It’s been 18 years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City, the Pentagon and Pennsylvania, and Redeemer Presbyterian Church's missions director, Christina Stanton, is now sharing how the tragedy impacted her faith in God.
Stanton and her husband, Brian, were among the New York City residents who were forced to flee their home in lower Manhattan as the World Trade Center towers collapsed on Sept 11, 2001.
The former tour guide told Fox News' Lauren Green that she went from upscale city woman to refugee in a matter of moments.
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It took Stanton a decade-and-a-half to finally be able to share what she faced on that terrifying day that claimed the lives of 3,000 people, which she details in her new book, Out of the Shadow of 9-11: An Inspiring Tale of Escape and Transformation.
"I really had to start over from the very beginning," she told Green during the "Spirited Debate" segment. "Who am I? Who am I in Christ? ... I would call myself somebody who went to church on Sundays, but really hadn't internalized the Bible, internalized who Jesus said He was, who I am in Him."
As described in her book, Out Of the Shadow of 9-11, on the morning of Sept. 11 Stanton said she was standing on her balcony watching smoke billowing from one of the World Trade Center towers and as she watched, a plane flew over her head, about 500 feet from her 24th-floor balcony and slammed into the second tower.
She and her husband both fell over from the force of the blast and were knocked unconscious. She became temporarily deaf and woke up to her dog pouncing on her chest. After she regained consciousness, she and her husband grabbed his wallet, the dog, and ran down 24 flights of stairs to get out of the building. Stanton said all she was wearing at the time was a nightgown, she didn't even have house shoes on.
The author described what it was like being surrounded by thousands of New Yorkers on the streets running for their lives. As the towers fell, they were covered in yellow dust. Stanton said she and her husband had stopped running because at that point they were exhausted. Once they stopped, she asked, "Are we going to die?" Her husband replied by saying the Lord's Prayer, “Our Father, who art in Heaven…”
"When the attacks happened I learned, 'Wow! I actually have no control,'" Stanton told Green.
She admitted that at that moment she realized her ideology of "work hard and God will bless and prosper you," was not what she thought.
"My worldview was totally changed," Stanton said.
After that experience, Stanton and her husband both left their careers and devoted themselves to the church. She is now the director of the short term missions ministry at Redeemer Presbyterian Church. The church was founded by Timothy J. Keller, who retired as pastor in July 2017. According to her website, she revamped the ministry a few years ago, “increasing its scope from two trips of 30 people each year to 14 trips per year with more than 200 people participating.”
In 2002, her husband also left the world of Wall Street as a financial executive to become the CFO of the church.
“He basically came out the same way I did," Stanton added. "He went through the same process that I did. His process of reconnecting with God and realizing who God is to him and who he is to God. That helped change his career path and 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. We just felt like God led him into this career.”