Dr. Hotze and his very special guest, best-selling Christian author Stormie Omartian, discuss her abusive upbringing and how it lead her to believe in the power of prayer – which is the main topic of most of her top-selling books. You don’t want to miss this inspiring conversation!
Stacey: Welcome to Dr. Hotze’s Wellness Revolution. I’m Stacey Bandfield, here with Dr. Dr. Hotze, founder of the Hotze Health & Wellness Center. If you have not had a chance to download our podcast, then please feel free to go to HotzePodcast.com, that’s H-O-T-Z-E-Podcast.com, for all of the ways that you can achieve health and wellness naturally.
Today, we have such an exciting guest. A lot of people are very familiar with her. She is a famous author, quite a prolific author. Dr. Hotze’s so excited that we’re going to be able to interview her today. Why don’t you share with the audience who our guest is going to be?
Dr. Hotze: Well, for all of you who particularly, particularly Christian women, will know this woman very well. It’s Stormie Omartian from Franklin, Tennessee. She is a world-renowned Christian author who has written well over 50 books. That’s five-zero books.
Dr. Hotze: Most of those have been written in the last 12 or 13 years. She’s most famous for her books that are entitled The Power of: The Power of Prayer, of a Praying Wife, The Power of a Praying Husband, The Power of Praying for Your Adult Children, The Power of a Praying Teenager, The Power of Prayer, and all these different aspects. I think she has somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 to 30 books entitled “The Power of a Praying” and then she has an addition to that. The book The Power of a Praying Wife, the latest I’ve seen, it’s sold over eight million copies worldwide. It may be more than that. How many has it sold now?
Stacey: It’s amazing.
Stormie O.: It’s sold about nine or 10 million.
Dr. Hotze: Nine or 10 million, The Power of a Praying Wife.
Stormie O.: Yes.
Dr. Hotze: I’m going to buy that book not only for my wife, because I would love her to pray for me in the way that you encourage, but I’m going to give it to my five daughters, as well, so they can pray for their husbands, and I’m going to give it to my…
Stormie O.: Oh, that’s great.
Dr. Hotze: …two daughter-in-laws so they can pray for my sons.
Stormie O.: Oh, that’s wonderful. I mean, let me supply those to you. After…
Dr. Hotze: No, no.
Stormie O.: Well, you saved my life. I mean, really. You and your staff really literally saved my life. You got to the bottom of everything that was wrong with me physically and changed everything, so the least I can give you are those books.
Dr. Hotze: Well, you’re so…
Stormie O.: I can give you..
Dr. Hotze: You’re so…
Stormie O.: I can give you the…I can’t remember what they call it, but it’s the deluxe edition, but it’s all leather-bound.
Dr. Hotze: Wow, that’s…
Stacey: Very nice.
Dr. Hotze: Listen, I would love that, but I’m glad to pay for it, but I thank you for your offer anyway. We’ll work that out after the program.
Stormie O.: Okay. Okay.
Dr. Hotze: But thank you so much. I’m excited about that. I think that could make a huge difference in our lives.
Stormie O.: Absolutely.
Dr. Hotze: So, Stormie, I know that you’ve been a guest here at the Hotze Health & Wellness Center. You came in originally in 2005 and had some health problems, but before we go into that, I want our listening audience to get to know you as a person. Tell us about your life growing up, where you grew up and how you ended up getting into acting in Hollywood and plays and those sort of things, and how you made the…and then into a singing group, and then how you made the transition into a Christian author, how all that happened. You have a wonderful life story, so I’d love you to just share it from the beginning.
Stormie O.: Okay.
Dr. Hotze: Where’d you grow up?
Stormie O.: I was born in Nebraska, but I grew up in Wyoming because it was just over the border there. I was raised by a mentally ill mother, very mentally ill, severely. My father was just…he just worked, worked, worked to just eke out a living. Wyoming can be a hard place to live as a rancher or farmer because of the weather. One year, the weather killed all of our cattle, and then the hail came in the spring and killed all of our crops, and so we lost everything.
