Are You an Unseen Servant?
If you're feeling like an unseen servant, there may be more blessing in it than you think. Drs Beth Robinson and Latayne Scott share the joys they've experienced in walking it out in their own lives.
About the Guest
If you’re feeling like an unseen servant, there may be more blessing in it than you think. Drs Beth Robinson and Latayne Scott share the joys they’ve experienced in walking it out in their own lives.
Are You an Unseen Servant?
Beth: I tell people that I’m not a person, where God opens the door and says, “Come this way,” and I go. You know, when God tries to lead me in directions, I tend to be the person, who says, “Oh, I’m not ready for that, God; I’ll get around to it eventually.” So then, He opens a window and says, “Come on through the window, then”; and I still don’t go. So He then picks me up and shoves me through the window, with me kicking and screaming. That’s kind of how I ended up working in foster care and adoption.
Ann: Welcome to FamilyLife Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I’m Ann Wilson.
Dave: And I’m Dave Wilson, and you can find us at FamilyLifeToday.com or on our FamilyLife® app.
Ann: This is FamilyLife Today.
Dave: So we had an interesting lunch today; didn’t we?
Ann: It was really fun; wasn’t it? I thought it was so fun.
Dave: Why is that?
Ann: Because we have two guests with us today that are friends and have been friends for a while. They’ve coauthored books together; they’ve lived life together—celebrated each other; mourned with one another—and they are amazing women that have remarkable stories.
Dave: Yes, and I don’t think our listeners always know; we usually have lunch with our guests before we come in here in the studio, partly, to get to know one another. All I know is this lunch—I hardly said a word; these three women talked—[Laughter]—you guys act like you’re best friends already.
Ann: Because they are so interesting and amazing.
Dave: Well, tell them who is with us.
Ann: We think that all of our listeners, especially women, you could just pull up your chair, or kind of have your headphones in, because this is something, I think, that will inspire you. Their friendship, their lives, their faith is something that I think we can all learn from.
Dave: Yes; here is the thing: we’ve got Dr. Beth Robinson with us and Dr. Latayne Scott with us. We decided, after hearing your stories at lunch, “Let’s just do a program on your life.” I mean, Dr. Beth, one of the things we found out, right away, is you teach at/is it called Lubbock Christian?
Beth: Lubbock Christian University—
Beth: —been there—I think this is 28 years.
Dave: Twenty-eight years, and what do you teach?
Beth: Undergrad psychology/general psychology most of the time.
Dave: I don’t know for sure; but based on what I could tell at lunch, you are that teacher—am I right?—that every kid wants to be in your class.
Ann: I want to be in her class, just by listening to her. What we thought was interesting—where a lot of teachers will say, “Put your devices away,”—you don’t do that, Beth.
Beth: No, I don’t. When they come to my class—a lot of different professors have syllabi that say: “Don’t use your technology,” or “Put your phones away,”—I’ll have students, because it’s not in my syllabus—they’ll raise their hand and say, “What’s your policy about phones?” I’ll say, “Well, you’ve paid a couple thousand dollars, sometimes, for that learning and educational device. My recommendation is you use it, and you use it in class.”
Ann: This reminds me of Dave; because as a preacher, he would say, “If the people in the pews are asleep, wake up the preacher.”
Dave: —“wake up the preacher.” [Laughter]
Beth: Psychology is easy to teach. It’s about how you interact with people. I think I have great material to work with as a teacher. I don’t know that it is about the teacher so much as it is the material—but I love doing what I’m doing, and it’s what I want to do—is be there in front of freshmen.
Ann: That’s really fun.
Dave: So you two are really good friends, although you don’t spend a lot of time together; but Dr. Latayne, you’ve also got your PhD in biblical studies.
Latayne: Yes; that’s right.
Dave: I mean, that sort of came out at lunch as well. She’s like a biblical scholar over here—very understated—but it’s—
Ann: —and author.
Dave: —an author of more than a dozen books.
Latayne: Yes; yes.
Dave: We would never know that; she would never tell us that. We want to get into your story. Listening to you was a lit bit like our producer, Jim Mitchell, said, “It was something that took place in Mark 12”—we used this to set up today—“where Jesus sort of draws attention to something He noticed, and He wanted to make sure the disciples saw it as well.” I think that’s what we’re doing right now.
