“I thought that if she was just going to die anyway, I should let her die quickly. Then I wouldn’t have to love her, and it wouldn’t have to hurt. Anyway, if she lives, she’ll just grow up to be like this. Who wants to live like this?”

5 months ago my friend Regina, a Karimojong woman who picks fallen branches off our street to sell as firewood and occasionally stopped in for water, came to me desperate. She and her 4 small children had been evicted from their house because for the fourth time in four months she had been unable to pay their rent. As I looked at the three youngest, all on the brink of starving to death, I will admit I judged her. I had been providing the family with food for a while now, how did the children still look like this? But as she breathed the words above I understood. If one’s hope is not in Christ, she simply believes that life is hard and then you die. If this is the case then of course, of course, run from the hard. If you know the pain of losing a child and you know that you will, eventually lose this one too, then obviously your only choice is to run. Immediately, my judgment turned to sorrow.

I don’t think I have to tell you what happened next. Regina, Girl, Capata, Salimu, and baby Katie moved in. They needed a place to go, they needed some hearty meals, and Regina needed someone to teach her how to love her children. Someone to teach her about the Savior.

“I am entrusting you with much,” He whispered.

4 months ago Makerere, the resident “crazy man” of Masese showed up at my gate with his leg burnt to the bone. Believing that his leg was salvageable even after several doctors alleged otherwise, I continued to bandage it daily. The only problem? As soon as Makerere went home each day he again fell pray to the addiction that has haunted him for years. Drunk and stumbling around the slum, his leg would get dirty and he would forget to eat. There was no way it would heal if he kept this up. His house had been burnt down, the reason for his leg wound, and all Makerere really wanted was to die. We begged him to move into the small house in our backyard. (This little house serves as a place for men or families to stay while we minister to them so that both my family and our guests can maintain a semblance of “normal” life while living in community.)

Friends advised against it. “You can’t move the crazy guy into your back yard. You can’t let the crazy guy sit at your table.” But the vote from the kids was unanimous. Yes you can. We packed his remaining belongings (a lantern, an extra shirt, and half of a chair) into our van and made him part of the family.

“I am entrusting you with much,” God whispered.

Last week a grandmother approached me at worship in Buziika and handed me a 6 pound 7 month old. I wasn’t really sure he was breathing. His mother is dead, his father is gone, and this grandmother is just not really sure what to do with him. Figuring he would need at least a month of high fat milk dropped into his little mouth every twenty minutes before he was ready to live in Buziika and be bottle fed by Grandma, we again made the decision to grow. The two of them hopped in the van to come home with us while Grandma learns to take care of sweet baby Juma. In conversation on the way home it was apparent that Grandma had some confused ideas about Jesus and witchcraft. I sighed as I realized that taking care of babies wasn’t all we would be teaching her.

“I am entrusting you with much,” He whispered.

Today Regina and all 4 of her children are incredibly healthy and happy. Though we will miss them terribly, it is time for them to move out, to stand on their own two feet. Regina has been doing some work around the house to build up some savings and with this money and a small loan from Amazima, will begin selling tomatoes and onions to make an income and support her family herself. She is a beautiful mother. She is a beautiful friend.

Makerere’s leg is almost completely healed. Only some pink granulation tissue and lots of smooth brown skin cover the area that was once festering with infection. Makerere is 3 months sober. He will stay here for a bit longer because he is afraid to relapse, but soon he will begin attending vocational school. This face that was once constantly sullen is now ever-joyful. Makerere smiles and sings songs he has learnt at church as he rakes our leaves or picks eggplant from our garden.

While Grandma and baby Juma are still fairly new, Grandma is learning and Juma is already growing. They are a sweet addition to our days.

This house I call home, it is where people flock for help. For a glass of water, for a welcoming smile, for a story of redemption, for a place to belong. “Come and listen,” we say. “Come and listen to what He’s done for us. For you.” These 8 will leave, but more will come. They always come. I don’t know why us and I don’t know why here. Our house is a wreck and dinner is late. We make a ruckus in the grocery store and we don’t get invited out much because surely we will bring a screaming baby or worse, crazy people. We are late to church and sometimes we get there and one doesn’t have shoes and one forgot to comb her hair. We are the messy ones. And we pray and we pray that we could spill out the grace God has so lavished on us.

