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I grew up in a home that was, in my opinion, fairly balanced. My mom brought us to church and encouraged us to grow in our faith and pursue our dreams. My dad taught us how to survive in the real world with logical thinking…and to also pursue our dreams. Really, we were sheltered; our parents protected us from having to learn anything before we were truly ready to handle it. We all have the basics: respect others, trust your gut, don’t take candy from strangers. Some other lessons were learned: things you’ll be grounded for, how to respond if someone disagrees with you, getting up after a fall (physical or metaphorical). I’d say they did pretty great. But for some of the millions of questions I’ve asked over the years or the snotty arguments I created for the lack of answers, it was always the same: Krystin, you’ll understand one day when you’re older. BARF! As a young (read: stubborn) girl, that’s the last thing you want to hear. Growing up doesn’t come with a manual, but I think if it did, this would be the chapter called: “Damnit, They Were All Right.”

I can remember a few choice moments where that stupid answer was given to me that in hindsight was the right answer to give.

When I moved to Tennessee, I was prepared to take over the world. I moved in with my mentor and thought I had officially made it because a 27-year-old Artist Manager for one of the biggest names in the local singer-songwriter circle was letting a 20-year-old move into her space. I, of course, was young and dumb – out until 2 and 3 in the morning getting nachos (which is smart at midnight…SARCASM), driving to love circle to admire a city that didn’t know we were the rulers of, throwing dance parties at each others houses with cakes for a treat…because nothing says dance party like cake. I begged and begged my mentor to come hang with me and all my friends, knowing that her presence would add to my own coolness. Repeatedly, she would turn me down. “Krystin, one day when you’re older and have a big girl job, you’ll understand the importance of your own bed and will appreciate solitude.”  Never!

Nope, she was right. Here I am, 27, with a big girl job that begins at 7:30 each day and rearranging my evenings to know what I can and can’t handle when I have to be up so early. I’m not saying I always say no to people when they call, I certainly don’t…especially if it’s someone I truly enjoy. But I do cut myself off and send myself home.

Way back when I was 14, I was a freshman in love (read: obsessed) with a senior boy. Seriously, it was bad. It’s not one of my better seasons in life and, deny it all I want, it’s still part of my story. I prided myself on being the youngest person to be a part of one of our teacher’s “Backyard Club” – a group of HS students that would all go hang out at her house. (There’s a lesson on appropriateness somewhere in there, but we’ll save that for a later time.) I’d go over and spend time at her house knowing this boy would show up and hoping he’d realize by getting to know me how perfect we were for each other. As a starter on the football team, I’d get him good luck gifts that made his lockergirl jealous. I remember one time while out purchasing gifts for this boy, my ever-supportive mother asked me if I wanted to really be doing all this for him. “YES!” She let me know her actual thoughts on the situation and gave me some “advice” on self-respect and what actual relationships look like. She followed the rolling of my eyes with a “Krystin, one day when you’re older, you’ll understand just what a gem you are and how you deserve to be treated.”  UGH!

…………she was right. That boy was a jerk and a royal one at that. It was pretty devastating to my ego and worse on my heart. I wish I could say he was the last jerk that I let into my world, but that would be a lie (one of those things I get grounded for). Let’s just not open the can of worms on emotionally unavailable boys I’ve fallen for since then and what that says about me. Ha! Suffice it to say it’s a lesson that I’m still learning – even to this day. People accept the love they think they deserve. That truth hurts just a little, right?

In June of 2004, I traveled with Young Life to Egmont, British Columbia, Canada for a week-long camp where I ended up truly meeting Jesus for the first time. Quick backstory, I’m a planner. I like to know the details before just jumping into things – at least for the most part. I had been dreaming of the University of Texas my whole life. It’s all I wanted. So here I am, in Canada, a singular week after receiving my HS diploma and I have a little conversation with Jesus about who’s better at making plans: me or Him. Duh. It’s me…wait…it’s not? Crap. It was there that my whole world flipped upside down and the dream I had always had for UT, which I was leaving for in just two short months, dissipated. So, I asked what should I do if my dreams don’t mean anything? “Krystin, one day when you’re older, you’ll understand that dreams can change.”  Blasphemy!

……………………………………………..I really do have a hard time admitting when I’m wrong, so doing it three times in one post is KILLING ME and, I digress. He was, and still is, right. See, if I’d gone to UT, I never would’ve come to Nashville. I wouldn’t have the friendships that I have today that are continuously shaping me into who I’m becoming. I’d never be able to tell you stories about getting a best friend out of Hootie and the Blowfish, or being on Kelly Clarkson’s guest list, or playing Dream Phone for hours on end because it’s the funniest thing you haven’t seen since you were ten. My life here isn’t perfect, but it’s perfect for me. So, I don’t mind admitting that I was wrong on this one.

