breathing deep

I stand at my laptop in its corner on the kitchen counter, stew bubbling, children playing, clock ticking. I stand here and I read the prayers of friends and strangers alike who love my family enough to spend their time whispering to Him on our behalf. Tears stream and I am blown away by this love and His grace.

I look around and I type out words and layers of my heart peel back, bare on the screen. Yes, this is life, Yes, this is real, Yes this is happening.

Monday morning the gate rattled and there stood Jane and her birth mom Nancy. Evicted from their home, Jane’s leg wound still festering, and in desperate need of a shower and some love.

So we opened the gate, and my heart, a little wider.

And it hurts from the moment I wake up until the moment my head hits the pillow. And this that I once wanted – my daughter back – it’s not what I want anymore and this is not how I wanted it. Now it comes with a grouchy grown woman who doesn’t know Him and doesn’t care to love us back or take responsibility for anything. Now it comes with my four year old, confused and traumatized who calls two women Mommy and only half obeys and does things that she didn’t learn in my home and wears the wounds of the last six months on her sleeves.

But in the hard, I see the healing. In the mess of it all, I see the redemption.

One step forward. Two steps back. And He doesn’t let go. He doesn’t let go.

I spent the whole weekend trying to come up with a solution. Begging God to show me what to do. Should they live here? Should they live near by? Should I keep Jane? Should I try harder to make sure her birth mom is taking care of her and has the means to do so?

The answer is, I don’t know.

There are the obvious arguments: She has a living birthmother! Of course she should stay with her! Or. Her birthmother is obviously not caring for her, she is still bonded to you, take her, that is what is best.

The thing is, this is real life and so there is this huge gray area in the middle and that is where we are living. In the gray area. That is adoption though. Big, beautiful, scary, confusing, unnatural, redemptive, tragic, wonderful gray.

I found myself diving back into 1 Kings 17, a story I felt so strongly led to just days after Jane was taken from our home in November. Over and over this widow reminds me of whom I want to be, and the end result of provision reminds me of who my God is.

Elijah asks her to make Him some bread but the old woman does not think she has enough. Regardless, she takes the little she has and obeys. She is faithful with the little that she has already been given. And, as she remains faithful in the things she has been asked, He is faithful to provide more, exactly enough, exactly when it is needed.

I do not need to know the answer. There may very well not be one right now.

However, I do know what to do about it. Obey. Do what I know to do. Love like Jesus. Invite in the stranger, accept the outcast, live the Gospel. Be faithful with the little that is entrusted to me and watch Him be faithful in the big picture. He always provides, exactly enough, exactly when it is needed. He asks me to take this next step and I protest, “but I don’t have enough!” Not enough grace, not enough love, not enough strength, not enough time. And the widow reminds me to be faithful anyway. Of course I do not have enough. But I have Jesus and He, He is always enough.

I am faithful with little. He is faithful with much.

So we breathe in. We put one foot in front of the other. We love each other well and we laugh until we cry and sometimes we just cry but He holds us then too.

Holds us even now and knows best even now and loves these dear ones even more than I do, even now.

He who promised is faithful. Not necessarily faithful in what I want or see fit, but faithful in His promises. And He has promised to prosper and not to harm, He has promised a hope and a future. For Jane, for Nancy, for Patricia, Grace, Sumini, Joyce, Scovia, Sarah, Tibita, Hellen, Mary, Zuula, Agnes, Margaret, Prossy and even me. He has promised to give good.

So we try our best to obey, to do what we already know to do – love like Jesus, open up our home and share what He has so graciously given us, preach the Gospel with our lives, breathe Him deep this moment. We do what we can do and then we let Him take over because oh, how His power is made perfect in my weakness!

Bottom line is, I don’t really like Nancy. But I can’t help but love her, and out of love I deeply desire to spend eternity with her. And in light of eternity, nothing else matters.

So I give Jesus the trauma and the confusion and the rolling eyes and the pinching and the things that Jane says that I didn’t teach her and I smile big and I laugh hard at the gift of one more day. I give Him Nancy’s heart and Jane’s too and I thank Him for 14 pairs of flip flops again and watermelon juice on eager chins and her toothbrush back in the cup on my sink and hurt that draws us closer and a home where strangers become family.

I can trust God. I look at my life and I see the miracles and because of what I know, I can trust Him for what I don’t know. Because of what I have seen, I can trust Him when I can’t see.

And when I don’t know what else to be, I am thankful. Thankful for you and your prayers that carry us and His love, through you all, that never runs out. We covet your prayers. We SO appreciate them. He must become greater, we must become less.

