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Kristen Clark & Bethany Beal: When Life Spirals Downward–Who am I?

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Cross Radio
May 23, 2022 10:00 pm

Kristen Clark & Bethany Beal: When Life Spirals Downward–Who am I?

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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May 23, 2022 10:00 pm

Pummeled by disappointments, we can lose sight of who we are; who God is. On FamilyLife Today, Dave & Ann Wilson host authors Kristen Clark & Bethany Beal, who get real about looking for God in deep grief.

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Kristen Clark
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What do I believe about God. And I think that the biggest question in our identity starts with what we believe about God who we believe God truly is because when the fires, when the valleys, when the child under the lungs. The prayers that seem like they're unanswered or praying them here and here on and did nothing's changing really get put to the test. What do we actually believe about God. Welcome to family life today where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most and Wilson and Dave Wilson and you can find us if we live today.com or on our family life, family life today so 35 years ago when we moved to Detroit to be the Detroit Lions chaplain. I remember that I remember that you were there there. I remember you will be really excited about the new city, new ministry that I ever have an area yeah just go to seminary and here's what God had for us and I remember our buddy Pat Ritchie was just named the San Francisco 49ers chaplain good friend of mine and I said you're going to like the losing team ever.

I feel so bad for you and the 49ers are terrible than ever to win anything. Well, 30+ years later, Pat Ritchie has five Super Bowl room. All I have 01 playoff win in 33 years and I'm just telling you that was not part of my plan. I know you know I'm going to go to his penis get awareness can be used hereunder be Super Bowl winning Jack off his Ghibli. That was what God had, you know, and they're still losing another Chaplain because they used to blame me of Jeff about another thought of it is so many of us have stories where here's what my plan is wise and God matching up different and we have Kristin Bethany back in the studio with those who wrote a book called, not part of the plan and it's exactly what so many of us have experienced. So anyway, welcome back. We we really enjoyed having you guys back from life today. You know, I'm just wondering if I look like a raccoon with all my mascara cry yesterday. We've kind of gotten into their yeah I got to know she did laugh when you heard. You know how many games we lost thinking of all of the reports you have in life. Anthony can't Relate Ln., Texas.

We are more basketball girls you on the top family I want and always kind and where the best we love*hey yeah and Clark and Bethany Beeler's sisters and they have a ministry together and you've written five books. No girl defined by the way the podcast peak around the country conferences you really are having a ministry. How would you if you had to say quickly what is this ministry do we help girls and women all over the world discover God's design for their woman had that guy so I saw you guys suck in order podcast or YouTube and you had a sweatshirt on that.

I still remember I'm not going to get the exact phrase wrong, but it defined what I think girl defined is only for right is the one who designed you should define your so I'm going to start exactly on the one who designed you get defined, not really popular phrase so the girls who wear that shirt are very bold in our modern day. It's like wow you you know your you are your truth you define you you you know you are your everything you are really the God of your life. So even Christian women. This is a very hard thing like to wear it on their shirt but also to let out like how you know the one who designed you like hot he gets to define me like my identity is found in him. See his word is the truth that people were sitting in this room right now what you want out of these doors, and gold are so radical, so we feel extremely passionate girl defined not to water down not to be afraid not to be ashamed because you know Christ obviously is our strength.

He is our boldness and we want other women to know like that matter. If you feel so weak Christ, he is your strength. He is strong when you are weak and you can follow him. You can wait for him and that's truly where true purpose and peace and worth and value is found in art. All of us looking for that in so many different places and you know striving after whatever it is because we want to have value. We want have worth, so our entire ministry is just focused on like there is you know Heidi loves you so much and he has a plan for your life. But he also has so much to say in his word that is extremely clear and confusing ourselves by, like, really. We wonder why life is so confusing saying thanks you know that when you follow those ways. That's where you'll find freedom meeting. That's where you'll find hope now let's talk about the identity piece that you just brought up because as we talked yesterday. I mean the part of the plan is all about how his plan did match up with your own plan for said to him him make a joke about Detroit Lions but in real life. Those hard things that we struggle we go through the dark were anger.

