About two weeks ago Michael and I watched the movie “Fireproof”. My mom had Netflixed the movie and then suggested (not super subtley now that I think about it) that we watch it. She brought it over one night when when she was baby sitting E and left it for us to watch. Poor Mom, it was several weeks before we got to it so she had been waiting for us to send it back so she could get another film. One Saturday night, with nothing else on TV, we decided to pop it in. By the end of the movie Michael and I were curled up in each others arms, both if us confessing our love and repentance through a river of tears.
The movie stars Kirk Cameron, but he is the only professional actor in the film. Everyone else is part of the congregation of the church (Sherwood Baptist Church) that produced the movie. At first, I thought “Okay, I am preparing myself for the fact that since these actors are not professionals the acting will probably be sub-par and thus hard to overcome.” I could not have been more wrong. In actuality, the fact that they were not professionals somehow made the performances more endearing and realistic. Also, the portrayals of marital arguments were brutally realistic. I can remember seeing the movie “The Break Up” a few years back with my sister, Alexis, and thinking that the movie was hard to endure because of the very real and painful portrayal of the fights in the movie. Trust me, the Hollywood blockbuster has nothing on the Indie film when it comes to realistic portrayals of fighting. Fireproof literally made Michael and me cringe during the confrontation scenes. This was because we could both identify with the context of the arguments and how quickly they can escalate.
If you have not seen this movie, I definitely recommend it. Look, it is what it is. It had a next to nothing budget and 99% of the cast had no professional training. Somehow knowing this made the film all the more impressive. While I could not identify with the exact same struggles as this couple, I am well acquainted with the fact that marriage, under the best of circumstances, is hard. It will always take work and there will be seasons where it will seem that quitting is the only alternative. That is a lie. Quitting may seem easier, but remember the scripture …”There is a way that seems good to man …But this way leads to death”. “Narrow is the gate and few are those who pass through it” (my paraphrase for both). For Michael and me it was a wake up call regarding our relationship and the fact that marriage is a “locked garden”. In other words, “Do Not Disturb” and if you do, face the consequence. However, it is our duty to enforce the will of our Father here … you gotta get rid of the riff raff. If something or someone is trying to drive a wedge between you and your spouse, TAKE ACTION NOW! Seek the Lord! Be vigilant about your actions AND your thought life. During several scenes of the movie there is a “musical montage” and the song used is Slow Fade by Casting Crowns. The words sung ring with such Truth …”It is a slow fade when you give yourself away”. No one knowingly does this, it simply takes its toll over time.
I really wish I had written more about this when it was all “fresh”. You will have to forgive me, we have had a rough week or so around here.
Last nights film is still rather fresh on my brain though. “Facing the Giants” came out about 2-3 years ago I think. The film is co-produced and was distributed by Provident, the label that Michael used to be on. At the 2007 Gospel Music Awards (GMA) week (read as Christian Grammy’s) Monk and Neagle (Trent and MIchael) attended several Provident functions, one of which was to promote “Facing the Giants”. Michael was sent home with a goody bag that included a lot of candy (yippee), a DVD of the movie and a “Facing the Giants” football. Once I found out I was pregnant, and with a boy no less, I knew I could put that football in the nursery. “Why” you may say. I have no good answer. Just decided it, or so I thought.
During this time I was very much in the throws of depression and bewilderment. Michael and I had been trying for children for what seemed like an eternity. Our tests were always normal, but for inexplicable reasons month after month, there was no baby. (I have discussed this before in the blog On Barreness). I continually gave myself “pep talks” and clung to an increasingly insane hope that children were in my future. When Michael returned home that spring (football in tow), I had no idea of the changes poised by God to take place. Within weeks, I had become pregnant. Who knows how or why. (well, clearly we know “how”. It’s not like it was immaculate conception!) When we took the test and it was positive we were in shock and complete awe, knowing this was done by God.
As most mothers do, I began to dream immediately of this child growing within me. Somehow I “knew” from the beginning that it would be a son. It was the desire of my heart and God placed it there. At 20 weeks pregnant, when the sex can be determined by sonogram, neither Michael or I were shocked to find out we had a son. Somehow we knew all along. I battled a lot of fear during those 9 months. This was something I had longed for and I was terrified that it would be taken from me. How little I understood (and still do) about God’s divine nature and love. each day required me taking a stand and confessing what the Word said about my situation. This helped immensely, but I also needed a revelation from God. Thankfully, many faithful saints in our church, MORE, had had visions of our son before he was ever born and these promises helped build and increase our faith. When I was 8 months preggo, Michael and I began the process of decorating the nursery: painting floors and walls, adding new baseboard and quarter round, replacing light fixture, etc ..When it was ready for the final touches (accessories) we added two shelves in order to display assorted decorations, one of which was the Facing the Giants football. This may seem inconsequential (after all it was a little boys room) but after seeing the film I now know it was anything but. You see, in the movie the main character, a struggling football coach, and his wife have been trying to have a baby for several (4) years. Warning …SPOILER ALERT! After being told that it will take nothing short of a miracle to get pregnant the couple continues to persevere despite the odds. Brought low and to the point of brokeness individually, both declare that no matter what God is GOOD and they will “love him no matter what!” After watching the DVD last night, I realize there is no coincidence in the fact that the “promotional” football was placed in my son’s room. It was prophetic revelation and confirmation of the work God had always intended to do. The God of Heaven and the Angle Armies was at work in my life (and Ephraim’s) from the beginning, even before the beginning. That football means a heck of a lot more now!
Let me just say that I full out wept during this film. It hit REALLY close to home for obvious reasons. Though painful to remember that struggle, it was also terribly beautiful to reflect on Gods work during that season and even now. I won’t tell you how the story ends. You can try and guess, but I suggest you see the movie and experience the same blessing I did. for yourself. In a complete coincidence, I came across this today. Cheri is an old friend from our Trinity Fellowship days. Her testimony had me praising through tears. What a great week to be reminded of the faithfulness and miracle working power of THE ONE TRUE GOD, JESUS! Immanuel, God with us! Thank you Lord that we are not alone.
I have decided to focus on LOVING my Jesus this week. Won’t you join me!
**Also, if you have not heard Chris Tomlin’s “I Will Rise” I encourage you to get on iTunes (or whatever you use) and download this song. It is an amazing reminder of why we celebrate this week!