Thursday, November 11, 2021

The Royal Treatment & An Audience of One

by Julie Lavender @JLavenderWrites

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9 NIV

My beauty treatment didn’t entail twelve months. In fact, the studio make-up and hair touchup activity probably lasted less than half an hour. Yet, while sitting in a chair tucked in a back room, I couldn’t help but feel a bit like Esther from the seventeenth book of the Old Testament, preparing to go before an audience of one. Her one? King Xerxes, ruler of 127 provinces stretching from India to Cush. 

My one? The only One who truly matters.

It all started back in early spring, when I received an email from my Revell publicist for 365 Ways to Love Your Child: Turning Little Moments into Lasting Memories. 

“You have a pre-interview with Focus on the Family,” Melissa announced in the email. With great excitement, she told me about the recorded, telephone interview that would take place at a later date. She gingerly warned me, however, not to get excited just yet. “Pre-interviews are common with Focus,” she said. “I’m sure you’ll do great, but it doesn’t always assure an interview.” 

“Showing love to kids, proud mom moments, mom fails—lot’s of stories.” That’s what my contact at Focus on the Family told me we’d chat about over the phone. The night before the phone call interview, I printed out about a dozen pages of bullet point ideas, so that my brain could have some tips when nerves caused me to flounder for answers.

Producer Ashley put me at ease the minute we started speaking on the phone. Her soft-spoken, gentle, conversational-style questioning led me through the interview, and it was over before I knew it. 

“I think you’ll be a great fit for our audience,” Ashley said. “But you may not hear from me for a couple of weeks. I need to do some research and checking and clear the interview with others in the chain.”

I wasn’t particularly counting the weeks, but the days turned into months, and by late summer, I decided that it wasn’t meant to be. 

“Either I talked too much, or not enough,” I told my husband. I thanked God for the opportunity of a pre-interview, and pretty much forgot about it.

Late summer, an email arrived from my publicist. 

“Congratulations, Julie! You’ve been selected for an interview with Focus on the Family!!!!!” 

By the end of our communication, Melissa and I laughed about who liked exclamation marks more. I’m convinced that my affinity is greater than hers, but I believe she was as excited about the opportunity as I was. 

The wheels in my brain began to spin quickly with just the first two sentences. Gosh, I need to schedule another phone call interview soon. Zoom this time or phone call audio? Where did I put those notes I used from before? 

By the time my eyes caught up with my brain, I read, “Focus on the Family will pay for one night in a hotel and will treat you to lunch on the day of the interview.” 

I couldn’t believe what I read! I had no idea the plans included an in-person interview.

Several weeks later, my husband and I landed in Colorado Springs during peak season for the changing of the leaves. Everywhere we looked, aspens adorned in golden robes shimmered and quaked with each gusty breeze. 

When we checked into the hotel, the attendant pulled up the room number and said, “Oh, you’re here with Focus on the Family. We love working with them. Good luck on your interview.” 

Two floors and a hallway later, David and I entered our room to find a gift bag of refreshments and a note that read, “Welcome to Colorado Springs. We greatly appreciate our partnership with Focus on the Family. Enjoy your stay.” 

On the morning of the interview, I followed directions and instructions from the producer’s email to the Focus on the Family campus. “Park in the space marked, ‘Reserved Parking Broadcast VIP,’” Ashley wrote. 

VIP. Very Important Person. From the moment I’d learned about the pre-interview, I’d been treated as a very important person. My praises flooded my prayers. 

When my husband and I walked into the building, I saw my name flash on a marquis next to the receptionist’s desk, along with names of other guests that day, most likely. 

The sweet greeter at the front paged my contact, Cynthia, and soon Cynthia led me to the beauty treatment room …. at least that’s what it felt like to me.

Every person I met in those few moments, from the receptionist to my production assistant Cynthia to producer Ashley to the make-up artist, treated me like royalty. I was their special guest for the day (at least, one of them), and their hospitality shined brilliantly.

In the few minutes of delay until my turn to enter the recording studio, I prayed silently on the couch in the waiting room. 

“God, may the words I speak reflect you. May they bring you praise and glory and point others to you. Please bless the message you’ve given me in my book for such a time as this and use those words to encourage and strengthen families. Help them turn to you for guidance and support and walk your path daily. Oh, and please help me not to be nervous.”

Moments later, the producer led me to the recording studio to meet Focus on the Family President Jim Daly and Vice President of the Audio division John Fuller. Both gentlemen extended the welcoming scepter with handshakes, huge smiles, kindness, genuine interest in my life, and frivolous chit chat that I knew was designed to help calm my jitters. 

Less than hour later, the interview was complete. Though my audience in the studio consisted of half a dozen people and the future broadcast could reach thousands, my true audience was and is, always, the King of kings. 

I received the royal treatment on my interview adventure, and I’m sure it will remain a writing career highlight. I pray that my heart and my written words can always be a royal diadem in the hand of the Lord.  

You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. Isaiah 62:3 ESV. 

As a royal and chosen people, Christians (and Christian writers) have the opportunity to declare the praises of the One who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light. And who knows but that [we] have come to [our] royal position for such a time as this? Esther 4:14b NIV.

Join the conversation. Will you please share a specific incident when you knew God blessed you with “the royal treatment”? 


Julie Lavender, author of 365 Ways to Love Your Child: Turning Little Moments into Lasting Memories (Revell) and Children’s Bible Stories for Bedtime (Z Kids/Penguin Random House) says she is still reeling with excitement about her Focus On The Family interview that airs in early January and gives God all the credit for working out the details of her adventure. Connect with Julie on social media and at


  1. So very proud of you Ms. Julie. Yes, for your astounding book of course, but more for the way you always present yourself an Ambassador for Christ. Among the most encouraging writers I know, your knowledge, joy, and willingness to bring others along in your journey is an inspiration ma'am. God's blessings.

    1. J.D. - Your sweet words are always such an encouragement and blessing to me! I pray EVERY day that I present myself as an Ambassador for Christ, with every word I write or say!!! You are a blessing to me, and I appreciate the encouragement! Thanks for commenting!

  2. I love when God opens doors for us that we cannot open on our own. I am sure your humble spirit and godly glory shone through every word you spoke. So happy that you had this wonderful opportunity, Julie!

    1. Thank you for the kind words, Crystal, and I absolutely LOVE when God opens those doors such that I can take NO credit whatsoever!!! I pray that all glory goes to Him!!! Thanks for the comment, Crystal!!

  3. Awesome, Julie. I can't wait to hear the interview! So proud for you and the impact knowledge of your book will bring to families.

  4. How exciting! I was right there with you.

  5. How exciting! I was right there with you.

  6. Wow - what a great story, thanks for sharing! :)
    I just read my dd that exact verse & explained it yesterday. Funny.... :)

  7. Julie, you serve God well in all you do. I can’t wait to hear the interview about your amazing book. What a fun post!