Holley Gerth: Kindness Culprit #1

Hey, friends! Welcome back to my kindness series, featuring the first Kindness Culprit, Holley Gerth. 


There’s nothing like a cute new outfit. You know, one that doesn’t require compliments, although it will attract them, because you know you look good. My favorite people of faith are those that just wear Jesus well. They don’t have to talk about all the effort it took to clothe themselves or fish around for conversation and compliments. Regardless, everyone knows exactly where that outfit came from without even looking at the tag- the shop of pure joy and obedience.

Holley Gerth is one of those people. So much so that you wish you could just bottle her up and give her to your friends for encouragement on a bad day. And you can! As a writer for DaySpring and the co-founder of (in) courage, Holley slips pockets of hope in everyday life and is the perfect example of someone who uses her strengths to spread joy.

You see, Holley is a dream igniter. She doesn’t just believe in your dreams, she reaches into your heart and makes visible the ones you didn’t even know you had. I had the pleasure of meeting Holley at She Speaks (P31’s writer and speaker conference) and in the overwhelming weekend of information and excitement overload, she was a constant calm. She didn’t have to shout or recite memorized scripture; she was just open and present. 

Her presentation on God-Sized Dreams revealed the secrets behind her graceful impact, and they have really stuck with me since.

1.”Go in the strength you have.” (Judges 6:14) Look at your strengths, your skill set, and the people you’re called to serve. The intersection of these is not only where your biggest calling is, but where you will find your greatest joy. Many people do kind things, but you doing something kind for someone may be the first time they get a glimpse of grace.

2. “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life.”( 1 Thessalonians 4:11) This goes against everything our culture has to say, especially in the social media world. Believe it or not, we don’t have to receive enough “likes” to feel worthy. Kindness is done best when you’re not in it for the praise.

3. “There is no better dream than living a life of love.” (Ephesians 5:2) Instead of approaching your day with, “What task am I supposed to complete?” shift your perspective to, “Who am I equipped to love on today?”

What we can learn from Holley: Holley humbles herself to meet someone right where they are, but she doesn’t stay there with them. She reaches out a hand to brighten their day and actively pushes them towards something greater. Holley encourages others to reach for their God-sized dreams to glorify the Dream Giver. This is truly her strength, and shows that her gift is actually helping others to find their own gift.

For more on Holley, read her books You’re Already Amazing and You’re Made For A God-Sized Dream. For encouragement straight to your inbox, subscribe to her blog “Heart to Heart with Holley.”

A Soul Longing For More

Today I’m taking part in Proverbs 31 Ministries’ Online Bible Study Blog Hop (Sign up and look at all the other awesome blogs!)If you’re a fellow Yes Girl, I’m so excited you’re here! Subscribe so I know you stopped by and I’ll hop on over to your blog! 

P31 OBS Blog Hop

That girl sitting quietly in the corner, mindlessly scrolling through her phone but mindfully scrolling through every thought, every action searching through hope. You’ve been her. So have I.

What got you through your last down season? Odds are, it wasn’t so much a reversed circumstance as much as it was a person, a thought, an idea. In days of darkness, misery holds a choking hand of uncertainty. Gasping for air, we settle for mundane complacency.

In days of cheerfulness, positivity exudes from our inner joy, sometimes held captive in fear of labels of over the top and unrealistic. But we don’t realize the power we have to loosen misery’s grip on another’s daily grind.

Just a simple, “Let me sit with you through this. Tell me what’s going on. Here’s what brings me joy, and maybe it will for you, too,” holds breath-giving abundance. Why do we take captive the joy that’s not ours to keep?

“For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.”-Matthew 12:34

In the high seasons of your life, giving means nothing. In the low seasons, receiving means everything.

I used to be scared to say yes to God because I thought He’d have me do ridiculous things. And He has, but more frequently, He has me do what I love for who I love. God created you with a specific skillset, a specific heart with specific dreams to love on a specific group of people. Evangelism doesn’t just mean standing on the streets. It means standing on the edge of someone’s fears, taking their hand, and saying, “Me, too!,” followed by, “You’re not alone.”

George Saunders spoke at Syracuse University’s convocation on his life experiences, giving advice to graduates. (See the full speech here.) He said,

“What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness. Those moments when another human being was there, in front of me, suffering, and I responded…sensibly. Reservedly. Mildly.”

Who in your life do you remember most warmly? What did they do for you? Go do that for someone today.

This week, I’m featuring a series of kindness. People close to my heart using what they love to love on other people in their own unique way. I’ll bet it will give you some great ideas and starting points to examine your own strengths and apply them to kindness along the way, too. Trust me-they are some pretty amazing people!

Subscribe to read the rest of the series and keep in touch!

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Want Something Beautiful

www.KaitlinWernet.com "Want Something Beautiful" Christian lifestyle blog for 20-somethings
Hey now, this is my desire. Consume me like a fire, ’cause I just want something beautiful.

These lyrics are from my favorite song by Needtobreathe, a band I could fan-girl babble about for hours, but we’ll save that for next time. To me, great bands are made of two things: 1. well-writen lyrics and 2. out-of-this-world live performances. My Dad, the 70’s rockstar of the family, has been taking me to see his favorite rock legends for as long as I can remember, giving me a genuine appreciation for performers, whoever they may be.

But there’s a certain moment in a concert that absolutely thrills me, and it has nothing to do with the performers, lights or sound. It’s when the band finally breaks into your favorite song, the one you’ve been waiting for all night, and your heart leaps at the recognition. You close your eyes and your lungs explode with each word that you know by heart. Each note seems fuller and more electric than ever before, and you open your eyes to find yourself surrounded by people experiencing the exact same thing. People you’ve never met, and probably never will, but suddenly feel immensely connected to. That song that helped you through your last heartbreak, they heard it too. That song you belt out in your car, they do too. The audience moves and feels together, a true catharsis.

