My friend and new author Kat Armstrong joins me today to talk about her new book, No More Holding Back. While it’s her first book, she’s no rookie when it comes to ministry and communicating God’s Word to women. Entrepreneur, non-profit co-founder and CEO, speaker, writer, pastor’s wife, and mom… Kat wears many hats with passion and excellence. She has been through the journey of moving past barriers, seeing her worth, and serving God where he has put her. And she wants all women to experience that joy and freedom.
1. What prompted you to finally write this book?
It was a series of events. Jennie Allen, best-selling author and Dallas Seminary graduate, pulled me aside after hearing me speak and asked me why I was hiding. Jennie has an amazing way of pulling out someone’s calling even when you are resisting it. A few months later Sharon Miller, author of Nice, sent me a message asking me how I was stewarding the messages that ended up in my book. She challenged me to steward the messages well, even if that meant writing a book. And then my father attempted suicide and passed as a result of his injuries. The combo really got my attention. Losing a parent made me extremely introspective and got me thinking about our very short lives.
2. Who is your intended audience, and what is the one thing you hope they remember after reading No More Holding Back?
I hope women struggling to find their voice, confused about their “place” in life/work/church will read No More Holding Back and feel as though someone has finally verbalized their thoughts and concerns. And I hope women who love Jesus in all ages and stages will rally around the message that women should be all-in for Jesus.
Thanks to the good people of Harper Collins, No More Holding Back has a 6-week study guide and DVDs to accompany the book. I’m hopeful and prayerful that digging into the scriptures will embolden women to move past their barriers, find their worth and commit to serving God anywhere he leads.
3. In one of the chapters, you tell the story of your father. Why did you include that painful episode in the book?
I started researching the word “soul” in the Old and New Testaments and concluded that my working definition of “soul” had more to do with spirituality than our fullest form of existence. And I started to realize that loving God with all my soul meant praising God through thick and thin. There’s really not “thinner” time in my life than right after my father died. The lessons I was learning in the scriptures became my personal experience and I really hope they minister to someone.
4. What challenges do women in leadership face today, and how can your book encourage them?
If they are anything like me, they are facing a crisis of belonging. We are not really sure where we fit because our “place” is defined differently based on our roles, ages, titles, relationship status, and those things change over time. It’s confusing and sometimes very painful to wonder how to love God well and to share his love with others. Especially when we have internal insecurities and external messaging from our churches that tempt women to hold back something from God.
5. Name two of your “sheros” and tell us a little bit about them and why you admire them.
I only get two! Kelley, how could you do me like that? Next time I’m insisting on two from each era of Church history.
Okay. Two. My first would have to be Beth Moore. Long before it was cool to retweet sister Beth, I was an unlikely student in her Sunday school class at First Baptist Church of Houston back in the late 90s. She was the first example of a woman not holding anything back for me. Plus, she doesn’t suffer any fools either.
Second, I’ve got to go with Carolyn Custis James. Her books, all of them, mean the world to me. She’s introduced me to so many biblical themes that I’m convinced I may have never heard had she not devoted so much of her life to studying the scriptures. She gave me permission to read the Bible like a woman. And she was one of the first women to attend Dallas Seminary, where I would eventually finish up my masters. Carolyn actually endorsed my book and I thought I was going to faint when her email came to my inbox.
6. What are your plans for the rest of the year?
Polished Ministries keeps my life very full. I’m going on my 11th year serving the organization and I continue to see my role as one of the co-founders as one of the most important moments of my life. Our vision is to see 100 Polished chapters by 2025. So, I think I’m going to be busy partnering with women leaders and churches around the country that want to see young professional women hear the gospel. Nothing would make me happier than to be a part of God’s kingdom building through Polished.
I’m doing a ton of speaking engagements too, and as you can imagine, it’s one of my most favorite things to do! Opening the word of God with other women and learning about Jesus, it just doesn’t get better. I’m praying God would bring me more opportunities to speak and teach. As for writing, well, I’m already working on my second book but I can’t tell you what it’s about yet. But you know you will be one of the first to know because I really value your input when I write, Kelley. You continue to be such a huge cheerleader for so many female leaders. I’m so grateful we are connected.
Kat Armstrong was born in Houston, TX, where the humidity ruins her curls. She is a powerful voice in our generation as an innovative ministry leader, sought-after communicator and new author of No More Holding Back. As the co-founder and Executive Director of Polished Ministries, a network that gathers young professional women to navigate career and explore faith together, she is invested in the lives of women eager to learn about how the scriptures are relevant to their everyday lives. She has a masters from Dallas Seminary, and she and her husband Aaron have been married for seventeen years. They live in Dallas, TX, with their son Caleb and attend Dallas Bible Church where Aaron serves as the lead pastor.
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