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who am I?

I have had so many moments where I have asked the question, “who am I?”.  I have looked in the mirror and looking back was a woman whom I didn’t know her true identity.  She had changed.

I have always wanted to be a mom. Always.  And God blessed me to be one.  I knew it was a selfless and wonderful calling.  But I didn’t know how selfless.  I knew I would do anything for them.  Do absolutely anything to keep them safe and help them know they were loved.  What I didn’t know was that I would give up a piece of me.

I used to know exactly who I was.  I used to have so many hobbies, passions, interests.  I was sure those were all still in there but I didn’t have the time to find out.

For quite a few years, I didn’t notice the loss of me.  Because I was so wrapped up in the new joyous adventure of motherhood.

But there came a moment.  And moments that followed.  Where I was not sure who I was outside of being a mom.  For years I didn’t even need to know.

But there I stood, in front of the mirror, looking back at a woman who resembled me but perhaps a little more tired and quite a few more smile lines from the wonderful adventure of being a mommy.

I realized at that moment that being a mom was the most honorable calling I had ever been given.  It was what defined me.  What gave me joy.  But I also realized at that moment that I felt lost.  Who was I?  Who is Kristen?  I started to pray about who I was.  Who I wanted to be.  I wanted to have goals, passions, aspirations that were outside the realm of motherhood.  For awhile I felt that was selfish.  I wasn’t used to thinking about me.  But I have grown.  I have realized that God made me me.  And there is a lot that defines me.  And although motherhood is one of my greatest most precious callings, I have been made for so much more.

I am me!  And that definition encompasses a lot.  I have started to discover who I am.  As a wife, as a mother, as a child of God, and as Kristen.

I am Kristen.

I am child of God.

I am the wife of an amazing man named Aaron.

I am the mother of two precious daughters named Hailey and Aleah.

I am a daughter, a sister and a friend.

I love people.

I am passionate about foster children, teenagers, faith, parenting, marriage.

I love camping, being outdoors, rock climbing, singing, being with friends and family, hosting, cooking, writing.

I am me.  And that includes EVERYTING God has made me to be.

I wondered who I was.  Who I had become.  Who that woman was staring back at me in the mirror.  And then I realized I was still me.  But the me I used to know has been redefined.  In a greater and richer way.  I now also hold the blessed title of mom.

~Kristen

growing up so fast

Tonight I had the privilege of staying up with my oldest daughter, Hailey, enjoying girl talk.  I was tucking her in and she said she wanted to talk. It’s honestly incredible what goes through their heads and hearts at that age.  I felt honored that she shared her heart with me.

She was talking about college even… what?! And it hit me, she is growing up so fast. So fast.  You hear every parent say that time flies.  Does it ever!  She will be 8 in March and guess what that means?  She will go to college in like 10 years… WOW (insert jaw dropped expression on my face and tears in my eyes).  I am so proud of her and so honored and blessed to be her mom.  But I am not ready for all that.  I know, I know, I still have 10 years. But the idea of her getting older and seeing how she changes and matures, reminds me that I have to hold on.  Appreciate the moments that I have. Embrace those times she wants to chat.

Life gets so busy but one of the best ways for me to spend my time is sitting on the edge of my daughters bed having girl talk.

Thank you Lord for the precious gift of my children.  Thank you for the honor of being their mother.  Please help me to continue to embrace and appreciate the moments with them.

~Kristen

Life

The idea of you terrified me. I wasn’t ready. I was only 18. The act in which you were conceived was not lovely. And there I sat knowing my life would forever be changed.

I pondered with thoughts that I knew were based on fear and selfishness. I didn’t want my life to change. This was not my plan. It wasn’t fair. I fell to my knees. It was there that God broke me of my selfishness. My fear. This was no longer about me. It was about you. I knew that I had to let go what of what I wanted so that I could give you a fighting chance.

Through my struggle of what to do, I knew deep down in the depths of my heart and soul that you were every much as alive as I was. You were indeed a precious tiny child. A heart beat. A real live heart beat. You were a part of me. And I loved you. You deserved the very same chance at life that I had been given. You deserved to be loved.

Letting you go would in fact not make what happen to me any better. Or any less painful. No, I would have lived with that regret for the rest of life. Because no matter how you came to be, you were my child. A little tiny human that God gave life. And ending your life would not have fixed anything, it would not have erased what happened to me.

Several months later, I had a miscarriage. I lost you. And I broke. I had lost the very thing I did not think I wanted.

