Chase Fireflies


Of Life and Loss and A Bring It On Kind Of Hope

Today was my 5K. I was going to run it pregnant. They say it’s fine to run these things pregnant as long as you don’t get out of breath. The night before the rupture I ran the race in its entirety in a hefty 45 min. I was barely jogging, but I wanted to protect our little one. I felt strong and healthy and amazing.

Twenty eight hours later, my feet couldn’t hold me. I reeled from pain, head spinning, eyes unable to focus. The doctors first diagnosed me with food poisoning, then gas. I was sure hoping for monstrous gas, as that would mean that I hadn’t food poisoned our family (or Aunt Suzy) or lost a baby.

When we heard the latter, our hearts sank. I couldn’t stop wiping away tears. As they wheeled me into surgery (which was sort of fun- they rammed me into a door) I remember praying for Jesus to hold my hand. I’m sure this was anesthesia driven, but I thought he laughed and said that my hand wasn’t good enough. He was going to hold me. Weird stuff.

When I woke, I felt somewhat hopeless. At the same time, I felt the God of all hope carry me through something that I didn’t think I was strong enough to handle. Maybe it was the morphine or maybe it was some crazy infusion of the Hulk, but the first tangible words I remember thinking were, “Bring it on.”

Me? Bring it on? Who did I think I was? I’m a wimp about all things. But all of a sudden it was like I knew Who God was. He felt stronger to me than ever, more real, more there, more present, more good. I felt like with God I could tackle the world. He gave me grit and hope to fight stuff bigger than me. Not me alone. But, God with me. Together. Bring it on wasn’t taunting more pain to come my way. But it was my way of saying, “Hurt just blasted you. But you’re going to make it. And you don’t have to do it alone.” Bring it on.

Remember the first diagnosis as food poisoning? It wasn’t out of the question as I’ve food poisoned people before. Okay, maybe just one. My roommate Andrea when we lived in Korea. But it was just an innocent mishap with frozen pizza. Anyway, I thought my lack of culinary skills had struck again.

The afternoon before the rupture, I had made Paul’s great aunt a bunch of mini chicken pot pies. While I was chopping carrots, I couldn’t get these words out of my head. Assuming they were for Aunt Suzy, I wrote them down in a little card and sent it with the meal. What I didn’t realize was that those words were also for me.

If God is for us, who can be against us?
Who (or what) shall separate us from the love of Christ?

In the book of Romans, Paul says that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Not trouble, hard times, persecution, famine, nakedness, violence…not death nor life, not now or later, not anything.

So I began to think. If no pain in this world can separate us from His love, then every pain in this world can cement us to His love. Not so much the pain in and of itself, but what He does with the pain. How He heals it. How He loves us through it. How He holds out hope if we are willing to open our hands and accept it.

And come on now, though this ordeal was bad in my eyes, it’s nothing in comparison to the hurts around me. There are widows and orphans and displaced people groups and single moms working their tales off and HIV ravaging a continent. There are slaves and children in a messed up foster care system and teenagers trying to find their way. There are homeless families and dads burying sons too early and marriages falling apart and thousands of children dying today cause of the food crisis. And then there’s my neighbor and I’ve heard her crying next door.

Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

My Jesus’ love is the only thing that can heal any of my scars. All of the physical ones outside of my ability to control. And all of the self-inflicted ones from past failures, fears, and forgetting a very real God who wanted me to know Him. Not simply as Savior, but more completely as Lord. He has made me whole. But it would be a travesty to hoard this healing for myself.

He has come that we might have life and have it to the full. But when you’re scarred by the brokenness of this world, sometimes you can’t see beyond your own pain. That’s why we need to meet people where they’re at, where their scars are. John Perkins says that we need to be sensitive to people’s needs as they define them. “Their needs as they feel them. And we love them around their needs.” This takes more listening than talking, more seeking to understand than striving to be understood, more getting dirty in the trenches than appearing clean in the pews.

