HER:STORIES – Karen Cecilia

Hi Friends!

This last Her:Stories of the month features me with questions by YOU! It was so fun going over these and sharing my heart with you all. Thanks for being a part of this! I hope you enjoy.

x KC

Who are some strong women who have influenced you?

Karen Cecilia: Wow, I honestly have so many. From my family alone: my grandma, her six children—all girls—my mom, my sister. I have some pretty amazing strong women as my very best friends in life. Then I look at the churches that I’ve been a part of over the years filled with such strong women, standing firm in knowing who they are and what they’re called to, outworking the call of God on their lives with so much grace and transparency. I mean, literally, any given Sunday I could easily point out about five women I admire in the room! I actually wrote about it once, how inspired and encouraged I am because of the example set by these women who have gone before me—and those are just people that I know, that doesn’t even include women like Donna Crouch, Priscilla Shirer, Bobbie Houston, Lisa Bevere…the list goes on…Michelle Obama! Ha! Seriously, I love that they are all so different, but each of them have an amazing strength that inspires and influences me in some way.

First of all I want to congratulate you on your wonderful blog. Thank you for sharing with us the gift that God has deposited in you. As your big sister and biggest fan, I’ve seen you grow in many aspects of life, in particular your walk with God. I am witnessing you transition from a shy and reserved person into a bold, brave woman, who is stepping out from behind the curtain where you have worked hard, humbly and served diligently and onto a more visible platform where your voice and your gifts are displayed. Can you share for us how you took the leap to put yourself “out there” and what your experience has been?

KC: First of all, thanks for making me cry. Ha! This question is really loaded for me. I’ve known for a while that I am called to ministry. All my life there’s nothing that I love doing more than serving and building the Church in any way that I can. For me, I know that calling is multi-faceted, but there have been and still are some sides of it that scare the bejeezus out of me. For a long time, I’ve avoided those things, particularly public speaking, writing and leading in places that required me to be visible. But over the years I’ve learned that, honestly, God is so good, and gentle and kind and that there’s so much more at stake than my comfort. I’ve also learned that “yes” is the best thing we can say to God—there’s so much that He can do with a willing heart and he makes us brave. I can’t love something and not give it all I’ve got, so over the past year or so, I’ve decided that I’m in. I’m all in. I’m terrified. Sometimes I feel like I’m over my head when I think about some of the things God has put in my heart, but I’m in. I’m constantly wrestling with feeling like what I have to “put out there” is not really important or needed or making a difference, but it’s honestly not mine to hold back, so I’m going to do what He’d have me do. There’s a scripture that I love so much, Galatians 5:25-26, I particularly love how its put in the Message paraphrase, it goes: “Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.” This verse hits the core of my heart every single time because this is the life I’ve chosen, I’ve said yes to God and all that means for my life, so I’m intent on living out the implications of it in every detail of my life—not just in the areas that I feel readily comfortable in.

What are you reading right now?

KC: I just recently started a 6-week Bible reading plan by Angie Smith called Seamless, which truth be told, I’m a bit behind on! Ha! I did the Bible-in-30-Days plan in January and it was super intense (and so good!), so I’m thinking 6 weeks won’t be so hard! I’m also reading “Everybody Always” by my absolute favorite, Bob Goff. I admire him so much, he’s like a mentor to me.

What made you want to start writing a blog and what is your vision for this blog?

KC: I’ve wanted to do some version of this since I’m about 17-18 years old. I remember being up late one night and brainstorming for hours ideas for a Christian teen magazine (back in the day before blogs, ha!). Over the years it evolved into different variations of blog-like writing until it became what it is right now. Writing is something that I really love and encouraging people in any way I can is something that I’m passionate about. My blog has been an outlet for that. I’m not sure where this will go, but for now I’d say my vision for it is just to be a space where I can do that. Whether it be through a blog post about some area of growth and learning, a post reflecting on a Bible scripture or through something like Her:Stories, my hope is that everyone who comes across this blog would leave refreshed and encouraged in some way.

hs kay

If you could encourage your younger self, what would you say?