Ann: I can always imagine, in the Scripture, Jesus calling His disciples, like, “Guys, come here. I want you to see this. Come and look at this.”
Dave: Yes; Mark 12, verse 41, says: “Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts, but a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. Calling His disciples to Him, Jesus said, ‘Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth, but she out of her poverty put in everything, all she had to live on.’”
Jesus, literally, pulls them over and says, “I want you to notice to something. Now, watch this, and let Me tell you what is happening.” As we were sitting at lunch, that was the sense we had; it was sort of like this holy moment. I know you didn’t come in there, thinking you were creating a holy moment; but it was like: “Wow, you women: you’ve written books,”—and we’re going to talk about that—“but there is so much deeper that’s going on in your life that we thought, ‘We need our listeners to hear.’”
Ann: I think we, as women, can often think: “Does our life matter? Am I doing anything?” “Do I have the gifts and passions that maybe my friend has?” or “She seems to have so much.” We can get so lost in comparison, especially with social media today. We can feel alone and forgotten, unseen, unheard.
Yet, as we were listening to your stories, I was so inspired; because you are like the widow in all the things that you have—all your gifts, all your talents, all your passions—you’ve put them in the offering bucket and said, “God, use whatever I have for Your kingdom and Your glory to impact people.”
Let’s get into—Beth, tell us about—you have had how many children through foster care?
Beth: Fifteen have come through my home, and a few of them have become permanent. My ministry is very much about foster care and adoption. I have been doing this work—this is actually 30 years, doing counseling—my counseling practice is almost all foster and adoption kids.
Ann: How did that start? Where did this love for fostering come from?
Beth: You know, I tell people that I’m not a person where God opens the door and says, “Come this way,” and I go. You know, when God tries to lead me in directions, I tend to be the person, who says, “Oh, I’m not ready for that, God; I’ll get around to it eventually.” So then, He opens a window and says, “Come on through the window, then”; and I still don’t go. So He then picks me up and shoves me through the window, with me kicking and screaming. [Laughter] That’s kind of how I ended up working in foster care and adoption.
Ann: And you’ve never been married.
Beth: Never been married; no.
Beth: Single and really don’t feel a huge sense of loss by not being married because I have been so involved in my ministry. I mean, I never rule out the possibility; I could still get married. I believe, if it is somebody who helps me get to heaven, God will put that person in my life.
Ann: —which is a great perspective and unusual, honestly, for a single person; because a lot of times, that can become the sole goal; and we miss out on so much.
Beth: Well, I think God just pulled me into working with kids so much; I started out as a basketball coach.
Dave: Well, I could tell that! [Laughter]
Ann: Me too!
Dave: That sort of fits the demographic. What do you mean you started out?
Ann: I was a PE major; that was what I was going to do.
Beth: I was actually a PE major as well. I got accepted to med school and walked away to go coach basketball two weeks before I started med school—my parents did not, in their lifetime, ever let that go; I will say that—[Laughter]—and went and coached basketball. I figured out real quickly that I loved the kids more than the sport and then ended up teaching high school English and journalism.
My principal recruited me be a counselor. It was not a vision I had/a leading I felt at any point in my life; but he said, “You have been so effective with these kids,”—[who] were emotionally disturbed—“We would like for you to become our school counselor.” So I go back [to school] to do that. My last internship I had to do in the summer. I was working at a shelter for kids removed by child protective services in Texas—very behaviorally dysregulated kids: suicidal, homicidal, sexually-offending kids—and fell in love with it.
Ann: That’s so amazing; because a lot of people would be like, “I ran as far away from that as I could go!”; and you fell in love with it.
Beth: I fell in love with it, and that’s what I have been doing ever since then.
Dave: I mean, Latayne, you know her. Why do you think she’s good at that? Why would she fall in love with it?
Latayne: Because she cares about people at a real deep level. For all her bravado, and braggadocio, and all this, she has a very tender heart; [whispering] but don’t tell anybody. [Laughter]
Dave: Yes, I’m—obviously, at lunch, we were feeling that—talk about this: you bought a church and turned it into a house.
Dave: What’s that all about?
Beth: Well, I needed space.
Dave: A lot of people need space; they don’t go buy a church. [Laughter]
Beth: I needed space and, frankly, because I work in private higher education and non-profits, there is not a lot of income; so I had to be creative. The church was $35,000. I could afford that, and it was enough space. I remodeled the church because, at that point, I had four foster kids; all of them were under five, I think, at the time.
