[00:00:00] hello everybody. What’s up. Welcome back to another episode of hear & now podcast. By the time you guys are listening to this, it will be 2021. So happy new year. I have to like get in the mindset of recording for next year, but I’m so excited to welcome miss Christina, chase onto the show today to talk to us about her story.
And she’s pretty inspiring if I do say so myself, so hi, Christina. Welcome. Thank you for inviting me. It’s good to be here. I’m so glad. And I can’t wait to hear your story. So why don’t you introduce yourself to the audience? Tell us where you’re from. All the things you want to snack. Okay. Well, my name is Christina Chase and I’m from New Hampshire.
I’ve lived here my whole life. In fact, I still live in the same house that my parents brought me to when I was born. That’s crazy. And there’s a reason for that. My parents are my caregivers. I have a progressive genetic disease. That’s pretty much a muscle wasting disease, so I’ve [00:01:00] never walked. And every year I get progressively weaker and I lose strength and.
So now I can’t do things anymore. Like, Feed myself or read the book and turn the pages. So I’m very, very dependent on others for care and living with my mom and my dad who are amazing. Self-giving people have to give a shout out to them every time I do an interview because they really are just amazing and generous, wonderful people.
So I live here. And I write, I’ve always found that I love to express myself in words because I find words just the language to be so beautiful. And I also knew that words, whenever something that were going to be taken away from me in particular, no ability. Yes. The ability to use my arms. Yes. But not my voice, my ability to express myself.
And I’m just so [00:02:00] very grateful for that. So I have a blog. I fit in the book, pretty normal things, like be with family and friends. And I love junior logical. I have three cats and a pretty good life. That’s amazing. So why don’t you tell us a little bit more about, were you born with this disability or is this something that you developed over time?
Yes, it’s genetic. Basically my parents were both carriers, but they had no idea. So I was a very healthy little baby, but when I was about nine months old and my legs were floppy, my mother noticed, Hey, they’re not locking on. We hold her up and she’s not trying to stand. So that began a long series of tests.
And on my second birthday, like on my second birthday, my parents would give him the diagnosis of spinal muscular atrophy. He just, what I have type two. And the prognosis at that time [00:03:00] was that I wouldn’t live to be a teenager because severe scoliosis occurs. I bet you want me to see if we can see, I have severe scoliosis.
My head is flopped over, hunched back and just to eat, to lift it up. And also my respiratory system is compromised because of the reduced. Room in my chest and my body and also the weakening of the muscles. So because of that, a lot of kids back then, or I’ll say it was back in the 1970s, they really didn’t live very long.
Thankfully there’s been much progress and taking care of kids like me. I think that back then, I used to just put children with disabilities. Sort of aside, they would daft home. They would be well cared for and loved, but they would just stay home and be kept comfortable. And so they weren’t as active and involved in a world.
And I think that really does do [00:04:00] something to life expectancy. So I was very active in my childhood. I can never lock as I said, but I went to school as one of the first kids in high school. In a wheelchair, they had to get a special class for me. So, you know, it’s a difficult disease, but with the love and support that I’ve had, I’ve had many blessings in my life.
That’s amazing. I mean, I talk about my story sometimes of having to have accommodations, but you said that you’re in a wheelchair, like I’m sure that that is just 10 times greater, but it’s so inspiring to see people who can go through childhood and still come out as functional living adults later on in their lives.
What kind of inspired you to write your book based on your story? Well, I’ve always wanted to write a book. I am two very bad things. I’m a perfectionist and a procrastinator, not a good combination, but as I’ve grown up, [00:05:00] grown in my faith and in, in 2013, I made a consecration to the sacred heart of Jesus.
And that really, my life changed unexpectedly. After that I’ll go. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. And I started working weekly blog and I had many followers who were asking me to just put my reflections together in a book. And I thought, okay, this could be my first book. I will put some sections together and do that.
And I love to write about being human. Because that’s had something, of course, that we all have in common, it’s universal the humanity of a highs. So I’m just in awe that I’m even alive, that we exist is such a wonder to me. And there have been times when I’ve contemplated God existence Christ God’s choice to become a human being, to become one of us.
