Thursday, November 6, 2014
I have been blessed with the privilege of witnessing Christina grow from a teenager, into a confident, strong, and intelligent woman of God. I met her when she and my son became friends many years ago. She is so dear to me, that I consider her part of my family. A multi media artist, she not only writes, paints and sings, but is also a talented photographer. Some of my most treasured family photographs exist because Christina was behind the lens.
Over the past couple of years, I have seen first hand how God has literally directed her path, and His provision for her. This has increased her faith as well as my own. Here is a little bit of her story and her journey across the Atlantic ocean to her beloved England where she is currently living.
In her own words, Christina was, "Born and raised in the dry deserts of Southern California where my mom and dad taught me their faith from the time I was young. That faith became my own after I suffered from a mental illness, rejected God out of anger, (He didn't answer my prayers to take the illness away) and then slowly came back to Him as I discovered that His plan for my recovery was much more real and effective than anything I could have picked for myself." Although she had reclaimed her faith, she was, "Not intellectually engaged with it yet. God inspired me to pursue it in even more depth and passion. As I started to really become an individual in my faith, my passions for film, art, photography, and writing led me in many different directions. After graduation, I initially attempted a film degree, but about six months after beginning the course, God sharply turned a corner that pushed me right out of the dry desert and straight into the green countryside of Northern England, where I now live and study English and Creative writing. The rest, as they say, is history."
Christina uses her gifts in combination with her place in the work force and school as a chance to share her faith with friends who are not believers. She recently told me that she lives in a culture where Christianity is often associated with religious judgment. Many children are often educated in Church of England primary schools where they are forced to pray and in some ways, forced to believe. "When these kids get a little older, they start to question why they believe in something when it was forced on them rather than them having chose it. For those who stray away from faith and those who remain believers, a barrier suddenly comes up. Both groups feel like they are being judged by the other, both groups can be condemning and aggressive. I've seen this happen on both sides and I've experienced the tension myself. In that way, it is my discernment that has allowed me to share the beauty of God's love story in a way that isn't aggressive, condemning, or threatening, and I feel that God has blessed me with this opportunity to show people what His love looks like. I often recognize what it is a specific person needs to hear, and how they need to hear it, and then I do my best to deliver the good news in a way that is specific to the listener. We all experience the revelation of God differently, and I personally feel that God has purposed me to show His love to others quietly, consistently, and intentionally through my relationships."
I find great inspiration through today's women of faith, but Christina shares a special place in my heart. I have seen her valiantly fight mighty battles, always leaning on Christ and rightfully giving Him the glory. Through steadfast faith in God, a maturity beyond her years, and a profound love for humanity, this multi talented young woman has learned one of the most valuable lessons that a Christian possibly can, that is to share the hope of heaven and the light of the world in a way that speaks to individuals, right where they are. Mark 16:15 tells us to: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature," and she does exactly that. I am challenged by her testimony, to look around at the people I come in contact with on a daily basis, and share the love of Christ in the same way, right where I am.
To see some of Christina's work, you can visit her web site here:
In His love, Jodi