We talked yesterday about miscarriages and fertility.

You get pregnant were you on your third miscarriage. There's anger. There's disappointment.

So, talk about understanding your identity the designer to defined you in the middle of tragedy, because it feel like if you don't know that you're in trouble. But if you do, you can walk through the tragedy will define you Excel will and I think we also believe the lie that if we are following God will be easy. Yeah, if I come identity in Christ and then everything is gonna go my way, like God is a vending machine and you see a whole movement of people leaving the faith based off of that. Like you know so damaging to me, like I save sex for marriage. I never got married in Lucknow. You know I didn't get that thing I wanted and we kind of you, God, through this lens I put this, and he gets me that's out like can be so disappointing when we view God through that way. I know so hard for you dealing with Allie God. Are you even got you now right right in my mind the good life wise to have children to stop biological children to start a family with my husband. That was my dream that the Bible to learn a blessing.

I'm praying a biblical prayer here wire to answering and then when you give me this desire. I get pregnant then you just take it away so it really tested my identity, like what do I believe about God.

And I think that's the biggest question in identity starts with what we believe about God who we believe God truly is because when the fire is, when the valleys, when the child unzipped the lungs the prayers that seem like there unanswered and were praying them here and here on end and nothing's changing really puts in the trust.

What do we actually believe about God. And I know for me after my third miscarriage, which I thought for sure that one with Dennis Tackett to help the pregnancy was so healthy saw the heartbeat at eight weeks. My doctor was saying while everything looks great on hormones. Everything was on track and so for the first time in my entire marriage. It was eight years at this point had those too early miscarriages I started to hope.

I started to think is the one that's gonna stick.

I was still a little hesitant to fully go there. I didn't want to think about names you know because I was too scared. I didn't want to think about baby showers and just like taking it one day at a time that I started to hope. And so when I opened my heart to hope again and then at 11 weeks I went into my doctors appointment and she said I'm sorry there's no longer a heartbeat that news hit me like a got punched in my chest like nothing ever had and I went home and I remember my identity was shaken because when I started doing is questioning everything I knew about. Not much about me, but God who are you.

Why would you allow this to happen. You say your good in Scripture. But there's nothing good about this. You say your kind. This is cruel what I was doing was filtering God's character through the lens of my circumstances rather than filtering my circumstances through the lens of God's character right did you catch that different and so everything I was feeling the real loss in the real pain, the grief with your husband with you timewise, which I am so grateful for me and we both just crumbles. I just remember laying back on the table after the ultrasound and I couldn't move.

Tears were streaming down my face and you know he came from work and so we just took the rest off and went home, and even telling friends and family. I know for anyone not gets news like that, whatever it is whatever heart you lost your job or some health diagnoses you don't even want to tell people I don't disappear. You want to be a dream that you're gonna wake up from. You know you're not. It's reality. And so I was questioning everything about God's character and I grew up in church I was a believer from a young age. I just remember feeling almost scared like my cannoli like I don't even know how to process and who is God, I know from my heart what I had to do to remember my identity in Christ and to remember who God wise if I literally Google search names and attributes of God, who is God, because I couldn't even remember. I found a 30 day devotional. Basically, praying through the names and attributes of God one day at a time, and I knew I was like I don't do something I am going to just land and a pet and never got a mess and so just 1 foot in front of the other. I needed truth to inform my emotion about who God wise and I would take one attribute one name of God for one day. I would read it, I would meditate on it and I would read all of the Scripture that this little devotional happens it out for where to read about that name attribute of God and where was your heart at that time that first for you just doing it because yesterday going through the motions. Yeah, feeling almost numb. It's like I didn't even want to open my Bible because I was so angry at God I might, I don't even want to give you the time you say your gut. This is so painful and it really was. It was just a step of know in the depths of my heart that God is who he says he is going to try to leave my emotions by his truth, but I don't even know if anything's been a change in the end it is amazing that it is leaping and acting if it changed my heart slowly one day at a time. For 30 days.

