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Gwen Stefani opens up about how her faith has helped her through hard moments

The 51-year-old singer talked to Hoda and Jenna about what inspires her to hold on to faith and hope.
/ Source: TODAY

Gwen Stefani is opening about what has helped her overcome some tough and emotional moments in her life.

During an in-depth interview on TODAY with Hoda & Jenna Thursday, the 51-year-old singer talked about her faith and shared some insightful advice Pharrell Williams once gave her, both elements that have eventually led her down the road to her now-fiancé, Blake Shelton.

"This is the thing, I always feel like this whole thing that we're doing here, this life thing, is a test," she said when Jenna Bush Hager asked her what she would say to those still waiting for their turn. "And basically, you get given all of these crazy challenges to trick you to think that maybe it's not a test and maybe nothing good is going to be around the corner."

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"But I feel like it's the way you handle things, you never know," she continued. "You're gonna be blessed. You got to ask for the blessings. You got to keep engaged. That's how I believe. That's how I live my life. I'm getting better at it. It's something you have to work on. It's like a spiritual exercise every single day."

Hoda Kotb said that was the most beautiful sentiment, before asking Stefani how she has stayed open to life experiences despite trying circumstances in her past, like her divorce from singer Gavin Rossdale.

"I had all those fetal positions for a while," Stefani recalled. "I know that everything that happens in my life isn't happening in time with what people see. That's what people forget, although we are close to that these days with the Internet and the platforms that we all have.

"For me, I was turning to my faith right away. That was a seed that my mom planted in me when I was a little girl ... it's a journey. It's almost like you get lost, it's like you get lost on your journey. We all do and we all will and I will again at some point I'm sure."

Stefani added that some advice from Pharrell, her friend and fellow judge on "The Voice," really made a profound impact on her.

"He said to me, 'Once you open your eyes and you start looking, you will see,'" she said. "I know that sounds kind of vague but it was so real for me. I just started to focus on, 'What is real? What is the truth? What is my purpose? What am I doing here?'"

It was after she asked herself those questions that she reflected on her own heartache, and how she may be able to help others by doing what she does best: making music.

"I tried to find what was my gift and my purpose," she said. "In that horrible moment, I just said to myself, 'This is happening to me for a purpose ... a reason.' I tried to go right into the studio. I knew that was the only thing I know how to do good, is write songs and I wrote the 'Truth' record," Stefani added, referring to her 2016 album "This Is What the Truth Feels Like."

Gwen Stefani on TODAY with Hoda and Jenna.TODAY

Released on the heels of her divorce from Rossdale, whom she was married to from 2002 to 2016, the "breakup record" was deemed "too personal" by record executives.

“The record company was like, ‘Listen, we really think your record is too personal and no one is going to relate to this record and maybe you should just put it out as an artistic body of work — don’t even think about radio,'” she told Ryan Seacrest back in 2015. “They told me that and it was literally like being punched in the stomach.”

But looking back, Stefani cites that experience as an important milestone on the journey that brought her to "The Voice," and a few chairs away from the man she is set to be married to.

"Then, I got this crazy call, after having that miracle baby Apollo, to be on 'The Voice.' Who knew that that would happen? I mean, we just didn't know that was going to happen," she said.

"It's so crazy. I love to revisit that time in my mind and think about Blake Shelton a couple chairs away, not even knowing who he is, and thinking, 'Why are people picking this guy? This nobody?'"

And the rest is history!