Laura knew all the right answers before she knew anything about Jesus.
Laura Dunnican grew up in Garland, Texas, and like many Bible-belt babies, she was a church-goer from the very beginning. A huge blessing in general, but for Laura it provided an occasion for “whitewashing” her tomb. She knew enough to act alive, but she was still dead inside. “I really did think that I was a Christian, but I didn’t really know Jesus. People would talk about the ‘change’ and I would be like, ‘Yeah, yeah’, but I didn’t know––I just thought I had to fake it honestly. During that time I really had no desire to pursue the Lord on my own.”
The human heart will not live quietly without a savior though. If it refuses Jesus, it will look for another. Laura’s heart scrambled for hope in relationships, social status and the like–or in her words, “anything I thought would bring satisfaction.” She had no framework for the good news of the Gospel, that she could be fully accepted and satisfied by God through the finished work of his Son, so all her failed pursuits just left her looking for other substitutes. “In that time I had no idea what it meant to be a Christian or the urgency of my chasing after false hopes.”
But mark the patience of God––for it was in the midst of Laura’s rebellion that he saved her.
Despite her every intention to go off to college content in her nominalism, God brought her to a Christian camp for freshmen where he decisively broke through to her. The Gospel was preached and fellow girls boldly confessed their sin, leading Laura to see her own sinfulness and the sufficiency of Jesus. “I was obviously really convicted and I think that was the first time I really appreciated the intensity of what Jesus did and his pursuit of me in that…. I remember I went home afterwards and literally stood in the kitchen for 3 or 4 hours and just told my family everything, because it was the first time that I was realizing these really important things about God and myself––I was so passionate about it because it’s the first time that I actually felt this need that I didn’t know I had.”
God’s faithfulness in saving Laura has continued to her growth in holiness. Her pursuit of God now is of a different kind than the self-dependent chase before. Today her life is characterized by a deep love for God that rests all of its efforts on the finished work of Jesus and the continued work of the Holy Spirit.
“In the past, I would have to force myself to follow Jesus and now it’s my genuine desire. It’s so crazy, this past year and a half so much has happened internally for me, so it’s like completely altered everything. It’s been so cool to look back and see how all of the change has been internal. The Holy Spirit is transforming me every day.”