Confessions, writing



I was 15 the summer  I offered my best friend $40 for the 2 Felix the Cat tabs of acid I’d seen her buy at the party the night before. I didn’t want it, I just didn’t want her to have it–I planned to flush it down the toilet. Unaware of the street value of LSD, I hoped my offer would be persuasive.

It was not.

She refused to sell it to me. She told me that it was for her sister, and that she wouldn’t use it while I was there visiting her. She lied and then lied to cover her  lies, and in those last 12 hours with her, my heart broke, as our friendship completely disintegrated.

Just like that.


I left her house earlier than originally planned. I didn’t know how to be around her. I didn’t know how to act like nothing had happened. The last time we had been together before that, she hadn’t using hallucinogenic drugs. She became a stranger to me. I didn’t know how to love her.

That was the last time I saw her.

Drugs scared me. The idea of intentionally taking something that could cause me to lose control of myself terrified me. At 15 I was naive enough to still believe that “bad people used drugs”.  A “graduate” of the D.A.R.E. program, I knew that drugs were dangerous, illegal and only used by homeless people in back alleys.

My best friend didn’t fit my stereotype. She lived in a beautiful home with two parents and a pool. She was stunning and vibrant . In every possible way, she bore no similarities to the sketchy characters that I’d seen in the pamphlets about what a user looks like.

I had no category for gorgeous, wealthy, acid-tripping girls my age.

It turns out, I didn’t know anything.

Disillusioned and disappointed by my inability to fix her, I packed my bags and went home.


It’s been a long few weeks around here. One of my kids is struggling hard with some things and he doesn’t fit the category in my mind for kids who struggle with the same things he is dealing with. I haven’t known how to handle these recent developments. In my weaker moments, I haven’t wanted to. I’ve wanted to run far away. I’ve made foolish wishes when I should have been praying. I’ve been impatient and insistent when I should have held my peace, offered a hug, or simply walked away.

I don’t know why this story about my friend keeps bobbing around in my head, or why I’m even sharing it now. I’ve held on to it for a long time, unsure of how honest I’m willing to be here about who I’ve been. I don’t know what it has to do with anything except that retelling it (reliving it in my mind) has revealed a bit of disappointing truth about myself.

I want to fix people.

I can’t fix people.

People don’t fit in categories.  Life is a series of outrageous interruptions. Sometimes, grief needs to run it’s course. Even if it’s from old, scabbed over wounds. This struggle with my boy is a scratching at scabs.

sunlit woods

Sometimes, when it’s pitch-black-dark, I forget to look around, what’s the point?, I say to myself. I then wear myself out trying to BE the light I need. I strive and work and contort my life in an effort to generate hope from myself. I forget that I am NOT that light. Light burns in the dark places, but you have to open your eyes to see it. Christ remains present when our friends struggle, when our families suffer, when our world shrinks and squeezes the breath from our lungs. I knew this, but somewhere in the middle of the mess I became busy with the fixing, refusing to look at the darkness. Remembering this story has helped me to open my eyes.

Opening my eyes, I see hope–I see Christ present.

The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:5)

I’ve long outgrown the girl I was at 15. I’ve seen and lived moments that have altered me without my permission, without my preparation, without my ability to fix them. I’ve learned acceptance of the reality of struggle, of sin, doesn’t mean approval. It’s simply a willingness to admit it’s there. To admit it’s real. To confess my weakness, my prejudices–my own sin. (1 John 1:8)

I’m making peace with the truth that I’m not called to fix people, but instead to walk with people, to come alongside, to offer light in their darkness.

I am not that light, but I can reflect it.

I can share it.

I can stay, even when it’s hard.





  1. This was just what I needed to read this morning. I’m struggling with a child who constantly pushes me away and has so many woundings from early life experiences. All I want to do is fix her and I just can’t. Thank you for reminding me that fixing her isn’t my job…. that if I do what my job is, it ushers in The One who can.

    1. Tracee, I am grateful for your words here this morning. I have held this piece for weeks, afraid to publish it, but this morning, I felt a nudge and with trembling hands, hit “publish”. I appreciate you, and will be praying for you as you navigate this season. it is *so* hard, and you are NOT alone.

