Skip to content

Kaitlynn H.

Today, Kaitlynn speaks to us about her extraordinary story of healing, the “freeness of grace” and her experience with Word of the Year.

Tell us a bit about how you grew up and your childhood: I grew up in a stereotypical, white middle class northeast Ohio family. I was raised catholic and believed in God, but never understood what it meant to have a relationship with Jesus. My parents have been married almost 33 years. I have one brother named Matt who is two and a half years younger than me. He is my best friend. I have a six year old Fox Red Lab named Bentley.

Inspiring biblical passage of the moment: My brother and I have matching necklaces from Shields of Strength with Philippians 4:13 written on them. We purchased them in 2016 and rarely take them off.

Spiritual growth focus at the moment: 2021 was the first year I participated in the popular Word of the Year Initiative. My “why” for participating was to focus on becoming more like Jesus and to pray for other people as they seek to become more like Him too. As I began to pray these words over people, they all started showing up in my life too. I didn’t have just one word – I had more than 20. God took something small and made it something big. In light of that, I have decided that I am going to build a “house” of words versus trading them in from year to year.

My 2021 word was “hineni.” It is the Hebrew word for “Send me!” It represented being “all in” with Jesus more than a desire to go to any particular place. This was fitting because I chose it (or God chose it for me?) during a global pandemic. I wanted my year to be marked by being obedient to God. There were countless times I got it wrong and God showed me that the root of my disobedience was fear. I was thankful for the ways God was able to redeem my disobedience, but I did not want it to become a pattern. The question I felt God asking me each time I was tempted to do things my way was “Do you trust Me? Because if you do, you are the one making this hard.”

The most important principle that I learned in 2021 was that obedience is my job. Outcome is God’s job. It is written with a permanent marker on my bathroom mirror. I am choosing to continue to lean into the discomfort that comes with living life God’s way. The more uncomfortable I am, the more I am reminded of my dependence on Him.

My word for 2022 is “Paraclete.” It is the Greek word for “Helper” in reference to the Holy Spirit. My prayer is that God uses me to reflect the “give up, go to, be with”  Spirit of Jesus.  When I thought my life was ending, my only regret was that I did not know Jesus sooner. I do not want anyone to miss out on knowing Jesus because I was too afraid to share Him. As J.D. Greear says, it is only Good News if people hear it in time.

There are two verses that I am praying to anchor my year, especially as I continue to develop as a speaker + writer in order to be a bridge to Jesus.

Matthew 10:20: For it is not you who are speaking, but it is the Spirit of your Father who is speaking in you.

John 14:16-17: And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. You know Him, because He abides with you, and He will be in you.

“The most important principle that I learned in 2021 was that obedience is my job. Outcome is God’s job.”

Profession/Mission: Fueled by Faith + Covered in Glitter

I am passionate about Jesus and I am “all in” regarding how God wants to use me to build His Kingdom.

I decided to participate in the popular Word of the Year initiative. My word is “hineni” which is the Hebrew word for “Here am I! Send me!”  Whatever He wants me to do, I want to do it. Two dreams that God has placed on my heart are speaking + writing as a means of sharing all He has done, is doing, and will do in my life.

While “hineni” is my Word of the Year, “fearless” is the Word of my Life. I don’t want to get to the end of my life and when I come face to face with God, have Him tell me that there were so many ways that He wanted to use me, but I was too afraid.

If you wrote a memoir, what would the title be? Fueled by Faith (not food).

When did you first encounter God and how did you encounter Him? I have believed in God my whole life, but never understood the Gospel until 2016. I heard a sermon with a video clip of Judah Smith’s explanation of the substitutionary sacrifice. I was in tears in my bed listening to it.

How would you describe Jesus? My best friend. The One who I can always fully be myself with and not be afraid of rejection. The One who loved me before I knew Him.

How has your relationship with Him changed you? The first word that came to mind was that He has made me more gentle. I used to be very hard -headed and hard-hearted as a means of trying to protect myself from pain. He has been in the process of healing the broken parts of my heart which has given me a newfound freedom to let my guard down. He has allowed me to see vulnerability as a gift instead of a weakness.

What has been the darkest time in your life, and how did you see God in it? In 2015, my body spontaneously stopped digesting food. It did not follow the pattern of any known illness and baffled the medical community. There was no explanation apart from God for how my body was able to be functioning through six years of starvation. I knew that I was running on prayers not calories. The smaller I became (literally) the more clearly God was able to shine through me. For so long, I thought I needed a new body, but God knew it was a new heart. God miraculously healed me on July 20, 2020. I am so thankful that God has more for me to do here, but I knew that either way my story ended well because of Jesus. I started a podcast as a way to share the hope of Jesus with people in pain.

