My Upside Down World

Before bed the other night, we were reading a chapter of Do Hard Things to our 10 and 7 year old. (I’ll be sharing more about this book in the months to come). I was encouraging my kids to do hard things and shared this story with them:

I was a nerd in high school.

Not the classic geek with taped glasses and a pocket protector, but a misfit, nonetheless.
I was a Christian, carried my Bible most days and even wore a rhinestone pin on my clothes that spelled the name Jesus.
And that combination pretty much clinched me a spot at a lunch table on the other side of the room from the popular kids. I also had very few dates.
I didn’t feel sorry for myself though. Actually, most days I was proud to be different.
I was on the school newspaper and developed a love for graphic design (this was in the early 90’s). I had a dream of making a Christian t-shirt to wear to school. I came up with a design after school hours on the computer. My idea: an upside down world that said, “I want to turn the world upside down for Jesus.”
I wanted to do something hard.
My daughter couldn’t believe I never had that shirt made. It just wasn’t an easy thing back then. I wasn’t sure she’d gotten the point of my story.
I hadn’t thought about that young girl in a long time. I went to bed feeling discouraged that I couldn’t even get caught up on laundry or get my toddler to eat her dinner, much less change the world.
Well, something amazing happened this past week:
I got my shirt!!
My unbelievable hubby created it online and surprised me with it.
Y’all, I cried when I read the front:
(it says “I want to turn the world upside down for Jesus.”
-Kristen, Age 14
and I sobbed when I read the back:
(We are THAT family. com Kenya March 4-10)
I haven’t even gone to Africa yet and my life is being turned upside down.
It’s a new, uncomfortable place —
That feels right.
What is your childhood dream? Are you living it?
And how about that hubby of mine???


  1. 1


    Love having life turned upside down! Walking in that place is fun and exciting and new and adventurous…kinda like jumping out of a boat and walking on water, even for a minute! But, you get the experience! I'd rather jump out then be left sitting in the boat watching. Glad you are following your dreams and doing it with such a wonderful hubby! I know for me and my guy, there's nothing better!!

  2. 5


    what a priceless gift! so glad the rest of us get to go along for the ride as he uses you to turn the world upside down for jesus. love the idea of reading that book with the kids.

  3. 7


    Fabulous t-shirt…wonderful husband…keep doing those hard things! I love reading your blog…you make me think.

    @ Sandy: I had the same problem…just kept refreshing until the photos appeared! 😀

  4. 11


    What a great story! That was so thoughtful of him to have that shirt made for you! I can totally identify with what you were saying about feeling discouraged regarding your impact after looking at what's happening in your daily life. What you wrote was so encouraging for me and it is just another whisper from God that I have received recently that He hasn't given up on my childhood dream and either should I.

  5. 12


    What a great story! That was so thoughtful of him to have that shirt made for you! I can totally identify with what you were saying about feeling discouraged regarding your impact after looking at what's happening in your daily life. What you wrote was so encouraging for me and it is just another whisper from God that I have received recently that He hasn't given up on my childhood dream and either should I.

  6. 16


    That is so beautiful. And remember, in Africa, you'll be able to turn several worlds upside down – the worlds of all those people whose lives you are about to touch. You are a brave and special lady.

  7. 17


    I loved your story–it is inspirational to hear about people who (as teens) were unashamed in their bold desire to change the world for God's glory.
    But wow . . . How 'bout that hubby? :-) So thoughtful! So very very touching!
    Truly amazing!

  8. 18


    Do Hard Things is a wonderful book and my kids were blessed to be able to attend two of the Rebelution conferences. We got to know Alex and Brett a little bit via internet and the conferences and they are outstanding young men! I highly recommend getting the DVD of the conferences and watching. The message is not only for young people but us adults could take heed of their advise.

  9. 20


    Amen sister!

    You are already influencing so many through your blog, all around the world.

    Can't wait to see how else God is going to use you for His glory :)

  10. 24


    That's so AWESOME! What a great hubby and what an even greater GOD!

    Praise the Lord for the work of the Holy Spirit on your young heart and what a witness today! That's cool.

  11. 30


    I love it! Kristen…..that is just how my own hubby is.
    They think SO CREATIVELY of ways to bless us, huh?