Ann: And you’re loving these kids; but you’ve also become quite an expert of knowing how to care for, identify, and even help the needs of your kids. How did you learn so much about that?
Beth: You know, life experience: you spend 30 years, and you’re really committed to trying to figure out what is going on with the kid when somebody else isn’t. I don’t want a kid to fall through the cracks, because we missed something. I spend a lot of time reading up with different kids and noticing what is going on. So my practice is those foster kids, trying to make sure that we get them the services they need so they can be taken care of, and heal, and a move on.
Ann: Latayne, let’s talk to you a little bit. You have an interesting background. You were a Mormon; share a little bit of that story with us.
Latayne: I was the happiest Mormon ever. I just loved the Mormon Church. I went on scholarship to Brigham Young University and was waiting for a missionary that was in Germany. I was so happy being a Mormon, and I came home to my home in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and met this young man that my mother really wanted me to meet. He was from Tennessee; my mom and dad were from Tennessee. She wanted to get me away from the Mormon Church; she never was Mormon.
Ann: Oh, she wasn’t Mormon?
Latayne: No, no; my dad was Mormon, but my mom wasn’t.
Ann: And what did you love about the Mormon faith?
Latayne: Oh, the sense of community, the sense of purpose, the sense of—and I say this in a good way—exclusivity, that we knew things that other people didn’t know; we were willing to share it, but we did know things that people needed to know—just the sense of history, resilience against persecution—all of those things. I loved it very deeply.
Ann: But your mom is a little afraid for you, so she sets you up with this guy from Tennessee.
Latayne: Yes, Dan Scott—little Danny Scott from Trezevant, Tennessee—I only go out with him because my mom made me. [Laughter] He only asked me because he worked with my mom, and he had to put up with her. Our first date was such a disaster. It was horrible, because he tried to kiss a Mormon girl on the first date; and you do not do that. We only went out, again, the second time just to placate my mom. We found out that we enjoyed each other’s company.
Here I was, going back for my senior year at BYU on scholarship; and he’s a member of the Church of Christ, which is quite a straight arrow biblical group. We began realizing that a relationship couldn’t go any further when we had such different views, not only of church and family, but of God Himself. I spent the worst summer of my life that summer after I met him, because his [brother] gave me books on Mormonism. Dan didn’t know anything about Mormonism; but his brother, who was a minister, did. It just made me sick. I mean, Charles Spurgeon said it: “There is no loss as great as losing your god.” I say to people, “What if you woke up tomorrow morning, and found out the god you served your whole life doesn’t exist? You wouldn’t feel liberated, or free, or anything else; you’d feel sick.”
Ann: You’d mourn.
Latayne: Yes; it was devastating to me.
Ann: Yet these books that you’re reading, you are believing—
Ann: —what they are saying.
Latayne: Because they are from the Bible—I could see that even though I had been very schooled in the Bible from the Mormon point of view—there were Scriptures in there that I just hadn’t given much attention to or had kind of passed over.
I say that I capitulated to a vanquishing Jesus Christ; but that did not necessarily mean I had to like Him. Do you know what I mean? I mean, He conquered me; and I gave up. I was baptized; I surrendered. But I spent the next ten years—even writing about why I left the Mormon Church from a doctrinal point of view—before I would say I really had a bone-deep relationship with Jesus Christ, and that has endured for the rest of my life.
Ann: That’s beautiful.
Beth: The part she didn’t tell about this story is: how old were you when that first book was published?
Latayne: I was 29.
Beth: How old were your kids?
Latayne: Ryan was 6, and Celeste was 4.
Beth: She wrote that first book, being that young, and watching those kids.
Ann: What was the name of that book?
Latayne: The Mormon Mirage was published by Zondervan. They asked me about ten to twelve years ago to update it; because Mormon doctrine has changed so radically that, from the time that I left the Mormon Church until now, it is hardly recognizable. There are so many things that have happened in the Mormon Church I never would have dreamed would have happened. It’s a morphing religion; it really is.
Dave: Yes; and you told us at lunch about your relationship with your husband in the last few years. Talk about what that has been like.
