The game show that changed my life…
Have you ever looked back over your life and been awed by the obvious presence of God’s hand in your life? My experience on the national game show Deal or no Deal was one of those miraculous events in my life.
In 2005 my good friend Amy Dittbrenner called me up and asked if I wanted to go and audition for this new game show that was coming to the United States. I had never auditioned for an actual game show before but Amy was a pro having been on several game shows herself, so I put myself in her hands. During the 3 hour car ride to Los Angeles, Amy and a few of our friends who were also auditioning talked about ways we would use the million if we won it, strategies for getting on the show and the overall excitement for the opportunity.
The audition process itself was a bit crazy with several interviews with different casting directors and producers. We went back to LA multiple times over the next few weeks to complete the process and in the end both Amy and I were selected to play in the very first games of Deal or no Deal in the United States. We were part of the original promo week of the show before it was even picked up by the network. It was so exciting to be a part of it all!
The miracle of Deal or no Deal was not the money I won or the fun of being on TV and commercials; the miracle was unmistakably my Heavenly Father taking my little life in His hands and miraculously giving me exactly what I needed.
That year was a stressful year for our family. My husband had been injured on the job, our future had some scary uncertainties and we were struggling financially. Our spirits were just beaten down. We were in a bad place, emotionally, spiritually and financially.
When the day was picked for us to go and play the game my husband was called out of the country for work last minute and wasn’t going to be able to make it. Luckily, I have three amazing sisters who supported me in this craziness and agreed to come and play with me as my supporters.
The week my sisters and I spent in the green room was excruciating to say the least! We were stuck in a room for several days while they tried to get all the lighting and sound worked out for this new game show. For security reasons we sat in a lock down situation for three days unable to leave the room, use a phone or even watch tv. Day after day my sisters and I watched while other contestants were called up ahead of us to play the game. (There were about 10 of us that first week) and none of us were guaranteed a spot on the game should time or money for production run out. To say the least, it was a frustrating few days.
On the last day of filming things were getting pretty tense in the green room, but finally they called for us to come out and film. Bless Howie Mandel’s soul for being willing to stay late that night so that I could film. He even hired a personal jet so that he could make it back for his show in Las Vegas that night.
To say that my game started out rocky would be the understatement of the world. In my first round I knocked out almost every single big number on the board. I blew my chance for a million in the first 5 minutes of filming. I remember during the commercial break saying a silent prayer in my head. I felt an overwhelming need to win money. I thought that if we could just win big all of our problems would be solved. Heavenly Father however, had a different lesson to teach me.
For the next round I did a little better, knocking out a few of the small numbers but still my luck hadn’t changed for the better.
As it turned out however, the producers had been planning something with my husband all week, but needed for him to land in Germany before they could film. That day was November 4th, our anniversary, and though he was in another country he arranged with the producers to send me a gift that I opened on stage. It was a beautiful Tiffany’s necklace that I still cherish.
After the banker called that next round, instead of the bankers voice I heard my husbands. They showed a picture of he and I on the jumbo screen and I fell to pieces. It was exactly the confidence I needed to play again. Despite the struggles we were having, and the life unexpected events that had made that year a difficult one, I felt peace when he was there. As I looked at our picture on the screen I had an unmistakeable heavenly impression that told me that together we could do anything, money or no money. We were receiving answers to prayers on a national television show. I am still in awe at God’s goodness in my life.
The next playing minutes flew by as case by case together we knocked out the remaining small numbers leaving only two options, my largest options; $75,000 and $100,000. It was some time before that however, that I realized I actually knew that the money didn’t matter anymore. What God gave me was hope and peace and an experience I will never forget. I am better and stronger when I trust in my Savior and give Him charge over my life. My husband and I became stronger together as we trusted in HIs timing and relied on each other through thick and thin.
We did not become millionaires that day, and our winnings mostly went to help us survive over the next years when employment moved us to the DC area and we had to pay two mortgages for several years. But then again we saw God’s hand. He knew we would need the money in the future and created an environment for us not only to learn about His love for us, but also to prepare us for what was to come.
Looking back, I thank my Heavenly Father every day for a miracle game show that blessed my life in more ways than one, and a newly found trust in Him and in His will for my life.