New Year, New Me: MaKenna McGraw

Last but certainly not least, to wrap up “New Year, New Me” is someone who I could not imagine life without. She is driven, hilarious, stylish (100% thrifted), and talented in all aspects. MaKenna and I met nearly 18 years ago when my mom finally brought a sister into my life. I asked Makenna to share her story because I look up to her in so many ways. She strives to be closer to the Lord in everything she does and quite honestly, I don’t know why I haven’t had her on sooner. One thing you should know about MaKenna and I is that we are opposite in all the best ways. The Big Man Upstairs really knew what He was doing when he made us sisters because Mak and I make a great team. In fact, this past year we have had the coolest opportunity to grow a ministry together (Shout out to Be Lifted!!) – which will probably go down as one of my most favorite things I have ever gotten to be a part of.

One of my favorite things about Makenna is her love for animals – but not the regular house pets… Makenna has a hedgehog named Samir and once loved a hermit crab named Sedoon better than most love other people. Unfortunately, Samir has since past but his memory lives on forever. For the sake of respecting time, I will stop the stories and let Makenna tell hers. . .

I have been privileged with being shepherded by two incredible christian parents and a whole lot of people who have been cheering me on and encouraging me in my walk with Jesus for many years. With all that being said, I have been in a personal relationship with Jesus since I was ten years old after realizing I was never gonna be good enough on my own. Looking back on the past eight years of my life I could not imagine a more timely moment for me to make that decision and begin to live a life worthy of the Gospel of Christ.

My two big interests growing up were soccer and swimming, and to give you a little insight on that my instagram username for many years was livluvsoccerswm28 (yikes). For a large chunk of my childhood I literally breathed sports. I would go to swim practice in the morning, go to school (for a portion of my life that looked like homeschooling), go to swim practice, and end my day at soccer. Don’t get me wrong- I LOVED it! Unfortunately at the time I didn’t realize that by consuming my being with sports, winning, and improving myself I was hindering my ability to grow in my relationship with Christ and live in a way that was glorifying to him and not myself. I also didn’t understand that my swim coach was taking advantage of my drive and determination. One day my coach moved away and no one knew where he had gone and I was devastated and confused. I went to a new team and the sport was just never the same for me. After only a few short months I quit and no one understood why but even I could not explain it. It took me a couple of years to fully understand what had happened to me. I never stopped going to church and many people sought me out for theological answers because I had an incredible amount of head knowledge when it came to the Bible.

I began to have sleeping issue, I slept 1-2 hours a night if I was lucky because I was consumed by anxiety. I still continued to try and manage all of my emotions on my own until the summer going into my freshman year of high school.

I have attended Pine Cove (a Christian summer camp) all growing up and am a huge fan!! This particular summer was the hardest summer of my life and quite frankly I was at a point where life just didn’t seem worth it anymore. I was at camp for two weeks and there I met one of my most favorite people on the planet, Grace Jones (soon to be Boggs #wholettheboggsout). At camp I called her Taco and ironically she was not my counselor that summer but rather my friends counselor. Taco sought me out and by the end of the first week asked me to hang out with her because she wanted to know more about me and who I was. After a short hour and a half of her peeling back all of my layers, I told her of the horrors I had been lugging around the past three years. The Lord used Taco that day to show me his love and his omnipresence in our lives. I went home from camp and sat my parents down (you can imagine how that went). Chains were broken, burdens were lifted, but little did I know that was just the beginning of a long struggle that left me with the choice to either be a victim or choose joy.

I have learned so much about what it looks like to struggle for the advancement of the gospel and to struggle knowing that the battle has already been won. My freshman year I started counseling after having frequent dissociative episodes. To give you a little insight on what that looks like for me, these episodes last anywhere from 45 minutes to 4-5 hours. I never remember anything and during the episodes I often act very out of character. These episodes have been my thorn for these past four years, but they have taught me to cling to scripture and make prayer a lifestyle, . Often when I feel myself starting to slip into an episode I turn to two passages of scripture. The First being Exodus 14 (Crossing of The Red Sea), specifically verse 14 when Moses was speaking to the children of Israel and they were standing at the edge of the Red Sea, they had nowhere to go because the Red Sea laid before them and the Egyptian army was quickly closing in behind them. The Israelites are in a seemingly impossible situation, but it was a situation brought on by the Lord Himself. This verse that says,” I need only to remain calm, the Lord is fighting for me,” reminds me to cry out to the Lord in times of hopelessness and hurt and to rejoice with the Lord in times of celebration and achievement. The second passage is Psalm 23, A Shepherd’s Psalm. This is a passage that I have had imprinted on my heart for many years and is a daily reminder of how I should look to the Lord to shepherd me through life. It is a constant reminder of how the Lord is my comforter and my provider and with him I lack absolutely nothing, but without him I am nothing.

Scripture memorization is an important part of my life and has allowed me to effectively share the gospel everywhere I go. Likewise, my story is an avenue that allows me to share the gospel in a very personal way by telling people of how the Lord used the darkest and dirtiest part of me and turned it into something beautiful and glorifying to him. My life is not easy but I would not trade what happened to me for anything and I would relive it a thousand times over if it meant people would continue to see and learn more about Jesus through me.

I am made new through Jesus Christ alone and now my purpose here on earth is to shout the good news from the mountain tops and live a life of bold obedience. As we all fail to keep our new year resolutions, my hope for everyone is that we turn to prayer, scripture memorization, and seeking wise counsel rather than anything else this world has to offer. That we embrace what this new year has to offer with expectancy in our hearts and a yearning to serve our King who gave everything that we may know him.


Makenna, aka Mak, aka MaK Truck, aka Kenna

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