Can I Make Peace With the Past and Make Sense of the Present? With Bonnie Gray [Episode 200]

Make Peace Past Make Sense Present Bonnie Gray

Episode 200 [Part 1]

Episode 200 [Part 2 – After Hours]

Growing up as a Chinese American daughter of a mail-order bride and a busboy in San Francisco’s Chinatown, Bonnie Gray never felt like she belonged. She spent her childhood hiding “Chinese Bonnie” who lived in a dysfunctional home in poverty in order to be accepted as cheerful “American Bonnie” who lived a life that looked like everybody else’s.

She tried to throw away pieces of her past—the ones she thought no one wanted—but in the process, she discovered God was tenderly gathering all the broken fragments to build a new story of faith and joy. She learned that it’s only when we learn to embrace the truth of our past that we can finally make sense of our present and celebrate what truly matters.

Bonnie joins me on the podcast and shares how she made peace with her past, which changed everything about her future.

And just as God did with Bonnie, He can do for you too. God can use your unique and broken story to create a beautiful mosaic of His love. He can fill that emptiness and give you an identity that reveals your true worth.

He’s just that powerful, and you, sister, are just that valuable.

Now as an adult, Bonnie is an inspirational speaker and podcast host of Breathe: The Stress Less Podcast. She touches thousands of lives using storytelling, soul care, and prayer, and her writing has been published and syndicated across a broad online audience. Her global following of readers come to her for inspiring Christian content in her authentic, unique voice, which you get to hear today.

As we talked about her book, Sweet Like Jasmine: Finding Identity in a Culture of Loneliness, she bravely touched on some hard questions that you may be asking as well. Questions like…

  • Is it okay to desire a “normal” life, or one that would fit in with ordinary people?
  • Should I dig up my past if it’s going to reopen wounds?
  • Why is it so hard for women to talk about what goes on in their families?
  • Am I being an imposter if I try to change who I am?
  • Can I safely feel what I can’t fix?

It’s good stuff—and so helpful! But here’s the really good stuff…

Bonnie and I weren’t finished talking when this episode ended, so I added a bonus episode to capture the last part of our conversation. We talked about being okay with ourselves and being cheerleaders for each other, and then we dove into the deep end about how choosing honesty over comfort leads to freedom and peace.

Oh, sister, it was just too rich to leave out, so be sure to listen to the “After Hours with Bonnie Gray” bonus episode right after episode 200. You’ll be so glad you did!

Remember, you can find freedom, hope, and healing in rewriting your story with faith. And you can make peace with the past and embrace your future because you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.

[Listen to the podcast using the player above, or read the transcript below. Then check out the links below for more helpful resources.]

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Episode Transcript

4:13 Podcast: Can I Make Peace With the Past and Make Sense of the Present? With Bonnie Gray [Episode 200 - Part 1]

Bonnie Gray: I want to go to college. And then once I was in college, I then started kind of building the life that I felt was one that was free of flaws, you know, free of imperfections. Not that I was perfect, but at least when I related to other people. Okay, getting a job. And then -- I live in Silicon Valley, so then I began my twenties and working. And then once I became a mom, okay, I read parenting books. Okay, how do these, quote/unquote, normal people parent?

K.C. Wright: Welcome to the 4:13 Podcast, where practical encouragement and biblical wisdom set you up to live the "I Can" life, because you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. Now, welcome your host, Jennifer Rothschild.

Jennifer Rothschild: Well, hey, everybody. You're at the 4:13, but K.C. and I are out of the closet.

K.C. Wright: Yes, we are.

Jennifer Rothschild: It's still two friends, one topic, zero stress. And we are at my kitchen table, and so that's why there's definitely zero stress today.

K.C. Wright: Yes.

Jennifer Rothschild: We're enjoying some iced tea and a little snack.

K.C. Wright: Yes, a snackalacka. You want some?

Jennifer Rothschild: We wish you were here. We wish you were sitting right here at the table. You are in our hearts. And we're going to have a good conversation today. Why did I bite and then decide to talk? Hold on.

K.C. Wright: Well, I want to tell them what your kitchen looks like. Do you care?

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay, no, you tell them what my kitchen looks like.

K.C. Wright: Okay. So above her kitchen table she has a beautiful sign that says "Gather," which is immediately welcoming and heartwarming.

Jennifer Rothschild: Because we want to gather.

