In the new issue of Simple Grace, the first inspirational monthly magazine and devotional in one, Dolly Parton opens up for a heartfelt interview to share how her amazing relationship with God helped her through the most difficult moments in her life.
“God is my best buddy,” Dolly tells Simple Grace with a burst of her signature joy-filled laughter. “I grew up in a faith-based family. I’ve always loved Him. I’m 71 now, and every day I thank God for letting me see another day.”
One of the biggest influences on Dolly’s faith was her mother, Avie Lee, who taught her the value of falling on her knees. Dolly recalls: “Mama would say to trust God and pray when you didn’t know what to do."
Growing up in the Tennessee Smoky Mountains, Dolly was the fourth of 12 children in a close-knit Christian family (tales of which inspired the hit television movies Coat of Many Colors in 2015 and Christmas of Many Colors in 2016). Although her parents were able to imbue Dolly and her siblings with faith, laughter and love, they were very poor and couldn’t always protect the family from hardship and hurt.
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When Dolly was nine years old, she experienced one of the most painful times in her life when her baby brother, Larry, died when he was just four days old. “Losing my baby brother was my first encounter with death and the deepest hurt I’ve ever known,” Dolly tells Simple Grace. “It was my first true feeling of loss and of questioning God. I remember asking, 'God, Why are you doing this?'
She learned it takes a lifetime to understand that pain and loss are a part of life, a part of loving others.
“It’s a hard lesson, because we love our families and our babies and our pets, and you can’t lose anything that you love with all your being and it not break your heart,” Dolly says. “Bad things happen, loss happens, but I don’t think God causes them to happen. I think He’s there to comfort us and help us through it.”
See Dolly Parton through the years!
Dolly has found that leaning on Him in times of suffering and remembering everything happens for a reason helps us become fearless to love and frees us to love more deeply. “You never know how God works,” she tells Simple Grace, smiling. “You just have to have faith and know that it’s going to be alright.”
For the full interview with Dolly, pick up the new issue of Simple Grace, on stands now!