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Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Longterm yearning

Mental Health. It's all the buzz and it is a BIG issue. We live in a day where information has no holes. It's impossible to find nothing on just about anything. We are never fully satisfied because we have learned that what we do not yet know holds the power to change reality. So we keep on searching.

Unfortunately, I am not convinced that drawing awareness is helping. I can't help but wonder if the solution for mental health is something that culture is not willing to see or change.

Our minds have far surpassed our physical abilities and have limited us from sustaining life on earth (both figuratively and literally). We all know too much.

With a plethora of information at our finger tips, confusion is nevermore substantiated. Conflicting opinions everywhere we turn...we just keep searching...

I continually have more questions than I find answers to. I desire a lifestyle that is far from what I am living, a mindset that seems impossible to achieve, and happiness that so easily escapes me because I think way too damn much.

To fight against confusion we strive for more knowledge, more understanding, to explain what is not yet clear (or we pray until we our blue in the's all the same). Naturally, we fantasize about what life could be. We get caught up in things we cannot fix, people we cannot change, and a life we cannot live.

Ever wonder why people in third world countries seem so much happier? We look on people with less and feel remorse. Meanwhile, those of us with more (you and me) over complicate things because we have the opportunity to do so. It is a sickness that drives us with an insatiable appetite to understand life differently than what it has proven to be.

Those of us with more, think that offering more to people with less, will somehow lessen their suffering. It won't. In fact, the opposite is true. Simply seeing the good in people where they are, rather than where they could be, promotes real power. It is like plugging in a lamp in the nearest dark corner. Why aim so far when a power source so close?

Opportunity can be misleading. It promises something greater but is not necessarily greener. When we turn our sight to a reality that is too far out of reach, we cheat ourselves (and others) from simply making the most out of what we have. Longterm yearning is a mental disaster that will not be resolved until we embrace what we have, where we are, and stop searching.

God help us. We all know too much and need You less.


Wednesday, May 22, 2019


Waiting is not my strong suit. I woke early to spend time with the Big Guy. So glad I did. I literally felt my spirit rise up. I am reminded that no matter how much I try to control things of life, God's plan is rarely on my radar. I look through an external lens to make sense of what I cannot see. Only what I cannot see will never be seen through this lens. When I let go, I am given the chance to see what God can do - It is, and always has been, better than what I can do. Deep down, I know this - but it is in "knowing" that I fail to seek Him. Knowledge often gets in the way of hearing from a Savior. ❤ #nurturecalls

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

A Silent Birth

Recently, I had the honor of supporting a Mother and Father who delivered their stillborn baby. While heartbreaking, I find it extremely special to be trusted in such an intimately devastating setting like this. I was their birth support for their now 3-year-old daughter and their 1 1/2-year-old son. We very much looked forward to their third, anticipating sometime in May. 

They decided to be surprised by the sex. Just two days prior to finding out that they had lost their baby, an ultrasound showed a healthy, active baby. As Mom felt no movement over the next two days, the doctor urged her to come in. Her greatest fear became a reality. Nothing could prepare them for this devastating surprise. 

Twenty-seven hours by her side as she endured the most incredible pain. Just over 20 weeks old, they later discovered that their sweet baby was in fact, a son.

Images of this experience still shake me today. The Mother was incredibly brave and broken. She chose to be fully present through labor and delivery, and both her and her husband held their son all through the night. It was incredibly selfless, heartbreaking. . .beautiful. 

The Father was also brave. He supported his wife in a tender way, while allowing himself to break. An image of unity so incredibly bound, as they broke over their stillborn baby. The three of us in the room that day have a stronger bond than I will ever be able to describe. 

You cannot walk from this standing tall. You cannot hide grief when it grips you this well. And so, I wrote this yesterday, and shared it today at their sons gravesite with all those present. Grief from a Mother's perspective...

©  2019 Kaley Kiewiet. All rights reserved.

A Silent Birth

Deeply, I wanted you

Bravely, I fought

Trusting to be with you
Instead, I’m at loss.

Gratefully, I carried you
Painfully, delivered you
Heartbreakingly lost you
Into the hands of God.

