A Lifetime of Faith Brings Strength & Courage

Tristin and Teresa Ann Criswell discuss life-changing accident and the power of family

The Criswells believe that family isn’t just the people you are related to. Instead, it is those that you can go to without any reservations, who call you up higher. Whether you are in need of wisdom or a laugh, you can count on them.

Teresa Ann and Tristin Criswell are as close as a mother and daughter can be. They often say that they are best friends, in the sense that they want the best for one another. The key to maintaining the strength of their relationship has been an open door of communication.

“Something my mom has helped me with was reminding me that I am going through this life for the first time. She would also tell me, ‘You may only know me as a parent, but I understand a little bit of what you’re going through.’ She is eager to listen, and when I would confess things to her, I never once felt judged,” says Tristin.

“It helps that Tristin values who I am as her mom. Her perspective has allowed for open communication,” says Teresa Ann. “Tristin is a problem solver and helps me tremendously. She has been an arrow in my life that points me to the Lord.”

Communication is something that has proved important across their family at large. Both women note the big role that their fathers have played in making them who they are today.

“Growing up, I had the gift of sassiness. I was quick with my words,” says Tristin. “My dad would encourage me by reminding me that there’s a time and place for my voice to be used and how I delivered what I was saying. He has valued my voice and taught me how to use it wisely.”

“My dad is a very quiet man, but when he speaks, you better listen,” says Teresa Ann. “He taught me that I can either tear down others or build them up with my words, so choose words that inspire others to live extraordinary lives.”

When you are in your early 20s, you are still growing into your own. There are many years of memories to be made alongside your family. But sometimes, the world can take us by storm and change the course of what those memories look like.

Tristin couldn’t have predicted ending up in a major car accident that left her with a compound fracture on her leg, paralysis on her left side, and a traumatic brain injury. And she certainly couldn’t have predicted that she would need to learn how to walk again. Luckily, she had her family by her every step of the way.

“To an outsider looking in, it could look like my life was over. But it was just the beginning,” says Tristin. “As I look back on that month in the hospital, it was the most incredible time of getting to know God in ways that I could have ever imagined. Ever since that time, the trivial things in my life are now chalked up to opportunities to grow and learn.”

“The accident was one of the greatest moments of impact in my life. It was the moment when I truly realized the significance of life,” says Teresa Ann. “I learned not to dismiss the hard and the difficult, but to take notice and then see it with proper perspective.”

Following Tristin’s full recovery, she and Teresa Ann recognize that we are presented with choices every day. They feel that overcoming problems, no matter their size is a matter of moving forward, finding peace, and encouraging others to do the same.

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