When life doesn’t go the way we thought it would, it can be easy to blame God. Sometimes in our darkest moments we can wonder if He abandoned us. In this episode, guest David Butler and I will be discussing ways to cope with this painful experience.
David Butler is a best-selling author, co-host of the acclaimed “Don’t Miss This” podcast, and educator. His unique view on God and scripture brings insight to this topic that will help listeners understand that they are not alone.
In this episode, you’ll gain a greater understanding of how transactional relationships can hurt us, how Jesus Christ is the perfect example in all things, and why we are sometimes left seemingly alone. You’ll know how to turn back to God, and heal the trust that has been lost.
I’m Andrea Giles. And you’re listening to the Heal from Infidelity podcast,
episode number 30, When You Feel Betrayed by God with David Butler. Hello
and welcome to the Heal from Infidelity podcast where courageous women
learn not only to heal from their spouse’s betrayal, but to become the
boldest, truest, most decisive and confident versions of themselves, ever.
If you know, there’s more for you than the life you’re currently living,
but don’t quite know how to get there, you are in the right place. Stick
around to learn how to create a life that will knock your own socks off. Is
it possible? It is. And I’m here to show you how. I’m your host, Andrea
Giles. Are you ready? Let’s dive in.
Hi everybody. I’m so excited to be here today. I have a really special
guest that’s been in the works for quite some time. And today we’re going
to be having a discussion about feeling betrayed by God. And the person
that I brought on, his name is David Butler. He’s an author, a bestselling
author, speaker. He is an institute teacher. He teaches religion every
single day, works with youth and has personally made a difference for me.
And I’m going to tell a little bit about that. So I first came to know who
David is, it’s been almost seven years, seven years ago. My first husband
had been killed in a car accident. And it was just shortly after he had
died. And I was woken up in the middle of the night with this thought that
I needed to go send my son to a camp that our church does called EFY,
Especially For Youth.
I got up and most spots were already long sold out, but I went and looked
anyway and there was one spot open to go to this camp in Rexburg, Idaho.
And so I bought the ticket and sent my son and keeping in mind that this
was about two weeks after his dad had been killed. So my son came home and
had a really life changing experience at EFY because of my guest today,
David Butler. He was in multiple classes with him and felt so strengthened
and so just helped and encouraged during this time and had some experiences
that really spoke to him and helped him to feel healing and feel heard and
seen in this time. So fast forward, several years, Peter, my son went on a
mission to the Marshall Islands and while he was on his mission, I was
listening to one of David’s classes. He’s the co-host of an amazing show
turned podcast, what do you call it, David? Both.
Yeah, I think that who knows what.
Right. It’s called Don’t Miss This. It’s fantastic. It’s a deep study of
the scriptures. He’s co-host with Emily Bell Freeman. And I was listening
to him tell a story about a time when he was teaching a class at EFY and
the subject matter of when really hard things happen in life, when things
happen and how sometimes we are delivered and sometimes we are not, but
sometimes we feel like we’re being handed the sword and can feel cut down.
And sometimes it can feel like we’re being sent an angel. And he talked
about a young man in his class named Peter and how sometimes it can feel
like both, that we can feel like we’re getting the smack down and being
carried by angels at the same time.
And as he was talking, you can imagine I had tears just streaming down my
face because I knew he was talking about my boy, Peter, and just, I was so
grateful that he had that instruction and help and strength that he needed
at that time. And to hear David speak about that just, you can imagine, my
son was far, far away serving his mission and it just meant everything to
me to see how far my son had come and how he had been given the help he
needed. So with that introduction, I want to bring on David. Thank you so,
so much for being here. David’s a busy man and has so many amazing things
going on and I’m really, really grateful that you took the time to come
today. So thank you.
Oh yeah, no thanks needed because I [inaudible 00:04:25]. That experience
with Peter, he actually taught me my own lesson then, and that’s been a
sweet memory and experience for me. And I just have wanted to stay
connected to that boy and anybody connected to him, so it’s a gift to me, I
Well, thank you so much. I appreciate it. So today we’re going to be
talking about times that we feel betrayed by God and David, I just reached
out to my Facebook audience and asked an open question about times that you
have been felt betrayed by God. And I got lots of private messages. I got
comments on my page. And it’s a pretty common experience. You probably know
this. It’s a pretty common experience. And some of the things that people
specifically mentioned as areas where they felt betrayed by God were around
spouses’ infidelity, as you know, that’s where I work, as women who are
working through infidelity, infertility, health issues, like major health
issues with your children, watching your children be sick, watching your
children suffer, having a personal faith crisis, watching a faith crisis of
a loved one, personal health issues, ongoing financial struggles, on and
on. On and on.
