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I’m Angry. Does God Care? Vivian & Darren Mabuni

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
April 19, 2024 5:15 am

I’m Angry. Does God Care? Vivian & Darren Mabuni

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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April 19, 2024 5:15 am

Is it okay to be angry at God? When life crumbles, anger, resentment, and depression surface. Is there relief beyond Netflix and chocolate? Authors Vivian and Darrin Mabuni share their journey of bringing anger to God for relief. Vivian is also one of FamilyLife's guest contributors to the all-new Art of Marriage group study! To learn more or order your copy, visit

Show Notes and Resources

Connect with Vivian Mabuni and catch more of her thoughts at, and on Facebook and Instagram

And grab Vivian's book, "Open Hands, Willing Heart: Discover the Joy of Saying Yes to God"

Want to hear more episodes by Vivian, listen here!

Vivian is one of FamilyLife's guest contributors to the all-new Art of Marriage group study! To learn more or order your copy, visit

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Amy Lawrence Show
Amy Lawrence

God always intended that we would live life in community, and I think that that was one of the biggest unexpected blessings, but definitely shifted things inside me. Welcome to Family Life Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most.

I'm Shelby Abbott, and your hosts are David and Wilson. You can find us at This is Family Life Today.

So I had this illustration the other day, and I know you know the same thing. We have a grandpuppy. Ooh, a grandpuppy.

Our son and daughter-in-law. Several, actually. Yeah, that's right. But the one that's near us, it's a little burnadoodle named Boots. And Boots is the cutest little thing. I should show you a picture.

You should put the picture on the show notes, because people want to see this little guy. Our son has this dog and his wife, but they have a four and a two-year-old, so bringing a puppy into the house can feel overwhelming to them at times. So we'll get a text like, hey, will you keep him? Because we keep him overnight.

He's got like two homes. We've always had dogs, so we love having Boots. But when you put a leash on him and take him for a walk, there's sometimes he literally just lays down and is like, no, I don't want to go anymore. And he just lays there, and you're like dragging this little guy like, we're going to keep walking. No, we're not.

He's just like, you can feel his little soles like resistant. I am not going to go where you want me to go. We're going back to the house, and that's what I want to do. That is hilarious. And I've seen you out there trying to drag him.

It's awful. And if we're not together, he'll walk further when we're all together. And when we're not, he's like, where's Dave? Because I want to go with Dave. Why do I bring this up?

I don't know. Because you need to get one of those dog strollers is why. Put wheels on him. Pull them around.

I've seen those around. I'm like, what in the world? Your dog is taking you for a walk? Exactly. Here's the reason I brought it up. I brought it up because I thought, that's us. There are times where God's like, here's where I'm taking you. And we're like, no, I don't want to do this. I don't want to go there. I don't want to give this. And it's like, God's like, no, I know where this is a good thing.

It's not like we're on a leash. I remember when we went to seminary, Dave and I went to seminary, I said, hey, you're not thinking of being a pastor, right? Oh, no, I will never be a pastor.

I said, good, because I never planned on being married to a pastor. So we're not going there, correct? And here we are. And we're not going to live in Detroit, right? And there's that sit down and get on the leash. I'm not going there.

And yet somehow it ended up being some of the richest times of our lives. Well, the listeners are here and Darren and Vivian, Mabuni, I don't know what you're doing over there. Welcome back. As you hear that, you know, analogy of thinking of your book, Open Hands, Willing Heart, how does that connect? It connects by what they shared yesterday.

If you didn't hear yesterday, go back. But you have been working with CREW for 30, how many? 34? 34 years. 34 years. You've been working with college students how many years? We did 28 years. Right, 28. Yeah, with college ministry.

Do those students tend to sit down before God and say, no. Oh my. No, I'm not going that way. Oh my. All of us, right?

I know you have a story. Well, human nature, I think that we do. We just, we think we know better.

And we like to take the path of least resistance. Like, why run when you can walk and why walk when you can sit and why sit when you could lie down? We just, we just, typically I've seen people tend to need some kind of reason to get up and go. Whether it's working out or, you know, like there's, I think there are people are naturally, they just want to go.

And that's a whole other thing. But generally, I would say a generalization is that we don't like pain. We don't like the unknown.

We don't like being out of control. Well, I mean, talk about college students. As we've done this, we started talking with parents because, you know, we've gotten older.

College students stay the same age. And I've had parents call me and they're like, well, OK, so our daughter's going with you guys on this mission trip and she just told us about it. And we don't like this. And now all of a sudden, it's like, OK, let's talk about it. And then, but I see the parents point because the students are going through, they've gone through their own process with the Lord wrestling and finally came to a point where they said, God, I will go where you want me to go.

