This picture of 3 yr old Kai hangs on my bulletin board. As with most photos of Kai before I understood and my heart changed, I couldn’t share it on social media with the rest of the photos from our family photo session. No matter how many filter apps or how much cropping… No matter the masculine clothes or the haircut… Kai has always been Kai. I am the one in this photo who transitioned.


Me: Kai, you look so cute.

Kai: I’d rather be called fashionable, thank you.

Me: Whose child are you?

Kai was 4 (a couple of months shy of 5) in this pic. This was a few months into Kai’s social transition. We used to pray for her hair to grow quickly… This “pixie-bob” was her first professional haircut.

Trying to hide Kai

Trying to get my group to take a “normal” photo may never happen. Every photo we take has a story, a picture truly is worth a thousand words.

On the day I took this photo, Kai had been playing with my granddaughter, Charlie Beth, next door at my daughter’s house. When I went to pick Kai up we discovered she had located the Little Mermaid dress and put it on. I tried to wrestle that dress off of her. She crossed her arms and grabbed a hold of as much fabric as she could and threw herself on the floor. A big pile of two-year-old defiance mixed with cries to please, please, please let me have the dress.

We couldn’t get the dress off of Kai without a horrible meltdown and I needed a quick picture for something (don’t remember what) so we tried to hide Kai in the back so no one would know she had on the dress. After the photo was taken I wrestled the dress off of her and her little spirit was crushed.

I know I knew that her attachment and need for all things girly was not within the norm. I just hadn’t understood yet that she is a girl.

Beautifully Broken

I am more beautiful for having been broken

I know from scripture that there is beauty in a broken spirit, a contrite heart and being humbly and completely sorry for our sin. I know that this is acceptable praise to God. Jeremy Riddle sings, “I’m sweetly broken, wholly surrendered”. But honestly, nothing about the word “broken” sounds sweet, beautiful or acceptable.

Vicki Yohe sings, “Pain, the gift nobody longs for”. Did she just refer to pain as a gift? There’s a fruit of the spirit we totally skip over, “Long Suffering”. Who wants that? I don’t fast and pray and quote scripture, “God, bring me some pain and suffering. Oh, and while You’re at it, please make it last and last and last until my bed is soaked with tears and the pain is more than I can bear”.

From this side of the pain I can see His work. I get a better understanding of what it means to have beauty for ashes, for Him to turn what was meant for harm to be used for my good. When I reflect on the most painful times of my life I realize how my love for the Lord, and realization of His love for me, has developed. I see how I have become more compassionate and less judgmental. I see how I am beginning to learn what it truly means to love others.

If I allow a bad experience to leave me bitter I will have to go through that same type of pain again. The cycle is broken when the weapon isn’t prospering, but instead it’s making me surrender more completely to God, more beautiful for having been broken… sweetly broken.