And so today I just want to talk about your experience as you spend your
days in study, in teaching and supporting and helping people. I’m sure this
is not a new topic to you because we’re all here having this experience.
And so I want to ask you, I want to know, first of all, have you ever
experienced this? Has this been something that you have ever encountered or
Yeah. And not that anybody wants to compare experiences, but I will say I
do hear stories that make my heart break because of just their intensity
and, I mean, I don’t know. Who am I to know, because I only know my own
life experiences, but I do look at others and I think you were dealt cards
I was not dealt and I’m only 40 and so, who knows and whatever. But in my
own ways that were heavy for me for my capacity and my understanding,
absolutely. I mean, I feel like one thing that I’ve been thinking about,
and I don’t know if you’re ready to just kind of jump into some thoughts
here or not, but-
Yeah, I am. Let’s go. Yeah.
I was thinking just this week about this, that, where I teach a class about
the life of Jesus, just that within our faith tradition, if you’re a member
of the Church of Jesus Christ, Latter Day Saints, we see the God of the Old
Testament and the God of the new Testament as the same God. And so we can
learn about his character in both places and you had a people who lived in
first century, Palestine at page one of the New Testament who felt betrayed
by God. For centuries, their identity was we are the people God set free
that he released us from Egypt, from slavery, from Pharaoh, from all of
that intense persecution. That was their identity as a people, but for
centuries, they didn’t have that. And God had promised them, you will bless
all nations. And my presence will be among you. And you will be led by a
God who is wonderful, a counselor, a prince of peace. And they did not see
those playing out in their lives.
And so anyone who feels this feeling of being betrayed by God, it would not
take very much imagination to feel like, what is it like on page one of the
New Testament for those people. They were asking the same question that so
many of your listeners and clients and friends are asking and that is where
is that king? Where is he? Now, we know when we read that story that they
were watching for the wrong kind of deliverance. And it’s easy to see it
2,000 years later looking back and just harder to grapple with that in our
own experience. But I started thinking this week. In those moments, when
I’m like, wait a second, where is that king? Could I be like them? And
maybe I’m expecting the wrong kind of deliverance.
Maybe I’m expecting him to be a certain kind of God. And those expectations
came from me and I created how he should deliver and how he should redeem.
And like so many in first century missed him. They missed that he was among
them because they were watching for the wrong kind of king. And I started
to think about that, how it’s like, well, wow, there have been experiences
I’ve had where I would look at it and I would say, well, that was
unexpected. That is not how I thought he would respond. That’s not how I
thought he would intervene. And so I’ve kind of discovered a new title for
Jesus, a new name for Jesus, which is the unexpected Jesus or an unexpected
deliverer. And most of the time I feel like that’s a word that means
Where it’s like, oh, I didn’t expect that because I expected this over
here. So unexpectedness could actually take on a meaning and a feeling of
betrayal and disappointment and lackluster and let down. But this took a
long time for me to get to this one point, which is the unexpectedness of
Jesus can actually be one of the most thrilling parts of his character
because of how unexpectedly merciful and kind, and long suffering and good
he is. It’s unexpected that he would come to some of the places that he’s
met me in, or that he would come to some of the people that he comes to.
It’s like, oh, that’s also very unexpected. One thing we can expect from
him is that he does deliver and he does redeem. But if we watch and follow
the pattern of his life, it rarely, rarely happens in the way that people
thought it would. That is, I think, what we need to teach about him is, oh,
it will probably not happen the way that you think. Just when has it? When
does a king come to earth in a barn?
And why does he ride in on Easter week, on the back of a donkey and not a
war horse and who wins a battle with five stones from the river? And you
know what I mean? That’s his, I was going to say his M.O. but there’s
probably a more respectful way to say that about him that, that he is the
unexpected deliverer. And there’s a lot of thrill in that. There’s a lot of
thrill in knowing that I can expect deliverance and I can expect to be
surprised by the deliverance.
Oh, that’s so powerful. That’s so beautiful. Two things that, that makes me
think of. One is that I think relationships in whole, we often set
ourselves up for disappointment because we have expectations in our mind
about what relationships should look like. A good marriage should look this
way. A good child should behave in this way. I am only good if I behave in
this way, if I check these boxes.
And I think that there’s so much freedom in letting that go and going and
learning about other people, watching other people. And I think when we’re
able to drop the expectations and actually see people, that’s where we see
them and know them really, when we really get to see them and know them.
And I think it’s the same with what you’re saying with Jesus Christ is that
when we can put down the check boxes, like I did my check boxes, so where’s
yours. Like, where’s your-
Which is a really bizarre relationship to have with anybody to say… I
mean, that is a business relationship.
If I do my part, then you are obligated to do yours. And I do not want that
kind of relationship with a father, a mother, a spouse, anyone, a child. I
don’t want it in any of my intimate relationships. I would like it with
But that’s the only person I want that kind of relationship with.
