Hi, Jim Daly here. Today's culture deeply needs help, but in times like these, the light of Christ can shine even brighter.
So be encouraged to share his light in this broken world. Listen to the Refocus with Jim Daly Podcast. Without time limitations, I'll have deep, heartfelt discussions with fascinating guests who will encourage you to share God's grace, truth, and love.
Check out the podcast at RefocusWithJimDaly.com or wherever you get your podcasts. You may think it's too late, but if it's still in you, it's not. I think if we will just honor with what we know, even if it's just one step, that God continues to light our path with what he wants to teach us after.
That's Crystal Evans Hurst, and she's our guest today on Focus on the Family with your host, Focus President and author, Jim Daly, and I'm John Fuller. You know, as a little girl, so many of you listening right now probably had big hopes and dreams for your life. You envisioned what you wanted to be when you grew up.
You imagined what your spouse might be like and maybe even the number of children you'd have when you got married. And then one day, reality sets in, and those dreams no longer seem attainable. They're out of your reach. Those aspirations disappear with everyday circumstances and responsibilities. And that heart of your inner child is swept aside as you grow up and take your place in the world with all the things that you do as an adult. Today, we want to help you deal with those unfulfilled dreams and learn to rekindle your childhood aspirations by obeying God and making the most of everyday life.
The apostle Paul put it best in Philippians 4-11 where he said, For I have learned in whatever situation I am in to be content. And of course, that's a process, but Crystal Evans Hurst is here to help all of us get on that path today. She's been on that road of discontentment before, and she understands what you may be facing, and her insights and advice are going to be worthwhile. Crystal is a gifted writer, a speaker, a worship leader, and she is the eldest child of our good friend Dr. Tony Evans and his wife Lois. Crystal is married to Jesse.
They have five children, and Jim, she's also a grandmother as well. Amazing! Crystal, welcome to Focus. Thank you so much for having me. We love your dad. He's been on the program many, many times. And your mom, what a wonderful heritage that they have given you kids, I hope.
I'm not without pain, I'm sure, right? So give us a little secret insight into Dr. Tony Evans being the daughter. Well, you know, I always say, as it's very true, and I'm not just saying this because, you know, it's the right thing to say it's true. He was always dad first before he was Dr. Tony Evans, and because we really didn't see, you know, a major difference between, or minor difference between who he was at church and who he was at home, he was always dad first. And he always put the commitment that he had to our spiritual health as a family first. I mean, it was very clear that he was interested not just in the church, but in the spiritual development. You know, one of my favorite stories of your mom and dad, I was at an airport, this is years ago, and I knew of him because in the early days, Focus on the Family collaborated with your dad to get Urban Alternative underway. And I can remember just back in the early 90s being at an airport and seeing your dad and your mom praying over McDonald's breakfast they had at a gate at an airport. And they stopped and they prayed right there, and I thought, man, that is awesome to see him do that.
He's committed. What are you hearing from women about the unfulfilled dreams in their lives? Really, your book, Basis, she's still there. Well, the main thing I would say is that there are women who feel lost. It's not that there's not good stuff happening in their life or it may be bad, but the common statement is I'm kind of lost in the middle of my life, whether those be unfulfilled dreams or I started fulfilling them and got off track or I never believed that the dreams that I had were capable. I was capable of fulfilling them. And so the hope that I wanted to offer women in this book was that loss does not mean that you're without life and if you still have life, if you still have breath and it's never too late. So look at what God wants to do in and through you.
Let's look at your life as an example of what you're talking about. What was it like in the early days? What were you dreaming about as a little girl?
You know what? I'm one of those people that have probably had like 25 dreams, actually. 25 things you wanted to be. Five things I wanted to be. But here's the connective tissue. The connective tissue is that I'm firstborn, typical achiever type. And so I definitely wanted to just go hard and far with whatever that thing would be.
Actress, singer, writer, teacher, author, those were all on the list. The challenge was I just made some choices in my late teenage years that rendered a lot of those like, can I actually get up from that? And so that was kind of my lost feeling in life.
Can I actually be the best at whatever God wants me to be given my circumstances? Well, in that case, to fill that picture in a little bit, because I think a lot of women will relate to that experience, describe what was happening in your teenage years. Sure. At 19, I had my first daughter. I was single. I was in college.
And so the question then becomes, how can the daughter or one of the daughters of Tony Evans, you know, end up as a teenage mom? I remember actually sitting with my dad at the table and we would watch shows on TV and he would talk about statistics. And I remember him saying to me, I just and saying to all of us, I just don't want you to be a statistic. And I remember thinking that at 19.
