Savannah Guthrie reveals this was 'the hardest' topic to write about in her book on faith

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Savannah Guthrie’s new book on her intimate relationship with God required a leap of faith.

The “Today” show anchor, who has co-authored children’s books about a very capable royal named Princess Penelope Pineapple, battled doubts about her credentials and the significance of what she had to say.

“I actually told the publisher and the agent, ‘OK, let's try this, but everyone needs to know that at any time, I might just say I don't think I can do it or it doesn't feel right and everyone has to be OK with that,’ ” Guthrie, 52, says. “For a long time, I felt like maybe this is just God giving me a project to work on to bring us closer together.”

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"Today" anchor Savannah Guthrie has written a book on faith titled "Mostly What God Does: Reflections on Seeking and Finding His Love Everywhere."
"Today" anchor Savannah Guthrie has written a book on faith titled "Mostly What God Does: Reflections on Seeking and Finding His Love Everywhere."

She quieted her fears by convincing herself that she should at least try. “I'm just going to put one foot in front of the other,” Guthrie says. “I feel something exciting here. This is something I'm so passionate about.”

From Guthrie’s faith bloomed “Mostly What God Does: Reflections on Seeking and Finding His Love Everywhere.” The title comes from Ephesians 5:1-2 (The Message) which says, “Mostly what God does is love you.”

“This book is a series of reflections about faith, and it's from the heart,” Guthrie says. “It's really vulnerable and personal. And it's that way because in so many ways, this is the book that I need to read. … I need to be reminded, like we all do, that God loves us and is on our side and has an eternal promise to be present to us. It's not a promise that everything's going to work out our way, or on our timing, or that we're just going to crush life. It's simply a promise that I am here for you. And I'm here with you.”

The cover of Savannah Guthrie's new book, "Mostly What God Does."
The cover of Savannah Guthrie's new book, "Mostly What God Does."

Guthrie is clear to state in her book that it is not a memoir, in part because her career has been “mostly a blur” she writes. “And I can’t write about other things – things I do remember but I don’t want to talk about,” like the dissolution of her first marriage to journalist Mark Orchard. “There is no scandal here, just disappointment.”

But in her book, broken down into six parts that she’s identified as the essentials of faith – love, presence, praise, grace, hope and purpose – she writes openly of struggling with anxiety and being “utterly terrified” before her 2012 debut as “Today” host. In those moments, Guthrie turned to God.

“God is with me,” she writes. “He’s got me. I am not alone. Whatever happens, I will never be alone. He has brought me to this moment, and he is not about to abandon me now.”

In “Mostly What God Does,” Guthrie says that she and her sister referred to God as “the sixth member of our family” growing up. Faith is how she and Jenna Bush Hager, host of “Today with Hoda & Jenna,” first connected. Now, Guthrie is the godmother of Bush Hager’s son Henry “Hal,” 4, and Bush Hager is the godmother of Guthrie’s daughter Vale, 9.

“I just think of how much good (the book is) going to do,” says Bush Hager, who leads the Read with Jenna book club. “What we need right now, in our world, is more love, and that's basically the thesis of everything she's writing about.”

Savannah Guthrie hosts NBC's "Today" with Hoda Kotb.
Savannah Guthrie hosts NBC's "Today" with Hoda Kotb.

In addition to writing about God’s unfailing love, Guthrie also addresses the tough questions that people of faith may grapple with: Why would an all-powerful God allow suffering? Why do bad things happen to good people?

“Those were the hardest essays for me to write, but I felt I couldn't ignore them,” says Guthrie. “Spoiler alert: There is no answer. I'm not resolving those unanswerable questions. … I think what I've learned over the years that faith and doubt are not opposite. They are features, they are part and parcel. They go hand in hand. If you don't have doubts sometimes or questions, then I'm not sure you're thinking hard enough about everything, because this world invites doubt, and God invites our questions and is OK with those questions and is eager to engage.”

As for Heaven, Guthrie can’t be 100% sure it exists, but she hangs her hat and potentially her future angel wings on hope.

“I wrote I would rather be hopeful and wrong than hopeless and turn out to be right,” she says. “It's about how are we spending our present? How are we spending this life? What does that posture of hope produce in our own lives? Does anyone know for sure? No, by definition, they don't. No one lives to tell. But for me, the choice became quite simple. I don't need to have all the answers, but I do need to have hope.”

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Savannah Guthrie reveals faith first connected her to Jenna Bush Hager