Redemption Press Blog

Gone, but Close in Heart

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 Amber Nicole Payne, 1986–2019

Sr. Project Manager, Redemption Press

We, the management, staff, editors, and authors who worked alongside Amber Payne, are intensely grieving her loss as well as thanking God for her life. Born with cystic fibrosis, Amber nearly died at nineteen before she received a double lung transplant. After twelve years she experienced antibody mediated rejection and restrictive allograft syndrome in the spring of 2017. Amber died September 10, 2019 at age thirty-three. Funeral services were held September 14 in Lima Baptist Temple, her lifelong church.

Amber earned a degree in biblical studies from Moody Bible Institute, worked in marketing, and chronicled her experiences in her book Breathtaking. She traveled and spoke on God’s sovereignty and goodness in the midst of suffering, and formed Breathtaking Ministries, Inc. She blogged and taught Bible studies but considered her greatest role to be the wife of John, and their much-prayed for son, Noah, now three.

As a project manager for Redemption, she was capable, invested in her authors, encouraging, cheerful, responsive, and caring. Offers of prayer frequently came along with her emails. In one of her blogs Amber characterized her writing and herself as “emotional, vulnerable, and rather intense.”

We thought you would be blessed by seeing some of the online responses from the Redemption family.



Redemption publisher, Athena Dean Holtz who worked with Amber for fifteen years via email, phone, and Zoom said,

“Amber was one of the most positive people I’ve ever known. She was an amazing Jesus lover and did everything with excellence, from being a wife, mom, friend, to being a servant to her many authors over the years. She will be greatly missed. She was a fighter and a woman who personally inspired me; one of a kind.”

Hannah Woodall-Mackenzie, senior project manager said,

“She loved with such passion and was the most vibrant, positive person I’ve ever met. She was my sanity through so many things in life—work, kids, marriage. She was always asking how I was and how she could pray for me. Even in the midst of her double lung rejection, it was never about her.”

Inger Logelin, senior editor, said,

“I will miss her, our email chats, even our tallies of all the books we had read since January (she was winning). We lived far apart and never met, but she was dear to me, and I felt privileged to pray for her. Amber was a true blessing and inspiration.”

Editor Julie Carobini said,

“I really loved working with Amber and it was a privilege to pray for her.”

Editor Marlene McCurley said,

“I never met Amber in person, but I knew her very well. Her passion for Jesus and her family directed every thing she did. While I grieve with her friends and family, I also rejoice that she is now breathing easy.”

Editor Larry J. Leech II,

“Amber was a pleasure.”

Redemption Authors:

To Deborah Keys she was “precious.”

Helena Maria found her “awesome.”

Steve Schaefer said,  

“She was always so kind and helpful . . . a pleasure to work with.”

Shirley Rudberg Mozena said,

“Amber was such a wonderful project manager and we talked about how she might do it again for my next book. What a woman with such a strong faith . . .  I already miss her and I never met her in person . . . She was such a light.”

Lynn Severance said,

“I could not have been with a more generous and helpful person who also wanted to be sure she was praying for any need I had. She helped me in the kindest of ways to maneuver new paths and stay the course when arenas of the process were tough. I lovingly called her my ‘birth mother’ for indeed she was. Just as my first book finally got published and my book launch was nearing she was being rushed in for tests and what became this 3+ year journey for Amber and her family.”

Gary Mitchell:

“She was the best project manager I could ever imagine. She was always kind, gracious, cheerful, professional—just a dynamic editor, manager and person. I will miss her greatly—even though our relationship was primarily by email . . . God used her in tremendous ways.”

Rob Robinson:

“My last email from Amber was on 9/2/19 at 11:04 AM. She told me that she would be transitioning in the next few weeks out of her position as project manager to a different role in the editing department so she can focus on her health. She went on to say that she was confident that God will continue to use her for His glory through her work. I am confident as well that the Most High will continue to use Amber for His glory through the works of all the authors she has helped, influenced, encouraged, and prayed for and with. I enjoyed our conversations via email, she on one coast and me on the other, as we would stray away from the book project and encouraged each other in the Lord sharing scripture, talking about health and family . . .  It was her time for a transition—from mortal to immortality from labor to reward. Rest my sister as you enter into the joy of the Lord. I will miss you until we meet face to face for the first time.”

Paul Lindberg:

“As an author, Amber has strongly supported me and encouraged me through nine books—always with excellence, quick responses, and amazing attention to details that I might have missed. But more than that, she has been a friend, a dear sister in Christ, and an insightful fellow traveler on this journey of life. We’ve swapped child-rearing stories, laughed and cried together over the tough things, the silly things, and the profound things. And amazingly enough, all of this via emails from multiple states away.

Amber has been such a blessing to so many—how can she be gone so soon? How can we say goodbye? It is like a big chunk of our heart is just gone. I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry. John, thank you for your part in Amber’s ministry. In a way, you have served me, too, in your love and care for Amber.”


Amber’s final wishes were for any donations to be made to Lifeline of Ohio, 770 Kinnear Rd., #200, Columbus, Ohio 43212 in support of organ donation.




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I've been around Christian publishing since 1987 when I helped our ministry self-publish an important resource for Vietnam veterans and their families. That book went on to be picked up by a royalty publisher and has since sold over 250,000 copies with a million in print.

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