Christi Ziebarth always knew art would be part of her life. From playing with her mother's leftover pallets to pursuing an art degree in college, it was abundantly clear that Christi had the gift. But there was never an "a ha" moment or a point of realizing that she needed to spend her days in front of an easel. Eventually, she combined her love for the creative process and her love for children into a rewarding career as a public school art teacher.
But then it all changed.
Despite her success and early confidence, Christi experienced a profound loss of identity in her early thirties. She had become pregnant with her third child and circumstances—as well as her conviction to live each season of life to its fullest—compelled her to leave the workplace and stay home after almost a decade of teaching. On top of this, Christi developed an invasive nerve disease that left her wracked with pain and unable to fully enjoy the things she loved most—family, friends, her art.
During this time, she wrestled through what she describes as a period of mourning—grief over the loss of the person she thought she was. Christi was a Christian, a wife, and a mother. But like many, she had fallen into thinking that her career as an art teacher was interchangeable with who she was. Once removed from the professional capacity of mentoring young people through art, she hardly knew herself.
But God wasn't about to let circumstances change the calling he had for his daughter. Through this period, he led Christi on a journey to answer basic things about both herself and him. When she found herself asking "Who am I?" he responded with, "Who have I created you to be?"1