My backyard aspen leaves transform from vibrant green to sunshine yellow, a warm smile welcoming the first notes of autumn. Beautiful though they are, their presence throws me for a loop, like a guest who shows up too early for the party. In my Colorado town, an extended winter bullied spring for months, and summer didn’t jive full swing until July. So, my heart holds tightly onto summer even though the calendar and crisp air say fall.

Every unpredictable Colorado season feels like a curve ball to this original Oklahoma girl. And in any make or model, I’m no fan of curve balls. (Which is probably why God had me fall in love with a military man. Because the military life? Curve. Balls.) I’m a thirty-nine year old kid who finds comfort in routines, rest in predictability. But eventually, a curve ball will slide into each and every person’s landscape view, and sometimes life doesn’t just throw them. It hurls jagged-edged rocks at us, rocks that hurt and bruise worse than any unexpected weather patterns.

The rocks show up differently for each of us: disagreements, debt, disease, even death. They may tear us in different ways, but they make us all bleed the same.

I’ll never forget a curve ball moment four years ago, one that arrived as our family traveled on the infamous road to Hana on the eastern side of Maui. We twist and turn around hairpin curves over 600 times, my stomach flip flopping with each change in direction. I successfully fight off the nausea until I get a text from my baby sister that reads:

He wants a divorce.

In a hairpin turn, a heart turns to glass.

The curve ball shatters her heart and my nausea reaches a new peak as our whole family is cut deep.

Some days you hold your heart’s splintered sharp edges in your hands and think maybe, just maybe you’re going to bleed right out. But you don’t. You don’t because you have this hope.

You have this Hope that the story does not end with you holding cracked and broken pieces but with Him holding you, His love entering all the in between places. 

You have this Hope because God doesn’t just help you endure it but is the Way you travel through it.

You have this Hope that Jesus catches curve balls because He is the curve ball – God made flesh – that came down from heaven to lift up the lost, the lonely, and the left out. He turned the way of the world upside down and gave value to that which didn’t have value before: women and children, the humble and the servant.

He treats with care that which is carelessly trashed, trampled, and tossed away.

You may not feel Hope in you today or tomorrow, but that doesn’t diminish the truth of its presence.

The only lasting way to stop the tailspin from a curve ball is to curve into Him and feel His banner of love curve over you, like the boughs of golden aspens covering you and your stitched-up heart…

When a curveball flies your way, how do you keep it from shattering your hope? 

Kristen Strong, holding onto hope at Chasing Blue Skies

  • Megan O’Neill

    Love this Sister! I can’t believe that was four years ago already, and I am so thankful the pieces did not stay broken forever. Thank you for being there for me and helping me through that storm:)

    • Kristen Strong

      Love you sister! You’re amazing.

  • Rachel Kamps

    Hi, I am Rachel
    I found this blog and website recently. AnnVoskamp introduced you all to me. I read her book One Thousand Gifts this past summer and from that point onwards, I’ve been listening to her through her blogs daily. Jesus speaks through her…and knowing of her let me know of you all at inCourage. Thank you.

    Thank you for this site. I am a singer and a songwriter and I find myself sitting quietly at times feeling the pressure and sadness of some vague anxiety creep over me especially when I am trying to bring my energies into focus in order to prepare for a concert. This blog interrupted this sanding fray on my day.

    Your words…about curve balls was just so touching. Thank you for bringing me Jesus. I am in your debt, thank you for sharing so eloquently and so transparently.

    • Kristen Strong

      Rachel! It’s wonderful to meet you! I’m so thankful to Ann for bringing you here (Isn’t she the best?), and I’m grateful for your encouragement today. You are a gift to this community. Much love.

  • Pattie

    Amen, amen. You’re feeling this fall what I felt last fall here in AK. I get it, friend. I really do.
    Curveballs and hope.
    (PS: You are so so young!!! ;))

    • Kristen Strong

      Grinning with you, Pattie. Love you so much.

  • Lori Harris

    Love your words, Kristen….beginning a 31 days to simply be today…and a blogging fast…just needing some time to curl up!

    • Kristen Strong

      So happy to curl here right with you, Lori. Much love to you.

  • Stacy

    My son would be turning 5 in just a few days; instead, we will visit him at the cemetery and stand beside his grave. His fatal prenatal diagnosis in April of 2008, my pregnancy carrying him to term, and his short, sweet life that both began and ended on October 7 of that same year was a bigger curve ball than I could ever imagine.

    I so much needed this reminder today…

    He is our only Hope…

    • Kristen Strong

      Stacy, just prayers and tears with you today, sister. Lifting up you and your family, resting in the hope and peace that passes all understanding…

  • Marty

    “…God doesn’t just help you endure it, but is the Way you travel through it.” Love this! Thank you for sharing today.

  • karyn

    O I know well these curved balls that hit you right in and through the heart. It hurts. I love the autumn flowers btw. So pretty. Lovely colours. How does a heart mend. No idea. Time. Or is it just meant to be shattered like JESUS’. ???

  • Diane T.

    Curve balls… it seems I can’t go for any extended period of time without getting hit with one of these. Some are just soft hits and others, hit to the core, the jagged edge rock sort. But, over time and dealing with some hard hitting curve balls, I’ve learned I only need to rely on Jesus. He is our rock, our redeemer and I am so grateful for his mercy and grace in not only my life, but those who may have thrown the curve balls as well. God bless you and your ministry. This site and many others (Ann’s included) give me hope and a foundation. Thank you.

  • Pamela

    Your question about hope – I am usually the poster child for the answer. Turning the issue over to Him. Letting go. And now after many years (5+) of trying to find a better job situation I am at a loss when it comes to hope. I love your alliteration. I am broken, bruised, and buried in the deep of aching for the new opportunity to come to life.

  • Mollianne

    This? Absolutely!
    Those things I think I cannot bear…those times I cry, ‘not. one. more. thing’ through clenched teeth…when upon inspection my heart seems so scarred it barely resembles its former self…He is the way through all of those things and He holds my heart secure in His hands and I know I am His! Thank you for your words today, Kristen!

  • Angela Giles Klocke

    Curve balls are coming at me right now. I am seeking comfort in God, and often how He comforts me is through the words of others, like yours. <3

  • Rebekah

    ‘You have this hope that Jesus catches the curve ball because He IS the curve ball.’ Kristen you are so right! Praise God for the Hope with have in Christ Jesus our Lord! and for grace and love He gives us when life throws curve balls.

  • alina y

    Thank you this is so very true. Amen to this post. Curve balls can hurt, but they make us strong when Jesus holds our hearts as they come hurdling unexpectedly. Thank you dear Kristen!

  • Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God

    I love the line, “God doesn’t just help you endure it, he is the Way you travel through it.” In all the curve balls that life has pitched to me, God is the ONLY way to travel through it. You weave words so beautifully and are such an inspiration to me! Counting my blessings and you (and your writing) are definitely among the best!
    Love you girl,

  • Bomi

    Amen~ Amen~ Amen ~ Thank you for taking the time to share:)

  • Missy

    Kristen, for some reason, this made me cry. Maybe it was the image of our hearts as glass, so fragile. I don’t know- but I cling to the how that His banner over me is love and that I can indeed curve right ino Him. Safely and always. So beautiful.