How God Used a Family’s Separation to Make Them Stronger

A Sovereign Hand

Unknown to Chris and Treana Stines, God began orchestrating circumstances to restore their family, even before they had been separated.

Scotty Pinson, Missions Minister At Eden Westside Baptist Church in Pell City, Alabama, had heard about an incredible way to impact hurting families in their community through parenting classes. Families Count is a 6-week parenting course for parents who are at-risk of temporarily or permanently losing their children.

Scotty presented the opportunity for their church to host Families Count. Many church members were wary of hosting Families Count, as church members wrestled with what it means for all of God’s people to be saved by grace. The Lord broke down the walls of members’ hearts and opened the way for Eden Westside to begin hosting classes, welcoming parents and their children with open arms.

A Broken Family

While Eden Westside was organizing Families Count classes, Chris and Treana’s world was being shaken to its core. Plagued with active drug addiction and a marriage that was crumbling, their children were removed from their home until Chris and Treana could show that they were a safe place for their children again.

Alone and without children in the home, the crumbling of their marriage was beyond evident. They fought often; they were strangers living in the same house; they had nothing in common except that they loved their kids. Although the Stines’ marriage relationship seemed over, they decided that the quickest way to get their kids back was to stay together, and then they could go their separate ways.

Appearing as a team, Chris and Treana began attending the Families Count parenting classes at Eden Westside on Wednesday nights. The class met some of the requirements set by the judge in their case as they worked toward reunification with their children.

A Transforming Hope

After the first class, Scotty Pinson talked with Treana and suggested she read the Book of James from the Bible. With little hope, Treana thought she’d try anything, so she read it. Then, she read it again. And, again. Over and over, Treana read the Book of James, and God began to transform her heart, as He was also changing Chris’. They both began to grow toward the Lord, and He broke down the walls between them.

As their marriage strengthened, Treana realized that a healthy marriage was vitally important to their children. “To be good mommies and daddies to our kids, we have to be good husbands and wives to each other,” she discovered.

God was changing their hearts individually and bringing Chris, Treana, and their kids together. Through His word and the truths they were hearing in Families Count and at Eden Westside, the love and grace of God became apparent to the Stines. Treana understood God’s unshakeable love for her: “God loved me; no matter what I did His grace and His mercy is never-ending. There’s nothing I could ever do to make him leave me.” However, the Stines didn’t take God’s mercy lightly. They also recognized the change to which He was calling them, “[I had to] to face the fact that it was me, and I was doing these things. God didn’t have it out for me. . . . , I just dug myself into this big, deep hole, and nobody or nothing could pull me out except for Christ.”

Traci Newell, Education Coordinator at Lifeline Children’s Services , loves the way that Families Count emphasizes the truth that Chris and Treana grasped quickly: “God is for your family, and, through Christ, God has made a way for your family to be successful (not perfect, but successful).”

A New Foundation

As the Stines began attending other services at Eden Westside regularly, they also began to invite family members. Undaunted with rejection, they consistently demonstrated a changed life and continued to invite their family. Since that time, seven family members have become followers of Christ and are active in serving Him through Eden Westside.

Treana admits that having support for their family was a challenge in the past. Now, in a relationship with Christ and His local body of believers, they have people helping their whole family center their lives around God and who are encouraging them. “We didn’t have that before,” she recalls, “Now, I have people I can call who can pray with me or encourage me. The same is true for the kids.”

A Restored Family

The ministry of Families Count through local churches is making a huge impact in the lives of many families like the Stines. At Eden Westside, they have seen parents getting excited about being clean for the first time in their lives and have witnessed an atheist coming to faith in Christ. Through 14 months of classes, 46 parents have come to their church. Of those, 23 people have joined the church (13 through baptism), and NINE families have been RESTORED.

For the Stines, who are among the number of restored families, their story is coming full circle. After being discipled in and serving Eden Westside, they have completed training to begin leading Families Count classes at their church.

If you would like to impact families through Families Count classes in your church email us or call us at (205)-967-0811.