Listen to the full podcast here. https://aboutthegirls.com/2020/01/07/kathryn-thompson-about-getting-r-e-a-l/
Kayla: Hey guys, thank you so much for joining us for another episode of “About The Girls.” I say this every week, but I just get so excited. I really am excited. We have all the way from the great state of California, Kathryn Thompson, thank you so much for joining us today.
Kathryn: Thank you for having me
Kayla: There is so much that I want to talk to you about that I feel like will be beneficial to our listeners. Before we jump in, can you tell everybody a little bit about who you are, your family, what you do?
Kathryn: Sure. I was born and raised in Oklahoma. Oklahoma still has my heart, moved to California five years ago, with my husband of nine years. We were high school sweethearts and grew up two houses down from each other. So I met him when I was five. And I have a beautiful daughter, Brooklyn, who was two and a half. And then I have another one on the way. I’m an only child. I was adopted when I was a little girl and currently right now I am working in the nonprofit sector, so I run a nonprofit. And then I’m also working for a nonprofit, which is a new venture of mine for Foster and Adoption Child Welfare Company. I’m a director of church and community engagement. So I really am working to mobilize the church to help with the foster crisis and to support moms.
Kayla: That’s amazing and so in line with kind of what you’re doing already. Kathryn, you mentioned that you guys moved about five years ago to California, really an unknown?
Kathryn: Yes, very much. So
Kayla: Tell us your story of growing up, being adopted, how you ended up where you are, because I think all of that background information is really important for us understanding kind of who you are, how your brain operates, the way it does and how we got to where we are now. Because I think there are a lot of women who maybe have always thought a little bit different or maybe felt a little bit different and are looking at it as maybe a bad thing. I think that God is really used the way that your mind works and some of your experiences growing up to shape what you are for the work that you’re doing now
Kathryn: That’s good.
Kayla: That’s a loaded question
Kathryn: Yeah, like I said earlier I mean, I’m very thankful that I was adopted into the home that I was. I know that that’s not always the outcome for every child when they’re born to someone that unfortunately can’t keep them and growing up I was a very crazy—I mean, you could probably if you know me now think oh, just like miniaturize yourself and that’s Kathryn. I just—I could never sit still, was all over the place, very high energy. I think that you know, when you when you were saying, you know, how did you feel as a person and just kind of growing up like, I felt very thankful and blessed to be in my home, but I always knew there was something different about me. I always knew I was adopted.
So I’m so thankful that my parents were open about that from the beginning. Because I am a question asker and I think it would have really been challenging had I not known that until it was older and so I could just always tell that I was adopted because our families are just a very different dynamics and not in a bad way, just different personalities and I could just sense that but I think that what I’ve known as I’ve looked back is just even being adopted and some of the things that I—even though I had a good, healthy family home, I still struggled with the element of, man, I like the rejection, that was something that was tough for me and still navigate that as an adult. And so I really always have this year—I know what it is now.
I didn’t know when I was younger, but I just had this desire that I didn’t want anyone feeling left behind and I didn’t want anyone feeling in the shadows because I didn’t like that feeling. And so that was something that really stayed with me and I would look for opportunities as a little kid to be able to reach out to the people that were getting made fun of or bullied or whatever that may be because I just…I felt like, even though I may not have been bullied, I felt like I could relate in the sense of and I feel a little bit different and no one should feel that way. And then also growing up which I’m comfortable talking about it now—I came to. I used to not be but I had ADD when I was growing up, I always looked at it as a negative thing. And I didn’t uncover that it’s a positive super power that the Lord gave me until probably about a year ago.
And so that was also something that people didn’t really understand me and how I operated and navigated and teachers and people would say, oh, you need to go take medicine and that was tough. And so, I see now, today from those two elements of the things that I struggle with at times, like how it even goes into the mission of what I do every day. That was a long answer.
Kayla: No, I loved it. It was a great answer. I loved it. We talk a lot about identity on the show, how have you been able to—because all of us feel rejection at some point. And for some of us, it’s in really big ways and some of us it’s in smaller ways. But I think sometimes that rejection affects the way that we view God. And I think it affects our identity sometimes, how have you been able to really ground yourself in who you are in Christ and not let the feelings of rejection or feeling a little bit different or any of those things, make you question who you are in Christ and who He called you to be?