Yeah. Beautiful. I agree. The other thing that you reminded me of is even
the Savior himself who agreed to do what he said he was going to do, it was
really hard for him too. And I mean, even though he knew, he knew what he
was doing. He knew the cost, he knew where he was headed. He knew he was
going to be crucified. He still suffered greatly. He still had moments
where he didn’t want to do it, where he wondered like, “Are you sure? This
Yeah. Yeah. I think anybody who reads the words of Jesus from the cross
could translate it as saying, “My God, my God, why have you betrayed me?”
And if you read the gospels, Jesus always has it put together. He is
unflustered and he is so calm and he’s just put together, steady. They bust
in through the temple, in the middle of his sermon and drag a half dressed
woman in adultery into… You know what I mean? Certainly she would’ve been
a spectacle and his response is just even keel. A man possessed with devils
comes running at him. Jesus’s question is, “Hello, what’s your name?” You
see him no matter who or what is happening he is so… Until Gethsemane.
And then you watch him collapse in a panic attack. I mean, he loses
emotional and he loses all sense of like put togetherness when he goes into
that place. And that’s the same Jesus, the same Jesus on the Mount of
Beatitudes with the flowers and the people is the same Jesus in Gethsemane.
But sometimes in our moments of betrayal, we need to picture the Gethsemane
Jesus, instead of maybe the hillside Jesus, because it’s like, I actually
need that image of who he is. That’s the God I need today is I need
Gethsemane Jesus today not necessarily flower Jesus. But he experienced it.
Like you were saying. He experienced betrayal in the highest sense.
Yeah. Yep. Another word that I hear is I feel abandoned, just alone. Where
is he? Where is he? And what would you say to that?
Well, we talked a little bit beforehand and you, I think brought some
questions that you’d heard from people or some of your own thoughts. And
one of them that you said to me was do you know anyone in scripture who’s
kind of felt that way? And I thought, actually I can’t think of anybody in
scripture who has not experienced those things. So I don’t know where we
got this expectation from, but certainly it wasn’t from scripture of that,
but I mean, all over, I just can’t think of a single one that does not deal
with disappointment, that doesn’t deal with some sort of like heartache,
that doesn’t cry out, “My God, my God, where are you?” Like, “How could you
have done this?” You just see that occur. And if you don’t see it with a
person, it’s because someone didn’t write down enough of their story.
Like if you look at Isaac and Rebecca’s story in Genesis, it is just this
golden, darling little marriage and she has twins and she just dresses them
alike. And anyways, even they have a little bit, at the end, with the two
brothers that end up fighting and want to kill each other, literally. And
you have that. But the first part of it, you’re reading it. And you’re
like, “Well, wouldn’t that be nice?” And I was like, “Oh, listen, if I
wrote a one page summary of your twenties and thirties and forties, it
would look really sweet also.” When one only writes one page, it actually
looks really darling. You can just include the best parts and it’s
everywhere. It is everywhere throughout.
Yeah. Yeah. I think as I was thinking about preparing for talking to you
today, a thought that I had is I think that even like growing up, we have
the way that we’re taught things. And certainly my listeners come from very
different backgrounds. Some had more stable homes than others. But there’s
this growing up period where you think your parents are one way. It’s kind
of like growing up and you see your school teacher at school every day, and
then you run into them at the grocery store. And you’re like, “What?”
They’re like, “What?” They do stuff besides teach. And I think there’s this
shift that we experience in young adulthood where we’re like, “Oh, my
parents really messed up on this area. They’re not perfect here. They’re
not.” And it’s just this shift that can feel really uncomfortable.
Well, if they’re not this, then what does that mean about me? And I think
that what we’re talking about here with God is a similar thing in that it’s
like this growing up and maturing, a spiritual maturing and he is always
solid. He is always perfect. But I think that some of the messaging that we
get about what it looks like and how it’s going to go, some of that can
really set us up. Can really set us up when we’re like, “Oh, I thought it
was going to look this way. This is nothing like I thought it was going to
look. So what does that mean about me? What does it mean about him?” And
one of the things that I’ve heard a lot of is it must mean that I am not
good enough. It must mean that I’ve done something wrong.
And my husband, he lost his wife to cancer. She had cancer for almost seven
years and died when she was a month shy of her 37th birthday. It was a
slow, painful death and left behind five kids. And, she was told multiple
times, like in blessings, things like that she was going to heal, that she
was going to see her children grow up. And my husband has told me that he
took that to mean that it must be me. I must not be worthy of this
blessing. I must not be worthy of her healing. And it just hurt his soul.
