Word of the Year

Way back in the beginning of this wild year, we were setting our sights ahead to the upcoming year. I am always a dreamer, planner, and lover of intentions. Even though the world has had its fair share of groanings and upheaval, I still believe the word I received from the Holy Spirit is my True North in this year.

Let me take you back to the moment I heard my word…

I sat on our back porch on a warmer January morning, sipping my coffee. Family was staying at our house for our annual gift tradition, so I was taking a little moment outside to listen and ask Jesus what His word was for me this year was. I closed my eyes and asked in my mind and waited for the answer. Almost instantly, I heard “powerhouse.” I opened my eyes and immediately teared up. “No, God, not me. Don’t you know I am exhausted? My body is tired from autoimmune stuff,” I argued. In my mind, I pictured Jesus smirking. He smirked because He knew how He would guide me as He revealed more and more. He showed me a powerhouse, like a dam in a river being released to create power.

My only job was to allow the flow to go through me. No matter what, He guides me with each step. He is reminding me continually these last seven months to keep my eyes up River and trust the flow.

What’s your word? Is it beckoning you to revisit? Or shift?

Want to go deeper? Try an Encounter! My River Encounter came from this word- POWERHOUSE.

Boundaries

​If you haven’t seen Jim Gaffigan’s comedy sketch on parenting back in the day, please do yourself a favor and watch it now.  It will make you laugh. At least I hope so. 

There is a line he says with his Jim Gaffigan way, “People ask me all the time, “What’s it like having four kids? Well, imagine drowning and someone hands you a baby.”  Joshua and I laughed so hard when we first watched this skit- we were in the deep waters of having all our sweet babes so young.  

Kristin- what does this have to do with boundaries? Great question. My mind is like an endless web of intersecting connecting points…I’ll get there.  

As Joshua and I were preparing for our “Boundaries” podcast for this week’s Wholistic Hearts show,  I remembered a time as a young mom when my boundaries became known very clearly.

Back in the Days of Young a Motherhood

 Let’s take a step back in time…

I walk into the church nursery to drop off my four little children on this Sunday morning. My eye on the prize- 45 minutes of uninterrupted time of listening to the week’s message. I sign each of my twin babies whom were 1ish, check to make sure I had all the things the nursery helpers could ever possibly need in the 45 minutes- even though I was in the other room. I say goodbye and headed to door number two to drop off toddler, he starts crying and clings to our legs. I leave my husband to help ease the separation anxiety because it is just better that way. I walk away to take child #4 to her big girl class right across the hallway and say goodbye. Deep breath- in and out. I return back to toddler’s room and he is slightly better. But it is now a drawn out process of bribes and desperation. I wonder if we will make it to the service before worship ends.  Then, a sweet woman approaches me with her name badge on and asks how I am doing. I give a half hearted and exhausted, “ok.”  She tells me how they are really low on volunteers and need more people to help sign up.  Instantly, BIG FAT tears fill my eyes as I could feel my soul dripping out the last of the empty well of giving. I just want one day of the week to have 45 minutes to myself.

Back to Jim Gaffigan Joke

“Imagine your drowning, and someone hands you a baby.” That’s what it felt like. In that specific moment of way back when, I was absolutely drowning in diapers, in little to no sleep through nights on end. And then I was asked to help on a Sunday morning doing the same thing I did all week long multiplied by however many kids were in the classroom.

Disclaimer: I LOVE MY CHILDREN. I LOVE OTHER PEOPLE CHILDREN. I LOOOOOOOVE and appreciate all the amazing nursery helpers, toddler wranglers, and children’s teachers/helpers/volunteers.
AND, if loving on that age while you are a young mama is your jam- my hat is tipped to you, and God bless you. However, it was not what I could give at the time.
AND PLEASE, for the love (in my Jen Hatmaker voice) don’t ask young mamas’ to volunteer in the nursery. I promise, they will approach you if they feel the fire in their belly to volunteer.
AND all you grandmas’ out there- THE CHURCH NURSERY IS THE BEST PLACE TO VOLUNTEER!!! Give your amazing experience in the nursery, in the elementary age, in the middle school, in high school- WE WANT YOUR WISDOM!!!


Ok…now I have said my peace…

As a young mama, know your boundaries. Let your “yes” be your full cheerful wholehearted “yes.” And the word “no” is not a dirty word. And “no” is a complete sentence.

