LIMA — Life changes, but you can still trust God is one of the messages in “Breathtaking, the Revised Edition” written by Amber Payne. Her husband, John Payne contributed the new epilogue.
The original book, “Breathtaking,” was published in January 2008. It was a compilation of emails Amber Payne sent during the time she was waiting for her double lung transplant which took place on Sept. 25, 2005, when she was 19. Her own lungs were severely damaged by cystic fibrosis.
“It was never my intention to write a book,” she said. “I’m a very social person … so it was my way of connecting with the outside world. I knew when I got out of the hospital — I just really felt the Lord impressing on me that everything I had written should be put into book form and the book was to be called, ‘Breathtaking.’”
In addition to writing the book, in 2006, she began to travel and speak all over the country sharing her story.
While Amber Payne began Breathtaking Ministries Inc. in 2006, she did not achieve nonprofit status until 2009 with the donated help of both John Payne, a licensed attorney, and local attorney, T. Blain Brock II. Brock is part of Huffman, Kelley, Brock and Gottschalk, LLC.
In 2008, Amber Payne’s life began to change when she started dating John Payne. The couple married in November 2009.
After their marriage, they decided to take a sabbatical from ministry so they could focus on their marriage.
“Plus, you have to remember,” said John Payne, “she had just gotten off two years of traveling around the country, so it was kind of time for her to take a break. It also became a health issue for Amber, so we had to kind of be aware of that and be careful.”
In 2011, after an 18-month sabbatical, the couple began writing the revised edition of “Breathtaking.”
The revised edition includes a new cover, a new prologue, two new chapters, and an epilogue, along with all the original material.
“We decided to revise because I met John two years after my transplant,” explained Amber Payne. “I would love for people to get the opportunity to get to know him because by getting to know him, you are getting to know me, as who I am now at 27.”
John Payne added, “For me, revising the book meant, obviously, telling my story and how I came to know Amber. Then, also, being honest and sharing how I had to work through the decision of us getting married. I was absent from the first book, so this gives me the opportunity to introduce myself to the reader and tell a little bit about my story.”
The new book edition was launched along with the new ministry website, www.breathtakingministries.org in late February.
Along with a revised book, their ministry also looks different. Instead of traveling and speaking full time across the country with the message of “God’s sovereignty and goodness in the midst of human suffering,” the couple’s redesigned ministry will be more online and local. The online ministry will include things like podcasts and vodcasts, and limited local speaking since they both have outside jobs. John Payne works full time as a licensed staff attorney for the Ohio Third District Court of Appeals and Amber Payne works part time as an office associate at Ben Anderson State Farm Insurance.
“Just like the ministry before, the message is the same,” said John Payne, “but the methodology has changed.”
Amber Payne will continue to direct the vision of the ministry and do the majority of the speaking. John Payne’s role is more administrative as he admits this fits his abilities better. He said that he would be willing to speak if asked, though.
The ministry is funded solely by the sale of the book and donations to the ministry.
“We’ve never taken a salary from the ministry,” explained Amber Payne. “All the money goes back into the ministry for expenses.”
The Paynes hope that by sharing their story and being open about the new struggles they face, they can help others learn to trust God, no matter the circumstances.
“Having cystic fibrosis and a double lung transplant comes with very different problems we have to face as a young couple, problems that most people much older than us will never face,” said Amber Payne.
Added John Payne, “One thing we tried to do in the book and in our ministry is to be real, honest and vulnerable because we think that by seeing some of the weaknesses we’ve had, that people will understand that it’s not about living this perfect life. We’re all on a personal journey with the Lord. Sometimes, that means you stumble along the way, but God is still sovereign in your life, and He is still working on making you like his son, Jesus.”
“Breathtaking, the Revised Edition” is available for $2.99 in all e-book formats at www.breathtakingministries.org. The book can also be downloaded on free applications available for computers and web-capable cell phones.
John and Amber Payne