LET ME TELL YOU A STORY...
Ever since I was a young girl, I dreamt of working in Hollywood. I hustled hard and eventually became a producer for television production and casting. I have been fortunate to have experienced amazing opportunities which I will always be grateful for. However, God gave me expedited favor only for me to realize it's not what I really wanted. During the pandemic, I found myself lost like many others. After many months of isolating, falling into a depression, and suffering from severe panic attacks, something miraculous happened that led me into a life that looked nothing like I could ever plan, and better than I could ask for.
Through a series of struggles and resistance, I eventually ended up at a Bible study in Laguna Beach. I learned something very important: unforgiveness and bitterness prevents one from hearing the voice of God. One of the leaders called me out. He barely knew my name, but he somehow read my mail. This group met me with compassion and prayed over me. I tangibly felt a supernatural shift. Something had broken off of me. The next day, I woke up and felt a strong pull to call an estranged family member. Ever since then, we have been rebuilding our relationship and experienced tremendous breakthrough.
Within a matter of days, things began to snowball. The family hosting these gatherings offered me to work from their home remotely. So, I started commuting from Los Angeles to Orange County five days a week. One of which being Sundays to attend church with them. Though I grew up in a Christian home, there were dysfunctions that placed limitations on my view of God. I was lukewarm and operated with a lot of doubt. Yet, at this time in my life, I fully recognized Jesus was trying to get my attention. And He did!
I suddenly realized, no one would recognize that I was a Christian by the way I spoke. I cursed like a sailor, cracked crude jokes, and didn't think twice about it. I was on the path to searing my conscience. During an altar call at a church service, the pastor posed the question in reference to the woman at the well (John 4:5-30): "What jars do you need to drop in order to go and tell people about Jesus?" In that moment, I told God, "I give you my tongue" and asked him to purify my speech. The next day, I became sensitive and aware of those speaking crudely around me. I could not listen to the same music anymore. I could not watch the same television shows anymore. And, in an instant, the fresh purity I had asked for came over me and rewired my brain. My appetite for everything had drastically and forever changed (Proverbs 8:13).
You see, I have been to many churches in the past and unfortunately witnessed many things that do not resemble Jesus. It was too much "grace" and not enough "truth." The world and the church looked too similar and led me into a lifestyle of compromise.
Thankfully, God redeemed my experience with the local church and brought me to a healthy house led by pastors who stand firm in their convictions and love people where they are at. For these reasons, my local church cultivated an atmosphere for me to radically encounter the Holy Spirit. Within two weeks of commuting, I have never heard God's voice so clearly: "Leave everything you've ever known and dreamt of and follow Me. Yes, that means quit your job and move to plant your roots in this community." Jesus proceeded to show me through a supernatural encounter, that I could absolutely achieve my dreams in television. He showed me that I would make it to the top! But, he also showed me that I would be left empty because I was building my empire... In this decision, He asked me: "Do you trust me, Kate? Do you really believe I have great plans for your life? And, are you willing to surrender it all and give up your will?!"
Within a month, God opened up an opportunity for me to move to Orange County with a friend who I randomly met as a solo traveler in Thailand several years back. After we returned to the United States, I helped her move from Chicago to California into the home now available for rent! As if it wasn't a lot of big asks already, Jesus proceeded to ask me to take six months off from work. To the world, that seemed foolish as we were in a global pandemic! Jobs were scarce! Yet, I was receiving offers with higher compensation! Yes, it was extremely hard to do so (shed many tears), but I turned them all down. I spent this time to heal. He began to show me He was my Provider.
God has a sense of humor. I somehow ended up at a Christian Divorce Recovery workshop. I attended to show support for someone participating. The funny part was, I have never been married. Therefore, I have never been divorced. Yet, I was front row weeping having experienced divine deliverance. Through this workshop, the callouses on my heart were removed and the deep stronghold of unforgiveness was fully released. This led to additional deliverance from anxiety, depression, and panic. Completely gone, and has not, nor will not come back.
God continued to prune me. It is easy to place our identity in our career and what we do. I was guilty of this. After declining work for six months to deconstruct this mindset, I woke up one day with a strong urge to fast and pray about my next season. I didn't even know the true Biblical foundation of fasting! I just figured I'd wing it and not eat for a day and pray more! Within three hours into my fast, I received an unexpected phone call from a local Christian non-profit. I was given the opportunity to work on the 1DayLA Campaign. We rallied 20,000 volunteers to serve poverty stricken areas of Los Angeles and upon completing a community service shift, they gained access to our stadium event featuring Justin Bieber, Chance the Rapper, Kari Jobe, and more. Pastor Judah Smith even preached the full Gospel message. We hosted medical clinics, donated furniture to foster care families, led neighborhood cleanups, aid distributions, and more. It was a true honor to be part of this and inspiring to see the sustainable impact made. This was so redemptive for me and far greater than just a "job." God told me, "Isn't it better to serve me in Los Angeles rather than serving yourself?" Yes... Jesus is still Lord over Los Angeles!
The day right before I started working on the 1DayLA campaign, my spiritual parents (the hosts from the original Bible study in Laguna Beach), sat me down for a serious discussion. They invited me to live with them. It just so happened to be the 30 day notice for my current lease! God's perfect timing. They gave me the keys to their truck and I moved myself within hours. Many might think it's a step backwards, but it's been a pure joy. In fact, it is biggest blessing I never knew I needed. Healthy families exist. Households that serve the Lord exist. And I'm grateful to be part of one. I witness miracles in this house on a regular basis.
My journey continued by completing a year of Bible College through my local church. This laid a necessary foundation in my walk with Jesus, instilling disciplines and great faith. It was not all "rainbows and butterflies." It was a stretching season to say the least (John 16:33). At this point, I was living in financial deficit for two years. I was under spiritual attack suffering from vertigo while sleeping. And, I suffered from chronic fatigue that was so debilitating I would need to pull over while driving to take a ten minute power nap during the middle of the day. But Jesus proved Himself faithful, redeeming and healing it all. I came out stronger. For that reason, I would not have it any other way.
You may be wondering what I am doing now. I'm trying to pay my bills and get closer to Jesus!! I live a balanced life - investing in my local church (Psalm 92:13), nurturing healthy and life-giving community, belly laughing often, and productively working on many projects. He's given me new dreams and vision for my life. In fact, I have plans to launch a non-profit, write a book, learn piano... and participate in the greatest revival our world has ever seen. Get Ready (Habakkuk 2:14).
THERE'S A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN KNOWING OF JESUS & KNOWING JESUS PERSONALLY.