Over the summer, God directed my path to this lady on Instagram. She liked one of my pictures and that lead me to her profile where I found out that she had just released a book. Wanting to write my own, but feeling uninspired in quarantine, I decided to read someone else's finished work! I needed a new read for the month and hoped to gain inspiration in the process. The title was what caught me - "Heavenly Wit - Seeing Mission Fields in the Midst of Battlefields." Talk about a power punch title! In a battlefield of my husband's 10 month unemployment and the domino affect that it has lead - I NEEDED that book! (Snag yours here.) And I loved it! I took so many notes and included them in my stories. Those stories lead to a conversation with the author, Teresa Criswell. As I imagine any author would be, she was delighted to see God's revelation revealed in my daily reading. We casually spoke and she invited me into a group with other ladies who read the book.
One morning I felt God pressing upon me to share something from my past in a post on Instagram and later that day I received a DM from Teresa who explained her excitement of God's transformation in my life. That excitement lead to a request to be interviewed on her podcast & YouTube channel. I nervously agreed and thought, "Ok God, what are You doing here? I'm freaking out, but let's do this!" We met August 28th and went LIVE on Instagram!
Fast foward 12 days, on September 9th, I get a message from one of the girls in the group that Teresa's daughter, Tristin had been in a terrible car accident and to pray. Days later we would find out the severity, but also of God's divine leading throughout. That verse in Psalms 119:105 came to my mind, "thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." He had lead Trissy and the family in the darkness of a battlefield and was lighting up the way as they went to the next day, next surgery, next procedure, and every little step along the way. Now, Trissy is awake, alert, and more alive than ever before! God, being the Author and Finisher of our faith, is blowing the minds of every single person who's watching the pen strokes of the beautiful details being written by the Author Himself of Trissy's story. The book He's writing is called, "God's Got You!" as it has been the resounding theme since the accident. When we first heard of it, Teresa made a post and one of her friend's from Sweden drew this beautiful picture that you see of Tristin. Teresa threw out the idea of "hey, wouldn't this be a cool idea on a shirt?" Well, I thought so! So, I reached out to Teresa and her friend, Stephanie Elvelyckan, from Elvelyckan Design and we collaborated to make a tshirt on purpose, for a purpose. These tees will be a part of our In This Together Collection and the funds will go to Operation Underground Railroad on behalf of Tristin! Before you check the God's Got You tees, I'd like for you to hear from her mother's heart...
A letter from Teresa to you...
The blessings of God is knowing Him! We are amazed by Him! As we hear Him say, “I’ve got Tristin!” He’s got her in ways we don’t understand! On September 9th our life changed in ways that I would have never imagined. The major car wreck was evidence how God kept her in the midst. Initially, she suffered a head injury and a fractured leg that endured two surgeries; we prayed that her spirit would override her body and mind. That in this prayer her mind and body would submit to the Spirit of God within her. With that said, this t-shirt campaign was stirred after my friend, Stephanie read my post update in which the theme was “God’s Got You!” Well with that, she made a graphic and sent it to me as a sweet gift and surprise for Trissy. When I first laid eyes on the graphic I thought of the Marvel super heroes. Now if you know Trissy, you’ll know this one thing - she loves her some Marvel! So the graphic that was created and sent to me made me think of it as a super hero whose super powers were as arrows that pointed others to GOD and HIS heart.
On my social media, I asked if anyone wanted to collaborate by making T-shirts to honor Trissy and allow it to be a T-shirt that provoked prayer for the many. In that post, it was so awesome as Monica answered so quickly. When we came together I wanted to know if we could use the T-shirt campaign as a means to raise money for Trissy’s favorite organization. Trissy revealed she wanted it to go toward the incredible organization, Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.). Monica was so supportive. OUR in a nutshell:
O.U.R. is an organization that beats down the door of human trafficking as they’ve gathered the world's experts in extraction operations and in anti-child trafficking efforts to bring an end to child slavery. O.U.R.'s Ops Team consists of former CIA, past & current law enforcement, and highly skilled operatives that lead coordinated identification and extraction. Once victims are rescued, a comprehensive process involving justice for the perpetrators and recovery & rehabilitation for the survivors begins.