Earlier in my childhood, my mother kept me locked in a closet when my dad wasn’t there. I think that she was very verbally abusive and physically abusive, but I think that being locked in a closet was…just filled me with such fear and affected me the most, I think. But we moved out of Wyoming when we lost all of those things. We lost that whole farm and ranch, you know? A combination.
We moved to California. It was so much easier living in a place there in California because the weather was so good. My mother…I wasn’t locked in a closet anymore. We didn’t have that kind of isolation. We rented an apartment and then rented a house, and so there are neighbors all around, so that didn’t happen once I was old enough. I was like eight by then, and so that didn’t happen after that, after we left that isolation of Wyoming.
I began to enjoy…well, I always enjoyed school because that kept me out of the house and I felt safe in school, except in recess because I couldn’t relate to the kids, and they…I just wasn’t around kids growing up, so I didn’t know how to relate to them. I was really terrified of them, actually. They were loud and kind of…they kind of bullied me because I was so shy and frightened. My whole experience until I got to California was very negative.
Once you get to California, as a kid you’re more accepting of people from all over because it’s kind of melting pot out there. It started to be more of a normal life, except my mother just kept getting worse and worse. She just was very just verbally abusive then, and physically, too. I mean, she still hit me in the face and things like that, but-
Dr. Hotze: Were you the only child?
Stormie O.: I was the only child for 12 years, yeah. My sister was born when I was 12. That gave me some relief because it took a lot of care to take care of a baby, and so she kind of let up on me, but not totally at all. It’s just that there was something else to divert her attention, you know?
Dr. Hotze: Right.
Stormie O.: I was so fearful and anxious and depressed, and all those negative emotions. Once I got out of the house, once I went away, moved up to L.A., I moved up to go to school at UCLA. I put myself through school. I took out a small loan, but I didn’t realize I was going to end up in debt. I just couldn’t afford to do that, so I just worked really hard and worked evenings and weekends and put myself through that school.
When I got involved in Hollywood, I started going to auditions. One led to another. After you audition for something, you’d get it, and that leads to something else and something else. I was working a lot up there, so I never finished that last year of college because I was working, doing what I wanted to do, but I still had that depression and anxiety, but the anxiety was so gripping. I was always terrified that someone was going to find out that I was a nothing, like my mother always told me, I would never amount to anything and all of that, and they’d find out how mentally ill my mother was. At that time, I think you were kind of suspect yourself if you had a mentally ill…
Dr. Hotze: Parent, right.
Stormie O.: … parent. It made you suspect, you know? I tried to keep that a secret too, but I just…it just got so bad. I was working in Hollywood on a bunch of different shows, regular shows, but I was so depressed and so anxious.
I was about 28 when I received the Lord. One of the singers I was working with on one of the shows introduced me to the Lord. She took me to meet her pastor. It was the pastor of a big church there in L.A. They gave me books to read, and I began to really see the truth. I knew it was the truth. I just felt that this was the first thing in my life that made sense. When I received the Lord, my life began to change. It didn’t get rid of the anxiety immediately or the depression. That took special prayer by special Christian counselors there at the church.
It was really amazing when I was finally free of that. It was like miraculous to me. It happened just in one counseling session where I fasted and prayed for three days before at the request of the counselor. She prayed for me. I told her about my whole past. The only one I had told at that time was my husband, Michael. I married him. Met him at the church, actually, and married him about a year later. After we were married, he encouraged me to go to this counselor at the church. We fasted and prayed. I was really set free from that depression and anxiety. It was really miraculous.
Dr. Hotze: Wow.