Latayne: Well, Dan was not a theologian. He was a faithful Christian, but he called my writing “the habit that he supported.” We had a very comfortable life, and I was able to get my PhD in biblical studies and to write books.
But about ten years ago, he had his second case of a disease called Guillain-Barre Syndrome. This one put him in a coma for months and months. He was intubated; I mean, I didn’t hear his voice or see his eyes for months. When he came out of that coma, he was a paraplegic—a quadriplegic, actually—I cared for him at home for a year after that while I was working. But by that time I was 60—so you know, you don’t/you can’t do that forever—he went into assisted living and, finally, into nursing care.
In the process of this, we lost everything financially. His medical bills were over
$6 million; but this was the great opportunity to do two things I always wanted to do in my life. One of them was to prove my faith. First Peter says that your faith is worth more than silver and gold, and we undergo trials so that we can prove that. I would remind myself of this: “I get to prove faith in this.”
Also, I got to see what a local church does to help support someone who is really in trouble; my church was extraordinary in helping me. I mean, one of my books that I wrote on, with a coauthor—we signed the contract of the book, literally, over Dan’s intubated body—we shake hands. I wrote that entire book on discovering the city of Sodom on hospital side tables and in the front seat of my car while friends of mine from church would come in and sit with Dan; because none of us wanted him to wake up and be alone.
Latayne: We didn’t know when he was going to wake up, and it was months.
I was able to—with the help of this church, and with my mom, and my brother, and others who supported me financially—we ended up losing everything, but guess what? We were completely provided for. I never did without a meal; I never missed a payment. I came out of this with a good credit rating. You can lose everything and still have a good credit rating, by the way. [Laughter] But I got to see what the church is supposed to do. It is supposed to rise up triumphantly and care for one another; and it was beautiful. And the Mountainside Church of Christ in Albuquerque, New Mexico—I salute you—because you took care of me. Now, that my husband is gone—he passed away about a year ago—the authority of those elders at that church are now my protectors and my helpers too.
Dan and I often talked about his catastrophic illness was the best thing that ever happened to us, because we got to prove our faith. We got to show that it really stands, and you can do this. You can lose everything: you can lose your health—well, we didn’t lose our reputations—but you can lose things that most people think are important; and if you have the Lord, nothing else matters.
Ann: Well done. It is easy to have our eyes on ourselves; we take our eyes off of Jesus in the midst of our pain because we can barely catch a breath. Yet, you loved him [Dan] well to the very end and brought glory to Jesus through your servant’s heart; and you’re not bitter or mad that you have lost everything.
Latayne: No, no.
Ann: You see the provision of God through your friends in the midst of it.
Latayne: Yes; unless it’s really dark, you can’t see the light so clearly; right? I know I got to see things and experience things I never would have gotten to see or know.
I have to give credit to Dr. Beth. She was a great help to me through that; because she would tell me, “You can’t do this. Latayne, you need to stop doing this.”
Ann: That’s a good friend.
Dave: I was going to ask you, Beth: “You watched this go on. What was your perspective?”
Beth: She was very faithful. She writes about the phases of faith—that God gives us promises, and we often experience contradictions before there is a resolution—and we lose faith in the contradictions, because we don’t understand—
Beth: —that the contradictions build the faith. It broke my heart; there were lots of mornings, where there were phone calls. She was struggling, and it was hard to hear.
Ann: You have had your own share of grief: you’ve lost your mom; you’ve lost a son.
Beth: One of the kids I helped raise: I lost him about six years ago; my dad six years ago; my mom this May/May 21st. I was blessed with my parents, and I got to go help take care of my parents.
Ann: “I got to go.”
Beth: Yes! I wanted to give back to people who had given me so much. When you have extraordinary parents, how can you not honor them? How can you not go every chance you get to try to make sure they are well cared for and that they know they are loved?
Ann: Talk to our listeners about being a woman who gives Jesus everything. All of your gifts—it’s like the widow giving her last mite—why is that important to do?
Beth: I don’t know that I even realized I did that. [Laughter]
Latayne: Yes, me either.
Beth: That’s unusual to hear from your perspective.
Latayne: Yes, it’s just what you do. If I had a message about giving Jesus everything, that is what Christians do. I mean, when you are buried in baptism, you come out a new creature; right? You put the old life behind; and when you take up a cross, you are agreeing to die for Him. Why should it be so hard to live for Him? I mean, your life is not yours, as it says, “You were bought with a price.” Your life is not your own, so it—
Ann: It hasn’t been a drudgery for you two.
