Today, Kai speaks to us about being present, her dream of becoming a theologian, her writing project, and how God’s presence was felt in her life.
Tell us a bit about how you grew up and your childhood: I grew up both Catholic and Baptist, at the same time. I went to Catholic school until I was in the 10th grade. On Saturday evenings, my family went to 5:00pm mass where sometimes I served as an altar girl. Sunday mornings, half of my family went the the local Baptist ministry. My brother and father watched football, while my mother and I attended 8:00am service. I always say my love for the study of God’s Word came from religion classes and my Catholic upbringing. My love for God’s presence and His people came from my upbringing in the Baptist community. But my devotion and love for God himself happened daily on my own, beginning at 13, when I told Him to show me who He was beyond what others said or believed. If He wanted me to follow Him, He’d have to prove himself to me– and He did!
Inspiring biblical passage of the moment: 1 Corinthians 12:26 (MSG) “If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance.”
Spiritual growth focus at the moment: I want to become a theologian.
You are releasing Dear Church Vol 1: The Beauty of The Body. Tell us about your book!
Dear Church is a letter to the Body of Christ whom I love. During the last 5 years we have seen the racial divide, denominational divide, and politics of ministry further divide the body from within, in a major way. While the world watched cases such as Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, and others, friends of mine who were in mainstream ministries started calling me to talk about what was happening in the world and in the body of Christ. How could they, in their new awareness of privilege, change the narrative where they lived.
After attending a conference in London in 2015, and being able to count the number of people of color (with a 10k + attendance), God told me to write a letter to the head of the ministry hosting the event. I started researching the leadership of some of our biggest and most notable ministries. In each case, the top tier of leadership lacked diversity. Now, when I talk about POC (people of color), I am not only speaking of African Americans, but Latinos, Asians, Polynesian, Middle Eastern, and so on. The lack of representation of diversity across the board caused my heart to grieve. It wasn’t just white ministries, but African American ministries, too.
I began writing Dear Church Vol 1 in January of 2019. As a gift to myself for my birthday, I would have the manuscript completed. On April 9th, 2019 the book was completed. This three volume work is a call to action, as I ask us to all take a look at ourselves, our community, and our world. I am excited to be self publishing a message I believe and one that is biblical. Dear Church Vol 1 – The Beauty of The Body, releases on October 3rd, 2019. Volume 2 will be released 4/9/20, and Volume 3 will be releases on 10/8/20.
If you wrote a memoir, what would the title be? Beautifully Wrecked (I am going to write it one day).
When did you first encounter God and how did you encounter Him? I used to think I had encountered God when I was 13, but I hadn’t. I sought to know God at 13. I encountered Him at 21. I was at my friends house and had been wrestling with God. She gave me a book to read, that evening. After going into the room I was staying in, I got up and went into the bathroom. I brought the book and sat on the floor and began to read it.
Seriously… as I read the room flooded with light, and I began to shake. God’s presence was manifesting in a way I had never known before. He was revealing Himself and His glory. I wept and could not stop. The introduction (which is what the word encounter means; to meet someone), was so sweet and powerful. It immediately shifted everything in my life. The next day, I rededicated my life to God. It was not a ritual to get back in His graces. It was a determination to live solely for Him.
What has helped you grow spiritually in this season? Understanding the deep need to water my soul as much as I water my spirit. The soul (our mind, will, and emotions), can seem ok when we are feeling good about our spirit man. However, we can be on autopilot and miss the unidentified roots which have caused us to miss healing we need for the next place God desires us to go.
Just read/currently reading (and what has it taught you?): I currently read the manuscript of my God-sister’s book that will be released in 2021, as she just got an agent. (I cannot share the title). The book surrounds exercise, but in a way that shook me to my core. I love to workout, but over the last few years, I have found it difficult to stay consistent for a lot of reasons.
Whatever I do, I go all the way. Exercise is no different. I make a plan and whatever the regimen, I kill it. At the same time, I cannot maintain this level I go at to get immediate results. And if I am honest, most times, the results are not what they guarantee. I realized my love for exercise had turned into an overwhelming dislike. Exercise was this thing I had to do, but no longer enjoyed.
