Ooooh today you're in for a real treat!! My Instagram Friend Kristin is going to share with us. She is friends with one of my friends in real life and as soon as we connected those dots I was like, this girl is the real deal!!! I know you will be encouraged by Kristin and her story of belief.
Tell us a little about yourself!
I’m Kristin! I love laughing and people and making people laugh because I think hope lives in those moments. I also like finding Jesus outside of Sunday. I blog at TurningTheGem.com where I write about how we can find him in every random aspect of our lives and I also share new scripture perspectives that God shows me. I try not to take anything too seriously, including my faith, and am often found laughing at myself, especially in my Instagram stories.
I live in Charlotte, NC with my husband Peter, our 2 daughters, Marlee & Margot and our ShihPoo (be careful saying that one out loud), Huxtable. We have extended family nearby plus a church family we’ve been part of for 15 years and I pray pretty consistently that God would allow us to stay here. After growing up in the midwest, it would be hard to leave this weather. I mean, all these people.
Tell us a little about your calling or passion in life.
I’m one of the pastors at Mosaic Church because God flipped my world upside down by calling me out of teaching kindergarten (which I loved), onto church staff and eventually into a life of ministry. My true heart is for people and the local church because while I know it is broken in so many ways, I also know what the church could be and I can’t seem to give up on it no matter how many compelling reasons are out there.
Alright, girl. Tell us a time in your life when you've had to CHOOSE TO BELIEVE GOD (even if you didn't want to).
Like a lot of people, I have stories of rejection. Friends, boyfriends, coworkers, family. I lived convinced that when people got to know the real me, they would be disappointed and replace me. I spent years carrying secret insecurities and pain.
After a lot of therapy and words with God, I began to trust Him to take care of me. It came partly from learning to understand that my worth comes from Him, who will never leave me. It came partly from accepting that all relationships are seasonal and it doesn’t have to be bad when they end. It came partly from realizing what a deep, lonely place I was in even while being constantly surrounded by people. It came partly from the repeated experiences of facing rejection and having to put it all into practice again.
God has called me to love people. I have zero doubt of that. And He doesn’t let me get away with surface level loving. I can’t just be friends with everyone on social media or talk to them on Sundays or text them during the week or hang out with them at social church functions. God shows me over and over that the way He’s calling me to love people is by sharing myself with them. “No, no, God. That’s not how love works. I show love to them. That doesn’t have anything to do with them getting in to me." (Sometimes God is silly and I have to explain to Him how people work.)
But, He reminds me, that’s not how I love people. And you are no longer loving them like Kristin can. I’m calling you to love them as me, as only I can.
On our church staff, we talk often about loving people “with open hands.” It’s the idea that we won’t cling to people or try to convince them to be with us. We will love them while they’re part of our community and we will continue to be loving and gracious when it’s their time to leave, regardless of the reason. It sounds great, doesn’t it? I’m chuckling while I tell you, I hate it so much. Because while I know how true it is, it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. And have to continue doing.
Pre-Covid, I launched a new campus of our church. With my team, I poured every bit of sweat, tears and love into growing the most beautiful church family. Attendance was climbing on Sundays and people connected outside of church all throughout the week. It’s special to start something new together and in the 3 years we built this church, we bonded. While I was their pastor, I was also their friend. I let people in and found true relationship with my team. When the pandemic forced everything into shutdown, we met on Zoom and FaceTime and Marco Polo. Nothing was going to break us up!
Until it did. Like many churches in America, we gained people but lost others. There are a variety of reasons people leave and I don’t hold a grudge toward any of them. Open hands and all that. But to tell you it didn’t hurt would be a lie. It felt like rejection after rejection. Breakup after breakup. Heartbreak after heartbreak.
I remember cry yelling at God “How many times do I have to grieve the same thing?!” because I didn’t think my heart could take losing one more person that I had let in, trusted and poured so much into. As clearly as I’ve ever heard Him, He said “I made you for this. You are going to keep experiencing heartbreak but I will put back the pieces every. single. time.”
The fact that I’m crying in a Starbucks while telling you my story is proof that making the choice to believe God doesn’t mean it’s easy. But it is worth it. That’s what faith is, after all. Choosing to believe in the goodness of God even when you can't see it. Choosing to believe He is everything we’re missing, even when the emptiness feels vast. Choosing to believe that He will give us everything we need to fulfill what He has called us to. Choosing to believe He will put us back together again and again even if the world breaks our hearts again and again.
I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:15-16 MSG
Choosing to believe God means staying open: with our hands, with our hearts, with our lives. It means we don’t have to face our deepest fears or inadequacies on our own because He isn’t asking us to do the impossible on our own. I can keep letting people in, I can keep loving them, even without a guarantee they will love me back. Because this is what God made me for. Because it’s God’s love within me that this broken world needs. And because He has promised to make me whole.