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Anger. Unreasonable and unquenchable anger. That’s what filled her every day.
Until the car accident that saved her life.
Faith Maxwell grew up in a Christian Catholic family and attended church on Sundays, but labelled herself an atheist in junior high school.
“I’ve aways been around and known God,” she said. “I would go to church, and we would sit and listen, but I never got the message, and I thought that’s how church was supposed to be.”
At that point, she “went off a really bad deep end,” stealing her mother’s car and debit card, partying all through junior high and into high school.
At 16, Faith was on her way home from a college party when she hit loose gravel and flipped her car three times into a ditch. She broke her T12 and got put in a back brace.
“That [accident] was my first awakening,” Faith said, “but I just called myself lucky for that, you know?”
Her family thought that would be the change, that after a near-death experience Faith would do better. But as soon as she healed, she went back to partying. Around 18, she started doing drugs; she got into a bad relationship; she bullied a lot of other students; she did what she thought was “every sin on the earth.”
“If I could go back to high school and punch myself in the face, I probably would,” she joked. “I was so mean! I can’t believe that was me. People knew me like that, and that makes me so sad.”
With her karma catching up to her, Faith decided to start going to therapy, but never found a therapist that really worked for her.
“I finally realized that, with all of the stuff going on in my life, maybe I’m the common denominator in all this,” she said. “I was finally waking up and thinking maybe it’s actually me; maybe it’s not everyone else that has a problem.”
Nothing seemed to be working, and then her friend Xairiki asked her about her relationship with God.
“I was like, no, no, no, me and God are fine,” Faith shared. “And he was like, ‘Are you though? Have you really talked to Him? Have you really prayed? When was the last time you prayed?’ And I was like, ‘Maybe a couple years ago; I don’t really believe like that.’ And we finally talked about it, and I started going to church again.”
Now on her journey to build her relationship with God, Faith was driving to church one Sunday in September of 2021 when she rolled her car three times down the interstate and slid on her hood for a quarter of a mile.
“You know when your seatbelt tightens and you can feel your seatbelt tightening? I could feel my seatbelt tighten, but it also felt like — and this is going to sound really crazy — it felt like God wrapped his arms around me,” Faith said. “When I flipped, I looked straight up at the sky, and I was like, this is my time to go. So whenever He did that, I was scared, but I had no actual fear for my life. Does that make sense? I knew what was going on, I knew I was wrecking, and I knew it was really scary, but I knew I was okay.”
After the wreck, Faith crawled out of the upside-down car, the concerned words of onlookers and rescuers not really reaching her, almost like a dream. She saw the other car in the ditch and started thinking, “Oh my gosh, I really messed up.”
Sitting down, taking it all in, she saw something flapping in the wind about a half mile away from the car. Nothing else had escaped the vehicle, but she walked over to find the prayer journal her pastor had encouraged her to start, undamaged, just lying there, open to a blank page. The book had been tucked away in her purse.
“After that moment,” Faith said, “I looked up and thought, ‘I know that was You. You saved me.’”
Looking back at the two accidents, Faith realized that in her first wreck, had she been wearing a seatbelt, she would have been much worse off. But in this second wreck, had she not been wearing her seatbelt, she would have died.
The accident was a turning point for Faith, a way for God to pull her out of her previous way of life.
“I never had the urge to get back on a better path,” she shared. “I was going to go down that way until somebody pulled me out of the waters, and God knew that He needed to pull me out before I messed my whole life up doing what I was doing.”
Though the wreck saved her life as she knew it, she still continued chasing other things throughout her path to God until she was saved in the blood of Christ in March of 2022 during a message by a guest speaker.
Ever since she was young, Faith has been drawn to Kintsugi, the centuries-old Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with gold.
“Art is beautiful,” Faith explained, “but that [Kintsugi] has always spoken into my spirit and soul in such a way that I’ve never understood.”
And then that guest speaker started talking about the ancient art, and it all made sense to her.
“He started talking about that pottery and was like, ‘This is how God makes you new in his blood and reforms you, and whenever you’re reborn, you’re mended together just like this pottery. All your broken pieces are mended together with gold, just like God’s love. God’s love is gold. You’re mended together, and you’re made perfect in Jesus’s eyes,’” Faith said. “And that’s the reason that I’ve always loved that pottery.”
