the little things: desire (kari wilhite).

Guest post Tuesday!  Today’s post is different: it’s different because you’ll see straight-up poetry.  It’s different because if you’re not of the Christian tradition, you’ll see and hear a strong faith language.  But just like every writer we’ve featured over the last year, when you read Kari’s words, you’ll meet someone who is uniquely, beautifully herself.  And the message she gives us is unforgettable.  Enjoy.  

Flickr Creative Commons: Skywalker108
Flickr Creative Commons: Skywalker108

Had you met me just a few years ago you may have come away with this sentiment: Well, she certainly is a nice pastor’s wife.  She is so involved, so supportive of her husband and is dedicated to the church. Now while that may be all pleasant, even expected, I was dumbfounded when people would say to me: “Kari, you know so much about everyone, but no one really knows you.” I actually chalked those comments up to my badge of Christ-likeness. Wasn’t I supposed to “serve” and “sacrifice” and “take up my cross” to minister to His Church? I didn’t think I had a story to share, that my story really didn’t matter…because I was in ministry.

A series of events in the spring of 2013 coupled with the clinical depression I have navigated for most of my adult life, led me into an emotional/mental/spiritual breakdown in June of that year. I could not cope anymore. I suffered intense insomnia. I was becoming OCD in certain behaviors. I was in despair and my husband didn’t know how to help and couldn’t help me. At the admonishment of close advisors I entered the Meier Clinic in Bothell, WA for a 3-week intense outpatient program. God intervened in such an amazing way giving me this gift: me.

And it all began on day 2 with my therapist and this simple word that I had never thought about, for me: desire. This poem is the account of that life-changing conversation.

What is your desire?
He asked me, sincere.
What do you mean?
I wanted to be clear.


What is your desire?
My name up on white-board
next to word: desire
he circled more and more.


I haven’t got a clue.
Well…maybe it is this:
my husband to love me forever
only-always, relentless.


Okay…how will you
get to that destination?
I guess by being awesome
at every situation.


If I clean the house perfect
care for children supreme
shoulder ministry load
do well at everything.


What is your desire?
he asked this yet again
didn’t I just tell him?
what does he want then?


What is YOUR desire?
his voice louder, steady
his eyes stared at me
I felt uncomfortable, shaky, heady.


What do you mean?
I guess I just don’t get it
I can’t discern your question
can’t you just give me credit?


He took the black marker
crossed out “desire” firmly
threw pen across room
looked at me quite sternly.


have not
to have


You, Kari, you
not your husband, but yourself
not your congregation
not your children’s health.


With this I broke, wept
I had never even thought
that desire was something
I was designed for, bought.


That God’s purposes
could in me be manifested
which meant, me, Kari
could have desire selection.


For 3 weeks I began
to unlock who I am
truth, grace, time
healing my inner-man.


It is all about vulnerability
letting go of powerful lies
that say I must do, fake it
instead of authentic cries.


Almost 2 years have passed
still learning about me
what I like, how I tick
my flirting with co-dependency.


I am facing my stuff now
with the help of friends
my Jesus gives me aid
with the gift of my pen.


No longer bound
by the lie that shame cast
I am living in freedom
I have found me, at last.

Might my experience will encourage anyone who struggles with desire and shame.  Might you find healing in loving yourself, forgiving yourself and embracing the desire that God created you to have.


Kari-Small-e1407119208444Kari is a Northwest girl to the core; the evergreens speak to her soul and the rain is her native tongue. She used to be a “pastor’s wife”, but now she is the wife of Steve, who happens to be a pastor. They live within an hour of Mt. Rainier in Washington State with their four children, ages 7-15 (two boys and two girls). They have a hot/cold, love/hate relationship with their beloved 1982 Westfalia Vanagon which you may have seen behind a tow truck in the last decade. Her favorite things include journaling, letter-writing, dark chocolate, coffee and camping in old-growth forests. Oh, and she has dreadlocks.  So, what is your desire?  And how did Kari’s words impact you today?  Leave a comment below to encourage our friend.  

*We are not mental health professionals here at be, mama. be.  If you need professional help, please contact your doctor today.

7 thoughts on “the little things: desire (kari wilhite).

  1. I adore this woman and I am proud to call her my friend. While I may not always follow or dig her poetry sometimes what she writes totally gets to me and finds a place in my brain…to wrestle with and to think over. She is an awesome woman. For real.

    1. Its the most wonderful thing to be free to discover who we are and let it be known. Im still discovering too and seeing what God has already taught me and looking forward to what he has planned for me still. sometimes learning is painful but WOW the way he moulds us . You are giving to others what you have learned and in turn it is helping to heal others. I am so grateful we passed paths. Marilyn George

  2. I admire you so much for your honesty and writing ability, your gifts to me and everyone who know you and/or ready your blog.

  3. As a “pastor’s wife” who has been hospitalized for psychiatric “stuff” I can totally relate! I remember when I was in the hospital, looking at a picture of my family but focusing on my own face and wondering, “who is that woman? what does she need? how can I take better care of her?” Oh, and I’m also in Washington state… love to meet you sometime! Thanks for sharing!!!

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