2020 was a year of significant spiritual growth for Christina Castilla. Her awareness of the spiritual realm increased as she felt and trusted the presence of God. Christina learned that there are important things happening all around us in the spiritual realm that we can’t detect with our physical senses. This young artist and mother of three has put energy into exploring the relationship between gifting and purpose. She’s been a gifted artist for many years and God revealed her purpose in 2020. She was created to disseminate peace, love, and happiness through art. Her art gives people an opportunity to experience love and connect with God without rules or judgment. Art is a sophisticated unspoken language she uses to connect people to a creative and expressive Heavenly Father.
Christina lived with her grandparents from birth until age four. At age three, she began having intense, recurring dreams. In the dreams, everything was on fire and Christina tried to escape by running down a staircase. She’d bust through the door only to discover that everything outside was on fire also, including cars and houses. Her grandmother believed that the dreams were a manifestation of spiritual warfare and represent the beginning of the seven year period of tribulation described in the Bible. She taught Christina to pray. This was the beginning of this gifted artist’s spiritual journey.
Christina’s dad remarried when she was five. She lived with her dad and abusive step-mom in Bath until age twelve. A friend shared with her the idea that God can hear our thoughts but the Devil can only hear what we say out loud. This was comforting to Christina who learned to pray quietly and continuously to God with her thoughts. This phase of her life was dark because of the abuse but seeds were planted and watered. With confidence, she told her secrets to God. He covered her and consoled her.
Christina moved in with her mom in seventh grade. She started going to church and learned who God by participating in a youth group. Attending church brought her joy and enriched her life with a loving community. As a young adult, she became a church leader and worked at the church. It was heartbreaking when she had to abdicate those responsibilities because she became pregnant at age twenty outside of marriage. It was a painful loss for Christina but she doesn’t sit and sulk in misery. Life has taught her how to find the upside of painful situations and move on quickly. This beautiful artist never shies away from an opportunity to hone this skill which contributes to her resiliency.
Christina’s fiery dreams have come back to haunt her many times throughout her life. In her mid-twenties, her dreams became overwhelming once again. She was experiencing strife in her relationship with her boyfriend and Christina sought wise counsel from his mother. Through these conversations, Christina learned more about the spiritual significance of her dreams and began to understand what it meant to be a “Dreamer” from a Biblical perspective. She started to pay more attention to them. This contributed to her journey of progressing through levels of revelation, understanding, and healing. She’s learned to be open-minded and wait for God to reveal himself through her dreams and other situations in her life. She began to understand and consider the possibility that she was investing too much into her relationship perhaps God wanted her to focus on something more divine.
Christina likes to move through her day with a set plan so learning to submit to God when His plans are different can be a challenge for her. Early in 2020 God walked her through an unscheduled vivid spiritual experience. Shortly after God revealed her purpose, Christina was confronted with a confusing situation which taught her that out of body experiences are real. Christina is not ready to share the details but she reports that nothing made sense and things were not what they seemed or were expected to be. There were unusual smells and the whole situation was incredibly strange and distressing for Christina. The faithful artist felt sick and she started shaking. The atmosphere shifted and all of a sudden Christina was witnessing the situation from a different perspective outside of her physical body.
Christina talked to God like she always had. She heard God tell her, “Say My Name!” Christina shrieked, “JESUS!” Christina believes that there was a spirit attached to the situation and that the spirit was transferred to her. Over the next couple weeks, Christina became severely ill. She had horrible headaches and was unable to eat or keep food down. She had regular bouts of hyperventilating and screaming fits. She didn’t understand what was happening to her body and eventually she sought medical treatment. She was admitted to the hospital. Christina knew she was the victim of a spiritual attack but she couldn’t share much with her caregivers. It was tremendously frustrating when they dismissed her concerns and considered a psychological and psychiatric evaluation.
Christina was discharged without a psych eval after three days. When she returned home, her eyes were drawn to a gift from an old friend. It was a bag that once contained some of her favorite art supplies. There was a scripture reference embroidered on the bag; Matthew 10:14. Christina felt God telling her in this moment that not everyone would understand the validity of her ordeal. God instructed her to be at peace with that and also broadened the message. He also told her to learn to be at peace with the fact that not everyone would accept or appreciate her art. Every aspect of this experience has fortified Christina’s mind and focused her intentions.
Creating art and sharing it requires significant vulnerability and authenticity. That rawness combined with inevitable rejection sometimes leaves Christina feeling overwhelmed. When she’s lacking confidence, Christina looks to her mom and her cousin to affirm and encourage her. They believe in her when she doesn’t believe in herself and they promote Christina’s art by sharing it with everyone they know. As a young person, Christina wholeheartedly believed that being an artist was not a viable career path. Support from her family is critical when similar defeating thoughts invade her mind.
Christina considers herself blessed because so many people have poured love and positivism into her throughout her life. She fondly recalls working at a store called Kingdom Dreams in the mall. The store sold clothing with inspirational Christian messages and other faith based gifts. The owner, Ray, was a breath of fresh air. He was adept at explaining scripture and making it easy to understand. He was also down to earth and ran his business with integrity and compassion. She didn’t realize it at the time, but Ray planted seeds in her heart that have impacted the way she runs her business.
Besides working on her art and raising her three young children, Christina is also working to connect with other artists and build a network that provides opportunities for collaboration and cross-promotion. She’d like to see art become a viable career path for everyone that’s willing to put in the work. She wants to spread art and art opportunities throughout Lansing instead of limiting it to areas like Old Town and Reo Town. She believes that all up and coming artists should have opportunities to share and sell their art.
Christina Castilla, the proprietor of RLdesignsLLC, utilizes wood, acrylic paint, and spray paint to create captivating pieces that send love, peace, and happiness. Click here to see more of her art and connect with her on Instagram.
~written by Erica Munchbach