13 pairs of eyes look at me as if I hold the world. I pray they learn from me half of what I learn from them. They are growing. Trauma from their pasts surfaces and we fight to cling to truth and joy. The days feel long but the years are so short. Time slips away and these little people transform into big people and I pray only that they are becoming people who know Him more.

“I have entrusted you with much,” He whispers.

The book releases in October. I know what this means: more eyes on us. I struggle with the thought of it. All I want is more eyes on Him. I am just a broken mess, grabbing for His feet, reaching out to touch His cloak, thankful for His mercy that washes over me. I am just a little girl, relieved to crawl into His lap and curl up there.

He has entrusted me with so much. And from those who much has been entrusted, much more will be demanded. We want only to represent Him well. So I have taken some time away to feel the weight of it all. 13 little girls, the families in the back yard, friends, family, people in Masese, people in Buziika, people in America looking at me. And satan whispers, “Run. Run and run and run. No book. No blog. No more homeless people in the guestroom. Lock your doors. Take these 13 and just shut yourselves in and stay away from all these eyes because you are not good enough to have so many eyes on you. Run.”

But I look out in the yard and I see only redemption. I see God making thorn bushes into pine trees. I see Him filling our holes with His blood. I see traumatized children that struggle sometimes but laugh mostly. I see them embracing these one-drunk, once-lifeless, once-starving people who are growing in a merciful, healing Father. I see lives changed and I see eternities changed. I see family where there once was only loneliness. And I don’t know why He chose me, this broken little girl, to witness all of it.

I look up. And His voice is so much louder than satan’s. “I have entrusted you with much and I have demanded of you much. But only with me will your life bear much. So run. Run and run and run into my arms. Run. Run and run and run into this world sharing this story that has Me at the center. This making of disciples, it is my business. And I am with you always and my burden is light. I spill through your brokenness and I will be glorified. I promise. I will be glorified.” And that is all I want.

I sat in the heaviness. And I weighed the risks of sharing our entire life, all of it, the joy and the sad, the beautiful and the ugly, with the whole crazy world. And I know. That if on the other side of that risk is the possibility that someone may see Jesus in our brokenness and know that there is grace and purpose in theirs too, then the whole crazy world is welcome. For a glass of water, for a welcoming smile, for a story of redemption, for a place to belong. For a glimpse of a Savior who uses even us, the messy ones. “Come and listen to what He’s done for us. For you.”

We look up. We are thankful for the mess. We are thankful for the much. We are thankful for a story to share, the story of His death and His story in our lives.

Would you pray with us? That as eyes turn to us, they would see only Him. That however, whatever, wherever He would be glorified. He will.

169 thoughts on “

  1. Katie-
    I have been praying for you since I stumbled upon your blog a few months ago. Thank you for sharing your life with us. It's encouraged me in so many ways.
    I can't even begin to tell you.
    Thank you for living in faith and pouring out love!

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  2. just saw your blog as a friend had mentioned it. Be encouraged. God is answering yours and others prayers. When I read about you I was in awe of what God can do. Especially when I read this post. I stood in awe of what he has done and is doing in and through you. I stand in awe of his answered prayers and working in the lives of people that have come to visit you. I pray for strength for you. I pray for peace and comfort in His promises and hope that when you see hurts, disappointments, etc. that you will see that Jesus is and will always be the answer.

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  3. Hi Katie – I just found your blog and your new book – wow. I don't even know what to say. I'm a 48 old mom of two and your story has blown me away. You are truly an amazing young woman and I admire you from afar. Bless you sweet girl.

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  4. Sweet Katie, You are beautiful and amazing. You clearly hear our Abba Father's voice. Stay encouraged & strong in the Lord! You may never even realize the width & depth of how many hearts are being touched through you saying 'Yes' to His call. Many blessings, many prayers on your behalf.

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  5. Oh, sweetie, we see Jesus. He alone can do in and through you what He is doing. A city on a hill cannot be hidden! I pray that as His story of you gains attention, that you are able to stay in His lap, and be the daughter of His, and the mommy of your girls that he has called you to be.

