Miracles from Heaven: an Interview with Christy Beam by Kelly Wilson Mize

miraclesfromheaven

Sony Pictures’ new inspirational movie Miracles from Heaven is based on the incredible true story of the Beam family. When Christy discovers her daughter Anna has a rare, incurable disease, she becomes a ferocious advocate for her daughter’s healing as she searches for a solution.

After Anna has a freak accident, however, an extraordinary miracle unfolds in the wake of her dramatic rescue, one that leaves medical specialists mystified, her family restored, and their community inspired.

Kelly Wilson Mize recently had the privilege of speaking with Christy Beam about the soon-to-be released film based on her book, Miracles from Heaven. The movie, starring Jennifer Garner, Kylie Rogers, and Queen Latifah will be released just in time for Easter, 2016.

Kelly Wilson Mize: Can you tell me a little bit about the day the tree “swallowed” your daughter?

Christy Beam: I was doing laundry and my (then eleven-year old) daughter Abigail came in, quite hysterical, telling me that her (nine-year old) sister Anna had ‘kind of fallen into a tree.’ The girls were climbing trees, and in my mind she had just climbed too high and couldn’t get down because she was so weak and sickly. So I hurried outside to help Anna navigate down the branches.

I got out to the massive cottonwood tree, and my daughter Adalyn (7 at the time) was holding a metal pipe, digging madly at the base of this tree. I asked what she was doing, and she said, “Mommy, Annabel can’t breathe, and I’m digging her out of this tree.”

“Where is Annabel?” I asked.

They both pointed and said, in unison, “She’s in the tree!”

It was like the world stopped. Abbie pointed up to the top of the tree where there was a hole, and told me that Anna was in the hole!

KWM: Prior to her fall, how had Annabel’s digestive disease affect her quality of life?

CB: We were in and out of the hospital and doctor’s offices constantly. That last year she was hospitalized 9 times, no less than 5 days each time. Her life was consumed with the illness. Even eating and drinking was just a nightmare.

KWM: What are some of the miraculous things that happened to Annabel while she was unconscious inside the tree?

CB: Annabel told us that she visited heaven and sat in Jesus’ lap! She wanted to stay there because there was no pain in heaven. But Jesus told her, “I have plans for you on earth that you cannot fulfill in heaven. When the firefighters get you out, there will be nothing wrong with you.”

Doctors told us, “Jesus must have been with that little girl in that tree, because we’ve never ever had anyone fall 30 feet and not suffer paralysis or broken bones.” And so her survival was a miracle in itself.

While she was with Jesus, Anna says she saw a little girl, and kept thinking, “I know that face. Who is that little girl?” She says that Jesus told her it was her sister.

We had never told Annabel that we had two miscarriages. If that was her sister, we wondered why she wouldn’t have seen two children. But we realized that one of the miscarriages was known [medically] as a blighted ovum, where no life ever forms. The other baby, though, was lost at 12 weeks, and we believe that hers was the face that Annabel saw. I found that miraculous. When she told us all this, I began to think, “There is something really, really, really serious going on here.” She could never have known that …

Miracles from Heaven

KWM: Was Anna immediately healed after her experience in the tree?

CB: I wish I could tell you that I immediately said, “God is good; you are healed,” but I was not-so “standing on faith” right away. Because it just didn’t seem real. It just couldn’t be happening! But every day, Anna was eating and playing and going to the bathroom normally, and wasn’t asking for pain meds. One day turned into another, and into another, and before we knew it, two weeks had passed and it was time for her to rotate onto a more powerful antibiotic. I called the doctor and said, “She doesn’t need it.” He thought she would need it in a few days, but we never gave it to her again! And that was the beginning of weaning her off of one medication after another, after another.

KWM: Does Anna still talk about her experience?

CB: Sometimes, but not very often. She talked about it so much with the book release; there was a lot of media for that. I think that’s what is so precious about her experience is that it’s her experience. I’ve told her, “If there are parts of your experience that you feel are treasures that you want to keep in your heart, you keep them. Those are between you and the Almighty. You don’t have to share them.” She gives me a little wry smile, so it makes me feel like there are treasures she’s keeping, and that’s OK. Some days she shares things just out of the blue, but not consistently.

KWM: Have you experienced cynicism about this experience? If so, how has your family handled that?

CB: When we experience that negative eye, or “venom spewed,” we go straight back to the positive, and [think about] the good things. I get messages from all over the world: Pakistan, South Africa, the Netherlands, literally all over the world, with people saying that our story has given them hope in spite of challenges. When a negative comes along I say, “You know what? You are getting replaced with a positive, because I am not going to stay and dwell here!”

KWM: How did your book come to be written?

CB: Because God actually laid it on my heart. Me not being a writer, I said to God audibly, “You know that’s so cute, God, but no thank You. I’m not doing that.”

I had lunch with a friend that I hadn’t seen in 15 years, and we sat down and literally within 5 minutes she said, “You know God has laid it on my heart that you need to write a book about Annabel’s journey.” Well, I had not told anybody that God had laid it on my heart to write a book, so that really freaked me out.

