BeautifulYou Stories: Kilara
There are so many incredibly people that make up the BeautifulYou community. It is our hope to introduce you to a few of them so that you can hear, first hand, their stories.
BeautifulYou: Can you tell us a little bit about your journey and what first brought you to DC?
Kilara: Since finishing university, my journey to DC spans 3 continents and started in London. My family are all still there, and I last lived there full time was in 2005 and have been in Belgium and Mozambique before ‘landing’ here. I’m technically based in DC, although it doesn’t always feel like that. I was blessed to grow up in a Christian household and so church has always been part of my life and after making the decision to follow Christ for myself I’ve been part of a church family in all those different places and more and now call CapCity my home.
BY: Was there a moment in your life that stood out to you as a turning point?
K: Just the one? I feel like my life is a collection of one turning point connected to another, depending on what area of my life we’re talking about. I like to constantly re-evaluate and re-calibrate (if necessary). Growing up in a Christian home I’ve always struggled to be able to find THE turning point in regard to my relationship with Christ – other people’s seem to be so significant and meaningful – while mine seems rather mundane and tame. However, as I get older and have the beauty of more refined hindsight I begin to see the different points in my life that turned me to where I am now – which I do believe is the place I’m supposed to be.
BY: How has your life changed since that point?
K: I wouldn’t be in DC if it wasn’t for my experience in Mozambique. It was just after my Masters that I found out that I had been placed for two years in the one country I had totally discounted, working in a language I couldn’t promise I could recognize. Mozambique was very isolationg, but one of the first things I did was find a church and even though it wasn’t the perfect church I threw myself into it and made it my community. I joined a life group, where the next youngest person was at least 20 years older than me – there I met people who became my spiritual parents and siblings while my real ones were thousands of miles away.
I think it’s easy, particularly when you move away from your ‘normal’ setting to let church-life slip by – it’s awkward to walk in somewhere by yourself, it’s easy to find their way of doing things a bit weird, the people are just plain odd – not like at your old church where they’re all perfect. But I’ve grown so much as a person attending and serving in churches in London, Paris, Brussels, Maputo and now DC – I wouldn’t change it for the world. It had solidified my relationship with God as well as taught me things that I wouldn’t be able to learn anywhere else but impact both my personal, spiritual and professional life. The second Sunday I was in DC in 2010 I walked through the doors of Stuart Hobson Middle School (CapCity’s old meeting place) and knew I’d found home … again.
BY: What are a few things that have been helpful to you as you’ve taken this journey?
K: Prayer – I know I could be better. But in those times where I really just feel totally overwhelmed or have no idea what I’m supposed to be doing, have lost control etc I find that prayer helps to centre me. It redirects my attention away from those things that I can’t change and control and back to where my attention should have been in the first place. It reminds me that despite the ‘crazy’ outside, I don’t have to react and join in, God knows what’s going on and is in control even if my inadequate view/lense doesn’t show or feel that.
Church/ spiritual community – whether it’s the team I serve on or the small group I’m in or even people who don’t go to the specific service/church I go to. I know that there are people who will pray with me, for me, give me a great Bible verse/truth; people who will support me and often will have been through similar situations themselves, or can point me to someone who has with great counsel to give.
BY: Is there something that you would say to someone else who might find themselves in the midst of a difficult part of their own journey?
K: Hang in there! One of the things I’ve realized in (only just over!) 30 years is that there’s always something to learn and make me a better person in the midst of a difficult bit. Whether it was in a life-threatening situation when I was 5; to going to my 5th new school in as many countries when I was 13; to not getting the grades I expected when I was 18 (and then 20 and 25); or being broken up with (under very sketchy circumstances – long story) when I was 26; to moving to my 3rd continent in as many years alone when I was 28 or going to the third of my 3 younger sibling weddings, still single, at 30 – and there are so many more. I also realized that often God has brought the perfect people alongside me at those times to help me through even if they were difficult, but I had to remember to lift my head if only for a moment to let them in. I hate looking vulnerable and I don’t like asking for help. I know lots of people have been hurt by church and disappointed by people (they’re rubbish sometimes), but that’s often where that help and support has been so readily available for me.
BY: How long have you been part of the BeautifulYou family and how has that impacted your life?
K: Technically I think I joined in 2011, which was my first BYConference and the first one I served at. One of the things that I love about BeautifulYou is that it makes me reevaluate my pre-conceptions. I used to grin and bear women’s events, not totally convinced I needed them and knowing that I wasn’t enjoying what I often saw as overly-girly ‘stuff’. Now I realise that some of the closest women to me are women to me that I have built relationships with through serving at BeautifulYou – women that I might not have naturally spent time with or uncovered the gold in (as one of my old Pastors used to say) – which is SO cheesy, but SO true!
BY: Can you tell us about your role on the BY Team and why you love it?
K: I’m the person walking fast around the lobbies during the Conference making sure that things are running the way they should and as on time as feasible and also that the Pastor Donna/ the team’s vision is being executed outside as well as inside. Before and after conference I sit on the leadership team contributing to many different aspects for BYMovement but specifically looking to always be better on the way that the behind-the-scenes front-of-house gets worked out during conference and events. I love the energy on our teams during conference itself, working towards a common goal with the team. I love the 30 seconds/a minute calm when we call ‘Doors are going to open for conference’ and everyone’s in anticipation – knowing amazing things are about to happen for the women coming and for us serving as well.
Kilara hails from London but calls DC home for now. When she’s in DC she’s generally to be found eating and drinking somewhere new, scouring used bookstores and dragging herself several miles around Capitol Hill in the early morning in a desperate attempt to get back to running regularly. She’s also found at CapCity DC in the lobby and is the melodious voice you hear encouraging people into service.