Madison Howard Churchman

(Texas A&M-College Station)

The Family Law Associate | 40 Under 40 Class of 2020

“To love people well.”

GET TO KNOW MADISON

Madison Howard Churchman went to law school with the goal of serving families and children, particularly vulnerable children experiencing neglect or abuse. She now gets to do that as a family law associate at a small firm in Forth Worth and couldn’t be happier. Learn more about Madison below. 

EXTENDED INTERVIEW

What inspired you to go into this line of work?

I went to Zambia, Africa, during the summer after my sophomore year of college to do mission work. Being there and working with the orphaned and vulnerable children made me realize I wanted to focus my career on serving children in similar positions. I wanted to move overseas and be a full-time missionary but after having a great conversation with my dad (and a lot of prayer) I decided that I wanted to pursue a law degree to be able to make a difference in the lives of children. It was the same trip in addition to a mentor of mine adopting two beautiful girls that confirmed my desire to grow my family through adoption. I interned with the National Council For Adoption in Alexandria, Virginia, before I started law school, and this sparked my interest in foster care and adoption. My husband and I became licensed foster parents in July of this year and have since welcomed a precious little girl into our family.

 

What challenge did you overcome to get where you are today?

My last year of law school, my mom was diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer. It was the hardest thing for my whole family since we are all incredibly close knit. Through this, I watched our community close ranks around us to care for not just my mom, but my dad and the rest of my family as well. We came out on the other side stronger as a family, and I’m so happy to say that my mom is cancer free today!

 

Did someone help you get to where you are today, like a mentor?

I think the two biggest mentors in my life have been my dad and my friend, Sarah. My dad has always encouraged me to be unapologetically myself. In so many circumstances where I haven’t known what my plan was or what my next move would be, he has challenged me, cheered me on and helped me follow the path that has always been set before me. Sarah was my Bible study leader in high school turned friend and confidante in adulthood. She understands my heart and knows how to speak over me in truth and in love that helps me have clarity and peace. She inspired me to pursue adoption, and without her guidance we might not have our precious little one with us today.

 

What do you love most about your job?

I love most the days that I look back and think, “I helped someone today.” Family law is challenging, and you work with people on their worst and most emotional days. But, when I look at a case and am able to see that a child is in a safe, loving home, I am grateful for the opportunity to serve in that way.

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Describe yourself in three words.

Strong, silly and servant-hearted.

 

Your life philosophy is… 

“To love people well.”

 

What is the best piece of advice you received?

If someone makes you upset or mad, you can decide that it’s worth it to you to bring it up with them and talk about the issue. If it isn’t worth it to do that, then forgive and move forward.

If someone handed you an airline ticket to a place of your choosing, where would you go and why?

Anywhere in South Africa. I love to travel, and I’d love to see the beaches, take in a safari and explore the country.

 

What’s something you cannot live without?

Less something, and more someone. My husband, Cory, is my best friend. We’ve been together since high school, and he’s been my biggest cheer leader and closest friend since.

 

Name a book you read that positively shaped you.

“Kisses From Katie” by Katie Davis

 

If you weren’t working in the industry that you are, what would you be doing instead?

I think in another life my calling is to be one of the adults on “Sesame Street.” The ones who get to talk to the puppets and help them learn great life lessons. Or, I’d own a flower shop. Or a summer camp. But, in all seriousness, I think if I weren’t an attorney I’d work for a foster care or adoption agency.

 

How do you unwind or relax after a long day?

Pet my dog. Take a bubble bath. Watch a favorite show, like “Friends” or “Gilmore Girls.” Recently, snuggle with our little one.

 

The most rewarding aspect of your job is…

Helping clients have positive relationships with their children.

 

If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it – metaphorically speaking, getting a message out to millions or billions – what would it say and why?

“You are worthy and were created on purpose for a purpose!”

When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do?

Honestly, I pray. Out loud or in my head, depending on how overwhelmed or where I am. If it’s bad, I reach out to a trusted friend or counselor. I lean on others to help bring myself back to focus.

 

What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made? (Could be money, time, energy, etc.)

Becoming foster parents!

Name a confident woman of character who you look up to? Why her?

No question that woman would be my mom. I grew up in a military family, so we moved every year or two. I grew up thinking it was always normal to have people in and out of the house , staying the night, coming over for holidays or just stopping by for dinner. My mom made sure every person felt welcome and at home, even when home was far away. She gives freely of herself — her time, her talents and her heart. And that is exactly what I aspire to be.