Mindy Hite is a first-time author and close friend of mine who wrote Light Bearers: The Awakening, the first installment to the amazing fictional series that will encourage your teens in their true identity and inspire them to be beacons of light in a hurting world. Mindy’s first book is now out to the public, and I had the privilege of asking her some questions about her book. Here are some great truths to discuss with your teen(s) when reading this book together.
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Thank you, Mindy, for talking with us today about your book, Light Bearers: The Awakening, and what our teens can glean from it. First let’s start off by telling me a little about yourself.
Thank you, Taylor, for asking me to do this interview and for seeing the value in parents taking a look at Light Bearers: The Awakening. To take you all the way back, I grew up in Indiana and met my husband in high school. We were married while we were in college in 2004 and then headed to grad school. In the years that followed, we were blessed with three amazing sons who are now 9, 7, and 4.
When I was growing up I played many different sports and through those endeavors I wound up with a lot of injuries and spent a lot of time in physical therapy. Out of those experiences, I found my passion to help people. This drove me to pursue my doctorate in physical therapy from Emory University, graduating in 2009. When I joined the professional world, I was enthralled with the healing process and the amazing creations our bodies are. Helping people heal became a driving force in my life.
When I had my second son, I felt called to stay home with my boys. It was a very hard decision. I still love physical therapy and the patients I was helping, but discipling my sons is something that I only have a precious few years to do.
My husband and I will be celebrating 17 years of marriage this May. I still stay home with my three sons, and this past Fall we started homeschooling. I keep up with my PT license just in case the need arises and practice on family and friends. Jesus is the Lord of my life, my Savior, and best friend, and I live my life according to 1 Cor 10:31 by His strength.
How did you decide to write a novel?
As I just mentioned, I am a Physical Therapist by training and I never imagined I would be a writer. I don’t have the backstory of the many amazing authors out there that always had a story to get down on paper or carried a journal everywhere. So, imagine my surprise when the Lord gave me a vision in a dream and pressed upon me to write it down. He didn’t stop with just that dream. He continued to encourage me to go further and further until He had written a novel through me. Honestly, Language Arts was my least favorite subject throughout school. I never had a deep desire to tell a story, but God had different designs for me. I simply tried to be obedient at every step, and He did the rest.
Can you give us a summary of the book (without giving too many spoilers) and how it presents itself in an allegorical way to followers of Jesus?
Just to give parents a heads up, this book is marketed as fantasy fiction mainstream. I’ve chosen to not market it as “Christian fiction” because I believe that’s what God asked of me. My hope is that those who wouldn’t normally pick up something labeled “Christian” may pick this up and encounter Jesus. That’s our constant prayer!
To summarize the book, we find sisters, Sarah and Amelia, living with their rich uncle who took them in after the death of their parents. Even in the beginning, we see that Sarah tends to be resistant to the pull of the world, while Amelia pursues the world wholeheartedly. On an unexpected “family” vacation, Sarah discovers that the world she lives in is not at all what she thought it was. Sarah is then taken on a heart-pounding journey that leads her to find her true identity. In the end, she must walk in her true identity and wield the power she holds if she hopes to survive.
The book is such a captivating read not just for adults but also for teenagers. I believe it’s a very timely book that brings up many important elements of our faith and relationship with Jesus. How can parents use this book as a resource to encourage their teenagers in their faith and relationship with God?
Thank you for your kind words. I would agree that it is a timely book.
In today’s world, our teens are facing more and more pressure to fit in. They are bombarded with messages about who they should be and how they should act in order to be considered “normal.” It’s the exact opposite of what God teaches us. We are to be set apart; we are meant to stand out and to be who God created us to be.
I would encourage parents to read the book as well, in order to understand the plot line, the characters, the conflicts. This will equip parents for the natural conversations that are possible through a discussion of the story. As with my experience in writing the book, I believe parents should do what they can to be available for these spiritual conversations when their teens are ready to have them. Prayerfully read the book, asking God for the opportunities to engage your teen to have real conversations about situations similar to those that Sarah experiences or talks about. God will lead the way, and He can use this story as an opening to your teen’s heart.
One of the main themes throughout the book is identity, and our teens today struggle a lot with this truth. How is this theme brought up in Light Bearers: The Awakening?
