Sneak Peek Interview with Christina Fox

sneak peek

I always like to know a little something about an author before I sit down and open up his or her book. Today I’m interviewing my friend Christina Fox about her newest book, Closer Than a Sister: How Union with Christ Helps Friendship to Flourish. Her book is a welcome invitation to seek meaningful and life-giving relationships in the church. Christina helps us understand our need for community, the various ways we support and encourage one another, and the challenges we face as we build fellowship with one another. If you long to be a better friend and grow lasting friendships, Closer Than a Sister is a book you’ll want to read!

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I was raised in Maryland, outside of Washington, D.C. headshot2017There’s nothing better than a table covered in newspaper, a bucket of crabs, and a mallet!

I went to Covenant College for my undergrad, where I met my husband. I then went on to get my Master’s in Counseling Psychology. I am licensed as a counselor but spend my days homeschooling our two boys, ages 9 and 12. When I’m not homeschooling, I write, blog, and serve as editor of the PCA women’s ministry blog, enCourage. I also serve on the advisory board at Covenant College. In my local church, I teach women’s Bible study and serve in children’s and youth ministry.

I love coffee. And reading a good book. Our family loves to travel and explore new places. We also love to go hiking together.

When did you first start writing? What do you enjoy about it?

I started writing as a child. I wrote for the school newspaper, entered poetry competitions, and wrote fictional stories. (Believe it or not, I still have most of my writings from childhood!) I’m a thinker by nature. I tend to mull over things so writing has always helped me to process what I’m thinking. It’s how I reflect on what God is doing in me and the world around me. Writing is a way to magnify God’s goodness and faithfulness in my own heart and for those who read it. Lastly, writing is also a creative outlet for me.

 Is writing ever difficult for you? How so?

Sometimes I feel like I only have a certain amount of creativity in me and when I’ve used it up, there’s nothing left. For example, after I’ve spent months working on a book, I am spent. I can’t think to even write a blog post. There have also been times when I think I’ve covered every topic I could possibly write about. Then I ask an editor for topic ideas and they inevitably think of one I haven’t written on. So while there’s nothing new under the sun, I guess there are always different angles and fresh voices to speak into a topic.

What led you to write Closer Than a Sister: How Union with Christ Helps Friendship to Flourish?

IMG_1205The topic of community and relationships in the church is very near and dear to me. The people God has placed in my local church, wherever I have lived, have helped me, nurtured me, discipled me, and journeyed with me through the challenges and trials of life.

These days, community and friendship is hard to define. Social media and technology makes it even more nebulous. What we often experience and describe as community is far different than what the early church experienced.

In Closer Than a Sister, I wanted to encourage women to cultivate the community God created through the life and death of Jesus Christ. Its premise is that we are united to Christ through our justification and united to one another through our adoption. God has created a family for us in the church, making the other believing women in our church closer than a sister.

In the book, I unpack the characteristics of community (friendship) in the local church by looking at the early church. I explore what I refer to in the book as “sisterhood” and what it looks like, namely that sisters serve one another, mourn for each other, rejoice together, exhort one another, disciple one another, and grow together. I also talk about ways to cultivate these relationships as well as facing common challenges to sisterhood, such as conflict in the church.

What’s the central message you hope readers will take away from your book?

I want readers to remember that because they are united to Christ, they are also united to one another in the church. Our union with each other is eternal. Let’s seek to live out that union in our relationships with one another in the church.

How has writing this book affected your own life?

When I first proposed the topic to my publisher, I was a member of the church I’d been at for almost two decades. But when I signed the contract to write the book, I had moved to another state. Ironically, I wrote the book while being “community-less.” We were at a new church and starting all over again. I had to live out what I was writing about; I had to cultivate community. What I wrote in the book became more real to me because of it.

For a sneak peak, here are some quotes from Closer Than a Sister:

“What a unique community we get to be a part of! Like different colored threads, we are woven together to create a beautiful tapestry. My strand crosses with a sister in my church and our strands connect to your strand across the miles. We are knit together and part of the same whole.”

“Sin is deceitful and blinds us to the truth so we need others who will point out that truth to us. A sister-friend in the Lord who spots sin in our life and exhorts us to turn back to God is a good friend.”

“Helping our sisters in Christ isn’t simply a nice thing do. It’s not just a good deed done out of the kindness of our heart. It’s a natural overflow of our connection to one another in Christ—originating in our union with Christ himself.”

Here’s what others are saying:

Jen Wilkin wrote the foreword to Closer Than a Sister. Here’s part of that foreword:

“In Closer Than A Sister she offers insight into how we can weave the cords of our friendships to last through any season. Like all good gifts, Christian friendship is to be sought and stewarded with wisdom and grace. The benchmark of lesser friendships will not do. You hold in your hands a primer on how to weave (and allow yourself to be woven into) that blessed tie that binds.”

—Jen Wilkin, author None Like Him

“Christina Fox has written a beautiful and helpful book outlining a biblical definition of friendship, bringing in the familial language of scripture (“sister-friend”), showing us the Bible’s definition of friendship, and pointing us towards the one Friend who will never leave us or forsake us. If you want to become a better “sister-friend” or find yourself longing for a friend, this book will encourage your soul.”

—Courtney Reissig, author Glory in the Ordinary

“True side by side friendship is both a gift and a calling for Christians, yet it remains elusive and intimidating for many women. Here’s a book that will encourage you in the beauty of Christ-centered relationships, and challenge you to take faith-driven steps of love in friend-ing others. Closer Than a Sister comforted me with the depths of Jesus’ friendship for me, and compelled me outward with a renewed desire to be a godly friend to others.”

—Ellen Mary Dykas, Women’s Ministry Director, Harvest USA; Author, Sexual Sanity for Women: Healing from Sexual and Relational Brokenness and Sex and the Single Girl: Smart Ways to Care for Your Heart

“In Closer than a Sister, Christina Fox has painted a picture of biblical, God-honoring relationships among women in the church. She has then used that picture as a template to suggest how women can, because they are in union with Christ, live out this picture practically and by faith. Her honesty, transparency, and centeredness in God’s Word make this a helpful read.”

—Chris Larson, President and CEO Ligonier Ministries

If you had an afternoon to do whatever you’d like, where would we find you?

Browsing antique shops!

Christina Fox writes for a number of ministries and websites including Desiring God, Revive Our Hearts, and Ligonier. She serves as editor of enCourage, the women’s ministry blog of the PCA. She is the author of A Heart Set Free: A Journey to Hope through the Psalms of Lament and Closer than a Sister: How Union with Christ Helps Friendships to Flourish. You can find her at www.christinafox.com.