Kathryn: It’s been a journey for me honestly. And I think that that’s still a journey that I’m on like navigating that because that’s something that as flesh and as human being that I will struggle with and that I have to get my spirit in alignment to be like nope, not today. I’ve gotten…I would say that I’ve gotten better with how long I allow myself to sit in a place of rejection or sit in a place of feeling like that. And so I’ve identity…I’ve gotten to the place where I’ve been so self-aware and with my walk with the Lord and that I’ve been able to identify, oh, but that’s rejection trying to creep in and I’m not going to allow that to happen because with rejection, you can fall very deep into people pleasing. And that’s something that I did a lot and that I really have grown, I would say more so in you know, when you when you move far away from everybody, and you have to start all over again. A lot of things come to the forefront.
You know, I thought that I had some things together and then I go into the new place and bam, I’m hit with insecurities and fear of rejection and so I’ve had to walk that path of, okay God, if you’ve called me to do something and if I’m being obedient to you like I lack nothing in that. And I get emotional when I say that just because of the season I’m in right now but like you, you lack nothing when you walk out in obedience. And so when I walk, I have to take myself back to that place emotionally, physically, spiritually, just holistically of, if I am being obedient, I may feel a certain way I do like what’s let’s go back to the true of who God says I am and what God has brought to me when it may feel lonely or when I may be afraid of people rejecting what I’m doing.
Kayla: Yeah. You know, what it strikes me laced in your words, is God’s truth. And even in—because we all have hard days, we all have the things that we struggle with, but what I hear from your words, and what I know about you as a person is that you don’t sit there, you don’t stay there. You speak God’s truth over yourself. And not only do you do that over yourself, you speak it over other people in your life too. And I think that’s important. I want to say that out loud, because I think so many of us. We sit in what we feel, rather than speaking what we know and walking forth in that. And I think you are such a beautiful example of doing that. So I know that not everybody that listens knows you well, but I hope that they hear that in your words, because I think it’s an example that we all can follow. Not that we won’t have hard days or days where we question or doubt or wonder, God, why this or whatever. But your example that you’ve set of not sitting in that
One of the things that struck me on your media sheet, it was your very last sentence of your story. And you said, if you don’t mind, I’m going to read this. You said I’ve learned so much about walking in ease as I was one that was addicted to the hustle. And I think that’s so relevant right now because everybody’s trying to build a brand or build a business or grow something or do something. And I think we do get addicted to the hustle. Can you talk a little bit about maybe a time that you noticed or how, if you did notice that maybe that was something that you struggled with and how you deal with that in the day to day?
Kathryn: Yeah, that’s good. And I’ll go back to saying that’s been a journey.
Kathryn: Because, you know, we’re all made with different giftings and different abilities. And if you’re not careful the strengths that you have, and we know that and we hear that but they can become unhealthy.
Kathryn: And I have always been a go getter. And I have always been someone that’s an action person.
Kathryn: If I say I’m going to do it, I want to do it and I want to watch my words. So if I say we’re going to have coffee, like we better have coffee and I need to watch my words and you know and follow through because—and I think that just part of my story of just like wanting consistency and not having that at times and me wanting to be a person of consistency. But I think that when it comes to that journey I was very aware of the addiction to hustle when I moved to LA
Kathryn: I don’t think I was as aware when I lived here and not because LA or California, I could have moved to Japan. I think it’s just in general, the movement of getting away from everything that I realized that I had this addiction to where I felt like I had to have something every single night of the week. And I felt guilty if I didn’t and I had to break myself of that. And I remember about three years ago sitting down with my pastor in LA, and he said, man, Kathryn, you know what the will is, you know what the way is but what we need to work on is, is making sure that you’re healthy when you’re going about the way to the will that God has for you. And so I was on my mission of you know what that’s true because it’s not sustainable. And I don’t want to help other people, but my soul is suffering inside, or my marriage is struggling or in ministry. It’s so easy, even though a lot of people don’t talk about it.
But it’s so easy to fall more in love with the mission, but that above God and your family, and I didn’t want that. And so it took time to decondition my mind to say, what’s really important, and do I believe the Word of God, if the Word of God says that he’s going to provide and that he’s the same yesterday, today and forever. So when he spoke to me seven years ago about the nonprofit that it’s still true today.