[00:06:00] And so I started to draw on the reflections that I had written that had that as their theme, and then found myself writing more and more, and then drawing from my own life as a very small little human being and reflecting on my little life. And the little life that caught on 90 chose to live in the flesh.
That’s how the book started to take shape. And the other thing is that, as you said, being a child with a disability, we have some stereotypes that we have to deal with a lot. And one that I seem to have to deal with quite often, probably because I was raised in the Catholic church. Is that I was closer to God because of my disability and people often call, uh, children with special needs children with special needs.
That was special that because I was smiling and in a wheelchair, I must be [00:07:00] a little Saint and I was scared to go straight to heaven because anyone who knew me personally knew that I certainly was not a little thick, very healing and flying just like anybody else. So, how do you feel like that stereotype and then not having received much education in Catholic faith first because it became a physically difficult for me to attend CCD.
I don’t think anyone really felt that I needed to grow in understanding of matters of faith because I, again, I was a little angel. I was going to go straight to Harvard. You guys look at all day, I get a deal with them. My suffering, it gave me a lot of difficulties with understanding myself, why am I disabled?
What does it mean? What does God expect of me? Did God give me this disease? Because he runs me, especially. How does that work? So I found that as I was writing the book, I [00:08:00] explored many of those questions as well, and wanted to share with others. The understanding and the insights that were given to me that helped me to understand the reality of God’s love the reality of being human.
That none of us are perfect. Well, I’ll quit bold in some way, because none of us walked through this life I needed. None of us can stand in the presence of God on our own. And been giving some insights into that, into why disability exists, why limitations, et cetera, why something exists and how God’s love is shown so profoundly and wonderfully through God’s intimate choice to live a human life, to become one of us and share.
In our humanity to experience those limitations, a little helpless newborn, [00:09:00] completely helpless in the wound before that wrapped in swaddling clothes, that he could not move. He was in mobile and he had. Poverty and rejection and ridicule and betrayal, and course excruciating pain. And he chose to live all those things that we not dislike about our human lions, but he chose to enjoy them with us, for love of us, and to show us that we can be transformed to every aspect of our lions and truly live.
Fully human, fully alive in God’s love. Which is without limit and completely powerful. That is such a beautiful testimony. And one of the things that I’ve been reminded of constantly this advent season, particularly is just how that innocent baby, how much he really means to the world. And I think it’s something that we often think of in passing and we don’t [00:10:00] really.
Put into perspective and enough. And so just the innocence of a baby and he just comes to be this beautiful person and King, and God is just mind blowing to me. And so I was wondering, as you’re telling your story, did you ever find yourself being angry with God for giving you a disability? Yeah. I don’t remember being specifically angry at odd.
Although I have definitely been overcome with emotions and wanting a different life and wishing that things could be different and things could be easier that I could just swing my legs off my bed in the morning and stand up and take care of myself. And it seems like such a simple thing. And then all the other things that my friends were experiencing, falling in love and going to college and getting jobs and getting married and having kids by that time though, I [00:11:00] had matured a little bit in my understanding, but yeah, as a teenager, I, any young adult in my twenties, just like so much frustration and anger, but.
Not anger at God. I don’t really remember ever being angry at God, which is kind of strange that may come from my parents. My mother sometimes would be asked, have you ever thought my knee? I is this happening to me? And she said, no, why not me? I mean, we know that these things happen. That again, nobody’s perfect.
And we all have different trials and tribulations that we enjoy in life. Life is full of misery is that’s for sure. So we’re not so special that we’re going to be spared from the fullness of being human and the fullness of being human includes pain. So, because I always knew that I was loved. I had that from my parents.
I always knew that I was deeply loved and worthy [00:12:00] of life. And I always had a great love for life. Just an on wonder, the beauty of creation that I wasn’t specifically angry at God, or that I did have a large break. I said anger and rage. In other ways, did you ever find yourself perhaps straying from guys that maybe you would have needed just to redirection back to maybe Catholicism?
