What Really Happens When We Dream Big

At least once a week, I want to quit.

One unexpected phone call, a big question I can’t answer, one more crisis and I just want to walk away from this great big beautiful burden because I don’t think I can take another breath.

Last week, I was drowning in understanding IRS laws, accounting questions, growing pains that come with seeking direction for the future and morestuffthanIcouldhandle. I cried more than I prayed and I felt sorry for myself. I left in the middle of it all and went to the grocery store and bought a pumpkin for my front porch. How spiritual is that?

I hope you respect me more for being honest and not less for being weak.

There are no plans for the 30+ hours I spend every week for Mercy House to ever be more than volunteer work. I don’t say that as a martyr. I just don’t know how to do this any other way. And yet the work, the dream, it grows bigger and more consuming every day. And I wonder how to keep going…how to make it to tomorrow…how to glorify God in my messy heart.

I am prone to wander, God, I feel it. Selfishness, it’s always there under the surface.

And at the same time, I love this house and these girls and this God-size dream so much that I cannot imagine quitting. Ever. Not even one day. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to sometimes. God-stuff is hard work, mainly because I’m being rewritten in the process.

Do you want to know what I’m really learning in all of this? This isn’t so much about me helping others and “helping God,” it’s about Him using The Helping to change every single part of me. It’s a digging deep, gut-wrenching, are you really going to trust me, Kristen, when you don’t have it all figured out question?

So I compartmentalize.  I stir dinner, I watch my son play flag football, I write grants for Mercy House, I plan a trip over Christmas for my family, I drive my daughter to flute lessons, I manage a non-profit and I write as an outlet. I try to be a good wife, mother and friend and I mainly try not to drown. My life isn’t glamorous and it is messier than you think.

And I remind myself every time I feel the urge to run away that I’m not supposed to know what to do.  I’m no more qualified today than I was when I trembled in my initial yes. I just need Him more today than I did yesterday.

I look at how this dream has reshaped my family, my children, our future. It’s breathtaking. And so I keep breathing.

And even though I wake up and go to sleep scared to death, I’m beginning to understand when we pursue His big dream for our lives, we are changed in the process. It’s a painful good I wouldn’t trade for all the selfishness in the world.

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” -Albert Einstein


  1. 1


    Oh Kristen! Thank you sharing your heart, your honesty and for continuing to point to your Savior. Praying for you! You can’t do this, only God can and the fact that you know it, is good.

  2. 3


    I’m still in the stage where following a calling is exhilarating because I haven’t gotten to the truly hard parts yet. (We’re in the process of getting approved for foster care, but I haven’t yet had the moments of traumatized kids saying they hate me, having to deal with family courts, etc.) Your vulnerability helps God accomplish even more through all of us because your example reminds us that being overwhelmed and wanting to quit is just part of doing God’s work, not a reason to abandon the work to which we have been called.

  3. 5


    I hear the “hard”. But you are right – it’s transforming. God has the future in hand. He cares for these girls MUCH more than anyone ever will. So he has a plan and he is able.

  4. 6

    Sandi says

    This is exactly how I feel about motherhood right now. I keep putting one foot in front of the other, trusting my boys to HIM, and praying that HIS grace covers us all.

  5. 11


    Wow! Great post! It’s hard sometimes because we feel like we should have it figured out. It’s comforting to remember that He is already there. Thank you! Praying for you friend!

  6. 12

    Crystal says

    I think I understand how you feel (a little, though what I do is nothing compared to you). In June, I was the race director to raise money for the Child Survival Program. I had NEVER done anything like that before and spent more than a year planning it (more time than I had spent planning my own wedding!). And yes, there were so many times I wanted to quit. And even after, when complaints came in about runners who didn’t like our kind of toilet paper in the porta potties, haha.

    But I didn’t quit. And you don’t quit. And that is what is important.

