Cinder Girl: When God Birthed a Dream, No Man Can Take It

Cinder Girl: When God Birthed a Dream, No Man Can Take It

As a young girl, Christina Meredith was abused by her mother and raped between the ages of 9-16. Then she entered the foster care system as a teen. What Christina did not know is one day her pain would help others find healing. Listen to her story to hear that the Lord has birthed in you, dreams no man or circumstance can take away from you. Hear more Christina and her book "Cinder Girl."

20 Minutes • 22 days ago

Episode Notes

Greenelines with

Dr. Steve Greene

Guest: Christina Meredith

As a young girl, Christina Meredith was abused by her mother and raped between the ages of 9-16. Then she entered the foster care system as a teen. What Christina did not know is one day her pain would help others find healing.

Listen to her story to hear that the Lord has birthed in you, dreams no man or circumstance can take away from you. Hear more Christina and her book "Cinder Girl."

Introduction

Dr. Steve Greene: This is the Greenelines podcast. I'm Steve Greene on the Charisma Podcast Network. I'd like to tell you about a series that's available to you now through Charisma. Many of you have seen bits and pieces of maybe one of these books, The Deborah Anointing, The Esther Anointing, The Anna Anointing, and The Ruth Anointing, plus a free bonus all in the Solid Rock Series. You're going to get all four anointing books by Michelle McClain-Walters, plus a Charisma subscription and to Life in the Spirit devotions for only $36. I want to say that part of it again. You're going to get all four of those anointing books by Michelle McClain Walters. Plus, you'll receive a Charisma subscription, a subscription to Charisma magazine, and then you'll get two Life in a Spirit devotionals for only $36. Now, you can find this at charismamag.com/anoint. Or, you can just look right here, down below this podcast in the show notes and you'll see the link to charismamag.com/anoint. I know you'll love these books, and I know you'll love the free bonuses and a subscription to Charisma magazine. Now let's get to the show.

Dr. Steve Greene: My guest today is a foster care activist, mental health advocate, national speaker and founder of the nonprofit Christina Meredith Foundation. She's a former homeless foster youth, who was later named Mrs. California. Christina today dedicates herself to protecting children from abuse, and she's an advocate for foster care reform. I'm excited to introduce you to her today on this podcast. First of all her book, Cinder Girl, this is a memoir of her life, her journey out of the ashes to a life of hope. Her name is Christina Meredith. Christina, I want to start a little bit different way than normal. I want to go to where you are now. We will work our way backwards. I want people to get to know you for what you're doing. Then we'll talk about your journey forward. I'd like you to tell me a little bit about your work with your foundation, the Christina Meredith Foundation. What is your mission? And what are you hoping to accomplish with this foundation?

·         CinderGirl: My Journey Out of the Ashes to a Life of Hope

Christina Meredith: The Christina Meredith Foundation, there are a few missions that we have. One is the reformation of foster care in its entirety. I travel the country as a national speaker. I share my mission and that passion and two, easy in the sense that they're doable pillars that we can implement right now in the foster care system to make immediate change and have immediate results, breaking the cycle of poverty and abuse. One of the first things is mandatory trauma therapy. I talked about trauma therapy a lot, I talk about PTSD a lot. There's more foster care children that have higher rates of PTSD than our war veterans. I'm also a soldier in the United States Army, so I know quite a bit about that. So, trauma therapies are a must and that will provide immediate results for orphans and for displaced youth. The second thing is mandatory after-school programs for foster youth of high school age. Give them structure, purpose, camaraderie. There's no reason why the churches of America can't supply his need, can't fund these kids going to after-school programs so they can get out of the darkness that kind of snags them at this pivotal age. So, I travel and speak about that. Obviously, reformation is very messy, and it's not going to be easy. It's going to take decades, but those two things could relatively be implemented quickly and provide immediate results. So, that’s one thing that my foundation does. The other thing is that we're building facilities that have charter schools and dormitories for high-school age foster youth. We will work with the kids who've been emancipated, who need to finish their diplomas, who want to go to college. We have a special facility just for teen moms. Sixty percent of 16-year-old girls in foster care end up pregnant and so my facility partners with other organizations in the community to provide trauma therapy, to provide doctor services, to provide educational services, to provide everything a child would need to get a stable, nuclear family home. My facility provides that. It's all about community effort and community outreach and partnering with other reliable organizations to provide those needs and a wraparound service environment. So, I'm really excited about what my foundation is doing and where we're headed in the next three 5-10 years.

