When You Feel Unworthy

I slammed the bathroom door and exhaled loudly.

Doubt and defeat assailed me.

My husband looked up from shaving. I knew he’d heard the harsh words between my kids and I. The battle would be forgotten, but not the words. I beat myself up: why do I engage? Why don’t I just walk away…?

It was a rough Sunday morning with a whiny preschooler refusing her clothes, an emotional tween outburst, and an easily distracted son still not dressed for church, not to mention the constant sibling arguing and the mom who’d had enough, biting off every head she could find.

I’m not going to lie:  it was all very ugly.

My thoughts immediately went to our upcoming trip to Africa in just three weeks.  With slumped shoulders, I put words to doubts: Why are we going to Africa? Why does God want us? We aren’t worthy of this.

I’m not worthy of the task before me. I have no business leading a non-profit. I am terribly inadequate and not qualified to travel across the globe with my family to help at Mercy House.

I am prone to sin. Prone to wander, Lord I feel it:

And after I dumped that verbal mess on my husband, he pulled me close and said, “Good, that’s exactly how you should feel. We aren’t worthy. We are inadequate. We are nothing without Jesus.

But He is worthy. He is adequate. He is everything.

He will go before us, work through us, use our unworthy mess of a family to accomplish His purpose.”

And then I recognized the attacker, the one who seeks to destroy my soul and uses my own weaknesses to try and accomplish it. The one who uses the people I love the most to discourage me the greatest, the evil one whispering “Kristen, you aren’t worthy of this calling,” into my ear.

I closed my eyes and listened to my wise husband. I acknowledged the spiritual war raging and I remembered the girl I love across the ocean waiting for me. I offered it all to Him. I will not be defeated by doubt and fear.

When I feel unworthy, it’s probably because I am.

But I’m leaning heavily on the One who is worthy.


I Needed This

Last week was hard. We had a plans to go to the beach (something I honestly don’t love-love, but the rest of my people do. Love).

As we packed our lunch for the day, we received more bad news. I didn’t want to go.

But it was exactly what I needed:

"Mom! There is sand on my hands!"

"Dude." (new favorite word)

Yes, that is seaweed in the background. Galveston is not known for it’s beauty. But we aren’t picky.

This girl LOVES the beach. "Mom are there fleas in seaweed?"

My hubby (fourth child), building a sandcastle.

"Mom, do I have a farmer tan?"

"This is the best day ever!"

My kids teach me that even in sorrow, there is joy.

And now I’m looking forward to the next trip to the beach.


Are you a beach lover or a there-is-sand-in-every-crevice-and-the-water-is-freezing-kind-of-girl like me?

My Freckles Ugly Cousin

So. I’m sort of a mole-y person.

I guess it’s just a part of the dark hair, olive complexion. Well, that and I used to sunbathe on TIN FOIL, slathered in baby oil in Jr. High.

There’s that.

But, honestly, with my crazy-busy life, it has never once occurred to me to have “my moles checked.”

Which is as exciting as it sounds. Woohoo!

I was still proud I followed through with my first base-line mammogram 3 years ago.  Until I realized I was a year behind on my annual exam. Clearly, I’m in the maintenance mode of life.

I visited with my out-of-state brother for the first time in a long while the other day and after he hugged me, he said, “You’ve really got a lot of wrinkles around your eyes.” (You’d have to know my brother).


Only I wasn’t laughing.

Anywho, back to the riveting mole post.

Having my “moles checked” wasn’t in the life plan, but long story short, a friend of a friend, died from a mole turned fatal melanoma at age 40.

Um, “mole check” for one, please?

A few weeks later, taking a break from my busy-crazy life, I found myself in a paper gown.

[lowdown on the process-it’s pretty thorough-but not too terrible of an experience]

I thought for sure, my sun-induced freckles and spots would bring a lecture. I was surprised the doctor focused in on a mole I had on my hip since childhood.

And then she said, “I don’t like the look of it. I think we should send it to the lab.”

Quicker than I could blink, she was giving me an injection and cutting it off for a biopsy.

I was a little worried, thanks to Google (beware of searching “Moles” under Google Images. Ick)

After a week of uncertainty, I received a call from the doctor.

“Your mole was abnormal. Pre-cancerous-the kind of mole that is likely to turn into melanoma. It’s very good we removed it. We will need you to come back often for more checks.”

Holy Moly.

I was relieved and thankful for the series of events that led me to the doctor.

Who knows, if you’re reading this, it might just save your life.

Or at least make you more comfortable in your own skin.

[insert prompt here to go have your “moles checked” y’all]

P.S. Whatever you do, don’t pull a Kramer (Seinfeld) and try removing your moles with a deli meat slicer.

An oldie, but goodie:

WMFW: Cake Pops (Happy Birthday Edition)

Yesterday, this delicious baby:

Turned into this amazing:

Nine year old.

