” and it just—I realized that I was so dependent on this drug, that, you know, the thought of doing this for the rest of my life—because that's what I was looking at: “How do you get out of this?” I mean, “How do you stop the cycle?” I really didn't know the answer.
I had tried—I think it was in the middle of our separation—I had gone to two rehabs, briefly. The first one, I lasted one night; and I walked out the next morning. I went home for two or three days, checked into another rehab; and, actually, I think I was off drugs for maybe three months, at that time.
About three months later, I thought I could start and do it again—but do it differently—which is, obviously, the definition of insanity.
Bill: And I thought I could control it and was not able to do so. And, you know, when you pick it back up, you pick it back up right where you left off. You don't start really small. So then, my habit just got worse. I really, really was unable to stop. It was in December of 19—90?—
Vicki: —90, yes.
Bill: —that Vicki invited me to another one—a very small dinner held by Nancy DeMoss at her home—
Vicki: In Manhattan.
Bill: —in Manhattan. And—
Vicki: At Christmastime.
Bill: —it was there that I went with Vicki. I couldn't tell you who the speakers were, but I could tell you that God really spoke to my heart that night.
He had used—you know, Bobby Richardson—had used the TV evangelists—and had used whatever He had to do to get my attention. It was that night that I prayed to receive Christ—and still had the cocaine addiction—but, you know, just felt that I had a whole different deal—I had a Friend that was going to help me through this.
About three months after that, I checked myself into the same rehab that I had gone to previous to that. Anyone that tells you that cocaine is not addictive / there are no withdrawals—they have no clue what they're talking about. There are serious withdrawals. I went that night, really scared, because I didn't know how I was going to get through the first night with these withdrawals. I mean, I was down on my knees that first night, by myself, in my room, in the rehab—praying to God / praying to Jesus that, somehow, He would take away this addiction—take away what I was going through.
The best way I can describe it—and I've described before when we've given our testimony—is I just felt this whole addiction lifted out of me that night. I mean, immediately, I knew it was gone. I knew I was okay. I mean, I knew God had lifted this deal from me. But for the next—I don't know, six months—I kind of was living with one foot in one world and one foot in the other world. I was working at the restaurant—doing my thing—and dating Vicki when it was convenient.
Vicki: Going to church with us on Sundays.
Bill: Going to church on Sundays.
Vicki: With myself, and Doug, and Court.
Bill: Yes, absolutely. We were—I don't know where we were driving to. We were driving to—I do—we were driving to see our friends, the Webers.
BJ had been the Yankee chaplain. We’re sitting down; and I'm thinking this is—you know, it's a fun little stop to see our friends.
Vicki: Well, they were counseling us.
Bill: They were counseling us, but I didn't think this was a counseling session—going to their house and their little vacation retreat in the summer. Basically, what I got from BJ and Sheila was: "Bill, it's time to make a decision; okay? Either you're with her, or you're not with her; but you can't be doing both." And, you know, it sent shivers through my whole body that I'd now have to make a, you know, mature, executive decision on what I was going to do for the rest of my life.
Bob: What did you want to be? Did you want to be in or did you want to be out?
Bill: I was very happy right then doing exactly what I was doing—being both in and out.
Bob: You wanted to be right in the middle, yes.
Bill: Absolutely, you know, and—
Bob: You said, "I want to be in."
Bill: Four months later, I moved back in; and—
Dennis: It took you that long to answer the question?
Bill: It did. I told you, I'm not very quick.
Dennis: But, you know, I want to make a point of that because I think some of us are black-and-white. [Snapping of fingers] We want it instantly.
Vicki: That would have been me, most definitely. That year—actually, once Billy had come to faith in Christ—before he came home was probably the hardest of the five-and-a-half years—that was the last year and the hardest year because I thought: "Okay, you've accepted Christ. Why aren't you going into rehab tomorrow instead of two or three months down the road?” and when you came out, “Why have you not you moved home?" It was very hard.
Bob: Yes. You were ready and wanted him back home?
Vicki: I did. I did—partly because I knew that this is where God was leading. Yes, I did.
Dennis: And your kids?
Vicki: Oh, my gosh!
Dennis: Your kids noticed he had come to faith in Christ.
Vicki: They knew, yes.
Dennis: And what did they say?