How did I become a statistic? The reality is it was just teenage love. And I was at college with the guy and did not handle that freedom well. A lot of people will make assumptions that, oh, yep, you know, those preacher's kids, you know, they just are shut up.
And then as soon as they get out, they go wild. That actually wasn't my story. I was actually a pretty good kid, wanted to do the right thing, was committed to my relationship with the Lord. But we all make mistakes. So at 19, I had my first daughter. She's 26 now. And while I worked hard, finished school because I'm an achiever, I do remember thinking, can I actually recover who I was supposed to be?
Can I move forward in my life because of this? And I felt lost for a long time because of that. Yeah. I mean, and again, I think a lot of women in that spot made mistakes, maybe not all in the sexual area, but certainly made mistakes in one way or another. How does that little girl inside you begin to die, I guess, in some ways? Because all of a sudden now you have all this responsibility and big decisions to make. How do you cope with that when you were 19? How did that conversation go with your mom and dad? Oh, well, yeah, probably still to this day, that's probably one of the hardest conversations.
Well, I'll say it is the hardest conversation I've ever had to have. I think I called my house, has to have been, seven or eight times. Yeah, and hung up? My dad kept picking up the phone and I kept saying, where's mom? Tell me when mom's going to be home. Because I was like, I can't tell my dad. And when my mom finally called me back and she said, Crystal, what's wrong? Daddy said you've been calling all day.
What's going on? And I just started crying and I didn't even have to tell her. She said, are you pregnant? And then she ended up handing the phone to my dad. And I could hear the big sigh in his voice.
And then he just said, okay, well, because this is typical Tony Evans. Okay, well, you know, it'll be okay. We'll just have to figure out where we go from here. He's always moving forward. So from that point on, it became about making sure that I was okay, making sure, can you continue school?
What can they do to help me continue in school? And we just kept moving forward. But I think the feeling of disappointment, the problem is, to answer your first question, the problem is for us as people, when we make decisions that align with someone we think we're not, that creates an identity crisis. The person I think I am wouldn't do these things. So if I'm doing these things, then I must not be that person.
Well, then who am I? And if we're not careful, whatever we think the person who took those actions would do, we might start identifying with that person instead. It's really well said, Crystal. How do you, at 19 at that time, how do you process your relationship with the Lord? There's going to be many women that have gone through maybe an abortion or something else, something devastating that they never anticipated. They didn't think they were that person.
They didn't think they'd have to make that kind of decision. How, as a believer in Christ, do you move through those things, much like King David? I mean, he would not qualify as an elder in the church today, yet he was a man after God's own heart. Being the daughter of a famous pastor, your dad, how do you work through that?
How do you get back on track and not allow the enemy to just keep you pinned down? Well, that's the reason why I wrote She's Still There, because in Kingdom Woman, I grazed over the fact that I was a single parent. I didn't want to spend a whole lot of time on it, didn't think anybody was that interested in it, and because that became actually one of the most frequently asked questions. So Kingdom Woman, but wait a minute, you were a single parent.
Oh, wait, you were a teenage mom. How did you bridge that gap between who God says you are and what your circumstances may have been telling you, who they were telling you you were? And so when you say, you know, how do we get through that and how do we identify with what the Lord says, I mean, that is the answer. It's identifying, and by identifying, I really mean rehearsing what he says about you, that if there are voices in your head based on what you see in your life that are telling you, you're something different than what he calls you, then you have to combat that with what he says about you. He says we are fearfully and wonderfully made. He says we are loved, we are precious in his sight. There are so many scriptures in the Bible that speak to how he sees us. And when we don't feel that way, the problem only comes in when we let our feet be moved by our feelings and not by the facts of what God says. So you literally do have to renew your mind, Romans 12, with what the Word of God says about you until you saturate your mind with what he says and those saturations drip down to your heart and eventually affect what you do at your feet. Well, and I think, you know, it is a process. We said that at the start of the program.
Sanctification is a process. I think in parenting, one of the errors we can make is we expect our teenagers to be 40-year-old Christians or 50-year-old Christians, and they haven't lived life yet. And you can see the mistakes, you can see the errors. I so appreciate your dad's sigh. I think I would feel the same way, that sigh of, ugh, and then, okay, let's make right choices from here.
Even more than the sigh. At some point later, he looked me square in the eye. We were sitting face to face, and he just said, what did we do wrong?
Oh, wow. What did we do wrong? How did you answer that question? I answered it the way I felt, which is the truth. I just said, nothing.
