Written By: Krista Dunbar
It’s always so hard to put my story into a few succinct paragraphs. It’s so hard to put 27 years of God’s moulding and shaping into one post. But, bear with me! I’m going to do my best. One of my favourite things to do when sharing about what I see God doing is to find a few threads and pull them a bit…
If you’ve ever gotten a tear in your sweater and have pulled it to see how far reaching the unravelling has gone, you know what I’m talking about. As you pull, it not only pulls the one strand. You begin to see the 5 or 6 other strands that it immediately connects to, holding the garment’s shape and pattern together so beautifully.
I believe it’s the same with our stories. Each story in our lives (or thread) connects to so many others, and together, they make up who we are, our experiences, and even show what God has been up to.
It’s beautiful to tell your story looking back, because you can see the beautiful garment the Lord has woven and threaded. You can see how your threads are woven and connected to others to make the story of God that much more beautiful.
Some common threads I’ve pulled out of my story have to deal with identity, calling or purpose, and seeing God work despite my weaknesses.
In high school, I struggled with finding my purpose in my circumstances. I believed that my life story would be impacted by those around me and what they chose for their lives. So, when my parents went through a divorce, I took it personally. I let it impact every part of my mental and emotional state. But because I had an amazing youth leader around who encouraged me to give it to Jesus, I was set free. For the first time in my life, I knew that Jesus was real and not just a nice man with a nice story to tell in my children’s books. He became personal.
I took Jesus to college with me. I went to church 3 times a week and tried to get involved in anything church-related on campus the first few months of my freshman year. I went to campus with high hopes of leading studies, bringing people to deeper walks with Christ, and continuing down the path I was on in my faith. A few months later, a new boyfriend later, and a new sorority later…I wasn’t so sure I was as strong as I thought I was. Looking back, I know I was trying to do it on my own…and that never works out.
I began to find my identity in what I did on the weekends and my boyfriend rather than my God-given identity. I began to search for acceptance, love, and purpose in those things…two years later, I realized I had lost myself. My boyfriend became someone I was trying to drag along with me in my faith and also the one that I had chained myself to. After years of choosing my weekends and my love life over my relationship with God, I didn’t know who I was anymore. I had completely traded my identity in Christ for one that continually left me feeling empty, confused, and depressed.
I’m so thankful that the Lord pursues us NO MATTER WHAT. I truly believe that the Lord was using the Holy Spirit to convict me and get my fanny to church, even if it was sporadically. You see, my desire for Jesus never left, but my willpower went from wanting to live out my faith to wanting to live in what was easy. To follow Jesus in those years would’ve meant doing the hard things: saying no to the temptations that surrounded me, saying no to a boyfriend that wasn’t at all spurring me on toward a closer relationship with Jesus, and saying no to the things that would give me momentary satisfaction but a lifetime of baggage.
Life looks so much different these days and I’m grateful. I used to be so embarrassed to share my story because it’s not pretty. I used to be ashamed to say that I’ve got so many bumps and bruises on my heart from the things I used to let define me. But God has picked me up, washed me white as snow as I’ve given my story to Him, and let me use my story to encourage others in theirs. I’m so thankful for His grace and redeeming love; that He would use our war stories for good and show us that no matter what we’ve done, He can make it beautiful.