Christina’s Story

·         On CBN: Neglected Child Turned Beauty Queen Aims to Help Youth

·         On Fox News: I Overcame Aging Out of Foster Care, Not Every Kid is So Lucky

·         On Jacksonville.com: UNF Student Goes From Homelessness to Miss California to U.S. Army

Dr. Steve Greene: You say that you're in the Army. So, how did you Miss America get to the Army?

Christina Meredith: Well, I did four years of ROTC in high school. It was always a dream of mine to be an officer in the military. That's all I ever wanted to do. And my senior year, when I was homeless, I applied for the ROTC scholarship and didn't get it and I was devastated. My grades were horrible academically, I struggled. I was an excellent athlete I was captain of the cross country team, a captain in track and field. I excelled in athleticism, but academics, I struggled to learn and to read for a really long time. So, I didn't get the scholarship. But the Lord is faithful and allowed me to push into that dream. I enlisted a few years ago and with the intent to turn my enlistment into commission and I'm doing it now. I'm part of the ROTC program at the University of Florida and I'll commission in December. So, I'm turning my enlistment into commission and I'm ecstatic that God would take a dream that I had at 14 years old and … it took me the long way around, but that's usually how he does it. I'm a servant leader in and out of uniform and I take it very seriously. I love serving my country and I love being a part of the greatest fighting force known to man. I take it very seriously and with all humility. As a servant leader, it's my job to protect and to lead and to do all these things with sober mind. Like I said, in and out of uniform, whether it's in the community doing foster care work, whether it's working during a hurricane or whatever crisis is going on or going downrange, that's, that's my job. I love serving my country.

Dr. Steve Greene: So, what is your duty, what are you currently doing for the army?

·         Book Christina Meredith for Speaking

Christina Meredith: I'm with signal intelligence and it's pretty cool. I love it. We support troops on the ground and we support our combat units to make sure that they have secure communications or whatever they need to function on the battle field. So, I love being support. I love being able to make sure that the mission is accomplished by what we can provide to our men on the ground.

Dr. Steve Greene: So, we find you today stable, a contributing member of society, happy, healthy. It sure didn't start out that way. The foster care system was hard on you. Why don't you tell us how that all got started.

Christina Meredith: Well, my mother had an affair with a lawyer for the sheriff's department and they hatched a plan to get rid of my father on a trumped-up charge of spousal abuse. And, they did. My mother and father were married for 15 years and had eight kids. But the force of the affair literally was overnight. My father was put in jail and they walked him away. That's when all the abuse started getting really bad. My mother had started abusing me very young, but it wasn't as crippling as when my father got taken away. He was the buffer for me and my mother. So, after he got taken away, the abuse just got worse.

Dr. Steve Greene: Who was abusing you? And what age were you?

Christina Meredith: My mother and her boyfriend, who turned out to be her second husband; my mother's brother; the whole family, it was just kind of a family affair. I was nine when my started being raped, but my mother started physically abusing me when I was a toddler and it just got exponentially worse as I got older. So, I'd say the worst part of the abuse is from 9 to 16. The unique story about me in the foster care system is DCS and police and social workers were coming to our house checking us kids for bruises weekly. I mean there was abuse report after abuse report, neglect report after neglect report, and it would end up being nothing because my mother was with a man who was so powerful in our community. So, I should have been taken into custody and into care years before I actually was. I wasn't pulled out of my abusive, tormenting home until I was 16. So, I was placed in foster care at 16. However, my mother did farm us out into different homes well before I lived in different homes. She would bring us to different homes every few months and so I moved around a lot before I was put in care.

Dr. Steve Greene: Some of the abuse is not just physical, it's emotional, and name calling. You were called the horrible names for most of your life. You had no self-image, right?