The song strings together so many human experiences, combining to make one beautiful, fluent sound. It’s as close to experiencing the emotions of another as we will ever get here on Earth. In a world where it’s so easy to get caught up in misunderstandings and conflict, music is the reminder that we are all constantly searching. ‘Cause we all just want something beautiful. 

I do the same thing in church. Sometimes, when the time comes for everyone to close their eyes and bow their heads, I leave mine open and look around. The sight of others humbly approaching the same God I know and love soothes my heart. I love seeing the passion or the urgency on the faces of my brothers and sisters in Christ. And many times, the desperation in the faces of some cause me to join right in with them. Prayer brings us to our rawest, purist state and, let me just say, it’s quite a sight. On occasion, I see someone who is fervently leaking their heart out to their creator, and it causes me to step back to get a clearer view of faith.

I imagine that when God hears our prayers, they come streaming in like the same fluent, aching sound found at a concert. Or, at least I hope so.

The same God that knows my heart and my desires knows yours just as well. I could tell myself this each and every day, but not grasp it one bit more tomorrow than I did today. The God that I beg and plead with, you do too. The God I rejoice and praise, you do too. The God I talk to and wonder about, you do too. The God that my heart wrestles with, yours does too.

Modern “Christianity” screams, “Post Bible verses as your Facebook statuses. Be a conservative Republican. Vote against gay marriage. Hate those who do not believe in God. Do not drink. Do not have sex before marriage. Do not have non-Christian friends. Hide your imperfections. Fend for yourselves. Do good things to look good to others. Make Christianity seem appealing.”

It’s so exhausting. Our hearts are so restless and so easily caught up in earthly things. We, myself included, have relentlessly tried to dissect God and His Word into bite-sized pieces our brains are comfortable with. We reduce Him to eliminate fear, and associate Christianity with politics and rights and wrongs, simply because that’s what our tiny little heads can wrap around and relate to. We have become comfortable.

I don’t want a complacent faith. I don’t want to continue to brush off the fact that God loved me so much that He punished his innocent Son for my shortcomings and failures. All I know is that political issues, judgment and do’s and don’ts don’t put my heart at rest. However, my heart finds abundant satisfaction in the constant pursuit of my Creator and His higher purpose.

I’m praying to become unsettled. That my indifferent attitude would be replaced with a radical hunger for the Truth. That I would not get hung up on things that will continue to distract, disappoint and dissolve. That I would hit the ground running into the arms of the only One who loves me wholly and perfectly. To quote Donald Miller,

“Too much of our time is spent trying to chart God on a grid, and too little is spent allowing our hearts to feel awe. By reducing Christian spirituality to formula, we deprive our hearts of wonder.”

And, after all, isn’t that wonder what we’re all after? Something…beautiful, perhaps?

The U-Turn Upside

I am awful at directions. I mean awful.

Unless you can tell me how to get somewhere in relation to a Target or Panera, all hope is lost.

Thank goodness I was born in this techy decade of GPS abundance. Otherwise, I’d tire out quite a few horse and buggies on my “adventures.”

I’m living in Charlotte this summer and it is quite a change from my hometown where there’s THE Target and THE grocery store. No no no. Harris Teeters are on every corner in this city. Like, every.single.one. Gone are the lifelines of, “Yeah, turn by the Harris Teeter and it’s right there,” leaving this girl a little dizzy. But it’s exciting. If taking a different exit home every day because they all look the same is your kind of party.

So my IPhone GPS and I have become quite close this summer. I will not tell you how many weeks I had to use it to get from my house to work. Mainly because those days haven’t passed yet. 🙂

I’ve gained some trust with my GPS through all of these experiences, but some days I think it’s just plain crazy.

“In 2.7 miles, make a U-Turn.” Uh-oh. Panic button. Stop the car.  In my mountain girl mind, this means you are wrong, turn around because you have once again been defeated navigationally by an electronic device smaller than your head.

But in Charlotte, that’s not so much the case.

They have these big fancy cement  dividers (feel free to insert official term here…) to direct and separate traffic lanes. So, sometimes, when my GPS announces, “In 2.7 miles, make a U-turn,” it doesn’t mean I’ve done something wrong. It simply means I have to go a little further around the road block to get to where I need to be.  Panicking and turning around before I have gone the full 2.7 miles won’t help even though I may think it will. My GPS knows what’s ahead, and even though I am trusting it to guide me, I doubt and question its accuracy. Is it taking me to where I actually want to go? Or did it misread my instructions?

It wasn’t until I was helpless in the middle of a parking lot who knows where that I realized my attitude toward my GPS is a lot like my attitude toward God. I think that if I type in the directions of where I want to go, much like going to church, praying and doing good things, followed by Pressing Go, will get me there. I follow the directions, step by step, until I am told to make a U-Turn. A U-Turn?  Say that, Lord? Do that, God? Oh, anything but that. I don’t have the time. That’s not where I’m supposed to go. I had a plan and I was depending on you getting me there, and now I’m not so sure anymore.

Kaitlin Wernet

But what if…there’s an unseen roadblock. What seems like the long or wrong way around things, could end up being your saving grace. Or the sweetest, most wild adventure you never would have dreamed up yourself. Jesus doesn’t have to “recalculate” based on your circumstances or your reactions. And you don’t have to double check his work along the way.

At the end, you will reach your destination. It may not have been the place you originally planned, but you can trust that it is where you are meant to be. You won’t have to turn around. This is a one way street, and all He’s asking you to do is hold on tight and enjoy the wind blowing in your hair.