Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Shiny Happy People

It's been awhile since I've blogged regularly. Sorry about that. So let me re-introduce myself to y'all:

Hi, I'm Kirstin. I have three kids (6, 4, and 2) and I usually stay home with them. I have a part-time job at a local hospital where I work four 12-hour shifts every month and I love my job. I also volunteer every week with StreetWatch, an outreach ministry to the unsheltered homeless folks in my city. I love that too. I spend time every week in my oldest child's classroom to help out. Oh, and I'm honored and blessed to be part of a church plant called missio dei: gso.  In between, my days are filled with laundry and dance classes, sports practice of some kind, homework, cooking dinner, carpool, playing on the playground, "Quidditch" games in the front yard (we love us some Harry Potter), coloring projects, sewing, and did I mention laundry?

Sounds like I have it all together, right? Excuse me while I laugh quietly to myself. It really only looks good on paper (screen?).

Let me tell you something else about me: I am fiercely independent and full of pride. Those things might sound like okay qualities, but they really aren't.  And in the first year after we brought Amani home, I struggled. I mean s-t-r-u-g-g-l-e-d.  And because I'm so independent and so prideful, I didn't reach out. I kept up the blog, I kept up appearances. And I withdrew steadily from my friends and family under the guise of "busyness" or "adoption issues."

I didn't do this on purpose, but I created a beautifully crafted mask to show the world. It showed some flaws, just enough to make me seem genuine. On the rare occasions that I did check in with friends, I focused on them, steadily steering any conversation away from me, with the exception of a few topics where my mask allowed the tiniest bit of vulnerability. And even those close to me thought I had it together.

So as I struggled with attachment to my sweet youngest child, I found myself falling into misery. I lost my way; I fought to get out of bed in the morning and barely made it through my waking hours. I wasn't the mom I wanted to be; I wasn't the wife I wanted to be. I wasn't the ME I wanted to be.

So that's the real reason behind my not-blogging. As soon as I recognized what was going on, I got some help. And while I was needing to focus on getting healthy again, I just didn't really have any words for the blog. Since I don't want to blog unless I have something to say, I just left this space alone for awhile.

But you know what didn't change for me that whole time? Even in the moments when I was trying to do it all myself, I know my Savior was holding me up. While I was failing miserably yet still telling him, "I got this," he was standing behind me, cushioning my fall. Because Jesus doesn't need me to be perfect. He doesn't need me to have it all together. In fact, when I say "yes" to what he has for me, it's so often those flaws that end up  being useful. My weakness is made perfect in his strength.

One of the things we are really striving to do with missio dei, our church plant, is to create authentic community. We want to be a place of rest, a place where we can share our joys, our struggles, and our insecurities.  We want to break the cycle of hypocrisy often found in church when certain sins are highlighted and others conveniently ignored. American churches seem to be full of shiny happy people dressed nicely and smiling prettily.  Missio dei wants to be a community of people humbled by our own brokenness, freely accepting the grace and mercy that Jesus offers us. And we want to exist to serve our city - to make Greensboro a better place to live because of how we serve those who live here.

And my heart desperately wants to belong to a community of faith where people feel free to wrestle honestly with the gospel.  But guess what? I am not good at it myself.  I want others to feel comfortable talking about things that are difficult for them yet I'm not brave enough myself to do it.  I wanted to be the shiny happy person who helps others through their rough stuff.

So I thank Jesus for this season of humility. For the reminder that I am not perfect; that I truly don't have it all together.  And that's okay. I'm not shiny, I'm not always happy. But I do have joy that abounds beyond all understanding.

And I have a God who still wants to use me, even with all my brokenness. He can use you, too. My prayer is that this post might reach someone who is where I was about 6 months ago. May the God of peace flood your heart and heal your hurts as he has mine.


  1. Kirsten, your bold honesty is refreshing and inspiring. I'm sorry you were struggling, toughing it out on inside, while still giving so much to your community. I hope this spring is a time when you continue to rise above overwhelming responsibility and do something wonderful for yourself.


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