me on the ‘Today Show’

Posted: March 11th, 2011 | Filed under: life | Tags: | 32 Comments »

If you’ve read my book, I mentioned being on the Today Show. I was on it twice, once in January of 2004 and again in May 2004. As most of you know, my affair took place in the spring of 2005. So, this is me almost exactly a year before that happened. Anyway, a little background about the Today Show appearance: I saw that the Today Show was asking people to write a 300-word essay talking about their relationship with their daughter and it had to go along with the song ‘In My Daughter’s Eyes.’ I hadn’t heard the song, so I listened to it and started bawling. That song was so us.

My daughter Natalie had no idea what my childhood was like or the way God used her arrival to change my life. I didn’t know how I would tell her or at what point I would tell her, so I saw this contest as the perfect opportunity. I thought I would write it down, send it in, and keep the entry as something to put in a memory book so that she would know my story and her significance in it. I never thought I would win. But, I did.

I am a very private person. I never talked about my childhood because I felt like it didn’t represent me well. It’s not who I was. I didn’t want people to see me as damaged goods or have pity on me. I’m just not …that.

I remember sitting on the hotel bed in New York the night before my appearance. I had just finished a pre-interview with the producer of the ‘Today Show’ and cried during the whole thing. I dreaded repeating that on the ‘Today Show.’ I dreaded it because I can’t stand crying and because this would be the first time most of the people in my life would hear me talk about these things I had buried.

I’ll never forget my how God answered my prayer when I told Him: “God, I don’t want people to see me as this victim. I hate what I went through and I just want it to disappear. I want to be ‘normal’.” God’s answer was very clear and it continues to give me the courage to share this part of my story. His response was, “What happened to you is not a reflection of who you are. It’s a reflection of who they are.” (‘They‘ meaning the people who hurt me.)

Thankfully, Katie Couric didn’t interview me as planned. She let me read my entry as a way to tell my story.

Someone found the footage from my ‘Today Show’ experience and showed it to me, so I want to share it here. My last name was different then and I didn’t live in Buzzards Bay, I lived on Cape Cod near Mashpee. But, that’s just a side note.

Another side note, me sharing my story – whether it’s about my childhood or about my sin – is not how I would normally be. As I said, I am very private. However, I lost the right to my life and how it’s used when I died to myself. I have no doubt what God has called me to do and it’s out of obedience that I set aside public opinion and the desire for a normal, private, life to answer that call. God gave me my life back out of sheer grace and holds me together with His love. I have no rights left. I belong to Him and I’ll pour myself out until I am no longer here.

This is the music video that I was in. They didn’t make an ‘official’ video for ‘In My Daughter’s Eyes’ because it had already been out for too long. It wasn’t a financially wise decision at that point. I am in the video for ‘How Far’ and I’m only in the first verse. That’s me and my daughter on the television in the living room.

After the video shoot, which took place in Alamogordo, New Mexico, the ‘Today Show’ found out that Martina and I had become friends and wanted to surprise her by bringing me back on the show when she was there for an outdoor concert. I had no idea how cold it would be that day and felt goofy in my fancy outfit, but the experience was amazing. I’ll never forget how unbelievably kind and generous Katie and Martina genuinely were and are.

You can listen to ‘In My Daughter’s Eyes’ here:


/


32 Comments »


32 Comments on “me on the ‘Today Show’”

  1. 1 Kathy said at 12:54 pm on March 11th, 2011:

    Ah, you've been kissed by the King! My heart just swells when I see Him wrap His arms around our bruised hearts and make us feel warm and held and protected and sheltered.

    What a tender story. Thanks for sharing!

  2. 2 Dana said at 1:00 pm on March 11th, 2011:

    Oh, Serena! I'm in tears!!! God is using you to impact so many lives on so many different levels. Thank you so much for sharing your life…ALL of it… it's making a difference.

    God's love is all over you!

  3. 3 Serena Woods said at 1:02 pm on March 11th, 2011:

    Thank you, ladies. πŸ™‚

  4. 4 dawn phenix said at 1:16 pm on March 11th, 2011:

    thx for sharing that with us, Serena. It helps us to know a little more about you, what you're like.