You knew the sound of my voice
The steady rhythm of our choice
To love and keep you well, my dear
For all the days you had numbered here.

Not one. Not even one moment with me
Instead, your first breath was eternity
I held you close, though cold and frail
You were mine to love. You were mine to care

Silence never hurt so bad
It pains me to wake with empty hands
My life is less without you here
But I know your life is better – free

Why did you have to go so soon?
And leave me with an empty womb
The only hope I have today
Is that I might see you again one day.

Your kicks, they reminded me
Just how wondrous motherhood can be
Your heartbeat, a lifeline of mine
It moved me to tears every time.

If ever I have doubted a God above
A headship, or a higher power
I know now that one must exist
They are blessed to have you - to hug and to kiss.

Your sister, will never know you
Your brother, would have adored you
Your Father, dreams of raising you
Your Mother, aches to hold you

Your birth planted a seed of grace
To face this nightmare I will replay
Over and over again in my head
Trying to make sense of this brutal end.

Death’s grip was stronger than my desire to keep you
Helpless, I had to succumb.
It angers me that God did not leave you
Here with me. He knows I adore you.

The plans we’ve made
The trips we’d take
Walking to and from the lake
Have all gone up in a raging fire
All but a shattered dream…

Darkness has taken over now
Joy, but a fading memory
But not forever as you’ll see
Love will grow inside of me

I may have lost my heart to death
But this is where death loses depth:

Heaven gained an angel, soft
Sadness weaved our hearts, strong
Mercy, opened my eyes to see
Greatness in people, greatness in me
Gratitude, will overtake
My life is rich in spite of heartache.

Death, you may have gripped my heart
But you did not win this war
My son, you see, lives inside of me
His life will be a legacy.

Oliver Matthew, while we do ache
Dreaming of a life we cannot create
We promise to go from here, in hope
Love and courage will help us cope.

Because of you, I was forced to look up
Humbled at the very thought
If a Creator does in fact exist
There you are, by His side, with the Highest.

Enough wasted mind space on what life could be
We choose to live now – intentionally
We choose to make the most of every day we are given
And trust that God’s grace will rebuild again.

Until we meet again, sweet boy
I promise to be better, to seek out new joy
I promise to trade-in my tainted perspective:
That life ends here, with endless depression.

You’ve shown us how to love in pain
To journey-on in grace and heartache
You’ve shown us all humility
A need for a Savior - our desperate plea

I will ache for you all the days of my life
But I will not give up my desire to strive
It pains me, deeply, to let you go
But where you are, death has no hold.

This is where death will die
Where hell loses power. No angels will cry.
In the hands of our Creator, there you will be
Forever guiding us toward eternity.

Dear God, give me strength to live again
Our son would want us to love, to forgive.
Sweet mercy, if in fact you are there
Please fill us with your tender care.

We release you, son, to the hands of God
Where pain has no home; where fear is not found
Your reflection in, still waters and sky
Will be a guiding light of your legacy, wide.

The necklace reads "I love you to the moon and back"

This shadow box was created by the incredible Metro Health Labor/Delivery Nursing Staff

©  2019 Kaley Kiewiet
All rights reserved

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Parenting in the midst of uncertainty

In my own journey as a parent, I have been very out of sorts with how to move forward in a world that is quickly framing right as wrong, and wrong as right.
This was impressed on me today. I believe that God would have me understand the challenges that I face with my children in a new light. I wrote this in a way that I could read out loud. I hope this brings hope to you as it has for me:

I am equipped to handle things that others are not. God will not surround me or my children with perfect scenarios no matter how much my heart desires it. My marriage is about as good as it can be. I would like to protect it with every fiber of my being, which naturally drives me to do the same for my children. "Their lives would be better if..." "Their lives more enjoyable if..."

But every direction I turn my head I see how far life is from ideal. Understanding that God allows evil in the world, I have to believe that He is not more pleased with ideal than he is with real. He is pleased when I strive toward wholeness. I never fully arrive, so he must be satisfied with my desire to strive. I live in a fallen world and I will never reach perfection. There will always be something - someone - ME - in the way of becoming fully alive. It's this way on purpose. If it were any other way, I would not need a savior.