  2. Kris, it is so hard to watch those we love struggle. I have been struck with the word “overcome” the last few days. And here is what I am learning – we throw the word overcome or overcomers around pretty casually. We forget that to be defined as an overcomer entails actually having been in a battle. It’s the process or the journey which makes us overcomers. Even more so, when the stresses of life seemingly overcome us, He overcomes. And for that I am most grateful these days. “This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” (1 John 5:4-5, NIV). Hold tightly to Him! Blessings!

  3. Such an important life lesson Kris, for all of us. You wrote this out so beautifully. And maybe that story rattling around in your mind was for all of us, your faithful readers, as much as it was for you to remember. Thank you.

    1. Thanks, Shelly. It’s a funny thing the way memories surface sometimes. I trust God with is, I felt His nudge, and I am grateful for the way He uses our messy stories to encourage others. Love you, my friend.

  4. Karrilee Aggett

    So – my friend, you may not be surprised that I have a half-written post on being light in the darkness… but the words stopped up yesterday and it sits unfinished. I am praying for you girlie. This is beautiful and honest and so honoring. I have stood broken hearted in the middle of trying to fix… I wonder back there from time to time unaware. Through it all, the one who crafted and created everything, is at work… filling the broken places with glory! So glad you shared!

    1. Yes, Karrilee, He is always at work. This truth has been hard-pressed into my heart lately. May we never forget that things are not only what we see…. Love to you. Praying for the words to finish your post. 😉

  5. I don’t think there is anything harder in this world than watching a child suffer… and how helpless we can feel… this sacred space is where the hard wrestle comes with God… I can remember when one of my sons was very sick… and God gentle whispered in my ear… “you have told your kids all their lives that God loves them even more than their mom and dad does… that God loves them perfectly… now, do you believe that too?” I had to come face to face with this question… and I am not sure an honest answer can be found outside of this kind of testing with a child. May Grace continue to lift you and hold you… and the God of all comfort wrap you like a blanket!!!

  6. Jody Ohlsen Collins

    Kris, this is a powerful revelation and I can so relate. My mantra lately has been “The relationship is more important than being right”. I sometimes forget how big and powerful my God is. to deal with whatever is broken. I am not the Fixer. No sir.
    God bless you for sharing this and may He continue to bring more power and light into this current situation.

  7. Oh friend. I can’t breathe. I want to fix people, too. And especially with my kids, I feel responsible for their struggles. If I could fix them, maybe I could fix myself. And yet… there is only one Fixer-Upper. All I can do is admit my need for Him in my own brokenness and let His light shine through my cracks. Love you big.

  8. Kelly Boyer Sagert

    I love how you got to the core of the issue: you want to fix people, but can’t. I do, too — and that’s a very hard lesson to absorb and learn. I also love your conclusion about what Christ calls us to do.

  9. Monica Snyder

    Kris, I’m grateful for your God given courage to share this and let us pray even more for you and your family. I was the girl on the other side, the one who needed fixing, for a very long time. Raised in a church family, an elder dad, a serving mother . . . oh how my heart and life grieved them for many years. God loves to make His Grace greater through stories of redemption and also the back stories like the father waiting and looking down the lane for his son to return home. LOVE.

  10. i resonate with much of what you are talking about Kris. this past year, we have been worshiping in a church where the pastor (and session) keep talking about the fact that we can’t fix each other. yes, i think. of course, i know that. but after nearly 18 months, it is just sinking into me in more than an intellectual way. i can love people, but i can’t fix them. only GOD can. only the transforming power of Christ can truly change them. i can’t fix that. part of the process needs to be my vulnerability. and i hate having that be a part of it. it means i can be hurt in the process of genuinely loving another person! and i have been. and i don’t like it. i don’t think Jesus enjoyed it either.


  11. Such a tough lesson for us to learn. I love how you remind us we are called to come alongside people in the darkness and to reflect that light in Christ, not to “fix” them. Thank you, Kris, for this gentle reminder I need to remember each day.


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