Standing on the Rock

For In Touch’s Christy Prophet, resilience is all about leaning on Jesus Christ.

It was a Sunday morning, and Christy Prophet was getting ready for church. The moment she had been warned about came when moisturizing her hair. It started falling out.

Without flinching, she picked up the phone to call her stylist. She wasn’t going to wait for it to fall out in clumps—it would all go at once. “Hair doesn’t make me. Christy is Christy, with or without hair,” she said.

In June 2013, Prophet went in for a routine mammogram, yet it was one that hurt more than usual. A lump was discovered—breast cancer. The doctor assured her she wouldn’t lose her breast. “I said, ‘You know what? If you’ve got to take both of them, I don’t care, not if it means saving my life.’”

An accountant for In Touch Ministries, Prophet decided she wanted to tell her coworkers one by one instead of someone making an announcement. Some cried, and many interceded on her behalf. She met with In Touch CEO Phillip Bowen, who gave encouragement and prayer.

Prophet, an Atlanta native and the second youngest of seven children, is no stranger to life’s adversities. When she was very little, her 5-year-old brother burned the house down. “We weren’t home; we were at my grandmother’s,” she said. “He and his little friend snuck back to the house and were trying to smoke a cigarette.” The family lost everything and had to start over, moving to public housing.

When she was still a little girl, Prophet’s father died of health complications stemming from alcoholism. Her mother, Frances Sims Allen, decided that she wouldn’t remarry, instead dedicating her life to raising her children in the church. She often held two or three jobs to take care of them, but Prophet says the children never lacked for anything growing up.

Though raising a large family alone was a challenge, Prophet said her mother simply had to be clever about discipline, particularly when it came to the four boys. “She would wait for them to go to bed, for them to be in their pajamas. And then at 2, 3 o’clock in the morning you’d just hear them yelling [while getting spanked]. She used the common sense God gave her.”

And her mother’s response to tough circumstances instilled what Prophet considers her spiritual gift—serving others. This developed particularly during high school. Named parliamentarian of her senior class, she was often looked to by other students for direction. She also was known for her work ethic, as she chose to participate in vocational office training, attending school for half of the day and working a job the other half. Since she was a tall girl, school leaders kept trying to get her to play basketball, but she refused. “I always thought I was too cute for that,” she said with a laugh. “I didn’t want to be running up and down the court, getting sweaty, my hair all crazy.”

Graduating in 1979, Prophet had long planned to join the military with her cousin. “We would go and do our 20 years, retire, and get a check,” she said. But that dream never materialized—she got pregnant. Marrying the father, she instead worked at SunTrust for the next 17 years of her life. But a difficult marriage led to divorce in 1996, and Prophet wasn’t sure she ever wanted to get married again. While being a single mother had its challenges, Prophet was able to lean on the example her mother had set.

Then a coworker insisted she meet one of the customers who regularly came into the bank. Prophet reluctantly agreed to watch him from the back of the room, as she was tall enough to look out across the office. After seeing him, she was willing enough to go on a date with Charles Prophet. Though she didn’t want to remarry, he pursued her for years, and she finally said yes. They’ve been married more than a decade.

And Charles Prophet was there for his wife in her toughest time, going along for appointments and offering support when decisions had to be made. “We knew this thing was not going to defeat me,” she said.

On the days of her treatment, Prophet had a routine—a shower, followed by no lotion or anything that would put fragrance on her body. She wouldn’t eat but instead drank plenty of water. On non-treatment days, she would juice fruits and vegetables— a lot of them.

For spiritual sustenance, she turned to her favorite scripture, one she has leaned on time and time again—Psalm 46:1: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

“I was like, ‘Lord, You have to deal with this. I’m not going to break down. I’m not going to be sad—I don’t even want to be around people that are going to be sad and crying. I don’t want to hear that. I’m putting this in Your hands.’ I never got down on myself; I couldn’t. Seriously, what was that going to do for me? The world by itself will be down on us, so why would I do it to myself?”

Prophet isn’t someone who’s used to illness. From childhood on, she never had chicken pox, mumps, or measles—not even the flu. When the chemotherapy doctor told her she’d lose all her hair, she didn’t care. But at the mention of getting sick from treatment, she stopped him dead in his tracks. “Now I’ll go with the hair thing, because you all say that’s a given. But don’t say that I’m going to get sick. That’s not going to happen.”

And miraculously, it didn’t. Through eight rounds of chemo and 33 radiation treatments, Prophet never once got sick. She had to miss work for a handful of appointments, but only because they would last four to five hours each. Every other moment she was at work, keeping a constant pace, or at home taking care of herself and spending time with the Lord.

“I spend a lot of quiet time with God. I have a room in my house called ‘Christy’s playroom.’ It’s my own personal space. That’s my haven inside my haven.” She jokes that even Charles is afraid to interrupt.

“I just find so much peace in quiet time. Some people feel they need to be busy, but I can sit in that room, no music, no TV.”

“Lord, You have to deal with this. I'm putting this in Your hands.”

Today, Prophet is cancer-free and praising the Lord for His mercies. “It’s nothing but God. I know the God I serve.” She’s an inspiration not only to her friends and coworkers but also to others struggling with serious illness. Prophet’s chemo doctor has encouraged her to take up speaking publicly about the experience, but another challenge is on her mind these days: her aging mother.

Now 84, Frances Allen is dealing with a number of ailments that are taking their toll—a stroke in September, three fractured ribs from a fall, and dementia. She’s still living at home, assisted by Prophet’s sister and a nurse who visits weekdays. “Because of what she’s done for me, I’m trying to do the best that I can,” Prophet said, “to give her the best of what life she has left. She could have been one of those mothers who said, ‘I’m going to drop these kids off with an aunt or someone else to raise them,’ because a lot of people would do that.

“But my mother was like, ‘Ain’t no way in the world. You’re not taking my kids anywhere.’”

It’s that part of Prophet’s personality that shines through most—taking responsibility. She jokingly says that people call her “the mother” of the Finance department because she’s always looking out for others.

Even though she’s had to face significant trials, Prophet said she has learned from the tough times in life. “They were true blessings for me. If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t do any different. I’m not ashamed or mad about anything that I’ve done in my life; I’m really not. Because God has brought me through it.”

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