Wonderful Are Your Works
“I can confidently and with a lot of gratitude say that I was born and raised in an abiding, Christian home,” said Jena McJunkin. “Both parents are devoted Christ-followers who were dedicated to shepherding their kids to know the truth about God’s love for us. I was able to watch my parents model faith in Christ, and that came to be the most transformative thing in my life.
“My parents are tall and athletically built, so when I was born, as you can imagine, I was not what they expected. Unlike my three other siblings born of average height, I was born with achondroplasia, the most common type of dwarfism. This means I have an average-length spine and disproportional arms and legs. From birth, my physical uniqueness affected many areas of my life.
“As I was beginning to grow and develop, there were a lot of questions and attention from others that brought up some really good but thought-provoking conversations at home; Questions like, What’s wrong with you? Why are you little?
“I am thankful that my mom and dad knew to take me to Scripture. In our home, my physical uniqueness wasn’t justified or explained by coincidence, but by Psalm 139:13-14, which says, ‘For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.’
“Dwelling on the truth of God's Word began to soften my heart, and I think God was preparing my heart to receive His Spirit. I made the decision to trust Christ at the age of seven, and from there, I began to learn what it meant to have a personal relationship with Jesus.
“I knew, especially in those fundamental years, that life was going to look really different. I realized that this unique body was going to bring a lot of challenges, and so life couldn’t be found outside of Christ. I had no other option but to choose to trust Him. I learned early to surrender my expectations, hopes, and desires of what I thought my life would look like.
“My reality sometimes means feeling excluded and rejected, not necessarily by one person or group, but in the interactions and circumstances of everyday life. I began to understand that in this I get to portray His image in the way that I steward my suffering.
“With that purpose, after college, I went to be on staff with a discipleship ministry where I was the Womens’ Director for four years. I was passionate about discipling college girls, but through that season, it became clear that I was doing ‘good’ works but my heart was motivated by perfecting things in my life because I was so aware of my imperfections. I thought this would win the approval of others instead.
“So, when I moved back to Dallas, I jumped into re:generation, Watermark’s biblical recovery ministry, to learn how to fight these struggles. I realized that I had been trying to put my efforts into being good to be accepted and chosen by people, because there were so many ways I couldn't excel or achieve in external ways that the world would applaud or praise.
“God is at work using the imperfect things about me, both physically and spiritually. Over time, I have learned that life is a call or opportunity to die to self (Matthew 16:24–25). God has designed even our sufferings to sanctify us. I began to love God even more in the beauty of what He was doing within me.
“I look back now, and I see the Lord has been extremely faithful to gift me a story that connects with people in a unique way. I see how the Lord has shaped my heart to have a deeper compassion for all people but especially for those that feel rejected, forgotten, or excluded. Because of this, I can connect and relate with others in the midst of their sorrow and suffering.
“In the moments of wrestling with God's goodness, I can trust that everything He designs is perfect and beautiful and lacks nothing. Although we may experience a lot that does not feel good, God uses all of it to point to Himself, and that makes it all worth it (Romans 8:28).
“We are the hands and feet of Christ no matter what those look like. You don’t have to be tall or look a certain way to deliver the Good News. It has been a privilege and blessing that the hard things I’ve walked through have greatly shaped my view of God, and I hope it shapes others’ views of Him too.”