Sunday, April 13, 2014

Once We Were Slaves

Here's the trailer for my husband's most recent project, a short film called "Once We Were Slaves."

So proud.



Sunday, March 30, 2014

Love and Loss. And Jesus.

The following is an open letter my dear friends wrote hours after losing the little girl they'd been fostering for six months. I'm near speechless by their words, teary-eyed, and blessed to have authentic, loving, compassionate, faith-filled people in my life, who set the bar for what following Jesus looks like.

When I asked Regan for permission to share, she said, "Sure, but let people know that just because you join a "heroic" ministry doesn't mean you will win." Which I understand and agree with. I'd also add that God is faithful to complete the work He starts, and will be faithful to little Faith in ways we can't imagine.

Happy Sunday, readers. Please remember Faith, Regan and Matt in your prayers. And be blessed by my friends.

Dear Friends, March 26, 14

This letter is to thank you for participating in the journey our family has been on for the past 6 months. 

Not everyone is called to foster care, but after our first time in the system, we have come to realize that if it were not for all of you, we wouldn’t have made it. It’s like carrying a match into Mordor without a faithful crew to journey with, and I feel overwhelmed by the light you all have given to this dark path.

I know some of you have prayed. Some of you I have never met have been on your knees for this girl. I am astonished and have never been so deeply moved by the body of Christ. We are a communion of saints; an army of believers, and you have carried this child and our family to the throne of God when we were unable to. You have called, emailed, texted and prayed with us when we were too angry or hurt to talk to God. You didn’t shy away from our unbelief, you waded into the water with us, and as a result we came out on the banks of trust. Not understanding, but trust.

Some of you have put clothes on the body of this child. This little lamb came to us with nothing but the clothes on her back. Not a pillow, a doll, nothing. You dropped off toys, stuffed animals, clothes, shoes, books…. She walked into a strange home and had more than she needed because of your loving generosity.

Some of you brought meals to us the first week we had her. Which was a lifesaver, because I was too busy to even THINK about what to make when 5pm rolled around. It was true comfort for our soul, like an ingestible hug. We felt loved and cared for.

Some of you spent time with Faith. With loving affection you gave her numerous piggy back rides, goldfish crackers, gifts on her birthday, high fives, hugs, smiles and of course, words of everlasting life and peace. Those of you kind enough to spend time with this child saw how bright she is, what an old soul lies within her body and you cared. You held her hand through the uncertainty of her future, the vivid pain of her loss and the memories of her past. We thank you friends, for being faithful to the truth of her situation. Thank you for thinking before speaking. Thank you for listening and letting her be her crazy little self.

Saturday, the little girl we love will be going home to live with her Father in Texas. We are grieving this loss, but I can with honesty assure you this is HIS plan. We prayed for His will to be done, and even though we cannot know why now, we will believe God is in compete control. We know how much He loves Faith, and we are confident He will guard and protect her. In the meantime, we will be still and know. We will stop striving and let go. We will wait for our hearts to heal and get up and do it all over again. Not because we are strong, or great, or good people, but because the love of Christ compels us to go back in again. Thank you, friends, for journeying with us. We could never have loved her as well without you.
~Regan and Matthew Williams

Friday, March 21, 2014

On Set With Jesus

My husband is a director, and is making a short film for our Good Friday service. Since the crucifixion of the Savior of the world is a challenging moment to believably recreate, Dallas hired seasoned actors from LA and flew them to Chicago where we currently live.
Chicago. As in, forty degrees below zero for much of the winter and snow on the ground in late March — that Chicago. Thankfully, we’ve had a few warmish days that did away with the six foot snow drifts, but the chill in the air remains and so do our winter coats. And all that to say, I’m not sure our LA actors even own winter coats, and if they did, they certainly couldn’t wear them while hanging on crosses in a rock quarry-turned-Golgotha.
I visited the set with my kids yesterday, who were too cold to stay outside so they huddled in tents with space heaters. But Jesus and the thieves were dressed in loin cloths, hoisted above the piles of dirt where the breeze moved unfettered. In between takes, they’d climb down ladders so the crew could wrap them in blankets. As the day wore on and the sun began to set, the guys had a harder time focusing and staying in character. The cold was relentless. They were shaking and slurring words. They were suffering.
And the application is obvious. Jesus suffered immeasurably more and couldn’t come down. Check that — could’ve but didn’t. Seeing even a modicum of His suffering helps strip away the apathy that comes from hearing the Easter story a hundred times, and gives me fresh appreciation for Christ’s sacrifice. I’m once again in awe, moved to tears by His sacrifice, and compelled to worship the One who willingly gave his life for mine.   
But that’s not the point of this post. Because The Passion of the Christ did that for me too. And so did a remarkable performance I saw when I was nineteen, depicting Christ in a way I hadn’t previously considered. And so have a few books I’ve read. The film my husband is making is beautiful and unique and will change the people lucky enough to see it.
But my big take away came near the end of the day. Fake Jesus (otherwise known as Jonathan) was on the cross, miserable and losing his ability to remain in the moment, when he said to my husband, “Tell me about Jesus.”
With his director’s hat on, Dallas described Christ’s state of mind, the agony he experienced being abandoned by the Father, his pain, his resolve.  To which the actor said, “No, no. Tell me what Jesus means to you.”   
That takes my breath away.
What a perfect question when trying to get into the headspace of Jesus — though we’ll never come close to comprehending His love. Or the way the cross has transformed history and the lives of those who’ve bowed at its foot. And what a perfect question when trying to endure as Christ endured. When we’re struggling. When we’re being poured out. When we have nothing left to give and when we need a reason to persevere.
Tell me what Jesus means to you.
Dallas answered without hesitation. And without the hat.
“He’s my everything. He’s my whole life. He’s the reason we’re here. And the revolutionary grace he showed 2000 years ago is still changing the world today.”
Jonathan nodded. And wept.
Ladies and gentlemen, that’s a wrap.   
You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor  and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:5-11