And I wish I could offer you some explanation, some connective tissue. Now I can articulate that Adam and Eve had the perfect parent. Perfect parents, which there are none, but perfect parents, if there is such a thing, don't necessarily render perfect kids. It's not a formula.
There's not a formula. You know, in that context, you think about it, God gives everybody free will. That's right. This is the big decision. We get to choose. When you're a parent, you create life. God's given you the ability to create life.
And you do that, and then this child comes, and there's no stamp, there's no formula. And you can do everything really well and still have a child that doesn't choose the direction you would want to choose. Listen, I was just telling my boys at the kitchen table, we homeschool, and so every morning they have to listen to me do a diatribe on whatever God has been teaching me. And I said to them, you know, listen, don't take offense to this, boys, but between 15 and 25, those are potentially the dumbest years of your life.
Literally, the frontal lobe is not formed until you're in your mid-20s. My prayer is that during what could be the dumbest years of your life that you would not make mistakes, because we all make mistakes, that would impact your life in a hugely negative way for the rest of your life. But the reality is I have to teach you what I know, pray over you, and realize that you get to choose.
My prayer is that you make wise choices. You know, before we move on in the story, and we will, here at Focus on the Family, we have a really successful program to save babies' lives, Option Ultrasound. The number of babies saved is estimated to be almost a half a million, and we're hoping, with the help of our listeners and supporters, to save many more. It takes only $60 to help a mom choose life and save her baby from abortion.
Amazing. And in your situation, Crystal, you chose life. So if you could, wrap that into a nice bow for the woman listening, the mom listening, who might have a teenage daughter or maybe even that daughter who's listening herself. Why was it good for you to choose life over the termination of your child's life? Well, the Sunday that a lot of the people at my church found out that I was pregnant, there was a friend of mine that came up to me, and she'd been a youth worker, volunteer in our youth program.
She came up to me, and she hugged me, and she says, I know it feels bad today, but it won't feel like this forever. So now that daughter that I had at 19 is 26. That's the same daughter who has had two children that has made me a grandmother.
And I delight in that daughter not only as my daughter but also as my friend. So the thing is we have to look beyond. If you're in that situation and that's a choice you get to make, look beyond today. The way it looks today is not the way it will be forever, but for the person who is not facing the choice but has made that choice, you have to understand that God knew not only who you would be but what you would do before he ever allowed you to live.
He knew the outcome of all of your choices, and he still said the blood of Jesus would cover all of your sin, the little ones and the big ones. You have to receive that. Crystal, moving into the story a little further. So you've had this little girl. You eventually get married. There was a time when your husband lost his job. And these are typical things that many of us go through.
It feels like that little girl inside you, the dreamer, when you were 8, 9, 12, all of those big dreams become small or poof, they're gone. This was another moment in your life where you felt like a squashing of the dream. What happened with your husband and what kind of pressure did you feel at that time? Well, my husband had worked and he traveled a lot for a living.
He actually had a series of health challenges that made it unable for him to continue in what he had been doing. And I remember sitting there looking at the numbers and looking at everything that was in the red in Excel, thinking, how is this going to work? But here's the thing, the lesson that I learned in my 20s, because the majority of my 20s I was a single mom, which was that God actually does still love me. I learned that gradually. I learned how to identify with his care for me.
That was what I remembered to grab a hold of in my 30s, faced with the different... So I felt the same panic, but I had the experience of God's love for me and his willingness to rescue me from circumstances, even that I created for myself. So I was able to feel the panic, but then remember the trust that I can have in a God who promises to take care. You've touched on this and it's something I'm learning more and more every time I speak to a woman who has gone through difficulty. The capacity for women to look at their own hearts first, to in some ways wear the guilt of their circumstances.
It's an amazing thing. I think we men, we shove it off. Our egos are too big to say, you know, yeah, it was the other guy's fault. Women own it. They dwell on it. They think about it. Speak to the woman who is experiencing that kind of valley right now and she's feeling guilt. She's feeling maybe shame that, you know, she and her husband or their family aren't doing as well or whatever the circumstances might be. How does she rise above that and feel like a daughter of the king?
You know, that these are just temporary, like you mentioned. But how does a woman truly get above the enemy's taunt? You know, are you really special? I don't think so.
Yes. Well, here's the thing. When you think about the enemy's taunt, one of the things he taunted Eve with was, did God really say? So the antidote for the rise of the enemy is what did God say?
So the first thing I always tell a woman is be honest about how you feel. First of all, because he already knows. There's no shame in being scared, hurt, afraid, feeling ashamed, feeling guilty. Be honest, but then you have to go where the enemy asked the question, what does God say? So be honest, but then search the scriptures. What does God say about guilt? What does God say about shame? What does he say about care of the ones that he loves?