K.C. Wright: And my favorite part about your kitchen now, to be honest with you, is right over your shoulder there is this cute little desk area --

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes.

K.C. Wright: --and there is a picture of your dad.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes.

K.C. Wright: And I know that he is your heart. But he's in a suit jacket and tie. And he is maybe in his twenties in this picture?

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah, he was a young man. That was one of his first ministry pictures, official ministry pictures.

K.C. Wright: And I had the honor of meeting your Daddy when he was here on Planet Earth, and a precious man. And I know his legacy lives through you, so...

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.

K.C. Wright: But I love seeing your dad there --

Jennifer Rothschild: I do, too.

K.C. Wright: -- and this big "Gather" sign.

Jennifer Rothschild: Well, and then there's a bulletin board on the desk with all these family pictures.

K.C. Wright: Oh, yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: And it was very sweet when I first put that together. Kenzie, who helps me on Wednesdays -- just a great young woman -- she was helping me put that together. Phil comes in and he sees it, he goes, "Can you tell me what the purpose of this bulletin board is?" And we're both very confused. He goes, "Because I don't like that picture of me. I'd like to replace it with such and such." It was so funny. So I started singing the old Carol King, "You're so vain, I bet you think this bulletin board is about you." Oh, my gosh. It was hilarious. So now I will tell you that all those pictures on the bulletin board need the Rothschild approval.

K.C. Wright: Oh, my. Well, I actually just told you, too, a while ago that the pictures on your refrigerator actually put tears in my eyes because they're of your boys and your grandbabies, and they're so beautiful.

Jennifer Rothschild: It's not just because they're beautiful, it's because you're jealous you want their hair.

K.C. Wright: I do.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. Because my kids -- my boys have the thickest hair. Every woman is envious of their hair.

K.C. Wright: That's a good head of hair.

Jennifer Rothschild: It's a lot of hair.

K.C. Wright: And when you start losing yours, you're envious of anyone who has hair.

Jennifer Rothschild: You want -- yeah.

K.C. Wright: You've got nice hair.

Jennifer Rothschild: I do. I got a lot of hair going on.

K.C. Wright: How can they put a man on the moon and they can't get rid of male pattern baldness --

Jennifer Rothschild: I know.

K.C. Wright: -- that's what I want to know.

Jennifer Rothschild: I'm sorry. I know. I'm sorry.

Well, here's the thing. We're going to talk today about making peace.

K.C. Wright: Okay.

Jennifer Rothschild: Peace with the past --

K.C. Wright: Oh, peace. Shalom.

Jennifer Rothschild: -- so that you can experience what you need to in your present and in your future.

And our guest today is Bonnie Gray. And so you guys may not know this about her, but she grew up as a Chinese-American daughter of a mail order bride and a busboy in San Francisco's Chinatown.

K.C. Wright: What?

Jennifer Rothschild: And so -- fascinating story.

K.C. Wright: Wow.

Jennifer Rothschild: And she talks about how she never really felt like she belonged. And she spent her childhood hiding the Chinese Bonnie, as she describes it, who lived in a very dysfunctional home in poverty, so that she could be accepted as, like, this cheerful American Bonnie who was, like, top notch when it came to speech and debate in her high school. So it's going to be fun, because when we talk to her today, you're going to hear how she made peace with her past and how that has changed everything about her future. And the very best part is that she's going to help us do the same thing. So if that's you, I think you're going to really enjoy hearing this practical conversation. And she's also going to help you build a great story of faith for you today. She did say this. And I thought this was really good, K.C. She said it's only when we learn to embrace the truth of our past that we can finally make sense of our present.

K.C. Wright: Wow.

Jennifer Rothschild: So join me and K.C. at the table, pour your iced tea and get a snack, and let's just invite Bonnie into this conversation.

K.C. Wright: Bonnie Gray is an inspirational speaker and podcast host of Breathe: The Stress Less Podcast. Bonnie touches thousands of lives using storytelling, soul care, and prayer. Bonnie's global following of readers come to her for inspiring Christian content in her authentic, unique voice. Her writing has been published and syndicated across a broad online audience. Bonnie lives in California with her husband and two sons.

Now, relax, get comfy. Are you ready to make peace with your past?

Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, yeah. Let's do it.

K.C. Wright: I am.

Jennifer Rothschild: Let's do it. Let's do it.

