Your Neighbor: Meet Kelley Eanes
Published 12:07 am Thursday, March 9, 2023
By Mandy Haggerson
For the Clemmons Courier
Kelley Eanes grew up in Shreveport, Louisiana, until she was a freshman in high school. “During my childhood years I appreciated all things involving dance. I did ballet, pointe, jazz and tap,” Eanes said. “It was something that I enjoyed and I did it five days a week.”
When Eanes was getting ready to start high school, she moved to Houston, Texas.
“My mom got remarried, and it was definitely tough to start over at that age. Some people would say that it was a good time to start a new school, but I would disagree. Everyone was new, so they assumed you knew someone from a previous school, but that wasn’t the case for me,” Eanes said. “After my four years in high school, I knew I wanted to go back to Louisiana for college. I went to Louisiana State University for my undergraduate degree in secondary education. My dream was to reach Louisiana history because it’s so fascinating.
“I never ended up teaching Louisiana history because I met my future husband John not long after I graduated from college. I met him when I was on a trip for Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru). Because we would go on campuses and talk about the Holy Spirit, we would often be required to travel. John and I happened to be on the same trip to Santa Cruz, California. He actually wasn’t even supposed to be there at all but was asked to fill in since he was a teacher and had his summers off. Two days before we were set to head back home, John to North Carolina and me to Louisiana, he let me know he was interested in dating me,” Eanes said. “We both were pretty up front about what we wanted out of life, and had so many similar interests and values,” Eanes said. “After dating remotely, and visiting each other each month, we were married within a year.”
The newlywed transferred with her job at Cru to Raleigh once she and John were married. “I set up the program at North Carolina State University when I first moved to help reach their Greek life,” Eanes said. “I enjoyed taking the kids to conferences in different places like Nashville and Panama City Beach. I remember what it was like to become a Christian myself when I was 11 years old. I had always gone to church with my mom or dad, but it was at camp when I finally understood it. I understood that it was a personal decision to make, and it was during high school and college that Cru helped me with understanding the Holy Spirit which wasn’t discussed a lot in the church I grew up in. It wasn’t just about being good. I learned that I can’t do the things I’m called to do on my own. I’m not supposed to, and that was comforting. I liked being able to share this with these kids on their journey too.”
Shortly after establishing the program at N.C. State, Eanes started teaching seventh grade. “I did that for about three years before we had our first daughter, Mia (12). “We knew we wanted a large family, and I stayed home once she was born,” Eanes said. Emma (10), Clara (8), and Davis (3) rounded out their family. “I’ve enjoyed staying home with my kids. I get to help foster and develop them, but at the end of the day it’s fun to see them becoming the individuals they are,” Eanes said with a smile.
“I make it a point to be present at Redeemer School, where my children attend. It’s a covenant community and they believe the parent is a partner in education. I think that’s very important. One of the things I did when my kids were small was read a book, Missional Motherhood, with the idea being that living a purposeful life doesn’t have to be put on hold due to raising kids. It proposed instead of looking for your mission or purpose to make your current reality your mission. That’s what I have tried to do, I’m not moving any mountains with my 3-year-old in tow, but I’m trying to model faith, kindness and a willingness to consider the needs of others ahead of yourself,” Eanes said. “We love Young Life and for a while pre-COVID hosted leaders’ meetings in our home or provided dinners for our Young Lives. I love young adults and am passionate about helping them see their value and potential. In this season with four kids, it has looked a lot less formal and more like college students and young adults gathered around our kitchen island on a random Thursday night.”
Eanes also finds grounding in her church, Salem Chapel. Eanes has attended Salem Chapel and served in many capacities over the years from helping with the middle school girls youth group leader, hosting a life group for 7 years, and starting a program called Little Adventures as a way to connect families with young kids to each other within the church. Eanes has also led Bible studies, planned women’s retreats, and served as a leader for Restore, a gospel care ministry at their church. “This program seeks to answer the question, “How does Jesus make a difference in my everyday life?” I think this is the question so many people have without even realizing it. When it’s 6 p.m. and my husband is late, my kids want dinner, and my dog is barking the question… “Does Jesus make a difference here?” This program seeks to help people answer that question.”