Beyond The Checklist

054: Why Sharing Your Talents Will Open Your Heart to Jesus Christ’s Love || Katie Mitchell


[00:00:00] Welcome to the Spiritually Minded Women podcast. If you’re a woman who is ready and willing to be a follower of Jesus, you’re in the right place. Join me as we dive in deep to learn how to embrace your journey on the covenant path with checkpoints instead of checklists, I’m your host Darla Trendler and I’m cheering you on.

Welcome to your journey.

Darla: Welcome to the spiritually minded women podcast. This is Darla. I’m thrilled to be here with you today. I have sitting with me, Katie Mitchell, and I am very excited to welcome you to the podcast. Katie, thank you so much for being here. 

Katie: Thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to be here. 

Darla: I am really excited for the things that you’re going to share.

You applied to be on the podcast and told me that one of the things that you have learned about how you hear him in your life, we talk a lot about that. I just replayed an episode about that. How do we hear the savior in our life? And something I talk about a lot is that it’s [00:01:00] very personal and you have found out that poetry is one of the ways that you hear him.

Could you tell me how that started? What does that look like in your life? How does poetry bring you closer to Jesus? 

Katie: Sure. First of all, I’ve always written poems. Like as far back as I can remember, at least age 12, I have written poetry and it’s been a way for me to express like myself and my feelings, but I’ve kept it a little private, cause it was such a huge piece of my heart.

And when we got put on lockdown for COVID in 2020 I had some personal things I was going through on top of COVID and I just, needed something to do, to lift my spirit and help me feel better. And the thought came to me that I should share my poetry and, thoughts like that. I feel like that’s a prompting.

And it wasn’t me just wanting to share my poetry. It was the Lord telling me you need to share your poetry. So what I ended up doing is I take a lot of nature [00:02:00] photography, and I just used an app on my phone and typed up the words of my poems on top of my pictures and shared them on Instagram and Facebook

and to my friends and family. And I would get so many responses back where people just said, oh, that poem was exactly what I needed to hear. And I loved it and you should write a book and it was not something that I had ever intended to do, but I found that writing and sharing my poetry gave me the ability to heal my heart, like all of the broken parts and all of the little pieces that were hurting could be made whole again, through this poetry that I was writing. 

Darla: So I really love that. You said that it heals your heart. Can you give some specific examples about how poetry has helped you to heal?

And we know that healing comes from the Savior. How has it helped you to do that? 

Katie: What I found is that as I wrote the poems, it was strengthening my testimony of the Savior and [00:03:00] I found that when I was still enough to listen and I could hear him, the words would just come to my mind.

And so I would have the words drop. It was like they would just drop into my mind and I would write them out as I heard them. And then as I read the words back, I just found, okay, that’s answering this prayer or that’s answering that prayer and it wasn’t like specific. It wasn’t like Katie, this is healing this thing in your life.

It was just like, these words helped me feel seen and helped me feel like I wasn’t alone in that moment. And that the savior was right there with me, giving me the words. 

Darla: I can see, you were just having that pure inspiration and writing those things down. It sounds like maybe that was a second step to actually share those with people on Instagram. How did it heal you to actually share the poetry? Cause you could have just kept it in a book and it could have just been for you, which there’s probably some value in that, but what did it do to actually go another step and [00:04:00] actually share it with other people?

Katie: That is not something I’ve ever like thought of. I think it just opened my heart to be accepting. I think we sometimes have to accept the Savior’s love and open my heart by sharing. It’s like when we share our testimony, it makes it stronger. So when I shared my poetry, it in essence made my ability and my talent to write poetry stronger, and I received far more inspiration than I’ve ever received.

It was like a continuous flow. Like I just kept writing and it wasn’t necessarily all at once. But over the course of six to 12 months, I was getting this continuous flow every couple of days where the thoughts would come into my mind and I would just write them out and it would provide me with hope and with answers and it increased my faith in that way.

Darla: Was most of the poetry spiritual in nature? 

Katie: A lot of it is, yes. Yes. It is spiritual in nature. It talks [00:05:00] about faith, a lot in our savior. He’s at the forefront of a lot of the poems and about the atonement and how it heals our hearts.

I actually was going through some trials and I was carrying around a lot of shame and resentment from some things that happened in my life. And I didn’t know how to get out of it. And one day, I was reading an Alma 36: 20, and it says, and oh, what joy and what marvelous light did I behold yea my soul is filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain. And he’s talking about the Atonement right there and how through the Atonement our joy will become as great as our sorrow. And in that moment, I was like, that is what I need. I need my joy to become as great as my sorrow. And so I just started praying for that.

