Healer God

November

“You are right.” He says.

I look up into the shy smile I have grown to love so much. Day 178 of bandaging this wound, and it is almost gone.

Makerere is not one to strike up conversation usually, so I probe. “Right about what?”

“That thing you say. You know. About even bad things being used for our good and all of it working for God’s glory even when we can’t see it. You are right. If I hadn’t been burnt we might not be friends, you know. And If I hadn’t come to live here, I would still be drinking and mostly, I wouldn’t know about that Jesus,” he laughs, “Jesus.”

I focus my gaze back on the bandage to hide the happy tears. I am right, but sometimes, I need reminding.

****

Sometime in April, Christine pulled up in my van. “I have a patient for you,” she said as she opened the back door. I knew he was in bad shape as he tumbled out, and I could feel the vomit surge hot in my throat as I caught that first glimpse of his leg – skin burnt charcoal black, bone exposed, nothing even still alive enough to bleed.

I knew this man. At least, I thought I did. As the village drunk of Masese, he was a constant annoyance to me. I was appalled but not surprised to learn that while he was passed out in the middle of the day, some neighbors lit his house on fire. The fire caught his leg and he crawled out just in time to watch his neighbors steal all his remaining belongings from inside.

And thus began the season that I though would heal him, but instead healed me.

He moaned as I injected painkiller and mumbled a story that I couldn’t understand. I prayed over his wound and over his heart, and when he fell asleep on the porch, I didn’t make him move but draped a blanket over him instead and I didn’t realize that just this simple action would be the beginning of coming to love the newest member of our family.

The doctor at the best hospital around told me he would lose his leg if I didn’t dress and clean it daily. That probably he would lose it anyway. At this point, I don’t think he cared one way or another, but I did. Just months earlier, tragedy had struck our family. And although I had no idea at the time, Jesus was bringing about my own healing by drawing me into someone else’s. I couldn’t verbalize it then, but it is as if my heart screamed, “I lost my daughter. I lost my reality. You will not lose your leg. You will not lose yours.” And so I threw myself into becoming an expert on third degree burn care.

For hours each day I scraped the dead skin from this wound and God scraped at the dead places of my heart. Buried places that, though I would never say it, somehow doubted that God could be good, all the time, when my daughter’s bed lay empty. And I said it out loud, to him and to myself. God uses all for good. For His glory. God is using this, I said, and I smiled at new pink life showing through and though I didn’t recognize it yet, God was growing new life out of the very hardest places of my heart.

For a month he came and went. I would bandage the leg and send him home; he would return the next day and I would almost be thankful that he was drunk because even still the pain was excruciating. I would wash and scrape and scrub and dress and I cry and I would say to that wound and to anyone who would listen, “We will not lose this leg.” Others from the community stepped over our new friend asleep on the porch and they shook their heads. “You can’t save ‘em all. Not this one, Katie.” But I am stubborn. And God is relentless.

Eventually he just moved in to the little house in our back yard. This made finding him at bandaging time quite a bit easier and it allowed me to make sure he wasn’t drinking. As he began to sober up, we began to have longer conversations; he would tell me all about his life and his family before he became an alcoholic and found himself homeless in Masese and I would tell him about a Savior born as an infant in a feeding trough and nailed to a tree. He questioned everything I said about God’s goodness and sovereignty, and I know that as I was answering him, I was answering myself, too. In the darkest place of my life God had me testify each day exactly who I knew Him to be. In those hours of wound bandaging He was introducing Himself to me again. The Working All For Good God. The Still and Always Faithful God. The God who sees who we are and uses all the broken places to make us who we are becoming. I said these things out loud and I watched God make them true all over again.

And this is what I learned: the hard does not minimize His goodness but allows us to experience His goodness in a whole new way.

252 days of wrapping and talking and laughing and crying later, new skin covered this once dead area. The leg that so many thought was lost could walk and even run. And the man that so many thought was hopeless had been sober for over 6 months. A week later, this physically healed man walked into my kitchen as grinned from ear to ear. “I believe it,” he announced, “today I believe that Jesus is the Son of God.” Simple as that.

