Kirsten’s Story – The Myth of Perfection
My friends and family know that I am not one for being the center of attention. I much prefer to be the wallflower and observer. However, when you pray for God to give you platforms to share your story for His glory, when there once was a time you didn’t believe you even really had a story to tell, and He opens the door for opportunities, you say yes and step in. My word for this year is ‘Brave’ so, here it goes. While this certainly isn’t a story I ever would have written, I’m humbled and honored to share it and continue to let Him be the author. May it reach the hearts that need to hear it and bring His hope!
Have any of you ever felt like you don’t have a story? You hear of all these incredible, life-changing stories and think, ‘Gosh, what do I have to offer compared to that?’ (Ok. That’s the first mistake … comparison) But that’s been me most of my life, feeling like I don’t really have a compelling testimony to share with people. I had a relatively normal and blessed upbringing. I was born and raised in a Christian home and have an extremely close family. I accepted Christ into my heart when I was five, went to church most Sundays, and walked the straight and narrow. I was a rule-follower, mostly because I was sure that the ONE time I chose to do something outside the lines, I’d be the one to get caught. I made the purity promise (back then, boys weren’t even interested in me, nor I in them, so it was darn easy to keep that promise!). I was the ‘good girl.’ I lived in that myth of ‘perfection.’ Always the over-achiever, on the outside it looked like I had everything together. I did not want to give anyone the impression that there was anything wrong with me because maybe then they wouldn’t believe I was a Christian or I wasn’t good enough to be their friend.
I experienced some pretty painful rejection from my group of best girlfriends and that has had lasting impacts on me. But all in all, I’ve lived what many may call a “charmed” life. Sure, there have been some bumps in the road including struggles with clinical depression and self-worth but God has always provided for me. By the time I was 34 years old I was living in my dream city, San Diego, in my own place, with my own things. I had just started my own business in addition to my corporate job. I felt like I was finally a real adult! Life was good for this super independent girl.
And then my world got ROCKED. Out of deep-rooted insecurities, I made a choice that put me in a situation I NEVER, in a million years, would have imagined. I got involved in a relationship and things escalated WAY too quickly. I got pregnant (remember when I said I was a rule follower partly because I always feared that the one time I “broke” the rules, I’d get in trouble?). My whole world shattered into a million pieces and I entered into the darkest time in my life. Life as I knew it was over. I felt SO guilty and had so much shame. I was completely and utterly devastated.
I failed God. I failed my family. I failed my perfectionist self!
I told only a very few people – and definitely not my parents! No way did I want this to be part of MY story.
This wasn’t supposed to be how my life was laid out. No way could this possibly be part of God’s “plans for me … plans for good and not disaster (um hello this was a disaster!!!) … to give me a hope and a future.” I didn’t even know if I wanted to be a mom and I was definitely not ready at that time in my life. As much as I’ve always loved kids, I did not feel emotionally equipped to be a mom. Part of me was hoping (and yes even praying) that I’d have a miscarriage so I could just “hide” that little mistake and keep my image “clean”. I managed to hide it from most people for a while … but there was no hiding this brokenness … I was a hot mess. So much so that I fell into a deep, dark hole of depression to the point of considering suicide. I believed I wasn’t worthy of God’s love. I convinced myself that my family and friends wouldn’t miss me that much. And honestly, it was an easy way out of the mess I’d gotten myself into. (Of course, I knew it was completely selfish and that yes, it would have lasting ramifications on my family, etc.)
I struggled for MONTHS about whether or not I should marry my baby’s father – I wanted my baby to have a mom and a dad and I kept trying to convince myself that I could make it work. Then I’d consider adoption, that way this baby could have a mom and a dad and I could just ‘wash my hands’ of it all and go on with my comfortable, selfish life. (eye roll … yeah right) I also found out I was having a boy and I was devastated even more because I was convinced I was having a girl and really wanted a girl and it was the one glimmer of light in this whole ordeal.
During all this time, I clung to my faith, sometimes only by a thread and questioned my faith all at the same time.
I was ANGRY at God for allowing this to happen (isn’t it funny how we can so quickly “blame” God for our own choices??). But He also was my only hope and here is where God’s tender grace and mercy can be seen. My parents/family/friends walked with me every single, step of the way. They were the hands and feet and heart of Jesus. God also made it CRYSTAL CLEAR that it was not healthy or safe for the father to be involved, so I cut off all communication and that’s a whole other story for another day. But, even right up until the day my son was born, I didn’t know if I was going to keep him or put him up for adoption (of course, I’ll tell you deep down I knew I’d keep him, but I still did not feel I could provide him the life he deserves).
Fast forward and my baby is the greatest joy of my life. He is the light that God has given from so much darkness (his middle name reflects that). He is my WHY. My hope. My future. God always restores. Always redeems. Always makes beauty from the ashes. He’s there in the storms.
Music was a huge source of comfort through those dark months. One of the songs I blasted numerous times throughout those months came on the radio while I was holding my son a few months ago. As I started singing along, he clung even tighter to me and let me sing and hold him through the entire song. He obviously has no concept of the significance of this seemingly ordinary moment. But I do.
My baby clinging to me reminded me once again of just how I can cling to God and He holds onto me in the middle of my storms and even on the sunny days. Here’s the chorus:
There’s no space that His love can’t reach
There’s no place where we can’t find peace
There’s no end to Amazing Grace
Take me in with your arms spread wide
Take me in like an orphan child
Never let go, never leave my side.
I am holding onto you.
I am holding onto you.
In the middle of the storm, I am holding on, I am!
Brené Brown said, ‘Owning your story is the bravest thing you’ll ever do.’ In the past I only wanted to own the nice, neat and tidy parts. I’m learning that it’s in the broken places that His light shines through, and His glory and grace are revealed. So, own your story. Whether you think it’s ‘plain vanilla’ like I once did, or if it’s been filled with trash and a thousand shattered pieces. Our stories are ALWAYS for our growth and His glory.
To watch a video of Kirsten’s story click here