Yes. Oh, absolutely. As I was saying about not really having a very good Catholic education at all, I remember writing Jesus with glitter and glue, but I told him it’s never really receiving any good catechesis. I definitely had a lot of questions. I have a very curious mind and I did stray. I didn’t think of it as Strang though.
All I wanted was the truth. I just wanted to know what is real. I love life, but what is life? Is there such a thing as God am I just believing [00:13:00] in God? Because I’m afraid of dying and I want the comfort of heaven. Do I believe in God? Because. I want a story that makes my little life seem more important.
Somehow I was afraid that that’s why I was continuing to believe in God and trying to grapple with it. It’s like, why am I trying, what did I just stopped believing in God? It’s not something I recommend anyone to do, but it is what I did. I became actually an atheist for a short period. Not out of anger, I think is probably curious to some people, but not out of anger, but just real, real love, real love for life.
And for wanting to know the truth, to really wanting to know the truth. So I was thoroughly like completely got every habit of. Belief in faith, out of my, my mind and out of my [00:14:00] routine. And I didn’t tell anyone about it because why? I mean, there was no point, cause I didn’t really believe at that time that there was meaning in life.
It was whatever you wanted it to be. I could see myself as the center of the universe, the whole reason, the university and everything that happened before was just prelude and everything that happens after it’s just epilogue and everything that’s happening around me. It’s just background. And I have a selfish tendency, probably we all do, and I could really explore that and just let it all out as an atheist.
After less than a year, I was sitting there. I still in quiet and he’s a great barber, just enjoying the beauty of the summit day. And it’s kind of like peeling back the layers of the sound, just as a fun sort of exercise. And so going past the sounds of the birds and the breeze and the insects past the distant traffic, pass the sound in my own head, thinking that there was nothing behind [00:15:00] everything that we see in here, but instead of planning nothing, I just became keenly aware of infinite.
Presence. There were no words because there are no words to describe the true reality of God. I just knew that there was something and I tried to be an atheist after that, but I couldn’t because I just knew it. Wasn’t true. I knew that I had encountered the bare essence of infinite and eternal reality, which we call God.
And so after that, it was about seven years of searching. Like, what am I going to do with this knowledge now that I haven’t, I can’t just be like, Oh, that’s cool. God exists. All right. I mean, how can anyone have an encounter like that and not need to make it a part of my lived daily life? So I tried different religions and I searched in different places.
And each religion had to fit two things that I knew. What true. [00:16:00] Why is that guide is quite as real and true one mysterious. And the other is that life is beautiful because even with all my struggles and tears and pain, I could not believe I knew that life is not a punishment. Life is not a prison. There is goodness.
There’s a good reason that existence exists. So anyway, my story, but to kind of sum it up. Each religion failed in some way, I had rejected Christianity because I didn’t think I wanted to be a Christian. And that was a dead answer. Nope, not true, but it was the last indigent tried and true religions engine wisdom in my list.
So I thought I really want to choose if I am a sincere seeker and love of Jews. I have to explore it. So I read a Catholic, it’s just the beginning of it, just that very first pilot of the catechism of the Catholic church. [00:17:00] And I was just floored by the wisdom, just this universal understanding of life, of existence, of humanity of God.
And I thought, wow, could this be true? The incarnation that God infinite and eternal, you know, I had a real fear of the Lord. You could say. Could God really have chosen to become one of us to enter into the limitations of time and space and share in our human lives and give us an intimate and personal experience and expression of his divine love for us, his reasoning for creating us.
So again, long story, but I decided to choose Christ. And I have just growing in faith and understanding since, and whenever there may be some struggles or doubts popping up, I’d always go back to just that encounter with the reality of God and [00:18:00] that knowledge of infinite love. And I know that Christ is Christ, Israel and Christ is the savior.
Yeah, again, that is just so beautiful. And you’re speaking my language. Cause this past semester I studied metaphysics and the theology of Christ. And really there’s just so much, we don’t know that it’s just not taught unless you actively seek out the truth. And I am a huge proponent of that as well.