Stormie O.: I could just feel that whole burden lift off of my shoulders and my head. I was amazed. I didn’t have any idea that God could or would do something like that. That was where I began not only as a believer in Jesus and the power of God working in our lives, but I began to see that if He would do that for me, what more did He want to do for me, and what more did He want to do for everybody through the power of prayer, through communication with Him and doing His will and by trying to live His way? I mean, these are very freeing things. I saw that the freedom that God wants for us is really complete wholeness, and so I’ve been trying to help people understand that power in their lives when they pray in Jesus’ name. It’s a powerful dynamic.
Dr. Hotze: Which church did you attend there in…
Stormie O.: It was called Church on the Way. It’s still called that. Pastor Jack Hayford was the pastor there. They had tremendous…I mean, you didn’t go to that church and not learn how to pray. It was a praying church and it was a worshiping church. You learned how to worship God and be thankful and be humble and how to pray and know that God hears you and will answer, in His way and in His time. That’s a real important thing to add there.
Dr. Hotze: Right.
Stormie O.: He’s not a genie. He doesn’t jump the minute you say something. He wants us to have a relationship with Him where we communicate with Him ongoingly in prayer. It’s really a powerful thing.
Dr. Hotze: Was it the church there that influenced you and your spiritual life in terms of your prayer life?
Stormie O.: Yes, absolutely, because he, Pastor Jack, had us pray. You prayed every time you went to church. You went into prayer circles, and maybe three or four people. You shared your name and your request, and each one prayed for each other. You prayed for each other. It was really hard at first. It’s like, “Gosh, I don’t know if I can sound spiritual,” you know? You think like you’ve got to prepare yourself to the people on the platform like the pastor, worship leader, or whoever, and you don’t feel like you’re really qualified or you know enough, but it’s just sharing your heart with the Lord, you know? Just saying, “God, I need help with my finances, or I need healing. I’ve got this situation in my body that needs Your touch. I need to know what doctor to go to and what I’m to do to help my health.” You know, all of these things. It was really powerful because you learned that every week, and it got easier every week. It really would.
Dr. Hotze: So, you were at that church, then, how long? You met your husband, Michael, with whom you’ve been married now 45 years?
Stormie O.: Yes, 45 years. Right.
Dr. Hotze: That’s remarkable.
Stormie O.: Thank you.
Dr. Hotze: My wife, Janie, and I just celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary…
Stormie O.: Oh, did you? Congratulations.
Dr. Hotze: …this past September. Thank you.
Stormie O.: Oh, that’s wonderful.
Dr. Hotze: Yeah. It’s…
Stormie O.: I love that.
Dr. Hotze: It’s great.
Stormie O.: Yeah.
Dr. Hotze: So, you and your husband met there, and then he was in the music business, or he did some recordings, didn’t he?
Stormie O.: Yes he was, when I met him at the church, he was not as well-known as he became. I just really saw in him the gifting that God had given him, the talent. He’s scary talented. You think, “Wow, where is that coming from?” He acknowledges that it’s from the Lord, that God gave him those gifts, musical gifts.
After we got married, he was already getting known in Hollywood for recording, playing on sessions, playing piano on sessions, recording sessions. Then after we got married, he just blew wide open where he won the award for Piano Player of the Year. It was like that, and then he began to get other awards, you know? A Grammy for She Works Hard for the Money, that song he wrote with Donna Summer, and just there were other things, too. He did Christopher Cross where that was just…I think it was 10 Grammy’s. They were up for 10 Grammy’s and I think they won eight of them…
Dr. Hotze: Wow.
Stormie O.: …Christopher Cross and Michael. His career was really, really taking off. It was great because he’d worked hard for that, and so I, once we got married, I still had…I knew the Lord, I met a man, I married, and I still had that depression. That’s when I…he said, “Why don’t you go to the church office? Because they have these women…” They’re pastors’ wives who were really gifted in knowledge of Scripture and knowledge of what God wanted to do in our life as far as bringing wholeness into us. I think that was really that encouragement I needed to go there and do that. I didn’t know about things like that. I’d been to counselors before, but they were secular counselors. They just helped me to cope but not ever gotten rid of it.
