Kim Anthony: Unfavorable Odds
Author & sports reporter Kim Anthony peeled back the layers of her secret world filled with drugs, violence, & financial strain to overcome unfavorable odds.
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- Unfavorable Odds Podcast: Kim Anthony knows something about finding hope in the face of unfavorable odds and finds others to share their stories.
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Author & sports reporter Kim Anthony peeled back the layers of her secret world filled with drugs, violence, & financial strain to overcome unfavorable odds.
Kim Anthony: Unfavorable Odds
Kim: I had this art class at UCLA, and you had to do a self-portrait. In my self-portrait, I drew myself with a gag in my mouth. I had no idea/I mean, to me, I’m just being creative. As I began to peel back those layers that had come up as a result of abuse, and me feeling like I had lost my voice, I realized, “Oh, my goodness! Subconsciously, that is what I felt like!
Kim: “My voice had been stolen.”
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: Every once in a while, we’ll meet a couple—and it’s very rare—that feels like they’ve lived the same life we have.
Dave: Today, we’ve got Kim Anthony back in the FamilyLife Today studio with us. Kim, welcome back.
Kim: Thank you; great to be back.
Dave: You know, I don’t know if you know this about our life—but I know a little bit about your life from your book, Unfavorable Odds; and your podcast with FamilyLife Podcast Network, called Unfavorable Odd;I’ve known Corwin, your husband—you’ve been married 30 years?
Kim: Thirty years.
Dave: I think I’ve known Corwin probably 20.
I didn’t know some of your background, but you were college athletes; we were college athletes.
Ann: I wasn’t a college athlete.
Dave: Well, I mean—
Ann: You’d like to think that I was, but—[Laughter]
Dave: I mean, I was a football player. I found Jesus in my junior year in college. You guys found Christ in college.
Dave: You got married, and you ended up being a chaplain in the NFL.
Dave: We were chaplains for 33 seasons. I think you probably were chaplain of a team that actually won games. [Laughter] Did you guys win some games?
Kim: We won some games, but we lost some games also.
Dave: Yes, but not like Detroit Lions.
Kim: Miami Dolphins.
Dave: We lost almost every game.
Ann: Yes, with the Miami Dolphins, you worked with the wives.
Dave: Yes; and then, as we mentioned previously with you, your story of being birthed by a teenage mom, who tried to abort you—
Ann: —a couple of times.
Dave: And then your dad walking in and out of your life, very similar to my experience as well.
Dave: I mean, just hardship; and yet God met you in college. That’s where we ended previously. It started you on this journey in your faith, with Christ, but also with Corwin. Tell us where that went, because you said earlier Corwin sort of introduced you to the gospel. But there’s more to that story, so what happened after that?
Kim: Yes; so Corwin was that football player who shared the gospel with me. I just knew that was what I needed. Corwin had just recommitted his life to Christ.
Kim: And here I am—I know nothing about what’s good, what’s bad—you know, in terms of walking with Christ.
Ann: How old were you guys at the time?
Kim: We were—I think I was 19—we were sophomores.
Ann: So you both were?
Kim: Yes, we were both sophomores at UCLA.
We started dating, but we didn’t know how to date as Christians. He did not tell me that there were certain things that God didn’t approve of.
Kim: And there was a time when Corwin said, “We need to stop”; so he pulls out his Bible. [Laughter] I wish I had the verses in front of me right now, but he reads through Scripture and talks about how God feels about sexual intimacy.
Ann: “Flee from sexual immorality,” probably?
Kim: Yes! And you know, for that physical relationship to be sacred in the context of marriage.
Ann: What did you feel, and what were you thinking?
Kim: It may surprise you—I don’t know—but I got really excited; because in my life, I had known very few boundaries because of the culture that was around me.
Ann: And Kim, can I go here, too?—because we’ve talked personally. Had there been sexual abuse in your background?
