Christine Caine - A Life Interrupted, Part 1
What's your story? Were you unwanted, forgotten, abandoned, betrayed? If so, our stories might be more similar than you think. And I want you to know from personal experience, that natural limitations do not have to define your possibilities. There is more to your story than where you came from, or what you've walked through. I'm Christine Caine, and I have a personal mission to Equip and Empower people like you to connect with your God given purpose and potential. I'm so glad that you're joining us today. Let's get right into it.
Hey, I'm so glad that you're here today, and I'm so glad that you've joined us, you've picked a fantastic time to join in today, we're talking about having a life that is interrupted. Most of us really don't like to be interrupted because when you're interrupted it normally means that you're on your way to doing something else. But today I hope to prove from scripture, that destiny lies in interrupted moments that God calls us and they are divine appointments and divine assignments that are set up for us when our lives are being interrupted. We're going to go straight to the Bible. I love the Word of God, it changes lives and we're going to the book of Luke chapter one. And this is a story that we normally read around Christmas time, but I think it's pertinent for every day of our lives.
The Bible says in verse 26, "In the six month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David and the virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, 'greetings, oh, favored one, the Lord is with you'. But she was greatly troubled at the saying and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, 'do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and he will be called the son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father, David, and he will rain over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom, there will be no end'. And Mary said to the angel, 'how will this be'"?
Did you fail biology? Just checking if we're all reading the same Bible, that's actually in the original language, that's in the Greek. "Since I am a virgin," and just in case you're wondering, a virgin then meant what a virgin means now. "And the angel answered her, the Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you therefore the child to be born, will be called holy the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth, in her old age, has also conceived a son". This was like before Viagra, anyway and so. "And this is the sixth month with her who was called barren, for nothing will be impossible with God. And Mary said, 'behold, I am the servant of the Lord, let it be to me, according to your word'. And the angel departed from her".
Now, this is the amazing story of the announcement of Jesus' birth. And often we just kind of flip over and we can miss so much power that's in this text, when we just like read through it quickly. But what I love about this, is here is this ordinary girl. Now we know in biblical times young women were betrothed to be married when they were teenagers and so it's highly likely that Mary was somewhere probably around 15 years of age. Now, I have a 15 year old so this ain't going to happen but this was a different time and so Mary this teenage girl, she's probably excited gets up this morning and she's thinking about her wedding, you know, she's thinking about what food they're going to have, what drinks they're going to have, where everyone's going to be seated, she's kind of in marriage mode, and then an angel of the Lord appears.
Now you have to know that this is going to be interesting, when Luke starts his narrative with the fact that an angel of the Lord has appeared. Now angels of the Lord didn't appear regularly in scripture, let alone to teenage girls, you know, something exciting is going to happen. And so at this point, you know, he comes to her, and she's just an ordinary girl. There's nothing in here that leads us to think that there was something extraordinary about Mary, she was a normal girl, in a normal place, a place that nobody would even kind of be thinking about that she can, you know, the angel of the Lord came to this place, nobody's thinking there's anything majorly important about this place. This girl is a normal girl going through what a normal Jewish girl would be going through, she's betrothed, she's ready to get married.
See, often we think when God is going to use us that he only uses extraordinary people. That he uses really, really special people, that are highly gifted, that are highly talented, that live in really, really important cities and that, you know, maybe have got a great education, are highly connected have got great resources. But the thing that I have discovered, and we've seen throughout scripture, and I've seen in my own life, is that God has only ever used ordinary people to do extraordinary things. Because it's not really about how ordinary we are, it's about how extraordinary God is. And when you understand that God is extraordinary, then you can believe that God can take an ordinary human being like me and like you with our ordinary stories, and that he can work his supernatural power through our lives and do something extraordinary with a very ordinary life. And that's what we see in these texts, that God took an ordinary girl, in an ordinary city, he anointed her and he gave her extraordinary power to fulfill an extra ordinary assignment. I mean, she was chosen to deliver God to our generation.