I actually got rid of all that depression and anxiety when I was prayed for that day, not that I was ever not ever anxious again or not ever depressed again. It’s just that if I was anxious or depressed, I’d take it right to the Lord and I could just get free of it. When they prayed those prayers of deliverance for me and I felt that horrible oppression leave, just that burden on my shoulders and my mind and everything, something changed. I mean, everything changed. My idea of what God wanted to do in my life and the lives of other people, it was miraculous when I saw that. That’s when I started writing those books.
Dr. Hotze: You were mentioning to me now at your, at the church that you attended where you learned from your pastor and his method of teaching, he used…there was a lot of prayer and you met with counselors that prayed for your deliverance from fears that you had, anxieties that you had, depressions you had, which really stemmed from your life growing up with your mother who apparently was not an encouraging mom. She could oftentimes be somewhat bitter and discouraging.
Stormie O.: Very.
Dr. Hotze: I wonder why that was. Have you ever thought about what maybe had led your mother to be that way?
Stormie O.: Well, you know that I wrote, I did a whole thing when I wrote my autobiography, a whole research trip on her and everything, and interviewed my relatives and everything. They said that she had signs of that when she was a teenager, like 17, 18, and she had signs of something being wrong. After she had scarlet fever around that time, they said that she really…it affected her brain where she’d just, she’d get angry. Her mother died when she was 11. I don’t know, she just felt rejected because she was passed around among family members. She just felt, I don’t know, that God had betrayed her or let her down or didn’t like her, whatever. Anyway, I’m not sure if that really contributes to the mental illness, but I think it adds something to it…
Dr. Hotze: Sure.
Stormie O.: …because everybody said she changed after that.
Dr. Hotze: After you became a Christian and began to attend the church in Los Angeles, you began to understand the power of prayer. Was your mom still alive?
Stormie O.: Yes, she was. She’d gotten so much worse by then. She just kept getting progressively worse all the time. By the time she died, she was 64. She just was hallucinating. I mean, she thought everyone was out to kill her and people were watching her through the TV and mirror and all of these things. She was isolated. They were isolated on a farm up in Northern California where they retired, my dad retired to. She just kept getting worse and worse. It was really bad.
Dr. Hotze: What’s really remarkable is that coming out of that background, it would’ve been easy for you to kind of follow in the same steps, in the way you were treated, and so you have overcome a lot in your life, just from your personal background. Obviously, God had His hand on you to deliver you from that, and that’s…
Stormie O.: That’s right.
Dr. Hotze: …that’s wonderful, and…
Stormie O.: Yeah, it is. It’s miraculous, really.
Dr. Hotze: When was it that you wrote your first book? What book did you write?
Stormie O.: I wrote a book called Greater Health God’s Way. It was just when I was working in Hollywood, I picked up a lot of really interesting information that worked as far as having health a natural way, the natural way to enjoy good health. I published that book. It was published, and then the second book was my autobiography, because by that time I had gotten free of all that negative baggage that I had, that I carried around and was exhausting me and making me sick, you know?
Dr. Hotze: Did you come to a point when you were in your counseling that you had to forgive your mother for the way…
Stormie O.: Yes. Yep.
Dr. Hotze: Was that the key?
Stormie O.: That’s the thing I left out. I forgot to tell you that. When I was being counseled by the pastors’ wives, one in particular, I had to…one of the things I had to do while I was fasting for three days, and the counselor fasted with me, which I thought was a great sacrifice. She was a stranger to me.
I had to forgive my mother. I had to write down everything that I forgave my mother, wanted to forgive my mother of doing to me. I had this huge list of that, all the things that I wanted to forgive her for. I had to proclaim that before…when the pastors’ wives were praying for me. I had to say, “Lord, I forgive my mother of everything. Just help me to forgive her completely,” because I wanted to forgive her completely, but you need the help of God, really, the great forgiver who forgives us of everything. He helps us to have a heart to forgive other people. It’s so important to our health that we be able to forgive because I think those unforgiveness places in our lives are…can really weaken our body because it just gnaws on us/
Dr. Hotze: Well, it creates a root of bitterness. It creates a root of bitterness.
