A Life Lived Beautifully: Courtney Kassner
It is a joy to share our first "A Life Lived Beautifully" feature of 2016! If you are new to these features, I interview a few women each month and share how they are living their life with intention and fullness for God's glory. These women are all over the world and at different stages of life. It has been a privilege to get to know the hearts of my sisters in Christ through these features and I look forward to doing many more of them this year! Today I would like to introduce you to Courtney Kassner, the creator of a 52-week set of Scripture memory cards that can be used to disciple children. I am excited to use mine to teach Nolan, our 7-month old, the Word of God! Grab a cup of coffee or tea and get to know Courtney!
Introduce yourself like we are having a cup of coffee together. :) What kind of coffee/tea would you drink?
Typically, my caffeine of choice is an ice cold Coke, but I do love the occasional iced caramel macchiatio!
My name is Courtney and I'm a Memphis, TN native. I've been married to my husband, Will, for nearly six years and we have two boys, Crew (2) and Grey (7 mo). I have two small businesses, Accrewed Design and Crew + Co. Is it obvious that I opened those shops after Crew was born?! I've always desired to express myself and my faith creatively and I'm so thankful that God has provided me the opportunity.
Accrewed Design started as a calligraphy and lettering business when Crew was a few months old. I now teach calligraphy and brush lettering workshops in the Memphis area. Crew + Co branched from there when I was pregnant with Grey. I wanted to expand what I was doing and the idea of designing kids t-shirts sounded so fun!
What is your definition of a "life lived beautifully"?
When I think of a life lived beautifully the first thing that comes to mind is our boys. Knowing what a gift they are from God and the privilege to be their mom is hard to put into words. It is such an incredible blessing to see how they grow every day, to see laughter and joy in their eyes. God has given us the privilege to be their parents, to teach them and how to love God and walk by faith. We see a beautiful picture of God's love and grace towards us everyday in the way that we interact with our children. For me there is nothing more beautiful than walking with God and watching my family grow as we pursue Him.
When did you start following Jesus?
I was raised in a Christian home and came to know Christ at the age of seven. I didn't actively start pursuing a deeper relationship with God until high school and college. And then even more once I got married. Getting married in college (while neither of us had full time jobs), then my husband attending seminary, and now actively waiting several years for God to reveal his plans for our ministry through Will's career has pushed me to have unwavering faith like I've never had before. I would have never planned this timeline for our lives, but without it I may have never grown in my faith like I have in the last couple years.
What are some verses you constantly cling to and bring life to your soul?
Matthew 6:25-34 is always in my mind. I have a tendency to be a worrier and this passage brings ease to my mind and redirects my thoughts.
"And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?"
For when I need reassurance:
"Now to him who is about to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be the glory..." Ephesians 3:20-21
"Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!' Psalm 27:14
How do you integrate sharing the Gospel with creativity?
When I first began my calligraphy business, my mind was set on being successful so that I could help provide for our family. Or having people know my work. It wasn't until the past year that I began realizing my own selfish desires. I mean, think about this. Our Creator, the greatest of all creators, created life from nothing. So to use my creativity is to honor God. "So God created man in his own image.." (Gen 1:27) When we create, we're reflecting His image. My business goals began to change and I prayed for God to use my creativity to honor him.
How did God direct you to start creating Scripture verse cards?
When our oldest was a year and a half old this past Spring, he was slowly beginning to talk and put words together. My husband and I realized that we wanted to instill the importance of Scripture memory in our boys at a young age. It was then that God gave me the vision of the Scripture cards. I wanted to create a small set of cards we could use with them. That idea grew into the idea of reproducing the cards to share with others, which grew into the idea of creating a set of 52 (one for each week of the year) all designed with original watercolor and hand lettering. I started painting and writing for these cards in my spare time when I was about 7 or 8 months pregnant with our second son. I didn't finish them until Grey was 5 months old. It took longer than expected from start to finish. Throughout the whole process, I prayed over what I was creating. The original idea that started as a set of cards just for kids grew into a set of cards for families to memorize together. For friends to memorize and hold each other accountable. God continued to grow my dream beyond what I thought I could do.
What is the vision behind your shop?
God has blessed me with the gift of creativity so part of the vision behind my shop is using that gift as an avenue to share my faith with others. I love creating things that bring my customers joy and seeing people happy over something I've made for them drives me to pursue more creative projects.
What are some books you are currently reading?
Currently? None. And it kills me! I love reading, but since becoming a mom to two and having two businesses that operate after bedtime, I can't seem to find time or energy to open a new book. On my nightstand, I have "A Severe Mercy," an autobiography about Sheldon Vanauken and his wife and their friendship with C.S. Lewis. I've gotten about 5 pages in so far and am hoping I can figure out how to manage some book time into my nightly schedule! Or at least weekly!
If you could tell every woman reading this blog one thing God has laid on your heart, what would it be?
I never really knew what it meant to live by faith until God brought us to a place where there was no other option. So if you find yourself in a hard place or a difficult time, be thankful in the fact that God is using this as a time for growth. There will be a day when you look back on this season and thank God for what He has taught you and rejoice that you remained faithful to His will.
Follow Courtney's work and ministry here: