Why am I here? Why are you here?
That is a question that people have asked themselves – and argued over – for millions of years. You can choose to believe the ‘Big Bang Theory’ where the universe was born when space ‘just opened up’ and was filled with an enormous explosion of energy which radiated out into space and began to cool and condense into matter; or you can choose to believe that God created the heavens and the earth and that we were born by His purpose and for His purpose.
Without God, life makes no sense.
Ashley Smith realizes this when she is taken hostage in her own apartment by Brian Nichols – a man on the run and the subject of a city-wide manhunt.
Brian, unjustly accused of rape and jailed, kills three people in court and runs, desperate to make contact with his newborn son. His family, his child, is all he can think about.
Recovering meth addict, Ashley, fears that her young daughter, Paige, already without a father due to a stabbing several years earlier, will have to grow up without a mother as well if Brian kills her. She tries desperately to connect with him on some level, constantly talking about her daughter, begging him not to kill her and leave Paige an orphan.
Ashley turns for guidance as the hours wear on to Rick Warren’s best-selling inspirational book, The Purpose Driven Life. Brian sees her reading and tells her to read aloud to him. While reading, Ashley and Brian each face crossroads where their despair and death intersect with hope.
You are loved. Before you were born, you were loved. You are not an accident. Your birth was no mistake or mishap, and your life is no fluke of nature. Your parents may not have planned you, but God did.
It is not fate, nor chance, nor luck, nor coincidence that you are breathing at this very moment. You are alive because God wanted to create you! He chose your race, the color of your skin, your hair, and every other feature. He determined your natural talents that you would have and your unique personality. He knows you inside and out, every bone in your body, for he sculpted you from nothing into something.
Each day of your life was planned before you took your first breath. Every day was recorded in God’s book. He planned where you would be born, where you would live, your race and nationality no accident. No detail was left to chance. God designed you exactly as you are for His purpose.
I was well into my 30s when I realized this. That every event, thought, trouble, celebration, feeling – everything – has already been planned, already been written. My purpose is to learn from the experiences that God has laid before me, to find what lesson He wants me to learn. When you change your way of thinking and look at life as a lesson where you are the student and God is the teacher, it changes your perspective dramatically.
We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it. That’s a powerful message. All of the self-help books in the world cannot tell you how to break free from past mistakes, events that shaped our lives, decisions that we regret.
Jesus once said, “Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self.”
I so wish that I could help a dear friend of mine understand this. She is now on a retreat at a yoga spa, trying to regain her center, her balance, her inner peace after the conclusion of a long, heartbreaking ordeal. I pray that she sees this, and that she is able to finally let go of the past, and move forward in love and light. She is an extraordinary woman, so very talented, and I know that she will use her past experiences to change lives if only she grants herself the forgiveness she seeks. God is waiting to show her His path for her, and the work that she will do to raise awareness with young men and women about domestic violence – along with the emotional and verbal abuse that always accompanies it – will save many from the same situations that she and I have gone through.
The movie, Captive, debuts in theaters across America next Friday, September 18, 2015. After reading the book, I am extremely enthusiastic about seeing the movie. Please take a moment to watch the official movie trailer!
The movie stars David Oyelowo as Brian Nichols, who played Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the recent film, Selma. Kate Mara plays Ashley Smith. Click here for a special greeting from David Oyelowo.
You can check out the official website for Captive and connect with them via Facebook and Twitter. You can even take a moment and listen to the audio excerpt from the audio book format of Captive (Chapter 1), read by author, Ashley Smith.
Join the Twitter Party
Our friends at Flyby Promotions would like to invite you to join a teleconference and Twitter party with Ashley Smith – the mother that inspired the upcoming film, Captive, which releases on September 18th. Ashley made headlines in 2005 when she miraculously talked her way out of being held hostage for 7 hours in Atlanta by an escaped convict on a murderous rampage.
She has generously offered to spend an hour with us, talking about her story and the impact it has had on her faith, her parenting, and finding purpose in all things.
The event takes place on TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2015 at 1:00PM CST / 2:00PM EST. If you would like to be a part of this teleconference and Twitter party, just click the RSVP button below! You will receive a follow-up email with the call in details on Monday, September 14, or you can call (888) 574-7731 on September 15 at that time to join in – no pin needed!
What is your purpose? Share your #FollowYourPurpose story with us below in the comments!