(This post was originally posted on the old Revolution of Love website. The interview was done in 2003 but over a decade later it still gets numerous hits and yesterday I got a request to put it back online. This one is for you V. ) 😉
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When I found out that Crystalina Padilla was engaged (update: now married with children) to Jason Evert, I was curious to find out more about her since I knew she had to be someone special to capture his heart. Now I can see that she is the perfect match for him…a beautiful young lady inside and out. Although she had made mistakes in her past, Crystalina is a living witness of the power of God’s mercy and love. As a chastity speaker she is inspiring numerous girls and young women to strive to be the true women of God they are called to be. I hope her interview touches your heart as it touched mine. -Bobbi
RoL: Hi, Crystalina. I’m so happy to have this opportunity to get to know you a little better. Why don’t you start off by giving us a little background about your life. Were you always a practicing Catholic or was there a definitive point in your life when you made a change of direction?
Crystalina: I was a cradle Catholic. I’ve been a Catholic all my life but I didn’t always follow the ways of Catholicism. When I was about fifteen I was pretty wild just doing my own thing and I became very sexually active. I lost my virginity and from that point on – and it lasted for about three years – I was in and out of sexually active relationships. It just all went downhill from that point on. At the end of those three years I went to a retreat my mother had forced me to go to and there was a young man there, who was not too far from my age, who got up and just laid it out for me. He talked about all of the girls, all of the pornography, all the sex, all of the partying…everything he had been into. I felt like he had grabbed my hand out of the audience and he walked through my life. As if he could see the things that I was most ashamed of and hiding. He put them right in front of my face.
I thought to myself, what is the difference between this guy and me? What’s the difference there? I just watched him for awhile. He had this peace and this joy and this confidence that he carried about himself. I didn’t see that in my friends. I didn’t see that in the places I went to and I definitely didn’t see that in the guys I was dating. I noticed one thing in this guy that I couldn’t find in anyone else, something that he had above all of them. It was that he wasn’t ashamed of himself. I sat in my seat at that retreat trying to find one day that I actually hadn’t been ashamed of myself, but I couldn’t find one. So I think from that point on I really just turned my life around.
I devoted my life to chastity and purity and I think I just got this overwhelming rage, in a sense. As the years went on, I was really preaching this message of chastity and trying to help all of the young girls that were living that lifestyle I was once living. I was trying to get them out of it and tell them, “Look it’s okay…you can turn your life around. You can stop living this way.” I think half the time these girls that are living this lifestyle just need to hear that…”You can stop living this way and you can turn your life around. It is never too late.” They are never really hearing that.
RoL: What do you do to maintain and deepen your own relationship with Christ?
Crystalina: Well, every day Jason and I do an hour of Adoration, the rosary, Mass, confession every two weeks and honestly just trying to always maintain and keep Christ at the center of my life…the center of everything I do. That is really my strength in that it keeps me pure and keeps me living this lifestyle out. I think I tried so many things to stop living that horrible lifestyle I was in and nothing seemed to work. But the minute I did it with God, that was when my 180 happened. Honestly, I tell people if they really want to live this lifestyle out, they’ve got to do it with God or they’re just not going to do it at all. They are fooling themselves and they are going to fall on their faces just like I did. So if they really want to live it out, they’ve got to do it with God.
RoL: I read that you were involved with a program called “Challenge”. What it is and how did you get involved?
Crystalina: The Challenge Task Force on Chastity that I attended was a conference they were having in the Bahamas, where I met Jason. It was for young people who wanted to live out chastity and preach it in their own archdiocese around their homes and start a ministry or learn to become speakers. I think it was my starting point of really getting involved with chastity. I was doing some work at home but I think I more or less got really involved with it when I went to the Bahamas and met Jason.
RoL: There are a number of Catholics who have fallen into the trap of thinking that they can be sexually active in areas other then actual intercourse and still consider themselves virgins or at least “not as bad” as those who go “all the way”. How would you respond to someone who thinks this way?
Crystalina: Well, I actually met a lot of girls who think this way and live this lifestyle out but when it comes down to chastity and purity you’ve got to either pick “yea” or “nay”. It’s one or the other. You can’t always try to push the envelope because eventually you just go to far. I was always pushing the envelope and sin took me further than I ever wanted to go or ever expected to go. When those that live this way do approach me, I try to point out how they are lying to themselves and how much they are hurting themselves. Purity is a way of life. It is a way of thinking. It is how you act, how you dress, what music you listen to, and the way you carry yourself around the opposite sex. If you think you can push the envelope and that you’re still being pure, it’s a joke. Either you pick the lifestyle of chastity and embrace it or you just don’t. It’s that simple. There’s no in-between.
