Today, Kayla speaks to us about raising awareness regarding Sickle Cell Anemia and why that matters to her, the book teaching her more about rest, how God called her into her profession through her own health journey, and the amazing website she runs teaching young women and older women, alike, to be well. Thank you, Kayla!
Tell us a little bit about how you grew up and your childhood: I was born and raised in Sacramento, CA. My household consisted of my parents, maternal grandmother, little brother, and little sister. I would say I grew up in a loving home and was very fortunate to have little to no worries as a child. We were a close knit family, and I have always been really close with my siblings despite them being younger. I also lived in a neighborhood where all of my classmates lived, and we played outside constantly, while growing up together. Although, I didn’t grow up in a Christian home, and we didn’t attend church as a family, my parent’s instilled some great values within my siblings and I. I pray that one day, they will experience the saving grace of the Lord like I have.
What is a biblical passage inspiring you at the present time? “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV). May seem cliché, but it is so evident in the current season of my life.
Spiritual growth focus at the moment: Not running ahead of the Lord and trusting His timing. I’ve had a rough past couple of years, and it has been difficult to let things play out naturally. I am definitely learning the true meaning of surrender, right now.
Profession: For my 9-5 I am an Office Manager for an Oil and Gas company, in Dallas.
I also run my own brand, Soul and Grace Co. That focuses on holistic wellness and graceful living. In that, I teach wellness workshops to adolescent girls on body image, healthy nutrition practices, and expressing your emotions in a healthy way.
Walk us through a day in your life:
On a normal weekday:
8:30-5:30: I am working full-time as an Office Manager;
5:45-6: I arrive home, greet my husband, and we talk about our days;
6-6:30: Have dinner as a family;
6:30-7:30: I usually work on homework. I am an online student finishing up my second degree right now in sociology, health studies, and business.
7:30-8:30: Work on a blog for my site or read a book leisurely. On some occasions I will go out to dinner with a friend during this time or attend a social event at my church.
8:30-10:30: Watch T.V. and spend time with the hubby as the evening winds down
How do you incorporate your connection with God into your daily, secular work? I play worship music at my desk at work sometimes, I actively pray daily at work, I write on my breaks, and I have had conversations with my co-workers about my relationship with God and have prayed over some of their life situations. Incorporating God into secular settings doesn’t have to be hard, it’s simply loving on people and being yourself.
“Incorporating God into secular settings doesn’t have to be hard, it’s simply loving on people and being yourself.”
What do you think is something, we as Christians can bring to the wellness sphere?Honestly, opening the conversation on wellness in general would be a great start. Taking care of our bodies is something the Lord instructs us to do. However, as Christians it is rarely discussed as a body, and we need to be better stewards of the topic.
How do you incorporate your faith in your fitness and wellness practice? I like to practice meditation when I can, however I want to keep the focus of my meditation practice on God first. So, I typically pray before I meditate and ask the Lord to have His way with my practice. God usually speaks to me through dreams and visions so this is a great way for me to discern His voice. I also pray when working out, especially on the days I find it less motivating.
What advice do you have for a young woman who wants a job like yours? I would say that you can do and be anything in this life and to not allow the highlight reel of others to distract you from your God given purpose. It can be so easy to feel like there isn’t a place for you, especially in a saturated space. However, what God has for you, is for YOU, don’t forget that. Also, make sure to seek the Lord about your passions first, and allow Him to direct your path, don’t jump ahead of Him.
Did you feel particularly called to go into this profession? Yes, I did. Growing up, I never would have thought I would be working and helping others in the wellness space; it just wasn’t a passion of mine at the time. However, after going through my own health journey for the past 9 years, God began to change my desires. He showed me that my health testimony and knowledge on this topic would be used for his glory to help others in a powerful way.
“He showed me that my health testimony and knowledge on this topic would be used for his glory to help others in a powerful way.”
If you wrote a memoir, what would the title be? I am actually currently writing one, so the title is a secret, for now.
When did you first encounter God and how did you encounter Him? I first encountered God the summer after I graduated high school. I started attending a Bible Study with a friend that invited me to her church. We were given homework to do at home, and after completing my homework, I began to earnestly pray. During that prayer time, I remember a rush of peace coming over me, almost as if God was hugging me, gently. It was a feeling I had never felt before, and I just knew it was the Lord.
What has helped you grow spiritually in this season? Prayer and asking for help when I need it. Accepting the fact that I can’t do everything myself, and that the Lord doesn’t want me to operate from an empty cup
Just read/currently reading (and what has it taught you?): I recently finished Soul Rest by Curtis Zachery. It has taught me the meaning of true rest from a biblical standpoint, and the intricate reasons behind why God desires for His children to rest. Definitely, a huge eye opener!
Top three essentials: Purse, journal, phone
How did God speak to you recently? Through my doctor, actually. I had been searching for answers for years regarding a symptom I had been having. The results from my recent labs clearly show how the Lord has been protecting me over the years, even though I was beginning to feel as if he wasn’t there.
Hobby: Cooking and traveling to try restaurants mentioned on Food Network.
Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong: Praying, regardless of how you feel, writing it out, and regularly digging into your word even if it’s just 10 minutes per day.
Favorite person in scripture? Job, for sure. He had such patience and resilience, in the midst of his pain. I have always been in awe of his story and how the Lord does truly use our pain for good even when don’t feel or see it that way.
What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? I hope that they learn that God is a really sweet Father to His children, and a true healer that can use our pain to tell an even bigger story in our purpose.
“God is a really sweet Father to His children, and a true healer that can use our pain to tell an even bigger story in our purpose.”
How do you leave your mark on your community? By giving people practical ways to begin taking care of themselves holistically, by providing the tools necessary to begin a life geared towards healthy habits. Also, by serving in any way I can and donating goods to charity throughout the year.
Favorite holiday? Christmas!! It was always a special holiday in my house growing up, where my entire family got together to enjoy a great meal, exchange gifts, and just have fun. I just love celebrating the birth of Jesus!
A goal you have? To focus on my own physical and mental health, this year. This is huge for me because I am so used to taking care of others, but it is definitely time that I reconnect with myself again.
“This is huge for me because I am so used to taking care of others, but it is definitely time that I reconnect with myself again.”
A special tradition you and your family engage in or keep: Around the holiday season, my husband and I light candles, pull out cozy blankets and all of our favorite holiday movies, and watch them from November-January on the weekends. It’s so fun!
Question you will ask when you get to heaven? How did He manage the requests and needs of all of his children so effortlessly? I couldn’t even imagine how busy He is.
Thing you want to raise awareness about: Sickle Cell Anemia, finding better management options for the disease and a cure that isn’t so life threatening. My little sister was born with this disease, and she’s been fortunate to not have that many complications. However, my heart still hurts for her and people like her, when she is in pain that’s hard to manage.
What does your morning routine consist of?
Wake at 6Lay with the hubs for a few minutes;
Prayer and breakfast;
Spending 30 minutes with God in the morning—journaling, singing, and studying;
Stretch and yoga for 30 minutes;
Shower and get ready for work;
Pack my lunch;
Head out the door for work.
What is on your nightstand? My diffuser, essential oils, and journal.
Define Christianity in a sentence: Loving all humans with the eyes of Christ, despite the sinful nature we naturally possess.
For more Kayla:
Facebook: Soul and Grace Co
Until next time, keep witnessing!