Kathryn: And so it was honestly just a continuous discipline of reconditioning my mind.
Kayla: Here’s what I think for a lot of us is the struggle and I’ll say for me, personally, it’s been more of a struggle since having kids. But I also have stepped into a little bit more of an understanding of the necessity of this. How do you decide and then accept? What to say no to?
Kathryn: Yeah, that’s—
Kayla: Because you’re involved in a lot of things on your own. And then I’m sure you have a lot of things that you get invited to or asked to, or, you know, whatever the case may be, how do you decide?
Kathryn: Something that really dawned on me one day is what is God asked me to focus on in this season in my life, every season looks different, I have to be okay with that. So some seasons, I may not get to see my friends as much as I want to because I’m really supposed to be focused on my family. But I also know that as a mom and a wife and working and helping run the nonprofit and volunteering, I also believe that with what God brings to me, he’s going to show me balance, but it’s—I mean, we hear balance all the time and I kind of want to throw balance out the door, because I think it’s more of a dance. It’s a dance with Jesus. So I do believe that sometimes we will feel that tension. And that that tension, my pastor would tell me, like that tension is okay. That tension helps us to keep the main thing, the main thing.
So, you know, I may be at this, you know, recording with you right now and as a mom, I may be thinking with my daughter still napping, but I’m still present with you right now. And I may have that tension of, how? Do I need to be there to and here and so for me, just like, I put some different parameters in place to help me when someone asks me to do something, since I know my natural tendencies, and we all know our natural tendencies if you’re self-aware. I—number one, make sure that I always say, let me get back to you, even if it’s a yes. Even if I know it’s going to be a yes. I always say let me get back to you. And then I seek counsel about that to make sure it’s something that I can take on in that moment. And then lastly, I make sure that my spirit is responding from rest and ease. If it’s responding to anything out of guilt or shame then I say, no.
Kayla: That’s good.
Kathryn: And that’s what’s really helped me man, am I going to a birthday party because I feel guilty, that if I don’t go they’ll think I’m not a good friend, but I’m actually really exhausted. I haven’t seen my family all weekend, probably shouldn’t go then. And so that’s really helped me because I would say yes to a lot of things out of guilt.
Kathryn: Feeling like I had to be there,
Kayla: Man, that’s good. Man, I needed to hear that. I’m really settling into what you just said, I felt like God is like, okay, Kayla. Can we talk a little bit about PPD? Because, I think it’s something people don’t talk about. And I think it’s important. And you and I have talked a little bit about things that we’ve struggled with. Can you talk about your process of—the journey that you were on a finding out, you’re pregnant to where you are now?
Kathryn: Yeah. The journey is the theme of our conversation because it was a two year journey for me. I—so yeah, I was the same as you, Kayla, I didn’t—I don’t know if that was maybe in having…being career focused is not a bad thing at all. I had this fear that I couldn’t like, once I…if I became a mom, that I wouldn’t be able to do that, and I let a lot of fear creep in. And so I got to a place where I didn’t even want to be a mom ever, which was actually really tough on our marriage, because my husband has always desired to be a parent. And, you know, I’ve been with him since I was 16 and we talked about that. So that’s a big like turn the corner moment. And so we weren’t intentionally trying to get pregnant when it happened.
And it was actually shortly after I had lost my job that I moved out to California for and was making pretty significant money and was like, oh, I don’t have a job now and now I’m pregnant and I don’t want to be pregnant. And so my whole pregnancy was challenging.
Kayla: Can I just say that that’s a lot. I mean, that’s a lot what you just said, we kind of just like, went through that very shortly but that’s a lot.
Kathryn: Yeah, it was a lot in itself. And I think you’re right in that to that, within, you know, getting pregnant period is a lot, you know, and we feel maybe we have all these different emotions as a woman and we feel bad, but then life, like, then we’re dealing with a lot of stuff on top of that.
Kayla: Life doesn’t stop.
Kathryn: And life not stopping
Kathryn: And so I also felt, I didn’t have a strong network yet in California, and my family was all here and Michael, how’s that going work? And so, my whole, I would say that my whole pregnancy was tough. I had moments of, I had moments of and I felt its hard saying that but I had moments of I don’t want this baby.
