Being Vulnerable


I am one of those kinds of people that is not only sensitive but empathic. I shy away from anger and frustration when displayed by others because it is too much stress for my body. My shields at keeping other’s feelings out of my psyche are very poor so I have a hard time with strong feelings. On the other end of the spectrum, I react with love when someone opens their heart wide open for others to see. I am moved by vulnerability and want to bring broken souls to safety. My heart is compassionate, but even with this sometimes I can be easily overwhelmed with too much emotion. It’s the reason that catching up with current events is on the bottom of my list of things to do. Still, despite all of my compassion, I cannot claim it as mine alone. I know that it is Jesus working through me.

We can be angry with God when things don’t go our way. I remember being like that in my early twenties when my mom first stopped talking to me. I gave God ultimatums and told Him to show Himself to me. I was demanding, angry, and closed off from wanting to have a loving relationship with Him. I just wanted my mom back and if He was all powerful, then I would do what I had to do to get her to come back. Little did I know that I was going about it the wrong way.

It would take me another 15 years before I was ready to know God and have a loving relationship with Him. Coincidently, I also didn’t have a loving relationship with my mom during this time. We both made our mistakes, and I have learned a lot now that I am a parent. I approached my mom just as I did God with anger, and she did the same with me. We weren’t vulnerable with each other, opening our hearts and apologizing for the miscommunication and misunderstandings. I didn’t trust that she had my best interests in mind or that she wasn’t trying to hurt me. I’m sure she assumed that I didn’t care about her as well and that she meant nothing to me. Like my mom, I didn’t think God cared about me. I felt like He had left me out of His kingdom. I didn’t trust Him when it came to my misunderstandings and so He became just a nobody in my life. I had to learn how to live life without my mom and accept that she was never going to be part of my life. It was a lot easier for me to accept not having God in my life.

It wasn’t until I was vulnerable that I allowed Jesus to come into my heart. Over the 15 years, I had become a broken form of myself, still smiling but still carrying a hole in my heart. Standing on a street corner on the day I had finally committed to go to church after 10-12 years, I finally understood the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross. When I made it to church that day, I allowed myself to be vulnerable and just feel, caring nothing for the rest of the world. The tears that escaped me were years and years of pain flowing out of me so that God could replace it with peace. I surrendered for the first time in my life.

I can’t say that my mom magically came back into my life all of a sudden and my life was perfect but opening a door for Jesus to come in my life opened a window for my mom as well. It would take several months and a lot of surrendering. It took having no more expectations about what God’s plan was and saying more than I was sorry. It took a sincere understanding of what it means to be a mother, and the sacrifices one has to make for their children. It took realizing all of the times she loved me unconditionally. Perhaps we should all come to Jesus this way.

Below is the letter I wrote to my mom one year ago today. Perhaps, we all have written a letter like this to Jesus in our hearts. If you haven’t, and you need Jesus in your life, I pray that you will let down your guard and ask for His healing, and accept His unfailing love for you. It’s not too late. It’s never too late…

I failed you. In multiple ways. I lied. I didn’t listen. I didn’t even pay attention. I promised things that I didn’t follow through on. I consistently let you down regardless of the sacrifices you made for me. I put my own needs and feelings first. I simply did not understand.

I am playing stepmom now to a 2-year old and a 13-year old. These are not fun years. If anything, they repeatedly make me stop and think about what you went through with me. These kids don’t listen. They look me in the eye when I tell them not to do something, and they do it anyway. Spitefully. Eagerly. Lord, I pray I wasn’t this terrible. The teenager, Junior, lied to me about doing his homework. He stole my phone to find information about his girlfriend’s mom. He lost my trust instantly. The day he took my phone was the day I was to throw him a surprise birthday party at the skating rink that was going to cost me $200. I didn’t want to do it. I was so angry. We went through with it anyway because his father, Nicholas, didn’t want to let the other kids down. Two days later, Junior told us that the only fun he ever had is at his mom’s house. Talk about feeling rejected and disrespected. This kid is not grateful about anything. I automatically felt like giving up. I don’t want to do anything for this child. How am I supposed to keep forgiving him and keep loving him? How many times did you feel this way about me? How many times did you want to give up on me before you actually did?

I am quick to look at the fact that you are not in my life and want nothing to do with me because it hurts. But I never stopped to think how many times you forgave me, how many times you put on your suit of armor just to get through the day and try to keep loving me despite everything. I get it now, I really do.

I’m sorry. I’m sorry for all of the grief that I caused you. I am sorry for not appreciating you enough, for not understanding how I consistently failed you so many times, in so many situations.

The Lord has taken over my heart, and shown me the error of my ways. I see why I have not been forgiven, and I don’t know that I ever will be. That’s not the point. I don’t know that I have the right to ask you for forgiveness. God will take care of me, and I pray that He will continue to humble me and allow me to make up for those I have let down through service of some kind. I love you, I always have, but I know now that I was not a blessing to my parents as the Bible says I should have been.