Kim: There had been. And it’s something that I did not realize, for so many years, has had an impact on me as an adult.
Kim: Those are some things that I’m still working through, believe it or not; it’s very difficult. The way my situation was handled was—when I would speak up and tell the adult what was going on—not my mother—but whoever was watching me at the time—instead of me being believed, and cared for, and protected, I was blamed; and then I was punished publicly.
Kim: So there was this amount of shame that just—
Dave: So did you become quiet then?
Dave: I mean, how did you respond to that?
Kim: I did; I became a person of very few words. I started to believe this lie that I had no voice—that even if I tell someone, or say something, or defend myself, no one’s going to listen anyway—so I stopped defending myself; I stopped having boundaries.
Kim: And as you can imagine, if you’re a female and you have “daddy issues,” there are a lot of people who would love to cross boundaries. Sad to say, that’s been my experience.
Ann: I am so sorry for that.
Dave: How did that—you know, I’m sitting here, looking at two women who have walked through a similar situation in terms of abuse in their past: “How did that shape”—I’m asking both of you—“How did that shape you in terms of understanding who you were as your identity?”
Kim: For me, I think it stole a piece of who I was; because there was so much shame and fear of really standing up for myself and really allowing people to know the real me. I didn’t want to trust anyone.
Ann: I think, at the time, you don’t realize how it’s affecting your identity—
Ann: —the shame/the unworthiness—I just tried to cover it all up.
Ann: And I tried to be better; I tried to do better. I tried to become what everyone wanted me to be—
Kim: Exactly! Yes.
Ann: —so that then I would perform for everyone’s [affection]; because inside I felt like—I didn’t know this, and I would have never said it at the time—“I better perform for people’s affection and love; because if they really saw what was inside, and what I truly believed, no one would love me.”
Kim: I had this art class at UCLA, and you had to do a self-portrait. In my self-portrait, I drew myself with a gag in my mouth.
Kim: As I began to peel back those layers that had come up as a result of abuse, and me feeling like I had lost my voice, I realized, “Oh, my goodness! Subconsciously, that is what I felt like!
Kim: “My voice had been stolen.”
Ann: And I took an extreme of: “I will now protect myself.” So I became really strong, and that was another way of covering up. I was wanting to control my life and situation, and I used the power of any kind of sensuality against other people—
Kim: I see.
Ann: —like: “I will control the situation from now on. You will not control me.”
Of course, Dave, you had to deal with that strong—
Dave: Well, that would be my question—and we’re not going to spend a whole program on this—but you know, I’m thinking marriage, in a unique way, sort of brings out all the brokenness in our past.
Ann: It does!
Dave: It’s like you enter into an institution—which is awesome!—but it also is going to bring all that stuff up.
Dave: It brought it up for us in our marriage.
But as we’re talking about this sexual abuse thing, there are husbands like me that—when I found out Ann’s past, I didn’t know what to do—my first response was: “Oh, that’s in the past; no big deal. You’re good; right? It’s all done.”
Ann: And you had pretty much said, “Get over it.”
Dave: I was so naïve! I had no idea! Wait, wait, wait! I think a lot of husbands—or maybe wives, whose husband has been abused—we don’t know what to do.
Kim: Right; well, I think there are two extremes. There’s what you just mentioned, but then there’s also this extreme of anger. If anger is the response, then it makes the survivor of sexual abuse less likely to share even more with you.
Kim: I think, for me—I can only speak for myself—would be for that spouse to empathize, to listen, to ask gentle questions: “How are you feeling?” “How are you doing with this?” “Do you feel that you’re still being affected by this in any way?” “Is there anything that I’m doing that reminds you of what happened to you that triggers the fears?”—I think empathy would be key.
Kim: What do you think, Ann?
Ann: I think, too, Dave—when you read the book by Dan Allender, The Wounded Heart, you had a whole different perspective—because my abuse wasn’t extreme to the point where some people’s abuse was; however, it still really affected me. So when somebody downplayed it, like, “Well, it could have been a lot worse!” that made me think, “Yeah, what’s my problem? Why am I feeling bad about myself?”