I didn’t try to contain my excitement as I danced around the kitchen that day, and I still daily choke back tears as the time I once spent wrapping his leg in gauze is now spent scouring the Bible together for the answer to his every question.

The burnt area on his leg is still a few shades lighter than the skin surrounding it. “Can I look at your leg?” I ask often, and he knows why. “See what God did?” he will chuckle. And we both see so much more than new skin.

Jesus. He met us right where we were, right there on the cold hard tile of my sun room, and He took two broken people, so different and yet so much more alike and showed us the scars on His hands and said its ok if we have some too because the scars are always drawing us to Him.

200 thoughts on “Healer God

  1. what your doing is awesome! and gives me hope, i went to Uganda two years ago and it changed my heart, i gave my life to god there on the Ugandan red soil and left my heart there. i can't wait for the day that i got to go back permanently. what your doing is amazing and god has huge plans for you! keep it up! maybe one day i will run into you when I'm back over there doing my ministry!

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  2. Katie and Makerere, Like so many others, the tears fell as I read your post! Especially, Makarere, when I saw the picture of your leg and the new skin…I remember sitting on the porch with Katie one day and helping her to clean your wound. I had had decades of experience with burns. I cleaned a lot of tissue from around the tendon, and prayed that somehow, new skin would grow where there appeared to be no skin left. To see the skin that has grown back is to bear witness to the healing miracle that God has worked in your body. To see your smiles in the pictures, both or you, is to bear witness to God's healing miracles in both of your hearts! Katie, may God continue to bless you, as you bless all of us with your work. And Makarere, may God continue to bless you and may His light shine ever brighter in you each day!

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  3. Very much enjoying your blog, Katie, and reading your book — and receiving inspiration from them both to live closer to God's path, in His Service. Thank you for taking the time to share.

    I was intrigued to read in your book of the immense poularity of Celine Dion in Uganda and too amongst your childred. Celine was born into a relatively poor family in Quebec, Canada, and had 13 siblings. A similar sized family, n'est pas? God Bless.

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  4. That is absolutely beautiful! My mom bought me your book for Christmas and I read it, learning more and more about how wonderful God is. My mom and I suggest the book and share it with any and everyone at church and at home. I was having a tough time when I read it and it opened my heart and made me want to read my Bible and pray harder. I've been praying hard for opportunities to share my faith and they've been popping up in the least expected places. So I pray that I'll know what to say because I can't let those precious friends go. I have to at least try to show them to Jesus. I love your story and I kind of want to go on a missions trip now. Thank for all you do to help those poor people in Uganda and all the spiritually poor people here in America!

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  5. Dear kaite,

    I am 13 years old n my mom showed me this stroy last night, and I coulndnt get enough of it. I read a lot of ur blogs because I felt like God was speaking to me!!! My mom n I agree that wat God has done through u is amazing! My mom says I have the same gift as u, but I cant even think about leaving all my friends n family to go a different country!!!! I am going to pray for you n ur children!!!! 🙂

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  6. I finished your book a couple of weeks ago. Thank you for allowing God to use you, to speak through you. I'm still living in my material world, it hasn't changed much, but my heart has been pondering on all you had to say. I know change is coming, I know it. Praying you and your family, and all those you offer help to, that you all are amazingly blessed. Praying many hearts are changed and many children(and adults) are helped. Love to you, sister in Christ…

    Like

  7. You inspire me so much, ever since I read your book a few months ago, I cannot seem to get you,how wonderful God is, and Uganda out of my head!

    Also, I just learned about Kony today, and the 30,000 Ugandan children he has taken, and how awful and heartbreaking it is.

    I watched a video, Kony 2012, on spreading the word about this awful man to hopefully try and stop it, since your heart is in Uganda, maybe you could help spread the word too:]

    God bless you and all of he beautiful things that you do,

    Megan

    Like

  8. You make me wish that I was 21 all over again (and in all my adult years, I've never wanted to 'go back'). I have been in f/t missions for 13 yrs, starting when I was 40. May the Lord grant you grace and courage to continue moving forward in what He has in store for you. Thank you for being courageous enough to not store up your treasures here on earth, but instead to invest in these little lives who will grow up knowing the love of a mother AND a Father intimately. “If you do it unto the least of these…” You are an inspiration. God be with you!