What is the truth behind this? What is the real meaning behind this? And no matter what. Even if you try to escape it, you’re still going to come back and find out that the truth is God is real. There’s no doubt about it. And. God is. And like I said, I took metaphysics and that’s the number one thing we learned is that God is, he is existence.
He is essence. He is everything. And I was just like, that is just so powerful as you’re listening to that and [00:19:00] hearing your story and just even learning it for yourself, I was like, wow. You just, you can’t escape from that reality. And I think that it’s just so beautiful because people need to know that truth and it’s just not taught as much as it should be.
And so besides the catechism, were there other things that kind of inspired you to maybe seek the truth further from Catholicism specifically? Well, I decided I really need to become better educated because I saw that a lot of the things that I had thought about Christianity in general, and then you asked the Catholic church in particular were really misconceptions and I probably should be learning more about particular matters of faith.
So I did take some online enrichment courses. At first I heard it’s about creation and just, it was a great course. It was through the university of Notre Dame. They have an online enrichment program called step it’s the, as part of the [00:20:00] McGrath Institute for church life now. So I took some of those courses to tell me better understand, and to grow and to be able to talk with other people who also wanted to learn the truth and about hungry for knowledge.
And also of course he, that desire for knowledge, the understanding that it can never know everything because we are limited. We’re not the creator we’re creatures. We necessarily are limited in order to exist in order to be here. So anything that’s poetic or mystic, I tend to be drawn to that as well.
This year, for an example, I. Red five works from mystics and contemporary. Like Saint Teresa of Avila is in general class and CapitaLand Sienna. My new favorite St. Julian March. I don’t know if many people have heard of prior back revelations or divine love was a great, great insight into, into the reality of God’s love.
That’s incredible. [00:21:00] And you mentioned some of the people that I know too, but I haven’t heard of that other one. So I’ll definitely have to take a look into that, but I think there are so many resources out there that are just not even discovered yet. And I’m personally excited to see it. These modern day saints that we see that we encounter every day, what are their works?
What are their minds and hearts going to speak to us? And so I just wanted to ask another question about your book. How did you come up with the title for that? Because I think it’s really creative. Yeah. I went to a lot of different titles, not the one that said everything that I wanted to say to everybody.
I just want to help people to truly understand that there is goodness in this line. That there’s a reason that we act here and the reason it’s been good, it’s been loved and that the struggles it’s not good, despite the struggles, it’s good with the struggles, the fro mess at night. And so I helped out with a spiritual adoption program in that past some [00:22:00] years ago.
And as part of that, we wrote the development field development here in development. Do you know, so that people would know that the babies that they were paying for. So Atmos food adoption at what stage of development they were in, how amazing human development is and how much, how is that rehab even in the room.
Anyway, I kept coming to this one. It is good that you are here and that is in the Bible. Do classes go up with Jesus about the chance to be here? I say, Lord, it’s good that we are here. So at the very end of the book, not to give away too much, spoiler-y the last line of the book is it’s good to be here.
So that just the title of the book, that in that what I imitations for the difficulties that we encounter, God knows that it’s good that we are here. [00:23:00] That just puts such a cool perspective on life that I feel like a lot of people often don’t think about only kids. Life is hard and there’s no two ways about that.
And especially with this past year alone, where there’s just can struggle after struggle and. I was really trying to focus myself on how can I find the positive, how can I find out that it’s good to be here? And it was just those little moments that you really are like, I can’t put this into a positive perspective, but you can, you have to, there has to be something in every moment that makes it good to be here.
And I think that’s just so beautiful and. Have you really tried to make that your focus after you read the book that it’s a constant reminder for you and not for other people? Well, not everything that I write is really, for me, I feel like this is how God tells me what I need to know. Through my writing through just sitting down and being open [00:24:00] and sort of listening what God wants to reveal.
And so, yeah, I have actually found myself going back to certain parts of the book and going, Oh yeah, I remember that because it is easy. It’s easy to get lost in just the distractions and even the misery of life. And to forget those moments, when we have clarity, Yeah, we, hopefully we have had at least one moment of clarity that we see really the goodness of being here.