“For so long, I thought I needed a new body, but God knew it was a new heart. God miraculously healed me on July 20, 2020.”

What has helped you grow spiritually in this season? Being in community – experiencing the love of God through other people.

Just read/currently reading (and what has it taught you?): I read a passage in Prayer by Tim Keller this morning that explained the freeness of grace. I have no trouble believing I am a sinner, but I struggle with believing that God not only forgives my sin, but forgets it. His explanation helped me to understand that I need to gain a deeper understanding of the freeness of grace because my sin patterns generally revolve around self-righteousness and trying to “earn God’s mercy through my own inner suffering of conscience.” I have been made more aware that when I do this I make something about God about me. I do this as it relates to Him healing me, too. I feel guilty about it even though it was out of my control. When I feel this way, I think it communicates that I don’t trust God and His plans. I have to constantly tell myself that God did what He did because of who He is, not because of who I am (or am not). I need to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus (which is a phrase that has been on my bathroom mirror for almost a year now).

“When I feel this way, I think it communicates that I don’t trust God and His plans. I have to constantly tell myself that God did what He did because of who He is, not because of who I am (or am not).”

Top three essentials:

The Gospel

Glitter

Good eyebrows

How did God speak to you recently? God has been bringing to mind different worship song lyrics that echo the Truths found in Scripture. I record them in my journal. A recent one has been a song that was written by the Worship team at my church. It is called We Will Go. One of my favorite lines is “He’s called us out of darkness to be the light and show the love of Jesus.” The contrast of dark/light is a powerful pattern in Scripture and has been a way for me to trace God’s faithfulness in my own life.

Hobby: Long walks with friends and/or my puppy Bentley.

Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong:

Be in communication with God all day long. He cares about the little details of your life.

Ground yourself in a gospel preaching local church.

Share the ways you see God is moving in your life with others.

Favorite person in scripture? Aside from the obvious answer of Jesus, I have been continually drawn to Hagar’s story. I love how it captures God’s heart for those who feel unseen + unloved by the world.

What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? I want people to know that God sees, hears, and loves them.

How do you engage with your community? I have found that many of the people that engage with my content are local, so my preferred method of engagement is to spend time connecting with them in person. Do not underestimate what God can do with one intentional conversation.

A goal you have? My deepest longing is to know God and make Him known to others. Glitter has become my visible representation of Jesus. Episode one of [Glitter + Braids], Glitter Theology, explains this metaphor in greater detail. I was looking for a way to remind myself of His presence, so I started putting glitter in my hair. If I was going to put Him on display in my hair, my behavior needed to reflect His heart. Consistent obedience has been a slow process, but God has been immensely patient. I am thankful that all the glitter comes with a double portion of grace. I dream of a place [The Glitter Grotto]  where lingering conversations are the norm and people leave covered in glitter [literally].

A special tradition you and your family engage in or keep: My family has a lake that we have biked, walked, and run around through all different seasons of life. I have been doing this walk since I was five years old.

Thing you want to raise awareness about: My prayer is that God can use me to help free people from the pressure to write their own story by showing them they are already an important part of His story.

What does your morning routine consist of? I recently did a podcast episode with a more in-depth description of my morning routine and why it matters to me.

During the work week, I am up at 4:00 a.m., but on my days off (Friday and Saturday) I will let my body wake up without an alarm. My routine follows the same pattern regardless of the day. I start with intentional time with God that includes : journaling, reading a bit of a spiritual formation book, and reading Scripture. I am currently reading the book of John. This portion takes place in my bedroom. I drink a glass of warm water with a mixture of lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and pink himalayan sea salt while I do it. Most mornings this will take me about 120 minutes.

After this, I enjoy a cup of black coffee and will listen to a Christian podcast or a sermon message from another church. I take notes while I listen to it.

I take a short morning walk while I eat my breakfast (a mug of oatmeal). I will do this outside and use it as time to pray for my neighbors and talk to God about His plans for me that day when the weather is nice enough. When it is cold or raining, I have been doing it on the treadmill while watching a podcast interview.

What is on your nightstand? My nightstand is covered in books.

Define Christianity in a sentence: A worldview anchored in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

For more Kaitlynn:

Podcast : [Glitter + Braids] : No matter where she goes, He is with her. on Apple Podcasts

Blog: [Glitter + Braids] – No matter where she goes, He is with her. (wordpress.com)

Instagram : @heinl_km20

Until next time, keep witnessing!

XX

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: