Series 32: For The Love Of Reconnecting | Episode 04
Reconnecting with God Through Our Wandering with Bunmi Laditan
With so much discussion around finding different ways to connect in a season where literal physical connections are challenging at best, how do we address when our spiritual connections are faltering? How do we “feel seen” by God when things are not okay and our attitudes are washed in more doubt than belief? Writer Bunmi Laditan (also known by her online moniker, The Honest Toddler) joins For the Love to share her lifelong journey of wrestling with God and faith, and ultimately finding hope, acceptance, and love. The daughter of Nigerian immigrants, Bunmi ran away from home as a teen, seeking a home and faith that wouldn’t shackle her to rules and tradition. During her wanderings in both the spiritual and physical world, she explored relationships and different faith traditions before finally coming to know a core truth that has informed her ever since: God sees her and loves her—and He would come to meet her, no matter where her wandering took her.
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Hey, everybody, Jen Hatmaker is here. Ahh, welcome to the For the Love Podcast.
I feel so glad that you have hit Play today, that you hit Download, that you stuck your headphones on to listen to this interview. You are going to be glad you’re here. We’re in the middle of a series called For the Love of Reconnecting, which just felt really important here at the beginning of 2021, the work of reconnecting to each other, to ourselves, to God, which is where we’re going to be today, because I’m going to tell you something. I know that we’re here at the beginning of the year and we’re supposed to feel fresh. Here we go, fresh start, or whatever.
But I’m going to be really honest with you guys. I’m tired. I’m tired of being in this house, I’m tired of not seeing my people, I’m tired of my work shrunk down to just a pinpoint. I’m tired of life being whittled down to whatever I can see on my laptop. I’m tired of sometimes just being brave, brave, brave, brave all the time, because I don’t feel that way all the time. So when I say, “Let’s work on reconnecting with God, on reconnecting with faith, or with our spirituality,” I don’t mean that in some Pollyanna way that says, “If we just say the right words or do the thing, it’s all going to just feel miraculously better overnight.”
When I invite all of us to plug back into who we are and whose we are and who we were made to be, I say it to my beloved but tired siblings—you—so that we can reach towards a faith that means something and that matters.
My guest today, oh man. What a conversation, you guys. She’s actually someone I’ve wanted to talk to on the show for a very long time. I told her, “We have tried to get you on here,” because I’ve admired her from afar.
This is a woman, and she is very frank and candid today—you’re going to hear all of this. But she spent a long time grappling and wandering in the dark, and she’s come out in a really beautiful place. She went through it, like, quite a journey to reconnect to God. And just her own spirit and how beautifully she is loved. And she is a really good guide for this conversation today.
My guest is Bunmi Laditan. You might know her as the face behind The Honest Toddler. That was my first introduction to Bunmi, because she is rip-roaring funny. She’s an incredibly accomplished woman, a very talented writer, and across genres. Honest Toddler is just satire at its best, and she’s written fiction and she’s written poetry.
She’s just written a beautiful book that we’re going to talk about today. You’re going to love it. I don’t know . . . well, you’ll just hear, you’ll see. I want to tell you it’s not like a stereotypical, faithy kind of book like that, but you’ll understand that pretty quickly as we start talking about it. But it’s called Dear God: Honest Prayers to a God Who Listens. She opens up entirely about how she has wrestled with God and faith and all kinds of faiths and loss and grief and homelessness, and years where she felt alone and confused, and how she got to where she is today, which is genuine and sincere. I just wouldn’t put somebody in front of this community who wasn’t. I just wouldn’t. Not on something as important as this, not when so many of us have been hurt by religion, have been hurt by so-called spiritual people in our lives.No, this matters too much.
So I think you will feel encouraged and hopeful. I think you will feel seen today in this conversation. I just couldn’t be more pleased to bring you Bunmi and this conversation, as you and I grab hands and wrestle forwards. So happy she’s here. Please enjoy this conversation.
Books & Resources Mentioned in This Episode
Excerpts from Dear God:
It’s official. I’ve lost the will to help myself. I’ve lost the will to save myself. You’re the only one who can do it now.
I long for a life that I love, but I’m scared because heaven has been something I’ve been looking forward to for so long. I don’t know what it’s like to fear death. I only know what it’s like to fear life. I’ve only ever seen this place as hell on a breezy day. Maybe, deep down, I prefer it this way.
I don’t know, God. Things have been so hard for so long, I’ve begun to believe that struggle is who I am, not what I’ve experienced. Somewhere along the line, I began to believe that being happy isn’t a possibility for me. At this point, I’m afraid to like it here because I know everything in this life is temporary. How can it be worth it to love life when it could slip away at any moment?
I’m not sure I want to get attached. But I do want to be happy . . . I think. Hope you’re well.
Assuming I get to heaven, I don’t want neighbors.
Help me gently quit the habits I picked up out of despair. Heal my heart, mind, and body. They’re both broken and, I fear, diseased. Only you can heal me now.
So much of what I hate about myself is a counterfeit painting, one that resembles me but is not me, a portrait commissioned by the enemy. Help me to decipher lies about who I am when they drift by so I can avoid the temptation to reach out my hand and claim them once again.
I am not who the enemy says I am. I am who you say I am, and you have called me yours.
You have called me yours. You have erased yesterday. You forgive freely and only want me to grow. The enemy wants me to drown in the stagnant waters of my past and call it swimming.
Help me to remember who you say I am. Help me to remember your brushstrokes on my face.
I am yours,
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