Kristen Wright is an independent singer/songwriter who plays guitar and plans to make it her career. Kristen was in her third semester at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee studying commercial voice when she got in a serious auto accident. Kristen sustained several serious injuries in her left hand which caused her to lose both of her little and index fingers. The remaining three fingers sustained considerable nerve damage. After the accident, Kristen withdrew from classes to reserve all efforts toward her healing, which included having to relearn playing her guitar. For a singer/songwriter, this was a devastating reality. You can find out more about Kristen’s music here and more about Kristen’s accident here.
When I asked Kristen to answer the question, “Over the last 5 years, have you given thanks to God for your pain, hardship, heartache, and suffering?” Here is her response:
This is an extremely important question and it has been a question that has shaped my faith.
I had a pretty simple life before my accident. I have always had a gift for empathy, but I had never truly experienced any pain of my own before the accident.
My entire life changed since the wreck. I refer to the time before September 17, 2009 as “pre-war” and after, “post-war.” And one of the strangest things I’ve come to understand is that the wreck is probably not the hardest thing I will have to go through in my life. But I am so thankful for the experience because it has shaped me into the person and the musician that I am today. I wouldn’t trade the past three years because I am certain that God has been refining me through all of this.
In the beginning, there were times when I wanted to give up, to throw my guitar against the wall. I wanted to just quit — but I know now that all of those difficult times made the moments I could make music so much sweeter. It is so much more obvious to me now how much I need God when I cannot play a simple G-chord. That need and that pain strips me down to one simple truth: this music and this life, above all, is not about me but about my Maker.
I have felt closer to God. Intimately known by a God who knows my suffering from experience. I feel as though I better understand the suffering of others, and the sacrifice of Jesus. I have been humbled, captured, strengthened, freed, you name it.
I have come to reconcile big questions like, “What if God is disciplining me?” and “What if God planned this?”
One time a good friend told me that God is being glorified in my weakness. Any time I am not strong enough, good enough, Christian enough…He is. For me, being reminded that I am not “Super Woman” is a massive need — God deserves all the glory.
So yes, I have thanked God for this life. There is so much for which to be thankful. God is so much bigger than my impairments, and so much bigger than my ego. I am so thankful for that.
THE BOOK to read on a subject like this is Drops Like Stars by Rob Bell.