• aftergrace16

This One's for the Girls

I consider myself a very blessed woman. I am surrounded, and I mean surrounded by an abundance of people who have shaped me, molded me, pushed me, and loved me unconditionally. Especially the women in my life…they’re just friggin amazing. And you see, our world has done this funny little thing to make us believe that as women, we should be against each other in competition of who’s best and who’s better. No thanks, not in my life. I LOVE my women. I love lifting up other women. There’s no competition here, just freedom.

I want to introduce you to some of those women in my life, the ones who have made their marks on my heart. The ones I never want to let go. Those who have changed me. I want to share with you the ladies who have empowered me and allowed me to be myself.


When I was a sophomore in high school, I lost all of my childhood girl-friends. Literally, high school drama caused a division, and they up and left. And it was painful. And I was lost. And I was in tennis, for some reason. And in tennis, there was this chick. She was crazy and she was goofy and she could hit the hell out of a squishy yellow ball. And she saved me. And she took me under her wing and called me friend and loved me. She taught me authentic joy. She saw me as I was and she accepted me.

And now, she’s my best friend.

Kaitlyn Addie Elizabeth Hamilton.

I have never met a person who has made me feel more alive than Kaitlyn. She is gentle, she is genuine, and she is beautiful. Like, drop dead gorgeous. She taught me how to do my makeup, which needed a whole lot of teaching. So, we thank her. She dances with me. We eat and laugh like no one’s watching. She’s a good coffee date, or a movie date. I am my craziest self with this girl. She teaches me to love life and love God. Kaitlyn Addie saved my life. And for that, I am forever grateful.


It was fate that brought us together, I do have to say. Carli and I went to the same high school, but we were in SUCH different groups of people. She was a country, fair queen, boot-wearing kinda lady, so I guess you could say we were opposites. And I didn’t talk to her once in high school. Lo and behold, she started dating my cousin at the end of our high school career, and then she was part of my life. It wasn’t until, though, about a year ago that we got close, after a trip to Georgia together forced us into a friendship. And I fell in love with this girl.

Carli and I are so opposite, but oh my gosh, we complement each other so well. She is boisterous and bold, and I am introverted and reserved…and for some reason, we just click. We have the same mindset on many topics, and can talk about any and everything together. She is intentional. She is loving. She makes me feel so comfortable. She has helped me learn to love myself. This girl is a surprise best friend, and I’m not letting go. Go find yourself a Carli.


Kayla was the first friend I’d ever made. It was kinda inevitable that we were going to be friends, but it still applies. Kayla was born one year and 2 months before I was, so we grew together. A really funny thing, though, is that I did NOT like my sister growing up. And she didn’t like me either. Lol, gotta love it. Oh, we were so mean to each other, even up to high school. I think we tried to be friends, and it happened on occasion, but for some reason, we couldn’t get there.

And then all of a sudden, we grew up and we needed each other.

And I found a best friend in her.

Kayla is hard to describe-she is both gentle and fierce. A total baddy, if you will. She is a surgical technician (which oh my gosh, is such a hard job, and I commend her so much for it). Her job implies how smart she is, but also how much she cares for people. She’s spent her entire life putting others before herself, including me. She’s goal-driven, and it’s so inspiring. She’s overcome some of the biggest trials, and has invited the Lord so beautifully into them. She’s old fashioned, enjoys vintage and antiques, and rocks it well. And she’s also full of joy. So full of it. You can find Kayla and I gorging on pints of Blue Bell ice cream and binging old Vines on Youtube. She is pure in its finest definition. She’ll be the one holding my bouquet as I stand on the altar. Gosh, I love her, and I can’t say that loud enough.


Does anyone know the song “No Air” by Jordan Sparks and Chris Brown? Have you ever belted it with your entire heart, soul, and throat? I insist you do so immediately. And I insist you do so with Nicole. Trust me, you’ll enjoy it.

I grew up in an amazing family, and it was an advantage that there were five of us cousins who were in the same age range, and were best friends. Cue Nicole. Nicole is the crazy one. Do you know people who trip over everything? That’s her. She never has failed to bring me to tears from laughing so hard, and I’m telling you, has been the light to my life in so many ways.

