• Cristina Waldner

Shattered Light: My Faith Story



My Grandma Rose was an avid collector of trinkets. Her curio cabinet was filled with a fascinating assortment of ornaments, figurines, and heart-shaped boxes. Miniature tea sets. Porcelain angels with gold-tipped wings. An ivory alligator. A flower-adorned tree stump with a honey pot inside. And a lot of crystal.


I seemed to have inherited her love of trinkets, and have a few of her keepsakes in my bedroom as a reminder of how special she was.

Nothing can compare, though, to the memory I have of her trinkets. In the right light, her crystal would cast a dazzling rainbow of incandescence around the room. BUT... in order for a crystal to be able to do that, it must have tiny facets that catch the rays of the sun. It is this shattered, yet illuminating quality that best describes my faith in Jesus.

My faith is a topic I knew I would tackle eventually but didn't know exactly how to phrase it. Not to say necessarily that I was avoiding the topic or anything...

Okay, that's not entirely true. I have been running (driving) from it. I told you from the start that I was going to be honest and authentic about my life and that means owning up to it all... Everything.

Preparing this week's blog post has been like looking at myself in the mirror, something I rarely do because I don't like to focus on my physical appearance and the million and one things SMA has done to my body. But instead of seeing my asymmetric features and scoliosis, I stared right into my soul.

It's a place where only I and one other Person knows, My Lord and Savior. In this sacred place, there are things here that are profound to us, moments that are meaningful to only us. I know I have whispered things that hurt Him deeply and I feel He has done some things that hurt me. We love each other but can both acknowledge that life circumstances have not been the easiest for our relationship. Yet, it is this Love that gives me strength.

It is all that I am.

This is really what my faith story is: hope in the midst of heartache. Dazzling light from shattered glass.

As you can tell, it's a very personal, emotional relationship. I'm not really comfortable sharing about it because it feels so intimate. So don't expect me to become a televangelist or anything (the thought of that actually made me chuckle as I was writing that!).

So, writing this down has forced me to shine a light into the darker places of my soul and come clean about my faith. I'm not the kind of Christian to listen to Christian radio, or have morning devotions regularly, and I honestly can't even remember the last time I opened my Bible.

But I do know Jesus. This knowing, this connection to Him is something almost instinctual. Often, I find myself involuntarily praying throughout the day or seeking His guidance in the still of the moonlight. Whether I fully understand it, or sometimes even fully appreciate it, He is my Everything.

I used to be more sure about my faith but as I got older, my life became harder to accept. I started to question the fact that God had—from what I could tell—given me a life with more stacked against me than anyone else I knew. I mean, think about it... having been born with a serious chronic illness didn't even give me one "normal" day here on earth. I got no choice, no say, and not even the courtesy to have a moment's break.


Yup, that's bitterness talking. Though I love Jesus, I can't help but acknowledge the pain that comes along with having SMA. Some people say they can’t believe a loving God would allow suffering. I have to admit, I've thought so too. I think we all have at some point when we see or experience any given tragedy.

But then I find myself praying to God about something and somehow my faith just is.

Yet, there are things that make being a Christian with a disability very hard to reconcile—like the topic of healing. I actually squirm when these topics are brought up in church because I feel I have a neon sign flashing above my head. "Girl in the Wheelchair Over Here!"

It makes me uncomfortable to hear these topics spoken on because what happens if you believe and have faith the size of a mustard seed and nothing changes? No miracle. No profound change. Just silence.

Does that mean that God has let you down?

In those moments when you've come before your Savior—humbled, desperate, empty, and broken—but you receive a still but firm rejection, you have two life-altering choices. You can get up off your knees, walk away, and never look back or you can take in the moment for what it really is: A child coming to their Father for help but He is unable to help you. It's not that He's not there or that He doesn't exist. It's that what you are asking of Him is not in His plans.


While His answer is extremely hard to trust, it is the only way I can reconcile the fact that I did have faith but did not receive healing. I love my God and while there are things I don't understand, I still choose Him because the alternative (the back-turned, shut-down option) leaves us both hurting.

Just like my Grandma's crystal, my faith story is complicated but it is in this complexity that lies it's real beauty.

You see, a jewel that catches the most light is not one that is smooth, polished, and intact. It is the crystal that is Multifaceted. Jaded. Chipped. But not broken.

And that is a direct reflection of the Light of the World.

- Crissi xo


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