We have many testimonies of Trissy recovery and revelation of Christ’s strength in the midst of her greatest pain. Getting to be by her side in this time, I stand in awe of God! Her revelation through the tears is such an honor and there’s a refreshing that doesn’t make sense. Of course it’s important to rest and do our part - and yet the refreshing is from looking for what God is doing in the midst. We are looking for every miracle right now and this is how we know to help her. Cheering for her on how well she is doing and how well she is improving. To even watch her pick up her phone and scroll through her social media and read a few of MANY of your beautiful, powerful messages.
Here is what we are INTENTIONALLY seeing and viewing with eyes of hope:
- For her to speak and press through exhaustion and pain to articulate her pain. This shows me that the Holy Spirit is being her advocate through her and me. To make sure she is heard and working well with the amazing medical staff. Not being overbearing but they know that I know what she needs.
- When I ask, “Trissy, can you tell me what you need?” She says, “I wish I knew.” This helps me to know how to pray and to comfort her to pray God’s healing over her. To see the peace of God come upon her in that moment, shows me she just needs to know God is with her.
- Her fiery passion is so amazing! When the nurse says, “I’m sorry this is what we need to do. The pain although hard, its a marathon, not a sprint.” Or they say, “Soon, we would love for you to come back and come visit us.” And her voice, weak yet strong says, “That’s the goal.”
To all you prayer warriors, social media sharers and cheerleaders of the faith, here's an update on Trissy's victories so far:
- Our Trissy is thriving because she is reminding herself who she is in Christ and has a schedule everyday of daily and long term goals set and a plan to achieve them.
- She presses through the frustration of having to be dependent on others for the everyday things.
- Her speech therapist loves the LORD so much and they hit it off!
- The left side of face has been restored and she can now eat almost anything!
- Her sheer determination to persevere and lift that left arm with her right hand moves me to tears. To watch her through the frustration, as her left side is the dominant side, she tells it that it will move. I’m in awe of God’s equipping power that graces her to look to God with eyes of faith.
- She was rejuvenated by her dad's pep talk as the Holy Spirit spoke through him of her destiny in the LORD and now has a revelation of what "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness...." 2 Corinthians 2:9
- And she says with that voice that is growing in strength, “Let’s do this. It’s God strength, right?” In awe of her response to God in the pain, I say, “Yes Trissy. Yes!”
I’m learning and being reminded that she loves to purely laugh! One of her bosses from work sent her a picture of Jesus holding a cat and she replied, “OK that’s officially my wallpaper” - AGAIN! THIS IS AMAZING AND MIRACULOUS! Your prayers of her rehabilitation is so AMAZING and how the funding was miraculously provided through charity that Trissy’s case manager assisted us with! God has gone before her over and over again! I am documenting every miracle so that we always remember the truth of Philippians 4:8, so when you can’t think of anything good, THINK on these things; “What is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” This is what Trissy wants each of us to do, and so I will as she would want me, honor the Lord which will by default bless her. We have seen that even in what has happened to Tristin, she is so blessed. God has not forgotten her nor forsaken her and she would want you to know, you are not forgotten or forsaken by God either. She is grunting, groaning and grasping for God’s mission in the midst of this battlefield. She is pressing into God’s strength in this most painful time her body has ever experienced. I stand in awe of God!
The greatest blessing Trissy would say is:
"The blessing is to know Jesus is your everything. We have been equipped by God’s Spirit for this moment. What the enemy meant for evil, God turns it for HIS glory! We get to overcome this fallen world by pressing into the LORD!"
Today, whatever your victory is - we rejoice with you! Whatever surprise you’ve been devastated by - we mourn and pray with you. Yet, we also declare that God has you!
He has the last word over your life. He is the Author and Finisher of your faith and you are getting hold of another testimony to wield with power; testifying of God’s faithfulness and goodness YET again! Let’s draw close to Him today. It’s how we prepare in Him to endure and persevere the troubles of this life so that the narrative is not the trouble; instead the narrative is Who God is and HIS overcoming power in the midst of trouble!
Teresa Ann Criswell