Today, Kristen speaks to us about raising awareness regarding suicide and depression, the impact music has on her, and the signs that led her on her journey home.
Tell us a bit about how you grew up and your childhood: I grew up in a Christian home, both my parents for the first half of my life were youth pastors, so we practically lived at the church. My little sister and I are only 2 years apart, so we have been best friends our whole lives. We moved quite a bit when I was younger for my dad’s job, but settled in the little town of Plains, MT. I sang for our youth worship band growing up, and it was the highlight of my middle school years.
Inspiring biblical passage of the moment: I just got done reading Esther with my small group. It was a huge eye-opener; God’s name is never mentioned in it at all, but you can see all the things He is doing, even though they don’t say His name. It really made me think about all the unseen things God is doing in my life that I don’t even think is Him.
“It really made me think about all the unseen things God is doing in my life that I don’t even think is Him.”
Spiritual growth focus at the moment: Trusting God. I have a really hard time with not knowing things, and I have really been working on trusting God and the doors He opened for me. Even when I don’t know where they are going to lead to.
Profession: I work at this cute little coffee shop in Kalispell, MT called Montana Coffee Traders, and I love it so much!! It has honestly been a Godsend job because everyone I work with is so nice and a lot of the time that’s hard to find at work.
If you wrote a memoir, what would the title be? Beautifully scarred. I love the idea behind that name. We are all scarred and hurt and bruised from life and the things that have happened to us, but those scars make us who we are, and that is a beautiful thing.
“We are all scarred and hurt and bruised from life and the things that have happened to us, but those scars make us who we are, and that is a beautiful thing.”
When did you first encounter God and how did you encounter Him? I think I first encountered God last year. I have been a Christian my whole life but never really had an encounter until last year at a service at my church The Belonging Company. It was during worship, and I was really in a rough spot in life, and I was desperate for some kind of comfort. So I lifted my hands, and I felt this weight on them, a comforting weight that was warming and filled my whole body, and I knew that was God showing me even if I felt alone He was still there.
“So I lifted my hands, and I felt this weight on them, a comforting weight that was warming and filled my whole body, and I knew that was God showing me even if I felt alone He was still there.”
What has helped you grow spiritually in this season? Something that has helped me grow spiritually this season was getting involved in a small group. They kept me accountable and helped me understand things I had questions about. And they prayed for me and stood by me. I wouldn’t be the person I am right now, if it wasn’t for my small group.
Just read/currently reading (and what has it taught you?): I’m currently reading The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp. Oh my gosh, this book is literally changing my life. I have a tendency to have a very negative outlook on life. I had a lot of things happen when I was younger and that made me be very negative about things, so I wouldn’t feel hurt. So, I have lived a lot of my life pretty miserable, and this book made me realize I can’t take back those days I have lived in misery; and how short life really is.
She gives an example that literally shook my whole world. She said for example of the average person lives to be 80 that is only 29,000 days. And me being 21 have already lived 7,600 of those days… I was like oh my gosh, I have wasted that many days being miserable, and it really made me think about living every day to the fullest.
“I have lived a lot of my life pretty miserable, and this book made me realize I can’t take back those days I have lived in misery; and how short life really is.”
Top three essentials: Spotify because I don’t think I could live without music; my Bible, and ice cream.
How did God speak to you recently? God spoke to me recently about a month ago. I was really trying to figure out if I was supposed to move back home, and I was like God please show me a physical sign that I’m supposed to move. He showed me many, right after that. A lady came into my work wearing a shirt from my home state, I was blessed multiple times financially which gave me the money to drive home, and so many other things; it was amazing.
Hobby: Singing and playing music and writing. Both of those things give me so much peace.
Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong: Get involved in a church and or small group to keep you accountable and surrounded by uplifting people. Pray even when you don’t want to, just talk to God like He’s a friend and He’s right there with you in the room. And lastly, I would say at least for me would be listening to worship music. Music speaks to me so when I sit and just soak in the music and all the words– it’s so comforting and reminds me of how amazing God is.
Favorite person in scripture? My favorite person in scripture would probably be Job. He suffered so much but still kept his faith and that says a lot.
What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? I want people to learn that God is a comforter, when they look at me. I have had some rough stuff happen, and I don’t think I would be here now if it wasn’t for God and the people He put in my life to show me that He is there and I’m not alone.
“I have had some rough stuff happen, and I don’t think I would be here now if it wasn’t for God and the people He put in my life to show me that He is there and I’m not alone.”
How do you leave your mark on your community? I definitely think I leave my mark on the community by being a light. That is something I was told by my vocal coach one day, and I didn’t believe it at first, then others started saying that, and I really started stepping into that role. I love laughing, and I think even just laughing and smiling with people can make them laugh and smile and help their day be a little brighter.
Favorite holiday? Definitely, Christmas. It was always the holiday all of my family would get together and spend the whole day together, so Christmas holds so many fun memories.
A goal you have? To turn my writing into songs and record and release some of them. Music was and is such a huge impact in my life and to be able to put a song out there that could touch someone and make them feel less alone would be a dream.
“Music was and is such a huge impact in my life and to be able to put a song out there that could touch someone and make them feel less alone would be a dream.”
A special tradition you and your family engage in or keep: A tradition my family has is every Christmas morning, before we open any presents, we sit and read the birth of Jesus in Luke.
Question you will ask when you get to heaven? A question I will ask when I get to heaven– ooh that is a really hard one. To be honest, I will probably ask God why he let certain things in my life happen. I know that they all have a purpose, and it’s all in God’s plan, but I think it would be really cool to actually sit down with God and be like, Ok, I know you had a purpose for this but why this [and] not something else? I don’t know if that makes sense, but I think I would ask him that.
Thing you want to raise awareness about: Something I really want to raise awareness about would probably be depression and suicide. I think lots of times people don’t want to talk about those things, but they are real and affect a lot of people. Especially in some Christian communities, it’s looked down on because it’s like you shouldn’t be sad if you have Jesus. But things happen and people get hurt and life gets really hard. So, I really think emphasizing that it is a thing and really walking alongside people who are going through it. Being there and not judging.
What does your morning routine consist of? My morning routine consists of usually snoozing my alarm a couple times because I am not a morning person. But I usually get up, eat breakfast, then do my make up and hair. I love to listen to podcasts or watch shows, while I’m getting ready. If I don’t have to be in a hurry to be somewhere, I love to make some coffee and sit down and read or write.
What is on your nightstand? My nightstand has my journal, Bible, and some pens. Usually, some Chapstick and a cup on there, too.
Define Christianity in a sentence: Christianity to me is a judge-free relationship with this awesome guy named Holy Spirit who won’t judge or hurt you.
Until next time, keep witnessing!