01 March 2008

the story behind & the path ahead

I'm tired. It was an especially busy week at work; I facilitated my first-ever training class on Monday, putting in a twelve hour day. It went well, but it took a lot out of me and set the tone for my week; I just haven't had the energy to be much in this blogging space.

I was overwhelmed by the responses to my last post. What was reflected back to me in your comments and e-mails blessed me beyond my ability to express. I was awestruck, amazed at the variety of connection points you shared with me, honored that some of you have shared with me that you are passing this on to others.

As I read your own reflections, I remembered her more: the adolescent me, the thirteen-year-old girl who wished she were thinner, prettier. Someone else, even. I can't forget her: I remember her awkwardness and insecurities, her self-loathing. I also remember her with the eating disorder, slowly stripping herself with physical neglect and a merciless interior dialogue; I remember her with the neck-brace, who went numb from the inside out. All these different incarnations of me are alive and breathing inside me, stacked one inside the other like nesting dolls, each with her own story to tell.

As I contemplate my first-ever book proposal and outlines for some magazine pieces for the writer's conference I'm attending in two weeks, I’ve thought of these stories that are uniquely mine, the stories that are layered one upon the other; I’ve thought of the journey these girls have taken from there to here, and wonder what roles they might play in the path ahead.

I may be stepping away from this space for a bit as I do this, focusing my attention on being present and available for those words to come. I'm sitting before God with open hands as I do this, making the whole of my heart and my experience available to Him, wondering what story He wants to tell, wondering how He will translate my experiences into something real meant to reach the heart of another. As I think again over the words you gave back to me, I am struck with the reality that I'm in sacred territory, being asked by God to speak into people's lives, to be a conduit for for His grace and truth to be imparted to the hearts of real people. I am responsible for stepping out of the way, allowing Him to tell the story He wants to tell through the lens of my experience.

This is His yes over me.

I feel a certain weight of holiness in what lay before me; I unlace my shoes and strip off my socks, knowing I tread on holy ground.

path photo by kaari, posted on flickr by kirsten.michelle


  1. yes, Yes, YES! I love the picture you posted with this, how you're going forward there, stepping out into whatever he has for you. Even though you're tired, I hear you walking here, going step by step into his future, his dreams for you. And, Kirsten, I'm so excited to see what those are. My heart says that they're so good, so blessed. I'm so honored and excited to walk with you as you go here.

    This is definitely sacred time and space for you--I hear you and resonate when you say that you're treading on holy ground. I'm filled with hope for you over the next little while.

    Here's love and life to you, fried.

  2. oh, kirsten-girl. i feel this holiness with you. i feel the rightness of this with you. i feel the sacredness of this time and space with you. you are on the path, walking. not by sight, but by faith. it can be unnerving, can't it? but you're doing it. and with such bravery and courage, as i've come to know you possess in spades.

    beautiful girl, he is just getting started.

  3. walk boldly on the ground God has laid before you. It is your path to walk. Remember when you carve the path to make it wide enough for others to follow. Before you know it you will have carved a whole path and others will join you in the unique leg of their journey that leads them to cross your path.

    If I can be a sounding board for ideas, or someone who can help you if you have writers block it would be an honor. Just call!

    I look forward to hearing updates.

  4. Hi Kristen. when I read your post, I liked your analogy of the nesting dolls. We all go through butterfly experiences going through stages. struggling through each one. with pieces of the carapace stuck to the poor critter as he gains his winged flight. So keep your dialogue going because God will bless you and others with each stroke of the keyboard. It is good to h hear the dialogue of your friends as they push you forward. Looking forward to reading your book when it comes out. Grace and peace to you. Scott

  5. I'm not sure how to express the response your post has elicited. So let me just say that we send love, support & blessing across the miles and look forward to hearing from you as you're available to share more of the journey.
    We'd send you some sunshine too if we could, cos you look chilly in that pic, but that's a little harder to package and post :)

  6. dear sarah,
    thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU!! i'm glad you see the significance of the photo here: for me, i see that there is a path ahead, but i can only see so far. there's something ahead, but i don't know what. there's a path behind me, there are the steps i'm taking, & then ... then there's the mystery of what lay ahead.

    i'm excited to see what He has for this too, & so excited that you are here to be a part of it. i'm ridiculously honored to have you here as a companion on the path, as a partner in the sacred trust imparted to me.

    blessings to you, dear sarah.

    christianne - yes. sacred space. sacred trust. this walking by faith thing? yeah. scary. and it's not because i think that God's suddenly going to disappear so much as He's handed something precious to me for other people. i am only beginning to feel the weight of that.

    thank you for walking this path with me friend, for hearing my concerns, for affirming what you see, for encouraging me on this path, for seeing things in me that i'm sometimes too close to see myself.

    we are partners on this path you & i. the great I AM is always with us as we step out in faith, so we are never alone. but there is also a not-aloneness that He has given us by giving us each other dear friend.

    i love you, so glad to be here with you.

    carl - thank you so much. i know i cannot walk this path alone, i know this is about partnership & community. really, my calling has been called forth in the context of this space, so it's only appropriate & natural that i'll require community with me along the way. i truly see this is a partnership, a community effort.

    scott - i am starting to feel like a broken record here, but i feel like i can't stress enough that this is a community effort, it is a collective dialogue. i can't do this alone. thank you.

    dean - thank you for your love, your support, & your blessing. i count myself as blessed & privileged to have it. i have no words for any of this either, but i keep holding this, bringing it before God with open hands, giving myself to Him for what He has to say. He has something important to say, & He's using me. i don't get it, i'm struck with the gravity of it, but who am i to question His methods? i lay down my life, my heart, & the words He gave me in the first place for His purposes.

    peace, brother. love to you & your family!