And he’s done a lot of healing since then. But I think that, that’s a
common response. Like I must be broken. It must be me. I know that I went
there, for sure. Like that I must not be as lovable as women whose husbands
don’t do these things, who are faithful, who want to be good to them. I
must just not be quite up to par. So I’d love to hear your take on that.
What are your thoughts about that?
Well, I mean, I think that’s somebody’s translation of what they see. Like
what I see is this, this is a reality that’s happening is I have a spouse
who’s dying or died, or I have a situation that is just wrecking me and
then that’s the reality. Our translation of that is now fabricated, where
it’s like, all of a sudden, we are saying in the limited wisdom that we
have, I know why this is happening and it’s because of worst case scenario,
we’re just like. And that’s unfair, I think. And it’s really unwise, but
not unexpected that somebody would do that. I think about the disciples who
are in the boat, in the middle of the storm, in the book of Matthew. I have
just someone really close to me who opened up just this last summer to me
about a really serious betrayal and let down in his life.
And it was in his closest relationships, with his spouse and then nobody
was there to like support him. And he said, “I went to my dad for help. And
finally, my dad just kind of got sick of, I think, talking to me about it.”
And he said, “I always grew up thinking if I have no one else, at least I
have my dad. And when my dad wasn’t available anymore,” he says, “I turned
to heaven. And all I got was silence. That’s all I got. When I was on my
last breath, my last string of hope, nothing was there.” And I listened and
I did not have any answers, of course, because I can’t interpret what’s
happening there. All I can do is mourn in the fact that’s what he was
That’s what he was feeling. But a couple of days later I was reading in the
New Testament about the disciples on the boat and they’re on the boat and
when they’re there in the storm, Jesus is asleep, and it’s like, we feel
like that sometimes. We’re like, “I am in a storm and you are sleeping.
You’re sleeping through the middle of my hardest night. You’re taking a
nap.” That’s what they see. And that’s what they experience. And then you
remember, they go and they wake him up and they actually say to him, two
things, we’re going to die and you don’t even care. And neither of those
two things were true. They were not going to die. They went to worst case
scenario and they assumed the very worst about him.
And what they did is they translated because he asks a question that sounds
pretty patronizing, at first. He’s like, “Why are you so afraid?” And I
always thought that was so patronizing. And I was like, “Well, why do you
think?” I was like, “How about the fact that the boat’s about to snap in
two? How about the fact that I’m choking on sea water? Why do you think?”
It seems so patronizing until one day, I actually said it out loud. I said
that very question out loud to one of my kids when they woke me up in the
middle of the night. And I said, “Why are you so afraid?” And I realized,
then when I said it, I was like, “Oh my gosh, Jesus was not patronizing
them. He was going to work through the fear with them.”
Okay. Tell me what you’re so afraid of. Tell me. Let’s talk about this.
Don’t you know I’m bigger than storms. Let’s talk about that. You don’t
have to be afraid. Those disciples translated a sleeping Jesus, as one who
wasn’t interested, but really, a sleeping Jesus is one who isn’t
intimidated by this. And they translated it wrong. But what I want to say
is, of course they did. Of course, they did because they were in the middle
of a hurricane. So naturally, they did. And as I read that, I thought about
my friend and I thought, I bet, no wonder you cannot see God right now or
feel him, because you are in an emotional and a spiritual and a mental
tailspin and storms by nature are so blinding.
I am not surprised at all that you don’t sense him near, and you’re making
these assumptions about him because why wouldn’t you when your very life is
on the line and you know, this better than anybody, that, that’s exactly
how you would describe what it feels like to be in infidel-… You’re like,
“I’m choking. I’m drowning.” And if I were drowning, literally drowning in
the ocean, I don’t think I would notice who was on the shore. I don’t think
I would notice who was there helping me. Of course, I wouldn’t. My only
thought would be I’m trying to survive. And it’s like, it’s not until 40
years later after the resurrection, then Matthew writes down the Gospel of
Matthew and tells that story, and is able to say, “Oh, Jesus was there all
along.” It took 40 years. And the perspective of the resurrection and the
cross to be able to then look back and say, “Oh, there you were.” Now I see
that you were there all along.
Yeah. Oh, that’s beautiful. Thank you.
But that’s hard. That’s hard, isn’t it.
Yeah, it sure is.
Why is every time you’re in it, somebody stand up in church and say, I
prayed and I found my car keys and you’re like, “Well, congratulations. I’m
so glad. I’m so glad that God is interested in finding your stupid car keys
and not interested in helping me survive this.” But no wonder. Of course, I
would not blame anybody or myself in those kind of situations.