KC: For starters, I’d say, “Throw away your timeline!” Ha! Seriously though, I’ve learned that God’s plans are truly so much better than ours—they’re so much richer, fuller, more beautiful. I’d tell myself to invest more time investing in growing my gifts and strengths and to not try so hard to be what others expect or hope. I spent a long time trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life because I spent so much time trying to fit the expectations of others. I’d also probably encourage myself to avoid certain crushes, ha—but seriously though.

You’re a strong confident woman. Many women in the Bible, like Esther and the widow that Elisha helped, had to overcome fears to get God’s promises. What fears do you have and how are you overcoming them?

KC: This is a great question. I recently wrote a post called “Just A Girl”, where I talked about some of the fears in my life that I’m overcoming—particularly insecurity. For a long time I was afraid of sharing because I felt like I just didn’t have much to contribute and like what I had to say didn’t really matter. It held me back for a long time, but I’m confident now that those things aren’t true—even when I’m not feeling particularly confident in myself. I think there’s really something to be said about renewing our minds with the Word of God and I’m learning the power that the truth has to set us free. So much of my fear stemmed from insecurity and feelings of inadequacies, which I still deal with, but I’m reminded constantly that: 1-its not about me; as in both Esther and the widow’s cases, overcoming means life for other people! It’s always about others! 2- God is for me, he loves me, he made me, he’s with me and is doing something great in and through my life. That’s the truth and insecurity and fear crumble under the weight of it.

If you could see one thing change in modern culture as it pertains to women, what would it be? 

KC: Ok, so this is a really big deal to me and it’s definitely something that I think about all the time. For most of history, the value of a woman is defined by either her relationships or what she can produce. There have been so many revolutions and movements and yet here we are, in modern culture that says a woman is as valuable as the pleasure her body can bring, the children she can produce, the work that she can do or the relationship that she is in (be it a girlfriend, a wife, someone’s daughter or mom). Turn on the radio and you’ll hear songs telling women to shake this or shake that, there are songs—sang by women, mind you—about how they are nothing without the man they are with. There are songs encouraging promiscuity by women in one breath and in the very next, berating and degrading them for it. We’re encouraged to respect a woman because “that’s someone’s mother/daughter!” Beyond that—there is human trafficking which is NOT limited to women, but women and children are the highest percentage of enslaved people in modern society. If I could change one thing, it would be centered around women understanding and embracing their intrinsic value—knowing that its not about who they’re with or what they can offer physically, but rather that we are made in the image of God who meticulously designed each and every one of us. I’d like to see a revolution centered around women awakening to their God-given identities and I believe its happening. I’m witnessing it with my own eyes and my heart jumps for joy.

What’s your “Dream Job”?

KC: Easy: working in ministry and writing. Also being a mom. 

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

KC: Working in ministry and writing books and hopefully being a mom. Ha! Oh and married! 

What are some major lessons you’ve learned this past year?

KC: This has been a growing year for me. My mantra right now is: Your God-given domain will always extend far beyond your comfort zone because God will always take you further than you think you can go. I’m learning to not back down from the stretch. I’m learning to say “yes” even when its uncomfortable or scary and even when I feel unqualified.

What do you want to be remembered for?

KC: It’s funny, I love asking this question, but being on the other side of it is a bit more difficult than I thought. I feel like I’m still unfolding and growing and uncovering a lot of things about myself that will hopefully be a great part of my legacy—but overall I want to be remembered as being a lover of God and a lover, encourager and champion of people. I want to be remembered as someone who poured into others. I want to be remembered as a good friend. I don’t want to keep anything for myself, in the end, I just want to be someone who gave it everything I have and I’d love to be remembered for actually doing that.

The Lord announces the word, and the women who proclaim it are a mighty throng.

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