Kara, if you could vacation with one celebrity, who would it be and where would you go?
I would vacation with Jennifer Lawrence. It’s probably a stereotypical answer, but she’s really funny. Girl’s favorite food is pizza, so you can’t go wrong there. I feel like you could just sit in the sand and talk about life.
So you’d go to the beach?
I would definitely go to the beach.
I’ve always wanted to go to St. Lucia or St. Martin- some place with one of those saint names that people vacation to all the time. Hopefully she’d pay for it- she’s got the money.
How did you find your way into the community?
I found my way into the community by good ol’ Abbi Carlson. Love that girl. I think it must have been freshman year, in chem class, and she asked me if I was a Christian and I was like “yeah,” so I came a bit freshman year. Then I kind of fell off the bandwagon for a while, and then junior year she sort of re-asked me. I was like “eh”- I know I needed God but I wasn’t sure if I could find a good community, but, lo and behold, I did. I’ve been coming ever since then and it’s been great.
What draws you in to the community?
I think the intentionality of the community draws me in. If I miss a week, I get a couple text messages from people checking in. My grandma just passed away and I just had an overwhelming response of love from this community, people asking am I emotionally okay, do I need anything, asking about my family. That meant a lot to me that people intentionally saw that I was in pain and took initiative to say “are you okay?” and I’ve never had that from friends before so it felt really good.
Why are you a Christian?
I’m a Christian because God never gave up on me. I definitely was in a very dark place a few years ago and didn’t think I needed God all that much, and he pulled me out and chased after my heart in a way that was unique and specific to how I would respond to him, which I thought was really cool. I stay a Christian because being a Christian doesn’t mean you don’t have doubts or questions, it just means that you screw up all the time but there is this savior Jesus who chases after your heart, who’s not gonna give up on you. He loves you so much that he wants to capture you in his arms all the time, and it’s amazing and beautiful.
What draws you to Jesus?
I kind of like that he was radical for his time. I think it was cool that he had to step out of his norms, he had to kind of go against the grain and share what the father had to say and challenge people in ways they’d never been challenged. I also like how selfless he was because I have such a hard time being selfless, and then I go back and think about the fact that Jesus died for me- this most excruciating and painful death and he still chose it. He’s also intentional, too. His community is intentional and he is intentional in the way he communicates and moves in our lives to be able to steer us on this path he wants us to go on.
What breaks your heart?
It breaks my heart when people think they don’t have a place. That’s really sad when people don’t have a community or someone to confide in. I never want people to feel alone or left out. It hurts that some people feel like they have no one- like they don’t have a place. I hope that I can help people feel like they have a place. Being alone sucks and I never want anyone to feel that way. It’s awful. Also, what breaks my heart is the kids that I’ve come into contact with on mission trips who live in these impoverished places and they are still so joyful. It breaks my heart that I can’t be joyful with all I have, and these kids are joyful with nothing. It’s a nice mental check that I need to be grateful.
What feeds your soul? What makes you come alive?
I’ve got a wide range of things that feed my soul- intentional conversations with people, time with God while the sun rises, hearing rain fall on the rooftop, watching the stars, hugs. My mom’s chicken and dumplings feed my soul; she makes them every time I come home. She picked up on that as I’ve gone to college and come home and she’s like “oh, I know you always ask for this,” so it’s an automatic thing, and it really makes me feel good that she noticed something and continues to do it. Thoughtful things feed my soul.
What is one book everyone should read?
I would say Crazy Love by Francis Chan- this book rocked my world. It’s an intense read. I remember I was praying for God to speak to me and I didn’t realize that God could speak through other things besides this audible voice or burning bush. I was in my room reading this book and I was like “holy cow, this is God speaking to me.” I remember I started crying because God had answered a prayer that was unique to me, because reading is one of my favorite things to do. Instead of an audible voice, he decided to speak through a book. That really touched my heart that God connected with me in that way. This book challenges you to think and really puts you outside of your little comfort zone that I think some Christians can get into. It really expands your thoughts on how you live your life and how you want to impact this world.
Any parting words?
First, I want to say thanks to this community for embracing me and all my little quirks, because that means a lot that I can be myself all the time and no one will ever judge me or not let me hang out with them. They really draw close to everyone and make them feel welcome. The other thing is that, through the highs and lows of college, God is always there. Whether you feel him or not, his presence is there. In the moments where you can’t feel him, just keep pressing forward and reading your Bible. Don’t forget to pray, too, because even when you feel like God doesn’t hear your prayers, everyone words are valid. Don’t give up on God because he doesn’t give up on you.