When you read the book, you became so empathetic; and you started asking a lot of questions. I think that’s really helpful—what you said, Kim—ask questions; dig in. To bring it back up only brings more healing—
Ann: —in my estimation.
Dave: And as a husband, I would just say to the men who are married—or even, you know, with a woman/maybe you’re dating, who has this—that is the next step/is say, “How can I help?” Don’t get angry, which I did that as well.
Ann: And a lot of men have been abused as well.
Dave: Yes, so it goes either way.
But it’s interesting, as we go back to your story, that you said, as Corwin is saying, “Hey, we need to stop doing some things and obey God,” that felt good to you!
Dave: That was something you—
Ann: —was it the first time you had had a biblical viewpoint of sexuality?
Kim: Yes! I had never heard of anything like that before in my entire life. Well, I was only 19; but still, I had never heard anything like that before.
Kim: I was so excited; because I felt like, “Oh, my goodness! I don’t have to do anything to earn Corwin’s love.”
Kim: And that’s the only reason I had been involved physically; because to me, I guess, in order to receive love, you have to give something in return. And Corwin was straight up, telling me, “You don’t have to do this. In fact, I don’t want you to do this. I want us to wait. If we get married, then, you know, I want this to be ours after marriage. But if we don’t get married/if we get married to other people…”—he wanted to save himself—and I began to want to do the same; it was exciting for me. I just felt like God was protecting me from heartache and from pain—
Kim: —that I had already experienced—but from future heartache and pain. It was exciting for me.
Dave: What a great perspective!
Dave: What you just said, so many of us don’t ever think: “God’s protecting us.”
Kim: He is.
Dave: He actually loves you so much—He’s protecting you for something that’s so sacred—to put it in the covenant of marriage between a husband and a wife. You figured that out young; i’s like: “Wow! This guideline/this boundary is good.”
Dave: So how did it go? You and Corwin fall in love and get married a year later? What happened?
Kim: Not quite. [Laughter] We dated, off and on, for about four years/for the rest of his time there and the rest of my time there. We kept breaking up; we didn’t know how to date as a Christian. We would go too far, and then we’d break up for a month. Then we’d get back together. This happened a gazillion times; we just kept breaking up. And then, we finally broke up for about a year; and we went our separate ways.
I think what God did—I was so reliant on Corwin and his walk with the Lord—I didn’t really have my own. I didn’t have anyone else in my life, who was really helping me to figure things out from the Christian perspective. And when Corwin and I broke up, then I could no longer base my faith on his walk; I needed to grow myself.
What God did was—He did bring other Christian women into my life—Paulette Dewanyi is one of those people. She was on Campus Crusade for Christ® staff/Athletes in Action® staff; she discipled me. And then, there were other people who built into my life.
We [Corbin and I] grew in Christ separately, and then the Lord brought us back together. When we came back together, we were in such a better place; and we were ready to date. We dated for maybe a year, and we got engaged and got married.
Dave: So now, you’re married; and you’ve got Christ as your foundation.
Dave: Did it go well? Was it like: “Oh, this is awesome!” or did you struggle?
Kim: [Tongue-in-cheek] “Everything was perfect for 30 years. Nothing…” [Laughter] No, it was really hard. Just as we didn’t know how to date as Christians, we didn’t know how to be married as Christians. His parents were divorced; my parents were divorced. We didn’t have a healthy marriage modeled for us.
FamilyLife Today has played a pivotal role in helping us to know how to be married. We listened to the radio all the time, almost every single day. We went to the Weekend to Remember® marriage conference three times, within the first five years of marriage; and probably, five times total.
Ann: And now, you and Corwin are speakers at that event.
