Sketched VII, Day 3
These are the stories of the women behind Gracefully Truthful. How God led them here, and how He has grown their hearts to know Him deeper and love others more fully, as a result of stepping out in obedience.
The message came across my screen: “Kendra, I read some of your blogs and I was wondering if you’d be interested in writing for an online women’s Bible study?”
I bounced one of my twin daughters on my hip while I set my coffee down and responded without much thought: “YES!”
I was excited for an opportunity to be creative and pour myself into something different than hanging cloth diapers and cooking dinner. Little did I know how the Lord would use this to grow me.
As Gracefully Truthful continued to form, and I began writing Journey Studies,
a shift occurred in me.
God’s Word became more precious than ever because I was studying it through a new lens of learning so I could hold out truth to others.
The more I studied, the more I knew my Jesus.
That initial text came almost four years ago, and more life and death has happened in those four years than I would’ve ever imagined. Gracefully Truthful became my community, it became the consistent “thing” keeping me rooted in God’s word when my life crumbled around me. Looking back on Journeys I’ve written, I can see the journey of my heart as I learned what it means to write with vulnerability and transparency while trusting my Savior. This story isn’t about me, and every word if it points the God who sustains me despite my brokenness.
I haven’t arrived.
I’m not preaching from a mountain that others have yet to climb.
I am standing in the middle of the valley, my hand outstretched towards other sisters, while clinging to the truth of Scripture and the life God offers there.
Wherever you are, whatever your mess, God wants the same for you as He’s shown me….to use it for His glory!
One of the biggest reasons I have grown deeper in my relationship with the Lord is attributed to women.
Women in high school who hosted Bible Studies.
Women in college who discipled me and showed me how Scripture study was tied to knowing Jesus more intimately.
Women in small groups sharpening me, pushing me, challenging me and reproaching me.
Women who have anchored their lives in God’s Word and have been activated as Kingdom Builders as a result.
Because of other women pointing me to Scripture, and watching my own heart grow deep from study, I am convinced of the high value of every woman studying God’s Word and applying it to their everyday lives.
I have seasons where I struggle to stay connected to God closely through His Word. I desire it, but life gets busy and I give way to excuses. Being connected in ministry with Gracefully Truthful provides personal accountability for me to be in the Word, actively applying it, and intentionally reaching out to encourage other women.
Writing assignments push me to research a passage for deeper understanding or clarity on a Scripture. I love studying His Word; it becomes more precious every time I read!
Often, something I’ve read from my personal time with the Lord is exactly the passage a person I run into that day resonates with, or it fits within the context of something I’m writing about. The beauty of following Jesus is that as we step out, He already knows where He is taking us.
We are guaranteed immense peace, joy and life to the full when following Jesus.
We are also promised persecution, and often suffering comes along for the ride. I struggle in being vulnerable in this suffering while writing. Worse yet is fear running rampant in my brain. I fear I will get labeled in someone’s mind as a goody-two-shoes for writing about the Bible. It’s a regular choice to proclaim truth rather than be concerned about another’s judgement. I pray regularly that He may be made great through my tiny contributions to GT as I follow one small step after another.
Have you ever been in a season with the Lord where you have a greater desire to obey the nudges you are receiving from Him, but aren’t sure what that looks like?
A few years ago, that quite accurately described me.
I knew the Lord was telling me to use my writing ability for His glory; however, I had no idea of the outlet. A random (ha! More like the direct orchestration of the Lord) moment in my church lobby with one of the current Gracefully Truthful writers opened a sudden and unexpected door; it was a perfect invitation to obey the Lord and I became a writer for Gracefully Truthful.
As I write my Journey Studies, I find the Lord so faithfully grows me through the process. Before the words formulate in my mind, I’ve had to learn how to listen for His voice through the Word and in prayer. I have experienced the joy of the Lord changing me in order to bless other women through words crafted on the page.
I’ve also discovered the beauty of being a vessel through which the Lord can move. Two things motivate me when writing a journey study: glorifying the Lord and encouraging the reader to draw closer to Him. Becoming a writer for Gracefully Truthful was one my steps of obedience as I followed Jesus, but those steps are all over the place for me and for you! He’s calling each of us; will you follow?!
Ministry has always been a part of my life and I had long waited in anticipation of becoming a missionary and moving abroad to share the gospel with those who are different than me. As I studied Scripture, I grew to understand that living missionally takes on many different forms. I began asking God to show me what my mission would be.
I carry many roles as wife, mom, small group leader, speaker, and author. As I’ve walked more closely with God He reveals how each of these are my mission field. Living on mission doesn’t necessarily mean being called to a specific place, job, or people. Rather, it’s about being ready and able to testify of who God is wherever you go and whoever you’re with.
It was a few months before my wedding in Kansas City. Being from the Bahamas, I was doing most of my wedding planning online, which is how I was introduced to the ministry of Gracefully Truthful. Merry happened to be on our list for potential wedding photographers and she, obediently following the Lord’s whisper, “randomly” asked if I was a writer because she felt God put me on her heart to be the newest GT Partner.
I said yes!
But she didn’t realize I had been stalking GT and thinking how amazing it would be to write for them, but felt I wasn’t good enough.
I had never applied, but God had been working in my heart, going before me and preparing the way for me to follow.
GT’s mission lined up perfectly with my own passion to encourage and equip women to study Scripture and live out their own mission in following God. I couldn’t imagine what mission-living looked like for me, but God did. He stirred my heart with His passions then lovingly provided a place where I could communicate His heart for His daughters.
You don’t need to know all the answers and end-goals either; just follow!
I was several months pregnant with my youngest, caring for two toddlers, working part time and running a business, while also preparing to take college classes again when Rebecca reached out to me about writing for Gracefully Truthful. To be honest, absolutely nothing about writing for this ministry seemed to make sense in the natural, but unbeknownst to Rebecca, God had called me to write several years prior to that day.
When He first spoke to me about writing, I shrugged it off as crazy. But when I saw Becca’s message, the Lord brought me back to that moment in an instant.
So, I said yes.
You know, a kind of crazy thing happens when you start to say “yes” to God: He begins to give you more opportunities to say “yes”… and to keep saying it. Gracefully Truthful was one of those first “yesses” for me.
Being part of this writing team has been a stretching, challenging obedience which has forced me to examine what I believe, why I believe it, and whether or not I choose to submit every part of my mind, heart and life to God and actually live it.
Because here’s the thing: it’s all well and good to write for a women’s ministry or blog, or fill-in-your-blank, but the truth is that you can’t write the things the Lord calls you to write without actually also doing those things. You can’t sit behind a computer screen and let Holy Spirit flow through you to encourage and challenge other women to experience the fullness of God in everyday life without also actually experiencing the fullness of God in your everyday life.
This Gracefully Truthful journey has required sacrifices of time, energy, sleep, and so much more, but it has also reaped a harvest of growth, transformation, commitment to reading and applying Scripture rightly and a passion to help women understand who they are in Christ and how to cooperate with the story He’s writing.
And in the end, if I really believe what Scripture and Holy Spirit show me to be true, how can I keep any part of myself from Him? I don’t know about you, but I want to walk out every measure of what He has for me to do here in His Kingdom. Whatever that looks like. Wherever that takes me. Whatever He requires. It’s all His and for His glory, anyway.
I’m just along for the ride.
How will you follow?
What’s your next YES of obedience?!
Share your thoughts from today’s Journey Study!
Can we pray for you?
Sign up to receive every Journey Study!
Join our Facebook Community!