Then, we met again about a month later, and of course I’d done nothing about it. My friend sat down and said to me, “It’s not a matter of if you’re going to write a book, God wants to know when.” That day, I went and bought a laptop, and it just started pouring out of my heart. The manuscript got written, and it just took off from there.

Read the rest, where Christy talks about the movie, tomorrow on ParentLife!

The Play-Along Bible by Bob Hartman {GIVEAWAY}

Psalm 78 tells us that we should pass along God’s story to our children. Many parents struggle with that idea. They think they don’t know enough about the Bible. And they are afraid that telling God’s story badly, or in a boring way, might do more harm than good. I have a friend who is a children’s pastor. When she was a teenager and babysat for a Christian family, she was told that she could read the children a fun story, but only if she read them a Bible story, first! I think that sums up the problem.

The Play-Along Bible

In The Play-Along Bible I retell 50 Bible stories in such a way that they actually ARE the fun story. Built into the stories are lots of things for you and your children to do as you read the stories so that you can all have fun together. All you need to do is to read each line, and then invite your child to do the suggested action or repeat the suggested words along with you. It’s that simple. You may need to go first, to give them an idea of how to do it. And it will help if you do that with a big smile on your face and a playful attitude. Because it is The Play-Along Bible, after all! And nearly thirty years of storytelling has convinced me that when we are playing (as opposed to sitting very seriously and still) we are always more open to discovering what is beautiful, good and true.

We are often told, and I think it’s right, that reading to our children, from a very young age, instills a love of words and a love of books. But I think it does more than that. Lap time, bedtime, whenever you take the time to read to your child
ren not only brings them closer to the words, it also brings them closer to you. So it makes sense, that if the words are about God, then it will surely bring them closer to Him, as well. And what could be better? You and your child and your Heavenly Father, all there together, in one place, playing. Playing along with a fun story.

_________

Bob Hartman is a pastor, author, and storyteller with a rich history in publishing and whose books have sold more than 1 million copies. Primarily he’s written children’s books with a strong moral theme or Bible story books. Bob is best known for The Lion Storyteller Bible, which sold more than 200,000 copies, and The Wolf Who Cried Boy, with more than 90,000 copies sold. He is also the author of You Version’s Bible App for Kids, which has been downloaded over 9 million times. Bob is married to Sue, and they have two married children and three grandchildren.

Want to win a copy of The Play-Along Bible? We have five copies to give away this month! Enter to win using the Rafflecopter below.

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Weekend Links

Have a great week!

Verses to Memorize with Your Kids about Easter

I can read Bible stories to my kids all day long, but Scripture memorization is an area where I can falter. They often learn verses at church, but with three kids running around sometimes I just get lazy.

That said, I think learning Scripture is an important part of growing in faith, no matter your age. Here are some suggestions for age-appropriate verses to learn about Easter.

2009 LUMC Palm Sunday
source: Scott Adams

Young Toddlers

“Now Christ has been raised from the dead.” – 1 Corinthians 15:20a, NIRV

Preschoolers

“God raised him from the dead. He set him free from the suffering of death. It wasn’t possible for death to keep its hold on Jesus.” – Acts 2:24, NIRV

Elementary Age

” ‘Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. But blessed are those who haven’t seen me and believe anyway.’ ” – John 20:29, TLB

Preteens

” ‘Why are you looking for the living among the dead?’ asked the men. ‘He is not here, but He has been resurrected! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee,  saying, “The Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men, be crucified, and rise on the third day”?’ ” – Luke 24:5b-7, HCSB

Any other verses that are a good fit for Easter?

Weekend Links

Hope you had a wonderful weekend!

Devotions for Lent

hold my hand
source: RobynLou8 via Flickr Creative Commons

Lent is well underway – that six-week period leading up to Easter Sunday. To tune one’s heart toward the cross and resurrection, spending Lent focusing on Scripture is profitable and helpful for adults and children both. Here are some devotionals you can use together or separately. Just jump in wherever you are. With Easter still nearly a month away, it’s not too late.

  1. Bible Gateway Lent Devotion – Include a prayer, Scripture, quote, and something to think about it for each day.
  2. She Reads Truth – Always offers daily devotions, with the Lenten season one being slow-paced and good food for thought. For men, see sister site He Reads Truth.
  3. Trail to the Tree from Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience
  4. A Sense of the Resurrection: An Easter Experience for Families from OhAmanda has 12 sense-invoking experiences to bring Scriptures to life for parents and children.
  5. Lenten Lights at Desiring God.

Weekend Links

Happy Saturday!

Seeing Sparkle and Choosing Joy by Mary Carver

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Sara Frankl was a friend and fellow blogger who suffered from an autoimmune disease and several complications. As I worked on the book that tells Sara’s story and shares her message of hope and joy, I was amazed and moved to read about the incredible strength Sara drew from her faith. That inner strength allowed her to withstand immeasurable pain both physical and emotional — and to choose joy through it all.

