Today, Katie, a certified Christian life coach and host of the Stepping Into a Joy Filled Life podcast, speaks to us about a dark season that brought about great fruit, her ministry, and the February night that changed her life.
Tell us a bit about how you grew up and your childhood: I grew up on a small farm in Southeast Iowa. I have this old, faded picture of my older brother and me feeding baby bottle calves with our farm dog, Penny, beside us. I adored my big brother and still do! Unfortunately however, some of my earliest childhood memories were not happy ones. When I was 5 years old, my parents divorced. I remember walking into the kitchen and seeing my mom sitting on the floor crying. At 5 years old, I really didn’t understand what was happening, but children naturally have great empathy. I remember sitting down beside my mom and just weeping with her. In the years that followed, my mom and dad both remarried. My brother and I grew closer than ever, and I gained a handful of new siblings, too. While walking through that experience brought both blessings and lessons, it also wove pain, confusion and distrust into my life. There was a gaping hole in my heart, left over from my parents’ divorce.
During my high school years, I thought I could somehow fill that void on my own. I intentionally dated “bad boys.” I thought that I could fix them or save them and somehow that would make me feel better about myself. Those choices never resulted in happy endings. A lot of people got hurt in the process, myself included. I would paint my fingernails black (a reflection of how I felt on the inside), and I prided myself on being Miss. Independent. I was even voted “most independent” in my graduating class. I think the reality was that I just didn’t fit into the social norms. I didn’t fit into anyone’s box. I didn’t trust anyone, and I wouldn’t let anyone get close to me. During all those years, both sets of my parents were taking me to church and youth group events, regularly. I knew God existed and that He was real, but I did NOT understand what it meant to have a relationship with Him. Frankly, I didn’t care. I was completely fixated on my past and my pain. I reflect back at how God was tugging at my heart through all the broken pieces of my life. He was pursuing me. He was totally at work in my life, and He was going to turn my mess into HIS message…
Inspiring biblical passage of the moment: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–His good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2 (NIV)
I’m a Certified Christian Life Coach and this verse is the basis of my coaching program. It lays out a beautiful plan for how we can achieve breakthrough and total life transformation! I love to help women discover WHO they are, WHOSE they are and WHAT they’re called to by renewing their mind with God’s truths. In the area of identity, women often believe that their past defines them or that what people have spoken over them is who they are, when in reality, the truth is that WHO they are is a beloved Kingdom daughter. After their mind has been fully renewed with that truth, I’m then able to partner with those women to help them piece together the reason God placed them on Earth for a time such as this. We are all called to make Kingdom Impact! Sometimes, we just need a little help uncovering how we’re called to live that out… how we can carry out God’s purpose with great intention. Helping women piece all of that together absolutely lights me up! It’s the most fulfilling “job” I could have ever imagined.
“After their mind has been fully renewed with that truth, I’m then able to partner with those women to help them piece together the reason God placed them on Earth for a time such as this.”
Spiritual growth focus at the moment: My family is currently studying the Fruit of the Spirit and what it looks like to walk that out in our everyday life. We all have work to do! We’re so thankful that we have the Bible as our top guiding resource. It’s such a gift, and it serves as the ultimate guidebook of how we can grow into all that God created us to be!
Tell us about the podcast you host, Stepping Into a Joy Filled Life: The Stepping Into a Joy Filled Life podcast is all about equipping women with Biblical wisdom. The show is upbeat and warm, and it’s packed with JOY and Jesus! Women love it because it feels like this “happy space” where the Holy Spirit moves, when they tune in. Each episode, my guests and/or I help the listener renew her mind with truth in the areas of kingdom mindset, intentional living, marriage and motherhood. I believe that while our past may have shaped us, it doesn’t define us. We are all called to a life that is good! (Jeremiah 29:11) The podcast really helps the listener to “grow forward” one step at a time to become all that God created her to be in the areas of life that matter most: spiritually, personally, and as a wife, mom and friend! God is absolutely at work through the Stepping Into a Joy Filled Life podcast. He’s already done more with it than I could have imagined. The reach is worldwide and it continues to grow every single day. You can check out the show at StepIntoJoy.com or wherever you tune in to podcasts!