Kathryn: And I thought through options, and I’m like, well, I can’t do those things. I’m married. Like, you know, and it’s very interesting to me because now God has, I, you know, another life thing that happened was a year ago I met my birth mom and it really opened up a lot of different dynamics. And now when I look at him like oh my goodness, that was such a generational attack that was happening on me and factually four generations deep of adoptions and I, so here I am, you know, my daughter being fourth generation, so it was that much more harder because the enemy doesn’t want to keep families together. And I think we gloss over a lot of spiritual warfare and what happens with that, because not only is your body changing hormonally and your life is about to change. But the enemy does not want us to have healthy families. And so I was navigating spiritually, you know, all of the above.
And so, just obviously thankful for, you know, a husband that was able to be supportive through that, and friends around me, and I remember I’ll never forget one Sunday, I was probably about seven months pregnant, and I was up in the balcony at church, and I didn’t want to be around anybody. I’m like; I don’t want to talk to anyone. I’m just here to be here. And my friends saw me upstairs, of course, because you know, that’s how it works with friends. And she’s like, can you talk to— like, would you be open because I was just, I was very numb, if I can be honest, and she said, can you come and talk to somebody? Would you be open to that? And I was like, not really, but sure, I’ll do it. And actually, to this day, now she’s one of my best friends. So I really just started meeting with someone, I forced myself. I’m going to meet with someone and be raw and open about my journey.
And in my first year of Brooklyn being here, I had a pretty severe postpartum depression. I think it was a lot of things chemically, of course, but also just in general because I was already struggling with the fact of becoming a mom
Kathryn: And so you accompany all that together. I had a friend in my life that was very open and honest with and there were moments that I even debated living and so I was like, I don’t want this life. I—and I couldn’t be around my child, I didn’t want to be around her, which is crazy to think about it now, but this is real like this stuff happens.
Kathryn: And so super long story short of it here. I feel like I was forced by a friend to call a counselor. So I’m thankful for those friends that are very pushy and annoying.
Kathryn: And I called a counselor. And I worked with my counselor and I worked with my pastor. And I worked on both sides spiritual and chemical and emotional and physical and I worked on all of it because I believe that God cares about all of those things. And I just put in a lot of work and a lot of work and I would say that around her first birthday, I felt a little bit more like Kathryn.
Kathryn: But it took time.
Kayla: How did your people love you and the everyday ways that helped you get through that?
Kathryn: You know, I didn’t have a lot of people around me, but I had a couple people. And I think that, I feel like it’s—I don’t think that people sometimes know how to show up.
Kathryn: When something happens that I think they’re afraid to be awkward or but I’ve really deepen the understanding of what a family means even if it’s not blood, like if I’m family. I am there even after the thing happens. And I’m like, to the point of annoyance, and I had two people that were like that and my husband, and my pastor and my counselor, so they showed up by giving you that space to be free and vulnerable and speak what I want to speak and not try to fix it. I didn’t want anyone to fix it. I didn’t want you to try to justify my feelings and be like you probably feel that way because you’re tired. You know, I don’t really care. This is how I feel.
Kathryn: And they didn’t. They just listened. And they would take Brooklyn from me when I needed to step away.
Kathryn: Because I did a lot of times. And so that’s, that was, and I would say consistency. And that’s sometimes hard to find. And so you know having that consistent, or one friend would come over all the time just to see how I was doing and take Brooklyn so I could go on a walk and want to ask questions just showed up.
Kathryn: Tangibly, those tangible ways of helping
Kayla: That’s really good. I’m going to say this before I ask the question, and I go to counseling. I am a very like avid supporter of counseling. But for whatever reason, I feel like there is stigma associated with counseling, almost like people view it as you admitting that you’ve been defeated or something’s wrong with me. And so now I have to do this thing, because I’m not tough or I’m not strong or I can’t handle this on my own.
Kayla: And that’s not the case.
Kayla: What would you say to the girl who maybe is struggling but feels like there are no options and hasn’t considered counseling?
Kathryn: Yeah, I’ve been to counseling twice, two different times in my life, two different, you know, spans at time. I remember one time when I was in counseling here before I moved; I went because I was going through a phase where, which is a whole other time and place where I didn’t want to be married anymore. And it was totally something that I was navigating. My husband was amazing. He didn’t do anything. It was just something I was navigating
Kathryn: And I came to her and I just didn’t like where I was at. And I remember her saying, man, it’s really cool to have—that you came when you did, because a lot of people come when their whole house is on fire and you came when your oven was on fire. And that really stood out to me because I now look at counseling as a preventative tool.