    Like

  9. Katie- Thank you for being Jesus's hands and feet and heart there in Uganda.Through your testimony I feel His love and tears and Victory over sin and death.Your sister in Him- Lorrie

    Like

  10. Thank you so much for sharing your sweet spirit. I loved your book and I love your blog! I thank my heavenly father every day for reminders of his love like you. Thank you for all of the work you do in his name. My prayers go out to you and your beautiful family.

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  11. Katie, you will probobly never read this, but I want to write to you anyway. Your story has changed my life, my heart, and my business. I just finished your book. As I closed the last page of your book, I received a revelation rom God. A revelation to live differently. To give my whole life and heart to him, whatever that looks like. One of the first major changes I have made to my life is in my business. I feel led to give half of my income to your ministry. I am blown away by your work, your heart, and your maturity, but mostly by your faith. Praise be to God! Thank you for writing down your story. God is using you to change the world, one person at a time. And thank you for your obediance. The Lord has called all of us to do His work, but most of us are too busy to hear His call. Your obediance has changed my life, my eternity, and in that….so many others will be saved. With so much love to you and your beautiful family,
    Suzy Stark

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  12. Katie,
    My name is Jackie and as I'm reading your book the beginning of your story sounds similar to my own. I haven't been to Africa yet but God has made it clear to me that A. I needed to quit my job and B. Africa is where He wants to take me. I'm doing all I can to follow His leading, desperate to go where He wants me. I'm 23 and am planning on flying into Nairobi, Kenya in the first couple weeks of January, 2013. You and I are around the same age and it seems like we might have a shared heart… I don't know if you will get a chance to see my post among all of your other followers 🙂 but if you do, I would truly love to get in touch with you and if God allows, to visit you in Uganda. It's amazing how God can take us where we never expected! I've only been a believer for 3 years and before that I can guarantee to you that I never would have thought that I'd become a Christian, or that I'd ever consider getting into missions or finally that it would take me to Africa…

    Thank you for your ministry! I hope to hear from you soon or sometime at least between now and January 🙂

    Jackie

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  13. Katie,
    I'm writing in the hopes that you might be able to write back 🙂 We're the same age. In short, I accepted Christ three years ago and through many stages I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God wants me in Africa. Just yesterday I wad trying to find the words to describe what has been in my heart. Today I started listening to your book and my heart was relieved in a sense to hear you voice my feelings. I will be going to spend time in Tanzania and Kenya starting in January of next year. I'm hoping I might be able to make detour to visit you in Uganda.

    My dad grew up in Tanzania & Kenya as a missionary kid but as an adult has not accepted Christ… I told him I was writing to you and I can tell he is not only cynical, but also watching. I can't tell you how wonderful it would be to meet you… If you can, I would love to hear from you 🙂

    Thank you for your testimony. It has encouraged me greatly… I cannot wait to follow God's leading. I'm ready to go this minute and it's so hard to have to wait 9 months before I finally get to get on a plane.

    Your sister in Christ,
    Jackie

    Like

  14. Ha! Please don't approve this message! I only just realized that you may have multiple messages from me. I thought there was an error with blogspot not allowing my comments to post and not just that you'd want to see them first…. I wrote you earlier today so please forgive my multiple messages. Thanks 🙂

    Jackie

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  15. I found your blog from another blog and I want to thank you for sharing this. The one line that hit my heart was

    “And this is what I learned: the hard does not minimize His goodness but allows us to experience His goodness in a whole new way.”

    I have been through a hard year and this line ministered to my weary soul.