That's usually taken several months. They go home during Thanksgiving break and tell their parents and then they're shocked that their parents don't just agree. But then it's my job to continue to coach the student, but also a lot of times parents will call me because they've gotten to know us. And I'm like, OK, then I can understand. But then we started walking through a process of where God has them. The parent? The parent. And them being able to be in a process to let go and allow God. Yeah. Now it's hard, it's hard, but the worst part is it when it comes back to you, when we here we are as parents of college students and all of a sudden our son's going, I'm going to move back into the dorm so I can do ministry.

And you know how much that's going to cost? Here you are doing ministry. Or they say, we want to do a summer mission, and we're like, I thought you were going to get an internship. Like the very words that we're hearing from the other parents are coming out of our own house.

Well, your subtitle, Viv, is Discover the Joy of Saying Yes to God. So you guys have seen that personally, but you've also seen it in students over the years. Oh, yeah. Yeah.

It's actually really cool now because when we were working with some of the students, they are now the age that we were, or now actually we've gotten so old that their kids have started college and are starting to benefit from the same experience that they had. So it's just a beautiful ongoing sweetness that comes, but there is definitely a joy of saying yes to God. Open hands means that God can put things in our lives and He can also remove things, you know, without us gripping tight. A willing heart is a posture of surrender, so it's not willful where we're trying to do it in our own efforts. I think a lot of Christians that are trying so hard to please God and do all the right things can end up burning out when they do it in their own strength. So it's not willful and it's also not will-less where it's just like, well, life is just what it is, so why even try? It's really just this posture of willing, and I don't think, I mean, I think that we can kind of get this weird perspective of God where it's like, if I say yes to God, that means I have to go move into a dirt hut in the middle of the Amazon and eat worms.

You know, like this worst case scenario thing, and I think God probably doesn't call a lot of us to do that, but He does call us to surrender and He does call us to really, in essence, really give what's precious to Him, to entrust to Him the things. And so as life gets busier, we have more and more that we care about. You know, so when I was living in an apartment, it didn't matter, now that we have a home, all of a sudden that matters to me more than the apartment did, because there's investment in there. There's more to hold on to.

Yes, and life gets more complicated. And again, I think with kids, that's a whole other thing where they are walking their own paths, they're making decisions. And as parents, we're so helpless that we continually have to surrender our kids to the Lord and to be reminded that they aren't ours.

They've been entrusted to us for a short time. I remember standing in our front window when our oldest, we had three sons, but when CJ, our oldest, got his driver's license and I watched him drive out of our driveway. And I remember just standing there and that was my thought. It's like, I don't like this. I think he's going to be a dangerous driver.

I know too much about this kid, but it was one of those, he's yours. And this is a good thing. This is the right thing. He's not only going to drive away today, but someday he's going to drive away to become a married man, which he is now. But it's that parent struggle. Like, I want to sort of keep him right here. Of course, this is the same son that backed into four cars in our driveway. In our driveway.

He had four wrecks in our driveway and one in our cul-de-sac. But you mentioned yesterday, right at the end, one of the paths that you had to walk with Jesus on was cancer. So tell us about that journey. And that's both of you.

When one of you has cancer, you're both experiencing the pain of it. Darren, what was that like for you when the diagnosis came? Like, take us back to that time. Can you remember? How long ago was it? Yeah. I mean, when the diagnosis came, I'm trying to remember the time.

It was three days before Christmas. Oh. But I just, well, you know, being the great couple we are, we were fighting.

I mean, it wasn't just a regular, you know, like, fight this week. It was, we had this ongoing thing. And to the point where she went into the garage to go get. To take the call.

Take the call. Oh, so you were in the middle of it. Yeah. Oh, yeah. And it was raining in Southern California, which is very uncommon. Yeah. So it was three days before Christmas. It was raining so hard that it sounded like a sprinkler had broken and kept whipping around. Wow. It was just stormy. How long ago was this?

This was in 2008. Okay. Yeah.

It's been, I'm grateful to say. So you're in the middle of a conflict and you have to go into the garage. You go out into the garage. Yeah. So I go into the garage.

She takes the call. And, you know, being a mom at that time, too, the car in the garage was her office. Yeah.

I love that car. I had snacks in there. I would take naps in there. It was like, get away from the kids. Where's mom?

In her office. So I, you know, so I walked in and I could see it all over her face and she stepped out of the car. And when she said, it's cancer, I just hugged her. You know, in that moment, nothing else mattered.

