THE POTSC GAYLE HAGGARD INTERVIEW: PART 2

gayle haggard picPosted by Mike Foster: Mike on Twitter

It was my honor to interview Gayle Haggard about her journey through forgiveness and to talk about her New York Times best selling book, "WHY I STAYED." I love Gayle and I am inspired by her courage and her story.

BUY "WHY I STAYED" FROM AMAZON.

This is Part 2 of my recent interview with Gayle Haggard.

CERTAINLY YOU HAVE BEEN WORKING THROUGH A LOT OF FORGIVENESS FOR BOTH TED AND FOR SOME IN THE CHURCH. WERE THEY EQUALLY DIFFICULT AND DID YOU PROCESS THEM DIFFERENTLY?

Well, because Ted and I were in communication with each other, we were with each other, and going through the process together, so I felt as though that relationship was healing and we were growing stronger and closer together in that process. But because I was separated from the church that process never happened and that made that tremendously painful and difficult and we were able to return to Colorado in 2008 and that’s when I felt as though the opportunity was there for us to begin to heal with the people that we had 22 years of history with. That is ongoing now. Now I am experiencing some of that healing that I wish could have happened sooner but I’m grateful that it’s happening now.

WE ASKED PEOPLE FROM THE POTSC BLOG TO SUBMIT QUESTIONS FOR YOU. SO JEREMY ASKED...HOW DO YOU MANAGE THOSE TIMES WHEN YOU THINK TO YOURSELF, "HOW COULD TED HAVE DONE THIS TO ME?"

That is an excellent question because I think that is the thing most people deal with, who have had unfaithfulness or betrayal in their marriages. Even though you want to forgive you still have to deal with those thoughts and those questions.

I asked Ted those questions over and over again early in our process because I would think I would get the answers I needed and be satisfied but then that would reemerge. That’s why I understand that forgiveness is a process because I would have to forgive him and forgive him and forgive him as those layers would come off. My questions would reemerge and my rawness and my pain would reemerge.

Here’s what I did do, I would ask Ted those questions I felt as though I had to be honest with my anger and with what I was feeling, he understood that. I so appreciated that he did understand that and he processed that with me. At some point along the way I started feeling as though I had asked the questions enough and that I had to stop scrutinizing my husband and lumping my anger on him and at some point I had to really let love begin to cover a multitude of sins. I think probably about six months into our process was when I felt as though I really settled that. Now, it’s been almost three and a half years after the scandal, very rarely do I have thoughts like that any more because I feel as though we processed them enough.

CINDY GRAVES POSTED ON THE BLOG AND WANTS TO KNOW WHO WERE THE PEOPLE SPEAKING WISDOM INTO YOUR LIFE? There were those people who really represented Jesus to us and cheered us on. Even a few pastors got in touch with us and shared with us how they viewed our situation. Knowing that somebody saw that and understood it was encouraging to us and others just encouraged us in our faith.

You know, prior to this scandal, I was in such a good place and what I felt in my marriage and in my family. I felt as though I was walking in such close relationship with God. When this happened I think my emotional shock and dismay over all that was going on made it feel as though I didn’t feel that closeness of God. I wasn’t sensing His presence in ways that I had before and that was dark and scary for me. What I did do, was that I told God I was just gonna hang on for dear life, I was gonna cling to Him. Even though I couldn’t feel Him or hear from Him. I just felt as though I had to do that and I did, in those dark hours from time to time feel his presence and feel Him speak to me and give me what I needed to walk through this journey. Then I will say this, I do remember the day when I stopped saying there is nothing good, everything is dark and then waking up one morning and saying life is good and realizing I had come out of that darkness.

HOW LONG DID THAT TAKE?

Well, that was my 730 days of darkness that I had walked through. It was after we returned to Colorado Springs and I was beginning to reconnect with the people that we had history with. I was starting to feel as though God was with us and I was seeing the miraculous happening. He was opening doors that hadn’t been open to us before and giving us purpose beyond what we had before. I started seeing that God had tremendous purpose in what we walked through. We will discover so much greater depth and understanding that God has for us after we’ve suffered.

A COMMENTER FROM OUR FACEBOOK PAGE WANTS TO KNOW ABOUT OPRAH. ON THE SHOW SHE SAID YOU GUYS WERE IN DENIAL ABOUT TED'S TRUE SEXUALITY. IS THAT CYNICISM HARD TO DEAL WITH?

I realize that people have formed the opinions that they’ve formed based on the way our culture has handled human issues and handled in particular human sexuality. So I use it as an opportunity to throw back the question, to say if I am living in denial now, then what you’re really wanting to hear from me is that I am willing to deny everything else about my life. That I’m willing to deny that I had a very real marriage, made up of two people that were imperfect, but trying to walk through life and grow together.

What these people are asking is that I deny the reality of my marriage and the reality of my family and the reality of the church that Ted and I built together and act as though all of that was untrue. It’s not, it’s true, and I embrace all of that reality as well as the knowledge that this is my husband’s human condition and something that he is trying to work out according to his faith. I take the whole thing and don’t deny any of it.

I think in Oprah’s regard, we’ve now have been on her show three times and this most recent time, she said to me, “Gayle, I have never known the kind of love that you feel for Ted and the kind of love that you are talking about here.” That really moved me. I’m so grateful to have these opportunities to talk with people who no longer see us as religious leaders who are perfect, but see us as real people trying to walk out our faith and they feel a sense of inspiration from it.

FINAL QUESTION. WHAT ARE THE FUTURE PLANS FOR GAYLE AND TED HAGGARD? Well, what I first want to do is to get people to read my book because I want them to understand what my process was, that it wasn’t a blind process, it wasn’t a process of denial, it was a process of getting to the truth and understanding it. So I want people to hear from me what I really do believe about the process and what I’ve learned in the process.

Beyond that Ted and I are now traveling and speaking in churches and in various venues, both secular and Christian, telling our story. I think that God has given us opportunities that wouldn’t have been available to us before to be able to share the gospel and to be able to share his grace. I hope to be doing that for the rest of my days on this earth.

Mike Foster