nineteen is such a filler year. it isn’t as if you’re now officially an adult or you’re 21 all of the sudden, but you’re just nineteen. as my birthday was coming up, my mom continually asked me what i wanted for my birthday, what she should plan, etc. i honestly couldn’t come up with anything. i simply responded and said i wanted nothing more than to be with the people i love and that community is enough. she laughed and said “Kirsten, i can’t invite everyone you love, i’d end up inviting 700 people.” however, laughs aside: as this year comes to a close and a new one comes to begin, i have comprised what God has taught me about life throughout the nineteen years. with all the awkward, full, empty, joyful, and sad moments that make up these nineteen years, i wouldn’t trade them for anything. God has allowed me to see that life is not about momentary troubles, earthly ambitions or desires, but rather it is about glorifying His name and surrounding yourself with people who run that race with you.

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so here we go:

  1. embrace that awkward Abercrombie and fitch, purple eyeliner, and brace face stage….(& if you skipped over this, heres your clap back 👏!!! )

i think we all know the stage i’m talking about. the one where you’re in the midst of the 7th & 8th grade transition and everything is awkward. but hey, be thankful or that phase. like me, you maybe tried a new hair style or constantly were self conscious on if your aeropostale bright pink polo matched those khaki pants. well girl, you crushed it. it built character. that stage taught me to build your confidence young. grasp your ~vibe~ & own it. your friends can wear makeup and you may not, and hey– you do you. let’s all use our 7th & 8th grade awkward, shy confidence and bring it back.

2. family is SO important.

no matter if you have grown up around older siblings, younger siblings or if you’re an only child; cherish it. if i could go back in time i would probably become my sisters best friend earlier than i did. i wish i could go back and not have been selfish and petty at age seven. i wish i could go back and take advantage of that summer before she moved to college. and my oh my, if i had a younger sibling i would probably force them to be my best friend. (bekah, sorry. you’re basically the fill in;) and let us not forget our parents. where would i be without them?!? your parents are your greatest advocates. i can promise you that they love you more than anyone or anything in this world possibly could. my mom always says, “Kirsten i care because there is no one besides God who loves you more than I do.” so, let that sink in. God has given us this community without even having to search for it. love your family, accept their love, and love well together. that is so important.

3. learn how to express yourself( find what ya love, and do ya thang!!!)

maybe you like to dance. maybe you play soccer. maybe you’re a baseball stud or a football stud. maybe you can belt out a Beyonce note like never before. needless to say, no matter what sets your heart on fire, DO THAT. LOVE THAT. BE THAT. WORK AT IT. EMBRACE IT. we were all made with different abilities, but the common purpose that we were made to share the glory of God with any and everyone we come in contact with. no matter how you choose to express yourself, be all in for it. give all of your heart to the things that you love– the world will see more of Him because of it.

4. you will be tested (& it’s gonna be worth it)

physically. mentally. emotionally. & spiritually. all of these aspects of your life will bring struggles and highlights. in a class that i am in right now, we had the chance to identify and study the different types of struggles that can God can put us through. friends, i know the testing of our strength can cause us to grow impatient and it is not the most fulfilling time, but God does it out of good heart. in order for God to use us greatly, He must test us incredibly. so, the next time you face something hard, remember that it is building endurance in your soul. it is building you up for you to run faster on the path God has placed you on. keep your head up, it’s worth it.

5. do not let someone tell you your feelings are invalid

ah, 19 years in and i will be the first to tell you that peoples opinions just keep on coming. we can get to that exact detail latter; however, i want to encourage you all to not let people tell you your feelings are not meaningful. it is okay to feel. it is okay to not be okay. it is okay to be upset and it is okay to listen to the music of your choice that may intensify that feeling by a million. BUT it is not okay for people to tell you what to feel, what not to feel, and when or when not to feel it. if you want to be joyful, BE JOYFUL. if you want to be upset, because you need to get that emotion out, BE UPSET. all in all, don’t let anyone kill ya vibe !!

6. opinions are opinions… nothing else

ah, this one. i learned this lesson fairly recently and more recent than i would like to say. my friend branson & i were talking about strength and weaknesses, etc and my weakness of people pleasing was thought upon. i told him that i regret the part of my senior year that i dedicated to making other people happy and when i completely disregarded my own heart. i was mad at myself for putting so much thought into other peoples opinions of myself, to the point in which i would believe their opinions. bran reminded me that i should never worry about those things simply because “opinions are just opinions.” so, next time you find yourself in questioning your worth solely because of someone else’s opinion on the way you live your life, remember that opinions are just opinions. we are not made to please this world, we are made for another Kingdom.