What does he say? Because then when you are able, again, to rehearse what he says in combat with your feelings, that's where the victory is. You use an acronym in the book, She's Still There. It's GAIN. Let's dig into that a little bit. What's the acronym stand for and what can women take away from GAIN?
Sure. The G is for gifts, A is abilities, I is for your interests, and N is for your nature or personality. Each one of us, we know we're unique. We have a fingerprint and there's all these unique things physically about us, but we all have unique souls. And when we were born, God gave us gifts, the capacity for abilities, certain passions and personalities that are different. If we want to see what God wants to do with our life, the very first place we can look obviously is his word for his explicit instructions. But the second place is looking in you.
What did he give you? Because we each are wired differently. We each are attracted to different things from a passion perspective and we are naturally gifted to different things. So what did God set you forward to do in terms of just how he wired you and how are you using what he gave you? And as you look at that, you gain a new perspective on your life. Crystal, what are some starting points for the woman listening who says, Yeah, I think I want to do that, but the Bible and me, we just don't get along. I don't understand it. I don't know what to do.
How does she start? Well, I'm always a fan of Proverbs and Psalms. I just think Psalms, David was a feeling kind of guy. He was, like you said, a man after God's own heart, but he also was very in touch with his heart.
And he freely rode the waves of emotions. And pick a version that makes sense to you in the Bible. There are many that we have to choose from. And just ride the waves of those emotions and see kind of what David did to work through his feelings because that's where a lot of women start.
I'm in my feelings. And then Proverbs shares wisdom. A proverb a day or five chapters of Psalms, and you can cycle through those every month. And then take your time going through other books of the Bible. It's not a race.
It's a marathon. And it's not about religion. It's about relationships.
So take your time getting to know Him. You had a funny story in the book. I loved reaching for, I think it was an almond Hershey chocolate bar.
Yep, dark chocolate almonds now, but it's the same thing. But the Lord uses, He'll use anything to teach us a lesson, right? I think God uses chocolate a lot, frankly.
He uses chocolate a lot for me. But in this case, I could so relate, and I think I finally figured out how to solve this. But you were reaching for this bar in your car. Tell us what happened. Well, I'm reaching and thinking I can reach it. And in reaching for it, I did reach it. But the hand that was on the steering wheel shifted with the reach, which meant I ran off the road. And I was totally okay, but it wasn't until a few miles later I realized that my car wasn't okay because the exhaust pipe had been knocked into the median and was blowing smoke out of my car at a gas station a few miles down the road. My car caught on fire because of all the heat that had been going into the bumper. That's an expensive chocolate bar.
Yes, it was. And I just remember thinking, looking at my car, was the chocolate worth it? But how many times do we wreck something in our life reaching for something that's just not that important? Well, and you related that to drift, which I love, that idea that you... Now, let me just say, the thing that I've learned is just pull over. Just pull over and get the chocolate bar.
Get the chocolate bar. Then keep going. Then keep going.
That's 50 years of experience there. There you go. But the point is, in life we can drift.
We can follow things that pull us away from God's best. Describe that for us. What were you getting at? That's my assumption of what you were saying. Yeah, that was absolutely it. There are things that we are allowing ourselves to be distracted by.
They don't have to be terrible. But if you're not paying attention, you'll look up and be totally... I mean, because all it takes is a one or two degree shift over a long period of time to end up somewhere you never intended to be. For a woman, what does that look like? I mean, you're talking to two husbands here.
Sure, sure. What does that look like for a woman? Where does she experience that drift? Oh, well, I think... And again, all drifts don't have to be bad, but it doesn't mean it doesn't feel a little not great. I think every woman who stayed home with her kids looks up when her kids are grown and thinks, okay, now all the things that I meant to do, this was a good drift.
It was an intentional drift. I wanted to be at home with my kids, but now that the last one has gone to school, now what am I? Where were all the things I wanted to do? And that feeling of I lost track of something. But drifts can also happen, obviously, because of little decisions that we make over time. Like, for instance, really wanting to be in a relationship. And then you look up two years later, you've put all this time into this relationship.
Maybe you were dating a guy, and then you don't even remember what you were doing before you started giving up things in your life to have all this time to be available with him. That can be a drift. It can be a drift because you need to pay the bills, and there's a passion that you have that you really want to chase. But because you had to take a job to pay the bills, and it was only supposed to be for a year, and ten years later, you've got that job, you've got those benefits, are you actually going to get back to what you knew you wanted to do?
