The Ride of Her Life: Christy DeShazo
September 25, 2019
Within three months of moving to Texas with no game plan, Derek and I had formed our own company and began to seek connections in our new community – church, Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce, his and her Bible studies. Having lived our whole lives (apart from college and grad school) in one town, we knew we were community-minded and would have to get plugged in. And God made all the connections.
Three months later I was invited to join a “working woman’s” Bible study where a group of very busy professional women studied some of the working women in the Bible. I learned a lot over the next few months. I came to understand at a deeper level some of the amazing women in history. But the real beauty of that group was the very real women who attended with me. One of those women was Christy DeShazo, my Super Woman of the week this week.
When I first met Christy in that season she was vibrant and full of life. She was very open and honest. She was brave and bold, and rightly so. She had just come through the most difficult season of her entire life. One day Christy was living her life, all cylinders revving, full speed ahead. The next she was bedridden with a traumatic brain injury that threatened everything about her life and future. Her strength and courage impressed me deeply. When God brings you through something so unbelievable, you can crawl under the covers or you can fight. Christy is a fighter.
To understand Christy’s story, she wants you to “First imagine riding a roller coaster, willingly or unwillingly, you sit into the seat, you are strapped in, with your feet hanging out the bottom and head glued to head rest. You begin moving rocket speed, forward, backward, bumpy, upside-down, some small hills and some giant mountains and sometimes the ride breaks down or is closed for the day or season.” This metaphor reflects her life.
Christy has been married to her husband David for 26 years. She is the mother of 5: Staton (25) lives in CA; Stefan (23) graduated from college in August and moved to CA to begin his career; Sterling (19) Bio-Chem major at SFASU; Savannah (17) musical theater and choir at Argyle High School; and Scarlett (14), a competitive dancer and member of Argyle Majestics Drill Team. In this chapter of her story she is a Realtor for Coldwell Banker Flower Mound. How she got there is interesting…keep reading!
Of her early childhood she says: “I remember in my room across from my bed as I was growing up, there was a plaque with a dancer and the scripture read ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ Philippians 4:13. I never doubted I could do anything as long as Jesus was with me. I have always been an energetic, joyful and passionate soul. I had committed to being a Christian Warrior for Jesus since my earliest memories, but oh, how totally unprepared I was for the reality of that bold claim.”
Christy has been a dancer for most of her life. She trained as a classical dancer from earliest ages through college. She also enjoyed being on the drill team in high school. After college, she married the love of her life and together they created a family with five amazing children who are all “adventurous and uniquely different.” After ten years of putting her career first, she and David had to re-evaluate God’s plan for their lives. With much sadness, she left her successful career to be a stay-at-home mom. “No matter how hard I tried to be perfect at my new job, no one seemed to notice or give me the accolades I was used to and based on my evaluations I was failing miserably every day. I was not enough.”
Can anyone else relate to these very real mom feelings?
David traveled for work often, leaving her as a single mom for up to 20 days a month. Christy says, “I was responsible for not only our children but our home, 3 nutritious meals a day, chauffeuring kids to 4 different schools, 3-4 activities an evening, 30+ classes of homework to manage a night, daily prayers and lessons about our faith and the nightly bedtime routine. Weekends were zone defense with 3-6 sporting games in different cities. Now add on cleaning house, dishes, laundry, grocery shopping and volunteering.”
All of this had Christy wondering, “When was I supposed to fit in me time? Prayer time? Friend time? Workout Time? Hello…. Is there any time for me? I quickly learned if it was to be, it had to happen before the kids woke up. I began each day with 5am workouts and then peaceful God time.”
And Christy says, “If you think parenting is hard, marriage is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. It is a never ending roller coaster… sometimes my hubby rides right beside me in wedded bliss and joy, other times we are side by side holding hands and taking the adventure together although it isn’t pretty, sometimes I am in the front row ready to do this thing while he is still waiting on the platform or finally grudgingly he gets in the back seat like I’m dragging him along, other times we reverse this role. But some days, I wonder if we even showed up together at the same roller coaster ride or even at the same theme park. After 26 years of marriage, I have learned to laugh at us too. Not take everything so serious. Remind myself that ‘the thing’ he’s doing that drives me crazy is one of ‘the things’ that attracted me to him in the first place.”