As for my children: no matter how much I want to protect them, life will inevitably show its dark side. To purpose to avoid it is to deny them of the opportunity to figure out how to stand tall in a broken world. God will uniquely draw out of them just as he did for me.

Do not resent imperfection. It is God's will on earth. In his will there has and always will be tension. Without tension, there is no redemption. Premature ache for what will be causes deeper ache than is necessary. 

When joy is present, preserve it. Hang on to it for as long as you can. Too soon life will rear its ugly head of tragedy or heartbreak, and you'll need to find joy again.

Live in joy. If only in the smallest sense, fixate on it, until it becomes an increasing awareness. Find joy in scenarios that are far from what you understand or are comfortable to deal with. God trusts you with something that no one else can fulfill.

When you do not know how to respond to the challenging situations of today, keep in mind that this may be the start of a new chapter in your children. This is powerful, scary, and incredibly overwhelming, but I have to believe, just as He did for me - just as he did for us all - He will keep and protect my kids.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

America's Soul: Lost in False Empathy

False empathy is rampant in America.
It esteems itself in the trenches of despair, dissension, bondage, unforgiveness; with a relentless drive to hang onto injustice more greatly than to offer mercy. 
False empathy is apparent when the message of hope no longer falls from our lips.

There is no restoration in continued protest. It is a focus that stirs disaster in the human soul. Liberating marginalized, valuable people does not look like a mass of those more fortunate, rolling around, hashing, rehashing, over and over again, in the bile that holds victims captive. We continue to victimize valuable people who deserve and desire reconciliation. Stagnant on the streets of despair, with signs of personal hostility does not lift up America's soul, but rather tears it down. Justice is found in reconciliation. Reconciliation is achieved only when we move forward.

It is time we move forward.

Cover your ears to false empathy. While protests continue, move silently among a broken people, looking past differences, seeking to embrace those who want to stand tall and desire to move forward. Meet people in despair, but do not stay there. Love does not stew. It gently lifts up, inspires with hope, and calls to action. 

Love deep. 

Inspire with hope. 

Move forward. 

Work hard. 


Monday, December 11, 2017

Boundaries: Speaking Into People's Lives

I've read this years ago, but I'm reading it again for a college course.  The book called Boundaries, by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend, is a must-read.  When applied, it is life changing.  Something that it provoked, and that many of us wrestle with, is how and when to speak into the lives of people we care about. 

This question came to mind, and I believe it is key to understand about ourselves prior to having a conversation with someone: Is my concern rooted in love or rooted in fear? And how do I know?  The answer may vary depending on the person whom concerns you.  People affect us differently.  Often we think that love is the driving force to confront, or persuade, but if we are honest, we may discover that fear is an underlying motivation.  It is worth considering this every time, because fear is deceptive and destructive.

When you see a family member or friend intertwined in destructive behavior or dysfunctional thought patterns, understand that their perspective of reality may be drastically different from yours. More than likely (you can count on it) this is true. What one sees as normal, another sees as abnormal. And regardless of what you think, it is only from a place of being "rooted and grounded in love" that people will respond to truth (Ephesians 3:17 NKJV).  

It is not good enough if I think I am coming from a place of love.  What matters is that the person knows and feels my love for them first.  If I am not sure, I need to ask.  What a concept!  I think most of us would rather not know and hope for the best, but doing so allows us to live in an illusion, not in reality.  

If your relationship is strained or without joyful fellowship, you will not be well received when you correct.  Find opportunities to love first.  Love is shown mostly simply through undivided attention without offering advice to fix or improve.  Listening is absolutely necessary for building relationships of trust.  Being closed-off to hearing a new perspective will disqualify you from having influence. Truth is: you don't have it all figured out - and you never will. So to assume you know what's right or best, you have already made error.

Thinking Your Way Into Your Own Life - First
What are the thoughts that continually roll around in your head? Our thoughts drive us to react or respond.  Do your thoughts produce toxic emotions of fear, worry, despair - or do they produce emotions of peace, hope, joy?  Reaction comes from a place of fear.  Response comes from a place of peace.  We all fall short in this area.  What's important is that we are honest and gracious with ourselves.  Time cannot be rushed in the process of self-awareness.  It takes a brave person to consider openly, how your thoughts and behaviors affect people.  