Kim: Yes! We are stepping into that role, and we’re excited to be able to help other couples to navigate marriage and to share some of our stuff! All the things that we did wrong: we want to be able to share that with other people so they can, hopefully forgo that.
Those first years of marriage were very difficult. We didn’t know how to communicate, and we mimicked what we saw our own parents do.
Shelby: You’re listening to Dave and Ann Wilson with Kim Anthony on FamilyLife Today. We’ll hear more of their conversation coming up, including the superheroes that single mothers can be; but first, Father’s Day is coming up this weekend. Uh oh! Are you prepared?
Well, we want to send you a copy of Bryan Loritts’ book, called The Dad Difference: The 4 Most Important Gifts You Can Give Your Kids. It’s our gift to you when you make a donation of any amount this week to support the work of FamilyLife Today. You can give securely online at FamilyLifeToday.com, or you can give us a call with your donation at 800-358-6329. Now, that can be a one-time gift or a recurring monthly gift. Again, the number is 800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY.”
Alright; now, back to Dave and Ann’s conversation with Kim Anthony.
Dave: I was just going to ask you: “As you’ve been married 30 years—raised two boys—who are now out of the house; right?
Dave: You’re empty nesters.
Kim: We are empty nesters; woo hoo!
Dave: But you have this passion for single moms.
Kim: I do. My passion for single moms comes from me watching my own mom as I grew up. Even though she was married, single, married, she was our sole provider. I remember coming home, seeing eviction notices on the door, listening to her cry herself to sleep at night, wondering how she was going to keep a roof over our heads/food on the table.
Yet, I watched her not give up on her own dreams, and she was able to overcome poverty. She had some support in her life, but she was able to achieve her dreams. She helped me to achieve my dreams as an athlete. She has always been this positive role model in my life. When I’ve had opportunities to speak/I speak—from inner-city kids to corporate executives—but when I would speak to those single moms, oh my goodness! I could see the looks in their eyes—these “Aha,” moments they were having—as I shared my story and my mom’s story.
They would come up to me afterwards and say, you know, “If God can do that for you and your mom, then maybe He can do that for me and my children!” [Emotion in voice] And so I just developed this heart to help low-income single moms to overcome poverty, like I had watched my mom do. I started to do an outreach for single moms—low-income single moms—through a partnership with Athletes in Action and the NBA All-Star Weekend. For three years, [I] did a single moms’ outreach.
Ann: I know there are a lot of single dads;—
Ann: —but you have a heart for single moms, because you’ve lived and watched that with your own mom.
Ann: My friends, who are single moms, have told me that, sometimes, they feel like they’re invisible in the church;—
Ann: —and they’re not always addressed. People don’t know the needs or the struggle they’re going through.
Ann: Talk for them: “What is it that they need?” and “How can we help, even as a church?”
Dave: Right—as a church.
Kim: Right; well, I read this statistic that said that, in the over 300,000 churches in our nation, less than 1 percent have viable single moms’ ministry. It’s very sad; a lot of the single moms feel like they’re doing life alone. They’re embarrassed about their situations. Women are single moms for different reasons:
- You have women, who’ve been abandoned.
- You have women, who are being abused or have been abused.
- You have women, who are divorced; or women, who have lost their husbands, and they’re now single moms.
As a church, as a whole, I believe—if leadership would galvanize the church around those single moms to the degree, where they felt welcomed, they felt accepted, they felt that they weren’t judged, and they are considered a family—I’ve talked to people who don’t even consider a single mom and her children to be a family unless there’s a man in the picture.
For some of these women, they can’t help that the father of their children doesn’t want to be there. So understanding that these are women who are, most likely, doing life alone; they don’t have the support system they need; they are losing jobs, because they don’t have anyone to watch the kids at a certain time, or they have to go pick up the kids from school because they’re sick.
I would love to see a church bring in some single moms, sit down, and talk with them about the challenges they face.