If you’ve found yourself here for one reason or another and are just so sick of hearing someone tell you “one day when you’re older,” know you’re not alone. But know, that the journey of learning you were wrong is probably going to be one of the best times of your life. Embrace your mistakes, learn from them, and forge ahead ready to be wrong again. If nothing else, you’ll have some hilariously embarrassing stories about yourself for the future.

You’re reading part fifteen of my 30 (ish) day blog challenge. Here’s what you’ve missed so far:

Day 1 — Your best friend – Rachel
Day 2 — Your vices – Just Read It
Day 3 — Your parents – Barry & Carla
Day 4 — Your siblings – Barry & Daryl
Day 5 — Your dreams – I’ve got lots
Day 6 — Someone that inspires you – Stacey
Day 7 — Your job – Work in progress
Day 8 — Your favorite internet friend you’ve never met – Stephanie
Day 9 — Someone you wish you could meet – George W. Bush
Day 10 — Someone you don’t talk to as much as you’d like to – Alyson
Day 11 — A deceased person you wish you could talk to – Papa Jim
Day 12 — Your dream vacation – Italy
Day 13 — Something you look forward to – Sundays
Day 14 — Someone you’ve drifted away from – Marci Marie

A lot of these posts have to do with other people. Today especially, with a theme of who you miss the most, it’s hard to pick just one. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized who this post had to be about. Allow me to introduce you to the girl who saved my life: Sarah Kelley.

On November 11, 2007, I moved from Nashville back home to Texas and my world fell apart. The move was my choice, but because things weren’t going my way, I blamed God. It was a rough patch for me. I wasn’t doing anything wrong or out of the ordinary, it was just a very bitter and dark season in my life. Fast forward to May of 2008 and I begin working for a church. How I got hired on when I wasn’t pursuing Christ is just a God thing. Over that summer, a lot of the youth group kids were coming in and out. (Sidenote: I have a soft spot in my heart for High School kids. I feel like they have so much pressure and so many expectations coming at them from every angle and I just want to be their friend and let them know it’s okay not to know all the answers.) So, in walks this group of teenagers – loud and laughing a lot – and they immediately ask me if I’m single. Cool. There’s only one girl in this group of boys. Instantly, I was drawn to her. For the rest of that summer, I’d get to know those kids and that one girl still stood out for me. Sometime around November of that year, she was forced into a public speaking gig – which may sound insignificant, but is something that literally cripples her in fear. I don’t know where it came from, but my inner mama bear came out. From that moment on, I was responsible for her.

Sarah and I bonded real fast after that. We were inseparable. And the more I learned about her, the more I realized that she was me…in High School. I had to watch her go through all of the same things that I went through and could only offer up the “here’s what I did’s” and let her make her own choices or mistakes. It was painful. It opened up a lot of wounds that I had chosen to ignore for years and years. Don’t get me wrong – High School was SO much fun, but there was a lot of pain and broken-heartedness and just all around insecurity…which I’m sure everyone can attest to. Reliving my teenage years certainly was not the plan I had for myself in moving home. But don’t be fooled. We had our fun.

I knew that I would be mentoring Sarah, but I had no idea just how much walking through life with her was going to change me. She calls me her sister. Though I have a sister of my own, this is a sister that chose me…and that’s something special. Her family took me in as one of their own and have gone above and beyond to make me feel like I matter to them. I’ve traveled with them, spent birthdays with them…really invested my heart with this family. It was in the broken places of my heart that God used Sarah to wake me up. She showed me just what it’s like to have child-like faith, even as we go through the tough stuff. She showed me what it means to truly love God and love people. She showed me just how strong you have to be to turn the other cheek. Through her weaknesses, God broke me. He showed me myself – all of my stubborn arrogance – and just how selfish I had been acting. Slowly, the walls on my heart began to fall…and now, though there’s still a few bricks stacked up, I’m finally open to all that God has for me.

I don’t know how I’ll ever be able to repay her, but I’m so thankful that God sent Sarah to me. She truly has saved my life.


Day 16 — Someone that’s not in your state/country
Day 17 — The place you wish you were from
Day 18 — The person that you wish you could be
Day 19 — Something that makes you different
Day 20 — Your favorite television shows
Day 21 — Someone you judged by their first impression
Day 22 — Your pet peeves
Day 23 — The last person you kissed
Day 24 — The person that gave you your favorite memory
Day 25 — A life changing moment
Day 26 — The last person you made a pinky promise to
Day 27 — The thing you most enjoy doing
Day 28 — Someone that changed your life
Day 29 — Your talent
Day 30 — Your reflection in the mirror

little birdy told me…

Recurring Thoughts

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