K.C. Wright: Here we go.

Jennifer Rothschild: Bonnie, in your book you talk about returning to Chinatown in San Francisco, and that's where you found your childhood home, your father who had abandoned you, I mean, really hard stuff. But here's what's interesting to me. I read that you swore you would never return there. So let's start there. What did you do, why did you return there, and how did exploring your past help you with your today, you know, with peace for today?

Bonnie Gray: Yeah. You know, I think that a lot of us make different vows as we grow up as little girls. For me, I just felt that anything that didn't help me to be positive or to be strong -- I had experiences as a little girl that, you know, it didn't -- if it didn't help things get better, I just wouldn't talk about it or mention it. Like, for instance, when my father left when I was seven years old, my mom started cutting up photos in our living room. I didn't understand why he left; I just saw him with his suitcases leave. And when I asked my mom why, what's happening, she just said, "Take out the photos and cut them up. I don't want any pictures of him here." And as I was cutting them up, I was trying to hide one of them, because I didn't want to cut them up, but my mom said, "Hey, what are you doing? Why do you want to keep one picture of him? Do you want to go live with him?" And my mom then proceeded to -- my mom wasn't a loving mom. It's hard for me to confess it because, you know, most of us don't want to talk about our moms that way. But the fact is, not every one of us lives the life we've always wanted to live, at least when we were little.

So anyhow, she had said that she would take me to go live with my father. And at that moment, it was -- then I made a vow. I said I don't need to know why he's gone, I'll just, you know, make the best of it. So that was my past. I just never wanted to talk about what had hurt me but I couldn't change.

Jennifer Rothschild: Well, and as a child, that's just for protection, self-protection. You got to do what it takes to keep your connection with your mom and get your needs met.

But then you go ahead and you do, you go back and explore. And so so much of your book you're dealing with that, and I find it so interesting. But one thing that I thought was also very compelling was how you describe trying to get a cookie cutter life growing up, you know, this life that would fit in with all the what you called, quote/unquote, normal people. But in your book, you write that you are following everyone else's journey except your own. And so I want you to tell us more about that life you were creating for yourself, that cookie cutter life, but then how you recognized it and then eventually broke that mold.

Bonnie Gray: Yeah, I think that God, when we're in our hard moments, he gives us the faith and the ability to go into survival mode. And so my survival mode was living a cookie cutter life, meaning I'd go to school and, okay, what are people talking about? Okay, I'll talk what other people are talking about. Because my home life was so different from my outside life. So it's not like I was trying to be fake, but it's more like, oh, the life that I have at home wasn't the one I felt fit what I saw people living at church or even at my school. So I would want to graduate from high school, I want to go to college. And then once I was in college, I then started kind of building the life that I felt was one that was free of flaws, you know, free of imperfections. Not that I was perfect, but at least when I related to other people, okay, getting a job. And then I live in Silicon Valley, so then I began the -- you know, my twenties and working. And then once I became a mom, okay, I read parenting books. Okay, how do these, quote/unquote, normal people parent, you know?

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.

Bonnie Gray: But what happened was once I became the mom, that's when I realized it hit me. I stumbled on this birth certificate that I was looking for my older son. I have two boys, Josh and Caleb. And I actually named them Josh and Caleb to help me remember, hey, I'm building a new life. And I thought it meant leaving my past behind me, just starting fresh. But when I found the birth certificate to sign him up for preschool, I actually stumbled on my own. And that's when I realized, wait a minute, I forgot. My kids are going to grow up one day and they're going to ask me, "Where is Grandpa?" And because I'm Chinese- American, they're going to ask, "Wait, when did we come to America?" And because I never went to go find my father, I never knew. So that's when I decided I was going to do it first for my children, to find out where's my father, why did he leave me, and find out more about my past. And it turned out -- once I did it for them -- I mean, God is just very gracious. He helped me learn, no, it's really for you. I don't want you to be vanilla, I don't want you to try to fade into the wallpaper and just talk about the things that everybody talks about and hide all the different experiences that you've gone through.

And that's why I wrote the book, because I want every woman to know your story matters. The valleys you've walked through. You know, we don't want to just hear about the mountaintops. I mean, right now we're all struggling with our new normal and anxiety and depression and brain fog. Like, we don't need to talk about the things that make us strong. We want to talk about the things that are honest so we can help each other, we can encourage each other. And that is really what I learned, but I only learned it when I realized I shouldn't hide my past.