Maybe once a day, recognize and catch your thought before responding.  In that moment of waiting, give yourself a chance to respond in a way that is better for you and better for all those around you.  In small successes, we will dare to do it again.  

Remember, that people are drawn to others who are open about their struggles more than they are drawn to those who appear to have it all together.

Monday, August 28, 2017

New Beginnings

Sometimes, uncharted waters. Sometimes, back to the grind of monotony and stress. New beginnings can be scary and challenging. The beauty of starting new is the opportunity to reflect back on what worked, what didn't, what could be better, or what should be improved (removed). In many scenarios, there is little control over how or when things start, but we certainly have control over how we carry ourselves through change.

I recently took a 'leave of absence' from a 20 month long bachelors program. Prior to that, it was 9 months of grueling stress, while keeping up with four kids, a marriage, a degree, a home, work, and all the extras that come with little people. The last four weeks allowed me time to disengage from stress, and gave me time to reflect. It gave me the chance to enjoy my kids, keep up on mundane tasks such as meals, cleaning, laundry, etc., and gave me time to enjoy family and friends. Mundane never felt so good.

What I realized is that the last 9 months was a vicious cycle of overcoming and survival. My home had spun out of control. This didn't happen, however, without great effort and success in other ways. I did very well in school, and whatever time I had left was spent conversing with my kids, cuddling over a feel-good show, books, or staying up way too late with my husband. Everything else could wait. And it did.

Thinking back on what life was like in 2016-2017, it caused very unpleasant feelings. I never want to go back to that. Never again. How do I go back, when the feeling of what was, and what will be, plagues with a great big pit in my stomach? How am I going to do this!? This question tossed around in my head for weeks.

After speaking with my husband about wanting to quit, he helped me see that that was not the best solution. "You're in the thick of it," he said, "half way through! There's no way you're quitting. If we need to minimize and cut back, well then, we need to do that. But you are not quitting. We'll get through this." After that, I knew I had to change my tune. All this time, I had been asking the wrong question. I could either cave to stress, quit, or do something about helping me become successful. For me, the answer is in: focus, schedule, simplify, prioritize. Here's where this applies to all of us:

The call in your life is far greater than the complications that arise while striving toward success. Success is not written without, first, great struggle. When self-doubt causes you to question yourself, look to the person(s) who knows you most, and who sees your full potential. Stay clear of people who cater to weakness.

I'm back at it again. The new course started Wednesday, called Research Methodology and Statistics. Yikes. It will be another hard nine months of pushing through adversity, toward the finish line.

Whatever it is that you're staring new: a new job, school, baby, marriage, etc. Let go of those things in life that just keep you busy, unless it is truly what you need to do now, or unless it feeds your soul.

As far as being a parent, and thinking about my kids...what do my kids need, more than anything, at this point in life? Is it sports? Extra-curricular activities? A slew of classmate birthday parties, and class events? Another reason to race the clock, get packed up, againafter a long, exhausting day? Or do they simply need time in the day to enjoy a moment that is unscheduled? A moment to smile and be well. Yes, I'm sure that's it.

As parents, we shouldn't have to force passion into our children. We often fill up their days, so full, in order to see that they are well-rounded, amazing, "best of the best," and good at everything, but there are two problems with this: first of all, no one is good at everything, and second of all, when we fill up their lives, they don't have a chance to find passion for themselves.

Life is full. Think about what you need now and through the next year. It's easy to focus so much on the future, that we lose the importance of today.

God, be with us as we embark on new beginnings in our lives. We need you to guide and steer our choices. We need strength to get through the tough stuff, resilience to keep fighting the good fight, and continued support and affirmation from the right kind of people. If at any point, something has to give, please kindly and clearly bring this to our attention. Sometimes, we come to a decision that is not in our best interest. Trusting that you keep our best interests at heart, we humbly ask that you make clear to us what is burdensome, hindering, distracting, or keeping us from coming into our full potential. For all the good you have done, and continue to do - Thank you! In Jesus name, amen.

Make time to smile and be well. 😊