By Vicki Stamps
ST. LOUIS—Danae Dobson is a storyteller. She had the ladies at the May 1 Women’s Spring Luncheon at Canaan Baptist Church here laughing as she told of the mutual stress in growing up as the daughter of James and Shirley Dobson of the Focus on the Family ministry.
“My dad tells of the time he was on the floor of the church giving advice on raising children,” she said, “and he could see my younger brother, Ryan, and me chasing each other around the pews in the balcony.”
After several tales of growing up Dobson, she admitted that love and laughter were the main family ingredients.
“I have so many happy memories, more positive than negative.”
Dobson used those memories and her family to address the event theme “Is Your Cell Phone Ringing?” based on Ephesians 4:1, “… live a life worthy of the calling you have received.”
“There is a cell phone theology,” Dobson said, “in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. God speaks to our spirits to provide instruction, to direct us in a decision, to correct us when we are wrong, and to let us know He is pleased with us. We have a choice; we can take those calls or tune Him out.”
As a teenager, Dobson experienced one of those calls.
“I was walking the two miles home from school,” she said, “and two friends called to me from a park across the street. When I declined to join them in smoking a cigarette, there was a pregnant pause. ‘I just don’t feel like smoking one now, it’s not that I’ve never smoked before.’”
“As I was thinking about it during the rest of the walk home,” Dobson said, “my cell phone rang, the one in my head. It was God on the line and He was not pleased. ‘Why did you lie? Why didn’t you have the courage to stand up for what is right?’”
Dobson confessed that it was a turning point in her life.
“I decided I was not going to participate in anything that did not glorify God and I was not going to bow to the social pressure I felt that day,” she said.
Fast forward to two years ago and another “cell phone call.”
“I was standing in front of a mirror talking to myself and feeling defeated about a situation that I’d been praying about and the call came again,” she said. “‘Whose battle are you fighting?’ I realized that God was telling me to let go and to quit trying to fight His battle.”
Dobson said God brought the Scripture which quotes David in 1 Chronicles 28:20 to mind.
“Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished.”
She said that doing something in contradiction to Scripture will result in a call. “The question is ‘Will you take that call?’” she said.
Responding to God and taking these calls is the key. According to Dobson, our obedience to the Lord’s direction produces the relationship and greater intimacy God longs to have with us.
“The spacecraft analogy used by Focus on the Family is a great way to see it,” Dobson said. “When a spacecraft lands, it is the jets on each side which give it direction. When they are fired, it helps the craft reach the target.”
The final illustration Dobson gave was about her grandfather, James Dobson, Sr. Her storytelling skills took over as she shared the dilemma faced by her grandfather in the early 1900s.
“He was an artist,” she said. “He had his life planned. He was going to art school and become an artist. However, God called him to be a preacher.
“He decided to say ‘no’ to the call and he enrolled in the Art Institute in Pittsburgh. It was at graduation and walking the aisle toward a stage which had first-place art work he had done when he remembered ‘Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain’”(Ps. 127:1).
Dobson described how her grandfather lived in rebellion to God.
“He got out of school and worked for seven years at a Texaco station pumping gas,” she said. “It was the middle of the Depression and he was not working as an artist.”
“It was the tears of his brother, Willis, that prompted him to go to the revival meeting,” Dobson said. “He surrendered his heart at that meeting. He was a broken man. He became a minister and thousands were won to Christ during his ministry and God blessed his life by providing a position as department chair of the art department at MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, Kan.”
After the luncheon, she signed books for many of the participants. Dobson recently completed her second nonfiction project entitled Let’s Walk the Talk. It is a sequel to her former publication for adolescent girls entitled Let’s Talk!
When asked what advice as a role-model she would give teen girls, Dobson said, “To make Jesus Christ first in their life and to be yielded to His control 200 percent.”
As an added dimension to the luncheon, the participants brought old cell phones to donate for an abused women’s shelter in St. Louis.
“It doesn’t seem like a lot,” Cindy Christopher, Canaan’s Women’s Ministry chair, said. “We thought it made sense with the theme and we always try to tie missions to what we do. Many times these abused women leave with only the clothes on their back, and a cell phone to receive job calls is the first step back to a normal life and to the healing process.”