Member Spotlight: Chrystal Evans Hurst, author of 'She's Still There'
Kathryn Nielson · Jul 30, 2017
Chrystal Evans Hurst is known as an author, speaker, and oldest daughter of pastor Tony Evans, but that doesn’t tell the story of the woman who found herself off track and heading in a direction she had never planned.
Born the oldest daughter of Tony and Lois Evans, Chrystal, along with her three siblings, was raised in the Dallas area, where church and family were tightly intertwined. This family legacy brought her through trials and shaped her into who she is today.
Being Tony Evans’s daughter is “not as big a thing as people want to make it,” Chrystal says. “Who [my parents] were in front of people was who they were at home. We never had a disconnect of character or integrity with them. And it’s one of the reasons we still love Jesus and why we still are happy to serve in our home church. He made that tasteful.”
On the other hand, the reality of the preacher’s kid becoming a single mom at 19 contributed to years of shame. She lived with the attitude “Let me prove you otherwise,” determined to show people that they were wrong about whatever they thought all of that meant about her.
She’s Still There, her newest book, releasing this month, is not about teen pregnancy. In fact, she gives that part of her story just one chapter. The rest is her story of God: God’s grace. God’s care for her. God leading her step by step out of the darkness and into the light. God’s view of her and how that should define her.
From the very beginning, God was taking care of her in all of the details through what she calls “kisses from heaven,” which was “God just letting me know in different ways that He saw me.”
One of those ways was in providing child care for her so she could finish what she started at Texas A&M University. Her accounting degree earned her the title of “CPA by exam only because I couldn’t hold the job long enough in the field to put the letters behind my name, but I did pass the test,” she jokes.
Armed with the fancy attaché case and a job, she set out to be either single and successful or married with the white picket fence, “housewife extraordinaire.” She hated the accounting job and took a different job in a field that didn’t require a degree, finding herself discontent in where she was career-wise as well as in her singleness.
“This can’t be how it ends,” she remembers thinking. “I [was] just kind of on the wheel, moving but not going anywhere. I knew that I wanted to feel fulfilled and feel good about going to work. I was in a relationship and didn’t intend to be a single mother, so nothing was really adding up.”
As Chrystal says on her website:
I’m a “used-to-be” corporate, career-minded, bean-counter, on-the-path-to-big-bucks, single gal …
… turned homeschooling, bread-baking, garden-growing (or at least attempting), cloth-diapering, mommy-blogging, family-minded dame …
Little by little, God began the process of getting her back on track by showing her that “we have to admit that sometimes our desired experiences change, and sometimes it’s simply about enjoying the small things that are controllable and doing the most with where we are in that moment.”
“I started looking for things that were within my reach instead of lamenting the things that seemed to not even be on the map,” she says. “Most of us get sidetracked by things that are five years down the road or what maybe could have been here if we had made different decisions. You get stuck when you feel like it’s always going to be out of your reach.”
Part of her getting back on track was learning to own her story, a difficult task for more than one reason. Admitting that she “messed up,” realizing that she had walked through adulthood wearing a “cloak of shame,” and feeling inadequate for the task God had given her proved to be powerful deterrents to living her God-ordained life.
Taking a lesson from Moses and finally surrendering to what God had for her no matter what she had done, she learned to embrace all parts of it.
“Sometimes the only way out is through,” Chrystal says.
“[I’m] constantly having to remember that He loves me the way I am and loving me to Himself. What I can do is respond to His love in small ways every day. Trust that I am enough because He’s enough. Learning to walk in constant trust that I am enough in His ‘enoughness.’”
To this day, she still struggles to get in front of people and believe she should be there.
“[He’s] still teaching me not to apologize or hesitate to use the gifts He’s given me,” Chrystal says. “If He has opened a door, to show up like I’m supposed to be there. If He’s put me there, act like it. Every time I hesitate, I’m wasting time.”
Perhaps the key to it all is found in her book when she says,
In that dark, desolate, damaged place, I learned the value of who I am because of Whose I am. The more conscious I am about Whose I am, the better I get at fully expressing who I am.
Remembering where one’s value lies is a simple and easily forgotten concept, but it’s important, she insists, because “when it’s not about me, then the pressure’s off.”
“I’m just playing my part,” Chrystal says. “I just have to show up and know that He’s writing the story. The problem is when we make it all about us. If it’s not about me, the pressure’s on Him.”
Hoping to spare as many people as possible the angst of less than desirable decisions, Chrystal wrote She’s Still There, a playbook of how God set her back on track.
“A part of me figuring things out involved some choices that weren’t that great—when I was a teenager and in my 20s. It’s because of that that I so tightly hold onto Him and want to share. This is the conversation that I want to have with every woman, but I know I can’t,” she says.
Having figured some things out, Chrystal has moved on and lives every day trying to be the best wife and mother she can be. Married to Jesse for 16 years, they have had three boys together—ages 14, 12, and 8. Each also brought a girl—now ages 25 and 21—“to our wedding day and gave each other a gift.”
When she’s not busy with family, she’s writing, speaking, hosting online classes, and looking for ways to use her skills not just for employment, but for ministry as well, “because Jesus is free, and I hate charging money for that,” she says.
More books are most likely in her future.
“There’s more to the story of getting pregnant,” Chrystal says. “There is more owning that I need to do. We’ll see how God leads.”