Following God’s call: ESPN sportscaster and award-winning author speak

Sage Steele and Karen Kingsbury took the Convocation stage March 20 and 22, bringing messages of God’s guidance and grace to Liberty students.

Steele spoke Wednesday and began her sermon titled “Leading with Kindness
and Grace.”

Steele began by recounting her life story as a biracial woman and how it affected her life as well as the lives of her parents, who experienced racial prejudice throughout their marriage.

Steele continued telling stories of her life from college to her career as a sportscaster, down to the minute that ESPN called her and offered her a position as
a sportscaster.

“ESPN called, it was happening. For years and years I had begged and pleaded to get to ESPN,” Steele said.

Photo by Carlisle Jarnigan

Steele later recounted how she auditioned for ESPN and had an epiphany on how her family was everything to her, and how being a mother was the most important thing in her life at that moment.

“I talked to my parents, I talked to my agent and I talked to my husband at the time. Everyone thought I was doing it,” Steele said. “I woke up the next morning and said ‘no, family is everything.’”

Steele continued by detailing her life as a child in a military family living around the world with no friends, and her family were the ones who rescued her.

Steele knew she had to practice what her parents were preaching about prioritizing family and what she had preached to herself, so she turned the ESPN
position down.

Steele closed by telling the audience that she did eventually live her dream. Although she had suffered through prejudice, accidents and obstacles, she did all the things she, as a little girl, thought were impossible and more.     

Freshman Alan Jiminez-Luna enjoyed Steele’s story and how it related to college students.

“I enjoyed how she connects with other students and shares her college experience,” Jimenez-Luna said. “I’m sure some students can connect or relate with her on not doing well in school and making a change that would better her life.”

Karen Kingsbury spoke Friday and started her discussion with some of the cast and director of her new movie, ‘Someone Like You.’  Kingsbury explained that she had previously written a book by the same name which released in 2020, and recalled the story of how God spoke to her in 2018 when she was still finishing the book.

“I remember where I was when I wrote the page of the book, “Someone Like You,” Kingsbury said. “I was sitting in a chair, upstairs in my house looking at the fall leaves and I could hear God say, ‘This is going to be your first movie.’”   

Photo by Noah Seidlitz

Kingsbury continued to explain that she finished the draft in late 2018, but the book did not release until 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. In that time, Kingsbury had discounted the word from God that she had heard and put it aside.   

“I kind of shoved that away, and you may know what that’s like,” Kingsbury said. “To have that little voice of God, the Holy Spirit … is saying something to you and asking something of you. And you think, ‘Well not now, I’ll do that later.’”

Kingsbury continued explaining that when she writes a book, she can control every aspect of it — the casting, the weather and anything in between.  However, when it comes to making a movie, everything is on the line.

Soon after, some of the cast members and the director of the film — Kingsbury’s son — moved on stage to tell their experiences during their time working on this film, and how it touched their hearts and lives.

The director of the film, Tyler Russell, attended Liberty University for a year and later moved to Nashville, Tennessee, making music and short films. When the opportunity to direct “Someone Like You” came into his life, he was ready.

“It’s been very special to make this film with family; not every family can do things together,” Russell said. “But we just prayed and committed it to the Lord, and said if we’re going to do it, let’s do it together and let’s do it with excellence.”

Amaro-Millán is a news reporter for the Liberty Champion

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