7. find people that you can have fun with while also chasing jesus

ah, the paradoxical choice that life gives us. the paradoxical relationships we are presented with. throughout my life i have come across many friendships, some good and some bad. i have learned that there are people in my life that i simply have fun with. they bring out the fun side in me. then, there are the people that i have in my life in which i simply dive into the word with. BOTH of these types of people in our lives are so important; however, as i have gotten older i have realized that the greatest sense of community that we can have is this: the community that we have fun with while also glorifying the Lord. seek that. seek the people you can be real with, embrace grace with, and have the greatest time with. do not limit yourself to one type of friend; embrace the diversity that the freedom of friendship brings.

8. drink all the coffee, eat all the cake, binge watch all the Netflix.

the literal way to my heart is recess pieces, iced coffee, and a good movie i can cry to. no matter what your favorite drink, food, or tv show is, WATCH THOSE, EAT THAT, DRINK THAT. get a lil crazy and even add a pump of espresso into it?? (i know, real wild). the point of this is to say, do not be concerned with the sleep you’ll miss if ya watch one more episode. do not think about the workout that you will have to do to “burn off” that cake. and do not worry about if you are properly hydrating yourself, i mean honestly coffee is 70% water so live in that TRUTH. just live. and i think we can all agree that a night in with junk food and your favorite movie can be the greatest form of LIVING at moments.

9. love yourself (& not like Justin Bieber said to)

i am a firm believer in the fact that what we fill ourselves up with is what we will give of ourselves. throughout this chaotic world, i have seen the recent saying pop up a lot

“hurt people, hurt people”

& oh does that ring true and in every aspect of our lives! if you are hurting, you will be more likely to take that unresolved hurt out on others. if you are mad, you will be mad at others. if you love yourself, you will love others. and to love ourselves is to draw nearer to the one that loves us the most. bask more in love and you will naturally love others better. & trust me, you are worth it. you deserve love and in order to receive it, you must first love yourself.

10. do not sweep your hurts and hangups under the rug (if you do, you future self will pay for it)

there is no shame in getting help and admitting that you are human. honestly, when i have honest conversation with people and realize that they struggle with things just like i do, it comforts me. no matter if the people you surround yourself with struggle with the same things you do or not, do not underestimate your hurt. things that hurt me in 8th, 9th, and 10th grade were things i thought did not impact me.  & i was surely wrong whenever second semester senior me was dealing with the scars that those things left me with. i learned that if i had handled those insecurities and scars earlier, my future self would not be battling with them. so do not hide your hurts. take your hurts to the cross and let God work inside of you to heal them.

11. communicate !!!!

lol says the girl who has 147 unread text messages and 15,000 unread emails, i know i know. but hey, my mom always told me that communication is the most important aspect of a relationships(you know, besides the Godly aspect) but i think she had a point. life is so so much easier when you communicate. communicate plans. communicate feelings. there is no such thing as too much communication or too much honesty.

12. you CAN indeed live off of peanut butter & bagels (its like the new bread & wine tbh)

^ quotes from first semester freshman kirsten!!! you really do realize how little you can survive off of when your college cafe is the grossest thing on the planet and you have to pay for your own groceries. i’ve learned to attempt to freeze my bread??? (but our freezer doesn’t really work) & crunchy peanut butter and caffeine is actually running through my veins at all moments. & hey, thats okay. i highly recommend it. high in protein. sorry mom, she is probably rolling her eyes at this one.

13. a boy does NOT define your worth

ah, the ~cliche~ boy talk. so sorry to bring this one up, but i think it is SOOOOO important!!! girls, a boy does not even partly define you in the slightest. what a boy thinks of you does not define you. the way a boy looks at your body does not define you. i know, it is hard in a world that pressures you to wear things to draw attention to yourself and a world that says your popularity is heavily based upon how cute you ad your boyfriend are. but, i have learned that nothing fills you up more than the confidence of the Lord. worldly confidence is fleeting and unstable. the confidence of the Lord is constant and gives nothing but peace. find your worth in the one who made you, not the ones who want to use you.

14. BUT HEY! there is someone for you!!!!!

God loves you SO much that He intends for you to bask in a romance centered around Him and let me tell you, it is going to be epic. wait for that. wait for the beauty of a relationship that’s foundation is so firmly based on God that is is constant like He is. you will see the difference in a Godly relationship and a worldly relationship and sometimes you may even have to learn the difference through being hurt before, but strive to find the gold that is given instead of silver.