If you wrote a memoir, what would the title be? Broken to Beautiful. That title paints such a picture of what God has done in my life. He transformed a broken little girl into a wisdom and faith-filled woman who understands that she is a beloved daughter of the King! It tells the story of a child who once was lost, but then was found, accepted, loved and redeemed!I actually do plan on writing this book eventually, because the message is important. Our God is such a GOOD Father, and He can turn anyone’s trials into triumphs and He will, for His glory! We each have a story to tell. We’ve ALL walked through hard things in the past. I think it’s time that we rise up and courageously share our truths. There will always be someone who NEEDS to hear your story. When you tell it, it will change their life… and yours!
“We each have a story to tell. We’ve ALL walked through hard things in the past. I think it’s time that we rise up and courageously share our truths.”
When did you first encounter God and how did you encounter Him? As I mentioned, I struggled with the heartache of my parents’ divorce throughout my childhood and through my teenage years. And then, I carried all of that mess into my marriage. When I was 19, I met the man who would become my husband on a cruise ship headed to Mexico. He was nine years older than me, and he looked NOTHING like the type of guy I would have ever dated. But God… right?
Chad was a Southern boy with blue eyes, an accent and dimples. Somehow, I knew within moments that this was the man I was going to marry. The fact that he was nine years older than me actually solidified the whole thing in my mind. I was an old soul, worn out and weary from navigating the pain in my past. Surely getting married would fix everything, right? WRONG! Chad and I got married when I was 20, and I found myself in this space of total confusion and emotional chaos. I thought that some magic flip would switch on our wedding day and everything from my past would just melt away, and we would live starry-eyed and happily ever after. The problem was that my heart didn’t magically change on our wedding day. It was still deeply hurting and refusing to trust. Here I was– newlywed and not fully trusting my new husband. I thought that because divorce was in my past that it MUST be in my future. Over the course of the next six years, my husband was tremendously patient and kind with me. I constantly wrestled with anxiety, silently fighting this battle inside of myself. I desperately wanted to be free from the chains of my past. I wanted a solid and fulfilling marriage. And as the babies came along, I wanted to be a good mom. I wanted our kids to see that a faithful, loving marriage was possible. I had so much stress and anxiety around this part of my life, that it was making me physically sick. I had to have tests run on my heart. I was slowly dying… I became aware that having a heart attack at a super young age would quite possibly become my reality if something didn’t change. By the grace of God, in 2011 a friend introduced me to a mentor, a life coach. I began to sit at her feet and listen as she taught Biblical truths around the power of forgiveness, gratitude, honor and what it looked like to have a relationship with Christ. I dug into the Bible. I spent time in worship. I cried out to God in prayer. Then, in a hotel room in the middle of the night in February 2012, God woke me up abruptly. I sat up in bed, my husband asleep beside me. Tears streamed down my face as God began to whisper to my heart. He revealed to me that He’d never left me during a single moment of my life. In the hardest and most painful moments, He’d been right there with me, walking beside me… holding me. God showed me that if I hadn’t walked through everything in my past, that I wouldn’t be where I was in that moment. I wouldn’t have grown or been refined that way that I had been. I wouldn’t have had my husband or my kids. I wept as I finally gave God my past, present and future that night. I stepped into a relationship with Him in the middle of that February night, and He washed me clean and made me new!
“I had so much stress and anxiety around this part of my life, that it was making me physically sick.”
How would you describe Jesus? Jesus was fully God and fully man, all at the same time. It’s mind blowing, right?! It actually brings me great comfort knowing that He lived and felt all of human emotions and scenarios that we walk through, even today. Jesus is loving and kind. He’s an ever present help, an always present friend and He is ever pursuing our hearts with deep, rich, sacrificial love. My favorite way to refer to Jesus is that simply stated, He is my “soulmate.”
How has your relationship with Him changed you? It’s helped me to view my life and the world through an entirely different lens. Before I encountered a true relationship with Jesus, I wasn’t able to fully trust, and I had a hard time offering forgiveness. But when I encountered Christ, the chains that had bound up my heart for 26 years were broken away. I could forgive because Jesus forgave. I could trust because of Jesus’ great love. My relationship with Jesus has also shown me what love really is– putting others’needs ahead of your own. How beautiful!