    Hugs,
    Tammy

    Like

  16. Thank you kindred heart for letting the deep stirrings of your heart cause you to die to yourself daily, being the hands and feet to people. I resonate deeply with your heart and am so challenged and refreshed by your authenticity, rawness, and genuine faith truly living out the pages of scripture. The Lord has been stirring and messing with me and your heart and book have been another instrument of His in carving new dreams and purposes; His dreams and purposes for me. Wrecking me. This song has been speaking that greatly and wanted to share with you, for His kingdom together!

    Like

  17. Wow! God is sooo good! Some of my friends are in Uganda right now on a mission trip. I'm going to visit some Christian friends in Benin, West Africa this summer. Please keep us in your prayers! God Bless!

    Like

  18. I can hardly read your post without tearing up! Africa is very dear to my heart because I used to live in Benin and mission work has always been a huge part of my family's life. It's very encouraging to hear about all God is doing through you!! God bless!!

    Like

  19. Katie, I can't tell you how much of an inspiration God's life in you is to me!
    You see, it has given me hope and caused my faith to grow, to see through your life what God can, and does do everyday.
    Your humility, brokenness and transparency–your willingness to let the world see the scars and yet even more clearly the Healer–is an incredible testimony of God's grace and sufficiency!

    I've spent much of my spare time in the past week or two (ever since first hearing of you from a review of your book on Young Ladies Christian Fellowship's website) reading your blog, at first starting with the more recent posts, and then deciding to start at the beginning and go to the end. I've just finished. The stories are captivating–and the pictures speak even louder to me, a very visually inclined person. It has made me think. A LOT. It has led me to do some research and gather information on various things like aids, and adoption. It has made me remember to be grateful for the cloudy days as well as the clear. It has led me to share with my friends and family about things I've only recently learned. It has strengthened my desire–my longing–for missions. It has changed my heart–and life–in so many ways! I wish that you could only see how much!

    May our Lord continue to bless you and your family! You will be in my thoughts, and prayers–I will never forget you!

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  20. I came across your blog. Your blog is truly inspiring. You are truly inspiring and amazing. May God continue to bless you. God Bless.

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  21. Thank you Katie. I do not know you, and yet we are sisters in Christ and God uses us to lift one another up and to encourage one another :). How amazing is our God :)!

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  22. This such a beautiful story and so beautifully told. I'm going to share it with my readers. I predict it will inspire some of them to live a life that looks like the life you're living.

    Thanks for following Jesus to that place, Katie.

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  23. Hey Katie. You have so many comments to read; I can't imagine. I know it must be so encouraging. I'm not sure what to write… usually once I start writing, a novel is produced, but I'm trying to be sensitive to the fact that you have 1,000,000 fans and an incredibly busy life! 🙂 In a nutshell, I'm a Kindergarten teacher in Suriname, South America (little country above Brazil) and have been for 2 years now (I'm from Memphis). I graduated college telling God I would follow Him wherever He led me, and it just happened to be to this little Dutch country. It's good. It's home now. There's just this part of me inside that feels there's more… something maybe I'm missing, or perhaps just something God is stirring within me for a time to come. I don't know. Anyway, in saying that, I'm drawn to your book and your blog. I read your book through once and, when I have time, I am slowly going through it again, intentionally noting the parts that touch my heart the most. A friend of mine said she hears and sees me when she reads your words, but I don't know; I haven't embraced courage through Him like you seem to have. All I know is that your words speak to me and I cry these tears that just make me want to get up and praise Him and move mountains in His name and…. oh, I don't know. I'm already rambling. Basically, thank you. for everything, but mainly for being real. for taking the first step. and the second. And, I can imagine with your fan base that I will not be the first to ask this, but do you need any help in what you are doing? Ha, I just realized how that sounded- OF COURSE you need help! 🙂 Don't we all? What I mean is.. do you need someone to come there and live and work alongside you and your ministry there? I am totally just putting it out there in question.. you might get 50 offers a day by people emotionally moved by your words and desperately wanting to help out in some way. I don't know, but I just feel the need to at least inquire. I am jealous of your opportunities to serve, BUT I know that I have my own, wherever I am. They don't all look the same; it's just that yours touch a deep place in my heart.