  7. Kirsten
    It was wonderful to talk to you on the phone Friday night. It would have been a lot more wonderful if my phone had not have died.

    God has already began to use you in the here and now that is obvious, but you are pressing on toward the mark of the high call.

    I love the poetic line there on this blog. If you live to be 100, i want to live to be 100 years minus one day so that i never have to live without you.

    That is so beautiful. It is only when you have been arrested by pure love that this statement is like a wedding ring around your heart.

    The love of God is so woven into our heart like a tapestry of many colors and those colors are His sacrificial love for us and our sacrificial love for one another.

    Love you Hopefully your next week at work will go more smoothly.

  8. hea- lady,
    get to my blog= guess who i met last night? wish you were here!


  9. You’re amazing! I can’t wait to see what God does with you.

  10. my first Anne Lamott book "Traveling Mercies" is sitting on my ottoman summoning my eyes to its pages...and my heart knows one day there will be another in its place with your name on it.

    Yes and Amen to His yes.

  11. We have a saying at forum I frequent that "We'll leave a torch out for ya."

    I will keep you in my prayers on this wonderful endeavor and take as much time as you need to do so, we'll all be waiting when you return, eager to hear as much as you're willing to share!

  12. Kind of like Sarah Grace's sacred space, yes? It takes a great deal of energy and focus to write a book.

    And it also takes time and energy to pitch one! Sometimes it takes a while to find a home for it; I know that the people who requested my proposal at that first MH were not the ones who eventually offered a contract. Take courage if it all takes time to unfold.

  13. i'm tired too...and feeling you in this place...and excited to see what it will produce. you have some crazy gifts and they will bless so many people as they work their way out into the light. it's hard, this soul-work. it's sacred, as you've said, but it's also so human...so bound up in our limitations. that can be really confusing. but it helps me to know that i don't have to rely on myself alone. that there really is a God who cares about this work, and who knows about my flesh-and-bloodness. i hope you will care for yourself well as you work through this. and take all the time you need...to be away from here for a while or to come and share...we'll all be here listening.

  14. Isn't it wild, how we can have no real idea where we're going or how we will get there or what it will look like, but still, we know we are right where we need to be.
    Your words reminded of these lines:
    This place where you are right now
    God circled on a map for you

    Wherever your eyes and arms and heart can move
    Against earth and sky
    The Beloved has bowed here –

    The Beloved has bowed there knowing
    You were coming. . .

    - Sufi poet Hafiz

    Take all the time you need.
    Thinking of you and sending you courage.

  15. tammy - love you, sister. thank you for that beautiful image: about the love of God being woven into my heart. that is how it feels, that i am more now who he made me to be then ever before. and this is only the beginning.

    judy - anne lamott, wow!! you are one lucky lady, i find myself living vicariously through you in that post. what an amazing gift!!

    chloe - thank you!! this is already quite a grand adventure ... & it's just getting started!!

    di - thank you. amen to his yes. AMEN!

    sean - thank you! i am so eager to share what comes from this time, and look forward to displaying what He places in my waiting hands.

    l. l. - thank you for your wisdom & perspective, to keep in mind that this may take time to unfold, & that the unfolding is likely happen in unexpected ways. i am ready to dedicate energy to this, look forward to seeing how he directs it.

    terri - i can tell you are weary, & i know you have good reason. so your stopping by means all the more. the power of this will rest wholly on him. he raises up these confessions in me, these dark places that are coming to light & being redeemed, that he just might use to mean light & life for another. that is my hope, my prayer.

    bella - thank you for your gift of courage. thank you for those beautiful lines. i am going to hold them close ... the place i am right now, God circled on a map for me. i will hold these close.

    thank you.

  16. if that's truly your heart and prayer, then you can rest, knowing you've already given birth to those things...that your confession and the offering of yourself has already done what you are hoping it will do. not that you've arrived (give up on that idea if you haven't already) but that you can stop looking for "one day" and know that God is already here, doing what he's promised he would do.

  17. terri - amen & amen to that!! yes, gave up on that idea of "arriving". it doesn't exist on this earth.

    i know he has used that confession & is continuing to use it. but i'm wondering if he might mean to birth yet more from that ... i think maybe so, but i'm leaving that up to him ...

    blessings, sister.

  18. treading barefoot in sacred spaces... i like that! yes, do take that time you need, for these stories to come in their own time and in their own way.

    i have been somewhat absent in bloggyville, too. but i wanted to let you know i still am thinking about you and all that is going on. remember that you can always e-mail me at anytime!:)