Jennifer Rothschild: Well, it's brave. Because a lot of times, I mean, we do what we need to to survive, if that means neglecting the past or overlooking it. Sometimes it's for survival. But then sometimes it's just because we look at it and we know, Man, if I open that box, my life's going to get so complicated. And it's already complicated. So what you've done, I think, gives women -- gives all of us -- just such an inspiration and example that it really is strong to acknowledge we're weak, we have needs, and it's okay, and that's where we become an encouragement to each other.

And something about your culture too, I think, is super interesting, that maybe just an American -- a Westerner may not clue into totally, because it's slightly different. Because you mentioned you grew up Chinese-American. And so here you are, the oldest sister, responsible, taking care of everything and everyone -- which a lot of us can relate to -- but inside you're carrying these invisible wounds from living this life where you're trying to compensate and have the cookie cutter life and then -- but, you know, deep down, your Chinese body at home, and then when you head out to school and life, your American body, and so it creates loneliness and isolation. So I'm curious, then, how'd you resolve that loneliness of that tension between the two different lives, and why do you think this is a thing for women? Because I think a lot of women deal with it. And why do you think it's a thing that we deal with silently, like, we keep it to ourselves?

Bonnie Gray: Yeah, I think that, you know, I didn't realize I was lonely until I learned that -- because I thought loneliness meant I didn't have any friends. And so that's kind of part of that cookie cutter life, that strength of trying to, I guess, have the things in life that I think would connect me to others.

But I learned that what I felt was private, my private life, was really the lonely life. So I had friends and I was a Bible study teacher, I was active in my church serving others. And I'm a real positive -- you know, easily contented person, but I didn't realize until I started experiencing anxiety and panic attacks. Like, my private life, the way I felt didn't match what I knew in my head. So that is loneliness. It's because we hide those invisible wounds that you're talking about. We hide how we're really feeling and we figure, well, nobody probably has any need to hear anymore. We are already carrying enough burdens, like you said. You know, we're all, like, trying to tread water. We don't want to burden others. But actually, that becomes our loneliness. It becomes our cocoon. And so that's why we end up kind of in a brain fog. We're, like, obsessing over details and we're suffering on our own, and that's the emotional health suffering. But yet, God -- I mean, everything he says is so different. Jesus says, "Come to me those who are weary and heavy laden, I will give you rest." And it's interesting because he doesn't say come to me cheerful, come to me with no worries, come to me with no complaints. No. It's actually the opposite. And so that is really a secret and a key to wellness, because he says then you'll find rest for your souls.

So that's what we want to be to each other. We want to be able to share our stories and unburden our hearts. And so I never learned that because, you know, I never did that. I never just shared how I was really feeling or doing, because I just really wanted to take care of others.

Jennifer Rothschild: Well, yeah. And there's a genuineness to that, but it can also -- that bridge you're building to others can also create a wall that you're building between you and that other person because it becomes a substitute for real relationship. I don't think we mean to do it, but I think lots of women, we do it. And I love the way you describe loneliness, because there can be women surrounded right now by a group of friends and she suddenly identified with what you're saying and realizes, oh, yeah.

You know what I thought, too, when you were describing that, Bonnie, is kind of this difference of the dual life. It was as if there was not integration from the outside Bonnie and the inside Bonnie. And so what happens when there's not integration is disintegration, and so your soul is feeling it on every level. So I'm so thankful that you're honest about it. It encourages all of us to be. Because I think we slip into it without even realizing it.

So in an early chapter in your book, you describe a scene where you are trying on this Chinese silk dress that was embroidered by your mother, who is a seamstress. And it was your first experience of what you describe -- well, what it's called, imposter syndrome. Okay? So take us there. Tell us what happened and kind of tell us what we can learn from that experience.

Bonnie Gray: Yeah. My mom was an embroidery seamstress in Chinatown, so she would pick up different dresses to embroider them at home. And there's dresses in different process all across the sofa, you know, some finished, some more finished than others. And so when my mom wasn't looking, I would pick up my favorite, which was the pink dress with a beautiful peacock. And I was so happy -- you know, you kind of put it up on yourself. And I ran to the mirror and I just felt so happy and beautiful [inaudible] left and right. But my mom caught me one time and she's like, "Take that off." She's like, "Do you know how stupid you look? You look dumb. It doesn't even fit you." And suddenly, you know, from one minute I thought I looked absolutely gorgeous and beautiful; the next minute I felt totally ill fitting. Like, what was I thinking?