As I grieved the loss of your precious life, it hit me. I was so incredibly thankful that I did not make that choice myself. I chose to love you even though it was hard. God chose life and I chose to honor that until it was time for Him to take you home.

~~~~

Friends, life is God’s. It is not ours. No matter the circumstances. Many had said that due to the circumstances, I had the right…. To choose. Plain and simple… That right is not mine. My body, my choice, is NOT more important then that precious baby that I was blessed to carry for those few months prior to my miscarriage. It was not my choice if that little heart beat should get to continue to beat.

I look at the two precious children that The Lord has allowed us to raise and love. I would do anything. Absolutely anything to keep them safe. I would die for them. In a second. I would never do anything to harm them.

~Kristen

Feeling Defeated

Being a mom is wonderful! But today that’s not what this post is about. Being a mom is downright HARD. It’s the hardest yet most wonderful “job” I’ve ever had. There are days, like today, when I just feel defeated. I was not born with the gift of patience. So it is something I pray about every day. All throughout the day.  And that is the only thing that ever leads to any sort of success with patience. Today, however, has gotten the better of me. Children go through phases. Each year brings something different. Right now as I teach them each day, I am focussing on the fruits of the spirit. Something that I am also trying to develop. I started out strong. You know, exhibiting patience. Reading the bible. Nothing worked. It was just one of those days.  One that brought me to tears.

I know that I can not change my child’s behavior. I know that real change only comes from God. And that change takes place in the heart…which is something I’d like to write more about. It’s times like this that my job is to be on my knees praying for my child to have a real heart change.

So what do I do when I’m feeling defeated? I cry. I pray. I write. I read my bible. I ask The Lord to give me strength for the journey of motherhood that He has called my to. It is my honor and privilege. And it is also very challenging. I have to take the good days with the bad. And know that through Christ each and ever day makes me stronger, more equipped for this journey. My biggest desire is that my children know and love The Lord. I want them to see Christ in me. And boy is that a loaded statement.. Which is another topic I want to write more about.

For now I end this post. Tired, honestly. But also encouraged that tomorrow is a new day. That my efforts are not a waste. And that God walks with me each and every day. And knowing that nothing will ever change how deeply I love the sweet precious girls that God has given me.

Friends, on those days when you feel defeated, remember that God is bigger. He walks with You. He’s growing you. And even when it doesn’t feel like it, He doesn’t give you more then you can handle.

~Kristen

Feeling Understood

Kayla’s birthday was a great day for me. I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of love from everyone. It meant so so much to me. I felt like people got my pain. My loss. And it feels good when you feel understood.

Our loss was different then the loss others go through. And that was hard for me at first. I used to have people tell me, “at least she didn’t die.” Or they seemed relieved when they realized she hadn’t. That statement felt like someone was disregarding my pain. Dismissing it as if it wasn’t tragic enough. Many people didn’t know now to respond at all because it wasn’t a loss like most. I will never compare my loss to that of a mom who’s baby died. Grief. Loss. They can’t be compared. Everyone’s heart is affected differently. What made my loss hard for me was that I had to hand my daughter over & I could no longer protect her. I didn’t know how she would be raised. How she would be loved. I knew she would grow and yet I don’t get to be there to watch it. I have to live my days knowing I’m missing out on her life.

What meant a lot to me about her 5th birthday was that people responded in a way that made me feel like they got me. Like they understood. And I have spent many years wondering if anyone did. Wondering if people thought I should just get over it already. And some of that was because I didn’t know how to handle my loss.

This year brought a huge amount of healing. You see, for the first time in 5 years, I celebrated her birthday instead of grieving. I was still sad and miss her like crazy. But this year it was different. A lot different. And then the tattoo. That was huge for me because every time I see my arm I’m reminded of how faithful God is. Where He has brought me. What a blessing it is to be able to say “it is well” and to believe it with my whole heart. It has changed the way I look at life. The fact that I permanently put that on my arm – well that was a big step for me.

Have you ever gone through something where you felt alone? Not understood? I want to hear from you for real. I’m very interested in peoples stories. Their journeys. So often we don’t open up about our struggles and our pain because of the fear that no one will understand. That they will dismiss it or think it is silly. But I can honestly say opening up and being real with what I have gone through has been a huge part of my healing and the growing of my faith.

Thank you all so much for the responses I got last Wednesday. For the way that you all loved on me. For accepting and appreciating my story. It helped my heart 🙂

~Kristen

it is well

Today Kayla turns 5! I always write her a letter every year… So here it goes…

 

Kayla,

