After ‘dying,’ Christine lives again at Shepherd’s Door

The fact that Christine is here today is nothing short of a miracle.

“I’ve struggled with drug abuse and alcoholism most of my life along with the destruction that comes with that,” she said. “Jails, hospitals, psych wards, all of that. I’ve been suicidal most of my life.” But the pain Christine was feeling was not merely physical or emotional, it was spiritual.

I was an atheist. I never believed in God,” Christine exclaimed. “I wanted absolutely nothing to do with Him, or anyone that believed in Him.”

After another relapse Christine found herself in a dark motel room and at a deadly crossroads. That was the night everything changed forever.

“I took my life,” Christine said. “There is absolutely no reason why I should have walked out of that room except for the grace and the love and the mercy of God. He saved me in that moment. … and solidified my faith. I will never doubt him again.” Upon entering Shepherd’s Door, Christine’s mission was set: She was ready to see how God sees her—not how everyone else does. She was going to choose love and allow herself to experience something she had never known before.

“I remember praying to God and asking Him, ‘Why did you save me the way that you did?’ And the first thing He said to me was ‘because I love you,’” Christine explained. “Shortly thereafter, Bobbie [Braker], my Growth Counselor, then went on to tell me about another piece to this puzzle when she said ‘He also knows your heart.’

christine-at-2016-jubilee1-810x1024“And I thought that was so beautiful because I didn’t know it was in there, but He did.”

Christine finally realized that she is not her past mistakes. She saw something in herself that she started to love and appreciate each day she woke up and, as it says it in Lamentations 3:23 (NLT), saw firsthand that God’s “mercies begin afresh each morning.”

“I’ve thought a lot about how, in our walk with God, we have to see ourselves the way God sees us to truly know who we are,” she said. “That’s where it starts. And from there, you begin to see how much God loves you. … It was a defining moment for me because I realized it’s not about anything I’m ever going to do for him. … He’s the perfect dad.”

All smiles and bursting forth with a radiant joy, Christine hopes to spend the next year in Service to Shepherd’s Door. (Service is an optional second year in New Life Ministries where residents get additional vocational training and increased responsibilities at the facility and in the program). She wants to put her story, her talents and her passion to work doing intake for the program.

“I want to give the women just coming in hope by letting them know that Jesus is the answer, and that if they’re honestly searching, they will find Him,” she said. “I want to tell them that, while they may be lost now, they will be found.”

Christine’s testimony is undeniable proof of that.

“He has done a mighty, mighty work in my life because I let Him in,” she elaborated. “He prepared the soil in my heart. And since coming to Shepherd’s Door, I’ve had so much healing. I’m so in awe of God that half the time I can’t even speak.

“He’s restored my relationship with my son … and I declare that God’s will be done in my life, in my family’s life and in my kid’s life. … God is good and I am grateful, redeemed and set free.”

DEBRA ZWALD ON CHRISTINE AND HER RECOVERY:

Christine is full of light. She just glows. I remember when I first met Christine at a Celebrate Recovery meeting while she was in jail. I saw a broken woman and I immediately connected with her heart because of my own brokenness. … When she moved into Shepherd’s Door, and all throughout her program, I’ve seen her become a butterfly that totally emerged from her cocoon. She is breathtakingly beautiful. I have had so much joy in watching her transformation. She is living a life of exuberance as she has moved from the circumstances and the pain of her past, and into the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ. I am so proud of Christine. She is a treasure and I love being in her life.

CONNIE FOSTER ON CHRISTINE AND HER RECOVERY:

Christine is one of the most amazing women I know. She came back into my life when I needed her most. Her faith recharged my faith. We pray together. We worship together. We stand and believe together and we both put on the armor of God as we wait for our king to continue to restore our hearts and our families. … Christine radiates the love of God and shares what Christ has done for her with grace and mercy. Christine’s heart is now trustworthy, loving and kind. Her joyful Spirit shines like the bright stars in the sky. I love her and am honored to have her in my life, in my heart and as my sister.

CHRISTINE’S FAVORITES SCRIPTURES:

PSALM 46:10 (ESV): “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

PHILIPPIANS 3:13-14 (NIV): Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (CHRISTINE: “I love this verse because in my life I am forgetting what is behind and moving toward that prize in Him. It gives me so much hope to just keep on going.”)

JAMES 1:12 (NIV): Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. (CHRISTINE: “I also love this verse because it’s God egging us on, and it’s all for Him. I love that He blesses those that keep up the fight.”)