She’s not just a goof, she’s someone who just likes to have fun. She likes to enjoy things. And she likes to bring me along, thank goodness. She and I lived together in college, and it was the biggest blessing. We’ve spent many a night drunken off of White Claws or Jell-O shots (don’t tell our moms). We also can enjoy a simple round of games with one another (our favorite is Life). We could float a river for hours and blast good rap music. We could have the best time playing Just Dance in our apartment living room on a Wednesday night. Nicole and I are compatible to just enjoy life together, and you better believe there’s so much more to come.


Have you ever met someone who made some sort of inappropriate, crude joke, and just thought to yourself: yep, I like this one.

Lol, that’s Riley Souza for you.

I have never met someone who I was so initially attracted to. We met as I was serving my second year of ministry with NET Ministries. We were placed in the same dorm rooms together, and I loved her as soon as she spoke. There’s a thing that they ask us to do in our training process at NET-to try not to favor people or spend too much time with each other, and to get out and meet others. But, oh my gosh, we couldn’t help but spend all our time together. And then, for some reason, we were put on the same team together and got too spend even more time together. I was hooked.

Riley is the craziest person I’ve ever met in my life. I’m not kidding when I say that. And she makes MY crazy come out. Oh, she’s so contagious. We really just get along; our humor and our insight on life and our weirdness. It all is just so easy. She’s an amazing listener and just loves me and uplifts me so well. And she just sorta understands me. I’ve never known another person who loves Tik-Toks or Dot’s pretzels more than this girl. For only knowing her for 9 months, we have way too many inside jokes, and I’m okay with that. She is my favorite Riley in the world, and no one can replace that. To all you Riley’s out there, don’t even try.


There’s a picture somewhere of Megan and I as toddlers, sitting next to each other at a special summer program that our town library held. We were completely oblivious of the friendship that would blossom between the two of us (!!). Megan is a straight up boss. She brings out all of my confidence. She’s all about self-love and taking care of your body and loving who you are…and I’m all about it. This girl here truly sees me and loves me so well. Like, every part of me: the good and the bad. Because we’ve been friends for so long, we just sort of understand each other, and that’s such an incredible feeling. We’ve spent hours in her living room watching “Cats” and trying to mimic its choreography. We were each other’s dates to the 8th grade dance, and killed it in our before-dance pictures that we took of each other in her backyard. We can go hard on a margarita, and especially like the extra-large ones. We’ve gone to Cirque De Soleil shows and allowed each other to dream big, circus-sized dreams with no limitations. We enjoy a good beach trip every now and then. No matter where we are in life, we just always come back together. Megan is my natural. We talk about God and we talk about guys and we talk about our families and we talk about our insecurities and we are each other’s people. To my girl Megan, you have my heart. Thank you for taking such good care of it.


Katie is the oldest of our 5-person cousin group that I was talking about earlier. She is 4 years older than I am, so we’ve always lived in different stages of life, but I have never met someone so similar to my own person. Katie is the reason that I’m so far in my faith as I am, and I can boldly and truthfully say that. Her faith-life jump started, and it enticed me, so I followed suit. She lives hers out radically, with intensity and intention. She pushes me and explains things to me and has walked with me through it all, and what an ambassador she is for His kingdom. We have similar taste in just about everything: home décor, music, fashion style, food, humor, and lifestyle. Our hearts crave heaven and travel and adventure, and what a blessing it is to hold someone so close to my own heart. I desire to have her ambition and her authenticity and her care-free mentality. She is one of a kind, and has impacted my life and my nature more than she’ll ever know. She is gorgeous, inside and out, and fully lives her life with ambition. I aspire. One of a kind, right there.

If you didn't read your name here, that means nothing. You all have so much placement in my heart. Every single woman I've encountered in my life has got me to where I am right now.

To you women, the ones who have shaped me, I thank you.

Thank you for pursuing me.

Thank you for letting me grow and helping me along the way.

Thank you for seeing me.

Thank you for praying for me.

Thank you for changing me.

I lift you all up to God in gratitude, because without any one of you, Kat would not be Kat. How I got so lucky, I will never know. But God knew we needed each other in this life. My praise could never be loud enough.

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