2 Corinthians 12:8-9 “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
Continuing, Christy says: “In another twisty and unexpected change in the roller coaster ride, I received a phone call five days before school began and my oldest son began his freshman year of college and I was offered a job to teach dance and drill team in public school. I didn’t even apply for a job so I knew it was God’s plan. Mother Teresa of Calcutta said, ‘Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody… loneliness and the feeling that nobody needs you is the worst kind of poverty.’ God called me to love many new people He brought into my life.” In addition to the teaching, she also taught dance camps and choreographed and worked in private studios. She created two different community dance programs. Christy says, “The nature of being a performing artist (much like professional athletes) breeds perfectionism to earn accomplishments in order to measure success. I control my success or failures. Me.”
“For five years, I woke up every day excited about the opportunity for God to use me for his purpose. However, the job was mentally and physically taxing. Dancing 6-8 hours a day, working 90 hours a week trying to navigate the wants and needs of everyone – students, parents, administrators, co-teachers, myself and never make anyone happy. In addition, the hours my job took away from my own precious children at home. Once again, I wondered if I was enough.”
When I met Christy and got to know her in our group, I remember her sharing that she was absolutely spinning to keep up with all of the responsibilities and her perfectionist tendencies. Then God used an accident to radically STOP the activity and change the course of the rest of her life.
On October 7, 2016 Christy had a major Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) at work when she fell off the steps of a school bus and went spinning down a 12-foot drainage embankment and broke her descent by falling and hitting her head on a metal drainage grate. The TBI resulted in loss of consciousness, brain infection, loss of vision for 6 weeks, 9 slipped vertebrae, hearing impairment, and excruciating head pain. “I couldn’t care for myself, my children or drive for four months. I was told I would never dance again. My vestibular system and nervous system had lost their memory. I was staring Parkinson’s, MLS and early dementia in the face. Where will I go from here Lord? I literally had a physical, mental and spiritual crisis. I spent 9 months in bed.”
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
Christy says “I have come to understand God has an incredible sense of humor which I admit sometimes takes me a while to laugh with him. Hebrews 13:16 ‘And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.’ I had to learn, in spite of the chaos, to find joy in all things. Redefine success. Slow down. Be in the moment. Embrace love, laughter and the roller coaster ride. Titus 2:11 says ‘For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all men.’God transforms our desires, motivations and behavior.”
When I met Christy at the beginning of 2018 I would never have known anything about her injury if she had not shared it. In fact I may have had to ask her to tell me a couple of times because it had only been 14 months since her accident and there was no visible evidence of it, although I know she is continuing to recover daily.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”Jeremiah 29:11
Christy’s attitude and perspective about the accident and her recovery are such a lesson for each of us. She says, “As I continue to recover, I see God’s touch on everything.” As therapy her doctors encouraged her to use her brain to learn a new career. She says, “I love working with people, I love families, I respect my elders who have weathered the storms of marriage and parenting and they have so much to teach me, I love houses and I wanted freedom to be my own boss. While in bed, I became a Realtor and passed the national and state testing.”
Returning to her roller coaster metaphor, Christy says “God just handed me a free ‘flash pass’ to skip the long lines and head right on the ride. Gotta love this.” Christy says today she has one focus: Jesus. “’1 Timothy 6:12 tells us to ‘Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.’ Every day I wake up and fight not in fear but in joy and love, with a sense of adventure. My story will never be one of brokenness, it will always be a story of triumph. I choose to enjoy the roller coaster rather than cower in fear!”
The cry of her heart is this: Isaiah 6:8 “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
Christy, your story of triumph over physical, emotional and spiritual injury are incredible. I see in you a deep joy for life and a love for others. Completely surrendered to God’s call on your life, God has used your tragedy to slow you down and walk with Him in an even more intimate way. And you are using your gifts and talents to serve others, every single day. Well done, my friend. Well, done.