RoL: What would you say to a person reading this interview who has already been sexually active but wants to make a clean break and start living a chaste life. What would they need to do?
Crystalina: The first and foremost…the starting point is confession. If you’re Catholic, go to confession. Make a very good confession. I avoided confession like it was the plague. I wouldn’t even do a confession; I would lie in there. It was just terrible. When I really turned my life around I sat down and made a list of all my sins because I knew once I got in line or was there in front of the priest, I’d be freaking out and I wouldn’t want to go through with it. But the fact that I had this list really showed me how bad I was living this lifestyle and how much I didn’t want to go back to it. Then when I was in there I wouldn’t get nervous and forget these things. So I took this list in there, which came to five pages front and back. But it was so beautiful the peace and the joy I had leaving that confessional. I hadn’t experienced that in years and it was just awesome. It was only through the grace and power of God that I became who I am today. So the starting point is confession.
Another thing, every morning say a simple Hail Mary or even a rosary every single day. And if you are in a sexually active relationship, take the sex out and see what your relationship is based upon. If there is no sex then you can really step back and say, “Okay, is this love or is this lust? Do they love me? Are they using me? What’s truly going on?” It really gives you that clarity of mind to see what your relationship is about and what it’s truly based upon. And from that point on, keep the sexual element out of the relationship. Know that sex is something that is meant for marriage and the gifts of marriage are to stay in marriage. You will be rewarded for that. You can’t get the peace and joy that comes with chastity in random sexual relationships. It just doesn’t happen. Chastity is so freeing. So go to confession as a starting point, say a Hail Mary every morning or even a rosary, spend time in Adoration and keep the physical out of the relationships. And know that it doesn’t matter where you’ve been or what you’ve done or if you have fallen, you can start over. God can make you a new creation like He has me.
RoL: Working with so many young women, what would you say is the main thing they wish guys would understand about girls and relationships?
Crystalina: Well, I think girls are always saying, “respect”. Why don’t guys respect us? Respect, respect, respect. Girls just want so much respect from these guys and for them to really understand their feelings. But the thing is… when I was younger I wasn’t acting much like a lady so the guys didn’t feel the need to rise up and act like a gentleman around me. The problem with girls these days is that they don’t act like ladies, therefore they are not getting the gentlemen they would like to have around them. Girls need to rise up if they want to get that respect. The way you act and the way you dress is the way you will be treated. Honestly, there is so little respect for a woman these days… for her body and for what she does. It’s very hard but I think the way a woman carries herself demands respect, to an extent. So she needs to really check herself… how she dresses and how she acts. Yes, women have the power to turn a guy’s head but we also have the power to turn a guy’s heart. I think it is mainly up to us how a guy treats us by how we dress and act. So yes, I always here that girls want respect from guys but the girls have to learn to earn it in the same sense too.
Crystalina and Jason (Photo Credit)
RoL: Lastly, I want to congratulate you on your engagement with Jason. I’m so happy for you both!
Crystalina: Thank you very much.
RoL: Tell me, what did you think of Jason when you first met him? How did you know he was the one for you?
Crystalina: When I first met Jason I knew that I was going to marry him. When he walked in that door it was the strangest thing. My stomach just dropped and I knew there was going to be something so far and beyond that day and that trip. It has been beautiful because we’ve been friends for a year and then we courted for a year and now we have a nine-month engagement and on June 7th we’re going to be married. It was just amazing that we both had the same passion [for chastity] and we’re living it out and we’re going out to help all these teenage kids. It is so fulfilling…how God has worked through both of us to do this. Actually, living and having a relationship with purity it just awesome. I’ve been on both sides of the tracks and there is just no comparison to chastity and purity.
RoL: That’s beautiful. Any last comments?
Crystalina: One last comment is to those who have made past mistakes. If you’ve “been there and done that”, you can stop and you can turn your life around. You can become a new creation of God just like I did.
RoL: Thank you so much, Crystalina. It was wonderful to get to know you better. I know you and Jason will have a wonderful future together! Our prayers are with you both!
Crystalina: God bless you and thank you!
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