Hello, I’m Kristina Beal founder of Life Made Radiant. I wanted to share my testimony with you and where I am today in my life. For years I have felt like my testimony was one that shouldn’t be shared. It wasn’t exciting or redemptive enough to have value. I know those are not God’s views. I was talking to my best friend about it one day and it hit me I have the testimony that every parent wants their kid to have and that sharing it with others might be the encouragement they need to keep bringing their kids to church, paying for the Christian school, or just praying on their knees without ceasing.
Now here is my story. I’m stubborn, faithless, proud, angry, and strong-willed. To prove it here are some examples at 3 years old I decided I was changing my name to Kristina. Yup at 3, I was no longer Kristin but I needed to add an ‘a’ and be Kristina. I knew that’s who I was. After not giving in and stubbornly refusing to be called Kristin my parents legally changed my name and added the ‘a’ – see stubborn
From birth to 6 I believe with all my heart in God, Santa, Tooth fairy, and Easter Bunny. The week before Christmas of 1988 my dear older sister showed me my biggest Christmas Santa wish list item. Hiding in my parents’ closet under a blanket was the Barbie mansion with white staircase, elevator, and pink everything. This moment of show-n-tell by my sister led me to have the discussion with my parents on who was real. I remember this moment clear as if it were yesterday. The blue toned floral rug I was sitting on nervously petting, my mom sitting on the sofa, and Dolly Parton and Kenny Rodgers Christmas playing in the background. The conversation went something like this.
Me: “so Santa isn’t real?
Mommy: “No, he’s not – he’s just pretend”
Me: “the tooth fairy?”
Mommy: “No, She just pretend, too”
Me: “Easter Bunny?”
Mommy: “Not really”
I felt like my world was falling apart. Here I am 6 years old and I have been lied too. By my parents no less. This moment is so clear in my mind, I thought to myself lies, lies, and lies.
Me: “what about God?”
Mommy: “Oh no” I saw the fear and concern on her face. “God is real. He is real”
Me: silent but in my heart a switch turned on it was stubborn, proud, angry, hurt. I was not going to believe anymore. I decided there with all my heart God was not real. Form that moment I fought every Sunday going to church.
At 9 I was 4th grade trying to grow up, learn, and fit in. I had a major obstacle in front of me though. I honest to goodness could not read. After being tested over a period of time, we discovered I was extremely dyslexic. My mom tried everything she could to work with the school to get me help, but she was told I was too smart for special education and had no skills to make it in the normal classroom. I’d probably never make past 7th grade. That ignited my mother like a fire and she was determined that I wouldn’t fail. She pulled me out of school and she got me connected with a specialist and homeschooled. Which lead me to do 1st grade through 7th-grade work in 3 years. There were long days, lots of tears, fights, and struggles. There were also fun memories, victories, healing, and confidences gained. I will forever be indebted to my mother for not giving up on me. When I graduated high school a year early with one year of college completed. I wrote a letter to the former principal who gave up on me. To let her know what can happen when people don’t give up.
Fast forward to 8th grade I started at a small fundamentalist Baptist Christian school. Extremely conservative, strict dress code, and small. Yes, good families enrolled their kids, but it was so small and strict it created a rebellious culture with the students to test and break the rules. It was cool to break the rules and not get caught. Cheating, sneaking, and cussing, were cool. I was being cool… so cool in fact I got suspend twice for cheating. In 10th grade, I switched schools, still small still the same issues…. harder to cheat though. I still didn’t truly believe in God and my doctrine of God was confused with a Church of Christ up bring Baptist school, and Pentecostal friends. Plus, in 11th grade, my parents started church hopping searching things out for themselves.
During this time of confusion, it forced me to do something new, for me and on my own. Decide for myself if God was real and if I was going to follow him. At 15 almost 16 years old I spoke Christianizes. I knew the verses, I knew multiple doctrines, and I was “good”. I started praying, reading the Bible, and listening more to messages. Then it happened June 27, 1997, I stopped fighting against God I literally fell to my knees and ask God into my heart. I was promptly baptized by both of my parents in Delano Bay. It was glorious the hurt, anger, disbelief was literally gone when I came out of the water. It was amazing I consider this day to be the day I was saved without a shadow of a doubt.
My encouragement to you is that no matter what you do or don’t do has parents I believe through prayer and consistency your kids will come to God on their own. It might not be at 16, 26, or until 56, but I know my parents prayed and fasted and prayed some more for me.