When Your Heart Needs to Be Understood


My kids aren’t so grown I don’t remember those bleary-eyed yesterdays, the ones where I was knee deep in new babies and new motherhood. I taught music at Mark Twain Elementary, but twin babies in the house meant I’m not too fresh and put together. On most days, it feels like victory just to be vertical.

My best teaching buds Patty, Sue, and Jen were a stage or two ahead of me in parenting, and on more difficult days dedicated mama cheerleaders. They understood what I was going through and gave me grace in my floundering. When apologizes tumbled profusely because I had to back out of our dinner plans, Sue would say,

“Kristen, don’t apologize. Parenting is a lesson in flexibility.”

And when I worried I wasn’t doing everything the parenting experts said I should, Patty would smile and say,

“Forget about the books. You’re doing more than you think you are.”

And when Jen found me crying by the ellison cutter in the library because I felt behind on everything, she just slung an arm around my shoulders and promised me,

“Girl, just get today’s necessities done. And really, you won’t feel this way forever.”

At the kidney shaped table in the 5th grade classroom, they let me spill lunch crumbs and heart crumbs about the wonder and work that was raising babies. They became my sisters in solidarity leading me to the daily finish line.

They got me, or at least the crazy-sleep-deprived-working-mother part of me.

Last week I returned from a blogging conference, the only writery/bloggy conference I ever attend. Because hello? It takes a lot of effort to leave my house, more logistical maneuvering than Eisenhower used to plan D-Day. {And with that reference I sound 85.} Anyway, it’s worth going for more than the educational benefits – of which there are aplenty. But for a relationship-loving gal like me, what really draws me in are the others who attend, too. They understand this writing thing, that I’m doing more than just playing on facebook the whole live long day.

They get me, or at least the key tapping, writerly part of me.

And they cheer me on toward the day’s finish line, whatever that may be.

But then I look in the mirror at whole Kristen – the wife and mother and writer. The girl who loves Jesus and making dessert and playing music and taking pictures. The girl who ignores library book due dates and the dog hair and dust that cover my floor. The girl who tries to get through each day without using too much math or too little grace.

And from my chestnut hair to size 11 feet, no one on this planet fully gets me. Not my husband, my sisters, or my best friend. Nobody.

The same is true for you, too.

And while this can frustrate us, God arranges it this way to free us. He doesn’t force us to the door of His heart. But He guides us there out of love because the only place we can be fully known is in the home of the One who created us in the first place. And where unconditional love lives, freedom lives too. But it’s our choice to walk inside and make ourselves comfortable.

God is the only one who “gets” all of you, who sees you exactly as you are and loves you just the same.

And He enthusiastically cheers you toward your own unique finish line, whatever that may be.

Speaking of friends and writing, the lovely Kat Lee invited me to her place last week to talk writing, blogging, and community. You can read the interview here or listen to my very unpolished self with a side of Okie accent on the podcast here.

If You’re a Little Scared to Be in a Room Full of Women


The crisp air shook me wide awake that velvet black night my friend and I walked into Sally Clarkson’s house for her Christmas tea. I didn’t know anyone except Sally (a little) and the friend who brought me. Most of the women in attendance were homeschooling moms and members of her monthly Bible study. I was neither, but I didn’t let that stop me enjoying some delicious food in a warm, relaxed setting.

As the evening progressed and my friend mingled with others, I nibbled desserts and looked for a place to sit for Sally’s devotional. Since there was no room in the living room, I sat next to people I didn’t know on her spiral staircase overlooking the living room. I made small talk with a few but didn’t really click with anyone new. When Sally began her lesson, I curled up comfortably with her words and felt genuine encouragement reach all the corners of my soul. Later that night as my friend and I drove away, I felt satisfied and content. The evening could have been ripe with awkwardness, but I had an enjoyable time.

Let me tell you something, however: This isn’t always how I feel after leaving a group of women. Sometimes I leave feeling more like I’ve been to a funeral than a party, part of my confidence dying right along with my good time.

And I’m tired of it.

I’ve spent nearly 20 years as a military wife, and I can’t begin to count all the social situations I’ve bloomed and withered during. I’ve been in rooms full of familiar women and never-met-before women. Extroverts and introverts. Older mentors and younger mentees. Easy going people and military brass. Sometimes my conversations flow easily and I get along beautifully with folks. Sometimes I don’t gel with them at all, so I scoot toward the peripheral and suddenly become captivated by the pictures on the wall or the contents of my purse. Other times I feel downright awkward and keep checking to see if I have toilet paper hanging out of my skirt. Or maybe a little broccoli in my teeth.

This is nothing unusual; we all experience uncomfortable social settings from time to time. But here is where I get into trouble: When I don’t click with others or feel “at home” in a room,  I sometimes turn inward and convince myself  I must be a problem of the loser variety. Not only is this a straight up lie, it’s a poor choice guaranteed to steal my good time and confidence.

