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Coaching

Practicing the Art of Adventure :: Featuring Kelly Cook Tana

What does it look like to practice the art of adventure?

Every Friday we are featuring a woman who is Practicing the Art of Adventure in her daily life-stepping into the unknown, embracing change, trusting Him, leaving fear, and loving extravagantly, all the while, traveling deeper into God’s heart. It is our desire that through their lives and stories of adventure you will be inspired & challenged to say YES to God’s invitation to follow Him. No matter what season of life you find yourself in, may you see that everyday is an opportunity to practice the art of adventure as you abide with Jesus.

We’d love for you to join us here each week!

So…what adventures is God leading you into?

How can you practice the art of adventure in your everyday life?


 

Today is Friday! And that means we get a little peek into the life of a woman who is practicing the art of adventure! I’m so honored to be introducing to you one of my favorite people- Kelly! I consider her a dear friend. We met many years ago back when we both lived in Vienna, Austria. She is one of the most passionate, caring, and wise people I know! Not only is she living a life of adventure with Jesus BUT she is also helping others (particularly kids in Thailand) to be able to do the same. 

You will love her interview today, so sit yourself down for a moment and join us under a mosquito net in Thailand as we chat with Kelly about everything from panic attacks to the first horribly difficult first year of marriage, to her hair salon in Australia and a school in Thailand!

First, introduce yourself {tell us where you are from, your favorite place to go or favorite thing to do, and what a “normal” day looks like for you!}

Hi! My name is Kelly Cook Tana. I was born in Ohio. I grew up near my cousins and grandparents we all shared over 40 acres of property with swimming holes, creeks and waterfalls, we even got to swing on vines! My husband likes to talk about me growing up near the Amish. Which I did. I remember…picking strawberries together at my friends farm. Campfires with my family or at summer camp with friends, s’mores or songs…nothing was better. Then there was fall…the leaves crackled under my feet and the tar on my street became hardened. Crickets could be heard admist what we thought could be coyotes. Winter drew closer and that meant playing in snow tunnels, layers of clothes to chop firewood and of course sleds being dragged behind dads four wheeler. Nothing is as sweet as a childhood…and then Spring when my brother and cousins and I would walk to my grandparents to get the gardens ready to grow with the most beautiful and delicate roses and tallest asparagus. Childhood. The truest adventure of all. I could write for days about my childhood but I’m pretty sure I should move on to the next question.

So where was I?

Oh yes, I’m under a mosquito net at the moment…

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What is your current season of life right now & where are you having difficulties trusting God?

This season is surely a season of growth. I just came out of one of the biggest desert seasons I’ve ever walked through. And at the time, it was very difficult! But God is seriously working quickly in showing me every bit of redemption- and I’m loving it!

I feel like this is a season of freedom and major inspiration. My soul has awakened, my spirit is on fire. I can feel my bones rising again! Move over dry bones! No more desert for me, I’ll take dessert now! I’m feasting in His glory!

One of the areas I’m walking through and growing in at the moment is regarding our finances. I feel like there is never enough. I know this is a lie so I’m doing my best to rip it out by the roots from my foundation and fill that cracks with the truth- that with God there is always enough!

3) Share with us a specific example {from the past} of how and when God has met you when you’ve walked into the unknown with Him?

Well, I thought I was walking into something I knew – or at least had educated myself about, but boy was I wrong! I moved to the Thailand/Burma border within the same 6 months I got married. Um yeah, not a “known” place. Let’s call it “unknown”…majorly unknown. I thought I was in for a fun time. A loving time. It was so wretchedly hard the first year and a half that I didn’t know why I had placed myself in this situation, how could I possibly think what I had chosen was a good idea? And why would God allow it?

But God, oh he was right there he whole time. He never left me. He walked with me thru the whole thing-showing me that I needed Him, that I wasn’t perfect, and that I didn’t have to have it all together all the time. He showed me my selfishness, arrogance, defensiveness,  greed…it was so hard. But He never stopped loving me -He filled me with hope and grew my heart to trust Him. To trust that He knew what He was doing! I know see that I am blessed beyond my wildest dreams with my life with my husband Judah!

