On a recent morning, DeVon Franklin, New York Times best selling author, motivational speaker, preacher and film producer had a phone interview for Mushaka's Motivation on Huffington Post. To depict the joy and optimism that Mr. Franklin emitted through the phone as contagious, would only be an understatement. Fresh off the heels, of his new film MIRACLES FROM HEAVEN, hitting the box office-- the first film produced by his production company, Franklin Entertainment this interview, was a miraculous way to start a Friday.
With 2016 beginning at full steam, releasing a new book with wife Meagan Good " The Wait" a book about their love story and the blessings + benefits that were bestowed unto them, upon the couples decision to wait to have sex before marriage. It was insightful to approach this topic personally having been taught the principle of "The Wait" from an early age, yet vacillating as many of us have around the fear of truly living out such a decision. Mr Franklin striking the perfect balance of motivation and supportive preacher had an eye opening answer addressing my internal chatter. Causing me to realize unhealthy chatter unchecked can lead to a disarray of unnecessary actions.
While a book such as "The Wait" and a movie called MIRACLES FROM HEAVEN may not appear to have similarities on the surface; the decisions, trials and unknowns we face in life have a common thread --we as individuals choose how bad we want anything in life and by faith, we go for it. Whether that's a marriage rooted in Gods law or a mothers determination to help her sick child get well. Both require action in faith that may feel bigger than us at times.
Mr. Franklin, has worked in Hollywood now for half of his life, takes me through the success of Miracles From Heaven, the dynamic power of the new book " The Wait" and why this true story about the Beam family is changing lives all across the country.
Q. Seeing that we know the why, you and your wife Meagan Good made the decision to wait to have sex before marriage. How have you encourage someone who deep down wants to make this decision yet struggles with how to make this a reality in their dating life?
A.We always try to encourage from the standpoint of what do you want for your life. What do you want? What are the things you're trying to do differently, what are the changes that you want to make and what are the things inside of you that are drawing you to "The Wait" to begin with? Those are the things to really make sure that you are servicing and thats what you have to feed and not feed your fear. If you feed your fear, and you allow your fear to be the dominant voice in your life, then you will consistently make decisions that work against who you want to be and what you want your life to be.
Practicing "The Wait" is really more about what you want for your life, and what you want for your health and what you want for your spirit. What you want for your relationship with God and your relationship with yourself more-so than worrying about will somebody accept that. Because the reality-- the difficult part of the other side of that conversation is, if I wanted something for my life but out of fear, I make a different choice. In the back of your mind, if you decide I want to wait but then I'm afraid to wait because this person may leave me or I may never find a date-- so then, I say you know what fine, I'm not going to wait! In the back of your mind when you are with that person your wondering would they be with me for me. And, that small doubt is the thing that will never go away, even if you got married to that person you will always wonder wow --man, I wonder if they would have stuck around. Would they have really loved me enough to honor my commitment? And, you need to know that. You need to know if the person is with you for what you are doing or for who you are.... so those are some of the things we say to encourage people in the HOW to practice.
In your latest book "The Wait" you say a sentence that struck me,"We prayed for things and envisioned exactly how they would happen but it wasn't until we were together with the richness and respect that we had built for each other that miracles began to come to pass". Why do you feel like it wasn't until you were together that miracles began to show up in both of your lives?
That's a good question-- to be honest, I don't know. God worked that out, I think it was our alignment and being on the same page about where we were going and honoring him through our relationship and the timing of that, that really produced some amazing events that made every area of our life better. That's one of the things we really try to articulate as we are talking about the book is this idea that there are so many blessings attached to it, when you have discipline and you are able to practice delayed gratification and you embrace patience, those attributes really help you in every other area of your life because, you have perspective. You understand ok, I have to put in the work. I have to be patient for the result---those things are great because if you don't have them they can be very disruptive not only in your relationship life, but your professional life as well.
It's a domino effect, its almost like the same that applies to when you eat clean, you wake up better you feel better and so forth-- correct?
That is exactly right.
In your new movie Miracles From Heaven which, I was really fortunate to go see with my own miracle, my Mom-- Faith is a big anchor throughout this entire film yet, what would you say were other factors that played an immense role to Annabel's miracle?
When you look at the basics of movies, its based upon a true story. The power of a mothers love the power of a mothers commitment to her children. Everything that Christy Beam did to fight for a cure for Annabel, to fight for healing for Annabel, to fight for care for Annabel. In the movie we truncated the time so it takes place in about a year but in the actual story this actually took place in about 4 1/2 close to 5 years. When you look at it, if Christy had not done what she did to fight for Annabel and to get Annabel the care she needed maybe Annabel would not have survived long enough for the miracle to happen. When you really look at it, its amazing and, I think that so much of it was her commitment to the daughter. The people that helped them along the way that were the physical things that contributed to the miracle and clearly God just stepped in.