Can someone explain how that happened? And I’ll take 3 more of him, while you’re at it.

Because, he delights me.

We do every-other-year-parties, but we have cake as often as we can. This year, my son “Mom, can we do something exciting for my cake?”

Um, okay. Mental note: He’s been spending too much time at The Neighbors.

When I googled cake pops (balls), they seemed so easy. But since I’m a realist and can make easy relatively challenging, I proceeded with caution.

iphone pictures ahead:

I decided to make a double-batch to make up for all the lost baking time.

1. Bake cake mixes with box directions. I used what I had: vanilla and spice.

2. After the cake cools, crumble it.

3. Mix in canned frosting-it makes a very moist mess of cake. I used cream cheese for the spice cake and vanilla for the vanilla.

4. Form into balls. I put mine on cookie sheets. The balls were a bit messy until I refrigerated them for awhile. Once they were chilled, I was able to make the balls neater (insert OCD here).

5. Dip into vanilla or chocolate candy coating. I don’t have a picture of this step because my hands were messy. I thought this part was the hardest and I ran out of the coating. I need a special tutorial on this step.

6. I placed the balls into small cups, but I think sucker sticks would be cute, too. I’m just not that coordinated.

7. Sprinkle before the coating hardens! My daughter (a.k.a. QUEEN SPRINKLES) used an entire shaker bottle.

We refrigerated them and they are delicious!! And the varieties are endless! Next time you have cake leftovers, I highly recommend turning them into cake balls.

PLEASE NOTE: Our annual “Mom, I’m Bored Summer Edition” is in two weeks, June 1! Please plan on sharing some helpful tips. This is a favorite WFMW!

30 Day Challenge for Wives {Giveaway}

*Updated with Winners* Congrats to Kat and reader (no blog) Jessica! Everyone else, take advantage of this great discount:

P.S. If you want to just shop, use this code:  U28WATF15

It’s good for 15% off any order and is valid thru MAY 31st.


Every time I write about marriage, I get emails. Confessionals, prayer requests, heartbreaking stories and testimonies of second chances.

People are still reading our marriage testimony series daily and I could write a book about it. Maybe I will someday.

My marriage is far from being perfect. Some days we don’t even tip the scales to a good marriage. But we are committed for life and have no plans to stop trying and fighting for the marriage we really want.

I’m a better mom, daughter, person when my marriage is doing well.

Unknown to my hubby, I’ve decided to take the 30 Day Challenge because I have the ability to have a better marriage. We are living in a stressful environment right now and I tend to snap and bite his head off more in the tension. So, I definitely need it.

What is the 30 Day Challenge? …for the next 30 days:
* You can’t say anything negative about your husband …to your husband…or to anyone else, about your husband.
* Say something that you admire or appreciate about your husband…to your husband…and to someone else, about your husband!

Day One:
“The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.” Prov. 31:11-12

To help you get started, have you ever thanked your husband for “choosing you” above all other women? He found you attractive as a person, and appreciated you. Though many circumstances in your marriage may have changed, let your husband know that you are glad God led you together, and that you want to be a blessing to him for the rest of your marriage. Let him know that he can trust you to be in his corner.

One of the best opportunities to express your gratitude is first thing in the morning. How do you greet your husband each morning? Is he confident in your love? Give him a “wake up call” that he’ll never forget-a big “I love you” and an “I’m so glad I’m your wife!”

You can read ideas and encouragement for all thirty days here.

I love to partner with Union28 because they truly get the importance of encouragement in marriage. As a fun incentive, everyone who takes the challenge and leaves a comment on today’s post, will be entered to win one of two of these adorable heart tees from Union28 (fitted and non) and also this beautiful marriage worship CD!

P.S. If you want to just shop, use this code:  U28WATF15

It’s good for 15% off any order and is valid thru MAY 31st.


Related posts:

How to Really Have the Marriage You Want

How to Really Fight for Your Marriage

Are you in? I hope so. And remember, the victory is in the trying.

Bonse Aba

Last week, my daughter’s 5th grade Honor Choir sang a traditional African (Zambia) folk song at their Spring concert. I thought y’all might enjoy it as much as we did:

P.S. I’m all about the dancing

Translation of Bonse Aba:

John 1:12 “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God”

My oldest has a sweet voice and fills our house with music. We’ve all been humming the tune to Bonse Aba for weeks, but my 4 year old has her own version:

And speaking of jewelry, which is totally what my little girl was talking about (ha!)

Look at what you can purchase at Dayspring now!!! New product alert!

Plus, Mercy House has an all new site!

Our trip to Africa is still on–coming at us quickly in less than a month. We thought long and hard about postponing it in light of Maureen’s losses. But she is determined to open the doors and begin rescuing girls and we are determined to love on her! Will you please continue to pray for us and especially, Maureen, as she attends her sister’s funeral this week?