179 thoughts on “breathing deep

  1. Dear sister in Christ,

    While we have not met here on earth, I have read your words for some time now and have prayed through tears for you much of the time.

    My prayer in this time is that God will take the brokeness, the pain, the hurt, the struggle, the cries…and He will make of it a beautiful tapestry in His time. I pray that the knowing of that will make the waiting bearable. I pray that in the waiting for the beauty, you will find the beauty that is there waiting for you.

    Much love in Christ,
    Kristin

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  2. 2 things I have heard my mother say a million times: If He brings you to it, He will carry you through it! And — He will never give you more than you can endure. Praying you will be able to see a glimmer of difference that I have confidence that you are making in Nancy. I love your heart for others! Keep constant – it will be what Jane remembers! Blessings to you and yours!

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  3. I just prayed that you would find joy in that next measure of strength and grace…in the next step. So thankful for His grace to us all through you, for His grace to you through your 14 beautiful blessings.

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  4. Praying that God would fill your cup to overflowing to enable you to do what He is asking by the power of the Holy Spirit. May God bless you as you walk this painful path. Only He knows what the future holds and the legacy your actions and love will leave.

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  5. katie,
    i'm so amazed at your love and compassion. want you to know, although we've never met, i pray for you pretty much daily and think of you and your girls often. nancy is so blessed that you love her (your)daughter and she knew exactly where to go when she needed help! that is the kingdom of god, you're walking it girl!

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  6. Katie, We have never met and probably never will until That Day. Words cannot express my heart as I read of what you are doing.

    I too want to change the world (yes, you and Jesus are changing the world!). My spirit cries out “YES LORD”!

    As I read your blog, I cannot help but think of some of the writings of Mother Theresa – I'm serious here.

    You have come to understand at an early age what it means to take care of orphans and widows and bringing hope to the hopeless.

    I pray that I can do the same.

    Bless you young lady.

    Kenny Sacht
    Boise, Idaho

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  7. I was driving to work this morning and praying for you and Jane kept popping in the forefront of my prayers. So I checked your blog first thing when I got to work and sure enough, there was Jane. God is with you, He is in all these little details. You are teaching us what it is to truly love, even when we find it almost impossible to even like someone. So neat that because we are sisters in Christ, He led me to pray for you in Missouri, someone I've never met but cheer on everyday in my heart.

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  8. Katie,
    Your posts are always so inspirational. I always learn so much about God through you, and you constantly remind me to live fully for Him and follow Him completely in my life. I'm praying for you and your girls and Nancy and for her salvation! Don't give up, “God works for the good of those who love Him” (can't remember where this verse is). Prayers for you coming from Minnesota! 🙂

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  9. Hi Katie,

    My husband and I just got back from a mission trip to Salt Lake City with a group of 15 5th and 6th graders from our church in Nampa, ID. Our 10 year old daughter was one of the students blessed through this experience. On the last night of the trip, one of the hosting pastors was teaching the kids about how God will give them all they need to become whomever they dream of becoming. The pastor then proceeded to ask each of the kids what they wanted to grow up to be. Our daughter was the last to answer and tears welled up in my eyes as she responded, “There is this lady named Katie in Africa who has adopted 14 daughters. I think God wants me to be like her.”

    You are inspiring and touching so many through what God has called to do. My husband and I are definitely inspired to once again embark upon the adoption journey.

    We pray for you, your ministry, and your 14 daughters (including Jane).

    Liberty

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  10. Wow, Katie. I just keep thinking of 70×7. It's not easy to forgive and least of all to forget, but you are right. We just obey and Trust Him for every day. Thank you for your example of this.

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  11. Katie, thank you again for sharing your heart. You are prayed for often. It is a priviledge to have met your beautiful family. God has brought Nancy closer to Jesus by bringing her to your home. Your life is Jesus, and I am thankful that He loves us all enough, even Nancy, to use you to draw us all to His throne, to His feet. I know it must be absoltuley exhausting. He wastes nothing. One kind smile from you and you are passing on more of Him. Thank you, Katie. God bless you. There will be more prayers from the Jones family. It seems God always has something amazing in store for your family. I look forward to this testimony.

    With love,
    Tracey

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  12. THANK YOU… for sharing your heart, for sharing God's truth, for continually being faithful and trusting.
    This was the post I needed to read.. haven't read blogs for a week and then tonight as I am packing up the things of a child I have cared for a loved with all my heart for the past year and a half, waiting for a ruling that she will return to her biological family on Tuesday- I come here and tears stream down my face reading God-inspired words. I am so praying for your heart, for your energy and for your joy… to remain strong, rooted in love and mercy that can ONLY be given from our Father. it is amazing when you feel you do not ahve the strength or the will to take one more step, give one more smile, give one more act of grace and God wonderfully says “but I can”. Praying for the decisions you are facing, for the wisdom to know what is best and for the strength to shine Jesus in these incredibly difficult circumstances. God has given you an amazing heart and He is strengthening you moment by moment as you stay connected to Him and His truths.