Falling down the inside of a hollowed out tree hitting your head 3 times being trapped at the base of the tree and not being hurt at all -- then your disease goes away. Hey! Whether people want to call it a medical miracle, we call it a God miracle, its a miracle nonetheless.
You pose a question to God in your best selling book Produced By Faith-- stating, "Why ask us to serve and then put us through trial and tribulation?
Would you say that the answers to those questions come to light within the movie Miracles From Heaven?
It's an answer that I don't know that we'll fully know other than trying to wrestle with the repercussions and the benefits sometimes of the challenges we face. Miracles From Heaven shows that even in the struggle the miracles are still there and God is still there. In our real life we want the benefit of the result of the journey we don't want the process. As I talk about in my book Produced by Faith, I say look any great story is great because of the conflict the character goes through. You can't learn, you can't grow, you can't even come into a fuller realization of who you are without conflict.
So challenges as difficult as they are, are in some way shape or form necessary and they are a necessary part of the human experience. That none of us no matter how much money you have or how much money you don't have, none of us are able to avoid the conflicts and challenges that life will bring. It becomes on us on how we meet those challenges on a day-to-day basis. Movies like Miracles From Heaven can really give us perspective and hope on how to deal with challenges when they arise.
Also, in the book Produced By Faith, you ask "Why does he need me or you to fulfill his plan for the world? The Beam family is an amazing example of being used for Gods purpose. Was that an intent of the film as well?
I wouldn't say it was an intent of the film, I think its just one of the organic byproducts of just their great story. Our goal with the movie as I was developing the script and there everyday producing the film-- the number one goal was to get it right. This is a real family that went through a real crisis and they experienced a real miracle. The goal was to always portray the reality of what they went through with the integrity with which they went through. That's why the story is so powerful and why audiences so far around the country are responding to the film. There's a power in displaying what we go through but then also the hope that even in the most difficult dark moments there is still a light on and were not alone in the darkness. We are surrounded by help, we're surrounded by angels we're surrounded by miracles and the reassurance it provides is the thing that speaks so deeply.
When we go through things in life, it does feel very lonely and it almost feels like we have been forgotten and abandoned. Miracles from Heaven really shows that were not abandoned you're not alone you're not forgotten and that you can make it through anything when you believe in miracles.
How would you encourage us as individuals to keep attending church as a regular staple in daily lives seeing that in 2015 alone, church attendance has experienced a significant decline?
I've been in the church all my life and in Hollywood for half of my life. The more successful I become in Hollywood, in my life, in my career. The more important continuing to go to church has become. It is an anchor, it is a community. I understand why people don't go to church and for a variety of reasons people have been hurt or people have become jaded, I understand that however no matter what's going on in my life, I have always seen the value of church attendance. Being apart of that community and being reminded of who God is and that faith works and doing it with others who are going through similar experiences is important and its been very helpful. I would say to anybody that's struggling to not allow an incident at church to get you away from the experience. It's almost like ok, so you went to the movie theatre and you had a bad experience so you stop going to the movie theatre? Well, no! Of course you don't do that you just decide ok--- next time, I am going to sit in this theatre or I will move next to this person but-- I'm going to keep going.
So, I would encourage anyone who feels the need not to go to do it. I can tell you, I am 37 years old, I have my own production company with sony pictures, I'm producing my first movie. I have a New York Times best selling book and all of the success that I think, that I have had in addition to the work ethic really has come through continuing to go to church and be apart of a community that I can support and they can support me and where I can spiritually get fed every week.
What is the very last miracle big or small that has taken place recently that you can share with us?
This movie is out! That is a MIRACLE, its like getting a movie made is a miraculous event. Its the first film that I have produced from my own company Franklin Entertainment, I quit my job working for Sony Pictures as a Senior Vice President. I was at Sony Pictures for 10 years and after the success of Heaven is For Real, I stepped out on faith and quit, started my company and so its a miracle. That I get to be talking to you about a film that I produced and is now in theaters all across the country.
MIRACLES FROM HEAVEN is a must see!
Follow DeVon Franklin @devonfranklin & his wife Meagan Good @meagangood for more uplifting Exclusives. For all things Mushaka Motivation follow me @mushakalakalaka