And also-UNRELATED: an animal of some kind crawled into our Dryer vent hose and DIED.

Guess who is giving herself a LAUNDRY PASS?

It smells bad in the laundry room, y’all.

Advocating as a Busy Mom

I’m a mom.

I’m an advocate.

One was planned, the other wasn’t.

Wanna guess which is which?

My every day regular life is crazy, full of car lines, gasping at dirty rooms, juggling three little people who consume a lot of goldfish crackers and produce piles of laundry.

Being an advocate for orphans and those in extreme poverty has made me a better mother.

  • In America, with all our convenience and comfort, I think we forget how good we have it. We take education, accessibility to medical care, clean water for granted. Perspective is the greatest gift I can give my kids.
  • I let things go that don’t matter. I don’t nag (as much) about messy rooms and home repairs. Because what I have is enough.
  • I value life more because I’ve seen too much preventable death. Life is so fragile.

Being a mother has made me a better advocate.

  • I view the orphan crisis through the lens of motherhood. How can I not? I want the best for my kids and basic necessities are a given in my neighborhood. I want every mom in every third world country to have clean water, education about breastfeeding, help when their baby is dying of diarrhea.
  • We are nurturers by nature, compassionate by design. I think we make the best advocates!
  • Mothers are queen multi-taskers. Enough said.

Bottom line: How do we advocate with our families as moms without sacrificing them for our cause:

Balance is crucial. The last thing I want to do is raise my kids with a guilty complex, forcing down dinner because I’ve seen starving kids.

  • Involve your kids, but don’t ever force it.
  • Take a break when you sense resentment.
  • Live a life of compassion in front of your children, show them compassion.
  • Pray together about your passion.
  • Allow them to have ownership and allow them the freedom to not take ownership.

Are you an advocate for a cause close to your heart?

This is your chance.

To Advocate.

How do you balance it all?

When You Carry a Heavy Burden

I’m on my way to Summit in Kentucky. I’m emotionally exhausted-the perfect place for God to speak and renew. I’ll be helping out at the blogger meet-up, speaking on a panel about advocating as a busy mom and representing Mercy House. I’ll share more with you in the next couple of days.

Come visit the Mercy House table!

The last few weeks have been hard.  A friend emailed me these words “You are doing mighty, dangerous work, and he’s got you on his radar and you can count on us to be your prayer warriors. Jesus ever lives to make intercession for us, and our voices will join His, and our Father hears.” I appreciate your prayers-Maureen appreciates them, too. They are making a difference.

After I walked my youngest into her preschool class, a teacher asked me how Maureen was doing.

I didn’t know what to say. A few sentences explaining her grief seemed trite. “Please pray” was all I could manage, remembering the day before when Maureen and I stared at each other over Skype and watched each other cry.

Sometimes there just aren’t words for the aching of the soul.

And then she said, “I’ve been wanting to ask you: How do you go about your every day life with such a heavy burden? Raising kids, your family…knowing that so many suffer.”

Tears welled. Spilling over.

“I don’t handle it very well,” I said. “I struggle.”

I told her of my own 4 year old who refused dinner, whining and complaining about the choices. Half an hour before, I read about a 4 year old, starving to death, unable to walk with swollen, worm-ridden feet.


I told her of the painful heaviness that comes from seeing extreme poverty at  such a personal level coupled with the ultimate gladness that comes from loving, living and learning with my husband and precious children. Sorrow and joy and I’ve forgotten how compartmentalize; it all runs together, the laughter and tears.


I told her how I’ve forgotten how to be carefree.

I swiped tears and remembered my place in her classroom. I mumbled an apology. She said kindly, “Now I know how to pray for you.”

I walk away, too broken to even be embarrassed.

I think of all the things I didn’t say: How unwelcome tears fall when least expected, how satan pummels me with doubt, how fear suffocates me and how inadequacy is a constant companion, how I fight bitterness.

How I carry a deep, abiding sadness that is hard to shake. The knowing is almost unbearable. How I try to balance this online space that I love between easy words and hard ones like these.

Back at home, I find a place, the one that beckons me to knees.  I know what I need to do when the burden gets too heavy.

I give it to Him.

He gives us a glimpse into His heart, broken for His people. But when it becomes too much, He lovingly says,

Come to me all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30

And today, you may carry a heavy burden. One that suffocates and closes in–an illness, a sick child, a lost job, unspoken words you only utter to Him….

Give it to God. His shoulders are broad enough to bare the weight.

He cares for you.

“The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” — Psalm 34:18


I’m so thankful for the support of my real life community group and blog friends like Maegan for their help! Maegan lives in Louisville, Kentucky and set up the Mercy House table for me! Y’all should read her blog.