Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Real People Feature: Kaitlyn

Kaityln and her husband, Mark, on their wedding day- October 2, 2011

          Who are you?

I am someone who simply loves God, life, and loves encouraging those around me to live life using the gifts they have been given! 

I wake up ready, each day, for an adventure. I try to find beauty in all things. I am beyond extraverted, but I love taking time to learn about people and listen to their stories. I strive to make a difference in the world around me and believe that if given the opportunity, every person can teach us something valuable. 

I am happily married to the man of my dreams and cannot comprehend how blessed I am.  I am currently pursuing the dream of becoming a psychologist, state licensed to perform therapy.

     What is the best advice you've ever given or received and why?

The best advice I ever received was from a professor who said, “What is in your heart will come out in your counseling room.” 

This significantly impacted me because it reminded me that if I am a bitter person, then I will never be able to help others let go of their bitterness. If I am judgmental, I will never be able to ask others to entertain being accepting. If my heart is filled with hate, how will I ever be able to show others, both in and out of my counseling room, love? 

This not only has affected my view of counseling, but also my view of how I treat and care for other people. What is in my heart is what will come out. If I don’t have love, I cannot give it. If I do not have understanding, I will be judgmental. 

In essence, I cannot give away what I do not have. I must fill my heart with the things I want to give away, because if I don’t, I will not be who I truly want to be and known to be.

What has been the greatest challenge in your life and why?

The greatest challenge in my life has been living through Lyme disease. 

When I was twelve years old I became extremely ill with the disease, but unfortunately doctors were unable to diagnose me. Everyone was baffled by my strange symptoms and how quickly my health deteriorated. 

By the time I was diagnosed with Lyme at the age of fourteen, I suffered from brain swelling, severe chronic pain, memory loss, extreme fatigue, and a broken spirit. I went from being a straight A student, happy and joyful, to someone struggling in all aspects of my life, and someone who was close to losing her life. 

Treatment was really hard. Upon diagnosis, I was immediately given intravenous antibiotics and nutrients two to three times a day for almost a year. When my health seemed to be returning after this first round of treatment, I was taken off of the medication, but soon relapsed. Until I finished my first year of college I endured IV treatments every day barring a few months here and there. 

Finally in 2009, I officially went into remission. While I still need to be aware that I could come out of remission at any point, I live my life thankful to be alive. I could have died from Lyme, but I count my blessings daily and thank God that I have a life to look forward to. I could have died, but I am alive. This disease has taught me to never take anything for granted; even each day I get to live.

What has been the greatest joy in your life and why?

The greatest joy in my life is marrying my husband, Mark. Never have I known a person so incredible. I thought I knew what love was until I had the honor of marrying this man, but I am convinced that I had only ever known a simple form of this great thing called love. 
A day at the family lake house  
Mark is a wonderful soul, and to call him my husband is complete and utter joy. No experience has taught me more about myself, life, and God than sharing life with Mark. In an instant, no matter what is happening in life, he can bring a smile to my face and laughter to my soul. What a gift it is to ‘do’ life with Mark. The joy is unexplainable.

Second to this is accomplishing earning my Clinical Counseling Psychology degree and now moving on to Graduate school, where I am working on my M.A. in Counseling. This accomplishment (and current endeavor) has brought such joy to my life because I know that I am one step closer to acquiring my dream job and helping other people navigate through the trials of life.

What is one thing you have not done that you really want to do and why?

There are two things (Sorry! I can’t seem to keep it to one!) that I really want to do in my lifetime. One of them is, more than anything, I would like work with victims of human trafficking- helping them to find a new life and healing. 

I want to be a part of that healing process. I am constantly telling my husband that I want to be one of those people who kicks down the brothel doors and saves all of the women and children inside. I want to be the person who brings justice, but also a person who brings hope to those broken women and children. 

I am passionate about bringing human trafficking to light. I know it is something a lot of people don’t like to think about or talk about, but it is an injustice that needs its lid blown off and its secrets spilled out.

The second thing I really want to do in my life is to adopt children who have nobody. I am passionate about caring for orphans and giving children who have no opportunities, a life full of them. 

I may sound crazy, but there are nights that I just lay in bed and think about all the kids around the world who have no one to care for them or love them. The suffering that children face around the world is horrific, and if I can make a difference in just a few of their lives, I will do everything in my power to do so.

I love people and I want to be a person who brings light to dark places.

How noble is this woman? Let me assure you, Kaitlyn is not just talking...she's going for it. Since the day I met her, she has been reaching out to make a positive impact on the world. She's just one of those people you hope your children grow up to emulate. She's paying it forward with every bit of her being.

Want to stay continually updated and inspired by her journey? Stop by to visit Kaitlyn's blog here. The goodness in her heart is contagious. And what a writer...

Learn more about some of Kaitlyn's causes at International Justice Mission and She's My Sister, two incredible organizations dedicated to spreading awareness about global injustice.

And my dearest Kaitlyn- I am so humbled by the love in your heart. Thank you, from the bottom of mine, for sharing your inspiring story. 

What are you passionate enough about to make a move for positive change? There's no time like the present...

P.S. It's TICK season right now! We've already found tons around these parts. Be on guard.

P.S. If you'd like to participate in a Real People Feature, send me a message at cally@frommyhearthtoyours.com or comment below. We'd love to hear from you.

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