Now, dare I suggest that you and I, who are filled with a Spirit of God, we too are called to carry God to our world. That God has given us an assignment not unlike the assignment he gave to Mary. Now you and I are not going to bear God incarnate in our womb, been there done that, Mary did that, thank God, we don't have to birth God. But what we do is we carry the spirit of the living God, the same spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead, lives on the inside of you and me and we have called to, we are called to bring him into our world. You know, on the other side of the screen, you're just sitting here watching this program today and you're going, "Man, I'm just kind of eating my popcorn and drinking my coke and I'm flicking through the channels and I've got this crazy Australian lady on the screen telling me that God wants to do extraordinary things in my life". Absolutely and you're probably thinking, I'm so ordinary. There's nothing unusual about me. I am just so normal. But I'm here to tell you today that God has chosen an ordinary person just like you to do something extraordinary with your life on the planet.
That's what God does. That's how God operates. And so she was an extended an invitation to carry God to her world. And God is extending an invitation to every one of us as Christ followers, when he filled us with his spirit, all of us who follow Jesus Christ, the Bible tells us that we have been sealed with the Spirit of God until the day of redemption. And we are sent by God to our world to carry him to our world. You might think God, really? You would use me? Didn't you have some sort of better option? Well, I don't know why God chose us, but he did. He obviously wanted to show off because if anybody kind of looks at us, they're like, "Really, it cannot be her". And I'm thinking, I know, when people say to me, "Christine, you are just like," I like, know I disappoint people, sometimes they come and pick me up at the airport, because you know, I've been, I'm going to speak at a conference and because they either see me on TV or they see me on a big screen, they're expecting something a lot bigger than a five foot two little thing like me, and I get off at the airport and I see that kind of look on their faces and I go, "Look, I know, I know, I don't know why God chose me. But this is it, this is it".
I'm the only thing I've got going for me is God and the only thing you've got going for you is God. But one of the greatest things is when you come to that realization that you know, when people say, "Christine, you're not really that good," I go, "I know and you don't know the half of it. If that's the only five complaints you've got about me, I've got 25 more than I could tell you about my limitations". But it's never about what I'm not, it's about who he is and he is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above and beyond anything any of us could ever ask, hope or think, God always comes to ordinary people. They're the only type of people that exist. In our celebrity culture, and our culture of idolatry, where we love to put people up. And we just think everyone is so much better than us, the truth is, God only ever creates ordinary people. The only person that is God is God. The only person that is supernatural is God. The only one that is extraordinary is God. The rest of us have got two arms, two legs, two eyes, two ears, a mouth and a nose, this is it. And God wants to do a divine assignment in and through all of our lives.
Now, the fact is, while Mary was getting ready, she's just thinking I'm going to get married. She's just an ordinary girl waking up. God knows that she's got more capacity. She's got the capacity to grow, to birth God into her world. I want to remind you today that there's more in you than you realize. That you can actually increase your personal capacity. That you can actually grow to where you need to go. See the girl that received the divine assignment was not the same girl that birthed Jesus, there was a lot more to her nine months later. I want you to know that as a Christian, we continually grow. We go from faith to faith. We go from glory to glory. We go from strength to strength. This is not it, you don't have to just accept, "Well, this is my lot in life, this is all there is". We're on an ongoing, I'm committed to an ongoing journey of growth and development. I'm 51 years old, and I just started a master's degree because I want to keep growing. I want to keep learning.
I started a master's in leadership and evangelism and people say, "Chris, why have you done that? You know, you've been evangelizing for 31 years, you lead a global organization through A21. You lead a global movement through propel women. Why would you want to keep learning"? Well, because I want to keep growing because if this is it, I may as well die now. Because the fact is there's got to be more, otherwise, if this was the whole goal, I do not intend to just sit in a rocking chair for the rest of my life and go, you know, I'm only 51 years young and so the fact is that there is still more ahead. And I've only had 31 years of ministry thus far, so I still got at least another half to go and I want my second half to be more fruitful than my first half.