    Wow, I just realized I wrote a long paragraph (i'm bad about spacing it out, sorry). Thank you for sharing this particular story. I've wanted to write you for many months now, but didn't want to do it flippantly. I wanted God to keep speaking before I did. I chose this story of all to write on because I think it spoke to me the most. I printed it out several months ago and shared with my teenagers at youth group one night. I showed your pictures from it as well. They were attentive and asked many questions, most I couldn't answer. The point is, they were listening.

    So anyway, I better go before this gets longer. If nothing else comes from this comment, at least I know I shared my heart to a soldier in Christ that Jesus has spoken through to me numerous times. Go strong in Him, sista!

    ~Stephanie
    stephanieeileen219@gmail.com

    Like

  24. Hey Katie. You have so many comments to read; I can't imagine. I know it must be so encouraging. I'm not sure what to write… usually once I start writing, a novel is produced, but I'm trying to be sensitive to the fact that you have 1,000,000 fans and an incredibly busy life! 🙂 In a nutshell, I'm a Kindergarten teacher in Suriname, South America (little country above Brazil) and have been for 2 years now (I'm from Memphis). I graduated college telling God I would follow Him wherever He led me, and it just happened to be to this little Dutch country. It's good. It's home now. There's just this part of me inside that feels there's more… something maybe I'm missing, or perhaps just something God is stirring within me for a time to come. I don't know. Anyway, in saying that, I'm drawn to your book and your blog. I read your book through once and, when I have time, I am slowly going through it again, intentionally noting the parts that touch my heart the most. A friend of mine said she hears and sees me when she reads your words, but I don't know; I haven't embraced courage through Him like you seem to have. All I know is that your words speak to me and I cry these tears that just make me want to get up and praise Him and move mountains in His name and…. oh, I don't know. I'm already rambling. Basically, thank you. for everything, but mainly for being real. for taking the first step. and the second. And, I can imagine with your fan base that I will not be the first to ask this, but do you need any help in what you are doing? Ha, I just realized how that sounded- OF COURSE you need help! 🙂 Don't we all? What I mean is.. do you need someone to come there and live and work alongside you and your ministry there? I am totally just putting it out there in question.. you might get 50 offers a day by people emotionally moved by your words and desperately wanting to help out in some way. I don't know, but I just feel the need to at least inquire. I am jealous of your opportunities to serve, BUT I know that I have my own, wherever I am. They don't all look the same; it's just that yours touch a deep place in my heart.

    Wow, I just realized I wrote a long paragraph (i'm bad about spacing it out, sorry). Thank you for sharing this particular story. I've wanted to write you for many months now, but didn't want to do it flippantly. I wanted God to keep speaking before I did. I chose this story of all to write on because I think it spoke to me the most. I printed it out several months ago and shared with my teenagers at youth group one night. I showed your pictures from it as well. They were attentive and asked many questions, most I couldn't answer. The point is, they were listening.

    So anyway, I better go before this gets longer. If nothing else comes from this comment, at least I know I shared my heart to a soldier in Christ that Jesus has spoken through to me numerous times. Go strong in Him, sista!