I invite you to read an excerpt of our book today, where Sara shared a story from her childhood and gave us a glimpse of where she learned to choose joy.

——————-

Listening to the sound of the wind whistling around the building as the windows shook and the snow whipped into tiny volcanoes in and of themselves, I found myself suddenly nostalgic for our farm house back on the acreage.

The blizzard here was just starting to get its footing. The winds were reaching their 50 miles per hour and the chill of the outside could be felt in my inside bones. And then, for a moment, there was quiet. So I grabbed my camera and looked outside, knowing what I would see: sparkly snow, right outside my window.

It was always my favorite part of the storm, watching from the window with my mom. I can remember the night, being in the family room, watching television with the family and suddenly noticing Mom was gone. I walked into the laundry room, knowing that’s where I would find her. But there was no sloshing of a washer or tumbling of a dryer. It was quiet. Dark. And the only sound was that familiar whipping of the wind as she sat on a stool by the window, watching it swirl.

Her moment of silence in the peace of the white sparkly snow.

As an adult, I now recognize the quiet moment she was grabbing. A husband and six kids content in another room. Dishes done. The house vacuumed. No pressing for homework to be done or school clothes to be ready, because she knew the snow was only starting and our rural roads wouldn’t be fit for the buses to pass.

She would sit quietly at the window and rest in the sound of the new fallen snow. The peace in the wild whipping of the wind. I, of course, would break her silence, but only by my presence. I liked the quiet, too.

She would show me the light we were trying to see in the distance – the one a quarter mile away that lit up Dad’s hog buildings. She was making sure the power was still on so the livestock were warm and fed and safe. But then she would take her eyes away from the light to make sure I saw the diamonds in the snow. She said they were the little gift that God gives in the middle of a storm.

And I would curl up with her on her stool and think about how she sparkled right along with them, in the quiet of the snow. There is no doubt that those little lessons then, about sparkly gifts in the middle of storms, help me to see the sparkle in my life now. Quietly content to watch the storms brew outside my windows – but only letting the sparkle rest inside.

——————-

Frankl. Sara. Carver. Mary. CHOOSE JOY. Final cover. 050515.(1)

If you enjoyed this excerpt from Choose Joy: Finding Hope & Purpose When Life Hurts, you can learn more about the book and its authors at TheChooseJoyBook.com.

Mary Carver is a writer, speaker, and recovering perfectionist. She writes about her imperfect life with humor and honesty, encouraging women to give up on perfect and get on with life, at www.givinguponperfect.com. Mary is the co-author of a new book called, Choose Joy: Finding Hope & Purpose When Life Hurts. Released by the Hachette Book Group in 2016, CHOOSE JOY is a must-have for those searching for meaning and beauty in a world full of tragedy. Sara’s words breathe with vitality and life, and her stories will inspire smiles, tears, and the desire to choose joy. To learn more about CHOOSE JOY, visit TheChooseJoyBook.com.

Weekend Links

Have a wonderful President’s Day and great new week.

 

Looking at the Beatitudes through the Lens of Parenting

Parenting and the Bible
source: MarcosReis07 via Flickr

John MacArthur wrote, “The Beatitudes demonstrate that the way to heavenly blessedness is antithetical to the worldly path normally followed in pursuit of happiness.”

Parenting isn’t about feeling good all the time.

Make it that, and you’ll have kids who run the house and don’t understand the word no. Some of my best parenting moments are when I feel the worse, I think. Holding a screaming, flailing 5-year-old who is throwing a temper tantrum – when really I just want to shut her in her room and go eat chocolate cake. Taking a deep breath and explaining to my 3-year-old onemoretime that “I need” is not the way we start sentences to ask for things. Not biting back when my 17-month-old decides to gnaw at my shoulder.

Often parenting is going against my human nature and trying to latch on to my Jesus-nature instead, asking for His power to flood me. Because seriously, there is no way I can do this on my own.

In the Beatitudes, Jesus shows us a flip-flop view of His kingdom versus the world’s. He says, “You’re going to mourn. You’re going to be persecuted. You’re going to need to show mercy and peace and gentleness when you don’t want to. But I am going to bless you for it, and it’s how I am going to work through your life.”

How many times as a parent do you feel mournful? Poor in spirit? Persecuted, even, by your children or other parents? Jesus blesses that.

The Beatitudes are everything I want to be as a parent. Gentle. Peaceful. Merciful. Pure in heart. In my study Bible, MacArthur also writes that “gentleness is supreme self-control empowered by the Spirit.”

I’ve seen a graphic around Facebook lately, with a toddler laying on top of his mama on the beach and the words, “You’re never going to be loved like this again.”

Until we see Christ, no one on earth is going to love us with the uninhibited crazy love of a toddler or preschooler. So let’s pour back that love, praying for the Spirit to fill us with mercy, purity of heart, gentleness, and peace, not giving up when we are mournful or feel persecuted or want to hide in our rooms and throw stuff at the wall.

In The Message paraphrase, Matthew 5:3 is, “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.”

Praise God and Amen!

Originally published on JessieWeaver.net.