    My dream….has been to write a book or twenty!
    My husband hangs onto that dream for me (I'm too scared to). And when I hear him say things about it….I smile inside my heart!

    Go turn the world upside down!
    You've got so many reasons to succeed!

  12. 31


    Aww, you made me cry! What a beautiful ending to the uncomfortableness of the teenage years! What a testimony to your love of Christ. And, major brownie points for such a thoughtful hubby. Thank you for sharing.

  13. 35


    That's AWESOME!!

    And, as for childhood dreams… I was going to be President. Of the United States. 2008 was my target election year.

    But I was also going to be a writer.
    I can check that one off, but not President… And that's okay with me :)

    What a wonderful husband you have there, Kristen… and beautiful dreams, too… I am so excited to see the many more ways you will turn the world upside down for Jesus in the moments ahead. :)

  14. 36


    YAY!!!! LOVE IT! Huge kudos to your sweet hubby for being so especially thoughtful! You ARE doing something big with this blog and your sweet family is a blessing to all of us. Keep on keeping on, chickie! That little "nerdy" girl is still there with big dreams… and I think that you just woke up the little "nerdy" girl inside lots of us to do something BIG for Jesus! Good for you!

  15. 44


    How exciting!
    My childhood dreams. Well, they all kind of boil down to being brave. Which I wasn't. At all. Now I am.
    Plus, all my silly dreams, like being an interior designer (I get to decorate my own home now!), and be a teacher (I homeschool now!), and travel (we do ALL the time on my husband's business trips). But mostly bravery, I lacked it in SO many ways. And now I have it in SO many ways. Still there are ways I could work on, but overall, I am ME I am BRAVE.

  16. 45

    Kelly Fitzpatrick says


  17. 48


    You guys bless me so much!

    For all those asking about a t-shirt for themselves, my hubby used Uber Print and since he was only printing one shirt, it cost around $25. I'll see if he can come up with a cheaper way so y'all can get one too!

    And even better if any profits could go to Compassion!

  18. 54


    Do you know how refreshing it is to hear that you weren't one of those girls that was a "bad girl?" I don't even know you but I freakin love you!

  19. 55


    Awww,how sweet!!!! I love how God is working out your dream, well, his dream through you!! You've touched me and so many others already without even having to leave your home. :)

  20. 60


    Great story!
    It is so important to follow the dreams that God puts into our heart.
    I volunteer at the dream center.. an inner city outreach church that helps people in the most challenging times… reachs their life dreams.
    I am so happy for you~

  21. 62


    My childhood dream was to be a mama. I'm living the dream better than I ever though, though it's harder than I thought.

    I want to tell you something weird: I'm impressed at the hard work you've put into your blog and what you've done with it. I thought for awhile I just didn't like you (keepin' it real), but I realized it's just plain jealousy. I'm so sorry. Will you forgive me? Continue turning the world upside down, but (in my opinion) especially your family. That's where it starts.

    You will love Kenya. I went in 1994 and left a part of my heart there. I hope to go back someday and get it.

  22. 65


    What a great story Kristen! I love that the shirt has the quote on it from when you were 14. It's amazing how God makes our wildest dreams come true, isn't it?

    I can't wait to meet you on our upcoming trip next month!

  23. 66


    That is awesome!!! I love that you had the vision to turn the world upside down when you were 14 and your husband could see the vision in print on a t-shirt. Everything you do is an awesome inspiration. And I thank you for sharing it so openly with me.

  24. 67


    A good husband is worth his weight in diamonds. They are so hard to find and so wonderful to be blessed with. Best wishes on "turning the world upside down!"

  25. 68


    So glad you're going to be discussing this book – I loved it and will make it mandatory reading for my girls when they're a bit older. What a sweet hubby and a neat t-shirt!

  26. 70


    That brought tears to my eyes. Just so awesome.
    Also loved the woman blessing you for your trip.
    Best wishes on your journey to make everything upside down!

  27. 71


    What a fab hubby you've got there!

    That brought tears to my eyes.



    (It was a *pleasure* to meet you all-too-briefly at Blissdom! Maybe we'll get to chat next time!)

  28. 73


    What a precious thought to share with your children. What an amazingly wonderful husband to be so creative and come up with a perfect shirt!
    Thanks for sharing your adventure with us!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>