And God gave me the solution to getting that joy and overcoming the sorrow through my poetry. 

Darla: Yeah. That’s a beautiful scripture. I’m really glad that you brought that in. One of the things that I think is so remarkable about, you [00:06:00] sharing about this, about it’s poetry, like that’s not something that we always think of is a way to hear him, or that you write.

Have receiving the inspiration and writing the words and then sharing them with other people. I know you’re a big believer in using that gift to share your testimony and to share about the savior. What would you say to someone who wants to figure out how they hear him?

And they’re just not quite sure. What would you say to that person? 

Katie: I would say to think outside of the box, because we sometimes think, okay, the only way I can do this, Is this one way. Like for example, scripture reading. I have to start in first Nephi and read all the way through to Moroni and that’s the only way to read the scriptures.

And I’m using that as an example, because I found that way doesn’t work for me. It overwhelms me. It makes me feel like I’m never going to get through it. I’m never going to get to the end and I have done it. I have done it. My husband and I listened to the scriptures in 30 days, a few years ago.[00:07:00]

And I got nothing out of it. And it was a little bit of a disappointment because I went into it thinking this is going to be a really cool, spiritual experience. That’s what I thought going into it, but I didn’t get anything out of it because I wasn’t putting the effort into it.

I was just listening to it to reach this goal I had made with my husband. So I found for me I’m a creative person. So for me to enjoy the scriptures, adding a creative element, turned my scripture study around and made it something I wanted to do and not something I had to do. So if you’re trying to figure out how you hear him, first of all, you can ask.

Darla: Yeah, that’s the obvious thing right. 

Katie: Ask him in what way he wants you to hear him, how he’s going to speak to you and, try different things. Like with scripture study, I have one of those journaling book of Mormon’s. I actually have all of the standard works in journaling so I can write out my [00:08:00] thoughts and I write my poems. I take my poetry that I’ve written and I include it in my scriptures and I put stickers and I draw pictures and it brings it to life for me. Instead of just being words on a page. That while they might give me a good feeling this brings it more to life for me.

Darla: Yeah. 

I love this so much because really it’s like the premise of everything that I’m trying to share on this podcast. I say a lot that it’s not about a checklist, we’re not here to just check things off the list. Like we’re not here to say, oh, I read the book of Mormon check, oh, I heard him today.

Check, that’s not why we’re here. I think it’s more about who we become and living who we are, and heavenly father created you with this creative gift. And of course he wants you to use that, to reach him. I think that’s so great. And I love what you said about, get out of the box.

Don’t think that just because it’s a way someone else hears him that is the way that you’re going to hear him. I really think that we need to hear that. And it’s not even to say that you’re coming on here and saying I hear him through poetry. That doesn’t mean that everybody has to run [00:09:00] out and start writing poetry, 

Katie: Oh definitely not

Darla: But I think it is so valuable and this is why I like sharing on a podcast because I get to share all different women and different aspects of their spiritual journey.

It’s just hearing someone else. And then that might spark something. Someone’s going to hear oh, Katie writes poetry, and then they’re going to say okay, I really like to do this. And so you just try it. And I think it’s a lifelong process. You try something and then you tweak it and make your own, you look like you have something else to add to that.

So I would love to hear what you think. 

Katie: A thought that just came to my mind. We have the Sunday school answers, we’re supposed to say our prayers, read our scriptures, go to the temple, do all these things. And for so long during COVID none of us could go to church outside of our homes and none of us could go to the temple.

And those were things that we’ve always been taught. Those are places we need to go where we can hear him and where we grow closer to him and where we can be spiritual. And I found this little trail, it’s just like a little dirt road and it’s right by the freeway [00:10:00] and it’s behind my neighbor’s house, but I found that.

I hear the savior or feel close to him when I go out on this little dirt trail at sunset and I go watch the sunset and I take my kids if they want to come, I take the dogs and I go out and I watch the sunset and see the beauty of God’s creations. And that might be that you hear him just by noticing the things around you in nature that are beautiful and showing gratitude for them, 

Darla: There’s all different kinds of ways, 

Katie: So many different ways. And I think sometimes we just get in that little box of the Sunday school answers. And while all those Sunday school answers are great, there’s different ways to apply those answers to our lives other than just reading our scriptures. It can be, I’m just reading this one verse, but I’m enjoying it and I’m making notes on it and it’s helping me today.