It’s ladling soup at the homeless shelter and searching for lice in unclean hair. It’s buying new clothes for children at the trailer park so that they can look nice when they go back to school. It’s giving money to organizations that help fight child trafficking, because children deserve the right to be children. It’s hearing the same old story from your grandfather, because he doesn’t have anyone else who will listen. It’s seeing with your own eyes what is going on in Africa. It’s adopting a child from India or rescuing one from the foster care system. It’s loving the children you’ve got like crazy, even when you don’t feel like it.

It’s messy and inconvenient and sacrificial and more than you want to know and tiresome. This is love. This is what Jesus came for. He consistently met people where they were and sometimes just offered water. Then He shared with them their real need for Himself -for the author of life to heal deep, brutal scars, hidden in their hearts. By His wounds we are healed.

I’m not sure how you’re scarred today. But every hurt matters to a God of love. I’m not sure who around you is crying. But if you have been healed by Jesus, there is no greater honor than to give your Hope away. Maybe physically first, then spiritually. No matter what kind of hideous pain is standing in front of us, we can say, “Bring it on,” cause we don’t go it alone. We hold a God sized strength inside us, a God sized hope, a God sized love that can heal any wound.

Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

This is my beautiful Savior.


Pink Complex

Selah: Me want that thing on me. On me arm.
Mimi: The caterpillar? Really? It might feel strange and tickle you.

Mimi places the caterpillar on Selah’s arm.

Selah (in a frantic voice): Take it off Mimi! Me no like it anymore!
Mimi: Ok, you don’t like the way it feels on your arm?

Selah: No, me no like it cause it not pink. Caterpillar not pink, Mimi.

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Let Him Be Our Example

Donald Miller recently gave the benediction at the Democratic National Convention. Though I don’t always agree with everything this cat says or does, I don’t think you can argue his words at the DNC. Here is some of what he had to say. To read the prayer in its entirety, check it out here.

Give us a passion to advance opportunities for the least of these, for widows and orphans, for single moms and children whose fathers have left. Give us the eyes to see them, and the ears to hear them, and hands willing to serve them. Help us serve people, not just causes. And stand up to specific injustices rather than vague notions…

I make these requests in the name of your son, Jesus, who gave his own life against the forces of injustice.

Let Him be our example.


All Shall Be Well

At last glance of this blog, you saw a pretty teary eyed picture of my heart. I am pretty happy go lucky most of the time, so all the crying was a shock to my system. Suffice to say, things are on the upswing. I am fresh off the heavy meds. Though I miss their potency to relieve the pain, I don’t so much miss the emotional imbalance.

I am creeping out of bed on a more regular basis – to make some coffee, grab a book, turn on some music, read to the kids, play with Selah’s babies. There is still considerable pain just walking. Selah has an awesome portrayal of my walk – arms outstretched for balance, back hunched over, a short stride. It’s really quite a hoot.

Paul’s parents handed the baton of responsibilities over to my brother and mom on Thursday. My mom does the brunt work – preparing meals, taking care of the kids and the house. Dan is a sweet entertainer and makes us all laugh with Little Carrot Man who takes on the world. Selah and Adden especially delight in their uncle’s imagination and games. And Paul…Well, he’s just as amazing as usual. How did I secure such a catch?

As a family, we have been showered with love. Like torrentially poured on! The most delicious food has been made, the sweetest cards and notes written, DVD’s, magazines, and books brought over to relieve any boredom, bouquets of balloons, flowers, coffees, youth group girls stopping by, you name it. Oh, and I can’t forget Best Chocolate Chip Cookie ever. Even with a zero appetite, I have been making room for bites of this baby. Too bad it’s not iron fortified. Delicious. Thank you all so much.

And if all of this weren’t enough, there is my beautiful Jesus. We have laughed and cried together. He has whispered peace to my heart (Psalm 94:19, Psalm 29:11). He is healing parts of me that I never knew were broken (Psalm 147:3). He has confided in me that this is His greatest good for me right now (Psalm 25:14). His greatest good. That’s pretty sweet. And I kind of have a hunch He’s right.

