She's Gone Strong
Welcome to kristenekiss.com, formerly Firebelly Fitness. My website is birthed out of a desire to build a ministry. A ministry based on a mission to build a tribe of imperfect women whose strength is built on nothing more than a perfect God. This ministry is the culmination of years of education, fears, failures, prayers and amazing experiences. I thought I’d start it off with a “getting to know my heart” post. I hope in the future I get the chance to know your heart, as we grow stronger together.
Have you ever felt like you weren’t good enough? Maybe it’s been in your career, with your body image, your responsibilities as a stay-at-home-mom or your desire to be just like someone else who you are certain has a much better life? It’s not a fun place to live. I lived there for far too long and I’m here to encourage you to stop. I’m here to encourage you to surrender whatever it is you’re holding on to because I can tell you that holding onto faith is so much more rewarding than holding on to perfection, unforgiveness, resentment and envy. I’m here to write my little heart out in hopes that I speak directly to your heart about faith, family and fitness in a fun yet transparent way. Here’s a small piece of my story that helped to grow my vision for this site.
After spending 4 years on active military duty I decided to pursue a career in health and fitness. I initially went into this field to make a difference in people’s lives. What I didn’t know was how much of an impact this industry would have on my life.
Having spent over 10 years as a personal trainer, I have been immersed into a world where perfectly sculpted bodies are the norm. Every conference I went to, book I read and video I watched about my career featured a women with a perfect body. I spent over a decade comparing myself to every trainer I met. I would go to work each day wondering if I looked in shape enough to teach someone else how to get in shape. (go ahead and chuckle a little, I know it sounds pretty silly). I created an unachievable standard for myself and it ruined my self-esteem. I suffered silently for years. I envied other women for years. My heart became hard and my voice became small for so. many. years.
So instead of taking these issues to Jesus, I decided to use education as my idol. I figured that if I couldn’t look perfect I might as well be incredibly intelligent. So I set out on a journey to cram as many initials behind my name as I could. I went through dozens of certification courses and eventually got my masters degree. The result was….. a lot of initials after my name. I still didn’t feel like I was enough. So I put on my poker face and continued to look strong.
Many years of life changes took place over the past 10 years. I experienced a military deployment, marrying my handsome husband, a series of mood-altering-failed fertility treatments that we gave a very inappropriate name, a marriage on the brink of divorce, a career change, adopting 4 kids and eventually having the opportunity to become a full-time stay-at-home mom. Let’s just say that I experienced enough to write several books.
None of these changes were easy for me. So, I chose not to deal with any of them. I chose bitterness. I chose anger. I chose to play the victim. I swallowed my pain; pain of hating my body, pain of infertility, pain of a broken marriage, and the pain of a lost identity. And the result was a complacent relationship with Jesus, a heart filled with bitterness and a life focused on unachievable standards. For those of you who haven’t heard; complacency kills. I learned it in military training and it remains true for your spiritual life as well.
Knowing I couldn’t continue to manufacture my self-made image for much longer, I was forced to reevaluate what strength really looks like. I did some serious soul searching, Bible reading and had many conversations with God. I learned some valuable lessons that I can’t wait to share with you. The biggest lesson I learned is that strength doesn’t look like six-pack abs, fabulous waterproof mascara or a good poker face.
WHAT STRENGTH LOOKS LIKE
It looks like trading your perfection for His perfection.
It looks like choosing grace over guilt.
It looks like forgiveness instead of bitterness
It looks more like Him and like less like me.
It looks like application not just education
It looks real messy. And that’s okay.
It looks like surrender
And choosing to surrender to God might feel something like this ☺
Get ready girlfriends because I’m planning on a wild ride. We will get fit, we will get healthy, we will get real, and we will get messy. Together we will grow stronger, one prayerful choice at a time. I’m so excited to continue learning about what it looks like to draw strength from the Lord and I’m so excited you chose to join me. You can learn more about me and my mission HERE.
In His Strength,
This was such a great and motivating post!