Stormie O.: Yeah. Exactly.
Dr. Hotze: …that eats away at you.
Stormie O.: Right.
Dr. Hotze: This goes back to 1975, ’76 when you wrote these books. Was that, or was it…
Stormie O.: I wrote Greater Health God’s Way after my son was born in 1976, and then my daughter was born in 1981. By then, I had written my autobiography because I’d had such miraculous healing in my emotions and learning to forgive completely, and all those kinds of things that you just really need the help of God to enable you to do all that. You make a decision to do it, but it’s hard to forgive someone who you feel has damaged your life, you know?
Dr. Hotze: Well, you know, what I find in our…here in our practice, we see, approximately 75% of our guests are women and 25% are men. When women come in, one of…not an uncommon complaint we have, or women complain of health issues relating to anxiety or panic attacks, maybe depression, mood swings and all that, which I know can be caused by hormonal imbalances, can affect that, but we also know that there are real life experiences that can cause people to feel anxious or depressed, just like the experiences you had. When most women go to a physician, a conventional doctor with those symptoms that you were complaining about, had you been seeing a conventional doctor, you would’ve been placed on some form of antidepressant or anti-anxiety medication.
Stormie O.: Absolutely.
Dr. Hotze: …whatever they had back in those days. That’s a long time ago, but they had antidepressants. They would put you on Valium. I mean, that was a big drug back then. You probably knew tons of women…I saw a lot of women in my practice I didn’t…when I first started, it wasn’t natural approaches to health. I had a family medical practice back in the ’80s in the north side of Houston. A lot of the women came in requesting Valium. That was the big drug of choice at those times. You can probably remember that.
Stormie O.: Yes, absolutely.
Dr. Hotze: But your case in point really shows that there can be some deep emotional scars and damages and injuries to our mental health and to our spirit when we’ve been…somebody has influenced our spirit to feel that way and we begrudge them. We hate them for what they’ve done. We’re unforgiving. The point that you make is what delivered you, really, was asking God to help you forgive your mother for all the harm that she had caused you mentally and physically.
Stormie O.: Yes, and that was an ongoing process, too. It didn’t happen immediately, but when I prayed that prayer, though, and they prayed for me…forgiveness and asked God to set me free of it completely. That was a major turning point. They prayed for me. I could feel all that leave. It’s not like suddenly I had no unforgiveness. It’s just that, then things would come up that I hadn’t thought about that did, and then I’d have to ask for forgiveness. “Lord, help me. I confess this before you, Lord. There’s unforgiveness. Help me to forgive her for this.” It was an ongoing process. It just…
Dr. Hotze: Now, Stormie, have you written any book, any one of your books on prayer, that addresses this issue of forgiveness?
Stormie O.: It’s called Out of Darkness. It was called Stormie back in the ’80s when I first put out this book as my autobiography, and then it was re-released again with about 50% more information because I brought it up to date from 35 years ago at that point. It’s called Out of Darkness now, but that was, I dealt with that unforgiveness thing. It was really a big issue. Then the book that I wrote called The Power of a Praying Woman was…I deal with unforgiveness in that book too because we have to get rid of it in order to…
Dr. Hotze: To be spiritually happy. You do, otherwise it says you get a root of bitterness.
Stormie O.: Yeah. It’s horrible.
Dr. Hotze: In Hebrews, it talks about that.
Stormie O.: …and that eats at your body, too.
Dr. Hotze: Sure.
Stormie O.: Not only your mind, but your whole body.
Dr. Hotze: This is what’s really important. When you had the bitterness and the unforgiving spirit towards your mother before you had asked for forgiveness, did you…was that affecting you besides the anxiety attacks and depression?