hi sweetheart! Happy birthday! I love you so much! It’s so hard to believe that your 5. You have always held such a special place in my heart and you always will. I will never forget the day I met you and held you in my arms for the first time. It was one of the most wonderful days of my entire life. Loving you is so easy & such a blessing. We pray for you every day that you will grow up to know Jesus and that you will always know how loved you are. How precious you are. Today we are going to release 5 balloons into the air as we reflect on  what a blessing you are. Honey, you have helped shape me into the person I am today. I’m a better person because of you. I have courage.  I have strength. I have a stronger faith. A faith that trusts The Lord to always take care of you since I can’t. Your sister Hailey has shed quite a few tears today. She will always love you & miss you! She asked why God let you leave. I told her that we may never understand but that we have to choose to trust in God’s plan. We have to have faith. I can say today, even though it’s still hard to get the words out, your exactly where your supposed to be even though I don’t understand. I can only say that because of my faith. The faith that grew because of you. Loving you was one of the best gifts we were given & I’m so honored to call you my daughter. I may not get to raise you but that will never take away from the fact that your my little girl and you always will be. Your precious to me!

I love you so much!

————-

is is well……

Tonight I am going to get my first tattoo on Kayla’s 5th birthday! Let me tell you the meaning behind it for me.  My cousin actually has the same one and when I saw her in May it touched me.  The tattoo says “it is well”.  And I truly believe that. But it took a lot of wrestling with God and gut wrenching faith for me to be able to finally say those words after losing our sweet girl. Those words didn’t come easily but they came because God is faithful. He grew our faith… Faith is when we have to go through something that doesn’t make any sense to us but we choose to trust Him anyways. We choose to let go and to allow it to be well with our soul. I would jump at the chance to have her in my arms again. To raise her. To be her mommy. But I see God in a huge way in our story. And in our lives. I see that He never let me go. He has changed my heart. I can now say it is well.

The tattoo is also special to me because it’s the song my mom has always lived out. Even through her cancer and all the hardships that came her way, she always said “it is well”. And they were not just words to her. It was a way of life. Her faith has always and will always be the most important thing to her. She trust The Lord with all that is in her. And she has passed that legacy of faith down to me. And because of her beautiful example of a godly women, I saw courage. Strength. And it was extremely instrumental in me being able to say “it is well” when life got hard. When I lost my baby girl.

I was shaken to the core… And then I was given a choice.. I could hold on to the hurt & anger or I could put my hand in the Lords and trust Him. And I not only had to trust Him with my life but I constantly have to trust Him with Kayla’s life. Letting go was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. It took strength and it took The Lord carrying me. And never letting me go.

On this day, Kayla’s 5th birthday, I’m reminded of how much God loves me. How many blessings we have received along the way. I’m reminded that 5 years ago God gave us Kayla. We got to hold her for 7 weeks and we get to love her for the rest of our lives. We will always love her as our own. She will always be a part of me and always be in my heart. I so wish I didn’t have to miss out on her life but so thankful for the time I got to be in it. She will always be my little girl.  As I write this I start to cry… Because it will always hurt. And I will always miss her. But I also am so thankful that God has written our story and continues to. God doesn’t make mistakes. I can honestly say I do not believe a heart ever fully recovers from such a loss… God just strengthens the heart and gives it peace. He beings healing and it doesn’t hurt as bad.

This tattoo will be a constant reminder to me that this life is not my own. It belongs to God. He doesn’t make mistakes. I can get through anything in this life as long as I have the hope and faith that comes from The Lord. To be able to say the words it is well is one of the biggest blessings that God has given me. There’s so much peace in surrendering to Him.

 

~ Kristen

 

She wants brown eyes

 

I had the most precious conversation with my daughter Aleah before she turned 3.  For weeks.  Every night.

 

Aleah said, “Mommy, what color eyes do you have?”

 

Me, “Brown”.

 

Aleah, “Mommy, what color eyes do I have?”

 

Me, “Blue”.

 

Aleah sadly says, “Mommy, I want bwown eyes like you.”

 

Me, “Honey, your blue eyes are beautiful.  I wouldn’t change a thing”.

 

Aleah put her little hands on my face and said, “But Mommy, I want bwown like you.”

 

Precious.

 

Precious.

 

It melts my heart to know how much she loves me.  How much she looks up to me and wants to be just like me. It is an honor.

 

It makes me realize that I need to be worth looking up to.  Not on the outside but on the inside.  I need to be the person God made me.  I want her to see God when she looks in my brown eyes.  I want her to know and feel how loved she is.  How precious.  I want her to see what life is all about.  What is important.  I want to set an example for her.

 

This precious conversation with my daughter makes me want to be a better person.  It makes me want to change to be more like Jesus.  It makes me realize that who I am is some of what they want to be.

 

I want a heart like Jesus.  So that when my beautiful daughters look at me they see how to live.  Good thing I have the Lord.  Because I could not do it on my own.

 

I love the precious gift of my children.

 

~Kristen