And so that's kind of the impostor syndrome, where we're like -- you know, whether it's parenting or being a wife or being a great friend in our work or we're trying something new, whatever God's put on our hearts and we're doing it, and yet -- you know, it's normal, it's natural to compare because that's what our brain does. It's actually, I learned, normal, that's how we learn. Our brain contrasts and makes comparison. But once we do that, at least for me, I will have the thought, "Wait a minute. This isn't good enough. I'm not good enough." So that's the imposter syndrome.

Jennifer Rothschild: Well. and how do you think shame plays into that?

Bonnie Gray: Well, I think, you know, it's like whose voices are we listening to? That's the shame, because we'll -- even though it's absolutely true that we know in our heads that we are good, meaning God says you are good. Everything God creates, as he created us with a dream of who we would be, you know, fashioned us. In the darkness he saw us and he said, "This is beautiful and you are good."

Shame comes when we listen to the critical voices. And then we stop. So, you know, I don't know if you can relate, but a lot of times the minute I have something exciting that thrills my heart, once I start to make plans or I think about how I'm going to do it, that's when that imposter syndrome can kick in.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes. Yes.

Bonnie Gray: And then we stop. It's suddenly like, oh, okay, never mind. And that's so sad. That's what I don't want to happen, because most of my life has been like that. That's how that cookie cutter life gets built, is because I would stop myself. And so I don't want women to do that. Because sometimes as people read the story, they'll start thinking, hey, wait a minute. The great news is that those little pearls of joy and inspiration, they don't go away. They stay in our soul because God put them there. And so I'm just hoping as I share these stories, we'd be like, wait a minute, yes, that's right, I did have this beautiful moment and it hasn't left me.

And that's the point, that story about the dress. As I returned back to this moment, I realized I'm still here. That little girl that loves pink is still here until I started taking action. Whereas before, I would -- it seems small, but God knows it's big to me. I would just pick really safe clothes to wear.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. Yeah.

Bonnie Gray: Does that make sense?

Jennifer Rothschild: I don't think that's small. I think that's big. I totally understand that. Well, yeah, you're believing the lie and you're protecting yourself from the disappointment and so, yeah, pick drab colors so that you're never accused of imposter syndrome again.

Bonnie Gray: Yes, just safe. You know, just safe. I don't want to pop out, I just want to kind of be -- you know, look okay. Obviously I don't want to look bad. But, you know, not really go for what I really want. And it's interesting because God -- that was an invitation from God to me to be that -- like, integrate what you said, bring out that true me. So I started challenging myself. Hey, you know what? Don't pick the safe color. Pick the one you really want.

Jennifer Rothschild: Bonnie, I think that's so practical. I think that is so practical. And I love that you told us that, I really do.

One of the things you do in your book "Sweet Like Jasmine," you give us this really good view of -- and taste of Chinese culture, which I enjoyed so much. But what's interesting to me is traditional Chinese culture as I understand it -- and please correct me if I'm wrong -- it appears that they really valued sons more than daughters. And I'm curious, if that is true, how that might have affected you.

Bonnie Gray: I really appreciate your kindness and intention to point out that. It's old school traditional Chinese. And that's one of the reasons why I was always afraid to tell my American friends about my Chinese-American background, because my mom was in an arranged marriage. She was a mail order bride. So I was afraid to talk about these kind of things, like how -- in the traditional culture, Chinese people valued boys over girls because they might think, oh, gosh, every Chinese person they meet, you know, is like that, and it's not true. Thank you so much for clarifying that so it gives me freedom to talk about it, what's in my family. And I think every woman has that. There's something in their families -- you know, we have a sense of shame, like it's a taboo. It's like one of the rules that those of us who maybe grew up in dysfunctional situations is the family code. Like, do not talk about your family. But that's the one thing that's beautiful about being part of God's family, which is wholeness, which is we are one in Christ so we can talk about our earthly families and talk about those kinds of things. So, sorry, I get really excited. I love how you put it.