What has been the darkest time in your life, and how did you see God in it? Outside of those dark days of my childhood and high school years… it was a season in my marriage where one single business decision had left us stripped of every physical thing we held dear. Our finances had tanked, and our hope had diminished. It felt like aseason of crawling on our hands and knees through the pit of Hell. I remember having moments of anxiety so severe that I struggled to breathe. For almost a year, I didn’t know how we were going to keep the utilities on or put food on the table. There were moments in that season where I completely checked out. The Lord was so good to us, and He stayed so near, in that season, the lowest point in my 15 years of marriage. He reminded my husband and me that we had made a vow; He reminded us to “never quit on the same day,” He reminded us that He was WITH us and that He was refining us. He reminded us to hit our knees and look up and cry out to Him.
Little by little, we crawled out of that season. We made it out alive, and we did it together because of the Lord’s grace and goodness. I can honestly say that I look back at that season with so much gratitude. We learned some hard lessons. We gained wisdom in areas where we desperately need to grow. The darkest time in our marriage was truly a blessing, and it produced so much good fruit in our lives.
“We learned some hard lessons. We gained wisdom in areas where we desperately need to grow. The darkest time in our marriage was truly a blessing, and it produced so much good fruit in our lives.”
What has helped you grow spiritually in this season? Digging into the Word. There’s NOTHING like it! I love to read and I’m constantly reading books about faith, personal growth and business. I also love to study biographies and autobiographies. But at the end of the day… every good and true word that comes from those books has ultimately come from one place, the Word of God. This is the reason I believe that the Bible itself should be our first and main source of study and reference. It’s like a guidebook or a road map, that covers every single area of our lives! There are crazy, amazing things in the Bible. I’m shocked when people tell me they think the Bibleis boring. I always respond with “you haven’t read enough of it yet then, Sister,” because the Word of God is ANYTHING but boring!
The Gospels are a great place to start when digging into the word. Those books are so alive, relevant and wild! Inside the pages are all the secrets of happiness, success and eternal life! It’s the greatest love letter ever written. Clearly, it fires me up. The Word of God is SO GOOD!
“There are crazy, amazing things in the Bible. I’m shocked when people tell me they think the Bibleis boring.”
Just read/currently reading (and what has it taught you?): The Greatest Miracle in the World by Og Mandino. It’s a quick read that is PACKED with power and goodness. I try to read it once a year, and it’s the top book I recommend to anyone who’s looking for a book that will help them grow personally and spiritually. You have to read it for yourself to see what it teaches. It’s too good for me to spoil it for you! I’ll just say that it includes a message from God that will blow you away. It’s a must read, for sure!
“I’ll just say that it includes a message from God that will blow you away.”
Top three essentials: My Bible. My family. Nature/essential oils. My Bible is my greatest (physical) treasure. If my house were burning down, it’s the one item I would be certain to grab on my way out. My family (can that count!?). My husband and my three kids are the most beautiful, precious gifts that God has given me here on Earth. That being said, parenting is also one of the hardest things I’ve ever done! It feels like every day brings a “growth opportunity.” God often speaks to me through my kids, which is amazing, and I’m so blessed that my husband, Chad is a patient, loving and good man. We are absolutely teammates in all that we do! Nature / essential oils are huge in my life. Nature is where/how I feel most connected with God. Essential oils, which come from nature obviously have become a big part of my family’s life. I think it’s amazing that God has provided us with ways to heal and thrive using what He created in nature!
How did God speak to you recently? God whispers to my heart so often. If we will be still and seek Him, He will whisper. He is there, waiting to pour His voice and love into us. Recently, I was tired and frustrated. My husband had been out of town for a week with his work, and I was home with the three kids. The moment that God whispered to my heart that night, I was scrubbing the toilet, actually. (Doesn’t God have a sense of humor!) I felt weary, and I just wanted to rest, not catch up on household duties. As I wiped down the toilet seat, God whispered “I see you.” A tear streamed down my face as I stated out loud, “I don’t want to be seen. I just want to rest.” “Rest in me,” God whispered back to my heart. I looked in the bathroom mirror, as one last whisper came, “You are my daughter.” It was exactly what my heart needed to hear. It was the reminder that my tired soul longed for. Sometimes what we want or don’t want is different than what we need or don’t need. But God… He always knows just what we need and the exact moment in which we need it. He is so faithful and good! Amen!
