Katherine Henson is a busy 23-year-old. She is a barista, double-time student, entrepreneur, and encourager of thousands via her social media channels.
Between her Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook accounts, Katherine has a combined following of over 7,000 people — people who look to her for encouragement, transparency, and inspiration to follow Jesus Christ in their daily lives.
We wanted to learn more about the heart behind the uplifter.
Give us a peek at your educational background.
My undergrad is in Criminal Justice with a minor in Social Work. However, when I started at Olivet Nazarene University in 2010 I was a Biblical Studies major and had no idea what I was doing.
After some semesters off, transferring to Bryan College then back to Olivet, and a lot of thinking about what I actually wanted, I landed on criminal justice at Olivet in the fall of 2014 — which allows me to focus on one specific demographic: juvenile youth. I graduate with my degree (finally) in August of 2015.
I still won't be done, though. I have also now started my Masters in Christian Ministry (I know; I get those looks all of the time).
But my passions have never changed. My passion is people — and showing up for the underserved and every single soul. So maybe that is through social work, maybe that is through the justice system, or maybe that's through a ministry path.
Some people might speak negatively about social media and its threat to authenticity and personal interactions. What do you think about social media?
At some points I would agree with those people.
I have to be entirely honest — I fight the temptation and lies that say life and social media are a competition. But I know deep in my bones that what I post is not to one-up another, nor is their post to one-up mine (disclaimer: some do play into this game, but it is NOT the essence).
I love social media.
A couple of summers ago I took a three-week trip to the east coast and stayed in four different states with – get this – people I had NEVER met in real life before! Talk about some adrenaline mixed with anxiety.
I took five planes and four buses while skipping from abode to abode of these lovely souls. And I never would have met these life and world changers if it were not for Tumblr, Instagram, and Facebook.
That wasn't the only time, either. I have entrusted my heart to women I have only met via social media. Thrown myself in to the rings of conferences with NO ONE I knew. Poured my words into their emails.
Yes, social media is a tool often used to tear down and break people. That breaks my heart. I have seen so much hatred and drama created for someone simply being themselves and honest and open with the world. This devastates me.
So even though I often fall prey to the voices that tell me their life, marriage, relationship with God, home décor, wardrobe, etc. are better than mine, I remind myself the true purpose of social media: to cultivate relationships and intertwine souls from miles away.
What is the root of your passion for community?
I think it is my personal longing for my own tribe. It is those trips I have taken and those hearts I have met. It has A LOT to do with the simple fact that my heart longs for that intertwining of souls.
I have been a part of some amazing communities — in real life and online. I come from an amazing family who cares tremendously for each other. Even a great high school and athletic background placed me around people who became family. College was no different.
So when I first started really getting in to social media I knew I needed the same context. It wasn't long before I found myself calling people from opposite ends of the country my family.
How do you have time to run a business, be a student, work, read tons of books, and encourage so eloquently?
I get more anxious when I DON'T have something to do. I have a million dreams and ideas and passions I want to see come alive. Sometimes it is hard to put life into these, though. So I just keep adding to the pile.
I feel more and more encouraged through reading and encouraging others that those parts of my life never seem like duties.
Coffeeism is the first passion that has come to life, and it is stressful and overwhelming with a side of amazing and dreamy. I have been able to finally cultivate this idea from my mind into real life, which has allowed me to meet even more amazing people and interact with new communities that share my passions.
Again, I do not want to dress it up in to something more than it is. It is stressful and sometimes all I long for is some stillness. So I think that is my advice – keep that stillness present.
Her heart beats to community and coffee, so in addition to her website and social media channels, Katherine founded Coffeeism: a service that sends custom coffee boxes straight to coffee lovers' doors each month. To learn more about Coffeeism, visit her website at www.mycoffeeism.com. To follow Katherine for encouragement, find her on Instagram and Twitter under @kthrnhnsn and on Facebook under Katherine Henson: Writer, or visit her website at www.katherinehenson.com.