Christina Meredith: No, I was invisible. I was invisible and I didn't have a voice and I was unloved and unwanted and it was known. When she would use my siblings to abuse me, she would force them to abuse me. I think that was probably the most painful.

Dr. Steve Greene: What's singled you out? Why did she pick on you?

Christina Meredith: Everyone asks that and the only thing I can ever respond with is I've done years of trauma therapy, so I've dealt with my junk, praise the Lord. I'm a whole, healthy person who can love and who can be a functioning human being, so praise the Lord. Deal with your junk, don't have it mid-life crisis because that's what a mid-life crisis is. So, with years of therapy, they've all been through the same thing. My siblings are all dark haired, dark skin like my Italian father. I am like my mother. My mother's fair-skinned, strawberry blonde hair, green eyes. I'm blonde hair, light skin, blue eyes. So, they said because I was so markedly different from my siblings that she projected onto me because I reminded her of herself. My mother grew up in an abusive home. The cycle of poverty and abuse is a real thing. So, as an adult, if you don't recognize you where you come from, you will perpetuate that cycle. And unfortunately, my mother was a broken individual. She did some horrible things to my father, bless his heart. She did some horrible things to us kids out of her own brokenness. So, she just perpetuated the cycle and singled me out because I reminded herself.

Dr. Steve Greene: You have not seen for her years. According to your book, you haven't seen her. Have you heard anything about her?

Christina Meredith: I have not seen her since the day I was removed that Thanksgiving Day at 16. I haven't seen her. I haven't heard from her. Some of my siblings still have relationships with her, but obviously we don't talk about it.

Dr. Steve Greene: But she knows you are out and producing?

Christina Meredith: I don't I really don't know. I would think she's probably seen me on TV the last couple weeks on my national tour, and I'm sure she's seen me. But as I talked about my book, I forgive my mother, I set her free to the care of the Lord. I pray that she finds healing and she finds wholeness. What the enemy tried to do to destroy me, the Lord only used to build me and make me a strong fortress for his work.

Dr. Steve Greene: So, literally you spent some time homeless and sleeping in your car. How long? What got you there? And how long did last?

Christina Meredith: That got me there because I aged out of foster care. So, when I turned 18, the first semester my senior year, I left the foster care system. I was really tired of people coming to visit me and the visitation and just all of the just awful feeling like I didn't belong in the home that I was in and feeling like I was tearing apart this family that was like, normal. They were a normal family and I wasn't normal. So, it was just too much. So, I left and I started couch surfing. I surfed on couches my entire senior year. When I graduated, I bought a car and moved into my car. I read my Bible every day and I worked two, three jobs. I saved up all my money and I believe that the Lord was going to do something worthwhile and He did. In my homelessness, with this living in that car, and taking showers with beach access and living in that despair and that crippling poverty, the Lord birthed in me and chiseled out of me things that no man can take away from me, dreams that nobody can steal from me. Some of them have come true. So that's why I always talk about how the Lord's given you a purpose and dreams. You know it and you work towards that no matter what the circumstance looks like, no matter what it looks like around you. You keep fighting for that dream because it's going to come it's going to come to pass. It might take a decade. The Lord told me I was going to write a book when I was homeless. I was 19. I'm 32. I'm on a national book tour. It’s going to take a minute sometimes, but you can't quit. You can't quit. You’ve got to just trust the Lord.

Connect with Christina

·         Christinameredith.org

·         On Twitter

·         Christina Meredith Foundation

Greenelines Host Information

Dr. Steve Greene is the Publisher and Executive Vice President of Charisma Media. Dr. Greene received his Ph.D. in marketing from Memphis State University. He has worked in television station management and worked directly with over 80 stations throughout the United States. He has worked in marketing capacities with McDonald’s, Jiffy Lube, and Stanley Steemer. He has owned restaurants, a national advertising agency and a syndicated marketing research firm. Dr. Greene has served as the Dean of the College of Business and professor of marketing at Oral Roberts University. He is also the author of Love Leads, which dispels the myths and misconceptions many have come to accept about leadership.

