Hello 2017. If you’re new to our site and ministry, let me introduce you to a little sliver of our site that I love. Every month we introduce a “Captivating Woman” – someone who is doing the call on their life. They don’t have to have it all together – they are daily stepping in faith, trusting that God is leading them. I met Trista through Instagram. She was using our hashtag #thecaptivatingwoman and I loved what she was talking about. You need to go add her on Insta – @tristaannmarie. We are excited to share her story with you.
Question: Where do you live & how old are you?
Answer: I live in Sonoma County (an hour north of San Francisco), and I am 24.
Q: Tell us about Trista – what is your story?
A: I wasn’t supposed to be born. My birth mom became pregnant at 13, and refused to disclose who the father was. Termination of the pregnancy was heavily encouraged by those around her and society. I would ruin her life. Statistically I wouldn’t do well in the world. I would probably follow in her parents and her cycle of poverty, drugs, abuse and crime. Yet, she chose to give birth to me. Eventually I was adopted by a very loving family who sacrificially gave me resources and love. By many standards I am thriving in society. I have two college degrees under my belt (2% of former foster care children graduate college) and am continuing with school to become a teacher on a full scholarship.
Because my birth mom chose to give me life, and my adopted patents chose to support my life, I am able to live it.
Q: Because of your story of being adopted, when did you become active in helping young women in crisis pregnancies?
A: A little over a year ago a speaker for the non-profit Save the Storks, Jeff Gilbert (former drummer of Kutless) came and spoke at my church about the amazing work Storks was doing for women with unplanned pregnancies. After he came and spoke, we were sitting and hanging out at my pastors house and he wanted to hear my story. That night God, Jeff and I knew that without a doubt a very important partnership had begun.
Q: Tell us about Save the Storks.
A: Save the Storks is a beautiful non-profit organization that has luxury busses all over the country travel to help women with unplanned pregnancy have access to free-no-strings-attached-top-
They aren’t campaigning to shut any clinics down and there is absolutely no shame involved with those who decide to have an abortion. In fact those women are also given resources, counseling and love. They love and support ALL women. I am all for women’s rights, and I believe that Save the Storks is too. Why? Because Save the Storks isn’t a typical pro-life movement. They aren’t bent on making abortion illegal (abortion is legal) they are wanting to help support women so that abortion isn’t the only option that they have. The majority of post abortive women felt like they had no other choice. I am proof that with the right love and support the statistics of an unplanned pregnancy can be defeated! Here are some pretty cool facts about Save the Storks:
- 4 out of 5 women who board a stork bus choose life- and are supported through and after birth with all the resources they need
- About 360 women & babies are saved from abortion each year per bus
- The staff who run the stork buses also offer post-abortion counseling, we ensure that every woman and abortion staff member who come into contact with our team are loved on.
- 24 buses on the road meeting women right where they are
- 21 Pregnancy Resource centers are under contract and in production
- $30 per month save one mom from the heartache of abortion. (Go to savethestorks.com/tristaeazell to learn more about partnering with us)
Q: What is your role with Save the Storks?
A: I an an ambassador for them, I go and speak at churches and events sharing my story and building awareness how people can support Save the Storks and help women and children in crisis.
Q: What do you think has been a big theme in your life that God continues to replay?
A: Undoing. On my right forearm I have the word “undone” tattooed, referring to Isaiah 6 when Isaiah first encounters the holiness of God he gasps “Woe to me for I am undone.” And then God goes and cleanses Isaiah of his sins and sends him out to do His work. There have been several points in my life where I came face to to face with the infinite vastness of God’s holiness, mercy and goodness that has left me utterly shattered. I have struggled life long with several chronic illnesses and depressions that have kept me in a constant state of needing grace. It’s a beautiful and painful process, letting God into every aspect of your heart. I have found that there are corners and edges that he knows very well and is waiting for me to uncover them. He is patient, then when I turn to Him asking for more of Him, he turns to me and asks me to let His light into my depths. Depths that I didn’t know existed. To know God is to be broken and remade. I know that my heart still has miles of surrendering to do with each new day and I have learned to let the undoing occur because on the other side of the pain is beauty and joy I couldn’t even begin to find words for. That’s the mystery of our beautiful and Holy God.
Q: What three words describe you?
A: Redeemed, Bibliophile, & sassy.
Q: Favorite verse?
A: “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” – Romans 12:12 ESV
Q: Favorite story in the Bible?
A: When King David discovers Jonathan’s crippled son Mephibosheth is alive, instead of having Mephibosheth killed as would’ve been the protocol, David treats Mephibosheth as his own son, as royalty, and gives him a place at his table. I love this story, because David is a man after God’s heart, adopting and loving the banished and broken and restoring them to royalty.
Q: What makes a Captivating Woman?
A: I believe all women are captivating. Some of us have forgotten our beauty, but that doesn’t change the fact that She was created in the image of a beautiful, mighty and fierce God. A woman aware of her astonishing and captivating beauty is someone who cannot help but highlight the goodness she sees in the world. She is an echoing melody that awakens a desire deep within us all to live abundantly in the joy, peace and freedom that the Holy Spirit is calling is to. She is aware of how much she is loved and this love overflows to all who encounter her. She has she the dirt and weight of shame and is clothed with light and honesty. She knows how to cry and she knows how to rejoice. I believe every women is meant to be her, and can be her.
Q: Who are some Captivating Women in your life that we need to know about?
A: This is a hard question! I am so honored to be surrounded by many Captivating Women.
1. Ashley Noelle – This lovely woman is a mentor of mine who is constantly and boldly pointing others towards truth and love. She, her husband and three children left California and moved to Colorado to work in full time ministry at Save the Storks. I once was having a really bad day/melt down and texted her a jumble of emotions and prayer requests. One of my complaints was “today I feel so overwhelmed and broken, and so many are relying on me to be there for them and to be strong” and she got real with me. “Trista! You don’t need to have it all together to be a testimony of God. This makes you real. Relatable.” And that’s the kind of woman Ashley is. She doesn’t disguise her life when it’s messy or uncomfortable. And it’s captivating.
2. Amanda Anderson – Amanda is my best friend in the whole world. She LOVES people, and is always giving of her time and heart to those she meets. She’s captivated by people’s stories and always looks for the best in them. She’s a talented photographer and musician. She became very mysteriously sick this year and it’s been hard to see her such a shell of who she normally is. Please keep her in your prayers!
3. Mallorie Cooper – Is a stunning friend and fellow blogger. She exudes grace, kindness and is such a good mom. When you enter her house it is always clean, warm, and fresh with the scent of something freshly baked. She will make you dinner, go on adventures with you, teach you how to curl your hair better, drive you around town when your car is broken and check in to make sure your heart is OK. She loves Jesus and her family and others and she does it with style, grace and simplicity.