So, yeah, in our old Chinese culture, boys are more valued than the women because they're the ones that supposedly would get the education, can be really strong in bringing in financial support. And specifically in the Chinese culture, when a woman -- sorry -- a girl gets married, she belongs to the husband's family. She changes her name and she's no longer part of the family she grew up in. So she becomes a resource for the husband's family. So that's why, since they're little, they're not valued, because they figure, hey, whatever. And my mom had even told me this, like, "Look, whatever money or attention I give to you, you know, your other family's going to benefit from it." What good is that for me?

Jennifer Rothschild: Wow.

Bonnie Gray: So that's kind of -- it shaped my mentality.

Jennifer Rothschild: Of course.

Bonnie Gray: Even in my relationship with God. Because I'd be like, oh, my gosh, God gave me all these different things, I need to make it count. I need to make sure I feel like it's worth it that God loved me and saved me. And so we kind of carry that kind of performance mentality in our relationship with God, like, okay, oh, no, I'm failing God. Why am I struggling over this? Oh, no, God's grace is being wasted. I need to go serve. I need to go this and that. And so that creates that busyness in our lives. Meanwhile, we're kind of covered up. It's like we're so active and busy, but yet inside we're just wilting, wilting like flowers that are put out on the counter because we forgot to put them in the vase because we're so busy putting our groceries in the fridge and then forget. I don't know if that's happened to you. That happens to me a lot. Oh, no, I looked at the flowers.

Jennifer Rothschild: Well, I think maybe what you described might be unique to traditional Chinese culture. But as you so beautifully shared, I do think that all women experience something similar that makes them feel less than or other, you know, and we internalize before we recognize it and then it shapes our perspective. And so again, Bonnie, what I have heard you share -- and I hope our listeners are hearing this -- we don't need to fear because we are safe in Christ. We don't need to fear encountering and facing and admitting some of these hard things. Even if we can't fix them, we can't rewind and fix, but we can still safely feel what we can't fix because we can trust God with the process. And as I look at your life, I thank God that you have had the courage and the grace to explore these stories because it helps women be safe to explore their own. And that is so powerful.

So you conclude each chapter of your book with, among other things, A Letter to My Younger Self, which I love. So that's how we're going to end our conversation right here. Okay? So this will be our last question. What would today the grown-up Bonnie Gray say to her younger self right now?

Bonnie Gray: I would say what God says in Isaiah 43:4, you are precious to me and I've given you a special place of honor. I love you. I love you, younger Bonnie. You're worth the peace. You're worthy of the beauty. That's what I would say, you're worthy of the rest. And I see you. Don't hide. The loneliness that you feel, you're going to be able to gain the love and the friendship that you really long for when you're able to just open your heart and share with others what you're going through. And that's really what I want to say to each woman, is that you're worthy of the rest. Your feelings matter. How you feel matters. It's part of who you are. And we need you. We want to be with you. And what you have is your heart, and that's what makes you so precious and important. You're very valuable.

And I guess the last thing I want to say is that we don't have to stay stuck in the past. So all those places of wounds, when I return to them with God, God showed me that I can make different choices. I can create a new memory. And so God rewrites our stories. That's what I love about this whole journey of sharing my stories, is I love hearing where women would share their stories, and then we realize, oh, that little girl that has joy and peace, she's still there. So let's encourage each other. Let's do new things to walk in newness.

K.C. Wright: We need each other. You are valuable and we don't have to stay stuck in the past. God can reframe our memories and rewrite our story.

Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, man, I'm so grateful. You need to read her book, our people. It's called "Sweet Like Jasmine." I even love the title. And she also has a "Sweet Like Jasmine" journal. And we're going to have links to both of those on our show notes, plus a link to her podcast on the show notes at

K.C. Wright: You'll also find a full transcript there just for you. And, Jennifer, you and Bonnie kept on talking after what we just heard, right?

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah, we did. We did. It was fun. It got even better, believe it or not. So you're going to want to join me and Bonnie for what I'm calling "After Hours." It's going to be a bonus episode that will show up right after this one ends so you can go deeper with us. And I think you're really going to enjoy it. So our dear people, you are loved and God is with you, so remember that you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength. I can.

K.C. Wright: I can.

Jennifer and K.C.: And you can.

K.C. Wright: Now here's the "After Hours." Or I think it's going to be an after party.

Jennifer Rothschild: It is. Hey, toast.

K.C. Wright: Oh, toast.

Jennifer Rothschild: Iced tea toast.

