Opt Out!

Dear Sis,

I don't know about you, but last week really threw me for a loop. Well -- quite a few loops.

I won't bore you with the nitty-gritty -- just know that the last 7 days felt like a never-ending roller coaster full of extreme highs and lows, twists and turns. Quite frankly, I just wanted to get off the ride and take a french fry break.

But, as you know -- life doesn't always offer us a "stop button". Often times, we are forced to ride out the course and see where the journey leads us.

Well, thankfully my crazy path somehow intertwined with Christina Cross-Smith. Christina was one of many interviews last week. We'd been trying to coordinate our schedules for what seemed like an eternity, and finally we were able to carve out a little time to sit down and chit chat about breast cancer awareness.

Boy -- was this interview RIGHT. ON. TIME!!

My photographer and I showed up at her home around 2 o'clock in the afternoon.

I knew a little bit about Christina's story. I knew she was a breast cancer survivor and a mommy of 4. But, the rest would simply blow my mind.

I walked into their home and instantly knew this was meant to be! All the little ones were sitting around the kitchen table wearing green. Coincidentally, so was I! Y'all know I love me some sweet babies, so I jumped right in and got cozy with every one of them.

From there, we sat Christina and her husband, Richard, down for an interview.

Initially, the couple appeared to be rather shy, but undoubtedly confident in their faith. With each question, the couple removed a layer and revealed more about themselves.

Christina and Richard fell in love about 10 years ago. He called it love at first sight.

"How precious!!," I thought to myself.

Their love story took a remarkable turn about two years ago when Christina had a miscarriage. Of course, she and Richard were devastated.

"I think whenever you lose someone close to you, especially a child, that's a tough pill to swallow," Richard told me.

Christina was following up with her doctor when she decided to tell her physician about a lump she felt in her breast.

"I kinda ignored it at first," she said.

At first glance, the doctor knew something was wrong.

"He's got his measuring tape and he's measuring it and within a couple of days, I was going in for a biopsy," she said.

An ultrasound... a biopsy... then, the phone call.

"We were in the kitchen and I was trying to clean up," Christina recalled.

Thankfully, Christina's mom was with her and answered the phone on her behalf.

"She was the one who had to tell me."

It was breast cancer... an aggressive form. And, Christina was only 26 years old.

"You start asking questions of your faith... asking why? Why my wife? Why my family?", Richard confessed.

Christina went through two bouts of chemotherapy. She lost her hair and her spunk.

"It kind of shut me down. It threw me in the bed. I couldn't really make it through the day."

Her words gave me chills. To think of this energetic, young mother... walloped by the blow of breast cancer, was heartbreaking.

But, there was more.

Doctors told Christina she wouldn't be able to bear more children, and she'd have to undergo a double mastectomy.

"It just didn't feel right to have both breast removed," she said.

So, Christina made the difficult, yet courageous decision to opt out. She chose a lumpectomy instead, even with the scary understanding that cancerous cells could still be festering in her body.

"It felt like the chemo had done its job. It felt like God had done His job."

My, my, my... here she is, with her life on the line, and she chooses to lean on divine assurance instead.

"It just makes me proud that she stood on her belief and her faith. Knowing that she wouldn't take no for an answer," Richard boasted.

Sure enough, when doctors went in for surgery, they found NO cancer!

"God will give you the desires of your heart. And so, we are very thankful," he said.

Today, two years later, Christina is healthy!! And, get this... wait for it... keep waiting... I know... I'm annoying... ready??... Christina's EXPECTING!!

She and Richard will welcome TWIN girls in a few weeks!

Christina and her family were a much-needed reminder that even when life gives you reason to worry or fear, you can always opt out! Push away the restraints of doubt... Resist those feelings of defeat... and allow faith to take authority.

Until next time,


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