Stormie O.: Yes.
Dr. Hotze: Physically, yeah, was it affecting your health?
Stormie O.: Yes. I was always sickly as a child. I think it’s just from neglect, really. I had diphtheria when I was a child and almost died of that. My mother was, thought doctors were out to kill her because she thought that doctors had killed her own mother. Her mother died in childbirth and it was the doctor’s fault. He felt badly, so badly about it that he paid for all of the funeral expenses and everything. From then on, she didn’t trust doctors. She thought they were out to kill her. Eventually she thought that.
I’m not sure that was one of the reasons. I don’t know for sure that’s why I didn’t go to a doctor until I was like dying or something, and I didn’t, thank God, because of this great doctor who found out what was wrong and traveled out in a blizzard to our house and walked across a field when his car couldn’t go any further and gave me a shot of whatever it was. That was the turning point, and I just…but she never trusted them and always thought they were out to kill her. I think the fact that she was very neglectful of me, that’s why I was very sickly, plus nearly dying from that, because it did really…damages a lot in your body.
I was sickly from as far back as I can remember. That carried over as a teenager and in my adult life. I was always sick, always sick with something. It wasn’t until I had gotten involved with the singers in Hollywood that they…I learned so much about natural, natural healing, eating the right food and exercising, all of that. That was really helpful, but I still…I think, I really believe all of that negativity in me, that unforgiveness, that depression, that anxiety, it took its toll on my body.
Dr. Hotze: Sure it does.
Stormie O.: I needed help.
Dr. Hotze: Sure it does, and I often wonder, I mean, I think about this in relation to our guests. When our guests come in and we evaluate them from a physical point of view, we look at eating patterns, we look at thyroid hormones, female or male hormones, adrenal hormones, vitamins and minerals, exercise program, allergies as having a… When they’re out of balance, or whether or not you’re not taking the correct amount, or you’re eating improperly or not exercising, or you have allergies, you tend to be sick; but we have some guests who do remarkable, you know? You get them up on a program and they just do remarkable. Then we have other guests that no matter what you do, they just don’t seem to want to get well. They just don’t. I just wonder if there are some unresolved conflicts from their past life that’s having an effect on the way they’re feeling and the…
Stormie O.: I believe it.
Dr. Hotze: We don’t do primarily, do counseling here, although we’re a Christian-based organization, but just your story tells me we ought to be thinking more…we think we think about the whole person, mind, body, and spirit, but we maybe need to have more emphasis on the spiritual aspect to that and work with somebody, some kind of Christian counseling that could help do that.
Stormie O.: I agree.
Dr. Hotze: We’ve been visiting with Stormie Omartian, and we talked about her early life, growing up, living in Wyoming, really having a mother who was very negative on her and adversely affected her health, her mental health, her physical health. They moved to the Los Angeles area. There she went to UCLA and then got involved in a church, attended a church. What was the name of the church again?
Stormie O.: It was called the Church on the Way.
Dr. Hotze: The Church on the Way. The pastor was Pastor Jack-
Stormie O.: Hayford.
Dr. Hotze: …Hayford.
Stormie O.: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Dr. Hotze: There, she learned the power of prayer and was delivered from some of her emotional…the scarring that had occurred in her life, and married her husband of 45 years now, Michael, who is a very successful musician. On our next broadcast, we’re going to talk about Stormie’s move and her husband’s move out to the Nashville area.
We thank you for joining us now, and then on our next broadcast, be sure to pick up the second half of this. We’ll talk about the health problems that Stormie began to experience as she passed through the change of life and how we became a factor in helping her get her health back.
Stormie O.: Oh, big factor.
Stacey: That’s right, and if you would like to receive a complimentary consultation and get your life back as well, you can always call us at 281-698-8698. That’s 281-698-8698. Thank you for joining us today at Dr. Hotze’s Wellness Revolution.