And that’s enough. We have to realize that our efforts and [00:11:00] what we do are enough even if they don’t look like someone else’s efforts. 

Darla: Oh, you’re just like opening my mind here. Like, when you talked about the Sunday school answers, they are true. Those are things that we need to do. Read our scriptures, pray, go to the temple, all those things I know for me I was just thinking this morning because I was praying, but I very rarely pray kneeling down beside my bed, which is how I grew up praying and it’s just been in the last few years that I’ve broken out of that and that I used to think that’s the only way I can pray. And I’ve broken out of that. 

And I was praying this morning in my chair, at my desk, reading some things that I had written in a prayer journal and, praying for other people and praying about the questions that I have. And just thinking in my mind about those things. That’s a prayer to me and yes am I doing those Sunday school answers?

Yes. But does it look like there’s one way to do this and this is how we have to do it. No, and I don’t think that’s necessarily bad. Like I had to start somewhere, had to learn to fold my arms and bow my head and, do those things. But it doesn’t have to stay that way.

And I think, this is how I’m praying right now. It might be totally different in five [00:12:00] years. Like hopefully, I’m continuing to listen to him and it’s just this process of life, that we keep learning and growing about ourselves and how we connect with our heavenly parents.

Katie: I found and it was totally not something I even like consciously thought of doing, but I found that in those like still moments when I was like trying to go to sleep, or I had woken up in the middle of the night and was trying to go back to sleep or driving by myself. I found that as I was learning to hear him more, that my brain just automatically started to say a prayer in the stillness, or it automatically went to me like thinking of my testimony, like just the thoughts would start. 

These are the things that I know to be true, or these are the things I’m grateful for. And my brain just automatically started doing that in the stillness. So when you find the time or make the time to be still, you can open up so many more [00:13:00] opportunities for hearing him and finding how you need to or how you are supposed to hear him. 

Darla: The word I was thinking of is intention. Like just, like you said before earlier, ask him how, have an intention. I want to learn how I hear you ask him and he will reveal that to you. You will know what that looks like for you and I even know people that it’s in the middle of chaos, it doesn’t always have to be these still moments. I’ve had someone share with me, it’s in the middle of chaos and, a loud home with kids everywhere and they can still hear him. So there’s just not this one set way.

 I just love thinking about that. It’s definitely just a way to use your gifts and talents. Such good advice to just get out of the box, think about it and take what other people are sharing. Maybe try it and then tweak it and make your own that’s.

That’s how I’ve developed my prayer practice is just, taking that and making it my own. What are some of the other ways that you’ve discovered that you hear him? You’ve mentioned stillness, walking, poetry. 

Katie: I definitely hear him as a feeling in my [00:14:00] heart. And usually when I get those feelings in my heart, it’s for a big reason, like the times that my heart is like, flooded with warmth, and I know that it’s coming from the Savior. It’s him telling me this is something that you’re going to have in your life. I’ll give you an example. My husband and I, when we were first married and, still trying to figure out when we wanted to start our family.

And one Sunday in sacrament meeting, there was a youth speaker and his name was McKay. And in that moment, my heart was flooded with warmth and it was just this intense feeling. And the thought came to me. You’re going to have a son and his name will be McKay. And I told my husband afterwards, and he even said that he had a similar feeling and I just thought, oh, this is so awesome. We’re going to have a son and his name is going to be McKay. And I was 21 or 22 at the time and I thought this is going to happen soon. I had [00:15:00] this feeling, God is going to give us a son it’s going to happen soon. And then we had infertility and couldn’t get pregnant for six years.

And finally, going to doctors and procedures, we got pregnant with our first, which ended up being a girl. And I thought, oh, this is it this is our son before I knew it was a girl. And then after having her, it was another like four plus years of not being able to get pregnant. And finally, I just said to God, every time I would pray, I would say you told me that I would have a son and that his name would be McKay. And I was 34 at this time. And I said, I’m getting old. I don’t know if I have that many more years where, once you’re 35, you’re considered an older pregnancy and could be higher risk. And I just said, you have to make this happen.

And, there’s a lot of details in the middle of it, but [00:16:00] we couldn’t get health insurance because I did the fertility treatments to have our daughter. And so I was denied health insurance, but then the healthcare marketplace came about and we were hesitant to sign up and we’re self-employed and Finally the very last day that we could sign up I signed up. 

