Albert Einstein said, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
March 18 the movie Miracles From Heaven is released to theaters, featuring Jennifer Garner and Queen Latifah. This film has been based on Christy Beam’s bestselling book about the amazing true story of her daughter who experienced a debilitating disorder for four years but was restored in a freak accident. Golden Globe® winner Jennifer Garner stars as Christy Beam, a determined, devoted mother whose world is turned upside down when her daughter Anna (beautifully performed by newcomer Kylie Rogers) is struck with a rare, incurable, painful digestive disorder.
With a mother’s tenacious determination, Christy does everything she can and beyond for her child through a medical maze. When she struggles in her faith and when all truly seems lost, a series of amazing, documented events unfold that leave not only Christy but doctors, family and community at once baffled and profoundly inspired by the astonishing events.
In exclusive Red Carpet interviews with Sonoma Christian Home, Actress Jennifer Garner (JG), Producers DeVon Franklin (DF) and Bishop T.D. Jakes (TDJ), and the Beam Family (BF) share wonderful insights about their experiences making the movie. SCH Editor at Large Dr. Diane Howard Reports.
SCH: You have shared how this movie has been transformative for you. How do you think the movie will have a transformative impact on those who see it?
JG: What they see of the mother’s love and the child’s faith will be transformative.
SCH: How will this movie impact viewers, especially families and children?
DF: It is easy to receive an honest story from a child. Each member of the family are individual role models. The older sister is a role model to teens that it matters to help your family. Viewers need to bring tissues because this heart-warming story reaffirms the importance of love and faith in a family. All families experience crises and tragedies. This movie brings the top talent to this good story. Jennifer Garner brings her role home as the mother.
SCH: What do you think the value of good movies can be?
TDJ: Miracles From Heaven is a sequel to Heaven Is For Real. Both stories value the real experience of children. It is the child’s faith that marshals the parent’s faith. If Jesus, The Great Storyteller, was here today, He would use movies to tell stories.
SCH: What roles did each of you play in your real events? What is your role now as a family unit?
Kevin (father) – I needed to be strong for my family, during the four years when my daughter was in terrible pain.
Adelyn (youngest daughter) – Sometimes I want more attention on me, but then I have to be mature and realize it is not about me but what God is doing with our family. Every day I am glad that we still have our sister, Anna.
Christy (mother) – Our story is about hope and encouragement. We are relieved that the movie tells our story well.
Abbey (oldest daughter) – It was hard but later became rewarding. At first we didn’t know why this happened. We just needed to get through one day at a time.
Anna (middle daughter, who endured the disorder and healing) – We are happy that this movie tells our story.
Miracles From Heaven addresses actual miracles, which are surprising, welcomed events not explicable by natural or scientific laws. It also concerns the crises in life that everyone experiences when they feel they are out of options. Further, it is about new insights and purposes that come out of crises.
Texas mom Christy Beam was in that position when she began the story that became her inspirational memoir, Miracles From Heaven. She was living a blessed life in Texas with her veterinarian husband and family of three vivacious daughters. But then, her middle daughter Annabel (Anna) became desperately ill. She was ultimately diagnosed with a heart wrenching, fatal disorder that left her unable to digest food. The best doctors did not have a solution. All of Christy’s relentless, ceaseless efforts to heal her daughter seemed to be failing. Although Christy was unwilling to give up on the outside, on the inside, she was terrified, uncertain, lost.
Then suddenly everything changed with her daughter Annabel’s horrible, headlong fall into the core of a hollowed-out cottonwood tree that became a headline-making rescue with a stunning result no scientist could adequately explain. Annabel herself had an amazing personal story to tell: a memory of a heavenly encounter that dispatched her back to her family. She tells of walking “on the universe” and of hearing Jesus and of being sent back to earth. Christy and the family were transformed as they began to see how many day-today miracles had graced their path.
Christy says, “I used to think a miracle came with a flash and a boom and a loud voice but now I know a miracle is also goodness, it’s love, it’s when things work that have no reason to work. To me, it’s the showing of God’s hand. There are miracles that are great and huge such as walking away from a 30 feet headfirst fall. But there are many small miracles in life too and I’m so grateful to embrace those now and watch for them every day. After everything that happened, I made a conscious decision to not take any of the little, amazing moments of life for granted.”
Further she says, “Since so many people seemed to connect with our story, I wanted to pour my heart and soul onto the pages…Our life was literally displayed for all to see because I felt people needed to understand the various aspects, good and bad, of what we endured in order to better help them face their own struggles.”
Christy Beam introduces a vision of faith that is reinforced by what can only be called grit – the passion and effort to keep going, to keep trusting in a path forward, even when your heart isn’t sure what it is. She is committed to being honest about her confusion, fear and imperfect strength so that others feeling alone in the dark might see there is a way through. “I wanted people to know that, no matter what your challenges are, there is hope,” she says. “To start, you just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other and embrace all that you cherish.”
Written by Dr. Diane Howard, Ph.D. (Performance Studies), dianehoward.com