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Paula White-Cain: Triumph Over Trials

Though the world took note when Paula was asked to pray at President Trump’s inauguration in 2017, her connection to him began many years earlier, in 2001.  He called her out of the blue one day, saying he’d seen her preach on TV and appreciated what she had to say and how she said it.  “You have the it factor,” he told Paula.  They talked about faith, God, and other pastors he admired, especially Norman Vincent Peale.  Mr. Trump appreciated her perspective and continued to run his thoughts about spiritual matters past her from time to time.  In one of their early meetings, Paula bluntly told him, “I don’t want your money … I don’t want your fame … I want your soul.”  She says her desire was and remains to help him grow closer to God and love Him more.  Paula says she’s learned a lot about vision and potential by stepping into his world as she’s had the opportunity, and observing how he approaches life and people. When Mr. Trump decided to run for president, Paula was part of his campaign advisory board, as she will be in 2020, along with a number of other spiritual leaders.  She sees her role in his life as a ministry assignment: specifically, praying for him and his family, advising him on spiritual issues, and simply being a friend to him and the family.  Paula talks with the President about once a week and visits Washington on a regular basis.      
As a very little girl, Paula loved spending time with her dad.  He would often take her to the country club, which she assumed was his office, and introduce her to all his friends.  Afterward, they’d stop by one of the two toy stores that her parents owned and her mother managed.  Her dad was all about fun and saying “yes,” which suited little Paula.  He was also an alcoholic and mishandled money, causing her parents’ marriage to unravel.  One day after her mom had taken the two kids and moved away, her dad showed up at their door, drunk.  He demanded to take five-year-old Paula with him and she became the object of a tug of war. “Give me Paula or I’ll kill myself,” he threatened.  The police escorted him away.  They received a call the next morning that his car had veered off the road into an embankment, and he had died.   

The toy stores were part of her father’s family businesses, and when he died, his mother took them away from Paula’s mom. Life became quite difficult.  While her mom was working another job, Paula had a babysitter who would sometimes lock her in a closet.  When the sitter’s boyfriend came over, he would sometimes molest Paula.  This abuse continued for several years, leaving Paula with the belief that something must be wrong with her. Her mom was drinking to numb her own pain.  Paula recalls the many times she draped a blanket over her mom, who had passed out on the couch.  Despite the times of neglect, Paula knew her mom was doing her best and really loved her. In her teens, she became bulimic to gain some sense of control over the chaos she felt inside.

At age 18, Paula met her boyfriend’s uncle, who told her that he could see the pain she carried.  She was shocked that he would say such a thing, having spent years hiding her pain, but she wanted to hear more.

“Uncle Butch” went on to share the gospel with her, explaining sin, the meaning of Jesus’ death and resurrection, and the freedom from hurt that could be found in a relationship with Him. The way he described God to her sounded like love, real love, which she craved.  They talked for a long time and before leaving, Paula asked the Lord to forgive and save her.  While she didn’t know much about God, she had hope. Paula began pouring over the Bible and going to church.  Over time, His Word had an effect on her thinking and beliefs and she started to see God, herself and life differently. The healing process continued for years, as she kept studying the Bible and was taught by pastors and other believers.

As many other trials have come her way in life, including her divorce from ministry partner, Randy White, the death of her step-daughter, Kristen, and the public scrutiny and criticism of their Without Walls ministry, Paula continued to seek the Lord for guidance and healing. She says that God always uses trials for a purpose and to produce something greater in our lives, in terms of our relationship with Him.    

Paula married Jonathan Cain of “Journey” in 2015.

Mentioned in the Video

Guest Info


Author, latest: Something Greater (Faith Words, 2019)

Spiritual advisor to President Trump

Oversight Pastor, City of Destiny, Apopka, FL

Host, Paula Today seen on worldwide on networks including Daystar, Impact, GEB, etc.

Head of Paula White Ministries with humanitarian outreaches to orphans, prison inmates, disaster relief, her local community

Married to Jonathan Cain of the band Journey


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