To learn more about Dr. Steve Greene, connect with him on social media!

Facebook: https://facebook.com/drsgreene/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DrSteveGreene

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dr.stevegreene/

Episode Notes

Greenelines with

Dr. Steve Greene

Guest: Christina Meredith

As a young girl, Christina Meredith was abused by her mother and raped between the ages of 9-16. Then she entered the foster care system as a teen. What Christina did not know is one day her pain would help others find healing.

Listen to her story to hear that the Lord has birthed in you, dreams no man or circumstance can take away from you. Hear more Christina and her book "Cinder Girl."

Introduction

Dr. Steve Greene: This is the Greenelines podcast. I'm Steve Greene on the Charisma Podcast Network. I'd like to tell you about a series that's available to you now through Charisma. Many of you have seen bits and pieces of maybe one of these books, The Deborah Anointing, The Esther Anointing, The Anna Anointing, and The Ruth Anointing, plus a free bonus all in the Solid Rock Series. You're going to get all four anointing books by Michelle McClain-Walters, plus a Charisma subscription and to Life in the Spirit devotions for only $36. I want to say that part of it again. You're going to get all four of those anointing books by Michelle McClain Walters. Plus, you'll receive a Charisma subscription, a subscription to Charisma magazine, and then you'll get two Life in a Spirit devotionals for only $36. Now, you can find this at charismamag.com/anoint. Or, you can just look right here, down below this podcast in the show notes and you'll see the link to charismamag.com/anoint. I know you'll love these books, and I know you'll love the free bonuses and a subscription to Charisma magazine. Now let's get to the show.

Dr. Steve Greene: My guest today is a foster care activist, mental health advocate, national speaker and founder of the nonprofit Christina Meredith Foundation. She's a former homeless foster youth, who was later named Mrs. California. Christina today dedicates herself to protecting children from abuse, and she's an advocate for foster care reform. I'm excited to introduce you to her today on this podcast. First of all her book, Cinder Girl, this is a memoir of her life, her journey out of the ashes to a life of hope. Her name is Christina Meredith. Christina, I want to start a little bit different way than normal. I want to go to where you are now. We will work our way backwards. I want people to get to know you for what you're doing. Then we'll talk about your journey forward. I'd like you to tell me a little bit about your work with your foundation, the Christina Meredith Foundation. What is your mission? And what are you hoping to accomplish with this foundation?

·         CinderGirl: My Journey Out of the Ashes to a Life of Hope

Christina Meredith: The Christina Meredith Foundation, there are a few missions that we have. One is the reformation of foster care in its entirety. I travel the country as a national speaker. I share my mission and that passion and two, easy in the sense that they're doable pillars that we can implement right now in the foster care system to make immediate change and have immediate results, breaking the cycle of poverty and abuse. One of the first things is mandatory trauma therapy. I talked about trauma therapy a lot, I talk about PTSD a lot. There's more foster care children that have higher rates of PTSD than our war veterans. I'm also a soldier in the United States Army, so I know quite a bit about that. So, trauma therapies are a must and that will provide immediate results for orphans and for displaced youth. The second thing is mandatory after-school programs for foster youth of high school age. Give them structure, purpose, camaraderie. There's no reason why the churches of America can't supply his need, can't fund these kids going to after-school programs so they can get out of the darkness that kind of snags them at this pivotal age. So, I travel and speak about that. Obviously, reformation is very messy, and it's not going to be easy. It's going to take decades, but those two things could relatively be implemented quickly and provide immediate results. So, that’s one thing that my foundation does. The other thing is that we're building facilities that have charter schools and dormitories for high-school age foster youth. We will work with the kids who've been emancipated, who need to finish their diplomas, who want to go to college. We have a special facility just for teen moms. Sixty percent of 16-year-old girls in foster care end up pregnant and so my facility partners with other organizations in the community to provide trauma therapy, to provide doctor services, to provide educational services, to provide everything a child would need to get a stable, nuclear family home. My facility provides that. It's all about community effort and community outreach and partnering with other reliable organizations to provide those needs and a wraparound service environment. So, I'm really excited about what my foundation is doing and where we're headed in the next three 5-10 years.