I am not perfect. I don’t know if God can turn me into a daughter that would be a blessing to you. I ask nothing of you. I don’t even know if you will read this letter. All I can do right now is repent for the pain I have caused, and hope that God can help you heal from the pain. I am truly sorry.




For more information about Kristeen Nicole Gillooly, her music, and her ministry, please visit You can also visit her artist website at 


26 thoughts on “Being Vulnerable

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read my post. I do think that my stepchildren are benefiting. It isn’t any for any of us working through the murky waters sometimes but I love these kids, and regardless of if they love me back, I know that I am making difference in their lives. I’m honored to have the opportunity.

  1. This showed me (for the billionth time), how Jesus is towards us. How no matter what, He’s there. Always. Always. Always. Loving. I pray Jesus continues to show your stepkids what a beautiful stepmom they have. Your heart for them shines for them through this post. 🙂

    PS. I thought I was the only one who is easily overwhelmed by other people’s emotions. Do you shit down in a way, too?

    1. No, I don’t necessarily shut down but instead become anxious and emotional. The feelings can stay with me for hours at a time, especially when a situation is unresolved. Sometimes, I just really want to do something and I can’t. If it’s someone I know, I have the terrible knack of picking up emotions they don’t even know they have. Try telling them how they feel when they’ve distanced themselves from it and people start freaking out! LOL.

      I’m thankful that my post blessed you. Jesus truly does love all of His children and He will never leave our side. I’m teaching the kids that, along with my husband. Just last night, my 3-year-old stepson thanked God for Jesus, and said thank you for keeping him and his family safe. I am not perfect, and I’ve made a lot of mistakes as a stepmom but by instilling Jesus at a young age, I hope that they don’t have to go through life feeling alone like I did. I pray that they always know that God loves them.

      1. I’m like that, too! Anxious WHENEVER there is tension. My heart breaks easy whenever I hear arguments between my parents or anyone in my family. I always feel like I need to run or do something that will alleviate what I can’t verbally make clear. I think that’s why I write. I have a knack of telling people, they shouldn’t approach something this way or that. JUST PLSASE DON’T GET ANGRY ABOUT IT.

        I’ve gone through life feeling misunderstood. Even with myself. Through my parents divorce years ago and a breakup from my first serious boyfriend, it’s been one journey to know Jesus will take care of me. Even if there’s pain I can’t understand.

        Yay for vulnerability! Oh, and I was pumped when I saw you sang about Jesus. Really, pumped. I love music. I wish I could write it sometimes.

      2. I love talking to other people who understand my insanity so I’m glad we’re talking! LOL. Do you ever find yourself tiptoeing around people’s emotions too? I sure do! I’ve done it since I was kid and I’m sure it contributes to empathic part. One look, one comment and I know what you’re thinking and feeling. If we can quickly determine how other people are feeling, then we can adjust our behavior to keep their feelings from getting out of hand. Or at least that’s how I operate. My husband? Not so much. HAHA. But I love him dearly. He takes our communication conversations to heart ❤

      3. We can be insane together then! Haha 🙂 OH MY GOSH. Most of the time, if emotions start getting out hand, I try very hard to keep stay quiet, even if my insides are on fear’s edge. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, people need Jesus’ quiet presence. And I know how to be silent. I know how to listen. I feel things WAY deep. I may not tell you out loud, but I’ll write it til I can’t. I take the little things and big to heart, so I can relate to your husband, too! We have a lot in common I can see 🙂

      4. I wish I could say I was always a good listener. My primary functions, feeling and talking, don’t seem to go together too well. I’m always talking about how I feel. Lol. Though I will say that Christ has taught me that my feelings are not always true. They may be my perception but they’re not always reality.

      5. I’m not always a good listener. I’ve been noticing that I’m quick to get my voice heard (in terms of my family) compared to people I don’t know face-to-face. If I knew you in real life, I would most likely stare at you. Jesus has been showing me, I do this for approval. I freak people out though because I look unapproachable and scared. People who are happy to have me around and enjoy my insanity scare me. A lot.

      6. lolol. That’s funny… I love that you would just stare at me!!! I understand what you mean though. I would be the one poking and prodding you until you come out of your shell 🙂

        Why do they scare you?

      7. Oh, and yes! Ever since I got saved in February 2013, I have felt the need to sing His praises. Tomorrow when my debut comes out, it will be a bittersweet day now that my mom is gone, but I know that He will be there to comfort me with the reminder of my loss.

      8. That he has. Thank you my friend. When I’m down, I dream about being cloaked in the arms of Jesus. It’s such a comforting thought. And then I usually hug the stuffed bunny that was my moms.

    1. God is sooo good! I love that thought – a butterfly. I’ve always loved them and looked at them as creatures that have survived a beautiful transformation. God bless you my friend.

  2. This is a beautiful testimony, thank you for sharing. I also have this thing of telling people how they are feeling in an attempt to help them, it gets overwhelming and I have learnt the hard way that the best I can do is love them and pray for them.

    1. I think you’re absolutely right, especially when we have no resolution to really help someone else. Jesus is always the answer! Thank you for stopping by and letting me know I’m not alone.

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