And my doctor kept saying, once you get health insurance, we’ll operate on this ovarian cyst that you have. And I thought I’m just going to wait until the end of summer so it doesn’t mess up our vacation plans and then I’ll have him do the surgery. And our health insurance went into effect in may.

And I got pregnant that month. I think about it and I’m like, God knew that having a pregnancy not insured would be very expensive and it took a little bit of prodding on his part to get us to actually sign up for the insurance because it was brand new. We didn’t really know a whole lot about it.

And we decided just to go for it on the very last day we could sign up. [00:17:00] And then the month it went into effect is when I got pregnant. And I think God told me when I was 21 or 22 about my son, so that I wouldn’t lose hope. And I wouldn’t forget about him because if I didn’t know that I would have a son named McKay, then I wouldn’t have a son because I wasn’t willing to keep trying, because infertility is just so hard.

And I told God, I said, I’m ready to just have one child. You have to make this happen because you promised me that it would. You gave me that promise in my heart. So when I feel him in my heart, I know that it’s a promise from God. And sometimes it’s not easy to remember that we have to have patience and we have to rely on God.

God’s timing is different than our timing. And sometimes what you hope for to happen immediately takes 13 years to happen. So that’s one way that I hear him that I [00:18:00] feel like I know I’m hearing him for sure. 

Darla: Yeah. Like in your heart, you just know that this is something from him. And I think that story that you just shared illustrates beautifully, that he keeps his promises.

It’s not in our timeframe. We don’t always understand the timing or how it will all come about, but he keeps his promises. And I think that’s so hopeful and He gave you that experience so many years before so that you wouldn’t lose hope that you could still continue on. We started out talking about your poetry and I love where this conversation has gone.

I really have loved it, is there anything else that you felt like you wanted to share about your journey with writing the poetry and how it’s helped you to know the savior? 

Katie: When I would say I started to fill this call to publish my poetry. One of my, one of the poems that came to me, the last few lines say, share this with the world. Don’t leave your story untold. And it was after those words came to me that I was like, okay, [00:19:00] that is a call from God this is something that he wants me to do.

He wants me to share my poems and my story. And I did a zoom call with this woman who publishes books written by women and helps them write their books and publish them. And at first I thought, this is the answer I’m looking for. She’s going to help me, but it didn’t feel right.

And she charged a lot of money and it wasn’t in my budget at the time. So I just let it be and placed it in God’s hands. And then he led me to this e-course that was specifically for publishing a poetry book and it was $40. And I was like, I can do that. I can do that. And then every time I got stuck, like I knew I needed someone to edit the book.

So I told a friend about my book and he’s like, oh my wife was an English teacher. She’ll edit it for you. So she edited and gave me feedback on my poetry and told me where I needed punctuation. And told me what I needed to do, and then I would get stuck again and then God [00:20:00] would place someone else in my path that gave me an answer that I needed to know in order to get this book published. My cousin had just published a little children’s book. So I reached out to her and I said, how did you do it? And she introduced me to a program that I could input all of my poetry into and save it as a PDF and then upload it to Amazon to get the book in the system.

And then Amazon would tell me, what needed to be fixed and then I would go back and fix it and re upload it and go through that process. And I didn’t know how to do that, but she helped me and then she helped me make the cover. And it was all these things where so many things fell into place that I had no knowledge beforehand of how to do.

I didn’t know how to publish a book. I didn’t know how to do any of this stuff, but God placed people or sources in my path because this is what he wanted me to do. This is his work through my hands. 

Darla: I’m like excited right now. I guess that’s [00:21:00] sometimes that’s how I feel the spirit.

Like I want to jump up and down and say yes to everything that you just said, because you wrote that last line of that poem and you knew you needed to share it with the world, but you don’t know how to do it, but he is so good that if you have that intention and you lay it before him and say, I want to do what you want me to do, he is going to give you everything that you need to do it. I think that’s such a great example. Don’t be afraid if he puts something on your heart and it feels scary or it feels like there’s no way I can do this, or I’m not equipped. He’ll equip you. He’ll qualify you he’ll give you what you need.

That is such a great message. I love that. So glad that you’re doing that. 

Katie: Someone asked me, like, how do you know if what you’re doing is what you want to do or what God wants you to do. The difference that I found is if I’m only wanting to do it for myself, I will lose interest in it really fast.