So for a lot of women, it can manifest itself in different ways. The question is, once you recognize that you've taken a drift, to not just feel the sadness of how much time has passed and how far you've gone, but to figure out what steps can you take to get back on track. So for that woman, right at the end here, who may be saying, that's me. Crystal's describing where I'm at. I've given my life to something that now it's over, and I don't know who I am. You know, I've mentioned this often, but the greatest number of divorces are occurring with empty nest couples. Because typically, not always, but typically, mom looks up and says, what am I here for? What's my purpose?
What's my meaning? And motherhood seemingly is over at that point, and she doesn't know what to do. And she doesn't know her husband any longer.
They've drifted, to your point. What can she do, not just in that circumstance, but what can that woman that, this is rattling her right now, she's saying, yeah, I used to have a lot of dreams, and now it's just down to practicality, getting through the day. What can I do differently in my routine that makes me feel closer to God, makes me feel passionate about God in my life? What do I do? Well, the first thing is, for the woman who is totally lost and feels like she has absolutely no clue, the first thing is there's always usually one thing. There's one thing. And it may seem tiny and small, but there's one. So let's say I don't know what to do.
If you go to church, there are many ministries probably at your church, and you can pick something that you feel like you have some acclamation towards. That's one thing. As my dad likes to say, God loves to hit a moving target. And many times we don't get to the next thing because we won't do the one thing that's in front of us. But just to refer back to what we said about gaining a new perspective, what passions did God give you that you lay dormant?
Well, get back to some of those. You may think it's too late, but if it's still in you, it's not. I think if we will just honor with what we know, even if it's just one step, then God continues to light our path with what he wants to teach us after. Crystal, I so appreciate the insight and wisdom you've brought to women today, to men, too, for that matter. Our lost dreams and the things we wanted to pursue are still important.
And when that day to day grind catches up with us, we tend to get discouraged. But this book, She's Still There, is inspiring and will get the reader dreaming again. I come back to how you set your dreams aside, chose life for your baby and persevered as a single mom.
That takes a lot of courage and determination, but it's the right thing to do. And I want to encourage you, our listener, to get involved. Next month marks one year since Roe v. Wade was overturned and it all went back to each state to make that decision about life and death. Even so, nearly a million babies are at risk of abortion this year and most years.
Our work is not yet done. Lives and futures hang in the balance. That's why I'm so grateful that God is using friends like you to stand against abortion with us and together save lives through the efforts of Focus on the Family's Option Ultrasound program. And as Jim mentioned earlier, when you support Option Ultrasound, you're providing equipment and training to pregnancy medical centers across the country, which means they can offer free ultrasounds to mothers who are considering abortion.
It's remarkable to think about it, but research shows over 54% of abortion-minded women who have counseling and an ultrasound choose life. And when you donate $60 to our Option Ultrasound program, you will help save one baby, $120, two babies, and you keep going from there. And with your gift today, as our way of saying thank you for standing for life and helping us save babies, we'll send you a copy of Crystal's book, She's Still There. Yeah, your gift will certainly save babies and make a difference through other efforts that we have, like our My Choice Network and the work we're doing with the abortion pill reversal opportunities. You can find out more about all that Focus on the Family is doing and donate, as well as get a copy of the book, She's Still There.
All the details are in the show notes or give us a call. Hey, Crystal, before we say goodbye, I also want to highlight your 90-day challenge. Why is 90 days significant, and can we really turn the ship in 90 days in terms of our perspective and our attitude? You might be able to turn the ship in 90 days, but what you can definitely do is move the needle.
And so what I say is if you can pick three things that are low-hanging fruit that would move you forward. They don't have to be the end of the story, just move you forward. What you do is you build momentum and you start to change the narrative about your own life, that you are a person who can move forward. And then you just keep moving in 90-day increments. To set a goal for a year, that's long. To set a goal for a month, that's a little short. 90 days actually gives you time to do it and time for you to convince yourself that you're the person who can actually make changes in your life.
Yeah, you can get a quick win and keep winning. I love it. Thanks so much for being with us. Thank you for having me. Plan to be with us next time as we hear from counselor Julie Lowe. She encourages you to help your child learn to navigate life's dangers without fear. I can't keep them from every danger in the world, nor should I.
But I can put up safeguards to help them, to shield them from some of the darts that will be thrown their way, while also equipping them to know how to protect themselves. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family. I'm John Fuller inviting you back as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ. And our team of biblically based counselors will help you learn how to prioritize each other, make your marriage feel new again. Go to focusonthefamily.com slash getaway for dates and locations.
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