The film Miracles From Heaven is based on the incredible, true story of Christy Beam and her family’s journey of faith, as they are faced with losing their daughter to an incurable disease. What parent cannot identify with the pain and struggle of watching their child suffer, feeling hopeless to save them? As a family, their faith is tested only to see that miracles are all around them every day—big ones and small ones.
For Christy Beam, Miracles From Heaven is a story of the faithfulness of God, a family, and a marriage. It’s also touching love stories—from Dr. Samuel Nurko, Annabel’s doctor in Boston, to their church family and friends. Out of love, Christy pours her life into finding a solution for her daughter. Following a freak accident, the family discovers they have received a double miracle, which inspires an entire community and reveals the faithfulness of God.
Christy has always admired actress Jennifer Garner, and feels that she portrayed her life in the movie with much passion and emotion. “She was warm, honest and genuine from our first meeting.” Jennifer Garner recently said at a Q&A after a screening in Dallas, “There was something about doing this film and talking to my kids about it, and realizing that they were looking for the structure of church every Sunday. So it was a great gift of this film that it took us back to finding our local Methodist church and going every Sunday. It’s really sweet.”
Christy honestly admits she questioned her faith through this trial. “Honest people doubt, and God comes alongside us even in the doubt.” Today, after her experience, Christy desires to be the person that encourages others to look up even when life appears to be caving in around them.
Sonoma Christian Home had the privilege of interviewing this real life mom, Christy Beam, at the National Religious Broadcaster’s Convention on Miracles From Heaven, which portrays her struggle and the double miracle God provided her family. SCH Editor at Large Ginny Dent Brant reports.
SCH: What challenges did you face when your child was sick for years?
CB: It challenges your faith and shakes your foundation. You begin to question so much. Why is this happening to my child? What can I do about it? It ‘s hard to watch your child suffer in agony and not be able to do anything about it.
SCH: How did your inspiring story become a movie?
CB: When the book was still in the final editing stage of publishing, Devon Franklin got involved. We had a wonderful phone call. And my heart’s desire met up with his heart’s desire for what would happen on the screen. In my heart, it was what God had planned. It was His will.
SCH: What was your daughter’s faith like as a young child, and how did it help her to deal with this disease?
CB: We’ve always raised our girls in the church. Our family was there every time the doors were open. We modeled our faith in our daily lives and prayed with them at home. They saw their faith as a part of who they were. Annabel has a different gift. She has a peace and wisdom like a child-like faith in her relationship with Christ, way better than even I do.
SCH: How did you feel in that moment when your daughter told you her pain was so bad, that she would rather go to Heaven and be with Jesus?
CB: I will never forget that moment. I stood there stunned and replied, “My heart would be so empty without you.” Her response was even worse because she had thought it through, “No, no, Mommy, you would kill yourself and go with me, and daddy would stay and take care of the girls.”
I got in the bed and wrapped my arms around her, and we cried together. Annabel was a fighter and this was the first time I had ever heard her say, “I’m done.”
SCH: What was your reaction when your oldest daughter told you about the tree incident?
CB: I definitely don’t deserve one of the mother of the year awards. Abbie was quite hysterical and told me Annabel had fallen in the tree. I thought she had climbed too high and was just stuck in the branches of the tree. Abbie was dragging me because I was not walking fast enough. My naivety was probably a good thing. Even when I got to the tree, it took moments for me to grasp the reality that she had fallen inside the tree.
SCH: How long did it take you to realize that you had experienced a double miracle—a miracle beyond Annabel just surviving a thirty-foot fall inside the tree?
CB: That took some time. It clicked in Jan’s brain, my husband’s mother. When I told Jan what Annabel shared with us about her Heaven experience and that Jesus told her she would no longer be sick. She said, “Christy, that means God’s healed her.” It did not click with me at first. I wasn’t ready to go there because what if I believed she was healed and she really wasn’t. My emotions could not handle going back to having a sick child again. I was afraid to hope, if it was not true. But Annabel’s life changed immediately with her child-like faith. She knew God had healed her.
SCH: How is her health now?
CB: They just don’t know. One of them said, “I’m sure glad she fell out of that tree.” Another said, “She’s asymptomatic, released from doctor’s care, and I have no explanation.” One thing is for sure; she’s gone from ten medications to none!
SCH: What do you say to Christians who believe that miracles were only for the early church?
CB: Well, I give Annabel’s answer for this. She said, “I say nothing to those who doubt or don’t believe because I know what I believed, I know what I experienced, and I know who I am today. And if you compare those three, there’s no denying that I am healed. And you’ll get there and understand and grasp it, when you are ready to get there.”
SCH: How close is the movie to the actual story?
CB: They did such an amazing job of capturing so many things that are spot on in the book like the love of the family, the faith of the family, the heartbeat of the family, and the message of hope, faith, perseverance, and strength. There are some details that are different.
That’s where the movie and the book hold each other up and encourage and complement each other. They’ve taken what happened with Annabel and made it even bigger. People who have read the book will recognize many things that happen in the movie like her love for mermaids. It is so wonderfully done.
SCH: When you share your story with others, what impact does it have on them?
CB: I get messages from people all over the world who’ve read the book. One fifty-nine year old man wrote me saying, “I’ve just finished your book and I just want you to know my backslidden days are over. You have given me faith and hope in Christ like I’ve never had.”
I’m so overwhelmed that God has allowed me to be a vessel to do this. I’m humbled that He can speak through us to give others hope and courage.
SCH: What encouragement can you give to those people who don’t always get the miracle they prayed for?
CB: That may not be your miracle. There are so many other miracles that are happening around you. Have you noticed those and been grateful? That’s what I found in my struggle. When it was over, and I looked back, I had my head down because it was hard and dark. Yet, when I reflected, there were all these miracles going on every day. When I was saying, “God, where are you?” He was right there.
So if you are waiting for that one miracle and you’ve got your blinders on, you may miss the miracle God is doing.
Miracles of Heaven releases March 16 nationwide by Columbia Pictures and Affirm Films. It is Devon Franklin’s first film since he began his own movie production company, Franklin Entertainment, last year. This movie is guaranteed to inspire. You will fall in love with the characters, the story, and the family.
The message from the movie is clear. Whatever your trial is, look for the miracles both big and small that are around you every day.