Here is the crazy thing, anytime I exercise I would have these life giving moments with God. Exercise was a thing and I needed to see it differently. Anything I have a relationship with, I invest in, because I value the relationship. I started to look at exercise as a person I wanted to be in relationship with. I had to transform my mind in order to transform my body!
“Anything I have a relationship with, I invest in, because I value the relationship. I started to look at exercise as a person I wanted to be in relationship with. I had to transform my mind in order to transform my body!”
Top three essentials: God, family, and my Bible.
How did God speak to you recently? Recently, I became very aware of the importance [of] my work, as a writer. Where I had accomplished much in the area of ministry, God revealed to me this was one thing the enemy hoped I would never do. As things began to intensify around me, I could clearly see what God was saying. It allowed me to arm myself and prepare spiritually. I was built to honor the name of the Lord.
Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong: Prayer, study of the Word, and fellowship/community. Found in Acts 2: 42-47, this is what we have based our ministry around and is what we live daily. Remaining spiritually strong should not be based on a set of routines. It should be what you live daily as a representation of our devotion and reverence for God.
“Remaining spiritually strong should not be based on a set of routines. It should be what you live daily as a representation of our devotion and reverence for God.”
Favorite person in scripture? Paul. It is not only Paul’s conversation story (which alone is profound and encouraging). But it is the the realities of our humanity and Spirit-man which Paul presents not from a place of saying “you” but “we.” He includes himself. Romans 7 is a beautiful description of an internal battle we will all face. Paul doesn’t tell us about what we will go through, instead, he shares with us his struggle. Fully an Apostle, Paul doesn’t shy away from the truth of his flesh. He never places his views on God, but tell us what he thinks or has learned. He takes responsibility for his role as a leader and a man.
“Paul doesn’t tell us about what we will go through, instead, he shares with us his struggle. Fully an Apostle, Paul doesn’t shy away from the truth of his flesh.”
What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? I want them to know He sees them, and He hears them. I have often found when I ask people how they are doing, they look at me as if they are confused by the question. Over and over, the response is, “You really want to know?” In a very casual and nonchalant society we are living in, statements are made to be polite more than they are made because we truly care. I understand all of us desire to be seen and to be heard. It is here where encounter the friendship of God and His great love toward us.
“In a very casual and nonchalant society we are living in, statements are made to be polite more than they are made because we truly care.”
How do you leave your mark on your community? My community is large and hold(s) within it different people. My community is where I live, learn and grow. I leave my mark by BEING PRESENT! I do not shy away from those who are not like me or don’t agree with me. I work to be the hands a feet of Jesus.
Favorite holiday? My birthday – Is that a holiday?
A goal you have? To speak all over the world and continue to write books. But most of all, to be a mother.
A special tradition you and your family engage in or keep: Sunday dinner. We keep the sabbath on Sunday. We have incorporated a Sunday dinner for those in our fellowship, community and family and friends. Sharing a meal with others is an important aspect of serving others.
Question you will ask when you get to heaven? NONE! I promise this is not to be deep. But biblically I, as I know myself, will not be the same. I just want to see Him.
Thing you want to raise awareness about: The need for the body of Christ to come together.
What does your morning routine consist of? Waking up saying hello to my dog and making him go to the back TH room and reading on my phone emails, passage of scriptures, checking Facebook, and Instagram in my bed. I then get up and start my day.
What is on your nightstand? I don’t have one. Sounds crazy I guess, but I don’t.
Define Christianity in a sentence: This should be easy, but unfortunately in our present day and age, the word has taken on many different meanings and has been attached to doctrines which do not represent the Christ – Likeness we are to have. In early Bible days, it was used as a derogatory phrase as if to call us a bad name. It then became a representation of those who were followers of Jesus Christ. When people ask me now if I am a Christian, I first ask them what do they mean before I answer. I reply most times by saying “I am a follower of the Way. Jesus being the way, truth, and life.”
For more Kai:
Until next time, keep witnessing!