I am honey.

By the end of those 30 days.

I wasn't completely over my grief for the loss I mean the long it still there.

It was still painful that my soul was revived. It reminds me of my best friend was my sister passed away when she was 45. While CIP talked every single day on the phone. She led me to Christ and the same thing happened when she passed away.

Everything was rock my world. I didn't even know where to go and I remember going to church feeling. So now I felt nothing, nothing, because the pain was so deep but the thing that I did was I did the same thing Chris and I opened God's word and I read it item I made it feel like reading it, but there's something that happens as you said it never returns void and it started to sink deep and it took a while did it take you well for the feelings are there moments to come back. Oh yeah, yeah. Front like the love for God, yeah, I was after 30 days of just reading about who God is, his character and asking God to help me believe that you meant to leave.

I am still and there's a healthy process of that but I think a prayer we can pray for anyone who's in the midst of that valley is just to say my unbelief even want to believe about you but this is who you say you are and you even say that you can turn my ashes into beauty that you can't make good feel so bad and you see all of the stories in Scripture where God has done that, but for your story like I don't know if that's true I don't know if God can do this so I just a member even print unbelief. Help me to believe that you are who you say you are and God wants to answer the prayers and he did over any weeks many months. It's a long journey. It's not an instant fix. But God he touched on the broken hearted even when we don't feel it, I know. Looking back now, he was never far away and that's free found your identity in Christ. Here's a question from a husband talk to us guys who are baby watching our wife, sister, mother and but I'm thinking of our wife go through something like that again unless it were not going through but were just your partner. How do we what's what can we do, what shouldn't we do what should we do to help a woman go through something that's dark I mean now that I have personal experience.

I wish I didn't but I do know I think you know me and my husband hasn't been not long for us that we are still having those conversations, and there still a lot of moments that are just very hard and raw diet. We are just talking the other day and I was saying it's hard because the woman is the one who physically with a lot of these, you know, at least, pregnancy losses, that sort of thing. She's physically going through it and our regular monthly reminders like you know your dream is not reality.

And so I think for me it's been very important to communicate to my husband what is helpful because he is so loving and he wants to be there for me but he doesn't always know exactly how because he might bring it up and I might just burst into tears. We like to bring up bring it up. You know how those conversations like hey it's really really helpful for me, especially when we are at home in a safe, private setting free to ask me about my heart. How are you doing how are you feeling you know what are your thoughts on just to really dig in and show me that he cares and that way and that he still feels. You know, because for him. He does think about it. He doesn't care that he often is in expressing it in the same way that I am in so I wonder and like. Does he even care anymore.

Is he just moved honorably onto the next thing or we'll talk about you know with friends what the pastor look like and unlike the biggest things in my years were that we had two miscarriages. Like that's the hardest thing that happened that was no more talk about interesting your and I'm like yes but we lost maybe really important for like for us to to communicate about that and for me to tell him like I need to hear how you feel I need to hear what you're thinking.

I need you to ask me, especially in private how I'm feeling and just now like one week I might be doing great and I'm like this is amazing. I have all these dreams and ambitions and hopes to do all the stuff he's like well you know you you're doing better and comes crashing down and said just explained to him I know that can be hard for us as women to open up. We just want her husband to magically understand us sometimes and to know you know our feelings or emotions, but for me I realized I really need to open up and communicate that to him because he does love me and he does care about me and I think that's true for somebody has been especially those that are listening right now, or thing I want to love my wife well I want to love my family well and I think just asking her how can I love you through this.

How can I support you through this.

