Miracles from Heaven: An Interview with Christy Beam, Part 2

Read Part 1 on ParentLife here, if you haven’t yet.

miraclesfromheaven

Kelly Wilson Mize: I’m so excited to see the movie! Was your family happy with the actors who were cast to play you?

Christy Beam: Yes! We were all so delighted and grateful. I just feel like they couldn’t have done a better job handpicking for each of us who they chose. In fact, when Anna and I went and met Kylie Rogers [the girl who played her in the movie] for the first time, she and Kylie clicked right away. Annabel said, “Mom, I was so worried that Kylie wouldn’t ‘get’ me or understand who I am, or ‘be like’ me.” And I had no idea she was worrying about that. But she said, “Kylie was perfect. I couldn’t have picked someone better for me.” And that just gave me so much peace. I knew Jennifer Garner would be amazing, but Annabel didn’t know Kylie Rogers would be amazing. Every one of us was just very pleased with the choices, the product, the result of what they all did.

KWM: Do you think the movie stuck closely with the true story?

CB: It did. There are some parts that are painfully accurate, and there are some parts that were very hard to watch. There were other parts that are definitely an adaptation of our story. There were some people morphed into one person. They were trying to take this long story and condense it down, but we were all very pleased with the outcome and how well they did it.

KWM: Do you have any plans to write future books?

CB: I would love to write a children’s book about this experience to help reach out to children who are struggling with chronic illness, or just struggling with challenges in general. I feel like all children could use that encouragement.

KWM: How have you and your family been changed as a result of this experience?

CB: We’ve been given the opportunity to be the people who tell other people, in times of crisis and in challenge, to look up. Because when we were in times of crisis, my head was down, and I was putting one foot in front of the other just plugging along. I wasn’t noticing all those little miracles daily going on around me. But whenever I stepped out of it, it was amazing how many miracles were happening around me; not big ones, but small ones that I was taking for granted. I have been able to be that person to say, “Look up! Look all around you, there are so many things God is doing. Don’t miss the small miracles while you’re waiting on the big ones.”

Miracles from Heaven opened in theaters nationwide on March 16th.

Sony Pictures’ Miracles from Heaven is launching a website to let moviegoers share who their everyday miracles in life. Users can visit ShareYourMiracle.com to create a customized digital image of someone who is a miracle in their life, whether it is an encouraging family member, a loving spouse or partner, motivating teacher, or best friend. On the site, users can upload a photo, personalize it, and share it easily on their social channels or the website’s gallery.

Will you go see Miracles from Heaven? 

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!

Intentional Parenting with David Thomas – Q&A and Giveaway!

Q&A with David Thomas, author of Intentional Parenting: Autopilot is for Planes (Thomas Nelson, March 2013).

David wrote Intentional Parenting with Sissy Goff and Melissa Trevathan, who all three are on staff of Daystar Counseling Ministries in Nashville, TN. Daystar is a not-for-profit ministry offering both individual and group counseling for children, adolescents, families, and young adults.

Q: How would you define being an intentional parent?

First, let us tell you what intentional parenting is not. Reactive. It is essential to parent out of love instead of parenting out of fear. When we parent out of fear, our kids never get the best of us, the most of us, or even what they really need from us. Parenting out of fear is a reactive form of parenting.

We’d love to invite you into more proactive parenting—thoughtful, intentional, strategic, and wise parenting. Or more active parenting—responsive, engaged, invested, connected parenting. It’s difficult to parent out of love when we are simply reacting to everything going on around us. We are postured to react rather than respond.

We always have options. Sometimes we choose fear over love. Sometimes we choose love over fear. You will continue to hear us invite you to extend grace to yourself in the journey of parenting. You are going to make mistakes. God can redeem the mistakes we make in parenting. He extends grace to us so that we can then extend grace and mercy to our children. Receive the grace and mercy that is available to you. And then do that thing we teach our kids to do when they fall off their bikes while learning to ride: get back up, dust yourself off, and try again.

Being an intentional parent means I get back on the bike and learn from the mistake I made last time around.

 

Q: What does play have to do with parenting?

Play has purpose for you and your kids. When we speak to parents, we talk about the need for every child to feel enjoyed by their parents. Every child needs time with their mom and dad that is not spent instructing, coaching, teaching, or even exhorting … just plain play together. It helps build a child’s confidence and increases the bond between you.

As a side note, we’re not only talking about watching your children play, although that’s important too. Kids want an audience, and it’s easy to think (especially after a hard day’s work) that by watching them play, you are entering in. You can watch them play tennis and dive off diving boards, but they also want you to jump in and get a little wet right alongside them.

At camp, the kids will beg the adult counselors to get in the lake with them. I cannot even begin to count the number of kids who have said to me, “My mom won’t swim with us. She doesn’t like to get her hair wet. Or, my dad comes to the lake with us, but he spends a lot of time on his phone because it’s hard for him to get away from work.”

Dive in. Get your hair wet. Get on the floor and play a board game. Laugh. Enjoy your children by playing with them. And then save a little time to play without them, as well.

kid / vancouver, BC, CANADA
source: Ces’t June

Q: What role does hope play in parenting?

Your child will place his or her hope in a lot of things over the years—new friends, parts in plays, winning football teams, homecoming dates, SAT scores. And when those things fall through, discouragement will follow. Your encouragement, in those times, is invaluable. A middle school girl said that her mom puts a new Scripture on her mirror every day … just to encourage her. A high schooler said recently how much it means when she knows her mom is praying specifically for her and for what she’s facing that day. The encouragement of these moms is a genuine expression of their hope. When your encouragement rises out of that place, it has more impact than you can imagine.

In all of the complexities of growing up today, children and teens need hope. They need life and healing and relationship with you, as their parent. And they need you to offer these things out of the overflow of your heart. Encouragement is not just the words you say. It’s not just the truth and hope that you offer. It’s the way you live His truth and His hope out. Sensitivity to your child’s heart and confidence in God as your protector, provider, and redeemer is what truly encourages. You offer hope as you point your children toward Christ.

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