Dave: Yes; and I would say, you know, being a pastor for 30 years, it just takes one person, who has a passion—which I always say is a nudge, or maybe even a push, from the Holy Spirit of God to help in any area—so if you’re listening to this today; and you’re like, “Man, I have a passion to help single moms,”—maybe you are a single mom; maybe you are not. I know the way it worked at our church—and I hope every church would be this way—so many ministries were started when a person would come up to me, after a service usually, and say, “Hey, I have this desire! Why aren’t you guys doing this?”
Ann: Or “My heart is beating so strongly right now!”
Dave: Yes; and every time, I would say, “Okay, you’re the one to do it. How can we help you do it? Let’s talk; let’s sit down. I’ll get the right people in the room with you.” A ministry is going to be birthed—not because some pastor on a stage says it—
Dave: —but because somebody that God has put the motivation, the passion, and the desire in, says, “Could I make a difference?” “Yes, God’s going to use you—
Dave: —“to make a difference in your church or your community,” and “If they don’t help you, then you have to do it on your own; but do it!” I mean, I would just say, if you’re listening to this, and you have something beating in your heart that says, “I can make a difference,” you can!
Dave: You can start right here, and FamilyLife will help you anyway we can. But it’s going to be you, just saying, “I’m going to do this! God’s going to meet me.” And who knows what stories are going to come out of it! That’s what you did, and here you are [Kim].
Ann: I love how God is using you.
Kim: Thank you, Ann
Ann: We knew it because, as you shared your story, it was obvious God wanted you. He wants all of us.
Ann: But the fact that you would lay down your life and say, “God, what do You have for me?”
Ann: I think He’s just waiting for us to say that to Him, because He has a lot for all of us.
Kim: Yes, He does.
Shelby: That’s Dave and Ann Wilson with Kim Anthony on FamilyLife Today. You can find Kim’s podcast, called Unfavorable Odds, wherever you get your podcasts. She talks with all kinds of people, who have found their strength in Christ while going through really, really difficult times. They’re deep and inspiring conversations, and you won’t regret subscribing. Search for Unfavorable Odds or go to FamilyLifeToday.com and find the FamilyLife Podcast Network in the menu.
David Robbins, the president of FamilyLife, is with me here. David, FamilyLife has seen God do amazing things through some really painful situations and circumstances that couples have gone through.
David: I got an email today I had to share with you. It was from a wife who’d been married for seven years. She and her husband had just come away from a Weekend to Remember getaway that FamilyLife hosts. She said—and I’m quoting—“We decided, instead of ending our marriage, and dividing a family with children, and one on the way, that we would confess our sins to each other, repent to each other, and forgive like Jesus. It was the most eye-opening, difficult, painful, and yet beautiful example of the gospel that I’ve ever witnessed to see my husband view me, vulnerable and exposed, and tell me he forgives me, and loves me, and wants me to reconcile.” That’s the power of the gospel in each one of our lives: of Jesus being able to, not only forgive us, but us being able to extend forgiveness to others.
You know, as I listen today of the odds stacked against Kim and her life—and how God redeems, and restores, and creates things new/beautiful things out of our pain—I think of many of you, who may be experiencing pain, whether that’s grief over what’s happening in your marriage, or with a child, or suffering going on through sickness or job loss—or all the things we are walking through—it could be stress with a friend. God wants to meet us in it, and can meet us in it, as we run to Him as our true Hope and our Source.
Shelby: Yes, that’s well-said; thanks for sharing.
If you want to learn more about the various Weekend to Remember events, you can go to FamilyLifeToday.com, sign up, and watch God transform your marriage.
Now, tomorrow, Dave and Ann Wilson are going to be talking with author and musician, Andrew Peterson, about how our faith in Christ matters—in big things, yes—but in the little things as well when it comes to raising our kids. That’s coming up tomorrow. We hope you’ll join us.
On behalf of Dave and Ann Wilson, I’m Shelby Abbott. We’ll see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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