15. go out of your comfort zone!!!

i can say that the times that i was pushed out of my comfort zones utterly terrified me, but they made something so great out of me. the one time i signed up for a youth and government team in high school. heck, i did not know anything about that but i did it and i can look back at it and say it was one of the best decisions of my highs school career. so, even if people around you are gonna stand back and say “WHAT?!!?”, do not let that hold you back. sign up for a dance class. try out for cheerleader!! text the boy first! jump in the car with your friends and drive until you find a cool destination. sign up for the honors class, you can do it!!! God can do the greatest things in us when we give Him our hearts and allow ourselves to become vulnerable.

16. take care of yourself!!

take a yoga class. go on a run. drink green juice. but also drink chocolate milk and way too much coffee. also eat the last piece of cake because you can. but all in all, take care of yourself. you have one earthly body and i believe that by taking care of what God gave us we are honoring Him. so, take care of yourself not only physically but emotionally and spiritually. feed yourself with the Word of God and surround yourself with people who support you emotionally. find your trybe, rep your trybe.

17.  be a kingdom person

i encourage you to be a Kingdom minded person in such an earthly world. it is gonna be hard, but it is gonna be worth it. fix your eyes on the things that are unseen and not the things that are seen. the world is fleeting in every moment; instead of letting the temporary nature of earth drag us down, let us run towards the Kingdom.

18. never stop exploring

ADVENTURE!!!!! i can’t express this one enough. go out of your comfort zone both mentally and psychically. go somewhere you have never been. embrace a new way of life along the way. serve people all over the world and I PROMISE you will learn something out of it. God has given us the world so that we can go, see, and proclaim His love. no matter if you venture to the mountains, the beach, to Africa or India, God can use you. say yes to the adventure.

19. what you do on this earth does indeed matter

a good friend of mine asked a group of people i spent a weekend with if what we did on this earth really mattered or not. and believe it or not, i wholeheartedly stand behind the fact that what we do does matter. the amount of money we make or the way we look or the way we dress is not what mattes, but our heart matters. our hearts and actions have the ability to make a mark on this world. our success in this world is not measured by the amount we have in savings, but it is measured by how well we use what we were given to glorify Him. it is measured by how we allow our hearts to be shaped by Jesus. it is measured by how we love like Jesus. so, yes i want to be successful in life. i hope i can live a life as the girl who spent her life at the feet of Jesus and who found her confidence in the cross. i hope we all know that what we do on this earth matters because we have to communicate to others the victory that was won on the cross.

cheers to 19, my friends. thank you to everyone who has shaped me and made me who i am today. thank you to the people who are still walking through life with me and are challenging me everyday. thank you to God for letting me have a relationship with Him. thank you to Jesus for giving me grace in the moments i least deserve it. thank you. thank you. thank you.