I'm going to be like Caleb, who at 85 said to Joshua, "I am not retiring. There is no 401k for me, you know that Hebron? That's what Moses promised me. I'm as young now as I was then, now give me this mountain, that's my inheritance". I'm determined to be a super granny for Jesus, I'm telling you, I'm going to keep going. My kids are like, "Mom, take a chill pill. Mom it's so embarrassing". I'm like, "Kids, it is my goal to have you run to keep up with me". Because let me say the more I walk with Jesus, the more I know Jesus, the less I want to slow down. The closer I get to that finish line, the faster I want to get, the harder I want to run, the more of Jesus I want to attain, there is always more and that's why I love it.
You thought your time was over and you missed out. You think you know what, Christine I wasted my life, I'm so old now and my greatest days are behind me, my greatest opportunities are behind me, my gifts and talents they were sort of, I just left them to lie dormant, but God made you turn this program on and this moment to remind you that your days are not over and your latter days can be greater than your former days, if you choose to put your life in the hands of the living God, if you simply ask God for his supernatural power, his supernatural anointing, God will open doors that no man can shut. God will bring opportunities before you that you think that we're left behind because God can make a way where there is no way. He is still the God the parts of the Red Seas, he is still the God that tears down Jericho walls, impossible is where God starts.
Miracles are what God does. God is in the miracle working business. He can do that for every single one of us, it is what our God does. And so he turns up to Mary and says, "I'm going to use you". You know, I feel a lot like Mary. There is no way, there's ordinary girls on the planet and then there's below ordinary and I rate in the below ordinary. A lot of people that see me now at this stage and see us leading A21 and doing what I do with propel, they kind of look around and go, "Well Christine, you must have been born with a silver spoon in your mouth". But my story is the antithesis of any of that. At least Mary was an ordinary Jewish girl. My life was even less than ordinary. I found out you know, I grew up in a home in Sydney, Australia. I was the daughter of second generation migrant Greeks and this was before, my big fat Greek wedding when it was not cool to be Greek in Australia.
I was very, very marginalized, because of my ethnicity, and it was pre-multiculturalism, so a lot of people didn't understand the immigrant experience. And so at school we were mocked and ridiculed because we ate different foods, you know, the Australian kids would come to school with Vegemite sandwiches and we would have feta cheese and garlic sandwiches and you know, so people would kind of just mock us, we smelt a little bit different. We talked a little bit different, I didn't speak fluent English until I was five and I went to school Greek is my first language, so I had a thick accent and you know, kids can be really mean to each other and really mock and ridicule you, when you don't understand something, you often ridicule something or you make someone seem like an other, because you just don't understand their culture and you don't understand their tradition.
Well, I was on the receiving end of that, in a really negative way. I also grew up in a culture where women were not highly esteemed. And basically, you know, my parents thought, awesome, you give birth to a baby girl, and she's going to be one lean, mean breeding machine, you know, that would be it and it was awesome. I wanted to be a wife and a mother but that's not the only thing I wanted to do. Somewhere deep down, I knew that there was more for me, but I was not in an environment that I was encouraged to pursue more. It was kind of like an, you know, back in the day when I was growing up, it was always the men that was going to do something significant and the wife was going to be a good wife and a good mother and Christine as long as you know how to cook and clean and wash and iron, that's all the skills you need in life and yet deep down, I desperately knew that there was more, I wanted to study I wanted to learn, I wanted to change the world, I didn't know what that meant, but I wanted to do something.
And I remember just from a young girl, my family would always say, "Christine, why can't you be normal"? But I don't know, I don't know why I can't be normal, I want to be normal. And so, you know, it was kind of like that experience and then pretty much most, for many years of my life, I experienced sexual abuse at the hands of several men. And that really messes with you. It really messes with your whole sense of identity. I never went from one stage of development to the other in any healthy way, there was a lot of developmental wounding done. I built a lot of defense mechanisms to protect myself. Well, what that meant was that I was a very angry young woman 'cause anger is a big defense mechanism.