So, though things aren’t as I had supposed they would be; they are good. Julian of Norwich says, “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things will be well.” And I would have to say, I agree with her. All shall be well and all manner of things will be well, hunchback waddle and soul healing, included.


Waiting for a Mosaic

Fourth day straight here, propped up on the pull out bed in our living room, immobile. The windows are open, letting in a soft and gentle breeze. The sunlight brightens this space, as do stunning bouquets of sunflowers, roses, and daisies. Next to me is a pile of favorite books, thoughtful handwritten cards, carefully chosen magazines, and a Starbucks, which is helping my brain think that it’s returning to a sense of normalcy.

There is also a quiet here. Free from the endless beeping of IV’s that need changed, the drone of my roommate’s TV, the scurrying around of hospital carts. Free from hearing the beautiful laughter and energy of our children, although I miss that commotion immeasurably. Free to listen to a God who wants to love on me and create the most beautiful of all mosaics from these broken pieces. His word is sustaining me.

What happened this weekend, in medical terms, was a ruptured ectopic pregnancy. There was internal hemorrhaging, an emergency surgery, and intense continual pain worse than any labor. My surgeon told me I could’ve easily lost my life. I guess these tubal ruptures are the most common cause of maternal death in early stage pregnancies, yet they are commonly misdiagnosed.

Though the recovery is daunting, what hurts most at this point is the loss itself. We are devastated. I had suspected a pregnancy for about 2 weeks prior to our actual confirmation on Monday. The baby was 6 weeks old, but we had only known about it for a few short days. Still, I had a hard time leaving the hospital, because I didn’t want to leave our baby there. It felt cold and heartless and cruel. A grave shouldn’t be a sterile operating room. If I didn’t believe that Jesus was cradling our little one now, I would be without comfort. He is perfect love.

Despite this knowledge, I can’t stop crying. I assume it’s a result of the medicine, the grief, the hormonal crash, the unmet expectations, everything. Something in me wants to seek a divergence and immerse myself in something that will numb the pain. Another part of me is a good judge and is shamed for feeling grief. I know others have hurt more. We have it so good. I suppose a more balanced view keeps all things in perspective – and – grieves well and joys well, since God’s goodness has never been challenged.

So there ya have it. Since I’m doing a stellar job crying, I think I need to match that with thanks. Here is what I will choose to joy in today:

  • My husband – I don’t have to choose to joy in you. You make me smile today and every day.
  • Our beautiful sensitive daughter
  • Our crazy curious son
  • A baby who was spared the heartaches of this world
  • Paul’s parents for graciously watching the kiddos
  • My brother for being my friend, helping me, and letting me kick his butt in Scrabble
  • The youth group students for cleaning our windows, preparing our home for our welcome, and folding toilet paper with love:) You guys are the best!
  • Church families for praying and making meals and sending notes
  • Friends who have brought the most thoughtful gifts over
  • Everyone who has left a message here – I’ve read them over and over
  • Friends who called at all hours desperate for ways to help
  • My mom for flying in today
  • Outstanding medical care
  • Medicine that takes the edge off (and causes me to dream about large whales devouring small American gymnasts:)
  • This life and breath
  • My beautiful Jesus
I couldn’t thank each of you enough for all you’ve done. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Your kindness has been beautiful.

With Love Because of Jesus,

Kristin, Paul, Selah, and Adden


Prayer / Encouragement Request

To all of you faithful and casual readers of this wonderful blog:

My name is Paul. I am Kristin’s husband and I have hijacked her blog for this post.

Please pray for Kristin. She is currently in the hospital recoving from emergency surgery due to a rupture from an ectopic pregnancy. I am sure Kristin will fill you in with more details once she gets a chance, but know that she made it through and is improving. There have been many blessings along the way which I am sure she will share about as well.

Since this blog has been encouragement to so many of you, I thought that this would be a good chance for you to return the favor. Please leave a word of encouragement as a comment to this post. I will be sure to share them with Kristin until she is able to see them herself.

Since Kristin won’t be online very frequently to moderate comments manually, I added word verification to cut down on spam, so sorry for that inconvenience.


