Beliefnet
Paula White co-pastors the 18,000-member Without Walls International Church, based in Tampla, Fla., with her husband Randy. She also runs Paula White Ministries and hosts the nationally syndicated television program, "Paula White Today." Her new book, "Deal With It!" (Thomas Nelson) explains how 10 women of the Bible--some well known, some more obscure--can help women confront their emotional, sexual, and professional issues. White spoke with Beliefnet about the own issues she has confronted, how women of the Bible have helped her, and her ministry work.

What was your inspiration for writing this book?
Mainly it was to equip people to manifest the greatness that is inside of them. I believe there are seeds of potential greatness in all of us. There were some defining moments that happened in my life that enabled me to identify, conquer, and confront the issues of my life. Every one of us has to answer, "Who am I? What am I? Why am I?" And then, "How do I get there? How do I do it? How do I become it?"

I know some of those moments in your own life are of a very personal nature, but can you explain briefly what your background was like?
Oh, absolutely. It's all out to hang. Many people know my testimony. When I was five years old, my father committed suicide. From age six to 13 I was sexually and physically abused. I had never heard the gospel until I was 18 years old, and I had not been in church. Then I was at a friend's house, and his uncle said, "I can give you the answer to the love you're looking for and for the hope you need." He led me to Christ--I heard the gospel for the first time my life was radically changed. But I found out it's a process with many defining moments. God gave a vision, and I didn't even know what a vision was, and I have not read the word of God. I just knew my life was suddenly radically changed.

It sounds like it must have been a little scary for you.
It wasn't scary in a frightening sense because it was like a light bulb turning on. I had an empty love tank and I was trying desperately to fill it. When I heard the gospel, that hole in my heart was fulfilled. I did transform--my life began to radically change. Of course years later I began to understand that our spirit man is born again immediately, but transformation is a lifelong process.

I had this vision from God: my voice was heard in the vision as far as I could see. There were multitudes, masses of millions of people, and I was speaking the word of God. People were either getting saved or healed or delivered, and when my voice was not heard, they were falling into darkness. And God said, "I've called you to preach the Gospel." I went to my pastor and said, "I've got a call to preach the gospel," and he put a broom in my hand. I was just so excited to be trusted to clean the church. The process began to take place from there. And in this process, I met a man by the name of Randy, who is now my husband.

Randy was the first person that caused me to confront myself and deal with my issues. I really realized many years later it was packaged in a man called Randy, but it was God showing his love to me. God knows how and when to show that love, and whether it needs to be a love of grace, or a love of mercy, or a love of toughness. He knows how to cause us to confront our issues. He loves us so much that He won't leave us in a state that would prohibit us from being who He's called us to be. I didn't know how to be a wife or a mother or happy or anything else, so I asked for voices to begin to teach me and I began a journey.

Your book is about that journey, and specifically about the women in the Bible who have helped you along that journey. Do you relate to any of the women more than the others?
I relate to all of them closely because of the lessons they have taught me in life. At different seasons, they taught me different lessons. The book follows the lessons they've taught me almost in chronological order. Ruth taught me that you have to leave your past to enter your future. That's hard for most people because our past is familiar, and even though it can be dysfunctional or it can be diseased or sick, it's still familiar, and familiar is hard to leave. She taught me the lesson that I have to let go of yesterday to enter my tomorrow.

Then Leah taught me that a man can't fix you, only God can. Leah always lived in the shadow of a younger sibling who was much more beautiful than she. I'm sure she felt inferior. When she marries Jacob, she probably wakes up thinking, "my dream's come true," only to find an empty bed. We can do all kinds of things to get people to like us or love us or listen to us, but you can't make another person fix you or make you whole or make you complete. Many of us waste a lifetime trying to do that, but Leah finally wised up. She said, "This isn't working. He's not listening to me." Like her, there was a time in my life I realized a man can't fix you. I can't get wholeness out of another person. There's a wise proverb, Proverb 5, that says, "Drink of thine own cistern and out of your own running well of water." You have to learn to drink out of your well, especially if you're ever going to feed someone else.

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