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We’d love to hear what step(s) out of your comfort zone you have taken recently or will take soon. {Big or small! It all counts as a step!}

Sharing the Gospel in the western world, to those who have never really heard of God’s goodness, is my current step out of my comfort zone.

As I am writing this I am in Thailand on a short 5-week trip back home at our school, but for the past two years I’ve been living in Australia helping run a hair salon that my sister-in-law and Judah and I started to help fund Help Save The Kids. I hadn’t realized until a few months ago that I’ve never really been around people that didn’t share the same faith as me. I grew up in a Christian family and community, moved to Europe and basically lived inside a church building, then moved to work in a school of kids that are radical, little revivalists.

When I came the that realization, I thought this is the best opportunity to share my faith with people that don’t know that Jesus is everywhere! Jesus in my heart, Jesus in the car, Jesus in our shop! Jesus loves people and loves for his name to be spoken. So I guess my big step out of my comfort zone is to openly share with people of the western world about my Jesus!

How do you hear God’s voice most clearly? Is it a time of day, a place you go, a thing you do…anything!

I hear him in my thoughts. He speaks to me. I hear him when I write; it’s like I’m his scribe and I write what he is saying. I also hear him when I dance and sing...he dances and sings over me!

I love hearing his voice. It’s the best communication you could have with anyone!

So much of walking with God on this adventure is about facing our fears, embracing change, and trusting Him…what is one of your biggest fears that keeps your paralyzed from saying “Yes” to God’s adventure for you? And how do you overcome it?

Finances. I’m afraid if I say yes, there won’t be enough for everything. Also I have always feared a loved one dying. Death is still pretty scary to me if I think about it. I’m taking active steps to rid myself of fear. This year I struggled massively with anxiety and panic attacks. I got pretty desperate for change two months ago and found a program by Dr. Caroline Leaf. It is called “21-Day Brain Detox”. It is one of the best things I’ve done for myself. I’m almost 100% panic attack free! 

I overcome my fears by focusing on the truth of who God is, which for me means looking at the character of Jesus. Jesus always provided. Jesus triumphed over death on the cross and rose us to life. I now have free access to all of God and all his goodness and promises!

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Before you go, tell us just a little bit more about the ministry you work with, Help Save the Kids…we are curious!

My role in our ministry is to assist with our school that houses over 50 children. We not only care for their educational needs, but their physical, spiritual and emotional needs. We work with an ethnic minority group called the Karen people. They have been in a long civil war inside Burma.

It is my daily joy to work with Help Save The Kids to see these children spared the atrocities of a war torn nation where they are at high risk of human trafficking, child soldiering and forced field labor. We believe that children should have a right to dream, play and discover! Kids should get an opportunity to have adventure!

 

Within Help Save The Kids they get this chance and they thrive! Kids that once upon a time didn’t know how to answer, “what do you want to be when you grow up?”, now have just as many answers as I had when I was a kid! I’m proud to call the children of our school my family.

 

As a result of our family being too large, we need better accommodations for both students and staff. Three years ago our ministry started a project called our “Sustainable Living Project”. This project is placing buildings on a piece of property (that our students are learning to build), growing crops and becoming more sustainable. This large project has taken a lot of funding that our ministry just didn’t have coming in from donations. So, Judah and I moved to a mining town in Australia where his sister lives and we opened a business together to provide a steadier flow of income to the ministry. It’s called SuperNatural Hair it is an AVEDA salon that focuses on holistic style rituals of renewal to make everyone’s experience the best it could possibly be!

And lastly, what does a life of adventure with God look like for you?

A life of adventure with God looks like being free to trust him, knowing that your spirit is connected to his spirit.

There is no heaviness or loftiness about this adventure with God. It’s simply like living your childhood again…where you look forward to running, playing dress up, swinging on vines, and picking fruit.

Adventure with Jesus never ever stops, He makes that promise with me and you, giving us a life that is beyond what we could think, dream or imagine!


Kelly would love to connect with you!kelly

You can find her on..

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Commission to Every Nation

Help Save the Kids

Supernatural Hair