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  13. Dear Katie,

    It is so beautiful, beautiful, beautiful to see how God shines in your life and in your love. I feel my heart ache to hear about your daughter, but at the same time I know that He feels every pain, every moment.

    Our God lost His children as well, to a world and an entity that doesn't love them, doesn't really want them. And He too suffers through seeing us fall and become deeply wounded.

    I know it sounds weird to say this, but your struggles are beautiful as well because you are seeing, are feeling, a part of the heart of God that many of us do not see or feel. Our God is so relational. He has deep hurts, and He too desires to be understood, to be known by us. He's been taking me through Jeremiah and the prophets lately, where He gives His heart's cry for His love…He tells Hosea to marry a whore because it symbolizes so much of what He feels.

    You are a friend of God. You see His heart even in the midst of your pain, and this…this depth of relationship with Him is beautiful. You have a constant Friend and Lover who knows exactly how you feel…and you also know to some extent how He feels. And the more we understand Him, the more we see Him, therein lies true Beauty.

    It is a joy to pray for you, to lift you up, sister!

    BeautifulMess

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  14. Thank the Good Lord You have Jane in your home again and with your help Nancy will come to know Our God and our Savior. She may be there now because he is calling her and you are the answer. Love her and Jane and watch a seed planted _Grow!
    This is an amazing post and I will be praying for you , your family, Jane and Nancy. I've just watched some of your videos on You-Tube and I cried. You again have touched my heart and soul. God Bless you Katie. Looking forward to meeting you some day. Big Hugs!!!

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  15. Dear Katie, I don't know that I have ever commented on your blog, but you touch my heart and tears roll down my cheeks each time I read a post. Your words touch me deeply and God uses your words to touch my life. What you said in this post is so amazing and so what I needed to hear for my own life. Thank you for allowing God to use you! Yes, life is hard – even in the sweet comfort of the USA. I can't even imagine what you go through, but I do pray for you. You have such an amazing heart and it shows – God's love flows through you and you allow yourself to be a vessel for Him. I wish I had half the faith you have. I'm a work in progress – trying to cling to His promises and truly believe it in my heart and not just my head. I have printed out many of your posts so in my dark days I can re-read them and they once again bring me hope. I just want you to know how many lives (not just in Uganda) you are touching!!! Thank you from the deepest part of my heart. Keep abiding in Him and as you already know He is enough. 🙂
    Karlynda

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  16. Thank you for always sharing your heart in such an honest and raw way. God spoke directly to me and answered my prayers through this most recent post so I can't think you enough for writing what he leads you to write. We have opportunity to bring child into our home for summer and maybe longer but we were worried what if we lack $, time, energy, etc but now it is abundantly clear, all we need is faith and obedience and we will be good to go!!!!! Thank you for your words, HIS words to us!

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  17. I have always loved reading your posts, but lately they are so painful to me and reading them is like ripping a scab off of an unhealed wound. Your life with and without your Jane and her mama parallels my story of working with birthmoms as I foster their children. Right now my Gracie is still here with me, the only mama she has ever known; but it may be soon that she goes to the very young, unstable girl who gave birth to her and is using time extension after extension to barely meet the minimum requirements to get her baby back. This young mother hasn't really wanted my help, she hasn't changed her lifestyle, yet her rights are being protected at the expense of her baby's rights. I am one who is pleased to come alongside mamas as they work their way to stability and reunify with their children whom have lived in my family. In general, I favor children being reunified with their parents. But this situation is different – it is a sad illustration of selfishness and self-centeredness. At the expense of little Gracie. So, keep writing your heart, Katie, and I will keep reading, empathizing with you because my heart knows your agony and your choice to be obedient. Your choice to go back and do it all again because it is an honor to be Christ to this world.

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  18. Hi,
    I've been reading your blog since the beginning of my freshman year of college. You are such an inspiration to me, my name is Katya [Russian for Katie]. I was adopted from Tula, Russia at the age of 5 with my brother who was 8. You are doing an amazing thing adopting these children, I can't even imagine even though I have been adopted. I'm so blessed to be in this country, and I still take for granted the things that I have despite my past. I love the Lord now, this has been a recent and miraculous change. My brokenness from being adopted has been healed because of God.Your life and story are in my prayers, especially those beautiful children that you have graciously decided to take care of.

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