Brenda Warner: One Call Away
The 700 Club
MORE THAN A CHEERLEADER
Brenda Warner is best known as the wife of famed NFL quarterback, Kurt Warner, but Brenda lived a lifetime of her own experiences before stepping into the media spotlight with Kurt. The mother of seven wanted her children to know where she came from. Parenting a teenage daughter inspired her to tell her story. “I wanted her to know why I was like this,” she says.
Brenda shares her story in her new memoir, One Call Away: Answering Life’s Challenges with Unshakable Faith. Her kids aren’t the only ones to benefit from hearing her testimony. “I have found by sharing my story through the years that people find hope and encouragement in it, and hopefully One Call Away can help someone else get through some dark times of their own.” Brenda offers real-life advice to single moms, parents of children with special needs, people who are grieving unexpected deaths, and others struggling in the face of difficult circumstances. While her experiences are her own, readers can easily relate to her testimony
She was the quintessential American girl. She grew up in a small town in Iowa. She was an All-American cheerleader and “Jesus-Freak” in high school. She wanted to help her parents, who were struggling financially, and didn’t want to burden them with tuition payments, so she enlisted in the Marines. After graduating high school, she shipped off to boot camp. While in the service, Brenda met her first husband, Neil, a fellow Marine. The two married and had a son, Zack. When Zack was just four months old, Brenda’s husband called her while she was at work… her son was breathing funny. That was one of many phone calls Brenda received that would change the course of her life.
Brenda tracks her life experiences by remembering phone calls. As a little girl, she got a call that her beloved pony had been attacked. She later learned that her pony was left blind; but still, she chose to love her childhood friend, Flash, and patiently work with her as she learned to navigate the world without sight. Later, Brenda’s first husband called with news that something was wrong with their son, Zack. Eventually her husband admitted he’d accidentally dropped their baby, but the damage was already done. Brenda learned her baby was also left blind.
One phone call stands out as the worst call. It was when Brenda learned that both her parents were killed by a tornado. Their home’s foundation was all that was left after the tornado ravaged their small town, yet even after seeing the damage in person, Brenda didn’t want to believe her parents were gone. “I started talking to God,” she says. “I know you’re big enough to stop a tornado. And I know that even if a tornado hit a house, you could still save the people inside… You could help them be alive somehow, somewhere,” she prayed. But her worst fears were confirmed when she arrived at the town morgue. Her parents were gone.
In addition to receiving devastating phone calls throughout the years, Brenda experienced challenge after challenge, including: her first husband’s infidelity and their subsequent divorce, years of poverty, a new relationship with promising football player Kurt Warner, and the pressures his sudden success brings to their growing family. Through it all, Brenda chose to keep fighting. “In my life I went from being a Marine, living with honor, courage and integrity, to being in line with food stamps, still living with honor, courage and integrity—same person—but with food stamps,” Brenda says. Though her circumstances have changed, she knows that one thing in life is steadfast: God’s love. “Circumstances don’t determine who you are, and they are not a measure of God’s love for you.” As she puts it, her faith and God’s strength enabled her to face every challenge that came her way.
ABOUT BRENDA WARNER
Brenda is a speaker, philanthropist, and New York Times best-selling author. She is the mother of seven children, a registered nurse, and a Marine. Brenda is also Vice President of the First Things First Foundation, an organization she co-founded with Kurt, in 2001. The organization promotes Christian values and aims to bless the lives of those less fortunate while always promoting the Warners’ life theme: Faith and family come first. In 2009, Brenda joined Kurt in co-authoring a book appropriately entitled "First Things First – The Rules for Being a Warner," which debuted on the New York Times Best Seller list. Brenda is also a gifted photographer who specializes in portraits. Her photos have been published in the New York Times and other publications. She particularly enjoys taking pictures of the babies she rocks at a local rehabilitation hospital where she volunteers weekly.
As a much sought-after speaker, Brenda encourages her audiences to take responsibility for their choices and to depend on their faith when they hit rough patches. Audiences have cried and belly-laughed during her keynote speeches at women’s conferences, banquets, churches, sporting events, and business expos. Listeners have found practical hope through her stories about her family, her work with special needs children, her triumphs over obstacles, and the blessings and burdens of being a celebrity wife.
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