All the fighting, being right, right. That didn't matter. How we were doing, what really mattered was her and their relationship.

And I didn't care about anything else. And that's every person's, it's one of their greatest fears is to get that diagnosis. Yeah. And I think. Had you already had some testing done?

Yeah. So the weekend or the Friday before the call, it was just, you know, I'm supposed to get a mammogram. I found a lump.

My primary doctor was like, I'm not too worried about it, but just in case, I'll give you a diagnostic mammogram. So had gone in and it was like the Friday before school got out for Christmas break. So all the kids had their Christmas parties. My daughter had food allergies.

So we had the special sugar cookie for her to decorate that didn't have dairy in it. And all, you know, so it was just complete madness, throw everything into a bag, run, get the mammogram. And then that turned into an ultrasound, which then turned into core biopsy and you know, a call to Darren. And so we were waiting for that call that was coming on Monday.

And then in the midst of that, the conflict was brewing. And Darren, I just sobbed into his t-shirt and he just threw his arms around me and prayed and simple, you know, just, God, we are, we don't know what's happening. We're scared. We want to trust you.

We love you. Please help us to know that you're here. And the crazy thing was when we opened our eyes, we have these little windows on our garage door. And in that moment, after the whole storm stuff, like literally the clouds broke through and a sunbeam landed right where we stood in our garage.

It was like the Lord is saying, I'm here. I'm with you. I'm, I know what's going on.

I'll be with you. And I think that that kind of set us on a different trajectory, you know, to trust him. But Darren's response was looking back now, realizing that in the midst of him fighting for our marriage and me just feeling so done, cause I was so just worn out and he kept wanting to talk and I didn't want to talk. I think realizing when he promised, you know, years earlier on our wedding day for better, for worse and sickness and health, that that really stuck. It wasn't about the conflict situation in our home in that moment. It was like, marriage is I'm in a hundred percent. You don't have to meet me halfway. I was not meetable in a lot of ways when I look back now, but yeah, well, you didn't have it. I mean, you were in that place where you were in the middle of it and all I could do was be there.

And that was the hardest part was feeling helpless, not being able to help or fix that or fix her or do anything to make her better and just be with her through the process. Was that a long journey or? It took nearly a whole calendar year cause we went through chemo, Darren shaved his head bald. Every day I was bald. You know, bald men are, you know, they're good-looking. Well, okay, so I have to say, men can pull it off.

It's a little harder for men, but Darren shaved his head bald. And chemo was just, they also gave me a shot to regenerate my white blood cells after each treatment. And that was actually what was really excruciating cause it was like inside my bones coming out kind of pain. And I am not, I'm like, hashtag team epidural, novocaine, like just numb me out. So I was definitely like trying to layer my meds to stay on top of it and it was still awful. And after one of the rounds, second or third round, I was in the kitchen at two 30 in the morning and I just getting some water and I just slumped down and Darren came in, he said, can you make it back to the bed?

And I'm like, I don't think I can make it. And he goes, hold on. And I hear rustling and cabinets and closet doors open and he comes back with his arms full of sleeping bags and pillows. And we literally slept on the kitchen floor until the morning. Like it was just, together. Together.

What a picture of marriage. Yeah. We were camping. We were camping.

In the kitchen. Yeah. You know, you got me crying. I was actually here. We were recording when I got a similar call to say, and you have melanoma and then we have to go right from there and do an interview. And so, you know, like you had kids that were little you're, you have to live life. You have to keep going. And I remember we were going to go back to Michigan.

We're recording here in Orlando. And I went across the street to my neighbor. You know, it's just kind of in my head.

I went to my neighbor's house across the street, say, hey, his name's Roman. We're going to be leaving for a few weeks. We'll be back.

We'll see. And he's this great guy. He's a Polish man and he has kind of a little broken English. And I need to tell you this picture. He said, I wake up in the middle of the night and I look out my window.

You're doing his accent pretty good. And I see I see an angel over your house or the Holy Spirit and I take this picture. And I'm thinking, OK, that's weird.

You know what? And so I'm like, oh, OK. And so he goes, let me get my phone. He brings his phone out and he shows me. And I said, what in the world? He said, yeah. I said, did you Photoshop this?

And he's probably in his late 70s, early 80s. He says, what's Photoshop? And I said, can you send this to me?

And he said, I don't know how to do that. And so I sent it to myself. And I'm telling you, it was one of the most miraculous things I've seen. It reminds me for you of that sunbeam coming in. I see this. What's it look like, Dave?

What do you think? I'm trying to find a picture. I have it. I don't know where I put it. Did I show it to you, Dave? No. But for me, it was just and who knows, was it just the moon and the sun?

