Being a Playboy Bunny wasn’t something I aspired to be. I didn’t grow up with a burning desire to be walking porn. It happened the way most sinful things happen. Gradually. Insidiously.
Don’t get me wrong; I chose it. I wasn’t destitute or forced into it. I had a great home life. Though not spiritual, my family was responsible and moral. I had the benefit of an excellent education. I was smart and pretty, but I chose to toss brains aside because beauty was easier.
The Perfect Job
I saw the ad for Playboy bunnies when I was looking for work after my first year of college:
Great pay! No experience required. Apply in person.”
That certainly sounded more interesting than working a tedious clerical job or doing backbreaking factory work. My professional résumé may have been unimpressive, but since the Bunny job was based almost entirely on appearance, my face and figure were the only credentials I needed. I made the cut and started the job a week later.
It was perfect for me. I tucked boatloads of tips in the cleavage of my custom-made costume. I wore elaborate makeup, had my nails done and wore my hair in fancy up-dos. I drove new cars, bought pretty clothes and artfully decorated my apartment. I was chosen to be in Playboy magazine and on TV. Men lined up to date me. I became an expert in bartering what men desire for the things I wanted — clothes, dinners at fancy restaurants, drinks, drugs, favors, you name it. I had it all.
I had it all, and it wasn’t enough.
Looking for More
After four years of Bunny-ing, partying and indulging, I quit. I left Playboy and got married to Hot & Hunky, a football player I’d met in college. I thought being someone’s wife would be the fulfillment I was seeking.
Hot & Hunky was an attentive, protective provider. I enjoyed his undivided attention for seven years before we reproduced a Hot & Hunky clone. We made another one three years later.
Since Hot & Hunky went to church, believed in God and followed Jesus, I knew at some point I would have to be prepared to answer our children’s questions about God. I enrolled in a Bible study to get some quick answers, but as I studied the Bible, I found a God who loved me, who always had and who was waiting for me to love Him back. He offered me not only love, but also forgiveness for my past and a fresh start for my future. He had sent Jesus to die for the forgiveness of my sins. All I had to do was believe and accept it.
At first I choked out the words, but as I continued to study the Bible and model my life after Jesus, one area of nastiness after another fell away. I quit drinking, using drugs and flirting with men I wasn’t married to. Our life and marriage looked like a fairy tale well on its way to happily ever after. We had two beautiful children, a nice house, cars and clothes and friends. I began teaching at church while Hot & Hunky became salesman of the year for a Fortune 500 company. I had never been happier.
Just when things couldn’t get any better, Hot & Hunky died of a heart attack. He was only 39 years old. Our boys were 7 and 4.
Comfort in the Grief
“What? Why? No!”
I barely got the words out of my mouth when peace overwhelmed the terror. I feel wrapped in a warm, fuzzy blanket that shielded and comforted me. A soft voice in my head kept saying, “I know you don’t like this, but trust Me. I’l be with you.” There were those who called it denial; others labeled it shock. But I knew it was God.
Before the day was through, God started to fulfill His promise to be with me in my mess. He mobilized an army of women who came to my door with everything from chicken casseroles for dinner to circus tickets to distract my children. Friends came to the house, and they came to the funeral parlor, and they came when I called. They took care of me, and they took care of my children. They answered the door. They answered God’s call to take care of widows and orphans.
And I got better. Better enough to boldly ask God for another husband, and He said yes.
Better Until …
I married Adventure Boy. He came with an airplane, a motorcycle and a passport. And did we have fun! We took vacations to exotic destinations. I earned my pilot’s license and bought my own motorcycle so we could each take a boy for rides and ice cream and adventures. It looked very much like God had restored all that had been taken from me — and more.
Then Adventure Boy’s plane disappeared off the radar on a routine cross-country flight.
Hours turned into days, which turned into weeks before his remains were located inside the wreckage of our plane on a mountain in Pennsylvania.
Five women had sat vigil with me when Hot & Hunky died. They had celebrated at my wedding to Adventure Boy, and again they sat in prayer with me during the long search and through his funeral. They brought their lives to a screeching halt because mine had. Still other women who barely knew me swooped in with cards or cash or cookies. They didn’t know what to do or say, so they did what they could. It all helped.
Crushed again, I looked to God, and He did not fail me. He was again with me, providing peace and comfort like an invisible force field around me. My friends and women from other churches prayed for me and with me. They took me out on date nights, celebrated my birthday, and invited the boys and me into their homes for holidays where we carved those slimy pumpkins for Halloween. They paid to have my driveway plowed, wrote love notes and sent flowers on my wedding and funeral anniversaries.
They shared their lives and their time and their prayers with me.
How did I keep going after burying two husbands in four years? Faith in God was foundational. Knowing my dead husbands are in Heaven and that I will see them again was comforting. Experiencing His peace and protection was enabling. Being cared for and supported by the church was powerful and healing. I couldn’t make it without my faith and the community of women who showed God’s love to me in my darkest hours.
Robyn Dykstra is a national speaker and author of “The Widow Wore Pink: A True story of Life After Loss and the Transforming Power of a Loving God.” Sought after for her faith and her humor, Robyn encourages, entertains and equips women at retreats, conferences and special occasion functions.