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  6. God is reaching many of us through you, Mommy Katie! I saw you in our college/career class bible Study Book at church. I saw you on WSMV-TV while cleaning the kitchen. A good friend told me she was reading your book. A book by this amazing Christ-follower, I thought? I downloaded it immediately and wasn't able to put it down. I cried tears of joy and tears of pain and am praying for you and His ministry that you have begun in Uganda. God has blessed you, those beautiful children and each of us. He IS being glorified through you. Thank you for your willingess to serve, for sharing your story with others and for motivating all of us to look further at what the gospels call us to do…to care for the least of these. I am praying for you, my sister-in-Christ. Rachel, Gallatin, Tenn.

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  7. I just finished reading your book! I couldn't put it down! I had to come right to your blog to be caught up! So thankful you stepped out and wrote your story and I would say your prayers are answered…God gets all the glory. You have pointed us to Christ all throughout the book and have challenged and inspired me!!! Bless you and all your children! Jenny

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  8. Thank you for reminding me also that messy is okay. I have 6 children, not 13, but sometimes one of them doesnʻt have slippers on their feet. Sometimes one of them leaves the house without brushing their hair. I never cared much. I know they are loved, they are happy, but others will criticize. Other have made me feel ashamed that my children donʻt look perfect all the time. Thank you for reminding me that those outward appearances are NOT the most important thing.

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  9. This has been a blessing to me, I'm so grateful you're sharing your experiences with the rest of us. Thank you for showing us a glimpse into your world. Blessings.

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  10. The love of Christ shines SO brightly through your story! Oh, His love is RADIANT!!!!!!!! Thank you for sharing your beautiful story. All I see in your words and actions is the LOVE of Christ! Your faithful obedience to God's calling is such a breath of fresh air to witness. God has led me to you and your story… and I am forever grateful! You are in my prayers. I love you! Keep being the beautiful servant you are! He will continue to move mountains with the love you have for Him!

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  11. Katie,
    I just finished reading the book you published and you asked for prayers about in this blog. I say prayers over it..for you, your family and all of the people God is transforming through you. I am 22 years old and I completely see myself in the pages you have written. I feel the same strain that you explain in the book between living in the world and living ALL for GOD. I literally have the “same” parents, “same” boyfriend, “same” expectations of life, and same calling from God. My life has been radically changed because of the words I have read. God is completely glorified from front page to back page. I pray for you and the unreached people of Uganda that will be eternally saved because of your obedience. I pray for God's will to be enacted in Africa, America and all over the world. Matthew 5:13-16..continue to be the LIGHT shining bright through Uganda, Katie. I love you, sister in Christ.

    Kailey

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  12. Be encouraged….your willingness to share your story is such a blessing. All I see is Jesus…it's crystal clear that it's not about you, it's all about Him. It's strange how you can hear something time and time again but never truly understand. God's work through you and your family has opened my eyes. I'm forever grateful.

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  13. Katie,
    I am a high school who just finished your book about half an hour ago. I want you to know that it truly does – and will continue – to influence the world. I've felt lost lately. Don't get me wrong, I'm a normal kid, but over the past year or so, I've been restless, occassionally feeling useless. Your story has encouraged me to seek my vocation, even if it is not as extreme as moving to Uganda 🙂
    Thank you for sharing your story and allowing the Lord of All to shine through you. Thank you for helping our world.

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  14. Katie,
    Thank you for having the courage to share the story of you and your daughters with us. God used your book to change my life when I read it last Christmas. I was struck by your faithful openness and obedience to God's promptings.
    Your story birthed an excitement in me to follow God on whatever adventure He has for me. Because no matter how challenging life is, if He's called us to it, there's joy and grace there.
    I've shared your book with others and prayed for you. Some of the things you bemoan encourage me because they show me that God uses “ordinary” and young (I'm 27) people to change the world–as you said, one person at a time.
    Thank you for being an example of courage and obedience. May the Lord richly bless and provide for you, your family, and your community.

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  15. Thank you so much Katie for sharing your story with the world. God used your book to encourage me to trust Him and live with Him as my goal and focus.
    I am on 2 year mission trip right after high school and will go home in a couple months. Before I was really worried about going home and the next step but now I am super excited to see where God will lead me next.
    God bless you and your family.

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