I think it became real for me when I was approached by a young woman who had an eating disorder. She had just graduated high school, was in a ministry internship, and by all outward accounts she was a disciplined and worship-centered woman of God. Don't mishear me, she was all of those things. However, underneath the surface she was quite literally consumed in perfectionism. She bravely reached out to a friend of ours to meet with me and share what had been going on, looking for mentorship to help overcome her addiction. And we walked through the trenches together for almost a year until she came out victorious. What a beautiful journey it was - I am honored to have witnessed it. She wasn’t the first either. At that time I was personally mentoring around four others ladies from about 19-22 years old, being only about 26 myself. I was privileged to be able to walk with these young women through job changes, ministry pursuits, the start of dating, and even into marriage. In fact, I got to be in several of their weddings. It seemed almost strange standing in a wedding party of mainly family and friends their age… although I wasn’t their senior by any means, I was several years older with a bit more life under my belt. It was a wonderful experience. That was the start though - those years serving young women. And thankfully it hasn’t stopped since.
There’s a part of all of us that longs for relationship like that on a deep and intimate level. We often settle for friendships centered around pop culture, TV shows, and even our jobs or motherhood (all of which can be very vital to the overall picture of friendship in our lives). But we all want someone that we can reach out to that will invite us over and fix food for us, letting us sip coffee and pour out our guts at their dinner table. We all desire to be able to expose the deepest parts of our souls with someone - not someone who will judge… and yet not someone who will leave us there to wallow in our shame and sin. Every single one of us wants and needs a tribe to which we can turn.
That time at the start of it all was sobering, and challenging, and quite exhilarating to say the least. I had never been pulled on in so many directions and invested myself so much into others. It’s what sparked the start of The Ruby Kind, an online community God birthed in my heart in 2016 with a mission for helping women become the rare and precious gems God has designed them to be. During that time my husband and I were pastoring a house church and a church in a building about an hour and a half apart from each other. Our hearts burn for authentic discipleship, and much of what we were attempting to form within our churches was spilling over into my blog. Our vision for TRK states “We are a community of thriving young women learning to embrace our unique giftings through real conversation and practical application. We are passionate about empowering you to be an authentic Jesus-follower; the kind that is 'worth far more than rubies'." It truly was the spillover of what I was experiencing in my every day life during that time. I wanted, and still want, nothing more than to help see Christ formed within His church… and for the first time I was experiencing that on a level that I felt was like what I saw in the scriptures.
While I’ve taken some “sabbaticals” (or if we’re honest, some of those times I’ve simply gotten lazy…) TRK has been one of the most incredible outlets for teaching and discipling that I’ve done in my years in ministry so far. Yet, those one on one, or even groups of up to ten, have been where the real transformation has taken place. And I guess that’s what I’ve learned the most along the way. User friendly websites, beautiful Instagram feeds, blogs, podcasts, and even interactive videos going live on social media… they’re all wonderful outlets, or rather supplements, to the real thing. And to be frank, your women’s ministries, conferences, services, and online communities are the same… supplements to the real thing. They will never be a substitute for a cup of coffee tucked in the corner of your favorite local shop, or a meal in your home even if it’s leftover pizza from the night before. You can’t engage via direct messages online or Facebook live enough to replace those face to face, eyeball to eyeball, shoulder to shoulder moments that intentional and physical discipleship will form. And at the end of our lives that’s what is going to count… not the presentation you made online or in a service… but the presentation of Christ that you made with a woman who was overcoming pornography, or walking through the pain of their child’s death or a heartbreaking divorce. And woman of God, that’s what you were made for. You were created to make disciples and help see those rare and beautiful gems mined out of the ashes.
Let’s not let our legacy be the amount of women who attended our ministry conference, or how much engagement we got on our latest post online. Let’s make it known that we are women who God calls rare and precious. Let it be said of us that those who didn’t know Jesus yet came to know him simply by our “love one for another”. Let’s keep everything else a supplement to the real thing - the real fruit - the kind that others can “taste and see and know that He is good”.
Danielle’s heart and drive is to empower God's people to live for His glory and become the people they were created to be. Her goal in every area of life is to point people to Jesus and to see Christ formed with in them through their character, gifting, and calling. She also has a few other passions! Cooking: specifically making up and trying out new recipes. (If you invite her to a pot luck, she will likely be the one to bring a dish she's never made before.. Don't worry though. They usually turn out great!) She also loves music; primarily singing. Above all though, she loves leading people into God's presence through musical worship. She and her husband, Brian, have been married for ten years now and share a deep heart for God’s church regarding discipleship and seeing the universal church make God’s vision their mission above all else. They don’t have kids yet, but hope to soon. Until then, their two pups, Gauge and Clyde keep them plenty busy. You can find Danielle online at therubykind.com and dive into her blog, online community, and podcast where you will prayerfully grow deeper in your love for Jesus and who He has made you to be!