Not because we were so happy, happy, joyful in one moment, but because we really experienced, I think, love it. Those are the moments when you really, when you just see an, even an act of kindness that a stranger does for another, or the bravery of certain people and putting their lives on the line for others.
Any little moment of clarity. And I try to remember that and they get it. I have [00:25:00] gone to write books several times, rather writings, even my blog. It’s an ongoing learning process because the truth is mysterious and it’s intimate. And we never stopped learning. We never stopped growing in our relationship with God with one another with ourselves.
Exactly. It’s just this ongoing constant growth process for us, especially because God never changes, but he’s always inspiring us to grow more and more every day. So, do you have any plans to write a second followup book in the future? I have two books that I have in mind that I’m hoping to get to next year.
I’ve already worked on them quite a bit. The first is time from the spiritual adoption program that I mentioned and. Just the amazing development of us when we start from the very, very beginning. And it’s smaller than the period in a sentence. Yeah. Mariak that book would be geared towards junior high and high school students.
So really [00:26:00] just the amazing story of youth is kind of a working title. And then. To to explore for that, my conversion, my journey of faith to broaden and deepen that and to share that with others and hopefully give some hope and encouragement to people out there. Oh, man, that’s going to be so exciting. Oh, I can’t wait to read them when they come out.
But the last thing that I wanted to ask you is, do you have any advice for somebody who is thinking that they’re going through a struggle right now, or a disability that they’re kind of letting me stop them and putting up a roadblock for them? How can they get over that? Yeah. Well, I think the first thing is to understand that we all need help, that there’s nothing wrong with needing help with asking for help.
For not being able to do something to sell. Sometimes we think, well, if I can’t do it on my own, then I don’t want to do it. Or it’s too hard. I don’t want to ask anybody for help, but everybody needs help. There’s no [00:27:00] shame in that. So if you can’t do something in a normal way or quote unquote normal way, for instance, I can’t actually write, I can’t hold a pen in my hand and put it to paper.
I can’t even type, I can’t move my arms, but I can speak. And so thankfully we live in a time of great technology. It gives us so much assistance in so many ways. So I use a dictation system and I’d never want to fall into that stereotype. That word was given to me where it’s enough that I just smile in some ways it is enough that I just smile.
Sometimes I need a stranger and I just easily in genuinely smile and I’ve had people say, your smile is exactly what I needed today. It usually it makes them look at their own lives, in a different perspective and have more gratitude. If you have gratitude, then you have joy. So sometimes that isn’t that, but there are things that you can do and be [00:28:00] active.
And contribute. In other ways, if you have a town for Canadian it’s people, as you do for a rating, find a way, ask for help, do whatever you can mindful that guide will always help you become who he created you to be. Absolutely 100% agree. And you know, the thing that I always remind myself of are two Bible verses the first is Esther four 14.
So perhaps this is a moment for what you have been created as a second is Psalm one 30, nine, 14. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. And I think those two are just the perfect embodiments of what we need to remember about ourselves and our worth. But of course not being afraid to ask for help is a big problem that I’m sure a lot of us have including myself.
But if you can’t do it, then nobody else can. And so of course you need the help. You need the help to get yourself through. So I wanted to ask, last of all, is where can people find you? How can they find your book? Where can they find your blog? All of that. [00:29:00] So I blog weekly at author, Christina, chase.com.
And my book is. Through Sophia Institute, press your fact that ax a FIA institute.com or Amazon and Barnes and noble. Um, the online retailers I’m also on LinkedIn and Twitter. You can find me on Instagram and Facebook after Christina and chase. Um, communicating with people and yeah, I hope that people can really check out my blog.
Follow me. I always loved that. I also have a YouTube channel too. All of those links will be down in the show notes below, but Christina, thank you so much for joining us today on here now, podcast. Thank you very much. You too. Thank you guys so much for tuning in this week. Don’t forget to subscribe and like this episode and of course, follow Christina on all of her social medias and we will see you guys back next time on here now, podcast.
Bye-bye [00:30:00] .