caroline holzberger

Keepin' it real about motherhood, Jesus, life, and everything in between.

Wisdom From Tom Petty

I love movies.

Let me rephrase. I love good movies. And, in my world, the definition of a ‘good’ movie has z-e-r-o to do with 3 1/2 stars versus 4 stars. Nor, what two guys rated it. Nor the number of nominations it got from a awards ceremony that could single-handedly cure world hunger with one month of the attendees’ salaries.

I love movies that make me feel good. Some say I’m narrow-minded because I won’t watch ‘the great films’ or those with ‘deep, meaningful themes’. Well, get me a t-shirt with “Narrow is thy mind” cause it is what it is. I have three kids. I don’t have time for a lot of movies. So, sue me if I just want to see the ones who give me hope and joy and silliness. Don’t sue me, really. You’ll be bummed out.

So, tonight, I watched a good one.

My man and I have grown accustomed to the beloved Red Box. It only costs a buck (now plus thirty cents, dangit) and you get to watch a new-ish movie in the comfort of your own jamis. Golden.

Sometimes we pick a loser. Sometimes we pick a winner. Tonight, someone in our marriage that’s a girl, picked a winner.

Won’t Back Down is the movie to see, says me. This movie is inspiring, motivating, hope-giving, and getyouoffyourbutt causing. Hence, me writing a blog post this late at night. I will not look at the clock because I want to live in denial that is is before 11pm. Simple facts, it’s about two determined mothers­, one a teacher, who look to transform their children’s failing inner city school. Facing a powerful and entrenched bureaucracy, they risk everything to make a difference in the education and future of their children. Please watch this trailer. 

Yes, I am partial to the movie because I, too, was an educator. In fact, I was raised by them. Three out of my four parents devoted over a combined 100 years to teaching children. I used to stand in awe as grown ups would approach my parents with glee. It seemed everywhere we went out, as a kid, I heard them call out “Mr. Sanders! Mr. Sanders! I was in your sophomore Math class in 1986! Do you remember me!?!” To which he would happily reply “Hey, Guy!” as he happily hugged his long lost student. His joyful response was genuine, despite the fact that he called everyone “Guy” just to be safe. He had clearly impacted their life, and I wanted to get in on that business.

And I did. At least, for a little bit. As The Author of Life would have it, we got pregnant during my whopping second year of teaching. Ps. We’d just built a brand new house. Sur-priiiiise!

So, the decision for us was obvious, my kids came first. And, there you have it.

Number of years in college = 5.

Number of years actually using said degree = 2.

Sorry, Mom and Dad. (Please don’t make me pay you back. Ryan’s in know we be broke. :))

But, this movie, although extra-inspirational for my education-based-first-love…actually caused me to jump up off my bean bags for a whole different reason. A Jesus reason.

And I have Tom Petty to thank for that. What the!?!

I am not sure if Tom Petty loves Jesus or not. Shoot…hold on…Ok, just googled Tom Petty to make sure he hadn’t passed away. I’m not in to pop culture.

At the end of this go-get-’em movie, they played this theme song at the very end.

Seriously, friend, please take a minute and listen to this song afresh. I know you’ve heard it. But this time, turn on your Jesus ears. Truly listen to the words. Take note of some of them I highlighted below. It won’t take long and I promise I’m not writing much after this. Ya right.

Well I won’t back down
No I won’t back down
You can stand me up at the gates of hell
But I won’t back down

No I’ll stand my ground, won’t be turned around
And I’ll keep this world from draggin me down
gonna stand my ground
… and I won’t back down

(I won’t back down…)
Hey baby, there ain’t no easy way out
(and I won’t back down…)
hey I will stand my ground
and I won’t back down

Well I know what’s right, I got just one life
in a world that keeps on pushin me around
but I’ll stand my ground
…and I won’t back down

Who knew Tom Petty could be pointing to Jesus?

The apostle Paul surely talked this same message up to pretty much every church he wrote to!

2 Thess. 2:15 So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.”

Phil. 1:27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel”

Eph. 6:14 “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist…”

James 5:8 “You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.”

Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

Some of you precious people are new to our Christian family. Like, maybe you gave Him your life as an adult. You are my heroes! I always thought you guys had a way cooler testimony than I did. Boring me – preacher’s kid, grew up in church, babysat all the church kids, worked at church camp, didn’t drink, smoke, party blahblahblah. Then, God showed me the thread of His faithfulness and my own pride all those years…and of course then He added a little sumthin’ sumthin’ to my testimony these last few years.

But, either way, new brother or sister, this one is for you –

1 Peter 1:14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.”

We all were ignorant to His Truth for some amount of time. Some longer than others. But, if you call yourself a Christian then, you better not conform to the old ignorant you. You can’t let this world keep draggin’ you down. Stand your ground.

And, then the part that really got me is when Tom Petty said “You can stand me up at the gates of hell, but I won’t back down.”


That’s flat out Scripture.

Matthew 16:18 “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (KJV)

Our pastor pointed out once that this verse is something to really take a look at. It talks about the gates of hell being able to withstand an attack or not. This time, it’s a big, fat not! Lest we forget Whom we serve. Not a weak, wimpy God. But, The God who, if desired, could smash down the gates of hell with one breath. He can. Friend, someday He will.

But, here’s my point (Thank you for grace of my occassional rambling, it’s late. Er, I mean, it’s 11pm)



If they can get that inspired, that called-to-action for the Truth of their edicational system to be revelaed, why can’t I stand up for Jesus. Like, for real, even if it contradicts what we all think is ok?

If they can work and work and research and plan, in order to prepare that proposal for the educational board, then why can’t I research The Truth of His Word and be ready for when my fellow Christ-followers are losing their way? Why not me?!?

I just wrote one of the most controversial posts I’ve ever written the other day. Last time I did that, I got 207 people to my website. In. One. Day. (And y’all, that was about chicken! Sort of.)

This time, when I spoke Truth to my fellow brothers and sisters about how messed up we are (including myself!!) in our false ideals of what American Wealthy Christian lives are supposed to be about….I got 406 in day one and another 102 the next day.


This has been eating at me. Why so many people? Why this post on a random Thursday?

Was it because I got your attention by telling you I’d lose friends over this? Did you read to find out if you’d be one I’d lose? Did you pass it along on facebook because you really liked me? Or because something inseide of you (um, called the Holy Spirit) told you “Hey. This is the real deal. Listen to this!” Or maybe you didn’t agree with me. Maybe your first reaction was “I like my things. I tithe to my church. Leave me alone.”

I don’t know. But, for some reason 508 people read it.

Thank you, Jesus. Oh how I hope You’re screwing other people up besides just me right now, for Your Glory.

Oh how I pray that you are shaking up our thoughts, our reactions, our misconceptions for this one life we have. Lord, Tom Petty ofallpeople said it himself…

Well I know what’s right, I got just one life
in a world that keeps on pushin me around
but I’ll stand my ground
…and I won’t back down

God, please help us out.

Help us out of this muck and mire that is slowly sucking us down into the world You died for, yet mocks you still.

Use me how you will, Lord. Friends or no friends. Let me speak love in Truth. May Your Word be my basis, alone. Let those same 508 people read this and pass it on to 508 more. Why? So I can be popular? Heck, no. So You can, Lord. I shove all the Glory up to You. I want none of it. It is Yours.

Speak, Lord.

Wake Your people up. Get them off the pews.

I know You’re doing something big, Father. I’m in.

Enough is enough.

I will not back down. I will stand my ground.

Amen and amen.

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