Stream of Consciousness

Yesterday I tried to get up the gumption to make a video, and then again today, but I just can’t seem to do it. The war rages on. So many lives lost. There doesn’t seem to be any end in sight and we are just hurting so deeply over it all. Words can’t express it. It’s a deep, deep ache at the core of me. I don’t know how it will ever heal. I only read Ukrainian news because any news from the west makes me want to scream and cry. Does anyone truly have Ukraine’s best interest in mind, or are all the people who hold the power only interested in preserving their own self-interests?  I think we all know the answer to that by now. Ukraine continues to defend the free world, at the cost of so many innocent lives. How can this be? I’m tired. 

It’s been seven weeks since we left our home but it feels like a lifetime has passed. The 5 months when Jed lived in the duplex with Anton and Sasha and I lived across the yard in our house with our family were hard. It was one of the most challenging and exhausting times of our lives. But I would go back to that life in a moment- in the blink of eye. We were tired but so happy. We were at home, in the place we love. Our kids went to school and youth group. We walked in the city and went to church. We dreamed about the summer garden and prepared the soil. We planned for the future and looked ahead with hope. Life in Ukraine was not without its challenges, but those challenges feel like nothing in comparison to what life has become.  

Now our hearts are broken. We have survivor’s guilt and we mourn what was, knowing it will never again be the same. I hope and dream that we will go home, but it will be different. Will we feel safe there again? Will Ukraine ever truly be “safe” again? How will we even know when to go back? We lived in Ukraine for 8 years while the country was at war..but now things are different. German lessons are offered to us and I refuse to go because something inside of me feels like trying to learn a new language is accepting the fact that we are here for a long while and I don’t want that to be true. So I stumble along with my smattering of German words and mostly get by using English. I don’t want to ingrain myself into the culture here, not because I have anything against Germany, but because my heart longs for everything Ukraine. It feels like a betrayal to accept a life here while Ukraine fights to survive.

I see others going into Ukraine, delivering humanitarian aid and volunteering and I feel jealous that they are there and I am not. I also feel guilty that they are there and I am not, although I am a mom of (now) 11 and my obligation is to my children. Living in a church in Germany isn’t as sexy as being in Ukraine, at the heart of things, and I run out of things to say about life here. I change diapers. I take our boys to the doctor. I cook food. I buy groceries. I mourn for what was and worry about what will be. It’s not exciting or necessarily helpful to the cause of Ukraine, but it’s where I need to be. That’s a hard pill to swallow.

I am thankful to our friends here in Germany who have helped us so very much. I’m thankful that we have a place to all live together because living apart would never work. I’m thankful that my children are safe and have food to eat. I’m thankful that our two new boys, Yaroslav and Vova, are doing so well and that we have the opportunity to give them a life worth living. There are joys in the sorrow, and for that I am thankful.

Some days I feel God’s smile and his joy and some days I wonder where He has gone and how He can allow this to happen. My faith in His goodness is being severely tested and I don’t understand how to communicate with Him right now. Everything feels too complicated and I’m afraid to dig too deep into my own emotions. So, I change the next diaper. Wipe the next nose. Drive to the next appointment and wait. For peace? For home? For an answer? I don’t know what I wait for, but I feel too unsettled to call this life anything but waiting.

I know a house is just a building, and buildings can be made again. I know people are more important, and of course I would choose people over a building any day. But today I just want to see my house. Our house, to me, is so much more than a building. It represents the reason we live in Ukraine. It is an oasis of hope. It is the place where our boys first felt the love of a family. It is the place my children call home. It is a place of joy and beauty and hope. I’m so thankful it is still safe and standing. I wait, with longing, for the day we can return.

Please, don’t forget Ukraine. 💔

Home sweet home, from the garden
Snowy home
This picture is so peaceful…
Grant took this pic when he visited last summer
Evie riding down our street, the day before Russia attacked Ukraine
I took this photo right before we left our home to flee to Germany 💛💙.


  1. Denise · April 23, 2022

    I love the picture with the moon in it. Yes, it is peaceful! I hope and pray, along with all of you, that this nightmare will soon be over and you can return “home.”

