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Karen Kingsbury inspires students, guests to write a best-seller with their lives

No. 1 New York Times best-selling author and Liberty University parent Karen Kingsbury shared her heart with Liberty students and College For A Weekend (CFAW) guests at Friday morning’s Convocation, encouraging them to write their own best-seller with the life God has given them.

During CFAW, prospective high school students experience Liberty’s campus life firsthand, visiting classes, staying in residence halls, meeting professors, and attending events. There are also sessions for parents, including a welcome rally Thursday night and a parent’s breakfast Friday morning; Kingsbury was a speaker at both events.

Before Kingsbury took the stage, she was introduced by a special guest — her son, Liberty junior Austin Russell.

“She is a godly woman,” Russell said. “She is a wonderful mom to me and my siblings, and I feel so blessed every day to call her ‘Mom.’”

Kingsbury has another son and a nephew attending Liberty.

She told the crowd how much she loves the way God uses stories to advance His Kingdom.

“At the end of the day, when my friends and family are gathered around at my memorial service, I don’t want them to talk about how many books I sold,” she said. “All I want them to say is, ‘Mom wrote a best-seller with the days of her life.’ That’s the story that you — Liberty and CFAW students and parents — want to write.”

She highlighted four ways to do that, using anecdotes from her life. The first way is to love well.

“I know we throw that word around a lot,” Kingsbury said. “But I’m talking about a difficult, all-in kind of love.”

She recalled how difficult it was to show love to her brother David, who was often angry. After watching him come to Christ as an adult, Kingsbury realized the importance of loving him, even when it was hard.

“Read 1 John 4,” she said. “‘We love because He loved us first.’ Don’t give up on the hard characters in your life.”

The second way, she said, is to laugh often.

“Life is just too serious,” Kingsbury said. “Laugh about it. Lighten up.”

Kingsbury also told the audience to look for the miraculous. She said after her father died from a massive heart attack, God used the song  “Have I Told You Lately” by Rod Stewart to encourage her.

“He (my dad) used to say, ‘Whenever you hear this song, think of me.’”

During a family trip to visit her publisher in New York City, Kingsbury said she kept thinking about her father, wishing he was with her to share a milestone in her writing career. A stranger offered to take their family’s picture at Highland Park. But it was no stranger — it turned out to be Rod Stewart, and she was able to share with him her father’s story.

“God is doing miraculous things around us,” Kingsbury said.

Finally, she urged the crowd above all to live for Christ in all we do: “Living for Christ is everything,” she said.

Kingsbury wasn’t the only special guest for Convocation. At the start of the event, the Liberty University Worship Collective was joined by Chris McClarney of Jesus Culture, performing songs such as “Fierce” and “Yes and Amen.”

While in Lynchburg, Kingsbury will speak at a citywide annual prayer breakfast on Saturday before returning to campus at 2 p.m. to sign copies of her new book, “When We Were Young” at the Liberty University Barnes & Noble Bookstore.

Kingsbury shares her expertise in writing and publishing through the university’s Karen Kingsbury Center for Creative Writing, which launched last fall. The center offers a Minor in Creative Writing and several online courses in the Master of Arts in Professional Writing program.