The Bloom Project

I got the delightful opportunity to interview with this amazing, joy-filled woman. She's a prayer warrior, and mama to two beautiful babies (as pictured above). Christina and I met at a worship gathering that we refer to as Sons (Sons of Thunder) throughout the interview. She also mentions Dustin, who is now her husband. :)

Christina is an example of a woman who walks as "beauty-full"--full of the beauty and the glory of God. You can read a portion of her story below, and listen to the full interview on Sound Cloud.

Daje: The idea of the "Bloom Project," kind of the prompt, if you will, is really your response to the fear of being beautiful. There might be some snippets of your story, or even the whole thing of which you might say that "this is a definitive moment when I overcame, or am learning how to process overcoming the fear of being beautiful--the fear of being exactly who the Lord has called me to be, and who the Lord has called me to step into being."

Christina: Yeah, I'm still learning this. I think it's a continual process over time. Growing up, when I got into high school, I met a boy and I ended up getting into drugs. They were pills. I did pills from age 15 until, like, 27, so twelve years. The last three of those years, I did meth as well, and I cooked it, and ran around with all the people. So, I got sick of that life. It was like beating your head against the wall. I was just like, "this hurts, why am I doing it?"

Daje: Wow, yeah.

Christina: So, I was wanted in South Carolina. I was born there, and I had a warrant for a DUI that I had skipped out on. I came back to Knoxville, because I'd left. When I turned myself in, my parents came and got me, somehow. I hadn't talked to them in forever, but for some reason they came and got me. And that was one the moments when I was just like, "I don't know what I'm looking for, but this is not it."

So, I came back, and I stayed cleaned for almost three months. It was October when I started going back to it [the drugs], because I was looking for a job. It was overwhelming because I couldn't find a job with my jail history. It made it a little hard, but I kept looking for a job. Then I got discouraged and started going back [to the drugs].

Well I met back up with Dustin. Dustin used to sell me pills in high school. That's how I knew him. So, I was thinking that it was about a hookup when I talked to him, but he actually sent me a couple of songs and told me that he had changed. He told me that when he got out, he didn't mess with any of that [drugs] any more. I was friends with him, so I kept talking to him.

Well, he kept sending me songs. It was the "Redeemed" song from Big Daddy Weave that just broke me down at the point. So, then I was like, "Okay I know what I'm looking for now." Even still, in that world I was so different. I was so confident--just a completely different person--more like I didn't care about anything. I guess I was numb from the drugs. Now, everything is new. I feel like I'm just sitting back and watching everything. Waiting, you know? Waiting to figure out what's going on where, and where I fall in, and who I am.

But, I've gotten a lot better in the last year and a half to two years. It took something painful help me realize where I needed to take another step. I guess they say, it's like how you make a diamond. They file and use heat in order to make a diamond. That's kind of what it is. I don't like it, but...[laughter] But, every time that happens, it helps. I am still trying to find out what I am and who I am, but I know what I'm not, so that's good.

Daje: Yeah. That's incredible. I knew a little bit about your story from when you'd shared it at Sons, but hearing you talk about it in the context of this question really puts so many things into perspective about you. When I met you, I think it was like two years ago. I didn't know where all of these details fell on the timeline. When I met you, you were literally the most joy-filled person I had ever met in my life--

Daje + Christina: [laughter]

It had kind of freaked me out a little, because I was like, "How is this person smiling SO much?"

Daje + Christina: [laughter]

Christina: Yeah I remember. The first time I ever came to Sons was right at two years ago.

Daje: Wow! Do you remember the date? Or--

Christina: It was February, yeah.

Daje: February 2013?

Christina: Mhmm. And I was really excited 'cause I didn't get to see Dustin a whole lot either. That [worshipping at Sons] was something that we got to do together. When I went, I just instantly loved the place. And, like, that was February. It was that last October [2012] when I rededicated and went back [to the Lord]. So it had only been like four months. And yeah, that was a really good time."

Daje: Wow. Hmm.

So, would you say that that time was kind of a conversion experience for you?

Christina: It was. I went to church when I was younger, but it was a more social/have fun sort of thing with kids. And then when I went as a teenager, I got saved and I got baptized, but I immediately left church with my boyfriend. As soon as we left, when went straight and got a pill. So, the joy that I felt after the baptism was gone, immediately. I didn't know what it was. I didn't have anyone to lead me--no discipleship. So it was just kind of like, I felt like I shouldn't do it, but--yeah I didn't know.

Daje: Wow, yeah.

Christina: And that's when I realized that something was different. It's funny how it seems like You take one step forward, if there's nothing to cling to, you're going to get dragged right back even further than if you stepped forward. That's why it always seems like an attack [from the enemy] when you're trying to change your mind before you get too far in.

That's what I've noticed too. Like, Tuesday's are hard. Tuesdays are all always bad days, but I want to go to Sons. That's my day to go to Sons, you know? It's good for me. And I like it. But, it's always something, you know?

Daje: I also want to say, on that note, that honestly my day hasn't been incredible. But now, sitting here with you, like I said, you're one of the most joy-filled people I know. And now I can't stop smiling, completely.

Daje + Christina: [laughter]

Daje: And in that, know what we now know, that a person could show the beauty and the glory of God so extravagantly after only two years of really stepping in and pushing hard after Jesus. In light of this, when I think about beauty now, and finding the evidence of beauty in our lives, it can be easy to think that becoming full of the Jesus can be this long and drawn out process. You know? We think, "Oh here were are in our 20s and 30s. It's not gonna be until we're in our 70s and 80s. We'll like, long gray hair, or whatever,  and we're all spiritualized and majestic and whatnot, before we can be full of beauty--"

Daje + Christina: [laughter]

At this point in the conversation, we talked a bit about how encouraging it is to see young people pursuing the heart of God. We talked about innocence, and what the world is like. We talked about the fascinating, and heartbreaking stories that the world gives us and the healing that Jesus gives us in light of it all. The conversation picks up at 9:50. You can listen to the full interview here.

Interview Date: January 5, 2016


This track was recorded in a busy coffee shop on my iPhone. So I apologize that there is quite a bit of noise. Small beginnings, right? We'll grow. :)
Also, there are slight edits to make the conversational syntax more legible.