  5. 5 dawn phenix said at 1:18 pm on March 11th, 2011:

    …something else…of all the people the Lord has called to minister His love and grace, I feel so blessed that He chose you for me.

  6. 6 Serena Woods said at 1:22 pm on March 11th, 2011:

    Dawn, you just made my day. Thank you for telling me. πŸ™‚

  7. 7 Heather said at 2:19 pm on March 11th, 2011:

    You have absolutely changed my life. I have a whole different view of what grace and love look like. Your story brings perspective and depth. I know what a Christ follower is. I have read all the answers and I have been surrounded by them for so long. But your story digs deeper then I have ever been. It's so complicated and so beautiful. And lastly, God bless your daughter. She is amazing!

  8. 8 Traci said at 3:18 pm on March 11th, 2011:

    that was so much fun to watch.

    I do not have a daughter, but God has blessed me with four precious boys.

    God bless you both!

  9. 9 Serena Woods said at 4:49 pm on March 11th, 2011:

    Heather, thank you. πŸ™‚ Natalie really is amazing. πŸ™‚ She's a big 15 now! (and hates watching herself on video.)

    Traci: I have four girls!

    During the second 'Today Show' video, while Martina is performing, you can see my whole family on the right of the screen. Katie is holding my second daughter and the tall man in the blue shirt holding a little girl is my ex-husband and our third daughter. This is a bitter sweet memory for me. Sweet because it was an amazing experience. Bitter (not really bitter, more like sad) because it's a reminder of what happened a year later. I'm grateful for where I am now and the hard lessons I learned, but still deeply… sad. I, within the memory,…have to stomach myself. ….and then….I have to let the anger toward myself go.

    How's that for flawed? A twisted mess, yet He still loves me. (…yes, Jesus loves me. … the Bible tells me so.)

  10. 10 Juliet deWal said at 5:15 pm on March 11th, 2011:

    My friend,

    Among the most precious gifts that you have given to your daughter(s) is exactly who you are. You live a life that models grace.

    You have taught them to love themselves, to trust Jesus and that when we fall down (because each of us will) we do not have to allow our hope to be soured and our hearts to be soiled.

    You have taught them of beauty and grace and that strength is preciously tender.

    One day, when they are women, they will realize just what an incredible, incredible gift of life you gave them—not just in the physical realm, but in allowing your heart to live fully, and in turn, theirs.

    THAT is awesome.

  11. 11 Serena Woods said at 5:29 pm on March 11th, 2011:

    You made me cry, Juliet. so mean. πŸ˜‰

  12. 12 Juliet deWal said at 5:39 pm on March 11th, 2011:

    Put it on my tab.

    And on the prayer list. xoxj

  13. 13 enter name here said at 5:51 pm on March 11th, 2011:

    Sarah, I have to question your motives for putting this video up. Are you trying to elicit sympathy to counteract your immorality? What you represent is a danger to the body of Christ. I mean no ill will towards you. I just want you to recognize the truth of Gods HOLY, inspired WORD. There is *judgement* and *wrath* for those misrepresenting GOD's word.

  14. 14 Serena Woods said at 6:02 pm on March 11th, 2011:

    Hi, 'enter name here'. I'm assuming you're talking to me…?

    What is it that you believe I represent?

  15. 15 enter name here said at 6:11 pm on March 11th, 2011:

    Yes, I'm talking to you. You represent grace for anybody and everybody, even adulterers, who sin against God and His Holy Law. No matter how many people they've hurt and no matter how many of the commands they broke. It's unbelievable. Don't you see that?

  16. 16 Serena Woods said at 6:15 pm on March 11th, 2011:

    Yes, I do see that.

  17. 17 enter name here said at 6:17 pm on March 11th, 2011:

    What about God's wrath?

  18. 18 Serena Woods said at 6:23 pm on March 11th, 2011:

    God's 'wrath' is reserved for those who reject grace. Those who reject the power of Jesus' resurrection. They're 'sawing off the branch on which they are sitting.'