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Camera Lies...and a Father's Truth

Wow to this beautiful letter, from a loving father to his precious little girl, before she has been gripped by the message of the culturethat she needs to be prettier and thinner and perfect to have value. I'm in tears reading it. Such love. Such wisdom. Such truth.

For the most part.

The only thing missing from this masterfully written letter, is the fact that this little girland all our sons and daughtersare loved completely, perfectly, unconditionally, and forever by God. The One who created us and longs for us to see ourselves through His eyes, and to accept His offer of relationship through Jesus. And once we do, we get to hear and read words like the ones in this letter, every day we choose to sit, read the Bible, pray and listen.

We are loved. We are special. We are artfully, skillfully and wonderfully made. And this letter captures not only the love of a daddy, but also the heart of our Heavenly Father. 

What a gift, to his little girl and to us.

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body  and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex. Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,  as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born.

Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out  before a single day had passed. How precious are your loving thoughts about me, O God.  They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand.

When I wake up, you are still with me. Search me, O God, and know my heart;  test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you,   and lead me along the path of everlasting life. Psalm 139

Thursday, February 6, 2014

My Favorite Review

My book, The Knight and the Firefly, was released to shelves on Feb 1st. Check it out, along with my favorite review below!

"Okay, call me biased because I'm the father-in-law, but it isn't often that someone who has made his living as an author (more than 180 books) says someone else's book is so special he wishes he had written it. But I do. As a grandfather of 8, I recommend this to any parent, especially if you have kids who've ever been afraid of the dark and who hasn't? It's been more than 50 years since I faced those fears, but I remember every detail. Here's a book I wish I'd had back then." —Jerry Jenkins

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Camera Lies

Leading the charge against rampant false advertising and the demise of female self-esteem, is Jean Kilbourne and her Killing Us Softly initiative  a perfectly titled counter-attack. 

"I wish I looked like Cindy Crawford." -Cindy Crawford

Monday, January 27, 2014

For Such a Time as This

Based on Esther 4:

What a bizarre and horrifying problem the Jews had: by royal decree, they were going to be annihilated, by whichever of their neighbors would choose to become mercenaries. And all because Mordecai had refused to bow to Haman, the king’s right-hand-man with an unquenchable lust for power. Not unlike the King.

And there was Esther, a young queen, whose relationship with Xerxes was hardly a relationship. She hadn’t even seen him in thirty days, and only ever saw him when summoned — which was likely not for her wise counsel or witty banter.

So like I said, it was a terrifying moment in the Jews’ history when Mordecai said this:  

If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?

In some ways, the book of Esther is more about Mordecai than Esther. For sure, her story is important — she did a brave thing from a considerably low position at a pivotal and crucial time, and her actions saved the Jewish people and removed an evil man from power. The obvious heroine in the story.

But while Esther was brave, Mordecai was fearless.

If you keep quiet, deliverance and relief will arise from some other place.  

Only one thing would cause a man to say that in response to a mortal threat: he had seen God rescue, protect, and preserve His people before. And what he had experienced gave Mordecai the confidence to believe God would rescue again. He was courageous in his refusal to bow, steady in the face of certain death, and unwavering in his faith that the Lord would do what the Lord had done. That God was faithful and powerful to save, and so he was free to live in the spirit of the meaning of his name, Warrior.

Perhaps you were made queen for such a time as this.

Mordecai saw the forest for the the trees. He recognized God’s sovereignty in the midst of chaos, and he knew his beloved Esther had a role to play. He clearly knew that nothing takes God by surprise — that in His infinite knowledge and wisdom, God secures deliverance for His people before they’re even aware of their need.  So Mordecai stood at the ready to step out in faith, and he encouraged those around him to do the same.

And I’m inspired by him, motivated to stand on what I know is true and excited to experience God more and more, knowing He’ll produce perseverance, endurance, wisdom, and resolve in me too.

That He’ll make me a warrior, for such a time as this.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything...Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.  
James 1:2-4, 12