Christina Ford

If I could label this season for me, it would be titled “Reflection.” During this time, I’ve asked myself “How did I get here?” Not in a negative undertone, but really, “How did I get here?”

words + photographs Christina Ford

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” is a question asked to so many little ones. Depending on the age, you will get answers such as “Spider-Man,” “basketball player,” or an answer more career-focused such as “astronaut.”

For me, the answer was always “doctor.” My little mind couldn’t process what that meant, but I was thankful enough to have an aunt in the family who was a doctor and whom I admired. She knew what she wanted to be and then achieved that goal.

Becoming a doctor meant I had beaten the odds and gained a career I was passionate about.

It wasn’t until high school I began to understand what this ambitious goal entailed. I began researching universities, medical schools and admission requirements. I landed on the campus of Illinois State University in 2004, majoring in biology and on a pre-med track to fulfill my requirements for medical school.

Becoming a doctor meant I had beaten the odds and gained a career I was passionate about. I had a strong love for medicine and science. At the time, I couldn’t see myself becoming anything else.

It also meant I would be successful, according to the world’s definition. I would be financially stable and able to live comfortably. At the time, as well as in my younger years, I wanted to be independent in regards to finances, even when I got married.

I’ve failed to mention a very important variable: I was already a mom. College for me started with a 1-year-old. Many thought I was crazy or hadn’t fully considered how difficult it would be to go away to school as a single mom and pre-med. Maybe I didn’t. But for this wide-eyed, competitive girl, I was up for the challenge.

And the most important variable not yet mentioned: I accepted Christ into my life a year before. Not only did I believe in myself, I believed in His strength and had faith He would see me through.

In December 2008, I graduated from Illinois State University. I then took a few years off to prepare for medical school and was accepted into North Chicago’s Dr. Scholl School of Podiatry.

Some will read up to this point and expect an outcome that I defeated the odds and became a podiatrist.

That is not the case.

I knew what dedication this would take, but I underestimated the time and attention it would take away from my son, Cameron. Mid-year, I began to struggle with keeping up in my role as a med student and my role as a mom. I knew my son felt the strain and the lack of attention I was able to give him during that time, but I was also concerned I would be setting a bad example of quitting something I started.

Top As a single mom in medical school, Christina was concerned how a lack of attention would affect her son. Bottom Cameron is a senior in high school with plans to play Division I basketball. “He recognizes what I was able to accomplish while raising him alone,” Christina says. “I think it helped set a standard of courage and sacrifice.”

As I was studying to retake some final exams, my spirit rang out loudly, and the confirmation I felt for sometime came to a point. Me completing podiatry school and becoming the doctor I always dreamed of was not for me.

As devastating as some would think this moment would be, it was light. I felt lighter. The burden and pressure I placed on myself was lifted.

My spirit rang out loudly, and the confirmation I felt for sometime came to a point.

Were there times I struggled with my identity and title as I soon became a wife and stay-at-home mom? Yes. Did I ever regret that decision? No.

Fear could’ve kept me there, deficient and unfulfilled. Placing fear aside and walking into the life I knew God had for me equipped me to overcome challenges and prepared me for my calling as a servant, to help those in need, to be a wife and mom. To intentionally raise my children to know the Lord and help them become who He wants them to be. I know I’m called to be a helpmate to my husband. I know I’m called to walk alongside him as he serves in what God has called him to be.

Top Christina with her husband, Dana, and their family. Bottom Holding her daughter, Christina watches a basketball game alongside co-workers from The Rebound Foundation at Missouri State University. The Rebound Foundation was founded by Christina and her husband.

I also know God gave me the vision to provide homes and support and to start The Rebound Foundation. It was a faith walk, and the Lord taught me so much in that journey.

The Lord has shown up in ways I could write an entire book on.

The Lord has shown up in ways I could write an entire book on. In every area I have trusted Him and had full faith, He would see it through. Even when it wasn’t the way I would have it, even in the hard times.

Give yourself permission to let go. Be okay with being a fool to others while gladly walking in life light. CF