Hobby: I love to travel with my family! We love to go camping and visit the National Parks. It makes for the best memories and (some of the most economical) vacations. We have a family goal to visit as many of the National Parks as we possibly can in our lifetime. I also love to visit the ocean, drink iced coffee, listen to and record podcasts and read. I’m a lifelong learner, for sure!
Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong: Spend time in the world… take it in slowly! Always be renewing your mind with God’s truth! Surround yourself with others who follow Christ. We become like the five people we spend the most time with. Be sure that your core tribe loves Jesus! Repent! Repentance is Heaven’s “reset” button. Often as Christians, we think “I’m good. I’m saved.” But the truth is that we will still make mistakes. We still need to repent and ask for forgiveness when we’ve done something wrong. Honestly for me, this is pretty often. I’m not perfect, just forgiven and free! And I totally believe in the power of repentance!
Favorite person in scripture? Moses. I relate to him on a very personal level. There have been so many times in my life where God has called me to something big, and I’ve felt completely unequipped. He calls me into places where I could NEVER succeed without Him showing up in a big way. And the Holy Spirit ALWAYS shows up in a big way, revealing God’s glory in the process. God doesn’t choose the qualified. He qualifies the chosen. I see this is the story of Moses. And I see it in my own life, over and over again.
What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? That He is the source of my JOY. That happiness and life and peace and freedom… those things come from Him and Him alone. My goal is always to point people towards Jesus in a gentle and loving way. I try to live my life so that it wouldn’t matter if I didn’t speak a word, but rather that my actions show the light and JOY that radiate from my soul… all because of Jesus.
How do you engage with your community? The Stepping Into a Joy Filled Life podcast is where and how I pour into my community in a powerful way. I love that I can meet the listener wherever she is… on a morning walk, in her car on the way to work, at her kitchen table with a cup of coffee or even over a sink full of dishes or a basket of laundry. I also offer 1:1 coaching where I help my sisters grow in an intimate and private way. You can learn more at KatieHedrickCoaching.com. And finally, I have a wonderful and warm community inside of Facebook. It’s a free group called “Happy Chicks” where about a thousand women come together to pour into and love on each other! We’d love to have you join us there!
Favorite holiday? Easter, for sure! I love the intentional pause, as we celebrate the resurrection of our Savior! What a beautiful and exciting day!
A goal you have? Writing a book, my “life story” has been on my heart for several years, as I mentioned above. I do plan on doing it, I’m simply waiting for God’s perfect timing and for Him to say, GO. I’m in no rush because He’s teaching me new things every day that I know are meant to be included in the book. I’m embracing this season of deep, spiritual growth and when the time is right, I can’t wait to share everything I’ve learned with the world. I’d also love to host retreats and live events some day! In His will and His timing, I think it will happen!
Thing you want to raise awareness about: Human trafficking breaks my heart, and I believe it breaks the heart of God, too. About 10 years back, I heard Christine Caine speak at a leadership summit, and I was shocked at the things I did not know about human trafficking. It’s a real problem. It’s deep, and it’s so dark. We have to bring light to this injustice. I’d love to partner with A21, ChristineCaine’s anti-trafficking campaign in the future.
What does your morning routine consist of? I love this question! My morning routine consists of exercise, meditation and time with Jesus. I think it’s important to move our bodies! Most mornings, I do a quick HIIT workout. Other mornings, it’s gentle stretching or a walk. It’s less about what type of workout I’m doing and more about moving my body. What a gift to be able to move our bodies! I recently stepped into the practice of meditation, and I’m loving it. It’s actually challenging for me, as my thoughts are often pinging around all over the place. I love that it’s helping me to become more self-disciplined as I recognize those wandering thoughts and rein them back in. It’s helping me to become more focused and productive, too! Time with Jesus is also a part of my morning routine. Sometimes, this looks like reading the Bible. Other times, prayer, and other times it’s catching a Christine Caine podcast while I’m in the shower! However it happens, my day is always better when it includes intentional time with Jesus!
What is on your nightstand? Books and essential oils. No surprise, right!?
Define Christianity in a sentence: Following Jesus, and loving like Him, too!
For more Katie:
Online Community: KatieHedrick.com/HappyChicksGroup
Until next time, keep witnessing!