K.C. Wright: 4:13.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes.

K.C. Wright: Shall we live long and prosper.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes.

4:13 Podcast: Can I Make Peace With the Past and Make Sense of the Present? With Bonnie Gray [Episode 200 – Part 2 – After Hours]

Jennifer Rothschild: Hey, 4:13ers, Jennifer Rothschild here. Bonnie Gray and I were not done talking when Episode 200 ended, so here's the rest of the conversation. And it's all about being comfortable with ourselves and being cheerleaders for each other. So I had just told Bonnie that I was wearing black and gray, which, if you heard the end of Episode 200, that'll make sense to you. But here's the thing, I told her that black and gray has become my new normal because then I just don't have to take so much time or use so much emotion trying to decide what to wear. And it works for me.

So anyway, then Bonnie and I went a direction that I did not expect, and it was so rich. So I want you to join us and listen to the rest of this conversation between me and Bonnie Gray. And then don't forget to go to the show notes at

All right, here's the rest of the convo with me and Bonnie.

Bonnie Gray: As I was sharing it, yeah, I was just like -- I don't know. I just felt like the whole color thing and the whole clothes things, it was just -- it was what was on my heart. I'm like, okay, women need to hear this.

Jennifer Rothschild: Women can relate.

Bonnie Gray: Which is very true.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.

Bonnie Gray: I'll get calls from my friends, they'll be like -- or FaceTime, you know, like, "Which one should I pick?" It's like -- you know what I mean?

Jennifer Rothschild: Whatever makes you happy, girl.

Bonnie Gray: I know. We don't hear that enough, right?

Jennifer Rothschild: No.

Bonnie Gray: We don't hear that enough. I mean, we tell that to our kids. But it's like we need to help each other, we need to reparent each other. So those are things that I would never have called my friends for before.

Jennifer Rothschild: Right.

Bonnie Gray: 'Cause it would seem like I was telling you --

Jennifer Rothschild: 'Cause you feel dumb.

Bonnie Gray: Yeah, exactly.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. No, it's not dumb. Here's the thing. The older I get, the more I realize nothing is dumb, because the things you choose to think are dumb become issues. So create non-issues by thinking nothing is dumb and just being honest about everything. It's simpler.

Bonnie Gray: Okay, right there, you need to put that in. This is great. That right there is something you could take and use right away for sure.

Jennifer Rothschild: All right.

Bonnie Gray: That was so good. Okay. Thank you so much.

Jennifer Rothschild: Thank you, Bonnie. I hope I get to meet you in real life someday. God bless you.

Bonnie Gray: I know. I could tell we'd be --

Jennifer Rothschild: We would.

Bonnie Gray: We would have such a long coffee and it would be so fun. Well, God bless you and your ministry.

Jennifer Rothschild: Thank you. You're over there in California still, I suppose?

Bonnie Gray: Yeah. Where are you? Where are you located?

Jennifer Rothschild: I'm in the middle of the country, Missouri, Springfield, Missouri.

Bonnie Gray: Okay.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. So what town are you in California.

Bonnie Gray: I'm right in Silicon Valley. Google's right down the street from me. Like, I walk there, like, in 10 minutes.

Jennifer Rothschild: Dude, then if you wear pink, you stand out with all the black around there.

Bonnie Gray: That's what I'm telling you. You see?

Jennifer Rothschild: Everybody wears black.

Bonnie Gray: That's what I'm telling you. I don't fit in here, seriously, with all these engineers and everything. Especially at my church, there's so many engineers. We could do a whole show on this, seriously. Because it took me so much courage. I was literally, like, sweating with anxiety going to church, wearing a beautiful dress that was pink and it had flowers on it. Oh, my gosh, I was -- it was my walk of faith to sit there in church and to work in and out. And I wanted to just leave right away and go back to my car, and I'm like, no, I know, God, you're helping me to blossom and grow as a woman. And that's just so weird to say.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah, but it's --

Bonnie Gray: You know what I mean?

Jennifer Rothschild: No, it makes sense. It's feminine, it's beautiful, and it touches something in you, you know, that makes sense to you intuitively. But I get it because, yeah, like you said -- which I loved how you pointed out -- our brains were created to find the patterns, and you do that by contrast and comparison. So, of course, yeah, you stand out and you notice.