In the book, Sarah always felt like something wasn’t quite right with her life. Only when she embraced the Light did she truly learn who she was. She was told over and over that she was weird because she wouldn’t give in to peer pressure. Even her sister, Amelia, criticized her because she was so out of touch with how the world worked. Sarah wanted to please those around her so much, even to the point that she contemplated changing herself for them. Sarah’s eyes are opened to see the depravity of those around her – how everyone says they’re happy, but they’re really miserable. With this revelation as her foundation, Sarah stands her ground and begins her journey to find out who she really is in this world.
What can we as parents learn about identity, so we will be better equipped to teach our children?
If we’re honest, we all struggle with identity even into adulthood. Our identity is not what we do or achieve, but defined by who we belong to. We are all much loved children of the most High King, and He came to die for each and every one of us. If we have accepted Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, then we are blood-bought, co-heirs with Christ.
He does give us certain tasks to complete while we are here on earth and we are designed to operate in our giftings, but even those things are not who we are at our foundation.
Parents can share with their teens their own struggles of trying to earn their identity or why so many people buy into the lies the enemy feeds them, contorting themselves until they are unrecognizable in order to “fit in.” This could provide the avenue for your teen to share their heart about the pressures they feel like they face every day, allowing them to share a deep part of their soul with you.
So, mom or dad, Who are YOU? Are you a daughter, son, sister, friend, mom, Grandma? Are you a writer, a painter, a builder, a cyclist, or in my house a ninja warrior? Are you a tomboy- a girl who is a little more rough and tumble, or a boy that enjoys art and music? God created you and He does not make mistakes. This list only includes attributes about you, they do not define who you are.
Your identity was established before time began. Once again, you are a much-loved child of God, he created you (Ps 139:13-14) and He does not make mistakes. It’s not in His nature and He is unchanging.
Why is it so important that our teens understand their true identity?
Make no mistake, we are in a battle for the souls of our children. The enemy wants to break them down before they’ve even really started, and the world is screaming lies at them every day. Think of how much time they spend listening to outside sources – friends, social media, celebrities. Our teens need to know their true identity, so they can withstand the onslaught of messages being thrown at them, being firmly rooted in who they are in Christ. (Eph 3:17-19)
How can we encourage our teens in their true identity in Christ?
First, we have to model what we’re trying to teach our kids by walking in our own true identity in Christ. Our actions as parents speak so much louder than our words. If we are scrambling and chasing after the things of this world, how are they going to see that we are secure in our identity in Christ. We will look no different than the other worldly influences they see all day, and they will likely follow in our footsteps.
Second, we need to do all we can to affirm them in their identity regularly. What does the Bible say about them? What has God told you about them over the years? Speak life and identity over them daily, if possible. Be a wellspring of life to your teen, building them up because the world is constantly tearing them down.
Third, encourage them to ‘own’ their identity. Journaling can be a huge help here. Buy a special one for them or have them create a journal or notebook where they can write down their thoughts and feelings, whatever they want – something that will be for their eyes (and God’s eyes) only. Teach them about how to identify the Truth and how to spot the lies. Which thoughts line up with God’s word and which ones don’t. Encourage them to visually separate the lies by marking them out with red ink, demonstrating that Jesus covered these with his blood. Suggest that they circle the truths in purple because they are royalty. Have them look up scripture that talks about identity and ask the Lord to speak to them specifically about what He says about them. Have your teen read these verses and ask them which scriptures encourage them the most.
- Isaiah 43:1-2
- Isaiah 41:10
- 1 John 3:1
- Ephesians 1:3,5-6
- Psalm 139:1
- Romans 8:1-2, 31, 37-39
- Philippians 2:5
- Philippians 4:13
- John 8:31-35
- Psalm 51:13
- Psalm 91:13
- 1 Corinthians 2:16
- James 1:17
- Zephaniah 3:17
- Colossians 2:10
Once they know what God says about them in His word, have them write these truths on note cards that they can tuck into books, tape to mirrors, put as their wallpaper on their phone – anywhere they might see these to be reminders on a daily basis. As we all know from marketing, the things that are before us are what we meditate on and ultimately what we pursue.
Thank you, Mindy, for sharing your book with us today, and how we can encourage our children in their true identity in Christ! I believe God will use this book in powerful ways to bring hope and encouragement to our next generation!
For a list of questions to ask your teen after reading the book together, click Light Bearers: The Awakening Discussion Questions