I actually think that it is a tribute to the sweetness of Jesus that he
says, “If being angry with me is going to help your healing, then I will
swallow that. I will handle that.” But he has emotions like we do. And when
we’re angry with him, he feels that. But he’s like, “But if this is going
to be how you heal then that’ll be…” My nephew, I was talking to
yesterday and he’s a college athlete and his season’s about to start. And
he tore his ACL in practice. And whose fault is that? Well, it’s gravity
and it was whoever left the divot in the field and it’s not God’s. It’s not
God’s fault, but blame went to God. That’s what he did. He was so angry
with God for not preventing it and why would he let that happen if you
really loved me and some people might be listening, to this, it’s like,
“Oh, buck up, little boy, it’s a little trip.” But it’s a really, really
big deal to him.
And he says, I was so angry with God and I stopped praying and I stopped
reading my scriptures. And he says, and I stopped wanting to just be
involved with him at all. He said to me yesterday, I didn’t think about
until today, how heartbreaking that must have been for him, for me to stop
talking and how sweet it was for him to say, “Hey, I know you’re really mad
at me, right now and that’s okay.” And then he said this to me, but I’ve
had other people who came into my life to help me kind of understand and
work through that. And he said, “I think it’s so sweet that even though I
was so mad at God for, probably an unjustified reason, he still sent
messengers to me. He still sent people almost as if he said, hey, Spencer
is really mad at me, right now. So will you go tell him, I love him,
because he doesn’t want to talk to me right now.”
I love that.
That is so sweet. That is so, so sweet.
I love that. Oh, that’s beautiful. That’s beautiful. I love that. A couple
of thoughts come up with that one is okay, so sometimes, so that was an
accident where he fell or tripped and hurt himself. Something that I see
quite frequently with my clients is where the people who they think are
supposed to be the helpers kind of don’t show up in the way that they
think. And specifically where I have seen this a lot is in church
leadership with bishops, with state presidents, with support for the women
and oftentimes like the men there’s programs, there’s a lot of support and
rallying around to help.
And oftentimes the women feel like, what about me? What about me? I
fortunately did not have that experience. I had amazing support. I had
amazing support, but I hear a lot of women who don’t, where they feel even
abandoned by the people that they’ve been taught will be their helpers from
a young age, like go talk to your bishop, go talk to your leaders, they’ll
help you. And so there’s that element. I would love to hear your thoughts
I have a little bit of anxiety about this and I’ll tell you why. Because I
served as a bishop for five years and it panics me some time to think that
I may have done that to somebody along the way. And it kind of hurts my
spirit a little bit because that would never would have been my intention.
And I’m not trying to excuse myself, but I just am like, “Oh my gosh, where
did I mess up? What did I do?” I was talking to a friend just this week.
And she mentioned this very thing and said, I wish I had a different
bishop. I wish I had a different Relief Society President. They’ve done
nothing for me. I am here and they have done nothing and I think that,
again, she kind of went into that, expecting that this is what bishops and
Relief Society Presidents are supposed to do. And it’s like, oh, what if
instead it was like, wouldn’t it be nice if they did, instead of just
expecting like, “Oh, that’s what they’re supposed to do. And they didn’t.”
And unfortunately, sometimes that gets translated again to God. The
imperfections of people get translated as, “Oh, then God must not care
otherwise you would’ve inspired them or given me a leader or a friend who
was more like this.” And I hate to use this word, but I just don’t feel
like, currently in my own life, I do not feel like I am entitled to any
help from my bishop or from any of my neighbors or from my wife, even.
That’s been great to let that go and when it comes, it is such a thrill
when it comes. It’s like a, “Oh wow.”
I teach a world religions class and we talk about, in Hinduism, about
arranged marriages. And I was like, “Let’s talk about some of the benefits
of an arranged marriage. I know you all know the benefits of a choose
marriage. That’s great. Let’s play the benefits of an arranged one for a
second.” And this girl said something last week and I was like, “That’s
actually so interesting.” She was like, “I made lists every week in Young
Women’s about what my husband was going to be like, and all these things.”
And she was like, “I’m sort of afraid I’m going to be sorely disappointed
because he will not measure up to what I just expected and hoped and
thought that he was going to be,” and she said, “In an arranged marriage,
you start with nothing and if they brush their teeth, that is a bonus.” I
I love it.
I was like, “Oh, that is so awesome.” But I think there’s a lot of wisdom
in that and to think… I don’t want anyone to interpret this as like being
insensitive to it and just saying to somebody, because if somebody has
grown up with that expectation, even if it was a false expectation, it’s
still hurtful and I still mourn that they are hurting over that, about not
having that. I’m not discounting the hurt. I’m trying to think of how can
we prevent some of that hurt. And seeing like, oh, you know what, one way
that God can reach people is through church leadership but never, would I
say that is the preferred way or the only way. I would just say it is a
way, and Jenny likes to say to me, this, she says, “I’m not in charge of
your happiness.” That’s what she says to me. She was like-
“I actually enjoy trying to make you happy. I actually like it. So I’m
going to do it in my life, just so you know, but I’m not in charge of it
for you. You have to find these things.”
