Meet Kaylie Hodges: A Story of The Unexpected and God’s Blessings

Kaylie Hodges

I never wanted to get married and have kids.

Don’t worry. This isn’t coming as any surprise to my husband since I looked him in the eye after knowing him for only six months and spoke those words very clearly. I was going to be free. I was going to travel and live big. I’d seen just enough brokenness in being tied down that I believed healing was found in being untethered.

Less than seven months later I was looking that same man in the eye as I walked down the aisle. That’s pretty much how my entire adult life has gone. I keep finding what I’m looking for in the most unexpected places.

Someday you and I can sit down for coffee and I’ll tell you that wild stranger-than-fiction story of just how those two friends who couldn’t quiet ever make it work ended up with five kids in five years and still manage to smile at each other across the dinner table. I’ll describe to you in great detail a young woman that cried in pew at a church that wasn’t her own, found herself stranded and jobless on the Italian coast, and possibly even the story of a ride home from the airport on a stormy night and a heirloom diamond ring.

I knew what people whispered when after just eight short weeks of being engaged I didn’t even bother to wear a wedding dress. My crazy aunt asked me outright, “Are you pregnant?” The other words were just whispers,


“They don’t even know each other.”

“Maybe she just needs a place to live.”

I wasn’t pregnant by the way. Or desperate, for that matter. I was just surprised. Surprised in the best way.

You see, for as long as I can remember I’ve been an adventure seeker. A boundary pusher. I’m delighted by surprises and thrilled by the unknown. At the ripe ‘ole age of twenty-three I was sure family life wasn’t the way to get any of those things.

Which was why I was so surprised by my husband. I was surprised when he broke up with me because I wasn’t following Jesus. I was even more surprised when he sweetly and consistently showed up in my life urging me toward the gospel with absolute sincerity of heart.

I was flabbergasted when the gospel dropped like a thud into my soul sitting next to him in a church service I didn’t really want to be at.

The unexpected wasn’t the gospel. I knew that. I had accepted Jesus at eight and then (stereotypically) wandered way somewhere around sixteen. It was the astonishing way it expanded in me in that one night.

Those seven years of wandering around had been fraught with insecurity and bad decisions, that of course, fed the ever spiraling insecurity. In just one night I felt Jesus’ love for me engulf me and my insecurity diminishing in His presence. I was amazed to find that the gospel didn’t just save me so I could go to heaven, it saved me so that I could live.

On the day we got married, everyone else may have been surprised, but I was sure. I had never been more sure that this man who hadn’t tried to fix me, change me, or tame me was exactly the right adventure. Because with my husband came the message of the gospel.

In what would come to be the exception, we actually planned our first child.

I loved being a mother. I was so caught off guard by this revelation that I hit my knees like I never had before. I was now tethered to another life in a way that terrified me and touched me with such deep gratitude that I couldn’t get the words out.

It was there on my knees holding a tiny baby that I realized the depth of Jesus’ gospel love. What it is to be willing to suffer for and with a human being. I was astonished at the empathy of the gospel. 

My preganancy was sick. Really sick. So we started the adoption process. While we were waiting, we had two surprise pregnancies…and then found out we were getting siblings brothers. Five kids. Less than five years.

And I thought family life wouldn’t be adventurous.

Through all of that my heart was always burning with the next thrill of the next unknown. Would it be church planting? Would it be the mission field far abroad? Would I get my book published and get to be a traveling Bible teacher? What now? What next?

Silence.  The silence made the burn harder to bear. I had to dig deep

If God didn’t have big plans for us then why was my heart burning to do big things for Him? That seemed unfair.

My eyes searched the horizon for the light that would lead the way. I was desperate. Pregnant with expectation. . We knocked on many a door that slammed in our face.

I was forced to look backward instead of forward. Would this be enough? Would I be okay?  What if I can’t make this burning in my heart stop?

“Life was in Him,

and that life was the light of men.”


The gospel dropped like a thud into my soul sitting surrounded by my husband and my babies. I wasn’t desperate. I was surprised.

That thing burning in me? It’s the light.

This is the adventure. This is the mission. I am Imago Dei.

You are Imago Dei.

Of all the surprised dropped in our lives, of all the adventures that we have lived this one might be the most surprising. We are the actual light of the world. Those passions and drives in us are there to spread the gospel. Each one of us has been set in the perfect place in the perfect time to burn bright.

I want to remind people that they too are on a mission. That each step we take is on holy ground because the same God that was burning before Moses in the bush in burning in our hearts now. My hope is to call and recall us to our commission to spread the light.

I’ve had a life filled with adventure, but this one is the biggest of all. This call to spread light takes even the most mundane of tasks and turns it into big living for Jesus. Know this: We are living it right now. In quiet moments at the coffee shop. Tying our kids’ shoes. A kind word to a coworker. A prayer muttered quietly for a friend who sent you a text. This is it. We don’t have to wait for it, we just have to see it where we are. We are the gospel incarnate,. This is our adventure, so let’s burn bright.

Kaylie Hodges 2About the author:

My name is Kaylie and I’m a mom to a mess of kids {3 bio + 2 from Uganda), wife to a very patient husband, and in my spare moments I write and speak.

I’m a small town girl with a preacher’s heart and a mission to scatter light!

If you feed me crusty french bread and give me good books, I’m forever yours. I occasionally tap dance in my kitchen, with actual tap shoes. My life is one huge burst of light, color, and chaos and that’s just how I like it.

My heart is for watching people shine for Jesus, and friend I believe you are filled with light and you brighten the world. 

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Laura is the co-founder + editor behind SWS. She is currently living on Maui with her husband, where they’re passionate about serving and glorifying Jesus. She loves naps, surfing, adventuring with their border collie, Mowgli, and is an advocate for the fact that #GraceNeverRunsOut.
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One thought on “Meet Kaylie Hodges: A Story of The Unexpected and God’s Blessings

  1. Ali Grace | Cookies & Grace says:

    Kaylie, this is so great! My life, although so so different from yours, is definitely not what I expected either. But I’m finding that the Lord definitely does surprise us and orchestrate our lives in ways that we never could have imagined, but are infinitely better. Thankful for you and your words!

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