I mean, the moon and clouds. To me, it was just that same reminder. I'm with you. I'm with you. But I had to daily, when I go on walks and I talk to God, it's a total daily surrender of I want to grip my hands in absolute fear and panic.

And he continues to remind me. I'm with you. I'm with you. I love you. I see you.

Don't be afraid. Yeah. But I have to be reminded of that over and over.

And if I didn't have Jesus, I'm not sure how I would make it through. You probably felt the same. Right.

Yeah. And I think in addition to an amazing supportive family was community. And I think that was soul altering because, you know, I was accustomed to wanting to help other people be in ministry, but then to be a gracious receiver. And I think our church, you know, had our garage code memorized. Like our refrigerator in our garage was constantly filled with meals and groceries and it was overwhelming and it literally opened my eyes to read the Bible differently. And so a familiar scripture, Hebrews 12, one and two, therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let's also run with endurance the race that is set before us. And I read that very individualistically, like, I need to fix my eyes and throw off my sin. And after this experience, it was like, therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also run with endurance the race that is set before us. That's good. Fixing our, and it was just like, God always intended that we would live life in community.

And I think that that was one of the biggest unexpected blessings, but definitely shifted things inside me. And even Darren, I still don't you have this picture in your mind of Darren bringing the sleeping bags and all the gear in, that is one of the sweetest pictures ever. That's Darren.

That is my husband. Well, you know, so here's me going with her to chemo and I'm the Sherpa, which I'm glad because I can carry stuff. I'm good at that.

That's something I can do. And I had taken off time from ministry. We were actually starting a new ministry at the time, but taking time off so I could be there. And so, you know, I'm carrying all the stuff and she's probably in the third or fourth treatment and we're walking up the stairs. We walk inside and everybody's so excited to see her, which is great.

What a great place. And so when we walk through the back, when she's called in, everybody's saying, hello, hi Vivian, how are you? And they're so excited to see her. And all of a sudden in my mind, I'm like, what about me? I'm here. Don't you see me? I'm struggling. I'm carrying all this stuff.

I mean, you could say, wow, Darren, that's some great things you're doing. You're carrying all her stuff. And then next thing you know, I'm going, do you know, do you know who I am? This is all in my mind.

The corridor back to the chemo treatment center is probably what, 20, 30 feet long. This is going through my mind, this battle, like, what about me? I'm somebody.

Do you know who I am? And finally, when we get to the end, God's like, I know who you are. And I was, then I was almost in tears of my gosh, my heart, again, open hands, willing heart.

Now your heart was tight hands. Yeah. It's like, well, look at me.

Yeah. And God makes me cry too, like, I know who you are. I know who you are.

I've called you by name. Well, I think that that's the thing with caregivers is that the person going through treatment gets all of the cards, all of the encouragement, all the fun gifts, all the go, go, go. And we went to marriage counseling after the whole cancer thing, because everything was getting surfaced of things that were already there, you know, and in the therapist office was when I can finally hear Darren explain, he goes, you talked about cancer being like running a marathon. He goes, Viv, I was running that marathon right outside the tape, every step of the way with you with a huge backpack on.

And when I got to the end, I was just so tired. And I don't, he tried to explain it and I couldn't hear it until that moment in the therapist office. But the caregiver is carrying so much without the signs and the encouragement and you know, I think to the listeners who are caregivers, it's like that role is so critical and often unseen.

So if you know of a caregiver in your life right now who's caring for someone going through something hard, send love their way, encouragement and prayers as well, because it's not an easy role to take on either. Yeah, I love, you know, as we've been talking the last two days, this open hand, we get to found a church 30 years ago and we had three core values. And we called them the three L's and I'd never heard this term until we came up with it years ago and now it's on the title of your book, but we had love God and others, lock arms and community. And then the third one is live open handedly. In other words, when God puts something in your hand, whether it's gifts, talents, treasures, don't hold onto it.

Give it away. Give your life away, give your, and we, I wish I could find it, but we created a drama video of a, remember, you know what I'm going to say? I haven't seen it in years, but we did it every three or four years, we'd reenact this drama. And back in the nineties, it was live drama and then it became a video, but it was this business guy who's waiting for something and he ends up sitting on a bench besides some dude.

A park bench. And they started talking and halfway through his conversation, he realized this guy makes comments where you like, is this Jesus? He knows everything about him. And so the conversation is long and short of it is this, he realized this is God. And he says, give me your family. And he's like, you want my family? And he pulls out a picture.

I hear my family. He goes, yeah, give it to me. He's like, so anyway, he goes from family to job to car.