xoxo, kirsty

PLAY LIST OF 19 YEARS: a look into my life through music

  1. love story by t swift— ICONIC. i knew i had to include a song by taylor swift because obviously she impacted my life since age 9 in a positive way.,.,.,. so there’s that.
  2. i hate u, i love u by gnash– ohhh yes i HAD to include my first breakup jam. you know, the one that you never forget and cannot decide to either skip over it or play all of it when it comes up on your shuffle.,., yeah well this is that song for me. 8th grade relationships y’all, they caused some serious heartbreak.
  3. rise up by andra day– THEME SONG. lets be honest, life is hard. life is difficult. you will hit rock bottom and you will run on top of the mountain, and this song is the greatest because it is nothing but encouragement for 4 minutes and 13 seconds. it makes you believe in yourself. i remmeber when i hadn’t been able to dance for 2 years due to an injury and i begggeeedddd my mom if i could just go into the dance room and let out all my emotion for an hour or so. she finally agreed and i turned this song on and danced till i couldn’t anymore. so, whatever your’e fighting- listen to this song and you rise up.
  4. ILYSB by LANY— if i could sum up my junior year in one song, this would be it. for my birthday i took my friends to an LANY concert because i just had to let them experience the greatness of this band. this song makes me want to cry and dance and sing at the top of my lungs at the same time.,., so that speaks for itself. 10/10 would recommend any song by LANY
  5. Sedona by Houndmouth– this one goes out to john don(my dad). every time he has had the chance to drive me somewhere, which has not been a lot since after i had the ability to drive myself, he always gives me the aux. he just knows. and i turned on this song one day and my dad was BOPPIN. still to this day he requests it every time and it is his only song he has in his itunes library. so, heres to you dad and our song!! love ya.
  6. break up in a small town by sam hunt– this one goes out to tammy(the one and only). ah, my mother is OBSESSED with country music and i do not use the word obsessed lightly in this case. so when my mom and i drive around country music is playing no doubt and sam hunt is our personal favorite. because who does not want to feel like a 17 year old girl with a broken heart driving down a back road? well, that’s tammy’s aesthetic entirely– love ya momma.
  7. HUMBLE by kendrick lamar– hahaha please go ahead and laugh. as my friend jadyn says “kirsten you are the most white girl i know and yet you listen to like kendrick lamar??? ok.” that quote can honestly explain for itself as to why this song is on my top 19 songs of my 19 years of life. thank you kendrick lamar for impacting my life in a positive way. thanks branson for explaining Kendrick’s new album to me. you a real one. & thank you to all my fiends who allow me to shamelessly rap kendrick at all times. much thanks.
  8. blessings by chance the rapper– all i have to say is that chance the rapper is basically America’s youth pastor and i love him so much. praises go up. blessings come down. go chance for expanding the Kingdom through rad music. heres to more of that.
  9. Set a fire by jesus culture- this song is such a simple proclamation in our worship to Jesus, but it means so so much. i love this song because it allows us to sing out to jesus and ask Him to set a fire in our soul for Him and nothing else. i hope to life a live that is set on fire for Jesus and nothing else. heres to setting that fire in our souls. heres to not being able to control our love for Him.
  10. fire and the flood by vance joy– VANCE JOY IS MY DUDE. there is nothing like his music. this is my favorite song of his, but it was honestly so hard to come down to one favorite one because they are ALL incredible. if anyone knows me they know that this song could play in my car for five hours without a single skip or a single stop and i would not get tired of it. love you vance, thanks for impacting my life in a positive way. heres to more vance joy songs and more tears and more joy.
  11. fight song by rachel platten– this was my cross country song. throughout my cross country years, good and bad times came and went but overall, the fight was worth it in the end. on long runs with my team, when we would hurt we would sing this song at the top of our lungs. before every meet i would plug in my headphones and play this song to remind myself that this is MY fight and no one else’s. i have the freedom to choose to fight and fight hard. so, here’s to your fight and whatever your fight song may be. find it and live it yall.
  12. i will never be the same by ellie holcomb— Y THE L NOT. this song is always played at younglife camp, younglife club, etc. it holds such a near and dear place in my heart because it is such a power in the fact that we are truly never the same after we accept Jesus into our hearts. and no matter if we are followers of christ that are new to the faith or you have followed Jesus for a long time, you can ALWAYS proclaim the Gospel to yourself. it is a story that never grows old.
  13. easy now by sawyer– Younglife camp 2017. this band. this song. “I’ve got a premonition
    It’s a loaded gun
    I think
    And it becomes”– the few first lines are pretty crazy real in my life and i am sure i am not the only one that feels this way. this song is all about not allowing our thoughts to make something of themselves. we have the power to either let our insecurities take hold of our lies or not. so 10/10 would recommend taking a listen to sawyer and this song. okay great.
  14. JOY by ellie goulding– couldn’t make a playlist without my girl ellie goulding obviously. all of her songs are incredible but JOY is unreal. joy isn’t in anyones arms. joy is not someone else. joy is Jesus. there is a difference between joy and happiness, and i encourage you to notice and find the difference.
  15. free fallin by john mayer- enough said. no needed explanation. you all know what i’m talking about. imagine windows down. your favorite people around you. volume turned all the way up and this song playing. that is all. okay great.
  16. ultralife by oh wonder- this is just my theme song of life. i wanna live life in ultra mode. living life to the fullest extent– no turning back and only running ahead.
  17. i fall apart by post malone– hahaha every one of my friends is laughing right now because they know the connection i have to this song. i can be in the greatest mood and still sing “I FALLLL APART” at the top of my lungs, sorry. and i also think i play this song a little too loud as i roll into dbu— sorry about that as well. except sorry not sorry at all. okay great. take a listen y’all.
  18. moments to memories by adeline hill— AHHH THIS GIRL! i kinda sorta know her from mutual friends and fun fact! she is a senior in high school!!! & so crazy talented!!! it is UNREAL!!! this song is such a bop and i have forced all of my texas friends to listen to it and they equally fell in love with it. moments have the ability to turn into memories so so quick– so i just want to soak everything in with the people i am around. and i want to make the greatest of memories with the people i love– no matter where that takes me. heres to you adeline hill!!! thanks for making everyone feel something through the music you write.
  19. redeemed to redeem by austin stone church– this one is the last and final song of the longggg 19 and if you are still reading, shoutout to you. the reason why i made this the last song was because i think this is our purpose. we are redeemed to redeem the world around us. we are loved to love the people we come in contact with us. we are blessed to be a blessing. we are given to grace to grace others. we get to do life with Jesus and we have this incredible opportunity to bring other people to live an eternal life with our savior. that is our purpose. it will never grow old. the gospel is endless and our purpose does not wonder.

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