  7. 13


    Ugh – God keeps doing this. I don’t usually read your blog and the one time I do, it’s saying EXACTLY what I’ve been struggling with. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to do the things which have been given to me to live with. I am so lost. And I’ve been trying to convince myself that it’s OK – God knows. And it’s nice that God knows, but I’m still walking through every day feeling like I’m failing because I don’t know. Who knows – maybe failing is actually what I’m supposed to be doing right now. Ah well. One foot. Other foot. Repeat. Right?

  8. 14


    I’m reading this aurrounded by adoption paperwork. It’s on my lap, scattered across the floor, on the desk…everywhere. And I was just thinking how it would be so much easier not to do this. It would be so much easier, for us – for our family – to just have another child biologically. I know there are some people who can’t say that, but I can.

    And yet, I can’t, really. You just said everything I needed to hear. Everything I needed to be reminded of. This is so hard. It’s so hard I feel like I’m drowning in it. I can’t breathe under the weight. I feel like it will never happen, I will never figure this all out, I’ll never get all the papers I need, I’ll never have everything notarized the proper way, we’ll never be able to raise that amount of money.

    But this isn’t about me. It’s about what God is doing in me and in our family. It’s about Him and it’s all to His glory. I’m a mess, but He is not. I’m incapable, but nothing is outside His ability. I’m broken, He is whole.

    I needed this message right at this very moment.

    Thank you.

  9. 16


    YOU HAVE NO IDEA how this has hit home with me and my success partners and best friends. it’s EVERYTHING that we’ve been discussing as our businesses have sky rocketed, yet we have children, husbands, neighbors, laundry, SAHM things, sick family, etc. to juggle. I was lying awake at 3 in the morning (never went back to sleep) fighting with the devil because he keeps nipping at my heels trying to pull me back into a pit because he sees that God is about to step up to the bat and it’s the bottom of the 9th and the bases are loaded. When God uses you largely, satan ups his game. I have a feeling about a gazillion of my facebook friends and beachbody coaches are about to blow this link up because it was spot on. thank you for putting it into words. God used you. BAM.

  10. 17

    shannon kozee says

    you are a hero of mine for chasing a God-sized dream. even through the mundane and insane, God picked you and equipped you to do this good work. you are doing it well.

  11. 19

    Melissa D says

    Well, OF COURSE we respect you more for being honest and not less for being weak. Have you not heard a single thing we have been telling you since your blog-birthday??

  12. 21

    Maria says

    What a great post! Thank you so very much. I really needed to hear this as I struggle with something in my own life and often want to give up. I will need to re-read this often. I think God spoke to me through you! : ) Thanks for being so honest and sharing with your readers. It is a gift!

  13. 23

    Katie says

    Can I say it… I want to be like you, thank you for your example. I see Jesus in your words. I feel I’ve got the “messy” part down :) How can I help with mercy house? I’m a stay-at-home momma of 4. Our life is crazy and beautiful, if there is something I could do from my home that would lift a burden in any way, please let me know! Praying.

  14. 25

    sarah says

    I have some circumstances in my life right now that overwhelm me – keeping me TOTALLY DESPERATE for HIM and even though I am so uncomfortable I want that desperation to stay and consume me! It’s terrifying and difficult to choose to take each step knowing that if HE doesn’t put the floor down in front of you you will fall on your face –

  15. 26


    Hmm nothing came up to say waiting for approval and I do not see my post so I am just testing to see if the same thing happens again with this post.

  16. 27

    Jessica says

    When you doubt your strength, look at the picture you posted….look closely….see your boy holding that baby?????

    You should get enough strength from that to carry you through for awhile, until you catch your breath.


  17. 29

    TL says

    I SOOOO wanted to quit Grad school this morning.”God-stuff is hard work, mainly because I’m being rewritten in the process.” – How true! Especially with being in Christian Counseling. “I look at how this dream has reshaped my family, my children, our future. It’s breathtaking. And so I keep breathing.” I can only hope I can say that in a few years.

  18. 32


    I’m learning that once I learn to embrace the messiness along with whatever God is calling me to I have so much more peace. No struggle to be perfect, though I would like things to be. I love your honesty here. Keep going!

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