She’s a wise woman.
Yes. Yeah. Yeah. I feel like that strengthened our relationship a whole lot
where I’m not demanding her to be something that she didn’t sign up to be
or cannot be. So in the same way, I want to let go of that demand for my
leaders and my friends also. And just say, when you come, I will be so
thankful, but if you don’t, that’s not disappointing. That’s just… It is.
And I really think we deal with a lot of crap in our life, but church crap
is particularly painful.
Yeah. What’s your thoughts on why? Why do you think?
I think because church is supposed to be our place where we can be
vulnerable and it is the things of our soul, and we really are in a place
of, these are things most important to me, these are things that I’m most
sensitive about. And so when I’m betrayed or hurt in a church context or a
family context, it’s like… At work, it’s still hurtful, but I can deal
with it a little bit better because it’s work. There’s a lot of sports crap
that we deal with the kids in sports, at school and people are backs
stabbers there. And it’s like, okay, that’s hurtful but it’s sports and
whatever. When it happens in my place of worship and my community of faith,
it’s just like that cuts deeper in those places.
But the reality is, is why would it not happen in those places? It just is
harder. It’s harder to recover from it. It’s harder to manage it. There’s a
lot more emotion involved. And that is why there’s a lot of things, ideas
and things that are just irreconcilable. Let’s take somebody who’s LGBTQ
and we have these two doctrines, one of chastity and marriage and one of
acceptance and love of all, and I cannot figure out how to bridge that gap.
But I’ve learned that my job’s not necessarily to bridge that gap, but just
to love somebody and practice the Christian virtues of patience and faith
and hope and love. And I think those virtues are so powerful to just, in
the meantime, we’re going to find ourselves in the meantime a lot. This is-
Yes. 100%. And as you’re talking, I’m thinking about, a vulnerable piece
for me, that’s been very personal and speaking about church things like
that the church things can sometimes cut the deepest. It feels very
personal is for people who are listening, who are not members of my faith,
we place a lot… Everything it’s about being sealed eternally, eternal
families, being with your spouse forever. Everything in our church, it’s a
big deal. It’s something that’s foundational to our doctrine. And I was. I
was sealed and it did not go the way that I thought it would and where I
have struggled and really gotten to that and in the meantime place is in
kind of going, “Where do I fit in here? Where’s where do I fit in?” Because
I’m married to a widower who, he was married and sealed to his first wife.
And so for me, it’s like, where’s my place. Where’s my own person that’s
mine. And anyway, there’s just parts about what we’re taught about the
doctrine and things like that, that just, I haven’t quite figured out, that
I haven’t quite come to a peaceful place of understanding, but I will tell
you, where I have found peace with it, when in the things that I just don’t
have an answer to of what it’s going to look like, I’m still sealed to my
first husband, is in going, there’s just things I do not know that I might
not be privy to yet that I might not be ready for. And I remember early on
in our marriage, really struggling with this, just feeling like if he died
today, he would go, according to what we teach, he’d be with her. And I’m
like, “What about me? What about me?”
It was really painful. I was in a lot of pain and this understanding that
we’re really here to learn how to love. That’s really what we’re here to do
is to learn how to love, to learn, how to become this version of ourselves
that can let go of some of these outcomes that we so desperately want and
learn how to love in a way that transcends the outcomes that we just have
to know. And so that’s where I have felt peace and kind of been able to let
that go in going, “I’m open for further information, but I don’t need it to
feel peaceful now.” I’m okay. I can hang out in the meantime, kind of just
going, “I’m not sure what that’s going to look like, but I’m okay just
loving him, getting better at loving myself, loving God and trusting the
process, trusting that there’s things that I just do not know yet.”
Right. Yeah. And I just think there is a lot of confusion and you came from
a hurtful situation and it’s just like, “Oh, let’s not add to the hurt by
getting hurt over things that we don’t know.” You can’t take away all the
hurt and you can’t take away the confusion, but you can take away the hurt
that comes from assumption. Someone asked me last night, I’m afraid I’m
going to miss my chance to get married. And then God’s going to say, “Well,
I gave you a chance and you blew it and you missed it. So, sorry, you’re
not going to get that.”
And she says, I’m so afraid of that. And I said, “Pause, pause for just a
second. Can you imagine in your mind’s eye, the Jesus who approached the
leper, a leper who had not been touched or hugged or given a good night
kiss to, for who knows how many years, who’d been an outcast, who had to
wear a bell so that no one would come near him and Jesus walks up to him
and with every mode in your imagination possible to heal him, the magic
words, waving a wand, of all the ways he chose to heal that leper it was
with a touch.”