Christina’s Story

·         On CBN: Neglected Child Turned Beauty Queen Aims to Help Youth

·         On Fox News: I Overcame Aging Out of Foster Care, Not Every Kid is So Lucky

·         On Jacksonville.com: UNF Student Goes From Homelessness to Miss California to U.S. Army

Dr. Steve Greene: You say that you're in the Army. So, how did you Miss America get to the Army?

Christina Meredith: Well, I did four years of ROTC in high school. It was always a dream of mine to be an officer in the military. That's all I ever wanted to do. And my senior year, when I was homeless, I applied for the ROTC scholarship and didn't get it and I was devastated. My grades were horrible academically, I struggled. I was an excellent athlete I was captain of the cross country team, a captain in track and field. I excelled in athleticism, but academics, I struggled to learn and to read for a really long time. So, I didn't get the scholarship. But the Lord is faithful and allowed me to push into that dream. I enlisted a few years ago and with the intent to turn my enlistment into commission and I'm doing it now. I'm part of the ROTC program at the University of Florida and I'll commission in December. So, I'm turning my enlistment into commission and I'm ecstatic that God would take a dream that I had at 14 years old and … it took me the long way around, but that's usually how he does it. I'm a servant leader in and out of uniform and I take it very seriously. I love serving my country and I love being a part of the greatest fighting force known to man. I take it very seriously and with all humility. As a servant leader, it's my job to protect and to lead and to do all these things with sober mind. Like I said, in and out of uniform, whether it's in the community doing foster care work, whether it's working during a hurricane or whatever crisis is going on or going downrange, that's, that's my job. I love serving my country.

Dr. Steve Greene: So, what is your duty, what are you currently doing for the army?

·         Book Christina Meredith for Speaking

Christina Meredith: I'm with signal intelligence and it's pretty cool. I love it. We support troops on the ground and we support our combat units to make sure that they have secure communications or whatever they need to function on the battle field. So, I love being support. I love being able to make sure that the mission is accomplished by what we can provide to our men on the ground.

Dr. Steve Greene: So, we find you today stable, a contributing member of society, happy, healthy. It sure didn't start out that way. The foster care system was hard on you. Why don't you tell us how that all got started.

Christina Meredith: Well, my mother had an affair with a lawyer for the sheriff's department and they hatched a plan to get rid of my father on a trumped-up charge of spousal abuse. And, they did. My mother and father were married for 15 years and had eight kids. But the force of the affair literally was overnight. My father was put in jail and they walked him away. That's when all the abuse started getting really bad. My mother had started abusing me very young, but it wasn't as crippling as when my father got taken away. He was the buffer for me and my mother. So, after he got taken away, the abuse just got worse.

Dr. Steve Greene: Who was abusing you? And what age were you?

Christina Meredith: My mother and her boyfriend, who turned out to be her second husband; my mother's brother; the whole family, it was just kind of a family affair. I was nine when my started being raped, but my mother started physically abusing me when I was a toddler and it just got exponentially worse as I got older. So, I'd say the worst part of the abuse is from 9 to 16. The unique story about me in the foster care system is DCS and police and social workers were coming to our house checking us kids for bruises weekly. I mean there was abuse report after abuse report, neglect report after neglect report, and it would end up being nothing because my mother was with a man who was so powerful in our community. So, I should have been taken into custody and into care years before I actually was. I wasn't pulled out of my abusive, tormenting home until I was 16. So, I was placed in foster care at 16. However, my mother did farm us out into different homes well before I lived in different homes. She would bring us to different homes every few months and so I moved around a lot before I was put in care.

Dr. Steve Greene: Some of the abuse is not just physical, it's emotional, and name calling. You were called the horrible names for most of your life. You had no self-image, right?

Christina Meredith: No, I was invisible. I was invisible and I didn't have a voice and I was unloved and unwanted and it was known. When she would use my siblings to abuse me, she would force them to abuse me. I think that was probably the most painful.

