Christine’s salvation instantly transformed her life. Her family thought she had lost her mind. The fits of anger and despair were gone. Filthy language no longer flowed from her lips like sewage. The woman who washed their clothes and cooked their dinner was excited about life and wore a never ending smile.
The Sunday after Christine accepted Christ, she visited Resurrection Life Church. The congregation greeted her and hugged her as though they had known her for years. A lady Christine was acquainted with spotted her from across the church. She invited Christine to sit with her. She immediately felt like family and continued to attend the church.
In the past, Christine had tried to read the Bible but could not understand it. Now its message fed her soul as she grew stronger in her faith. Christine could not force her husband or daughter to attend church but told her teenage son, “Until you are eighteen you will go to church with me.” He was reluctant to go, but within weeks he was radically saved. Christine and her son could not get enough of God and their newfound church home. They attended every service together.
Her husband attended a church service out of curiosity. He wanted to know who was “brainwashing” his wife and son. He had been saved as a young man and fallen away from his faith. His relationship with God was restored. Then Amanda began attending services. She prayed to receive Christ and was baptized in water. Her family soon learned a difficult lesson. Salvation will not make life perfect. Amanda’s healing would take years.
Four years later, Amanda was sentenced to prison on drug charges. Feeling slighted by God, Christine became very upset. She had devoted her life to God and faithfully served in her church. “How could you let this happen?” Christine demanded of the Almighty. “You promised to save my whole family.” Her anger dissolved into tears as she told God how disappointed she was that her daughter had not found the peace that the rest of her family did. “Why didn’t you send someone to help us? There are lot of families in the church who have family members or friends struggling with addiction. Why isn’t anyone doing anything?” Christine cried. Then she heard, “I want you to do it.”
The thought scared Christine. She abruptly stopped praying and went to the kitchen to wash dishes. As she filled the sink with water a list of reasons why she could not do whatever it was God wanted her to do flashed through her mind. She spent the rest of the week pretending she had not heard God say, “I want you to do it.” But it was too late. She knew what she had heard. She knew it was not intentional, but there was a huge need in the church that was not being addressed.
By the end of the week, Christine was exhausted. She could no longer run from God or ignore his call. She slipped into her closet of prayer and cried, “Lord if you show me how, I will do it. If you open the door, I will walk through it. If you shut the door, I won’t go. If you don’t teach me how to do this, I know there is no way that I can do it.”
Later that week, she received her daughter’s court date. She wasn’t required to attend but wanted her daughter to know that she still loved her. Christine entered the courtroom and sat down. Amanda turned to look at her. Christine was aghast at her daughters beaten and bruised face. She was sure her daughter’s facial orbits were broken. Before she left the court room, she demanded that her daughter receive medical care. She left knowing there was nothing else she could do for her daughter.
Christine walked out of the court room feeling helpless. There was nothing more she could do to help her daughter. On the long ride home, she remembered happier times and sobbed. Deep in her heart, she knew that Amanda was never meant to be a drug addict. She was a beautiful young woman with many gifts and talents. She recalled a recovery group a friend had told her about that met in a church an hour from her home, and decided to attend.
Counting Christine, there were twelve people at the meeting. Each of the eleven people gave their name and spoke for a few minutes. Then all eyes turned to Christine. All she could do was cry. They handed her tissues and waited patiently until her sobbing stopped, and she told them about her day. They listened like they really cared, then encouraged her and prayed for her. Christine left the meeting knowing this is what God meant when he said, “I want you to do it.”
For many years, Resurrection Life Church had practiced a small group ministry called Life Groups. The ministry helps people connect with one another and grow in their relationship with God. Each group was designed by the leader based on his or her passion and schedule. The program was a perfect place to launch a Recovery Group. Christine’s pastor fully supported her request to start a Life Group for people seeking freedom from addictions.
In September 2003, Christine held her first Life Group meeting with seven people in attendance. She had used a Bible study about the Beatitudes, but found it inadequate for her purpose. At the conclusion of each meeting, Christine returned home stirred to write. She spent hours recording whispers from God’s Spirit, which she incorporated into her group teaching time. Five years later, she had enough material for her first published work. She had also begun writing a new study on the Beatitudes. The group grew steadily over the years reaching 20 to 30 in attendance at every class. She eventually abandoned the initial curriculum and taught her Bible study course, which proved effective in helping addicts find freedom.
About the time she completed writing her material, a man in her church was elected Sheriff. A month after he took office, he invited Christine to teach her Life Group for addicts in the jail. Soon people were encouraging her to compile her writings into a book that could be printed and distributed through her growing ministry. She realized that she had written more than random Bible studies. She had written a curriculum that could and should be used by others. She named her labor of love My New Life NOW (No Other Way).
Christine ministered to addicts’ for years while her daughter was shuffled from one rehab to another and jailed multiple times. Sometimes people asked her how she could minister to others when her daughter was in need. Christine persevered believing the promise God gave her through prophecy, “If you minister to God’s kids, he will take care of yours.” Five years ago that promise was fulfilled. Amanda’s life was radically changed when she was released to Jacob’s Well Recovery Center instead of serving a two year prison sentence for breaking her parole.
Amanda returned home with a passion for helping women, who had successfully completed rehab, to reestablish their lives. Amanda and her husband opened The Light House for New Life; the only Christ centered half-way house in their area. They help women find employment and housing, teach them goal planning, help them with education, transportation and family restoration.
Christine smiled broadly, “Today, my daughter is the most radical, extreme, beautiful Christian I have ever known. She is pure, so pure, because God is faithful.”
Christine is the first woman board member of the Pearl River County Jail Ministry Association. Her Life Group is in its eleventh year. Since the groups beginning, Christine has mentored and raised up a strong team of Leaders and Volunteers who devote their life to teaching the New Life Now curriculum in their local Correctional Facility, the Church, local and regional Christ centered rehabs and halfway houses. Today churches, correction centers, work release and rehab settings around the USA are beginning their own My New Life NOW recovery mentorship programs. It is estimated well over 4,000 people have attended a My New Life NOW meeting, many finding restoration, healing and deliverance.
Christine has written six manuscripts. Two are published, My New Life NOW Leader’s Manual and My New Life NOW Participants Workbook. She recently completed her My New Life NOW Recovery Devotional/Journal, designed to complement the My New Life NOW program. The Devotional is filled with inspiring real-life stories and testimonies from My New Life NOW graduates. Readers are challenged to overcome their addiction with humor, humility and daily scripture readings. She is currently working on her second Bible study course A New Attitude for A New Life Now, which is an in depth study of the Beatitudes.
Christine holds a firm belief that Jesus Christ is still in the business of saving, healing and delivering people and that no one is too far from his grace, forgiveness and healing; even the addicted.