“Let giving flow from your heart, not from a sense of religious duty. Let it spring up freely from the joy of giving- all because God loves hilarious generosity.” 2 Corinthians 9:7 TPT

I give you permission to relax. Your season will come to volunteer, to deliver the meal, to say yes to the committee. Your heart is doing hard work- it’s fully loving the bundles of babies in front of you or guiding along the toddler or holding down the job and making sure you are connecting with your children. Set your boundaries. All will be thankful. Bless you Mamas. And Papas.

To listen more about boundaries, listen to our podcast.

Connecting to Our Teens

Longing for Real Connection

Each week I observed and was ignited by their gigantic faith. I observed how they feel the weight of the world just as we do. I observed the cry of their hearts longing to be seen, known, and a part of something bigger than themselves. They embraced one another. They put down their phones and picked up the wonder of encountering Jesus in an imaginative, real way.


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Picturing the Father

The Relentless Love of the Father- Part One

Over the last few weeks on Wholistic Hearts podcast we have been talking about the Wild Mystery and Comforter of the Holy Spirit, Jesus- the Bearded Man who is arresting us with His presence, and now the Father. 

Who is the Father? 

It’s nearly inevitable we grow up with a view of who the Heavenly Father is without viewing Him with a lens of our own. Some of us had loving, caring fathers and some of us had absent fathers. No matter the circumstance we grew up in, our view may be clouded with our own experience of a father…good or bad.

For me, even though my dad was a great dad, I still have struggled to picture The Father. At the beginning of my relationship with God, I saw Him as distant and unapproachable: a pointing a finger type God who was disappointed.

In the beginning stages of visualizing the Father and Jesus, I was standing behind people in a crowd. I did not feel I could approach Him.  Then as some of you know in an Encounter He gave me, I pictured Him sitting at a fireplace. He was sitting in a chair facing the fire.  And I walked in the room walking steadily behind him.  The beauty of this, which has just surfaced as I have been talking about the Father this week with family and friends is His kindness in letting me approach.

Another picture He gave me is a scene where I have met a new dog and I kneel down and stretch my hand out non intimidating and allow the dog to approach me. This is how the Father waits for us.

In addition, my mom reminded me the other day that even Jesus confirms the Father’s gentleness by sharing this Truth, “Come to me all who are weary…” Notice He says, COME.

The heart of the Father is approachable. He is patient. And He waits in a cloud of tenderness. 

My husband speaking life into my son.

God has met me in so many areas of doubt, mistrust, and timidity. He continues to softened my heart through using my imagination.

I have seen more of the capital T Truth- which is this…

He is a Proud Father.

He is Steady. 

He is kind.

And gentle. 

Creating Memories After Extreme Quarantine

Last Saturday, a handful of my family- my mom, my oldest brother and two of his sons, drove from Georgia for an adventure to Colorado- in our home. We greeted them with excitement and anticipation to show them around our beautiful glorious state of Colorado over the next week. After months of being quarantined and only being around the same few people, we all embraced each other with gratitude and relief. Starting off the adventure with a good ol’ backyard fire pit and talks.

The following day we ventured over to the stunning Red Rock Canyon for a family hike.

Exploring the red rocks and walking our feet through red dirt will never grow tiring for us Coloradans or visitors alike. As I hiked the trails, I remembered a time when he lived in Colorado and I lived in Florida. He asked me to come out for the summer to experience Colorado. I came out for the summer, as a 20 year old, timid with worries of being far from home and yet excited to do something outside of my normal comfort zone. That summer changed me. I realized I was an adventurer. I realized I loved hiking and the mountains. I realized I could ask questions and almost tangibly hear the heart of God. The deep conversations my brother and I would have through Colorado trails would center around God and adventure. I’d ask questions and he would answer in a way which would usually make me long to know God more. So here we are, full circle- I am guiding him through the wild trails of Colorado where he once introduced the wildness of Colorado and the beckoning of God calling me out to adventure.

One of the best parts of this visit was watching my brother’s son and my son laugh together. There is something so special about cousins connecting and laughing. I pray they will always remember this trip with fond memories.

We may not have been able to do some of the family trips we had planned for this summer, but this made up for it. Having our family come out and visit and share giggles and experiences and exploration was a deeply needed treasure.

Now if I could just get the rest of my family to come out to Colorado…