Kathryn: And I feel like that’s how it needs to be viewed is it’s a preventative measure to help it get to the point of the house is on fire and there’s nowhere to turn. And if we had these check-ins with our self consistently, and not saying that a house on fire can’t be repaired, I’m just saying that, like, I’m very thankful that I went at that time.
Kathryn: When I did, because it may have been where it would have taken a lot more damage. Now I have scars and wounds that I will always live with because I stayed in the fire too long
Kathryn: When I could have prevented that.
Kathryn: And so that’s how I would encourage whoever is listening, is that it’s a preventative measure. And it’s an opportunity to—we were not meant to keep things inside of us, it’s so unhealthy to process. I know that I’m probably not the only one that can be in the car driving and you can be like happy as a clam, and then you can start processing and you can get to like bawling.
Kathryn: You’re like, how did that happen? And it’s those different emotions that we internally keep inside. So we need to have someone to help us know how to measure that. And I love all the tools that I learned. I also look at as tools like going to a boot camp for yourself
Kathryn: And I have so many tools now in my back pocket that I can use at any time. Even that helps me with my ADD
Kayla: That’s really good. You and Robert, you started a nonprofit based on what you heard God say, you stepped out in faith and launched this and here we are. Can you tell us, give us like the quick blurb of what REAL is and then I’d love to know the biggest challenge and the greatest joy as a lead this?
Kathryn: Okay. Well, REAL is a nonprofit, our mission is we holistically empower single moms to live fearless from their home to their workplace. And we do that through ongoing support, and really growing the mind, body, spirit and family. And so I really feel like it’s important to link arms with other moms. And I believe that, you know, with single moms, I just have so much respect and admiration for them. And so we have ongoing opportunities for the moms that get together and really create a family of their own and grow and have a moment to kind of step away from maybe the crisis that’s happening and focus on themselves. And so that’s been really neat. We just hit you know, seven years of being a nonprofit, which blows me away.
Kayla: It’s amazing.
Kathryn: It’s—thank you. It’s pretty fun, but yeah. My greatest joy and my, one of my challenges, I would say, I’ll start with my challenge. I would say that the challenge and the journey is, is sometimes just I was thinking about this yesterday, but just sometimes just continuing to say yes. Because it can be tough, and it can feel isolating at times when you lead something, especially if someone doesn’t understand your mission and your vision. And I know that that can be tough if someone’s trying to build something and it’s like, oh, people don’t understand that or what is, we’re, not that they don’t want to, they just might not understand that and they’re not meant to and it’s and so, I think that you know, or even just navigating the shift, things evolve as they grow and being okay with that, being okay with I need a hire, I need to hire new people or I need to, we need to change our focus or we need to rebrand and I and just being okay. And also just knowing what to funnel with feedback to keep and what not to because as a leader, you get a lot you should do this, you should do this and just really navigating, okay, God what should I do and what shouldn’t?
Kathryn: So that can be tough, but it’s totally worth it. I would say, you know, my joy in this and I was reminded of this last night when we had our 2019 fundraiser and celebrated the year and I was listening to women on stage just share about how REAL has impacted them and made generational change and I just felt God impress on my heart. Just the reminder that I’ll always go back to that he has worked with me on and that he’s reminding me of and that’s the power of the one and that’s my greatest joy is that you can go deep with someone and that that true discipleship and linking arms with someone is it’s just—it has a huge ripple effect.
Kathryn: And so seeing that is worth everything else that may be tough at times, and seeing God, take it and run with it and bring what we need and bring His provision is just like, it’s just so cool to see because that’s God.
Kayla: How can people who are listening, who maybe wants to support REAL in your mission? How can people find you and how can they get involved?
