As we packed our bags, left the Louisiana bayou, and set out for Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida, I knew we were headed for an adventure. The excitement of furthering our education and getting to prepare for ministry was a given. What would end up being the greatest prize of my new season, however, was something far more special than what I had anticipated. My greatest treasure would not only be the heroes that I would rub shoulders with, and the life-long friendships that I would make, but the fact that these two groups would be one and the same.
One of these heroic treasures, a friend that I have determined to keep around for life, comes in the immensely inspirational, epically gorgeous form of Kirstin Czernek, founder of The Balance Culture.
Upon meeting Kirstin, who happens to be a tall blonde with a master’s degree and a modeling portfolio, most would find it surprising that this girl has ever had a bad hair day- much less a legitimate battle with insecurity. Kirstin is a force within the Lakeland community spearheading the lifestyle of health and fitness and has set out to provide resources to empower women to reach their fullest vital potential. And, as many destinies have, this one began with a fight.
As a teenager, Kirstin faced some serious battles. Beginning with her parent’s divorce, Kirstin’s life seemed to spiral out of control, and led her deep into the throws of a life-threatening eating disorder, anorexia nervosa. After almost seven years of bondage, Kirstin found her way to Mercy Ministries, an organization in Monroe, Louisiana that exists to aid and restore teen girls who have faced all sorts of challenges, including eating disorders. It is here that God would not only restore Kirstin’s sense of value and self-worth, but he would also set her on the path of her destiny.
Kirstin states, “Mercy Ministries was a life-changing experience that completely transformed me from the inside out. I went in insecure and broken and left whole and confident in who God made me to be. I am so thankful for my freedom!”
What brought Kirstin to Lakeland, like me, was Southeastern University, where she studied Psychology. She also received her certification as a nutrition counselor and as a Pilates instructor. The bondage that once held Kirsten in its grip, God has now placed in her hands as her calling. She began providing nutrition counseling services for women in the Lakeland area, as well as private Pilates sessions. She also started a blog, thebalanceculture.com, where she not only boldly shares her story of restoration, but assists women all over the world in becoming their healthiest and happiest selves.
“I believe it is my life’s purpose to empower women. It is my mission to see them become secure in who God has created them to be.”
It is with this heart and mission in mind that Kirstin has now set out to pursue her biggest faith journey yet: the founding of her new business, The Balance Culture. It is here where all of her passions come together and combine forces. The Balance Culture is a fitness studio that will officially open in September, which provides not only nutrition counseling, but all sorts of fitness classes, from yoga to boot camp, and everything in between.
“The Balance Culture is an accumulation of all the things I am most passionate about: fitness, nutrition, and personal growth. I believe the best way to help someone is holistically: physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and relationally. This is the aim of The Balance Culture!”
Currently, The Balance Culture is building momentum through Kirstin’s “Pop-Up Pilates” classes. This is an exercise opportunity that is free to the public, and spots fill up fast, so come early and BYOM. (bring your own mat!) To find out more about Kirstin, or the Balance Culture, or the next Pop-Up Pilates class, find The Balance Culture on instagram!
So, here’s to women who are defined not by their past, but by the One who created them, saved them, and called them. We all have our own unique and remarkable value that is undiminished by trials. Rather, it is through hardship that our calling is revealed, refined and established. The beauty of Jesus shines through the lives of those who allow his love to heal them. I hope that Kirstin’s example inspires you as it does me, to allow God to fashion pain into passion, to forge weakness into strength, and create beautiful splendor from ashes.
In Isaiah 61:3, God says, “To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.”