Has anybody been there but me?

When we give into all those inward thoughts, we might believe it’s best to hole up in our homes or hotel rooms or hearts. But doing this guarantees we’re traveling to an isolated, dangerous part of town that keeps us looking inward rather than outward.


God desires for us to walk in the knowledge that we are dearly loved and already treasured. And heaven knows I want to rally behind all His glorious desires for me rather than raise a roadblock. So, whether you’re about to attend a conference, a PTO meeting, or your friend’s wedding, don’t get lost in no man’s land. Instead, remember these things for a healthier perspective:

1. Pray Yourself Up Before You Leave and While You’re There. Before the wheels of my van leave the driveway or the wheels of the plane leave the runway, I’m already asking God to protect my heart from the Enemy’s suggestions while fortifying it with His truth.I repeat Colossians 2:17 to myself  ”…the reality, however, is found in Christ.” Your reality is in Him, and He says you are completely worthy, talented, loved, and wanted today. If anything else snakes its way into your thoughts, take it to Jesus. That is the only way to see yourself not overly or underly, but in reality.

2. We’re all small. We all need Jesus to bridge the gap between ourselves and God. Everyone does, including that conference speaker, the PTO president, and the business CEO.

3. Your attendance has purpose. It isn’t random but a divinely scheduled appointment. God places us in strategic places at strategic times, and He is using your presence there for your good.

The next time you’re in a room full of women, refuse to arm wrestle the enemy over your identity. Don’t hand him your confidence. Walk with purpose and your head held high because no matter how completely comfortable or uncomfortable you feel, you are complete in Christ.

With or without the toilet paper or broccoli.

For All the Late Bloomers


The lilacs are blooming in Colorado now.

In June, people.


My brain tells me that is ridiculously late because in the rest of the country – and in most other places I’ve lived – lilacs bloomed two months ago. But the truth is for this mountainous town that sits 7,000 ft. above sea level, they bloomed right on time.

Not long ago a friend and I were talking about our awkward teenage years, and she asked me when I bloomed. While this could translate into different answers depending on the specific topic, I told her in general, it was around 35.

Give or take a year.

We all bloom, but we all do it against a timetable of one. In the physical sense, this is easy for me to remember.

But when it comes to talents, gifts, and callings? Oh, how I forget.

Sometimes, I see other people’s talents blooming in all their lavender glory, and I wonder when my own brown patch of earth will show some hints of green. I sit down, chin propped on hands and wonder when my drought will end.

If you’re waiting on this Wednesday, remember often it’s not if growth comes, but when.

“May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together—spirit, soul, and body—and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ. The One who called you is completely dependable. If he said it, he’ll do it!”  ~1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 The Message

God promises to make everything holy and whole, to put you together. He sees the environment where you live and knows that blossoming too early means short-lived blooms. God imprints on your soul all kind of beauty and gifts, and He knows the best time for them to burst forth.

All you can do is water the ground and wait, remembering you aren’t waiting in a time of drought but a time of finding out.

And a time of seeing how the Giver of All Good Things graciously prepares, divinely cares, and wholly loves.

If you are a military wife *or* a woman in transition, maybe this would bless you?

I’m traveling with my favorite four, so I won’t be posting much these next couple of weeks. I look forward to seeing you again regularly afterwards! Happy June, friends!


The Sweet Truth About Your Tears


I’m sightseeing at Panera’s glass covered bakery when I see her out of the corner of my eye. She turns from her laptop to the window as she gracefully swipes tears from her face.

I turn back to my panoramic view of desserts and order a cinnamon roll.

My thoughts roll back to the girl and her tears. I enjoy people watching (especially at places like airports and restaurants) and hypothesizing about the lives of others. I’ve seen Spanish royalty, Hollywood actors, CIA operatives, and mini-van driving mamas like me.

Or at least, I might have.

I find myself doing the same with this darling woman as she stares out the window. I don’t know what’s bothering her, but whatever it is, her heavy heart leaks tears.

Did she have a fight with her husband?

Did she get a rejection letter from a hopeful employer?

Did she take a pregnancy test and it read negative? Or positive?

Did she see a news story she just can’t forget?

Whatever causes her tears, does she know they’re seen?

Do you know it? Because this is true: Your pain matters because your heart matters.

“It’s the quantum physics of God: one broken heart always breaks God’s in two.  We never cry alone.”  

~Ann Voskamp

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ (Colossians 2:9-10). We never cry alone because God is a part of us, so He can’t help but care.

And like a dusty, forgotten gift card found in a drawer, I find a gift that proves my pain matters because I matter, and it’s all seen by the One who never leaves my side.

Your tears are meaningful because your worth is undeniable.

Your identity is unshakeable.

Because His love for you is unfathomable.

May you hold these sweet truths close to your heart today.

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