When do you want me to ask you about. How can I communicate in a way that helps you to know I do care you know I may not express it in the same way you do, but this impacts me to. I am sad and just communicating about that. I feel like has drawn the two of us so much closer together and I know that he cares and he thinks about it and he knows now when to ask me about it. Like the middle of church are in the middle of a friend, how are you doing with the Mr. so communicating about that has been really help brass and arcs. I was like a clinic minister to a guy bigger some guy just was handed from his wife… But I guess you know what things you said Bethany was you asked me how I'm doing. Here's what I thought because Ian said to me said that to me in good times as well as dark times.

You know she said if we go on a date. If you just looked across the table said so how are you choose.

I might tear up because you don't ask me about.

I got a sort of don't want to know I'm over here. Sometimes that's what we want to do to avoid it, but it was just like in the darkness, for sure, but even in the times that things are good is like honey how are you and how were we saying that you hikers you know so interesting after the first miscarriage. We were two years married and still have a long way to go. Marriage is growing and learning and understanding each other but we learned after that first one that the way a man dreams and the way a woman grieves is so different and I felt a lot of the same things that Bethany just described, like he was moving on pretty quick and later on as we dug deeper and I I was feeling pain from his almost like he was avoiding the topic of not bringing it up and he's and he just honestly say I just like every time I brought it up. He would cry and I didn't want to make you cry right and so that communication is the wife being okay with your husband grieving in a different way than you. I started feeling a little bit better in my heart.

I remember toward my husband because I wanted him to ask brass his grief in the same way because then I would communicate to me. Oh he's grieving just as deeply, but we had many heartfelt conversations, and he just said you know I mean think about a typical week like you probably cost more than me thinking that's probably true. I cried 20 times.

Maybe hundred tear everyone you cry once here I cried hundred times easier just for whatever is going on in life and so it's true we grieve differently, and I have to learn to be okay with that to allow him to grieve as a man may agree still communicating and drawing together but being okay with how we work in a process that a little bit differently and I know for women. I can be hard because we want to see a certain thing if you like okay were on the same page looks different. We feel like were disconnected communication with acute process, but is there a way you shared earlier about you sort of digging out by studying this route to go over 30 days, yourself, is there a way as a couple going through something hard together you can dig out together. What thoughts you have on that you're listening to Dave and Ann Wilson with Kristin Clark and Bethany deal on family life today will hear Bethany thought in just a second. But first, you can imagine, we've had to make some tough choices again this year like everybody else were hoping that through the generosity of people like you, we can continue to reach your home and all the homes that need help and hope for the relationships that matter most. This is an especially unique and critical time of year to donate because we've had some friends of the ministry come alongside us and offer to double your monthly for 12 months.

$300,000. When you become a monthly partner right now and on top of that when you give this month as our thanks you will send you a bundle of resources including two books, one not part of the plan by Kristin Clark about a field day and do a lifelong love by Gary, so become a monthly partner have your gift doubled every year impact families for the glory of Jesus and get a bundle of books sounds great to me. You can give right now@familylifetoday.com or by calling one 803 586-329-1800 F family L as in life, and then the word today. Right now, back to what couples can do as they go through tough times together.

My husband is incredibly leading us in prayer and not something I'm really grateful for and something he's done from the beginning so throughout this time, he's been amazing. You know in the morning and evening drawn out, you know, our sessions of crime.but just praying and entrusting our future. Also, just you know him leading us in reminding like hey look, we have noted our little son, DVM this is so amazing and you know they're bringing those bright spots like remembering there are some joyful things going on, but I would safer for us personally him leading in prayer and not being awkward about it not being weird about it. Just saying hey let's do this. Can I pray for us to pray for you. You want to pray that's been really really helpful. And then something else we just started and that's been really helpful in connecting the two of us as were going through just your devotional and it's not a huge commitment it's been a short toddler. So our times alone for you no Bible time together aren't that long sometimes the father jumped on the head in the middle of it is really simple, very short commitment were doing one by Tim Keller through the Psalms and it's just a great way to bring up conversation.