    You have not been forgotten, by friends or God, and you are in our thoughts and prayers. Trusting that the mourning you’re experiencing will soon turn into gladness! (Jer. 31)

  2. Karen Runkle · April 23, 2022

    The depth of your hurt and sorrow amongst the joy you are harvesting is almost palpable. I also only read Ukrainian news regarding the war started by Russia so I’m not sure what our news is saying although hard hearts are not producers of grace and merciful help… so I can imagine. Sending love and prayers through Holy Spirit’s beautiful connection.

  3. Hannah Crook · April 23, 2022

    Kim, I don’t really have words, just so much prayer coming your way every single day. We haven’t forgotten Ukraine and and so many of us are praying constantly for you, Jed and the kids. ♥️🙏🏻🇺🇦 Your work is not small or insignificant, in fact it is the most important work. Love to all of you.

    Hannah & Eric

  4. Gladys black · April 23, 2022

    Kimberly my heart hurts for you and your family. I pray for peace and safety. Wondering what purpose? Destroying people who are innocent and just want to be at peace and home. I pray for Ukrain asking God to stop this cruel evil invasion and the man behind it all. I also pray for him to be delivered from control of satan. Lord give the Johnsons the stamina they all need surround them with love and grace. Stop this evil wickednesss in Jesus name I send hugs and love

  5. Julie · April 23, 2022

    My thoughts are prayers are with you and your family and the people of Ukraine.
    Remember that when you feel like you can’t communicate with God that others are standing in the gap on your behalf. It’s ok to feel the way you feel. It’s ok to long to be home and back to “normal”.

    I admire your honesty and your commitment to your family and your mission there.
    God loves you, we love you ❤

  6. Luanne Beach · April 23, 2022

    Kim, this came up in my memories on fb today. I hope it gives you some encouragement. Love you.
    I don’t know what valley you’re walking through today, but here’s one thing I do know: even when valleys last a long time, they are still temporary. It’s kind of like our valleys are post-it notes on the refrigerator. They seem permanent. They stick and stay for a long, long time. But, at the very moment when you want to remove that post-it note from the fridge door, it’s off! It seems permanent but in actuality, it’s temporary!

    So, if your valley is hard, ask God to give you grace to see your valleys through the lens of 2 Corinthians 4:17—temporary. Momentary. A blip on the radar. It will help you know that even what is so painful is not permanent in light of eternity.

    “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:17).

  7. JILL · April 23, 2022

    Karen speaks my heart. Your burden is great and your joy is too. Thank you for still sharing with us so that we may help carry some of that burden. Mark Heard has a song called It will not be this way forever. Maybe it can bring some comfort today.

  8. Steph · April 23, 2022

    Sending you all a big hug. Prayers are being said every day for all of you. God bless you today and always.

  9. M. Schmittou · April 24, 2022

    I would like to say I’m so sorry, but that doesn’t seem like enough. There aren’t words to describe how I feel right now, and I know your emotions must be much, much bigger because you are living it. I know it doesn’t mean anything or help at all, but I think of you guys often. Ukraine is always in the back of my mind these days, and I have virtually no connection to it other than your family and the boys who have become part of it through love and understanding. There isn’t anything I can say to fix it. All I can do is hope, and send funds wherever I can to help. But throwing money at the problem won’t fix it, I know. I also don’t know what will, though. Know you have solidarity from your readers. We are rooting for you and your country that you love.

    Love from Michigan.

  10. Laura · April 24, 2022

    In Acts 27-28 Paul was in a shipwreck and landed in Malta. It wasn’t his destination but it was a comfort to land there and the people of Malta cared for all of them, in their distress. I thought of you today when I heard this.

  11. Ima Jane Brown · April 25, 2022

    Oh Kimberly, I wish I had some words of comfort for you but I’m afraid what I say doesn’t hold a candle to what is true and real for you. All I can say is sometimes we don’t know how God works for those in need but I know he is there and he is just a word away for those who ask. I can tell you for sure that you have so many family and friends that are praying for you. It may not feel like it when you are alone with your thoughts but we are there. We all Love you and pray for you all.
    Remember that God is Good.
    Love you Kimberly, Aunt Janie

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