UPDATE(8/17/2008-6:30pm): Thank you for all of the encouragement! We are sitting in the hospital right now waiting for the green light to go home. Though Kristin is about to head home, she still has a long recovery ahead. Please continue to pray for healing and strength.

If you would like to help with meals… if you are from the Portersville area, please contact Rob ( and if you are a friend from MOPS, please contact Brandy (


Our Team Who Loved Out Loud

Included here is a sampling of what some of our students (and one of our leaders) learned on their most recent mission trip to inner city Cincinatti. The students made me tear up quite a few times as they recounted things that they saw that broke their hearts. Like, for instance, kids coming to the boys and girls center and eating 4 helpings of lunch because it was their only meal of the day.

They also had me in hysterics as they told the tale of a crazy lice infestation. It’s not a funny scenario to be found in (63 or so of the 90 some students had it!) but the students were real troopers. Instead of freaking out and taking off, most of them stayed the course, served through it all, and became lice trivia experts. (Like did you know if you are of pure African descent, you can’t acquire lice? Huh…) We give a lot of credit to Rob, who held the team together through the infestation and resulting quarintine.

Anyway, enough of me talking. Here is what they had to say:

Rob (the fearless leader):
I really enjoyed being challenged to forgive others, and just as importantly to be mindful of our own flaws and to seek out forgiveness, cause I’m sure I offend people and don’t think twice about it. I wish I’d found it at the time, but Acts 14:21-22 was helpful to me. We might’ve faced challenges, but not the greatest, and we know that challenges help to grow us in faith and our dependence on God.

I have learned so much from this trip to Cincinnati. My favorite lesson though was learning to be unselfish. When things stirred up, most people spent a lot of their time helping others instead of worrying about themselves. It made me think a lot on how much we should love others, even enough to help out when it was unexpected. I guess that true love means that when you’re willing to help out until it hurts, your connection with God grows even more.

I learned just how great God’s forgiveness is and how much we take it for granted. I know I sure do anyway. I‘ve been challenged to forgive others their transgressions because our trespasses against God are way bigger than others’ against us. I‘ve also been challenged to remember how undeserving I am of God’s forgiveness and how lucky I am to have been given it.

I know I have now said this a couple of times…. but the fact that God pays just as much attention to the little stuff as the big stuff. Just like one sin is the same as another. Plus, through devos and experiences, I have learned to serve when I don’t feel like it, and love when I don’t feel like it (and have a VERY long way to go)…

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I Confess

Sometimes I don’t know what to do with You God

I bury You underneath idle conversation
I launch You against unsuspecting targets as if You are a weapon to be wielded
I strip You of your majesty when fear takes precedence over faith
I forget You and the world that lives beyond what I can see

If how we live our days is how we live our lives (Annie Dillard)

Then this apathy needs drowned in waves of forgiveness

Show me how to live and love well

And to ever, forever, point to only You

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Training Update #2

In terms of training, July was a dud. Here and there runs, negative motivation, dreadful heat, travelling, sick kids and sick me.

In terms of acquisitions, it was a gem. I sold The Beast (our Double Jeep Wagoneer) for only $5 less than the purchase price, a year later. Wow! With the cash, I bought a used double jogger that is actually intended for running. And I had money to spare.

With the extra money, a Bob’s Stores coupon, and a great sale, I purchased a new pair of sneakers. Ones that don’t strangle my feet, aren’t a few years old, and are self-propelled. I swear they run by themselves.

Motored by my sweet sneaks and double jogger, I am back on track and cramming in the runs. When I have to train with the kids, Selah encourages, “Go Mommy, Go!” Adden either douses himself with apple juice or snoozes. Without them, I’ve been hitting the treadmill and squeezing in evening runs, with Paul graciously watching the kiddos.

Sunday was the first day I ran the 3.1. It’s the first time I’ve run that much since college. My time was horrendous – 37.04 – but my goal is just not to stop. And I made it!

I am really psyched to do this thing with Angie and Ash. One month to go! Yeah!