Dr. Steve Greene: What's singled you out? Why did she pick on you?

Christina Meredith: Everyone asks that and the only thing I can ever respond with is I've done years of trauma therapy, so I've dealt with my junk, praise the Lord. I'm a whole, healthy person who can love and who can be a functioning human being, so praise the Lord. Deal with your junk, don't have it mid-life crisis because that's what a mid-life crisis is. So, with years of therapy, they've all been through the same thing. My siblings are all dark haired, dark skin like my Italian father. I am like my mother. My mother's fair-skinned, strawberry blonde hair, green eyes. I'm blonde hair, light skin, blue eyes. So, they said because I was so markedly different from my siblings that she projected onto me because I reminded her of herself. My mother grew up in an abusive home. The cycle of poverty and abuse is a real thing. So, as an adult, if you don't recognize you where you come from, you will perpetuate that cycle. And unfortunately, my mother was a broken individual. She did some horrible things to my father, bless his heart. She did some horrible things to us kids out of her own brokenness. So, she just perpetuated the cycle and singled me out because I reminded herself.

Dr. Steve Greene: You have not seen for her years. According to your book, you haven't seen her. Have you heard anything about her?

Christina Meredith: I have not seen her since the day I was removed that Thanksgiving Day at 16. I haven't seen her. I haven't heard from her. Some of my siblings still have relationships with her, but obviously we don't talk about it.

Dr. Steve Greene: But she knows you are out and producing?

Christina Meredith: I don't I really don't know. I would think she's probably seen me on TV the last couple weeks on my national tour, and I'm sure she's seen me. But as I talked about my book, I forgive my mother, I set her free to the care of the Lord. I pray that she finds healing and she finds wholeness. What the enemy tried to do to destroy me, the Lord only used to build me and make me a strong fortress for his work.

Dr. Steve Greene: So, literally you spent some time homeless and sleeping in your car. How long? What got you there? And how long did last?

Christina Meredith: That got me there because I aged out of foster care. So, when I turned 18, the first semester my senior year, I left the foster care system. I was really tired of people coming to visit me and the visitation and just all of the just awful feeling like I didn't belong in the home that I was in and feeling like I was tearing apart this family that was like, normal. They were a normal family and I wasn't normal. So, it was just too much. So, I left and I started couch surfing. I surfed on couches my entire senior year. When I graduated, I bought a car and moved into my car. I read my Bible every day and I worked two, three jobs. I saved up all my money and I believe that the Lord was going to do something worthwhile and He did. In my homelessness, with this living in that car, and taking showers with beach access and living in that despair and that crippling poverty, the Lord birthed in me and chiseled out of me things that no man can take away from me, dreams that nobody can steal from me. Some of them have come true. So that's why I always talk about how the Lord's given you a purpose and dreams. You know it and you work towards that no matter what the circumstance looks like, no matter what it looks like around you. You keep fighting for that dream because it's going to come it's going to come to pass. It might take a decade. The Lord told me I was going to write a book when I was homeless. I was 19. I'm 32. I'm on a national book tour. It’s going to take a minute sometimes, but you can't quit. You can't quit. You’ve got to just trust the Lord.

Connect with Christina

·         Christinameredith.org

·         On Twitter

·         Christina Meredith Foundation

Greenelines Host Information

Dr. Steve Greene is the Publisher and Executive Vice President of Charisma Media. Dr. Greene received his Ph.D. in marketing from Memphis State University. He has worked in television station management and worked directly with over 80 stations throughout the United States. He has worked in marketing capacities with McDonald’s, Jiffy Lube, and Stanley Steemer. He has owned restaurants, a national advertising agency and a syndicated marketing research firm. Dr. Greene has served as the Dean of the College of Business and professor of marketing at Oral Roberts University. He is also the author of Love Leads, which dispels the myths and misconceptions many have come to accept about leadership.

To learn more about Dr. Steve Greene, connect with him on social media!

Facebook: https://facebook.com/drsgreene/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DrSteveGreene

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dr.stevegreene/

15

0:00/20:55

Cinder Girl: When God Birthed a Dream, No Man Can Take It