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“Ministries is plural – it’s half yours now.”

Yesterday I was eating lunch with a friend when I got a text from my sister. I opened it, expecting something significantly small and random, but SURPRISE. It was my very own login for mess and mercy ministries – she gifted me permanent access to the website she has built and grown over the past 5 years sharing her testimony, His messages, and her love for our God and what He has done for her.

Allow me to introduce myself and what He has done for me. I am Kristen, Katie’s little sister. You’re probably thinking, “Okay. Katie’s sister… they’re probably a lot alike and she has a natural talent for this sort of thing.” But boy, are you wrong. I am not a writer in any sense at all. Here you will see many flaws, misspells, typos, and grammatical errors; but God didn’t ask me to be a good writer, He asked me to share my story.

So here it is.

I don’t have a day, hour, or minute I was saved like Katie and many others do. I’ve “known” God for as long as I can remember. Was I the perfect christian for as long as I can remember? Absolutely not. I still am not. I am a regular human, who sins regularly, as I always have. But over the past year especially, my relationship with God has shifted in a way I can’t really explain – but I will do my best.

Last Sunday, September 18th, I was baptized. Leading up to this I was filling out forms for Pinelake’s Identify event that they do every year. I was being asked all the questions: “when were you saved?” “how has your life been changed since?” & the answers to these questions were hard to say because I felt like my answer was not like anyone else’s and to be frank, it sounds pretty dark, but then I remembered God never said that becoming saved would be easy or comfortable. It is supposed to be uncomfortable. So I answered, “When my mom died.”

When I lost my mom everything changed for me. I was so angry at God, and the more I pushed Him away, the more He actively pursued me – giving me signs left and right that this was His will and it was going to serve a purpose.

Weeks before my mom’s death I recalled (for the first time in years) a dream my great aunt had a few months after my dad passed away. She said my dad came to her & told her that my mom was going to drink and drive and it would cost her either my life or her life – he did not know which it would be. Of course, this thought stayed with me for months after hearing it. I talked to my grandmother (her name was Grace – you will hear it again at some point) about what was sure to be my first taste of anxiety. I lived in fear every day that my mom was going to die, just months after I had lost my dad. She explained how differently time is in heaven. “One day there could be years of time on earth, time is not measured the same on the other side. This could happen 15 years from now or not at all because there’s plenty of time for things to change between now and then.” So I felt better, for a while. I didn’t think about it again much, until a few weeks before her accident.

I told the story to friends and even mentioned it to my sister literally days before our mom’s death. God was preparing me for something that was going to hurt.

Fast forward to 7 days before she died. She drank & drove. She called me to come get her after she got pulled over. Once I got there, the officer asked to speak to me for a minute. We had a short heart to heart about my mom & how this had effected me & for how long it went on. At the end of that conversation he told me, “I don’t know what it was, but something in my heart told me to see if someone could come get her instead of my other option.” (his other option would have been to take her to jail & give her a third DUI – a felony charge – which would have landed her in prison for the next 5 years. This is the one God gave me that I’m still trying to make sense of. Maybe it gave me one last time to express to her my fear of losing her (and i did). The anger and also the sympathy I felt for her that night – topped all the other times I had felt those feelings. It was different. But one thing is for sure, “that feeling in his heart” he had about letting her call me, was God.

The day of her death, we spoke on the phone that afternoon. She was being hard on herself. I can only image the way she was feeling knowing she had hurt those she loved yet again. I was trying to help her work through some of those feelings, offer forgiveness, an ear, and encourage her to swallow her pride & have the conversations she (& everyone else) needed to move past this and for her to become sober again – but most importantly become okay again.

She drove home from work and posted on facebook the song “Lord, I Need You” by Matt Maher. Give it a listen.

The next morning, I woke up to my sister sitting on my bed with swollen eyes and she didn’t have to say a word. I knew what she was about to say to me. My world fell apart.

But this is the part where God started putting it back together…

We found a journal on my mom’s coffee table, that she wrote in often. & the last page that was written on dated 10/31/20. It expressed the weariness of her heart – how bad she was hurting – and how much she “needed God to save her now, more than she ever had.” little did she know, He would save her just hours later. When she took her last breath, God gave her the healing she had longed for. All of those burdens were lifted. All of her pain was gone. Selfishly, that was the hardest pill for me to swallow. I wished there could have been any other result – & any other one I could’ve accepted. But the one He gave, I could not accept it. Not for a while atleast. *insert change of perspective*

Days after her funeral, my sister did a bible give away – she has written about this as well. She had done several before, and of course – they were significant. But this one was hard for her. The morning of her drawing, she said her heart was so heavy bc she knew that the person who would receive that bible, needed it to change them. She drew my name as the winner and her heart sank to her feet when she read the name Kristen.

My sister had been on a 7 day fast – one where she prayed for my mom to be healed. She prayed for a pivotal moment that would change things for our mom so we all could start the process of healing – healing our relationships with her, her relationships with herself, her grandchildren. God had answered her prayers – not in the way we were hoping for of course. But in a way that she would never have to fight those urges and never suffer those feelings of self pity and self hate ever again. Katie was eating her first meal when she got the call about my mom and she knew God answered those prayers.

God had given me all of these things, all of these signs, and had He not, I would not be writing this 14 page series of how it saved my life. It took me weeks to let those things sink in – for me to realize it was God reaching out his hand begging me to take it so he could transform me into who I am meant to be. But after I did, I realized all the grief I was drowning in had to be laid down at the feet of our Father. I had to let it go and accept it for what it was. So I did, and in that, my grief was transformed into determination to not let my mom’s death be wasted – I was and still am determined to make it mean something. I was given the motivation I needed to dive into that bible I won from my sisters give away and get to know the Jesus who answers prayers, heals us, and gives us eternal life with no pain and no grief.

God does not put us through storms to hurt us, but to use us. It’s just a matter of letting Him. I walked through my very own version of a living Hell, but when I made it through that storm – there was God telling me I was ready to grow into the person He created me to be. I don’t know where He is taking me from here, but I know being a part of Mess and Mercy Ministries is a start of my journey and I am so excited to walk into this chapter of my life with all of you. I have a lot of learning to go, but I am so lucky and so honored to have the opportunity to use Mess and Mercy to share my journey & my Jesus with all of you.

Until next time,

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