Kathryn: Yeah, we’re on social media, REAL single moms, and then our website is realsinglemoms.org. I mean, right now with you know, going into 2020. You know, we are open to of course, financial support as we build out our mission of what next year looks like and, and then, of course, just there’s volunteering opportunities, and really our heart as a team is to hear how someone wants to serve and then we plug in from there. Because I know there’s so many incredible organizations and I know that we’re all gifted to do different things. And so there’s always just really neat opportunities that come up for a volunteer, and may it be in our children’s program, or may it be with an event or on our board or whatever that may look like. But if they reach out to us through our contact page on our website, we just can have that engagement and conversation and see what that looks like for them
Kayla: That’s great and we’ll link all of that on the show notes. For those of you that are listening and you want a link to any of those avenues of getting involved. We will have a link, the social media links and the website on the show notes so people can find you easily. Kathryn, I want to ask you one last question, and then we’re going to do something fun. What have you learned about who Jesus is as you’ve walked through a lot of things in the last several years, what have you learned about who Jesus is?
Kathryn: It makes me emotional because he’s just so good. I think you know, I’ve learned that he that I don’t lack anything. I think that’s the biggest thing that I’ve learned. And I think more so in this season that, as tough as it can be. And I actually just started a new job because Jesus asked me to go into a new field is that when I walk into the newness of something that I don’t lack anything, that he’s there, and that the challenges that I face in transition, that it’s okay to mourn that, and that he’s in that season, and that he’s constant. And that’s just been really neat to see that that he always provides what I need, I have to be open for it in surrender to what I thought it was going to look like. And it’s always more, even better than what I could imagine and I’m thankful for that. I can’t even conceptualize what God can do you know, and I think that the third thing and there’s a lot but I mean, it’s just that, you know, He’s my peace and even when I don’t, even when I don’t feel peace, that I can speak peace and I know by the truth and who God is that he’s going to be in that moment.
Kathryn: And, walk me through it every step of the way, and that I just have to get my spirit back into alignment because we are all imperfect, messy people. But how cool is that, that God uses all of us despite that
Kathryn: And that’s really cool to me.
Kayla: So good. Kathryn, you have encouraged and one of the things that you’ve reminded me of today is just sometimes I think we need to be reminded of the necessity of Jesus in the everyday things and then the transitions and the challenges. And sometimes we also need to be reminded that we can speak truth of ourselves. We don’t have to stay in the feelings that we feel. We can speak truth to those things and we can have our hard days but we don’t have to stay there. I think for people listening, everyone has or will walk through some sort of season of transition or change that feels really uncertain and were looking down the road feels very unknown. And your story is such a great example, really a beautiful picture of trusting Jesus and knowing that whatever he’s taking us into, he’s equipped us for. And so I want to say thank you for being willing to share your story and to be vulnerable. I know that we talked about several things that are really hard to talk about. And you did that with grace and with such beauty. And I want to say thank you, I know this will be encouraging. We’re going to end with one little fun thing. This was by listener request, we have our ATG jar.
Kathryn: I love it.
Kayla: And this is full of the most random questions just to help people get to know a different side of you while you’re on the show because we get to hear all your heart and then we would have a little bit of fun with you. So let’s see what your question is. Okay, who is a woman in your life that you admire and why and I’d love for you to personalized that, talk to her as if she’s here.
Kathryn: Mm hmm.
Kayla: This is my favorite because I love hearing people talk about this
Kathryn: Can I say two
Kathryn: Yeah, my—I mean my mom, she’s someone that I mean, you’re someone mom that is just very consistent and has always been consistent in my life. My biggest fan will show up at any occasion and just has the heart to want to understand me, even if we don’t see eye to eye on something.
Kathryn: And that just really means a lot to me
Kayla: Your mom is crazy about you. And I love it.
Kathryn: She’s ready to pack up and go. It’s amazing seeing her with my girl, with her grandbaby. And I’ll just say to that I really admire my birth mom, Jennifer. I met her last year and have had the privilege of getting to know her over the past year and I just think it takes a lot of bravery to be able to do what she did. And then she had the bravery to find me.
Kathryn: So, it’s just been really cool and it blows my mind because we look extremely similar and we have a ton of the same mannerisms and a lot of the same interests and that just blows my , meeting her at 30 years old. So I just think that they’re both—I would not be here if it were not for both of you, awesome. I’m very thankful for you both.
Kayla: I love it. I love it. Amazing story, amazing woman! We are praying for smooth delivery, smooth transition with your sweet baby and I am so grateful that you joined us today
Kathryn: Thank you for having me