Back to Basics: Expect God Knows Your Story Matters by Dori Durbin
I was unsure I had a message to share. But GOD KNEW.
Like so many other times in my life, He pursued me. I tried to run, but in the last moment— He pushed so that I couldn’t hold out. God wants you to know my story and I pray it will give you a sense that with His plans: NOTHING is impossible.
Luke 1:37, ESV “For nothing will be impossible with God.”
My story starts with a vivid memory.
I am 8 years old and looking upwards into an old oak tree, my back supported on a bendy swing seat. I let the tightly twisted tree-swing rope untwist and spin me in dizzingly fast circles.
I am belting out the chorus of a church hymn. . . over and over again because I feel MOVED to do it and I don’t really know why. I offer the song to Him freely, loudly, without fear or embarrassment. And, GOD KNEW, but I didn’t expect that.
I could end here, and we could just hold onto this nearly perfect image.
But I can’t.
Without the pain, I wouldn’t be the person I am and want to be today.
The growth of my faith—and belief in the impossible—came through my greatest physical pain because GOD KNEW.
I am not a stranger to pain. As a former teacher, I needed run to reduce stress. It was so hard to stop running during pregnancy, but when our first child was born, I was absolutely elated that I did. God had blessed us with a beautiful and healthy baby boy.
I was instantly in love with him and vowed to be the best mom I could be. Within a week’s time though, I found myself physically unable to change his diaper, exhausted, short-tempered, and emotionally lost. My feet, hands, back, and shoulders swelled and burned… and believe me, I hadn’t been running. I was so frustrated that I scolded myself “this isn’t what a great mom should be.”
The following week, I was diagnosed with a jail sentence: Rheumatoid Arthritis.
I couldn’t exercise. And I couldn’t believe it.
I wanted nothing more than to enjoy the time with my husband and baby son, but I was bombarded by hot shooting pain in my extremities and extreme guilt. Was this my new life? My joy collapsed into fear and anger. Why would this be happening now?
The Rheumatologist didn’t ease my pain.
He warned me to keep away from overexertion, overtiredness, stress, and no running or exercising. He reported that my life span would be shorter than most my age. I was angry, embarrassed, and ashamed. In my sorrows, I could feel the flickers of darkness crowding me. I had so much to be thankful for and yet, I was caught in despair.
That’s when I learned how sharing our faith and personal stories made a difference.
God placed a Steven’s Minister named Paula in my life. She and I met once a week and while the doctors prescribed pain and sleep meds and I figured out new ways to remove diapers… she listened to me. She shared her own trials and journey. She led me and redirected my anger into awe and wonder.
It was then that I made the decision to get out of jail.
God wasn’t limiting me.
I was made for more. And GOD KNEW it.
Unable to return to teaching, God led me to a Christian personal trainer who helped me work on my strength. It also worked on my confidence and it revitalized my heart.
I don’t normally rebel, but I felt God was leading me.
I became a certified Silver Sneaker Fitness instructor for senior citizens and also a personal trainer. I couldn’t believe that God would take me, a disabled RA patient to transform others with training and my story!
Over the next 13 years my strength and faith grew.
- I attended Bible studies.
- I started running, writing, and drawing again.
- I viewed limits as dares and cast them from my shoulders.
I saw each new challenge as an opportunity to step further from jail and celebrate.
I couldn’t have guessed what GOD KNEW.
When COVID hit, much like the rest of the world, I felt it.
With the world in jail, what was in store for me now? Had I become too confident?
My doctors were using the “be careful of” phrases again… and struggles were mounting up all around—but they belonged to other people. God actually used social media to redirect me.
He placed people in front of me that needed my help. These people needed my story.
They were parents who were frustrated and felt lost and alone. They were in a place that I vividly remembered. God worked again: he recombined my desire to teach others, my love of art, and my ability to write to do more than I could have imagined: I would create kids’ books. Not only could I write the books, but God empowered me physically to illustrate and format them, too. GOD KNEW… and now I expect Him there!
If you remember nothing else from my story, hold on to this:
YOUR story is important:
- God has empowered YOU through trials and tribulations.
- He has provided you help along the way
- Your story can be “sung” loudly and freely, without fear or embarrassment.
- Your imperfect path can help others.
What is the story that God has pursued you to share? Who will you release from a jail of doubt, pain, and fear with your words?
Now is the time to stop holding back and write the story that is in your heart!
Your story can make a difference — GOD KNOWS and needs YOU to Expect the Impossible!
Need help getting started? Let’s chat!
About the Author…
Dori Durbin is a Christian wife, mom, author, illustrator and a kids’ book coach who after experiencing a life-changing illness, quickly switched gears to follow her dream. She creates kids’ books (and coaches others) to provide a fun and safe passageway for kids and parents to dig deeper and experience empowered lives Dori has written three children’s books in her Little Cat Feelings Series: “Little Cat Needs Space,” “Little Cat Feels Left Out,” and “Little Cat & Dog’s Birthday Bake: A Recipe in Caring” and will always own a furry horde of cats. Visit Dori’s website here. Connect with Dori on Facebook and Instagram.
The Christian Authors Network Speak Up Competition
The Speak Up Competition, sponsored by the Christian Authors Network, is a powerful source of hope and light for people all over the world. This year’s theme, “Expect the Impossible,” is a reminder that no matter how dark our situations may look, we always have hope because we know that all things are possible with God! The inspirational messages featured in this series are from the round one finalists. Stay tuned for updates as the competition progresses, and please pray with us that God will use this competition to bless and encourage His people. We know that the speak up community has the power to make a difference in this world, and we can’t wait to see what God does through us!