He gives him his car keys, gives him his wallet, money, credit cards. And he's just like, he's struggling to do this, but he's like, okay, I'll give it to you. And then it's like, and then he stands up at the end and he's like, no, just give me your life.

He goes, you got everything. What do you mean you want my life? Just give me your life. Trust me. And again, I'm reenacting this thing.

It was a 10 minute deal. And so he does, he takes his jacket off and he says, okay, I'll give you my life. Wow. And he's just sitting there and it gets really, and I tell you what, it was powerful at the end. Here's what happens. And so, and then the Jesus figure says, how's it feel, and he goes, feels good. Not to carry everything. And then here's where it turns.

And I remember being in the meeting where we said, could this happen? And we had this guy who wrote this script and then Jesus goes, here you go, and hands in the wallet, hands in the picture of his family, hands him his job, hands him his jacket, everything back. And he goes, just remember, these are all mine.

Take good care of them. And he gets up and leaves. It was such a beautiful picture.

And I'll always be with you. I really like that. Because we always think he takes all our stuff and we're empty. He goes, no, it's really, it's yours.

But remember, it's really mine. And that shifts everything. That shifts everything. That is so good. And anyways, I read your book and then talking to you guys the last couple of days, you're living that.

What a great example of that through the mountaintops and through the valleys. And you're a big part of the new art of marriage. Tell us anything you want about that. I mean, people that may not know you are going to get to know you through the art of marriage. But what was that experience like? Well, I'm actually anxious to see how it'll all get together. So I haven't seen it yet.

So I have no idea what it looks like, but I did have to prep. So I was brought in to kind of be one of the bridge connector pieces. So a little bit of teaching and some connecting of the concepts. And I love that it's a fresh new take on principles that are evergreen, like what it looks like to live marriage on purpose and how God views marriage and how do we pursue oneness in our marriages. And those types of topics are always going to be at the core, but to creatively bring it about. And I love that there are a whole assortment of couples sharing very honestly about their lives. You two are in it. I remember seeing clips of you two, but just intergenerational, ethnically diverse.

It's refreshing to me to have the same important concepts and teachings packaged in a way that's ready for this generation. Yeah. We've seen a lot of it. You're really, really good. I told her, as soon as I saw her, she's fantastic.

Yeah. It's awesome. People are going to love. You guys are a power couple.

You're pretty great. I get to hang out with a power couple. You're a power couple. Thanks for being with us. Thanks for having us. Thank you for having us.

You're welcome. So Psalm 34.8, we've been talking about it a lot this year, says, Taste and see the Lord is good. And we just had a great conversation with Maboonies about the Lord and surrender. And man, when you surrender, it may be scary, but you taste and you see the Lord is good. And I'm telling you, you want to taste Him in a new way, in a fresh way this year, jump in a group with the new art of marriage, or get the art of marriage yourself and start a group, or just get it and do it with your spouse. I don't care what you do, but if you put that in and you start watching it, the Lord's going to show up. You're going to experience Him in a new, fresh way.

And this will be a journey you're never going to regret. Yeah, Dave summed it up really well. I'm Shelby Habitt. You've been listening to David Ann Wilson with Vivian and Darren Maboonie on family life today. He talked about the art of marriage. And I know many of us can relate with some of the difficult circumstances of navigating busyness in life, maintaining intimacy with your spouse, amidst all the chaos. And the new art of marriage study is going to help you grow deeper together closer to God and more connected to your community.

So as Dave talked about, it just inserted into your life. You can go to the show notes to learn more about the all new art of marriage, or go to to learn more and grab your leadership kit today. And one of the cool things about family life's art of marriage is that there's a number of different speakers and communicators who are in the study. And one of them was our very own Vivian Maboonie from today's program. Vivian has written a book called Open Hands, Willing Heart, Discover the Joy of Saying Yes to God. We talked about surrender, yielding ourselves wholly to God. Well, especially in the midst of challenging circumstances, we need to do that, and Vivian talks about that in her book, Open Hands, Willing Heart. You can get a copy of her book by going online to, or you can find it in the show notes. Or give us a call to request your copy.

The number is 800-358-6329. Again, that number is 800 F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. Now coming up next week, what is God's purpose and intent for sexuality? That's maybe a question we think about a lot, but we don't talk about it very much. Well, next week, Ron Deal is gonna be here with David Ann Wilson to talk about it. We hope you'll join us. On behalf of David Ann Wilson, my friends, I'm Shelby Abbott. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a donor-supported production of Family Life, a crew ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-19 07:21:37 / 2024-04-19 07:34:47 / 13

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