© Grace Enough Podcast2023
101: Paula LeJeune | When God's Love and Adversity Collide
Paula LeJeune | When God's Love and Adversity Collide
Paula is the author of The Perfectly Imperfect Princess: An Un-fairy Tale Gone Right.
Paula has been married for 32 years.
Pastored for over 25.
Two daughters, both married: Eden, who is a 2nd grade teacher and Eryn, who is a registered nurse.
Paula LeJeune was born into adversity. She was born a conjoined twin, underwent more than 30 facial surgeries, lived with an abusive father, yet she has experienced the love and grace of God throughout her life.
Questions Paula and I Discussed:
- (4:00) Adversity is a word that can be used to describe your literal first breath on earth. Share about your birth and the adversity you and your mother faced.
- (6:38) What were your early childhood years like? (surgeries, family life, etc.)
- (9:53) Did you grow up in a Christian family?
- (14:01) Did you ever get the feeling that people in your congregation new their pastor was abusing his family?
- (15:14) When did you personally decide, despite all that was going on, I believe that Jesus is my Savior, he is the one that can redeem me?
- (16:55) As we all know, tween and teen years can be difficult and even more so if your appearance is outside of what kids perceive as “normal.” What were some of the things that affected what you believed about yourself, what you believed about God, and relationships?
- In addition to the adversity that came along with all of the facial surgeries, you dealt with adversity at home. We all want home to be our safe place, but sometimes home is a place of fear and abuse. Share a little of the adversity you had to overcome at home.
- (21:40) Did you ever have anybody in your life that kind of helped keep you going?
- (23:16) What was your deepest longing through those long years of surgeries and scarring and recovering and more surgeries and how did God meet the longing through Clifton?
- (32:08) What do you think kept you serving in your dad’s church as an adult, even though you knew that he was really a fraud?
- (33:54) What was it like taking over the church that you grew up in, where your dad was the pastor?
- (39:10) For the woman listening who may be in the midst of adversity, how would you encourage them that their current circumstance does not have to be their future?
Quotes to Remember:
“I was born conjoined twin.”
“But I always say, ‘I guess God knows CPR.’ Because I was breathing. I had a pulse. I was fully alive.”
“It was a lot of time in the hospital because we were joined at the chin and the neck. When they separated us that left a gaping hole in my chin….so they had to make my chin from a rib.”
“I grew up in a pastor’s family, but I would not describe it as a Christian family. Because I believe a Christian family should portray the fruit of the Spirit and that was not shown a lot in our home.”
“My dad had told me, he’s passed away now, but he told me several times, he felt like I was a judgment on him for leaving the church.”
“When they would wheel you into the pre-op room, there were Scriptures taped to the ceiling. I remember reading those Scriptures and just thinking that’s the kind of God I want to serve, because children get their view of God from their fathers.”
“I did go back and forth where I believed that God was waiting to punish me for something wrong to He really does love me and He wants to rescue me. It was a process over years where I had to realize there was something wrong with my dad and there’s nothing wrong with God.”
“I had to get really comfortable with people staring at me, which I don’t know that I’ve ever really gotten fully comfortable with.”
“I was very self conscious and would pray before I went to bed for God to let me be normal.”
“He would tell me, often, I’m going to marry you…I had such low self esteem. I was like, there’s something wrong with him, that he would like me.”
“I was always looking for someone in dating that would look at me past the scars, because you can tell when someone’s talking to you what they’re looking at…after spending three months with Clifton…I realized…he saw past the scars.”
“That was a plus for my parents. I was never treated like a handicapped person.”
“God gave us such a burden for our church and our city. Also, in that time, both of my parents had been having an affair and those affairs came out.”
“God has blessed me with a phenomenal marriage, I have a marriage I’ve never seen.”
“Ditch the victim mentality. I was a professional at throwing my own pity party, but victimization allows other people to be in control of your life and victims can only react. I would tell that woman, take a long, hard look at your life and decide which things are in your ability to change and start working on those things. things, because right choices eventually bring out right results.”
- Book: The Perfectly Imperfect Princess: An Un-fairy Tale Gone Right by Paula LeJeune
- Lisa Whittle: Ministry Strong