And when God calls you to do something you’re not going to lose interest in it because he’s going to keep nudging you and pushing you along. And it’s not your work you’re [00:22:00] doing. It’s his work. 

Darla: Oh yeah. Yeah.

Katie: So that’s the difference I found. Cause I’ve done a lot of things to try and build, little side businesses and it’s just thoughts that I’ve had.

Oh, I can do that. When it’s God’s thoughts, then we can definitely do it. Cause he’s the one doing it through us. 

Darla: Oh, that is so good. I’m like thinking in my mind, I can see that in my own life. And, it’s like when you’re doing something for his glory and really his work and his glory is to bring, to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. His work and his glory is to help other people, like if you’re doing something to help other people, he’s gonna help you. He’s gonna make it happen. Like I read a quote the other day about praying, when you’re praying for someone else, those prayers get answered a lot quicker than when you’re praying for yourself. So I totally have seen that in my life and I’m sure other people are listening, going.

Yeah. Yeah. Like that’s a way that you know, that this is from God and if you continue to fill that light and continue to fill him pushing you forward, it’s from him and he’ll open those doors. It’s great. This has been so awesome Katie. I [00:23:00] have loved talking to you. You have so much wisdom and so many great things to share.

It’s just been great. I’ve loved it. So I do have one final question for you though. And that is how have you seen and felt the savior in your journey on the covenant path? 

Katie: I would say first of all, that my relationship with the savior has never been closer than it is right now. And I found that on my hardest days, when I turn to him, he answers my prayers.

And the poetry that I have written was a direct answer to my prayers. And he guided me through the whole process of writing my book, writing the poems, self publishing, all these things that I had no prior knowledge on how to do. I know he was there because I know that there was no way that I would have been able to do these things without him.

And the biggest thing I think is that through my poetry, I’m going to be able to help other people heal their hearts. And because it’s helped me heal my own heart. And I would encourage others to use the gifts that they’ve been given [00:24:00] and the talents that they’ve been given as a way to grow closer to our savior.

And sometimes we want to know that we’re not alone. And I feel that is one of the greatest gifts that my poetry has given to me is that it’s helped me feel like I’m not alone because the savior is always there with me guiding me. And I’ve been able to withstand, my trials and keep moving forward through the savior and the gifts that he’s given me 

Darla: So beautifully said, thank you. Thank you for sharing your heart and for sharing the things that you feel about the savior. I know that they will help someone else. It’s really been a delight to get to interview you. 

Katie: Thank you. I’ve had so much fun talking with you too.

Darla: If someone does want to find your book, where can they go? And are you still sharing poetry on Instagram? 

Katie: I haven’t been because I’ve been so focused on writing the book. I haven’t wanted to share the poems cause they’ve been going in the book. But here’s, my book. It’s called, made for this poems to help you heal, rise up, be bold, and have faith and it will be available on Amazon [00:25:00] and I plan to share some more as I’m sharing about the book, little bits and pieces, I’ll take little excerpts from the poem and share them here and there. But I haven’t been sharing as much because I was putting it in the book. I do plan on sharing as I go. Now that my book is done. 

Darla: Oh, that’s great. Okay, so it’s called made for this. I will put all the links in the show notes. So if you want to go to Amazon and buy the book and be inspired by Katie, you can go and do that. Katie, thank you so much for being here. I have loved getting to interview you. Thanks. 

Katie: Thanks.

And now here are this week’s journal. Questions. In Alma 36, 20, the prophet Alma shares these words about the result of his repentance. My soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain. Katie shared that during a dark time, she read almost words. And knew she needed her joy to be as great as her sorrow. So she prayed for that blessing. 

Do you need to fill the joy Alma experienced? [00:26:00] Take some time to be still and then pray to know how you can have joy that matches your pain. 

Katie shared that your efforts to figure out how you hear Jesus are enough. Even if they don’t look like someone else’s. How can you set your intention to learn more fully? How you uniquely hear him? 

What experiences have you had where the savior helped you do things you never could have done on your own? 

Reflect on what you learned during those times and record the feelings. So you can recall them when you need them in the future. 

[00:27:00] I hope you enjoyed the podcast. And if you did, please share it with a friend. I would love it. If you would leave a review and rate it on apple podcasts, this actually helps more women find the podcasts and embrace their own journey on the covenant path to find more ways to be a part of the spiritually minded women community, head over to spiritually minded for more inspiration follow along on Instagram at spiritually minded women have an amazing day.

I’m cheering you on in your journey.