true beauty: kayla mertes.

October 28, 2011

I first met Kayla a year and a half ago at our very first Wonderfully Made retreat. She was bubbly and funny and kind, and I knew from the start that we would become good friends. Sure enough, by the end of the weekend we had decided to live together in San Diego, and the friendship took off from there. Kayla is radiant from the inside out, and a friend I’m so thankful to have!

What is your greatest passion in life? How do you live it out?

One of my greatest passions is spending time with other women, laughing together and sharing our lives. I love Girl World! I live it out by being surrounded by women most of the time! Working with the ministry Wonderfully Made has allowed me to meet so many incredible women and to be able to build young girls up and be poured into by wiser women. Our desire in Wonderfully Made is that young women would walk in the truth that they are precious, loved by God and worth much more than what the world has to offer. I love planning parties, events, and retreats to get all the women I love in the same place at the same time! A few more passions are my family, working with children, education, and Africa.

What woman inspires you?

The women in my family are always inspiring me! My mom is vibrant–an authentic follower of Christ–and she has devoted her life to loving our family and offering truth to hundreds of other women. My grandmas have given me a love for past and future generations because of the stories and wisdom they’ve shared with us grandkids. They are loving, supportive, and joyful women who have created a legacy of lasting marriages and selfless sacrifice for the generations to come. My sister is different than me in so many ways and I love her view on life. No one makes me laugh more than she does and she inspires me to be real and not to worry so much.

How does what you do for a living fit in with your passions and what you feel is your calling?

I work full-time for the John Corcoran Foundation, my grandfather’s non-profit devoted to literacy. It originally began when he started sharing his secret of not being able to read until the age of 48. The Foundation teaches children and adults how to read and provides inner city families with free computers, internet, reading software, and tutors. My role fits in perfectly with my calling of working in the non-profit sector, improving the lives of children, and carrying out my grandfather’s mission. We have a nation of 44 million adults who are reading below the basic level, which also means these people cannot read the Bible to themselves or to their children.

When do you feel most alive?

Traveling and experiencing new cultures! I also love sitting at a restaurant for hours and hours with girlfriends eating good food and laughing. I feel alive when I am teaching children … whether its teaching preschoolers about how much Jesus loves them or teaching a child who has been struggling with school his whole life, how to read! I love watching my students grow and change with confidence and joy.

What do you think is the most challenging thing about following Jesus as a 20-something girl?

Learning to have balance in my life and pursue only what God wants me to. A huge challenge in my life is over-commitment, scheduling, and trying to find a healthy balance for my body, mind, and spirit. I want to learn how to better follow God’s leading of how He wants my time spent.

What is the most rewarding thing about following Jesus as a 20-something girl?

My life is so abundant! I know it is only because of Jesus. Knowing Him is the joy of my life. He has given me a full life of the sweetest, most fun friends, a loving family, and purposeful work and ministry. I look around and cannot believe that I get to lead this life. Being at this age and not yet having a family of my own allows me to travel spontaneously, spend time with friends, have the freedom to try new things, and devote time to my passions. As a 20-something girl, I love that we all get to discover more about who God made us to be and how He is shaping our futures. Plus it’s really fun to not be as insecure as I was in high school!

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