    There's nothing done or said that can't be forgiven. But if you deliberately persist in your slanders against God's Spirit, you are repudiating the very One who forgives. If you reject the Son of Man out of some misunderstanding, the Holy Spirit can forgive you, but when you reject the Holy Spirit, you're sawing off the branch on which you're sitting, severing by your own perversity all connection with the One who forgives. Matthew 12:31-32

  19. 19 Juliet deWal said at 6:27 pm on March 11th, 2011:

    JESUS represents (and provides) grace for any and everybody, even adulterers.

    What that represents is hope to the body of Christ, and reconciliation with the Father for all who have sinned and fallen short.

  20. 20 enter name here said at 6:40 pm on March 11th, 2011:

    I just don't get it. Look at you in those videos. You had so much potential! And your children! Your spouses! Your daughter called you a 'good mom.'

    I dont understand what you're doing. I don't get it.

  21. 21 Ashley said at 6:50 pm on March 11th, 2011:

    Wow, "enter name here". So you don't believe that Jesus death on a cross can cover even the sin of adultery?

    That must be a really cheap cross that you believe in. It is sad that you still think you have to be the one to endure the wrath of God when living under a new covenant with Jesus – who is the One to cover ALL of our sins. If I knew that God had a ticker going on in Heaven counting up my sins, He sure wouldn't seem like a God who could cast my sins as far as the east is from the west!

    Psalm 103:2-4

    Praise the Lord, O my soul,

    and forget not all his benefits—

    who forgives all your sins

    and heals all your diseases,

    who redeems your life from the pit

    and crowns you with love and compassion

    Side note – these verses were written by David – a man after God's own heart – and an adulterer (who even lived during the old testament when God's "wrath" was poured out relatively often without the redeeming blood of Jesus to cover the sins of His people).

    And, "Sarah", this was fun for me to watch and see you all pink and pretty. πŸ™‚ It seems like a different you, though! (As we all did 7 years ago…)

  22. 22 Serena Woods said at 7:33 pm on March 11th, 2011:

    It's really weird seeing me on there. I was really different. My skin looked better. πŸ˜‰ I love toothless Natalie on there. "She thinks I'm really special."

  23. 23 enter name here said at 7:42 pm on March 11th, 2011:

    How very Rob Bell of you to make this all about grace and love.

    Scripture warns in 2 Timothy 4:1-5

     1 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

  24. 24 Serena Woods said at 7:52 pm on March 11th, 2011:

    I hear you, Enter. May I call you 'Enter'? I will write an entire blog on this subject and post it soon. I'll call it 'itchy ears' so you know what to look for. Have a great night.

    "Sarah"

  25. 25 Belle said at 10:12 pm on March 11th, 2011:

    Wow, "enter"… you are exactly why Christians get a bad wrap. I don't know if I should shake my head or laugh at your ignorant remarks. Sad that God has given you so much grace yet you withhold it from others, spout off unrelated scripture, and use His Word as a way to tear down a fellow believer who is impacting women– she isn't justifying her actions — she is using her story as a tool in ministry. As a sister in Christ who has made my share of mistakes, I admire her boldness! Stop judging and learn to love…

    So thankful for a Savior who is unconditional with His love… keep writing, Serena. We are encouraged.

  26. 26 Juliet deWal said at 3:19 am on March 12th, 2011:

    I agree, Enter. I saw the potential in Serena as I watched her in that video.

    I saw the hope and the trust that she showed in Jesus. Her story on that day was that no matter what happens in life, Jesus is Lord, and He will redeem even the most lowly and wretched situation.

    And her story shows that even though Salvation is an act of Justification (Christ's sacrifice on the cross makes a way for me to reunite with the Father, paid my debt and leaves me just as if I've never sinned), the process of sanctification (renewing my mind, weeding out the sinful things of my nature, growing me in Christ, discipling me throughout my life) takes a long, long time.

    I do not believe that Serena was saying she's never sinned. She's put her sin out there for everyone (all of us here today!) to examine.

    She's saying that her sin in the hands of a mighty God can be redeemed. NOT to sin so grace may abound. But that when sin abounds, God Himself will step in, for his children, and do what it takes to cleanse us from those stains, to teach us a better way and to, through Jesus, bring us to Himself.

    She also speaks very clearly on the wages of sin—not only emotionally and relationally, but in terms of a holy God.

    Your fear, I think, is that an emphasis on that negates or ignores the holiness of God, and the Lordship of Christ. That is a legitimate fear, because, as you point out, the danger is to live in whatever way we want to, trusting that grace will cover it.

    But there is nothing in the way I've seen Serena walk any of this out that leads me to believe that she

    a) thinks of her sin lightly

    b) does not truly and fully love the Lord

    c) does nor recognize and revere the holiness of God.

    It's hard, I know, to look at someone you believe had it all and to watch them fall, dropping everything.

    Those, too, are the wages of sin (both our own, and others'). That's why abuse is so wrong. Long after the damage is done, the poison of it remains. That's why sin is so dangerous—it plants seeds whose vines trip us up long after the fact.

    That's why we serve a Saviour who is mighty and holy and whose invitation to all of us is to come to Him. Dirty. Broken. Lowly. Lost. Rebellious. Fearful. Deceptive. Despairing. Wretched. Raped. Prideful. Purposeless.

    And you are right, Enter. He judges. He is the most trustworthy, honest, righteous judge. Which means He knows ALL the facts. He knows each of us, the who what where when why of us, and will always, always do what's best to restore us to the Father.

  27. 27 Leslie said at 3:51 am on March 12th, 2011:

    juilet, what a response. well thought out and hitting the nail on the head, i feel, in what "Enter's" real issues are. what a way to Gospel others. i appreciated your words and i hope this person sees that you are hearing their point of view and offering gentle direction. too many of us debate instead of discus. thank you.

  28. 28 Julie R. said at 4:30 am on March 12th, 2011:

    I am curious, Enter… please help me understand, exactly WHERE has Serena spoken AGAINST truth, and WHERE has she spoken MYTHS? I've missed that somewhere, and I've been following her blog for about a year.

    Serena, your transparency continues to inspire, and change me. Did I mention I LOVED the book??

  29. 29 Rebekah said at 4:32 am on March 12th, 2011:

    Serena,

    I loved watching this! So fun.

    Just a thought: God is using you and your story far more through His redemption of your "public" sin than most religious people would like to admit. (Just like the story in John 8!) You have shared with many of us the healing and hope that Grace (God Himself) brings into life. I am so thankful for your story and your willingness to share it. I wonder how many of us are willing to put our sins on display, knowing full well the condemnation it brings from some, so that others can learn from them and see the power of Grace. I doubt many of us will even own up to pride, jealousy, arrogance (the "private" sins), much less the "big" sins. So glad God forgives sinners' private sins just as miraculously as He forgives sinners' "unbelievable" sins. I thank God He uses you to display His love and grace, i.e. the Christian life!

  30. 30 Serena Woods said at 10:44 am on March 12th, 2011:

    Opportunity avails itself in controversy. It's the opportunity to further explain. It shows holes in faith that can be filled with knowledge. It's an opportunity to 'walk out' faith that is easily professed.

    Negativity is easy because it's cheap. Finding the wounds and applying love takes patience and is motivated by a personal understanding of relentless grace.

  31. 31 Stace said at 4:34 pm on March 12th, 2011:

    Serena, seriously! You have made such an indescribable impact on my life. Your words have literally saved my marriage. Hearing your heart when you fell, … (tears) it helps me understand my husband's pain. He's so broken. I would have thought it was because he missed 'her' I wouldn't have believed it was because he was tore apart he tells me that you hit the bullseye with the way you articulate your experience.

    Thank you, Serena. Thank you for showing me the other side.

  32. 32 Serena Woods said at 4:47 am on March 14th, 2011:

    Stace: Thank you, so much, for telling me what Grace Is For Sinners is doing for you. Exactly what I hope. πŸ™‚


Leave a Reply