All Posts By:

Kristin Vanderlip

March 19, 2018

Where I End (A Book Review)

I am a member of Moody Publishers’ blogger review program in which I receive free copies of certain book titles in exchange for sharing my honest reviews. Below is my review of the book Where I End: A Story of Tragedy, Truth, and Rebellious Hope by Katherine Elizabeth Clark. 

I am drawn to true stories of suffering and hope, which is why after immediately upon stumbling across this book title, I knew I wanted to read it. Where I End: A Story of Tragedy, Truth, and Rebellious Hope by Katherine Elizabeth Clark (who goes by Kate throughout the book) is a beautifully written and beautifully honest memoir that chronicles her story of suffering when a freak accident at a playground leaves her paralyzed from the neck down and reveals her story of hope through the journey and miracles she experiences thereafter.  Read more

March 11, 2018

Wandering in the Wilderness

I can’t stop thinking about the wilderness.

My current season feels like I’m wandering alone in the wilderness – a place that is marked by darkness, loneliness, confusion, and vulnerability.

At times I feel weak and exposed like a small animal that’s being hunted by a pack of predators that lurk in the shadows with glowing eyes waiting for their chance to pounce and attack.

As I wander in this place, fear tries to grip its cold, unrelenting hands around my heart.

Will I ever find my way out of this wilderness? How long must I wander here?

Hopelessness once again tries to lure me toward it, but the Holy Spirit calls Isaiah 43:19 to my mind and speaks back: “I will make a way in the wilderness.”

Like one struggling to breathe, I cling onto these words like they’re my oxygen mask. Where I see no way, He promises a way.

I don’t miss the fact that my time of wandering in the wilderness coincides with this Lenten season where we remember the time Jesus spent alone in the wilderness. Also during this time I’m reading Brene Brown’s latest book, Braving the Wilderness. And so I think of the wilderness in all of these ways, and it’s as though they’re doing a beautiful yet cryptic waltz together in my mind.

There’s something here God wants me to see. Read more

February 27, 2018

What I Learned This Winter

I’m linking up with Emily P. Freeman to reflect back on and share what we’ve learned at the end of each season. This has become a wonderful practice that’s helped me reflect, process, grow, and transition into the next season.

As someone who is a self-proclaimed slow-processor and suffers from a forgetful mind/ spiritual amnesia, this has become such a blessing to me each season.

Here are 10 things that I learned this winter – some deep, some spiritual, some fun, and some seemingly insignificant, but somethings I learned nonetheless. Please leave me a comment sharing something you learned this winter!

Read more

February 16, 2018

Confessions and Convictions on Love

My eyelids crack open and the darkness of the early morning draws them back shut and pulls my tired body deeper into the warmth of the bed. Relying on muscle memory I reach in the direction of my phone to silence the alarm.

Intentionally waking up an hour before my family is a new discipline in my life (and discipline seems to be the appropriate word to use here seeing as how there is nothing natural, comfortable, or easy about this). But here I am, surrendered to this conviction that’s been growing over the last several weeks, or maybe if I’m honest, the last several years.

Sometimes it takes the pain of being broken wide open and the discomfort of discipline for goodness and growth to be ushered in. I’m seeing this now in this new journey of brokenness and restoration and of loving myself where I’m emptied and desperate for God’s for transformation in my life.

I have finally surrendered to the fact that I can no longer do the same thing over and over and expect different results. (I believe Albert Einstein defined that type of behavior as insanity – and it is). I’m leaning into God and abiding in Him as I journey down this new path of healing and loving that requires me to seek His wisdom and His ways and do new things and hard things.

I’m ready to spend the first hour of my day nourishing my soul with His Word, filling my heart with His love, laying down my worries and brokenness, praying, meditating to transform and renew my mind, learning to breathe again (literally), and showing my body gentle love through yoga and slow stretching. I’m awakening my body, my mind, my soul, and my heart.

I’m loving myself because He loves me and I want to love others.

Which is why I find myself, at 6am (which is early for this momma), with an inexplicable eagerness to begin my day alone with my Father. Read more

February 6, 2018

Love Unexpected: My One Word for 2018

It was 2 o’clock in the morning and in one sudden unexpected moment my world changed.

If you watched the episode of This Is Us that aired after the Super Bowl, you might have heard the character Randall describe an unexpected life-altering event as a lightning strike. The writers’ raw and beautiful analogy articulates this experience well. Here is what Randall said:

“When you lose someone suddenly, and unexpectedly, it hurts differently… Boom, boom, like a lightning strike. That’s what unexpected loss is like. It’s like a lightning bolt you can’t even see reaching inside of you and tearing out your guts.”

Eight years ago, the lightning bolt that struck me was the death of my baby girl, and then another bolt struck shortly after when my father died. I’ve spent 8 years processing and healing from that lightning storm.

But this time the 2AM lightning strike was not the unexpected discovery of someone’s death even though it could in every way be categorized as a type of loss and grief.

Like with any lightning strike that appears out of nowhere and dramatically alters our lives, it felt as though the bolt made direct contact with my heart when it struck; that it had destroyed my heart in an explosion of pain.

Ironically, like with the first strikes, this lightning bolt ushering in a new season of suffering came immediately after a season of giving thanks. Also ironically perhaps, right before this latest strike occurred, I had just written and shared about the revelation that I sort of have PTSD when it comes to giving thanks as a result of these losses that had immediately followed eight years ago (you can read more in this post here).

This was the first year after eight years that I was able to confront my PTSD head on and return to my gratitude journal and count my gifts. And then, just like eight years ago, a lightning strike, and my world fell apart again immediately after. I couldn’t believe it.

And then came the inevitable question spoken through the agonizing heartache and flow of hot tears, Why God?

What I discovered, or rather what God revealed, in the days following this most recent lightning strike of unexpected pain was that when life thrust me into this pit of darkness, He was going to rip off a blindfold, and I would see Him begin to use this shocking pain for good quite immediately.

God used the emotional pain I was in to reveal a deeper rooted pain – a pain that it turns out I had been unknowingly causing myself for too long. Read more