A few Sundays ago I was sitting in church, listening to the sermon from my seat: the third seat in the second row on the right. I glanced away from the pastor while he was talking and my eyes landed on the cross on the stage and something—the light or the way the air felt cool as it blew from the AC unit in the rafters—something reminded me of how as long as I’ve come to this church, that has been my seat.
The last weekend of September was my six-year anniversary with Calvary Nexus. I’m sentimental beyond anything reasonable so I try to keep my big feelings to myself sometimes because I know it can be exhausting for others, so I didn’t really mention it to anyone and honestly I didn’t even think about it much past that Sunday morning realization.
But that morning—those lights, that air—it made me remember coming to this church for the first time on an achingly hot day in September 2010. I was weeks out of grad school and I was hungry and hurting and empty. Calvary Nexus was the place where the Lord led me, even as I looked around the room in disbelief that I was actually there. He always knew, even if I wasn’t sure then, that I’d make my way back to this place—back to Him. He was faithful throughout my the process of me remembering my first love. Although I was unfaithful to Him, His own faithfulness remained unchanging, just as Moses reminds us when he says, “Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments” (Deuteronomy 7:9). Paul, too, in his letters reminds me of this very thought: “If we are faithless, He remains faithful; he cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:13).
We took communion a few minutes after I glanced at the cross and drifted down memory lane. I took the elements of communion as they were handed to me and listened to the pastor talk about the significance of that sliver of cracker and the thimble of juice. I sat there, so humbled that my gracious God would call me to this life. Although I didn’t think much of my church anniversary, I thought a great deal about this, that God would allow me to remember from where I have come and remind me of His enduring love and faithfulness. I am so thankful for this moment, for the remembering, for the ability to look back at where I’ve been—not with longing to return, but gratitude to have hope to grow into the woman who God made me to be.
27-year-old Krista sat in that second-row seat, and didn’t know if she should sing or take notes because she didn’t know if she’d be back. 28-year-old Krista stared at the program, trying to find the courage to sign up for School of Ministry. 29-year-old Krista joined a community group and made friends. 30-year-old Krista was baptized again, on her 30th birthday. 31-year-old Krista finished her first year of vocational ministry. 32-year-old Krista took a new job, a promotion, in the same ministry. 33-year-old Krista wrote a book about the great and merciful God who redeemed her tiny wild life. This is not the life I had predicted for myself as a teenager, but it is exactly what God intended for it to be and I am excited who He intended me to become.
I am so thankful to not only look back, but to look forward at the same time, to know that He will keep making me the person He’s planned me to be. I don’t know what all that becoming entails, but I know I can trust Him because He is faithful and has done so much already. David’s words in the Psalms remind me that God’s love for me and faithfulness toward me endure: “Your faithfulness endures to all generations; You established the earth, and it abides” (Psalm 119:90). I don’t know what 34-year-old Krista and 35-year-old Krista and 40-year-old Krista will be like or what she will do, but I know for certain that she will be carried by God, His love the only constant in an ever-changing life.