Written by guest writer Christie Faulkner
Life was over. I had lost all purpose. As I crossed Lake Ray Hubbard on I-30, I saw the opportunity to exit, drive across the overpass, and drive my SUV down the hill in front of Bass Pro Shop into Lake Ray Hubbard and end it all. The date was July 18, 2008. I was three weeks post-partum with our first child, which my husband and I had planned. Discovering my husband’s multi-month affair and plan to leave me and our child for another woman was more than I could bear. The life we had dreamed about had ceased to exist. Splitting custody of my newborn with a stepmother who did ecstasy and frequented clubs was out of the question, so the three-week-old newborn in the backseat was going down with me.
I had discovered the affair four days prior, I had confronted my husband, found some resolution, and not slept or eaten since. Stress-induced vomiting and diarrhea were frequent. As I drove away from dropping off my parents and brothers at the airport for them to return to their home across the nation, my husband came clean over text about the extent of the affair. I was too depressed to cry. I couldn’t go home. I drove to my best friend’s house where I laid on the couch, lifeless for hours, wishing to die. There was no oxygen in the air. I was devastated. Seven hours passed, and my husband called to request that we talk when I got home. I couldn’t go home. Death had greater appeal than life. The exit ramp to certain drowning was all the hope that remained.
How had I gotten here? I was raised in full-time ministry, trusted Christ at a young age, was discipled by graduates of Dallas Theological Seminary, served the church from youth, had a bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies, married a preacher’s kid, and had a seminary degree in counseling. My resume for ministry potential was enviable. But there I was, wondering why God would have blessed me tremendously and groomed me for ministry to throw it all away with a divorce that would destroy my potential to ever be used by God. For the first time, I was not a member of any church, I was not intimately known by and accountable to any church body, and I was not serving God anywhere.
As I turned on my blinker to exit, the clouds parted for the first time all week and the sun shone with a rainbow that spanned the entire sky. I was reminded by the Holy Spirit of God’s faithfulness to His promises. The tears that had eluded me all week finally poured down my face, and I said, “Okay, Lord, it’s not over. You haven’t forgotten me. You’re not done with me yet. I’m ready to see what You’ve got in store for me. I believe; help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24).
Fast-forward a decade. God has faithfully upheld His promise to “repay the years that the locusts have eaten” (Joel 2:25) “far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20). My husband and I are closer to the Lord than ever before. We do not take a single day of our marriage blessing from the Lord for granted. We are raising three children according to Deuteronomy 6:4-9, stewarding every opportunity with our children to diligently teach them the Word of God implanted on our own hearts. Discipleship takes place everywhere—at the breakfast table, on the way to school, on the way home from school, over homework, on the way to extracurricular activities, in the midst of social interactions, over outdoor hobbies, certainly while we are serving as a family, and most memorably at the dinner table when we read and discuss the Word of God as a family.
Nearly losing the dream family life has given us the perspective that every day the Lord gives us is a gift, family time is a blessing, and we are here on earth to serve His purposes above all. We are strategic and intentional about the activities in which we participate, prioritizing those with spiritual value above all. Those opportunities that allow us to serve the Lord together as a family are of greatest value.
When we moved to McKinney and enrolled in a very diverse public school, we realized that the Lord had brought the mission field to us and that no foreign travel was necessary to reach the nations of the world with the Gospel. Within the first couple months of public school, our first grader was asking us how we knew that there was only one God because the kids at school were confident of the existence of many gods. The diversity of our neighborhood has granted us the opportunity to engage our children in culturally-relevant theological conversations on an ongoing basis. As we disciple our own children at home, the sounds of neighborhood children playing in the street reminds us that our mission is not only to disciple our own children at home, but to reach a lost and hurting world with the Gospel. While teaching our children the biblical content is crucial, we also must train them to live missionally.
We began praying for opportunities to serve within our community and at our school. When we found out about the potential for a Good News Club to share the Gospel weekly on the public-school campus, we were all in! Now we are known by the school and throughout the neighborhood for leading Good News Club. Kids walking to school and playing at the park ask us about Good News Club. Neighbors with spiritual battles, family problems, and crises approach us. Children whose families don’t attend church are trusting Christ and being discipled through the ministry of Good News Club. Children from Good News Club are taking the Gospel home and into the classroom. We are receiving reports from parents and teachers about the new-found hope that students have in Christ. Children have no fear, and they shamelessly share the joy of the Gospel with anyone who will listen. Teachers have asked to attend church with us. Grieving families have been encouraged. Broken families and latchkey children have found support. Our Good News Club has one hundred children enrolled after a year-and-a-half and continues to grow.
Serving with my husband has strengthened my marriage and united us as we pray and work toward the same eternal goal. My children have seen how the Gospel transforms lives and families. Their eagerness and boldness to share the Gospel has grown. They enthusiastically prepare Good News Club supplies and clean up after Good News Club each week. They joyfully deliver encouraging notes to sick children and hurting families. Here is my encouragement for you:
- Remember that it isn’t over until God says it is over (1 Kings 19:3-13). No purpose of God’s can be thwarted (Job 42:2). God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, and His ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). In His book were all written the days that were ordained for each of us, when as yet there was not one of them (Psalm 139:16). We are burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despair even of life; indeed, we have the sentence of death within ourselves so that we do not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; who delivered us from so great a peril of death and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope (2 Corinthians 1:8-10). The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18).
- View the suffering God entrusts to you as an opportunity for expanded ministry. God comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are given by God (2 Corinthians 1: 4).
- Live missionally. “Do all things for the sake of the Gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:23). As you disciple your own children (according to Deuteronomy 6:4-9), open the front door and go invite the neighbor kids in, making disciples of all nations, baptizing them, teaching them to observe all that God commands, and remember God is with you always (Matthew 28:19-20).
Christie Faulkner and her husband Ben have been married fourteen years and have three children: Eva, Eliana, and Eugene. Christie is an Adjunct Faculty member of Emmaus Bible College, designing and teaching online counseling courses. She is the Club Leader for Good News Club at Mooneyham Elementary and the Troop Shepherd for an American Heritage Girls troop.
Imagine what it would look like if every elementary school in our community had a Good News Club. In 2001, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Good News Clubs v. Milford Central School that Good News Clubs can meet in public schools in the United States after school hours on the same terms as other community groups. Children attend only with their parents’ permission.
We support Good News Clubs meeting in elementary public schools in Frisco, Texas. These after-school clubs are a place where kids can enjoy a snack, play games, and hear the Gospel. We have seen children place their faith in Christ, and our numbers our growing.
We are looking for volunteers to invest two hours once a week into the life of a child. If you live in the North Texas Area and are interested in volunteering, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.