Sweet Whitney and I met through our husbands (law school) and I've loved getting to know her and her incredible heart ever since. Whitney is focused, compassionate, and lives life to the fullest. If you ever want to "talk it out" on a question that's on your heart, Whitney is totally your girl... she will back you up, point out the lies, and give you the encouragement you need to see Truth. Love. Her. I'm so excited for you to get to know her!
Tell us about yourself! Hi, there! My name is Whitney Kennedy and I currently live in Dallas with my sweet husband of four years, Ryan. I grew up in Midlothian, TX then moved to Dallas in 2005 to attend SMU and have been here ever since. My Bachelors and Masters degrees are in Accounting, but I am currently the Director of Team Development and Communications at University Laundry. I love to decorate our house, love on our furs babies, Trigger and Kona, and to have friends and family over to our home.
What inspires you? Productivity inspires me. That may sound weird, but I often say, "the lazier I am, the lazier I am," meaning that when I get going there is little that gets in my way, but when I don't have much on my plate I am slow to move. Productivity makes me excited, it encourages me, and it casts a vision for the future. I also find productivity contagious. If I am around someone who is extremely productive it spurs me on to do better.
What are your gifts and talents? For most of my life I thought I was gift-less and talent-less. This spring, however I read Jennie Allen's book Restless as a part of TPA's book club. Restless challenged me to spend time in prayer about my gifts and to seek God's reason for blessing me with them. While I haven't exactly discovered what God's hope is for the use of my gifts just yet, I have a confidence that He did, in fact, give me gifts.
One of my gifts is hosting. I love planning parties, lunches, brunches, dinners, get-togethers, game watching parties, showers, you name it. I love to plan the theme, meal, the activities, the decorations, the setup. I love to make lists, clean the house, add new decor to our house to fresh up the space, to buy-then return-then buy again the detail pieces. Of all of the elements to hosting though, my favorite part is when our guests arrive and I get to introduce new people to each other, catch up on our friends day/week/month/ year depending on how long it's been since we've seen them. And I believe that God put a desire and talent for hosting deep in my heart and I love to use it to serve Him and His people.
How do you use your gifts to serve others? One way I have been able to use my gift of hosting is by inviting freshmen girls from SMU to our home for a weekly Bible Study. Some weeks our group is pouring over The Word, discerning verses, and giving personal reflection from scripture. Other weeks it is an hour of tears, laughter, talking, fellowshipping, encouraging, questioning and question answering.
What would you do if you had nothing holding you back from your dreams? I would love to own a personal organization business. I find peace in a clean and organized home and realize that not everybody is naturally inclined to do so. My favorite times at our house are when we are hanging out in our living room, with our pups, candles are lit, and everything is in its place and I mean, everything has a place. I think it would be a blast to help others experience this feeling of peace.
Tell us about a season of suffering that lead to good things in your life. When I was in college I was surrounded by people all of the time, but was desperate for acceptance and attention. I would do almost anything to feel loved and pursued. I remember thinking at freshman orientation that everybody was richer, prettier, and smarter than me. I know now that Satan planted that thought in my head the moment I stepped on campus, and I spent the next four years trying to make myself and others believe the opposite. I was a believer but was not abiding in God or seeking relationship with Him. The affects of these temporary means of satisfaction caused suffering, guilt, and shame. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, "No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it." Because of this scripture, I know that it was never God's plan for my college years to play out like they did and that only I could deny the temptation. Thankfully, 1 John 1:9 says "But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness." THANK YOU, GOD. This means that even when I give into my flesh, God is faithful to forgive and to redeem. I have a heart for college women and yearn to love them, encourage them, counsel them, and teach them about our God who loves us. I am so thankful for my gracious God and His endless mercies.
Share your proudest moment. I can't exactly pinpoint the precise moment, but I am most proud of persevering through a particularly difficult season of life when Ryan and I were engaged and newly married. Getting married is a huge adjustment for anyone, but we transitioned very quickly from dating to Ryan proposing to me, so during our engagement we had a lot to work through reconciling our pasts to where we wanted to direct our future as one. After a couple of years of fighting Satan’s persistent attacks on our marriage, there came a day when I realized how strong Ryan and I were, that we were in a place to counsel other newly married couples, I felt confident in our relationship, and excited that God was using us in His beautiful plan of building His Kingdom. I was so proud that God chose me to be Ryan's wife and partner in ministry.
I feel my purpose in life is to... Gosh, I often wish I was one of those of those people who just knew exactly who they were, someone who was determined to be a CEO by the time they were 30 or just knew that their purpose in life was to be supermom. I'm not that person. A career-driven woman, I am not. I would, however love to be blessed with children some day. My favorite thing right now is being a wife, but I know that the answer to this question is so deep and is in my bones.
I feel my purpose in life is to make God known and I want to do that by loving God, loving people, and serving both.
To meet more Rubies, check out the rest of The Ruby Project!
All images via That's Pretty Ace