Beth: Oh, no.
Ann: It has been a joy for you; hasn’t it?
Latayne: Well, I get to do what I like to do; and she gets to do what she likes to do. I think we get the deal. [Laughter]
Beth: I have always prayed that God would use me as a servant. I really have prayed, since the loss of my mother, about where this next stage of my life is going to go; because I don’t know where it is going to go. I just want to be used—I want to be used up—I don’t want to rust out.
Ann: Yes! Me too! I think that has been my most important prayer over the years. It started when I was 18; I said, “Jesus, I’ll do anything for You. I’ll go anywhere. I’ll say anything. I’ll live for You for the rest of my life.” I’ve said that continually to Him. I am telling you, when you pray that prayer, it’s as if He is shaking His head; He’s like, “Get ready, girl.”
Latayne: He takes you up on that; doesn’t He?
Ann: He does; He has so much for us. “I don’t”—I can see that you are like this—“I don’t want to miss it. I don’t want to miss anything.” It’s not easy; it’s not always easy, but it is good to be in the center of what God has for you.
Dave: I’ll say this, as being the only male in the room, and the only—you know as Jim and I sat there at lunch with you three ladies, including Ann my wife—that’s what I think struck me: is you are saints, who are—[Laughter]
Ann: He knows that is not true! [Laughter]
Latayne: Don’t tell our friends.
Dave: When I say saints, I’m talking the way Paul and Peter wrote—you know, anybody who is in Christ is a saint in Christ Jesus; so I don’t mean you are above anybody else—but it’s like you’re serving. I mean, just hearing your stories—the ones you’ve taken in, the books, and the things you’ve done—it’s almost like it’s sort of unseen; it’s sort of behind the scenes. Yet, the widow’s mite—Jesus sees—and He sees you, including Ann.
As a man, sitting there, I was like, “Wow! These are incredible women!”—that aren’t up here, above everybody—like flashy, showy, “Look at what I’m doing,”—but you are serving in just a beautiful way. Like Latayne said, you are giving your lives away and, in that, finding yourself.
I think there are so many listeners that are like you. They are serving; maybe, you wonder, “Does anybody see?” Jesus sees, and I think there are men like me that see. I just want to say to you, and to any woman listening that feels like your life is just the unseen: “It isn’t; God is using you just like He is—
Ann: —“and wants to use you.”
Dave: —“using you three powerful women in a powerful way.” It’s sort of like, from me to you, “Thank you. Thank you for what you are doing.”
Ann: I thank you too.
Beth: You’re welcome.
Bob: Listening to Beth Robinson and Latayne Scott share their stories, I’m just reminded of the fact that each one of us has a story. God is at work in each of our lives, and His fingerprints are all over our lives. What we often fail to recognize is that God’s work in us is a part of the story we have to tell to others. Here, at FamilyLife, our desire is that you would, not only be strengthened in your marriage and your family, but that you would share your life, your story, and the truth of God’s Word with others: people in your neighborhood, people at church, people in your community.
We’ve put together a number of resources designed to help you do that—whether it’s marriage studies like Dave and Ann Wilson’s Vertical Marriage video series, the Love Like You Mean It video series, the Art of Marriage® or The Art of Parenting®—our hope with these series is that you would connect with other couples; and in the context of sharing God’s truth about marriage and family, you’d have an opportunity to share about God’s work in your own life/share your own story.
Your testimony is powerful, and God wants you to proclaim to others the goodness of what He has done in your life. So how are you doing that? Again, if our resources can help you in a strategic way reach out to others, go to our website, FamilyLifeToday.com, for more information about the series that we have available that you can use as tools to connect with others; and then, get engaged in the lives of other people. That’s our goal/our hope, here at FamilyLife, and we want to help you do that however we can.
Now, tomorrow, Dave and Ann Wilson are going to tackle one of the tough questions that comes our way, along with Dr. Juli Slattery. The question is the Bible says wives are to submit to their husbands; but what does that mean? Is that for real? What is submission? And what isn’t it? How have we, maybe, misunderstood that idea? That is all coming up tomorrow. I hope you can be with us for that.
On behalf of our hosts, Dave and Ann Wilson, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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