Cristina in California
Full name: Cristina Crouth
State-in-life / Occupation: Foster Youth Specialist at a Community College
Location: Orange County, California (near Disneyland)
Educational background: Bachelors in Psychology and Spanish and a Master’s in Public Policy and Administration
How does your Catholic faith affect the way you live your day-to-day life?
I think I have a sense of peace and happiness that I was definitely lacking before returning to the church (I was recently confirmed in May 2018). People at work have commented that I seem happier and assume it’s because I am in a new relationship or something (which is not the case haha ) but I just feel like I appreciate things and people in a different way because I am seeing things through God’s eyes instead of my own.
Tell us about a moment in your life when your Catholic faith transformed your understanding of yourself, your purpose and others.
The moment I realized I was being called back (and needed to go back) to the Catholic church was incredibly transformative for me. Two years ago I worked for a different organization and became very close friends with one of my coworkers. One night after a work event, he made the comment to me that the moment he met me he knew there was more to my story because he believed that people that smile have a deeper story to tell. I was taken aback because I had never had someone call me out like that before and see through the façade of forced smiles and fake happiness that I had worked so hard to maintain for the majority of my life when in reality I was very angry and hurt but wasn’t willing to admit or deal with it. He then proceeded to share more about his own struggles and that through his Catholic faith he had been able to forgive and move forward. Up until this point, I was not going to church nor had considered coming back to the Church but his comment struck me and made me realize I was using my hurt as an excuse to hide from God and I didn’t want to do that anymore.
What lesson did you learn from that moment?
This conversation and friendship ultimately led me to a place of healing and forgiving that I had been so hungry for but had also been avoiding. I was able to forgive my parents for things that had happened when I was growing up and more importantly reconcile with God. I realized my view of God was distorted because of the relationship I had with my parents; how blind I was to His love and grace because of my own anger and pain and in the end He had always loved me and was there for me- I just couldn’t see it. After this, I signed up for confirmation classes (I was never confirmed when I was in high school) and since then I have grown so much in my faith because of the community I have at Holy Family (my parish) and the opportunities I have had to delve deeper into my Catholic faith and get to know God and His plans for me in a more intimate way.
How do you grow in your Catholic faith?
I have been working hard to set aside time every morning to be with God-whether it’s scripture ( I love the Blessed is She Bible), reading a spiritual/ faith related book, or attending daily mass- something that allows me to be present with the Lord before the hecticness of my day. I have also found praying the Rosary and nurturing my relationship with the Blessed Mother has brought me a lot of perspective and peace in times of uncertainty.
What do you do for fun?
I love trying new things whether it’s taking a ceramics class or doing a flower crown workshop-anything that honors my creative side and gets me outside of my bubble. I also love hiking and camping- there really is something magical about being outdoors.
Three words that describe you — go!
Passionate, Adventurous, and funny. I definitely love to laugh and make others laugh.
Fill in the blank:
My morning routine consists of: coffee, journaling and working out
I’m currently obsessed with: learning how to play the ukulele (so far I can play 3 songs!)
I feel most inspired when: I am outside
My favorite part about my life right now is: the endless possibilities
The advice I would give to the millennial Catholic woman is: Community is key! If you don’t have community with other women reach out and form your own. I recently read somewhere that friends are like “Jesus with skin” and that really struck me and made me appreciate my Catholic women friends in a completely different way. They ground me, pray for me, and cheer me on. We live in a time where we can easily lose a sense of ourselves as women so community and fellowship with other women is crucial.