I was very bitter and sometimes you walk around full of bitterness and unforgiveness, because you want to keep people away and it kind of is, makes you feel like you're protecting yourself but you're really damaging yourself, and you build walls around you to protect yourself. But those walls eventually become a prison that keep you locked in from relationships, and that's what I was like, I was so full of bitterness, so full of shame, so full of unforgiveness, because that's just kind of what happens to girls that have been abused for so long. And so I was that kind of young woman and then when I was 33 years old, two weeks before my 33rd birthday, I got a phone call from my brother George, because when you're Greek all your brothers are George, Nico, Spiro, so anyway, and George called me and he said, "Christine, I just got a letter from the government and it says that I've been adopted".
Now when he said that I started laughing because you know, when you're growing up, you always say to your siblings, you're adopted your mother's from mars, you were, we're not related, well, but then when they tell you, you are, you suddenly get defensive. And I'm like, "No, you weren't, and go call the government and tell them they made a mistake". Well, they called the government, and this government department and a few minutes later, he calls me back crying, and says, "Christine, it's true, they tell me the name of my biological mother, my biological father, when I was immunized, they have a whole file on my life". I couldn't believe this. And I raced over to my mother's house because George said, "I'm going to go and talk to mom". She was at that time 61 and my father had died when I was 19. So I'm thinking this thing could escalate really quickly.
My mother's kept this 35 years secret from us and if you know anything about Greeks, they are very volatile, they act first and think later, and I'm thinking anything could happen. And so my brother goes to my mom's I drive in, I get in at the moment that my brother is giving my mother this piece of paper from the government. I saw my mother take it and her whole face changed, I thought this is true. My mom starts crying, and she says, "George, I'm so sorry. All of the adoption laws in Australia in the 60s, they were all closed adoptions. We never thought you would find out". And so one of the last things I promised your dad before he died was that I would never tell you. So I tore up all of the paperwork and I never thought you would find out.
And so you could imagine in that moment, this 35 year family secret, my brother was crying, you know, my mother was crying, the dog was crying, snots flying, you know, it's all kind of happening. I didn't know what to do, so like any kind of Greek daughter, food is the answer to life, the universe and everything in the middle of a crisis. I think, I'm going to the kitchen to cook and so I thought baklava will solve everything and so I'm cooking and then my mother comes in, a few minutes later, and she said these words to me, she says, "Christina, since we're telling the truth today, do you want to know the whole truth"? And in that moment, two weeks before my 33rd birthday, my whole life changed. I don't even know why I said this, initially, I turned around I went, "I've been adopted too," and with tears streaming down my mom's face, she just nodded, yes.
I was stunned, like, stunned. I didn't say anything for a few minutes, which, like, in and of itself is a miracle greater than the resurrection of Jesus, but anyway, so I didn't say anything, and then, well, the first thing that I did say, I kind of looked up and went, "Am I still Greek"? And I though, you know, I was ridiculed for a lot of years for being Greek and I wanted to make sure there I was a reason for all of that persecution but in the next moment, right there, in my Greek orthodox mother's kitchen, the next thing I said, I went, "Oh, well, mom, before I was formed in my mother's womb, who's ever womb that was, he knew me. He needed together my innermost parts, he fashioned all of my days before his yet there was one of them".
And ladies, that day, every fact that I thought to be true about my life changed. What my name was, what my history was, and you know what, I still don't know the facts surrounding my conception. To this day I don't know was I either result of a one night stand? Was I conceived as the result of an ongoing adulterous affair? I don't even know if I was conceived as the result of a rape. But although I do not know the facts, I've discovered that there's a force on the planet much higher than the facts and it's called the truth of the Word of God.
And Ephesians chapter two, verse 10, does not say that I am the workmanship of a rape or an adulterous affair or a one night stand, it says that I am his workmanship, recreated in Christ Jesus for good works, that God prepared beforehand that I should walk in them. And I need you to know that there are no ordinary people on this earth, that you can be like me, you can start bad and you can finish good in and through a relationship with Jesus Christ. You were created on purpose for a purpose. God has only ever used ordinary people to do extraordinary things, your greatest days are still ahead of you, in Jesus name, in Jesus name, amen. Amen!