I was recently talking to a young woman who was struggling to find purpose and meaning in her current season of life. Her job was draining, her relationships felt forced, and her faith was tired. As I began to share a few things I hoped would encourage her, she shrugged her shoulders and said, “Yeah, that is easy for you to say since you actually have a job that you are passionate about… but I’m stuck.”
It made me think about this diagram someone sent me a while back (I’m not sure of the source):
I’m not claiming that I’ve reached “success,” but I do know that sometimes it might look like it from the outside.
People don’t often see the wrong turns, confusion, and tangled mess that happens before we enter a season that looks victorious. And I’ll be the first to admit that my current season was born out of a messy, heartbreaking, disaster of a season.
In fact, God burned my lifelong dream to the ground.
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve wanted to be a writer and help women understand God in a way that would heal and restore their brokenness. Every career test I ever took had “counselor” or “therapist” on the top, which confirmed my longings to impact the kingdom of God as a writer.
In my early twenties I took at job at an organization that shared my deep passion for the Word of God and I started “climbing the ladder” to somehow find a spot that would allow my calling to thrive. After almost four years of hard work (which feels like a lifetime when you are twenty), I was about two weeks away from signing a contract to serve in a position as a writer and content developer. My dreams were about to be realized and I would finally have the job I’d always wanted.
Right before Christmas, I got called into a meeting and quickly found out that funding was preventing me from stepping into this new role and my current position was also being terminated that day. I felt like I was standing in a house that was being demolished. Everything came crashing down. I couldn’t breathe. Everything that I had worked for, fought for, and prayed for was turning into a huge pile ashes.
I was completely lost. I came home and sobbed through the conversation with my husband. We were scared for our finances and our future. I cried out to God for direction. About six months later, I found out I was pregnant with our first child and then a few months after that, my husband was unexpectedly laid off from his job. We were also in the middle of a dark, consuming family trial that felt like rushing from one life or death emergency to the next.
I definitely understand feeling stuck, defeated, and a little terrified about what’s ahead.
But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from the Gospel, it’s to wait for the dawn.
To press into the Lord even in the pain.
To keep serving others despite feeling unloved.
To wrestle through defeat and believe truth instead.
And watch what He grows from those ashes.
As my husband and I began to recover from such a traumatic season and trust God to be enough for us, God began to plant a dream in me that I’d never had before. It excited me but also kinda terrified me. But all the suffering and fighting in my past had produced an endurance that made me step out again in faith.
One year ago this month, I launched a nonprofit called Homes & Havens.
In all the brokenness of the past couple of years, God redefined and resurrected the beauty of home for me. He helped me create a healing space in my own home that really equipped me to rebuild my life and receive comfort from the Lord.
People started asking me to help them decorate their homes. So I took on a few clients here and there, but my passion for helping women who are suffering or recovering from crisis was still present in my heart.
Then one day it all clicked. Actually, that sounds a lot more romantic than it really was. I was in the middle of a thick postpartum depression after our son, Charlie, was born. Even though he was sleeping through the night, I would lie wide awake with intense anxiety night after night. But I would try to pray through it and wait on God to lift the darkness.
It was in the middle of the night, in the middle of that depression, that God revealed the vision for Homes & Havens. I woke up my husband the next morning, “Babe, listen. Is this a good idea?” He blinked and nodded, “Wow, yeah, that sounds amazing.”
And so it began.
Homes & Havens exists to celebrate women who are overcoming a life crisis by creating a haven in their own home that will inspire them to rebuild, heal, and find joy in new beginnings.
That’s our mission statement. And I get to support women coming out of homelessness, abuse, addiction, sex-trafficking, incarceration, etc., while professing the love of Jesus as we furnish and decorate her space. It has been such an incredible platform for the gospel; it’s easy for these women to shrug off “Jesus loves you,” but I actually see them start to believe it when they walk into their once empty, unloved apartment that is now furnished, decorated, and welcoming. I never take for granted the opportunity I have to grab their hand and say, “You are so deeply loved by Jesus. He sees you. And He prepared this place for you to come and rest and heal. Welcome home.”
I’m doing something I absolutely love for people I absolutely love.
It’s better than any dream I ever had. And that’s not to say that my life is perfect or easy. It’s a lot of work to care for a husband, toddler, home, business, and now a growing nonprofit. I’ve made a lot of mistakes, taken a lot of wrong turns, fumbled a lot of priorities. But I’m learning to give God my ashes and wait for Him to grow something beautiful. And He always does.
If you’d like to read more about Homes & Havens, visit our website here: www.homesandhavens.com
Like us on Facebook and Instagram too! @homesandhavens
Kaysie Strickland is passionate about words + actions proclaiming the reckless restoration available in the gospel. She is married to her best friend on earth, adores her son Charlie, drinks lots of coffee, constantly rearranges the furniture in her house, loves painting furniture and DIY projects, and enjoys decorating homes and serving women in need through the ministry of Homes & Havens. You can find her on Instagram | Facebook