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Christian Living

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New Movie My Daddy is in Heaven Finds Triumph through Tragedy

Chris Carpenter - Director of Internet Programming

Rebecca Crownover has certainly lived a life of love, loss, and having her faith tested.  In 2009, her husband was killed in a tragic ATV accident, leaving Rebecca with a young daughter, her own considerable grief, and the searing demand to know why God would allow this to happen to her family.

The answer did not come easily.  Adrift and seemingly alone in the raw reflections of her new reality, Rebecca eventually came to grips with her plight, writing an award-winning children’s book called My Daddy is in Heaven with JesusHer aim was to create something that would help young children reconcile their loss and deliver them into a life of fullness.

That book is the basis for a new movie, My Daddy is in Heaven, starring Corbin Bernsen and Jenn Gotzon Chandler that recently released on home video.

I recently spoke with Rebecca to discuss why she wanted to share her story of love and loss, why some people do not always accept tragedy as God’s plan, and what she has learned about God’s love in the nine years since her husband’s death.

This is a tragic story but it is also one filled with hope.  It is also your story.  What made you want to share it with the world?

It’s one of those things that sort of fell in my lap in a way. It was something that was kind of the next step after my children’s book, My Daddy Is In Heaven With Jesus (was released).  A couple of years ago, the opportunity arose to turn it into a movie that is My Daddy Is In Heaven. It’s something that I felt like I could reach a much larger audience than I did with the children’s book to really help people find comfort in a time of loss and to be inspired by my true story that you can go through loss and tragedy but still make a full circle in life and have a happy ending.

This movie is based on a children’s book told from the perspective of a child.  Both you and your daughter were victims of a very tragic experience.  Why did you write it?

Back in 2009, when my husband passed away in a tragic ATV accident, I was looking for help for my daughter. She was two-and-a-half at the time, and it’s really tough to find a book on grief that she could understand, and I really didn’t find anything I felt like that she could really grasp or learn about some other child that had gone through a loss of a parent. So, I read children’s books to my daughter every night, and these books are so simple sometimes and you just think, well, why can’t I put something together like that? And just one night it all clicked in my head that why don’t I just put our story in a children’s book format to really bring home what we’ve gone through and to help other kids through a time of loss, and help them find comfort. So that’s kind of where it all started.

Something I find interesting about this movie is that in the end not every character comes to grips with this tragedy despite the faith they proclaim.  In fact, some people reject faith in this movie.  Obviously, this is a choice that everyone needs to make.  Accept this as God’s plan or reject it.  Could you comment on that a bit?

I think it’s very natural that when we go through hard times in life, whether it’s tragedy or not, when something bad happens to us, we tend to reject God. We tend to turn away from Him and be mad at Him, or turn away from our faith, and I think that’s very natural to do and it happens all the time. But I do think that, through that process that we can come full circle and can find our faith again.  I know I did. This is me speaking personally through the movie. It’s in the movie and it’s what I experienced. I turned away from God and was really upset, but ultimately I found my faith and His plan for my future and was able to come back to that happy place. I believe that is very possible but sometimes it takes people longer than others.

If you don’t mind let’s explore that for a moment.  What did God teach you through all this? What has He taught you since the tragedy of losing your husband?

I truly believe that God has a plan for each and every one of us, and sometimes we don’t always fully understand the journeys that He takes us on, but by having bold faith in what He has designed for us, we can be happy in the fact that we have an amazing life ahead.  We just need to have faith in Him. Jeremiah 29:11 is one of the verses in the Bible that I really cling to, and I believe that with all my heart. With that kind of attitude, it’s amazing the opportunities and the blessings that God puts in front of you by having faith in His plan. It took me a little while to get there, but that was probably the biggest thing that I learned through the tragedy.

As someone who has been through tragedy, what resources would you suggest to someone who is battling through something similar?

One of the biggest things that I feel helped me through it was truly going to counseling.  That’s not always the answer that anybody wants to hear who is going through a rough time, but honestly whether it’s a church counselor or someone outside the church, that’s probably one of the best resources, somebody that’s not your family, someone that has a neutral aspect that can listen to you and help you through it.  That was the top resource that helped me.

After people see your real-life story portrayed in My Daddy is in Heaven what would you like audiences to take away from the experience? 

My greatest hope is that it will help people find comfort in a time of loss, just like what happened with my children’s book, but also just to know that they’re not alone and to know the feelings that they have and what they’re going through are okay.  They are natural and real. There is hope.

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My Daddy is in Heaven is available now on ShopCBN.

Watch the trailer for My Daddy is in Heaven:

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