    ~Stephanie
    stephanieeileen219@gmail.com

    Like

  25. Hey Katie. You have so many comments to read; I can't imagine. I know it must be so encouraging. I'm not sure what to write… usually once I start writing, a novel is produced, but I'm trying to be sensitive to the fact that you have 1,000,000 fans and an incredibly busy life! 🙂 In a nutshell, I'm a Kindergarten teacher in Suriname, South America (little country above Brazil) and have been for 2 years now (I'm from Memphis). I graduated college telling God I would follow Him wherever He led me, and it just happened to be to this little Dutch country. It's good. It's home now. There's just this part of me inside that feels there's more… something maybe I'm missing, or perhaps just something God is stirring within me for a time to come. I don't know. Anyway, in saying that, I'm drawn to your book and your blog. I read your book through once and, when I have time, I am slowly going through it again, intentionally noting the parts that touch my heart the most. A friend of mine said she hears and sees me when she reads your words, but I don't know; I haven't embraced courage through Him like you seem to have. All I know is that your words speak to me and I cry these tears that just make me want to get up and praise Him and move mountains in His name and…. oh, I don't know. I'm already rambling. Basically, thank you. for everything, but mainly for being real. for taking the first step. and the second. And, I can imagine with your fan base that I will not be the first to ask this, but do you need any help in what you are doing? Ha, I just realized how that sounded- OF COURSE you need help! 🙂 Don't we all? What I mean is.. do you need someone to come there and live and work alongside you and your ministry there? I am totally just putting it out there in question.. you might get 50 offers a day by people emotionally moved by your words and desperately wanting to help out in some way. I don't know, but I just feel the need to at least inquire. I am jealous of your opportunities to serve, BUT I know that I have my own, wherever I am. They don't all look the same; it's just that yours touch a deep place in my heart.

    Wow, I just realized I wrote a long paragraph (i'm bad about spacing it out, sorry). Thank you for sharing this particular story. I've wanted to write you for many months now, but didn't want to do it flippantly. I wanted God to keep speaking before I did. I chose this story of all to write on because I think it spoke to me the most. I printed it out several months ago and shared with my teenagers at youth group one night. I showed your pictures from it as well. They were attentive and asked many questions, most I couldn't answer. The point is, they were listening.

    So anyway, I better go before this gets longer. If nothing else comes from this comment, at least I know I shared my heart to a soldier in Christ that Jesus has spoken through to me numerous times. Go strong in Him, sista!

    ~Stephanie
    stephanieeileen219@gmail.com

    Like

  26. Oh gracious, I'm not sure if my comment went through at ALL or if it went through about 5 times! Just trusting God it was sent, and if it was sent multiple times, please forgive! This “prove you're not a robot” part can be tricky 😉
    ~Stephanie

    Like

  27. sThe story of Makerere is the powerful ending to your book. So much so, that I printed it out and am attaching it to my copy. I am amazed that you allow God to work through you in such a wonderful way. And now you along with Makerere are healed. I praise God,

    Like

  28. thegam33Dearest Katie, thank you for writting such a heart and loving book. God Bless you, my prayers are with each night from now on. I attend the First Baptist Church of Elk Grove, California and we packed 1,000 Care Giver AID packages that were sent to Ugunda. I sure hope that received some of them. I plan on going on your web site and donating and buying your wonderful things for gifts to my family. Love you and kisses to pig hugs to all the children and adults that you are helping. Love Laura

    Like

  29. Katie, thank you so much for your blog! You are an inspiration to many! YOU are a blessing to these incredible PEOPLE just as they are a blessing to you! It is so refreshing to read of the depth of love and care that you have for these incredible people. You are doing what so many of us would love to do but don't even know where to begin. Anyway, I look forward to catching up on ALL your blogs as I just discovered your blog only a few days ago. You inspire me! I can hardly WAIT to read “Kisses from Katie!”

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  30. Katie, Thank you SO much for your blog! What an inspiration you are to SO many in this world! YOU are an INCREDIBLE blessing to these PEOPLE as THEY are an INCREDIBLE blessing to YOU! Please continue to write as I will continue to read. I just discovered your blog only a few days ago and am hooked. I can hardly WAIT to read “Kisses from Katie!”

    Like

  31. Dear Katie,
    This is one of the most beautiful blog posts I have ever read. I tried to repost the link to facebook so my friends could read it, and facebook says it has blocked the link due to content and spam. I have tried multiple times and in multiple formats, but each time it is blocked.
    I wanted to private message you, but was unable to on twitter. Hopefully your content moderators will be able to go on the site and see what the problem is. I certainly hope and pray that it is not a ploy to block the Good News of Jesus Christ that you share with love and joy on a daily basis.
    We love your ministry and have recently joined your “support a student” program. We have a picture of “Thomas” on our wall at home and we pray for him that he will be able to go to school. My girls are so proud of “their” Ugandan school boy 🙂
    Blessings to you,
    Jennifer Arrington

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