• Christianna Burkee

Article-10 My gospel

I used to believe that becoming the next big name model would sort out all of my loneliness.

I used to think that the sexier I looked, the skinnier I was, and the more designer I wore would accredit me with the title of “successful”.   

I used to believe that if a man called me “hot”, I was worthy of love, and worth someone’s time.

I used to live for myself, and myself alone. It was about my fame, my wealth, my looks and my fancy apartment.

My life was robotic, with no purpose or end goal. It was a life that would never be enough in my eyes, let alone the world’s. What I found to be true was that our name became our title. “I am a model”, “I am a business owner”…but what ever happened to simply being a Daughter or a Son?

I was soon to find out the answer to this question…absolutely ignorant of the fact that someone had been working on my behalf all of my life. Someone completely invisible to me, yet whom never left my side; Someone who’s heart broke when they saw me fall under the trap of a boy’s luring stare; Someone who wept when I made mistakes; Someone who held me when I sat in my apartment alone, crying; Someone who prayed for me to come Home…and never gave up.

Someone, whose name is Jesus.

I was 21 when I gave my life to Jesus… I’m 25 now. Up until that point, I still remember what it felt like to live a life without God. Wow…”I know what it’s like to live a life without God.”

Put that on a magnet.

What I mean by that is, I lived my life to the fullest that I knew how (or was considered normal). I was very successful in my careers, would buy designer clothes, be wined and dined by attractive men, had a nice apartment, and a cornucopia of friends to have mojitos with. But I look back now, on the other side of the fence, and can recall moments in that life when I would ask myself, “…Is this it?”

You know… the feeling of wondering if you have a purpose. That curiosity in your head that begs the question…how DID we get here, and what ACTUALLY happens when we die? Yes, I’ve always been deep and inquisitive like that.

Well, quicker than you can say cricket, no sooner would the thought come that I would push it right back down with a, “Oh Christianna, don’t be silly” and moved on with life.

And move on I did. From art school, to fashion, to business…I moved from thing to thing trying to find my purpose. As the thought and question would rise inside of me, I would shove it back down and apply for the next best thing. In my mind, the more famous I was, the more purpose I had…So I thought I’d settle for the one thing that seemed to give me most attention, my looks (excuse me while I swallow the vomit that just tried to surface- but it was true). I didn’t know it at the time, but one of the only ways I felt seen or beautiful was when I was given attention regarding my appearance. It makes sense. A man stops to tell you how beautiful you are, your friends tell you, “You should model”…if you aren’t secure in your identity, you become secure in what others say about you.

And insecure I was. So I settled.

I walked into Boston’s most prized agency in the tightest jeans I could find, and a tank top I’m pretty sure was from high school. They handed me a swimsuit two sizes too small, a pair of stilettos, and told me to walk. I squeezed my already thin body into it, and did my best catwalk…desperately trying to imitate the Victoria’s Secret fashion shows I would watch in college with a bucket of ice cream.

The next day, they signed me for a year contract. They recommended I lost 10 pounds, and told me to consider going blonde.

Things went downhill from there. But in the moment, I had “found my new purpose”! Yay me.

My first booking was with Ked’s, and shortly after, I was walking in Boston Fashion Week. I got to wear clothes that celebrities wore on the cover of Vogue, and I could keep any shoes that I wanted.

My life was MADE for becoming the measurements of 34, 24, 34, and somehow only weighing 110 pounds. If I got signed for a job, I had worthiness, and if someone took my picture, I was wanted. It didn’t matter if creepy men gawked or said inappropriate things. At least they thought I was beautiful…right? It gave me “purpose”.

A year later, and no Victoria’s Secret contract…you can guess… the thought came wandering back. I declined the offer to re-sign with my agency, and decided I’d move back to my hometown of Petoskey, Michigan. Surely my purpose was there.

Hit restart. Now I had a NEW fabulous apartment with NEW designer clothes and a NEW career in wedding planning.

But still. I was empty.

A few months passed. My job was incredibly exhausting, I was getting tired of my purposeless apartment, and the current relationship I was in at the time ended traumatically.

I remember sitting at this poor guy’s feet. Weeping. My entire life had fallen apart. There was no man, no party, no dress, no modeling gig, and no apartment that could fully make me happy. And now I had lost it all.

He walked out on me that day. And I was left alone, sitting in a pile of purposeless things. I wept on my floor for who knows how many hours. Suddenly, I felt a rage in me. I looked up to the sky, and said, “God. If You are real, You need to show Yourself. Because I have nothing. And I thought You were good.”

Moments later, I crawled into bed…and as soon as my head hit the pillow I was knocked into a dream.

It began with my sitting at a table among about 13 others. Everyone was laughing and keeping their attention on one of the group in particular.... The One who was sitting next to me. He was making everyone laugh, and was leading the conversation. I looked up to get a good look at His face, and knew at once, this must be Jesus Christ.

The dream went into multiple scenes where He walked with me and taught me many things. I couldn’t keep my arms off of Him! I just wanted to hold Him, and hug Him…I had never been so in love with a man. It’s a love I struggle to explain. It’s not romantic…but at the same time, it is. He was the most pure thing I had ever seen. He was so kind, so safe, so loving…

In the final scene of the dream, a mass crowd of people was gathered in the town courtyard. I knew immediately that they were mad at Jesus and wanted Him. I held onto His feet and wept. There was no way I would let Him go. No. Not him. I loved Him!

I shouted these words to Him, and He knelt down before me. He took my face in both of His hands, looked me deep in the eyes. Oh His sweet beautiful eyes…they look like the earth. He stared at me for some time before He said, “Be still, My child.”

He gave me one last embrace, and walked away. He knew what He had to do.

I ran from the crowd because I just couldn’t watch. And then suddenly, I woke up.

It was morning. A soft light came through the billowing curtains along the windows of my studio apartment.

My face was wet with tears. After a moment, I came to realize the reality of what I had just experienced.

I collapsed out of bed, and fell to the floor sobbing in reverence and fear of the power of Jesus.

He was real. He heard me. And He came.

In that sweet moment, in the gentle morning light, I gave my life to Jesus Christ.

I came out of this time and realized it was a Sunday (He’s so cheeky like that). So I threw on whatever I could find (a dirty t-shirt and baggy jeans to be exact) and ran up the street to my dad’s church. I walked in late, while he was mid-sermon. I still remember the look on his face, seeing his baby girl voluntarily come Home…the answer to his prayers for 21 years.

A few Sundays later I was baptized.  

My life was forever changed that morning. I couldn’t get enough of this Jesus. I knew nothing about the Bible, was BLOWN AWAY that God speaks to us, and was even more blown away at how much He loved me and wanted to be with me.

For the first time in all of my life, I had a purpose. I had vision. I had hope. It was Jesus. From the moment I gave my life to Him, He began filling me with a love that no man could ever fill. Giving me freedom, joy, healing, peace, like nothing in this world can offer.

A hop, skip and a jump away…this party going model was now enrolled in her first year at Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry, in the one and only, Redding, California.

I packed away my fancy things, crammed the necessities in my jeep, and drove across the country to chase after this Jesus who came to me when I cried out in pain and desperation.

It’s been a little over three years that I have been saved…yet it feels like a lifetime with Him. You wouldn’t have recognized the old Christianna. I bless that sweet girl all of the time. My heart breaks for her because she just didn’t know…

So here I am…a new creation. Saved, healed and set free. I now have a purpose and it’s to do my Father’s work. It’s an absolute pleasure and honor. I’ve found true love in Him. I’ve found my beauty in Him. I’ve found my worth in Him. And this is only the beginning.

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