It’s such a tender, sweet scene. And I said to her, “Can you imagine that
same Jesus ever using the words to you, “Well, sorry. You missed out.”” I
was like, that’s not the God I believe in. The one that you are painting a
picture of is not the one that I believe in. I just don’t. When I talked
about Jesus coming to the world again, I get excited because I know it’s
the Jesus who healed the leper and forgave the thief on the cross and was
so tender with the woman in adultery and stopped during the middle of his
busy day to kneel down with the woman, with the issue of blood. That’s the
Jesus that is coming back. That’s the one that’s going to handle the
That’s one of the beauties of the New Testament and the mortal ministry of
Jesus is it shows us better than any other place. What his character in
nature is actually like. I was like, “Do you want to know what God is like?
Let me show you a picture of that, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.” And Paul
says “The greatest revelation of the character and nature of God is Jesus
on the cross.” It is a self-sacrificing, meek could have obliterated the
mountainside with a snap of his fingers, but forgives and takes care of,
and just it’s that is the picture of what God is like. And there is this
Bible scholar who coined this phrase I loved so much. He says, “We ought to
go through life with cross vision. When we make assumptions about God, we
need to make them in context of the cross.”
Is this God I’m creating in my mind look like that same God who laid down
his life in that manner for me? And if they do not reconcile with each
other, the cross wins out because that’s the best revelation of who God is
and what he’s like. That is a God who’s for me who would give all for my
life. So if what I’m assuming about him doesn’t match up with that then
there’s something missing in the story. I don’t quite have it right. That
scene of the cross has got to be the ugliest, most horrific and nastiest
scene in all of scripture. But there are people who have crosses on their
walls and wear them around their necks. I do. I think that image of the
cross is so beautiful and so hopeful. And it’s like, that is wild that what
I first saw as ugly is actually beautiful.
And I think one day, if we have a picture of ugliness about God, once we
get some more information, we’ll realize it was act actually a picture of
beauty. What I thought was a picture of betrayal and defeat was actually a
picture of love and victory. I just needed more time with it. And I love
that idea of living my life with cross vision. That is what God is actually
That’s so powerful. I love that. Thank you so much for sharing that. We’re
running out of time. I wish we could just keep talking and talking, but I
want to go to one thing that I was thinking. What about our kids? This is
something that I think our own feeling of betrayal when we’re feeling like
we’re drowning, when we’re suffering and hurting and something that I hear
and that was the hardest part for me personally, by far the hardest part,
it was watching my babies hurt and knowing I couldn’t do anything about it.
And making these decisions and leading our own lives and taking charge of
our lives, knowing full well that our kids… I ended my marriage, I knew
that my kids were going to have divorced parents and it was brutal.
It was very, very hard for me. But I had this understanding that it was a
gift from God. It was very clearly given to me that it was part of their
journey and that I basically needed to stand aside and trust. And it was
really, really hard even though I had that trust. So I’d love you to share
your thoughts about that. As things happen to us watching our kids
struggle, watching them hurt and what you would say to help strengthen
ourselves so we can strengthen our children?
Well, I mean, I think there is something that we like to do sometimes, and
that’s to paint a really great picture and not let anybody else into the
messiness of our lives. We do that all over. And it’s probably socially
acceptable in most circles and stuff like that. Put on a smile at the
grocery store and at church, and this is what we do and everything and it’s
actually, you hear this all the time that people will go to church together
and they will say, “Well, all those people have it all put together and I’m
the only one who has, who has a mess of my life.” And I think it would be a
tragedy if my kids grew up thinking mom and dad always had it put together
and they just were strong enough. They were, whatever enough.
I would rather my kids see how desperately I need to rely on the grace of
God. That is what I want them to learn is the only reason your mom and I
are making it is because we’re relying on the love and mercy and grace of
God. And you need to know that. I don’t want you to see just put together
dad. I want you to see where I struggle and what I do when I struggle. And
I want you to see where I go for my strength and where I go for my renewal,
because you will need to do that also in your life. And we have a phrase in
our faith, if you’re not a member of our faith tradition, that we like to
tell people to become self-reliant. And I actually hate the phrase because
I was like, “Wait, I think we want to be God reliant people.”
And I think what the phrase means is I know where to go for help. I not
only think it’s a good idea, I actually feel obligated to teach my children
where to go in their times of doubt and in their times of struggle and what
to do when you feel… I want to be vocal about that to them. I want to
tell them, “You guys,” not when they’re five, there’s ways to do it. But
I’ve got a 16 year old and he’s got to know that oh, I question my faith
and when I do, this is what I ask, and this is what I say, and this is what
I’ve learned is helpful. I just feel like it opens up the opportunities to
really teach our kids the lessons that they need to know.
