Dream Casters is a new series of inspirational stories about River Podcast Premium Members. Over the past year, we have grown to love and admire our community of members, and are excited to be able to partner with them to tell their very meaningful and relevant stories. We believe that this series will inspire all who read it to dream bigger, hope deeper, and risk more. Leave your comments below and share this empowering story with everyone you know!
Kara, Bringing God into Work & Purpose
With the potential to be an everyday hero, Kara talks about her career and life with such simplicity and normalcy.
I met with Kara at a french cafe in Fresno, CA. The rain delayed our meeting a bit, but she approached the small coffee shop table with zinging energy and an open heart. She talks fast enough to keep up with a Gilmore Girl, and clear enough to explain herself easily to any adult or child. A presence of pure gold, passion, and clairvoyance.
I was delighted to meet Kara, but quite honestly, I knew nothing about her prior to our coffee date. I had only heard that she was quite inspirational. Briefly into the interview, I began to understand the fullness of that statement.
Kara is a Child Life Specialist. She uses art and play therapy as a means of helping hospitalized kids cope and experience emotional healing from trauma their illness may have caused. In other words, she saves the day for kids facing real life issues and illnesses. She restores comfort, peace, and stability to their lives.
She informed me that often kids will develop emotional issues when they are hospitalized, because they are not able to engage with the world and have a normal life. Kara will do things like therapeutic art sessions, or play sessions, to help make them feel safe again.
From my own brief research on the profession, it seems wildly helpful for children and their families, very intimate, but much more complex than it may sound. Kara, however, is in love with facilitating healing in this arena, and seems to find the challenge exhilarating and deeply fulfilling.
Kara is 26, and grew up in Fresno, CA, but it would seem that her strong sense of vision for her life, and willingness to trust God with that vision, indicates many years of deep understanding for the world around her and for God’s heart. With a recently acquired Masters in Child Life Therapy, and a lifelong career ahead of her, we are only catching Kara at the beginning of her life adventure, but we have already been inspired by her meaningful story. Here is a brief glimpse into her life and heart that is sure to empower you.
Part One: Kara’s Life
Q: Kara, What does the beginning of your life look like?
A: I’m the youngest of 3, I have 2 older brothers. I was raised actually like 5 minutes from The River Church in Fresno. I was raised in a Christian home. Being brought up I was raised Evangelical, and it wasn’t actually until Grad school that I encountered the supernatural, and what God had for me, and how to ask for more out of my life. So it’s been a spiritual journey, but I’ve always been really passionate about the Lord, and I’ve always been really passionate about helping people.
Q: What was it in Grad School that lead you to believe that there was more to life and God?
A: I more or less hit a wall the year after I received my Bachelors and the floor beneath me broke. There were a lot of things that I guess you could say hadn’t really been dealt with and I was basically forced to go through a lot of growing stages and lots of trials but through that I’ve gotten a lot of healing and a lot of breakthrough. I would say I went from existing to living, if that makes sense. It definitely was hard, and I had to let go of a lot of security. In many ways, God’s completely redefined who I am and the life I have now is not what I thought it would be, but it’s a lot better. If I’ve learned anything it’s that God dreams bigger dreams for us, and that the road isn’t always what we want, but it always ends up being a lot better.
Growing up, I dealt with depression and a lot of emotional stuff. School was always really hard for me, and I had this concept of who I was, and it wasn’t something positive. I always felt like I was kinda second rate. Over the past five years God’s healed me of so many things, and I’m literally not the person I used to be. He’s healed me and He’s taught me that I’m capable of way more than I ever realized.
There definitely has been a community that walked me through the process. When I was in Redlands pursuing my Masters, I was in a house church, which was the last place I ever expected to be. They introduced me to the supernatural, and through that experience I just learned soo much. One thing that was really profound was taking time outside of the traditional church and learning what it meant to walk with the Lord, and just sit with Him and hear His voice.
Q: So you've recently completed your Masters Program, and are back in Fresno working. What are the Promises and Prophetic Words you are holding onto for this current season of your life?
A: Ever since I started my Masters, people have told me that they see me in front of large crowds, like women and children. I’ve also been told that I’m going to have a lot of different roles and careers. I’ve been told that I’m going to be overseeing a large people group, and that I’m a person of influence. Teaching is something I’ve been told. Most of the prophetic words have related to my career.
Part Two: Kara’s Heart
Q: What is the most stuck you’ve felt in your life?
A: I think where I felt stuck the most was three years ago, where I was at my whit's end with starting my Masters Program. I really felt like on paper it did not match up to me. Everything I had been praying for my life was not happening. I was just so stuck, so desperate, but God totally came through.
Q: If you could say something to your past, stuck self, what would you say?
A: Don't listen to yourself, listen to God. And let go of logic and what you think is best. Just listen to the Holy Spirit and trust that it’s going to work out.
Q: What is something about your life that inspires you?
A: God has just answered so many prayers that are not always what I want, but so much more than what I expect. I remember growing up I just viewed work as something you do to pay bills, so getting to do something that I love, getting to help people, realizing that there’s so much more than just showing up 8-5. And in my position, if you’re working with the Spirit, you can see tangible change happen before you. When I was interning at Valley Children’s Hospital, there were some incredible things that I witnessed.
Q: If you had center stage for a moment, and the world was your captive audience, what would you say?
A: God dreams bigger dreams for you than you dream for yourself, but sometimes you have to keep going, even if you don’t see them happening yet. You have to press on, and everyday it’s a choice to keep going. Even if you don’t have exactly what you want or what you’re expecting.
For more on Kara's story, click the links below to watch exclusive videos from this series.
Watch Kara's message to you on dreams
Watch a testimony from Kara on healing
Watch a special message from Kara to you