i turned down oprah

Posted: December 21st, 2010 | Filed under: life | Tags: , | 18 Comments »

…and a few minutes of fame.

I was approached by a producer for Oprah’s new network, OWN, to be part of a new series on adultery. I don’t have an issue with the series. Their goal is to bring the subject out into the open and share stories of others who have been through it and survived. They want to give these stories some ‘take away value’ in order to help people who are in the hell of going through it.

I was to be an ‘especially exceptional’ point of view because most of the people who are willing to talk are those whose marriages survived. I have friends who are going to be a part of this series and I’ll be watching when their episode airs.

My story is different. I only talk about my affair because of God’s grace for the worst scenario. Without it, I never would have survived the guilt and shame.

I turned down the opportunity because I need to keep a tight reign on how my ‘happy ending’ is used and portrayed. If they edit out the reason I’m okay, then I’m just a selfish girl with nothing to say. The other stories, the marriages that survived, will give wholesome hope even if their relationship with God gets edited out. Mine, on the other hand, has the potential to give false hope to people who think they can survive without grace.

Affairs destroy people. I refuse to be portrayed as an example of a happy ending with the part about grace edited out. Without it, the hope in my life doesn’t add up.

I’ve had a few ’15 minutes’, I’ll have a few more. Just not this one.



18 Comments on “i turned down oprah”

  1. 1 Darlene Schacht said at 5:03 am on December 21st, 2010:

    I'm so proud of you, sister. God calls us to live a sacrificial life, and I know that giving up such a big opportunity is one way to honor that calling.

    I believe that "Ill gotten gain profiteth little," but a sacrificial life that reflects the grace of our Lord is of precious value.

  2. 2 Serena Woods said at 5:35 am on December 21st, 2010:

    darlene, i'm sure it's going to be a great show and a great opportunity for those on it. but, for me, it's not a sacrifice for something noble. it feels like dodging a bullet. or ruining my appetite with a yummy grilled cheese sandwich while the chef is cooking something fabulous.

    i know things…and so i wait.

  3. 3 Sharon O said at 6:13 am on December 21st, 2010:

    Being on the Oprah show is not the most exciting thing, the exciting part is keeping in line with your integrity of heart. That is the moment to be proud of.

  4. 4 Sharon @Hiking Towar said at 6:20 am on December 21st, 2010:

    Proud of you for your choice.

  5. 5 Clare said at 6:35 am on December 21st, 2010:

    I commend you on so many levels….

  6. 6 Jen U said at 6:45 am on December 21st, 2010:

    Thank you, thank you, for making sure grace is never omitted.

    from one who is in the midst of the worst, seeking the Lord's restoration always.

  7. 7 Jason said at 7:18 am on December 21st, 2010:

    Way to go on making such a hard decision. I know so many folks who would have just jumped at the chance and risked that God would be edited out of the story. I think you did the right thing.

  8. 8 Serena Woods said at 7:35 am on December 21st, 2010:

    Thanks, everyone.

    And.. It's not her talk show, I would have done that. It's a show on her new network. So it's different.

  9. 9 Sisterlisa said at 7:56 am on December 21st, 2010:

    Serena, that is very wise. At Relevant, Angie Smith had said that we need to trust the people who want to help get our messages out there and if we don't trust them, we shouldn't share. I think you made the right decision….but what an honor to be asked. 🙂

  10. 10 patricia said at 9:05 am on December 21st, 2010:

    wow. keeping your convictions and not willing to sell yourself short on compromising even if if it means costing you your 15minutes of fame.

    praying God continues to open up doors for you to talk about His grace.

  11. 11 Justin said at 11:16 am on December 21st, 2010:

    Way to walk with integrity, Serena. Faith can so easily be compromised….

  12. 12 Lindsey @ A New Life said at 11:46 am on December 21st, 2010:

    I wholeheartedly agree with your reason for not participating in this…we would never want our stories of grace and redemption to be sensationalized or misrepresented or watered down.

    However, I am going to play the devil's advocate here for some of the other comments and say that while the "medium" of Oprah's network in terms of sharing stories may not be what most Christians would choose due to the lack of control in the editing process; it is still an amazing opportunity to reach others with a message of grace and hope in Jesus who otherwise might not hear it.

    Even if the words "Jesus" and "God" are removed; there is still enough drastically different about marriages grounded deep in faith than what the "world" sees and hears and accepts that interest in that difference…that "light to the world" might be piqued…

    Planting seeds…

  13. 13 Serena Woods said at 11:59 am on December 21st, 2010:

    Love it, Lindsey. 😉 I didn't mean to open up a … whatever I opened up.

  14. 14 Lindsey @ A New Life said at 12:13 pm on December 21st, 2010:

    You didn't no worries 🙂

    We just had this exact conversation/friendly debate with some folks the other night about sharing stories and how to make the sharing of that grace have the furthest reach it can.

    Was really interesting because the whole time I was wondering why it feels easier and safer and more accepted for us to "share" with other Christians or people in our church or folks we think might receive the message well.

    But when we take a step outside that box because of what "might" happen to God's message through our story, people are fearful.

    He's the one in control of that story, medium, message, and how it will be used…His will be done.

    I think it boils down to a heart issue..where is your heart and motivation coming from when sharing…for your glory, or His?

  15. 15 Serena Woods said at 5:15 pm on December 21st, 2010:

    Yeah, it's not an integrity thing for me. My story is DIFFERENT in that I have nothing to be proud of, nothing to tell, without grace.

    There is nothing wrong with the premise of the show. The wrong would be ME on it. I'm not about telling people how to get through destroying your marriage. I'm about grace. The show can and probably will be an awesome platform for Christians whose marriage survived even if they cut out all the God stuff.

    Cut out the God stuff with me and I'm a terrible example to follow. No way.

  16. 16 Linda said at 5:25 pm on December 21st, 2010:

    Aww Serena… I highly respect you for keeping your intergrity alive and REAL . The world will never be able to understand God's concept of grace until they've actually experienced it. Thank you for sharing your heart and honesty!

  17. 17 Melinda Todd said at 8:33 am on December 22nd, 2010:

    Wow, it is inspiring to see someone living out their faith and being wise enough to see beyond the excitement of 15 mins of fame on Oprah. You made the right choice and with serious thought about the entire process, not just focusing on the big picture.

  18. 18 Matt said at 10:18 pm on December 22nd, 2010:

    I think there will always be what if's, and it's important to walk forward in confidence and obedience. What if God could have opened huge opportunity of influence with the show… but what if your fear would have come to life in that the reason your where you are was cut from airing. I believe God is pleased with your decision; selfless, a pure heart to not dim the glory of what God has done, a desire to ensure what God has done is protected and seen in the raw… Thank you for your sacrifice, God is using you regardless of your choices of where your broadcasting your story.

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