The Psalms are so much emotion in them. So it's been amazing just to see like, while emotion is good but you know the psalmist and the something always go back to God.

But God is our strength.

But God is that he is our refuge and so that in particular going through here devotional through Psalms has been so healthy and ceiling is drawing us together, reminding us he were in this together were on the same team. I don't think you have to make a massive commitment were grieving now all right stop everything here we go. You know it's like remember there are some good things in life to so just having those moments where we can connect that's been helpful for us. I know you went through an amazing book really helped you and Zach and I know there could be some wise, listening, he may think will my husband is an incredible leader that he would never initiate and I think you know you can initiate in the marriage is a honey, I am struggling. I want to pull together, but I'm struggling to even know how to do that. Can we do something to her and I know for me I was the one after the third miscarriage when we both felt so shattered and so broken and confused and we had practice grieving together so I will say we were a lot better the third time just navigating that process as a married couple that I remember looking over my husband and just saying I need to do something that's going to fuel my heart like it's going to give me a hope because I was doing the attributes I on my own, but together as a couple. I said what can we do can we right now can we get on Amazon and buy a book by a study something that can help us as a couple know how to walk through this brief together and so he literally got on you know some different Christian websites and started looking at resources for grief and we ended up ordering a book on Amazon. In that moment came in the next day and we just started reading it together and we would sit down and we would just read a chapter at a time we had had he took off work so we had some time and we devoured like a week just reading it. Sitting down reading a chapter and it was life-giving because it was all about finding hope in the midst of lost in the midst of a tragedy and I reading this gospel hope together as a couple and then talking about it and then crying and working through the emotions that was so healing for us and it really gave us tracks to run on. I have a couple.

Sometimes we feel like were spinning off in different directions that brought us together and gave us a clear path of how we could forward together as a couple. So why listening. Don't be shy to even say hey honey, can we find something that we can go through together because I thought it was really wise that you are very vulnerable and said I'm really needing some really really struggling here because if we approach our husbands like hey here's what we need to be doing more.

Why are you leaving me that I think it's wise to say I need you right now and it would help me if we could do something together. I think as men we love to be needed something in us that once the rescue that was not be there when our wife says that you should do this will I go, but when she says I'm needing not I need you I need help here. I think most of us are like okay help to help and I can help I can meet you where you are and take us vertical meeting. We were book on vertical murder, which is like take your marriage vertical that is what you're saying is like just go vertical is loving horizontally in their good we can go to counselor, we can help one another when you turn vertical hook up and say God we need you. We need help and when a man leaves his wife there. We even when the wife initiates it.

Something changes because now the supernatural is access than the Holy Spirit can say okay I'm to go somewhere in your heart and your soul that you're not able to get to go there and to go there is a couple even though it's hard.

And maybe it's a lament together even an angry prayer. But if you go together something intimate happens is anything because you're going through something hard together. But when you do it together vertically. He meets you read there could be prayer. I know for and I when she was going through the death of her sister. It was putting a worship song on listening. There were times she couldn't sing the words but just cried through. It was like here we go or go vertical in God's meeting is right there so I would say to a man us. Listen right now if your wife told to listen.

Today I'm speaking to you and say menu be the guy you be the man in her life. This is, honey, I want to lead you want to meet you where you are, let's invite Jesus into this and soon it was that Steven and Wilson with Kristin Clark and Bethany Peel on family life to let me remind you, you can get there book not part of the plan. Trusting God with a twist and turns your story when you become a monthly partner in family life today.com or you can give us a call at 1-800-358-6329 that's one 800 F is in family L in life and in the word today.

Now tomorrow, David and Wilson are to be talking again with Kristin Clark and Bethany Peel about the importance of needing to know part of the creator in order to trust him.

The more you know him the more you know yourself, really, because the biblical story is really our story.

Join us for that tomorrow on behalf of David and Wilson. I'm Shelby Abbott will see back next time for another edition of family life, family life today is a production of family life crew ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most