Bonnie Gray: Oh, it's still a challenge for me. And I think that that's something that, as women, we need to even talk more about, even in our culture. And it seems like we have these cultures and these conversations in our culture, but we don't have them among our face circles.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah, interesting.

Bonnie Gray: Right? We don't talk about it.

Jennifer Rothschild: No. Because we think it's not a big deal. It's not world hunger, so I feel dumb thinking it's a thing.

Bonnie Gray: Exactly.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.

Bonnie Gray: Yes. And yet in God's eyes, as he created us -- I mean, God's heart is breaking. It's just like with our kids, you know. We see them, we're like, Why are you wearing that? You don't like it. No. Wear this other thing, you look so beautiful in it. So even as a parent, I feel like God is healing and renewing me. Because as I hear myself saying these things to my kids, I'm like, why are you treating yourself this way? Why do you talk to yourself this way? And so, yeah, this is the kind of thing which is so important as women that we're feeling lost. We're feeling we're getting lost. We're disappearing. And that is actually something God does care about, and it's emotional health and it's wellness.

Jennifer Rothschild: It is. Well, and he created us --

Bonnie Gray: Please feel free to put this in. This whole conversation we're having right now is -- like, feel free if you want to, if you have an engineer to put it in. I mean, this is so important. And that's why we're feeling invisible and we're lonely. I mean, I feel so close to you right now and I feel like --

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.

Bonnie Gray: -- I'm having so much fun. Like, my whole day just brightened up, you know?

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. Well, and here's the other thing that I have noticed. Because I am older now -- well, as we're all older now. But I look back and I think how much of my conformity was because everyone else was doing it, or to please them, or to blend in or not stand out. I mean, I can trace all of it. But I remember one time -- and this has been probably -- well, I don't remember -- 20 years. It was when the first George Bush was president. And nightly news was on, Tom Brokaw -- okay, so that's really dating this. And evidently, Barbara Bush, who was not a skinny mini, young, hot thing, had been in the swimming pool. And she had on her one-piece bathing suit and she had on her bathing cap. And evidently they were doing some live feed from the White House, and somehow she got caught getting out of the pool. And so Tom Brokaw does this thing like, oh -- you know, trying to back-pedal like -- basically saying, oh, so sorry, we didn't mean to catch her like that. And then he pauses and he says, "I really admire how comfortable she is with herself." And I thought -- right there it became a life goal: I want to be that comfortable with myself. Whether it's what I choose to wear, you know, that I might laugh too loud sometimes, whatever it is, I want to be that comfortable with myself that if I get caught in a swimsuit with a bathing cap, that I don't freak out and die over it. And there have been seasons in life where I definitely would have.

So I think as we're honest with each other, Bonnie, about all these little things, we disallow them from becoming big things and we get what we really long for, which is just being comfortable with who God made us.

Bonnie Gray: Okay, you just hit the big target, because -- the big bull's eye. Because in the book, the turning point is when something terrible happens. But I realized -- and I want to give it away because it's in the storyline. But that's when I realized you need to be more honest than you are comfortable with. What would I do if I was more honest than I am comfortable with? What would I say if I was more honest than I am comfortable with?

Jennifer Rothschild: Ooh. Ooh. Yeah. Okay, that right there is a reason to get the book and just read that. I mean --

Bonnie Gray: Yes. Yes, that is the -- that's when everything falls apart in my life and I had to ask myself that. And that's when my life started changing, because I started one little piece at a time making choices and saying what needs to be said. And it falls in line with what you're saying, that God was trying to guide me and show me, like loosen my grip and say, Bonnie, I want you to be comfortable with who you are, but that means you need to be honest.

Jennifer Rothschild: And honest is uncomfortable.

Bonnie Gray: Yes.

Jennifer Rothschild: Interesting. What a paradigm.

Bonnie Gray: Yes.

Jennifer Rothschild: Girl, yeah, we're -- our listeners, I know they are enjoying this because we just all finished up this conversation and, boy, we saved the best for last. This was like the foam on the top of the latte. Good stuff.

Bonnie Gray: Beautiful. Yes. We're not just drinking coffee, we're having lattes and we're having cappuccinos.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes, we are. And we are wearing pink. At least Bonnie is.

Bonnie Gray: Yes, yes, yes. Please, everybody, wear your color. Be who God created you to be. Because this world was created to be rich and beautiful because you are in it. We need you.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.


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