Hi, I’m Kristin! First, thanks for stopping by this space I created to share with you; I hope you find encouragement here. I am a 30 something Christ follower, choosing to live life with an expectant heart – with a heart that expects God to move, to answer, to be faithful to His Word; an expectant heart waits in eager anticipation, knowing God will fulfill His promises, no matter the season of life.
Since my late teens, I have loved and followed Jesus. He has held me, He has carried me, He has healed me, He has lavished His grace upon me. But for most of my born again days, I have not lived well with an expectant heart. Maybe it’s my pessimistic nature, I’m not sure, but whatever it may be, despite having faith and trust over the years and despite enjoying close fellowship with Him, a place in my heart, during those pivotal moments and trials of my life and after, kept me from fully and excitedly expecting God to move, to work, to fulfill His promises in ME (sure somebody else, but not ME), faith and hope had become an excruciating task for me. And an honest examination of my heart would prove that I stopped expecting God to show up and started expecting hurt and disappointment. But oh to live with an expectant heart! How that changes things for our souls, for our lives here on this earth. And that’s where I am and hope to stay for the time He’s given me here. Living with an expectant heart.
What you should know about me to understand a little more about the topics I like to discuss and what’s important to my heart and why I’m sharing it all. Growing up I lived a pretty nice, “normal” life. I spent my entire life from birth to age 22 in the same house in a little farm town in northern Illinois, part of a middle class family, both parents worked as teachers, and one older brother. Always the “good” kid. The largest trial I encountered before submitting my life to Christ was my parent’s divorce when I was in elementary school, and even that was not all that bad for me because I still had two very loving parents in the picture. My husband and I were high school sweet hearts, and he introduced me to Jesus. I always joke that my testimony was so boring. Jesus didn’t save me from a past of pain or addiction or overtly destructive behaviors, sure I had my sins, but I saw things as “good” before Jesus and “good” after Jesus. After giving my life to Jesus, life was going as planned (as I had planned), and I was on fire for the Lord throughout college and entering into marriage fresh out of undergrad as a 20 something.
Somehow I naively thought that’s how my life would continue. I followed my passions and became an English teacher and my husband became an officer in the Army. I knew Army life would be a challenge for me, the constant moves and changes and unknowns, but when you begin life married to the military, you really have no idea exactly how much it will stretch and challenge and require of you. Even so, I continued thinking my life would continue to be pretty “normal.” My husband and I were young and healthy with dreams ahead of us.
But when the time came for my husband and I to give birth to our first child (we were 24 years old in 2009), our lives were forever altered. We hadn’t known our daughter had a fatal chromosomal disorder (Trisomy 18) until a week after her birth. Her birth, the time spent in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit), and at home on hospice were devastating and traumatic. We went into the delivery room expecting to give birth to a healthy baby girl, with dreams that we would have a beautiful life with her, but instead my life didn’t feel like my life at all. It felt like a living nightmare. Our little girl died 36 days after she made her entrance into the world. We were left in pieces, broken and empty, with shattered dreams. Thank the Lord I had a relationship with Him as my foundation because I can honestly say I don’t know how I would have survived otherwise.
While my baby was simultaneously living and dying, my father, whom was also my close friend and biggest supporter, was unexpectedly and quickly dying from cancer. Two weeks after I buried my baby girl, the day before my 25th birthday, my dad died while I was on an airplane to see him. In a two week period I lost both my child and father.
When this all happened, my husband and I were in the beginning stages of our life in the military, living at our first duty station in southern Alabama. Hundreds of miles from “home,” from family, friends coming and going as is the style of the military, no career (having left my job in IL and putting teaching on hold to be a mom), and then my child dies and my dad dies. I felt like Job, like almost everything had been taken from me. By the grace of God I came through this period of loss and suffering in my life.
Life went on as it does after someone you love dies, painful at first, then bringing and experiencing joys again. The Lord began healing my broken places and helped me take steps forward in my life. He graciously gave us more children, two healthy beautiful boys, my rainbow babies. Life started to become full again, but continued with its trials and challenges, especially coming from the military side of our life.
Years later, after that pivotal chapter in my story, seeds had been planted that I didn’t know had been planted and then began growing things I didn’t like. Things like disappointment, fears, insecurities, bitterness, ingratitude, creeping up out of my heart, out of a heart not expecting God anymore. I still had faith, still sought the Lord, still in fellowship with Him, but not expecting anything. A mechanism I unknowingly created in an attempt to protect myself from being hurt or disappointed; don’t expect or hope, can’t be be hurt or disappointed. But trust me, that does not produce a life well lived or a fruitful one. So that’s where I am, going through a pruning process with the Lord, opening my heart fully to Him, waiting, expecting, hoping, in the little, in the big, in the everything.
If you’d like to contact me, please email: anexpectantheart [at] gmail [dot] com.