Crying and shaking, Faith said she felt the Holy Spirit that night. Her pastor had told her before that it would be her night, and she knew that to be true during prayer.
“I stood up while he was praying, and my whole body just went hot,” she recalled. “I had the chills, though, and my body was physically shaking, and that’s whenever I was saved in the Holy Spirt. It was amazing. I’ve never had anything happen like that before. It’s so powerful.”
With her salvation, Faith also found her peace in Jesus Christ. She found the book of James especially helpful in overcoming anger. When her study Bible referenced a few verses in James, she went on a deep dive and read the whole book, learning to be slow to judge but fast to understand, slow to hate but fast to love, and gaining a better sense of self-discipline.
“I am so much more peaceful now,” she said. “Then, I was just so angry for I don’t know what reason. I mean, I had a good life. People had it way off worse than me, and I was mean to those people that had it worse than me. Now I’m just thankful for everything I have. Literally my working legs, my beating heart, I am thankful for those things. I wake up in the morning and I thank God for those things. Because I took them all for granted. Just the breath in my lungs, He woke me up for a reason. So I’m just thankful now.”
Seeing God’s miracles every day in her life and in the world around her makes Faith a strong believer. The night she was saved in the Spirit, she wanted to give an offering to the church, but found her bank account lacking, to say the least. Praying that night, she said, “God, I really want to give, but I don’t have a lot to give.” And He told her to be still.
The next day during a morning prayer, God told her to check her bank account. Though she was thinking, Are you kidding me? I just checked my bank account last night, she looked. Between the previous night and that morning, $500 had been deposited into her checking account.
“I still to this day don’t know how that happened. I think it was my taxes finally deposited, but it’s crazy that that would be the time, because I had just checked my bank account at church,” Faith said. “But it’s miracles every single day.”
Faith has been working to dive deeper into the Bible and give up worldly things in order to grow closer to God. She doesn’t party, drink and smoke like she used to, and she’s become active in her church, Living Word Fellowship Ministry in Springfield.
“The thing with my church is it’s not like any other church,” she said. “They want you to be part of the church; they want you to be physically active in the church. I could call my pastor right now and ask him about the Bible and he’d sit and talk to me on the phone for an hour no matter what he’s doing. We’re all very strong believers. We’re not afraid to get in the Spirit of God at our church, and we’re not afraid to talk about how good God is.”
Faith described her church as “anointed,” saying that all the members have gifts from the Spirit that they grow stronger in together. Her gift is prophesying over others, and she also appreciates God’s humorous side.
“I could sit and talk about God like it’s not an actual serious subject,” she said. “Some people think that when you talk about God it has to be completely serious, and I’m like, nope, he’s really funny, actually. I’ll sit down and wonder like, ‘Why is my favorite color green?’ And ask him stuff like that.”
At church, Faith recently stepped up to become worship leader, and she tries to invite everyone she knows to services and events. Looking forward, she hopes to attend Illinois State University for her RNBSN, as she has already completed her CNA at MTI, and at some point she wants to attend Grace University for theology to become a pastor.
“I just spread the word,” she said. “I message people; I talk about it a lot. People call it my personality now. I’ve been called a ‘Jesus freak.’”
In her most recent step of faith, she competed in the Christian County pageant. She felt that the pageant was God’s way of letting her reintroduce herself to the people of Taylorville and Christian County. She was able to share her faith during the speaking portion of the pageant, and she got to pray over all of the women competing.
“I finally got to meet these people as me, as knowing who I am now. Because for many years, up until I was 19 and finally started finding myself in God, I had lost myself for so long, and I didn’t know who I was. I was confused on everything. I was pretty much just following everyone else. If everyone else was an atheist, so was I. If everyone else was drinking, so was I. If everyone else was smoking, so was I. So I was just getting dragged every which way, and I finally know who I am, so I finally got to reintroduce myself to these people.”
Though she’s still on her journey, Faith loves to just spread God’s love.
“One thing I wish that everyone could know is that you could do every sin in the book, you can think you’re the worst person on earth, and God still loves you and knows your heart,” she shared. “And once you know God, God is love. That’s one thing I want everyone to know: He loves you, but God is love. It doesn’t matter if you hate Him, God’s still love, and God still loves you.”