Vicki: Well, they—prior to his coming to Christ, as we would be praying for him—they would say, "If Daddy comes to know the Lord, will he come back and live with us?" And so, he did; and he didn't. It was a very long year.
Dennis: And, you know, it's at this point I want to stop both of you and say, “Thank you for being real about this—
Dennis: —for your doubts, Vicki, and what you were struggling with—and your resentment, and anger, and everything you've expressed here about your husband coming to faith and then not getting with the program immediately. And, Bill, your own honesty—just to talk about how you processed it,” because I think we forget that, coming to faith in Christ—yes, there is a point in time, I think, when you do finally place your faith and trust and you give it to Him—but the change that occurs in our lives, as we become a follower of Christ—yes, we become a new creature; but, no, He doesn't rush in and clean up every closet—every room of the house.
In fact, He's still walking around my life, still doing some housecleaning.
Bob: There's remodeling that goes on for quite a while; isn't there?
Dennis: There is, but this is what makes a great marriage—is two people who come clean—come before the Savior, bend their necks—their wills—before Jesus Christ and say, "Thy will be done; not mine, but Yours." At that point, there really is hope for that marriage relationship.
Bob: Yes. You know, I'm thinking about this coming Saturday. You and I are going to be in Hershey, Pennsylvania, for the Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway that’s taking place there this weekend. I think we have five getaways happening this weekend in cities, all across the county. At each location, on Saturday morning, we will begin taking couples through a process for getting on the same page in your marriage—how you can understand, together—what is God’s purpose for marriage / how you can begin to understand God’s plan for how to make a marriage work.
Then, we’ll talk about where the power comes from for both of you to love one another well in your marriage relationship and honor God, as husband and wife.
I know we have listeners who have never been to a Weekend to Remember marriage getaway. We’ve got about 65 of them happening this spring. Why don’t you plan to join us at one of these two-and-half day getaways for couples—Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday—in some great locations, all around the country? Go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click on the link you see there for the Weekend to Remember. Find a date and a location that works for you and then come join us. Spend a weekend building your marriage relationship. If for some reason, you can’t get to one of these getaways—there’s not one coming near where you live or it doesn’t work on a particular weekend—you can host your own event for couples in your community.
We’ve put together a day-and-a-half long event called The Art of Marriage®. It’s a video event—Friday night and Saturday.
You can take couples through this material. I know some of you are thinking, “Our marriage is in no shape to take other couples through something like this.” Anybody can host an Art of Marriage event. It’ll strengthen your marriage. It will strengthen your friends’ marriages. In fact, this weekend, we’ve got hundreds of these events taking place in cities, all across the country. You can go to FamilyLifeToday.com and click on the link for The Art of Marriage and find out where an Art of Marriage event is taking place in a city near where you live. You can find out how to host your own event, as well.
Again, go to FamilyLifeToday.com for more information about the Weekend to Remember and The Art of Marriage. Our point, here, is—do something, this spring, that will strengthen your marriage; and then, do something that will help the marriages of people around you. Find out more at FamilyLifeToday.com. Click on the link for The Art of Marriage or for the Weekend to Remember to get more information.
Now, let me very quickly say, “Thank you,” to the folks who made today’s radio program possible. If you’re a Legacy Partner or you’ve made donations to FamilyLife Today in the past, today’s program is brought to you by you. That’s what it means to be listener-supported. We appreciate your partnership with us. If you have never made a contribution to help support FamilyLife Today, and you’re a long-time listener—if God’s used this program, or our website, any of our events, or our resources to help strengthen you in your relationships or in your walk with Christ—can we ask you to go to FamilyLifeToday.com, click on the link that says, “I CARE,” and make an online donation?
When you do, we’ll send you a thank-you gift. We’ll send you Dennis and Barbara Rainey’s book, Rekindling the Romance, that’s all about how to build a stronger, healthier, more romantic marriage relationship. Again, go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link that says, “I CARE,” to make an online donation; or call 1-800-FL-TODAY to make a donation over the phone. Ask for the book on romance when you do.
Or you can write a check and mail it to FamilyLife Today at P O Box 7111, Little Rock, AR. Our zip code is 72223.
Now, I hope you can join us back tomorrow. We’re going to hear about what happened after the five-and-a-half-year marital separation that Bill and Vicki Rose experienced and about how God got them back on track and back together. We’ll hear about that tomorrow. I hope you can join us.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We'll see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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