Longing To Belong

For as long as I can remember, I have longed to belong but have instead presented a version of myself that I thought might be accepted by others so that I would fit in.

“Belonging” by Valerie Gillespie

The online definition of “belonging’ is defined as a verb meaning to be a member or part of a particular group, organization or class. To fit in to a specific place or environment, to have the right personal or social qualities, to be a member of a particular group or to be rightly placed in a specific position. I loathe every single one of those definitions because they do not convey the deep longing that exists for someone who aches to belong.

Brene Brown, who is best known for her Ted Talks on Vulnerability and Shame, compares and contrasts what it means to ‘belong’ with what it means to ‘fit in’. She makes the clarification between the two which I feel gives us a more accurate definition because we can see that freedom exists with belonging and does not exist when we try to just ‘fit it.’ When attempting to fit in, we are attempting, to the best of our ability, to ascertain who we are to be with those around us and what the situation or circumstance is that we are encountered and then conforming or changing who we are as persons so that we “fit in” and so that we will be accepted.

Belonging, on the other hand, is about freedom of authenticity. It is the freedom from having to alter our selves so that we will be accepted, wanted and valued. When we belong, we are respected for who we are and loved without having to “do” or “be” anything other than ourselves.

In summary, belonging is being somewhere you desire to be with others you desire to be with and they want you. Fitting in is when they don’t care one was or the another whether you are there or who you are when you get there. Belonging is being accepted just as you are while fitting in is being accepted when you are just like everyone else. “I get to be me if I belong” vs. “I have to be like you to fit in”.

What I understand right now, in this moment is that as long as I settle for just fitting in I will never satisfy the deepest longing of my heart which is to be intimately seen, looked upon in love and to experience the safety of truly belonging. My deepest longing and desire is for the unique and unrepeatable gift of myself to be received. If I were to write a mission statement it would look something like this:

“It looks like stopping daily for the one in front of us and looking into their eyes.  We have to see the one.  If we cannot see the one, we will not be able to deal with the multitudes.  If we see the one, we will understand suffering, because we will see one parent suffering from the death of a child. We will see one widow trying to not lose their faith as they try to imagine how they will raise up their children alone. We will see the one in front of us that is struggling with pornography and the impact it has on their family.  Revival is about looking into they eyes of the person in front of you as they come into your life and looking into their eyes and seeing Jesus looking back at us. I desire to lead a radical army that sees goodness and truth and beauty in the lost and the broken.  We need a radical army of laid down lovers=a whole generation of those who are so full of passion and intimacy that they run into the darkness without fear to bring in the lost bride.”

Will you join me?

What Gives You Passion and Purpose to Persevere?


Each of us has been created for a reason. When we discover it, we find our passion and purpose in life. The trick is to always keep it before our eyes. In doing this, we may be consoled during periods of desolation.

How do we keep our passion and purpose before our eyes? Is it like a photograph in the back of a soldier’s pocket during wartime? For soldiers, a photograph would console them as war waged all around. We too need something to take out and gaze upon as the challenges of life press in upon us.

What might your photograph look like? What consoles you most when the difficulties and sufferings of life feel that they might consume you?

St. Therese of Lisieux created such a photograph for herself. She created a coat of arms. Many of us would say it is like a family crest. In it she placed symbols that described her spirituality, her relationship with God and what her mission in life was. It was a snapshot of her passion and her purpose that would give her perseverance.

theresa coat of arms

Here is the description of St. Theresa of Lisieux, The Child of Jesus, The Little Flower’s Coat of Arms;

Theresa coat description

After seeing that St. Theresa created her own snapshot to make visible the invisible reality of what gives her passion and purpose in life, I decided to create my own. I encourage anyone that is desiring perseverance admits the struggles and tribulations of daily life to create their own and put it somewhere they can look upon for consolation. If you do not feel artistically inclined but still desire to create a coat of arms then consider checking out the online website that helps you step by step to create your own.

Beauty will save the world because it inspires within human beings passion and purpose along with the very virtues necessary to live it out. Here is a description of my own Coat of Arms that I have put together while contemplating what gives me passion and purpose.

The Garden

The Garden

I will start with myself. If the world was a garden, what flower would you be and why?

I would be the Lily of The Valley. It grows in darkness. My childhood was one of darkness and yet God’s grace sustained me. As a child the Lily of the Valley grew in the shade of one of the many houses I lived in. The smell is one of my most favorite. It’s delicate bell like blossoms are like pearls on a string. I would like to think I resemble this flower.

I have put 10 blossoms because the pearls in my life are my 10 children. Eight of my children are still living.

The Three round circles are a family from which my children sprung from. It is also the love of the bride and bridegroom from which this free, full, faithful and fruitful comes and from which we are called into union and communion. It seemed appropriate to put this relationship in my coat of arms as it is the tender, gentle and sweet love of the Bridegroom which has wooed me to Himself. Theology of the Body helps us to understand the trinitarian love of God in this same light and has become my life’s work.

Mary My Mother

Mary My Mother

Mary is responsible for bringing me to Jesus. This is so perfect since I grew up without a presence of a father in my life. My parents divorced when I was 3 months old and there were years that went by without ever seeing him. The step-father in my life sexually, physically, mentally and emotionally abused me. My conversion came through her direct intercession. I read stories about her appearing in Fatima and began to learn about who God is and about the love of Jesus.

I used two triangles in union to symbolize Mary (blue triangle facing up to heaven) and how she was espoused with the Holy Spirit (the green triangle facing down toward earth). The Immaculate Heart (flowers on heart) of Mary is in the center of the two triangles with 7 swords (7 sorrows) piercing her heart. This is because I believe I have been called to build up her army and the secrets she holds enables us to crush the head of the serpent.

“In the Holy Spirit’s union with Mary we observe more than the love of two beings; in one there is all the love of the Blessed Trinity; in the other all of creations love. So it is that in this union heaven and earth are joined, all of heaven with all of earth; the totality of eternal love with the totality of created love. It is truly the summit of love.” St. Maximilian Kolbe

Screen Shot 2013-05-31 at 4.01.35 PM

Above Mary, we are led to the source and summit. The Sacred Heart of Jesus, inflamed with love for all mankind is surrounded by thorns. The green in them reminds us that His suffering and sacrifice is life-giving. His heart is crowned because Jesus Christ is my King. My name reminds me of this. Christina King, like Christ the King is how I help people remember my name. The Halo is representative of my love of iconography. The Nahuatl Glyph found in the tilma of Our Lady of Guadalupe has so much meaning I barely know where to start. Let’s just say is symbolizes Divine Mercy, Bl. Pope John Paul II, the Church and the establishment of a new civilization of love which I have been called to help bring into existence. The rays flow from the mouth as they do in the tilma symbolizing the writings of St. Faustina.

Jesus I trust in You

Jesus I trust in You

The motto of my crest is “Jesus, I trust In You” and it is in German. I am the first generation to be born in the United States. I chose German because so much of my identity is tied to my German heritage.

Finally, the top cross has the letters J.M.J. to symbolize Jesus, Mary and Joseph as well as Archbishop Fulton Sheen. I have been called to evangelize as a teacher, in media and through speaking and I fell in love with ArchBishop Fulton Sheen very early on in my conversion. I still pray for him to intercede for me.

This is a simple example of how we can create an image to be our own coat of arms. This image can help to inspire us when we need it most.