“If you’re 48, you can still become a Christian,” Christine smiled. “If you would have told me I'd find myself in a pastor's office, serving my church, or even having these kinds of conversations I would’ve said ‘No way!’”
Christine grew up going to a Presbyterian church, but only went about ten times in her life. “Our attendance was super sporadic. However, I was really drawn to families that always went. I felt jealous, like they had something I didn’t.”
She had also attended a few Catholic masses every now and then, “I loved the cathedral, it was so pretty and peaceful. I had no idea what they were talking about or what any of it meant, I had just been doing it since I was little.” However, when she went on a girls' weekend with a group of Catholic friends about four years ago, Christine recalls the priest asking her to answer a question out of a room filled with people. “After that, I started reading a book he gave me. That was the start of something stirring in me.”
Fast forward many years, and Christine walked through a very painful divorce which affected her entire family in different ways. “What brought me to church was my children. The divorce was 11 years ago, but it was really hard on my son, Wyatt, in particular.” Wyatt’s pent up anger snowballed a couple of years ago and left Christine feeling unsafe in her own home. He moved in with his dad full-time and their relationship seemed to sever at that point. “To this day he refuses to talk to me, even at his sports games. That's what brought me to church, I was in such a deep, deep state of despair.”
Christine’s ex-husband had been her best friend since she was 15. He confessed to her that he identified as gay and wanted a divorce. The new reality of splitting time with her children was an absolute shock to the heart. “I was used to being a stay-at-home mom and seeing them all the time. That same year my mother passed away.”
“I would go to the nearby church parking lot and cry for hours. I contemplated suicide. It was excruciating to realize, ‘My own child thinks I'm a bad person. Not only a bad mom, but a bad person.’’’ Christine had remarried, was in a new house, had a new job, and had stepped into a new role as step mom—but it wasn’t enough to heal the deep cuts from her estranged son. “Any mom can understand when something like this happens, that’s a pretty low place in life.”
“Through people at Acuo Crossfit, we ended up at Reach,” she explained. “These were really cool people in our life and I came to find out they are all Christians. We started connecting the dots. So when I would see people worshipping and waving their hands in the air at church, I was a little freaked out. But little by little, everytime the worship would begin, I would cry.”
A short time later, a new women’s Bible study was announced and she went with her friend, Stephanie. “On that first night of study, Stephanie gave me my first Bible and the book, New Morning Mercies.” A few weeks later, Christine had an epiphany about God’s hand on her life, “I was born Lisa Christine, but my parents called me Chrissy my whole life. So when I got married I changed my name legally to Christine and I was trying to come up with a new middle name. A friend of mine said, ‘What about Faith?’ I said fine.”
When she met with her small group at the women’s Bible study, it clicked. She knew why she had chosen the name Faith. “It wasn't an accident. I didn't know it at the time, but faith would go on to hold such meaning in my life. I remember telling my small group, ‘This is why my middle name is Faith.’” It was a watershed moment for Christine and her growing belief.
Christine is so proud of her biological daughter, Ava Blair, who also professes to be a Christian and calls Reach home. Her daughter’s growing faith instills hope that God will mend her relationship with her son too. “I know God has a plan for him. I will never stop praying for him.” Christine knows that God has taken the burden off of her shoulders to fix what’s broken. She has learned through hardship and loss that God’s invisible, but compassionate hand, is working all things together.
“I look back and see all the times that God was there for me,’ she said through tears, ‘I wish I would have known, because I felt so alone at the time. I was trying to control everything myself and I didn’t need to.” Christine understands now that faith isn’t just a pretty name, it is the way of the Christian life.