As we approach the 18th anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks, incredible stories still continue to emerge. But alongside the tales of sacrifice and bravery among first responders and the heroics of ordinary citizens who helped rescue victims from the towers, there are many stories of faith, too.
Christina Stanton and her husband, Brian, were among the thousands of ordinary New Yorkers who witnessed the tragedy unfold from their downtown apartment. However, despite not being directly caught up in the attack, Stanton says that the event has still had a profound impact on her life and faith.
“I was 31-years-old at the time and I just thought, ‘well, I’m in control of my life, I’m in control of my future.. I just need to work hard and God is going to give me what I want,'” she explained to Fox News.
Then, one fateful morning, a Boeing 767 screamed over their New York balcony and slammed into the South Tower.
“We were on our terrace, and right over my right-hand shoulder, the second one came, went right in front in front of us, turned and went in… and essentially blew us back into our apartment and knocked us out.”
Immediately, the couple ran downstairs and went out onto the street, which she said was “complete and utter chaos.”
“Are we going to die?” Christina asked her husband. He responded with a recitation of the Lord’s Prayer, and began speaking those famous words, “Our Father, who art in heaven…”
It was like watching something out a nightmare, and the entire city was immediately cloaked in panic and terror.
“When the attacks happened I learned, ‘Wow! I actually have no control,'” Stanton explained. “My worldview was totally changed and I really had to start over from the beginning: ‘who am I?’ and ‘who am I in Christ’?
Stanton, a New York City tour guide at the time, said that she was a Christian, but had not really “internalized the Bible.”
“It really did change every aspect of how I thought I was and where life was going to go for me.”
But it was a whole decade after the incident when the trauma and impact of the day really hit home. Christina was invited to recall her experience and the impact it had on her faith during a Church service marking the ten year anniversary of 9/11. She did so, but said it was like “dusting off” the old memories, and brought back a whole host of feelings.
“I really got depressed for several months after delivering that testimony,” she explained. “But it made me want to explore more about my feelings on the subject, to write it down and share it with others.”
Christina went on to write her book, entitled “Out of the Shadow of 9/11: An Inspiring Tale of Escape and Transformation.” You can find it here.
The former tour guide went on to become director of missions at her church, having thrown herself into the ministry after such a horrendous experience. Her husband, Brian, was also deeply impacted — he left a high-powered finance job on Wall Street to become the CFO of their church.
“I hope he writes a book on his story,” Christina said. “He basically came out the same way as I did.. really having to look inside ourselves and thinking, ‘what did we believe before and what do we believe now?'”
“He went through the same process that I did — his process of reconnecting with God..realizing who God is to him… that helped change his career path,” she added. He just decided, ‘I really want to make a difference in this world, I want to help others and I want a close relationship with God.. and we felt God led him into this career.”