Around here, we live bent low.

Tuesday morning ladies from Masese stream through my front door. We have moved our weekly meeting from the slum of Masese to my living room because I have been up all night and just can’t imagine getting all 13 of these little people out of the house. Excited about a change of pace and my sweet friends in my home, I enlist the help of darling Tamara and 13 eager little girls to give these ladies pedicures. We wash and we rub and we paint. I rub lotion into old scarred feet and think of the journeys they have traveled. I whisper thanks for the ways they have blessed me and the things they have taught me, and here in a puddle on the hard tile floor, Joy overflows.

It is on this same cold, smooth tile that I kneel hours later, face inches away from the burn on Makerere’s calf. The stench doesn’t even bother me anymore. And while it looks horrific to outside eyes, I remember what it looked like months ago and ever so slowly, I can see the healing. I can see the healing in the blood red life that spills out as I bandage and in the smiling eyes that tell me stories as I work. Laying on my belly with a surgical blade I scrape out the dead and do my best to preserve the new pink tissue that is starting to form around the edges. He laughs and says, “I have told you now all the stories I have! It must be your turn.” And I tell him a story of a Heavenly King born as a pauper and of a Body broken for me and for him and for each one of us. And I don’t even realize but there are tears on the tile and I sit astonished that messy, inadequate, ungraceful me would get to share such a story.

We sit in the dirt, not worried about the red stains and serve 400 plates of food to sponsored children on Saturday. I look into these faces and remember them nearly 4 years ago, destitute and hopeless and starving. Afraid of my funny white skin. We feed them lunch and we feed them God’s Word and we watch them transform. We feel like family now, no one noticing these skin differences. The suns rays beat down the glory of God and covered in mud and chicken broth I know that this is contentment.

Our family sits on the street corner down town sharing ice cream and laughter. My daughter bends low to offer a homeless man her popsicle and as he cries that no one cares about him she looks straight into his face. “We will be your family,” she asserts, and she means it. We kneel on the pavement and we pray and people stop to look but we hardly notice because we were made for this.

We bend.

I bend to sweep crumbs and I bend to wipe vomit and I bend to pick up little ones and wipe away tears. I bend over a big pot of stew and I bend to fold endless laundry and I bend over math books and spelling sentences and history quiz corrections. And at the end of these days I bend next to the bed and I ask only that I could bend more, bend lower.

Because I serve a Savior who came to be a servant. He lived bent low. And bent down here is where I see His face.

He lived, only to die.

Could I?

Die to self and just break open for love.

This Savior, His one purpose to spend Himself on behalf of messy us. Will I spend myself on behalf of those in front of me?

And people say, “Don’t you get tired?” and yes, I do. But I’m face to face with Jesus in the dirt, and the more I bend the harder and better and fuller this life gets. And sure, we are tired, but oh we are happy. Because bent down low is where we find fullness of Joy.

Praying for you as you bend today for whoever is in front of you. He will meet you there.

119 thoughts on “

  1. What God is doing through you is superb!! It's changing lives in Africa AND all over the world. Anyone who reads your blogs is a changed person. I am!! I thank God that He molded you in this way. To help save us all from ourselves. To STOP Populaton Me' and start looking around for those in need of a helping hand, a kind word, a bowl of food…whatever it takes! Your blogs are my 2nd Bible. They are becoming air to me… I can't have my day until I have read and re-read your blogs. I pass what you are doing on to whoever will listen. You are a miracle!

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  2. And you give all the praise and joy and credit to Jesus, because He is your inspiration, your strength. Your writing is graphic and powerful. A Max Lucado type of message for me. I have you blog now bookmarked. I have committed to go to Uganda summer of 20012 with a few my daughter is leading with her husband through Children's Hopechest. You help me realize there is so much that can be done. So much.

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  3. A little late to comment on this post probably but I have found lately that I say “awesome” a lot. I hate using words that really have a profound meaning too much because it loses some of the impact I think but Jesus has shown himself alot to me lately and I can't keep from saying “awesome” because I can't think of a word to describe His greatness not nearly enough..I don't think there is one. I was humbled before I read this blog, this entry is awesome. Prayed for you..

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  4. Is there anyway I can come and serve in these ministries? I'm a Christian and have no children. 46 year old female from US and would love to take care of these children. I admire Kate for taking such loving care of these children.

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  5. Katie, I appreciate and I am encouraged and inspired by what you are doing. God bless you and your family. May HE FILL you and your family with streams of living water.Keep on keeping on. Shelly

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  6. hi Katie,

    i. needed. this. today.

    to bend low, that God bends low to listen to me, to love me, that Jesus made himself low to serve me, and i cannot move one finger to serve?

    ive been sick for two years now, and it has taken its toll–kept me from serving, loving in the way that i want to, even though i have four children. i have known that joy before. i want it again–all for His glory and that i could be satisfied in Him.

    thank you for writing this–for being honest and for letting the eyes be upon you. because we need to hear your story.

    love and blessings, sister,

    Nacole

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  7. You were such an inspiration when I heard you speak this past Sunday. I started reading your blog, just a bit at a time, just to try and catch up. You need to know that you are an inspiration not only to where you're bending, but to the people back home. Thank you for sharing! God please Bless Katie today –

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  8. Our priest read this entry from the pulpit about a month ago. Challenging all of us to “bend low”. I've been following your blog since then and just received your book as a gift from my husband. We are beginning the adoption process next Tuesday. With four still at home in a small 3 bedroom one bathroom we hope and pray we will still be accepted. You are in our prayers. Pray for us as we also seek to follow God's will.
    Rebecca

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  9. My favorite post. I read it all the time. I know exactly what you're talking about, but sometimes I need to be reminded that bending into the dirt of Kenya is worthwhile, because we see the very face of Jesus Christ in that dirt. In the orphan's faces. In long nights with a baby struggling to hold onto life.

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