Oh, that’s so powerful. Yes. Because then they’re prepared. They’re
prepared and they don’t have that false expectation that well, mom and dad
seemed like they had it all put together. So I guess that I should too. And
if I don’t then what does that mean about me?
Right. Right. And nobody knows how to think through things and analyze
their assumptions. We don’t come with that gift. We don’t come with that
ability, but I’ve learned some things and it would be great to teach it to
the kids. Like, “Listen, I’m so mad, da, da, da, da, but when I think about
it, I’m learning this and I need to think about this.” And anyways, it’s an
opportunity to help them work through it when they need to work through it
and prevent some of the hurt I brought into my own life because of
expectations and assumptions.
Yep. Yep. Exactly. Not adding more pain.
Right. Some of that is avoidable. Pain is not avoidable. But some pain is.
To me, the difference between pain and suffering, pain is not avoidable,
but we can pile on all kinds of unnecessary suffering when we have false
Yeah. And I really, really believe this, that I said that I’d served as a
bishop and people would come a lot with their problems and sometimes I
would be so frustrated by it because I wouldn’t know how to fix it and I
got some advice from a friend who just said, “Why are you trying to carry a
burden that is Jesus’ to carry?” That’s not your job.
Your job is to breathe hope and to encourage. And be there as support. And
I know that about my kids too. I cannot fix some of the things I want to
fix. That’s frustrating, but I don’t need to carry the burden of trying to
fix it or save them. The job of savior has already been taken and he does
better at it.
Yes, he does. He does. And back to your wise wife’s what she said to you
is, “I’m not responsible for your happiness. It’s not my job. It’s not my
job to make you happy.” And I think that we have these expectations on
ourselves that we are in charge of every experience that our kids have. And
that’s a pretty heavy burden to place at our own feet, right?
Instead of saying, “Listen, I’m just going to love you, like wildly and
bigly and that’s my job just to do that. And that’s what I’m going to do,
and I’m going to teach you and I’m going to support you but I’m just not
going to be responsible for things I cannot control or be responsible for.
Right. Yep. I love that. Well, to wrap up, I’m wondering if you can share
one more thing, but you’d mentioned earlier about the apostles that were in
the boat in the storm, feeling like they were going to die. I know that
there’s people listening to this right now, or who are going to listen to
this that are that person that are feeling like they might die at any time.
And where is he? And I’d love to hear what you’d have to say to them about
riding out that storm and hanging in.
I think I would do what they did and they woke up Jesus and they brought
him into their story. And for people, that will look differently. For some
people, they will bring him in through music and through meditation,
through therapy, through lunch with friends, they will just, I would say,
wake him up. Wake up support, don’t just weather it, go to the places that
have been good places of that help and strength for you, whatever they are
and know that waking him up didn’t end the storm immediately but I think
they were able to endure the storm for just a second. They almost kind of
forgot the storm was happening. And I just feel like, oh, just wake him up
and get your eyes off of the problem and onto him.
We can obsess over the storm so much. And it’s like, oh, get your eyes on
him. Let his goodness shake you and not your fears. And that I think I
would just do what they did that, and just storms are storms. And you’re
trying to weather them. There’s a reason for saying, I’m trying to weather
this storm. I’m just making it through. And I think instead of asking the
question, why did this happen and why did it happen to me, because those
will intensify the storm, but rather to ask this question, okay, what do
you want me to do next? And what do you want me to learn from this? Not
that he caused it, but there’s still something I might be able to learn.
So we just got to switch that little question that can be so aggravating.
The question of why can be so aggravating and once we let that go, I’m not
going to ask it anymore. I’m not going to ask it anymore. I’m not going to
assume answers to that. The only helpful question to ask right now is,
okay, how do I get through this? What should I do next? And is there
something I can learn from this?
Yep. Beautiful. Thank you so much for being here. That was a wonderful
conversation. I wish we had all day long. There’s so much more we could
And let me just throw this one thought, it just keeps coming back to me the
whole time and it’s so random and then we can end. And it’s I think all of
the trouble and heartache and storms we experience are evidence not that
there isn’t a savior, but that we need a savior. That’s the reason he was
sent is because life would be filled with heartache and betrayal and
struggle and trouble like imperfect people are not evidence that
Christianity isn’t working. They are evidence for the need of Christianity,
the need for forgiveness, the need for redemption. The title we love most
for Jesus are titles that mean fixer, redeemer. And that’s because we’re
broken and our world is broken and we break it more. And so we call him in.
We call him in not to be a preventer, but to be a redeemer of it.
Yep. Thank you. That’s so good. So good. I can’t wait to go back and listen
to all this because there’re multiple times where I’m over here trying not
to cry so I can listen later and let it all out. It’s so beautiful. So
powerful. So beautiful. Thank you so much for your time. I so appreciate
it. I know my listeners will love this.
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