What we’ve been up to…

It is a bit overwhelming to realize that you have bled your whole heart – the ugly sin, the raw emotion, the unbridled truth – out on paper for the whole world to read.
It is a bit exhausting to hear over and over again how “awesome” you are when you, in fact, know very well that you are not.
People expect romantic, and all I have is a wildly disorganized bookshelf and dirty children shrieking with too-loud laughter. People expect that the days all hold life-saving medicine given to children on the brink of death and profound revelation and while some do, most consist more of peeling potatoes and wiping spills and listening to recited memory verses and biting my tongue as spaghetti sauce splatters everywhere and I light the pot holder on fire, again.
I believe the lie that I must meet expectation, and I try harder. I stay up later answering emails and I desperately try to finish a book that I said I would endorse and I organize the bookshelves and wipe down the counters again. I brush past the children who hold my heart in order to be a “good mother” who has homemade food on the dinner table on time. We finish lessons and recite Psalms and fold laundry and welcome visitors. Life gets too busy, it gets so fast and so full that at the end of the day it can feel just empty.
  
* * * 
This was not the first time I had been here and I knew what to do. I pull back, I dig into the Word and I listen. The lesson whispered in the quiet is always the same. My friend Sara calls it Adoration. My friend Ann counts it all up as Eucharisto. Paul says it’s the secret of contentment, hands full or hands empty. Whatever we name it, it is astounding Truth: Communion with the Savior is the only thing that makes anything matter.
I choke because my every day life begins too feel small compared to the expectation. And He breathes truth that a life is not made by lives saved or bellies fed or words written. To adore the one who created the Heavens and the Earth, to give thanks for who He is and all He has given, to worship and commune with Holy God, whispering in the quiet, clinging in the noise, believing in all circumstances – this is what makes a life large.
The miracle is joy in Him in a day that goes all wrong. The miracle is standing in awe of abundance as I chop carrots and bathe babies and fold laundry. The miracle is a Son sent to die for the very likes of me and His ever-pursuing love for me still.
Paul knows the secret, and even when I think I learned this lesson already Jesus teaches me again: we can live a full life wherever we are – even in the days that seem to small – when we live in communion with the Savior. We look up, praise on our lips, and as we worship Him for all He has done our hearts open wide to more. We wait, expectant, for all that He is doing and this is it, this is life to the fullest.
Foster babies go back to their families. How do you raise a child as your own and then say good-bye? I guess because you know that God ordained their family to be another one, but that doesn’t make it easy. My baby will start therapy before she starts kindergarten. I do not like the idea of a child having to endure trauma so that one day she may learn from it, or teach another about it. But I still believe He has purpose, even when I can’t see it. I look outside at the insanely noisy game of tag taking place in my yard: 4 Hindu neighbors that my children are praying desperately to reveal Christ to, 2 little girls off the street who lost their mother 2 weeks ago and passed by for a drink of water, 13 little girls that have walked through hell and made it out on the other side with a family. Is there anything my lips could say but thank you? I don’t know what to make of it all, but I can’t think of anything to do but praise the God who is always working and will not leave us here. Where I end, He is only just beginning.
Paul says he strains to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of him and isn’t this why He took hold of us -that as we open our lips to praise Him for who He is, He opens our hearts to be transformed in His likeness. He trades my dirty rags for the splendor of Him, breathes new life into dry, dead spaces.
We know the secret: Christ Jesus crucified and risen from the dead reaching out for relationship with you and with me. And a heart turned toward Him is the only way to live full of joy.
On the days when children run around the yard happy and the bread rises warm in the oven and those we’ve been nursing return home with new life in their veins, and on the days when the reading doesn’t get done and I half carry a mother up the hill to the place they will lower her 3 year-old’s body into the ground because of a fever – a fever! –  and life seems too unjust and the head wants to shake “no”, my lips will say yes to all that is Christ and I will adore my Savior.
Communion with God is what we are standing up under here – on the days that go as planned and on the days that don’t. On the days with expectations left unmet and dinner running late because of an extra game of hide-and-seek, on the days that seem mundane and the days that seem magnificent, we are saying yesto all He gives and we are saying thank you.

O God, you are my God,
I earnestly seek you;
my soul thirsts for you, 
my body longs for you,
in a dry and weary land
where there is not water.
I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul will be satisfied as with the 
richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you. 
Psalm 63:1-5


Awesome photos by my awesome friends Jackie and Kate

273 thoughts on “What we’ve been up to…

  1. I just read your book. It was amazing and beautiful. You truly are an inspiration. The way that you listen to the Holy Spirit really is awe inspiring. Thank you for your lessons. I am forever changed by you and your beautiful family. You are now on my prayer list daily.
    Tina Winkler

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  2. Your book has inspired me and I'm only on chapter 5. I got ask the same question “If you had everything and all the money in the world what would you do with it” and I was thinking I heard that question somewhere and it was from you. It was either your book or video. Can't remember which one. I want to be like you one day if God is willing. 🙂

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  3. I have been recently reading your book “Kisses from Katie” and it is a great book! I have been thinking of becoming a missionary for some time now. The book has been so encouraging, and makes me bunches more excited to be a missionary! I am overwhelmed with every chapter about how God is working in your life! He is so good! Praying for you!

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  4. Katie, my girls and I have read your book and are encouraged to see you living so fully in your call to abundant life in Him. I appreciate your view of holding even the small things in life up to Jesus…even if it is messy-as we all moms can testify is not easy! To say the least when you've moved across the world–but life isn't mean to be easy. Or comfortable, which is so easy to become accustomed to here in the states. I appreciate your honesty, truth of God's tugging at your heart, and ability to use your gift of writing and communication for His Glory. Praying for you-

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  5. Your blog has been such an inspiration and encouragement to me. I, too, feel called to dream “outside the lines” per say. My desires are big, His are bigger. I'd encourage you to remember that He is your sanctuary. And every need will be met through Him. 🙂

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  6. I am 13 years old. I read your book after my mom did and she recommended that I read it too. I was especially interested in the part where you said when you were about 12 or 13 was when you really started thinking about what God wanted you to do with your life (I think that's what it said; not exactly sure!). The same is true of me. I have been raised a Christian, but it was only this year that I truly “came alive” and my eyes were really opened to what the life of a Christian should be. Part of that was realizing that I have a heart for the nations. I've yet to see where that will go, but I'm sure it will be somewhere amazing. If more Christians were like you…the world would be a very different place. I hope one day, I will get to see amazing results of saying “yes” to God in my own life. Thank you for writing a book that has encouraged so many people.

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  7. dear katie.
    there is so much encouragement in your sharing heart. even though it is not perfect, you just sharing raw realities, truth and hope encourages me tremendously. for now, i am in a place i never thought i would be. america. it was the last place i wanted to go and God sent me. now, i praise Him as He teaches me not to differ between the refugees i had been living with and serving in south africa and my neighbor here in pennsylvania. it is so hard to fight, even just in my heart against the comfort here and the “easy life”. and i think it is more of a struggle here than in South Africa. and this is what is on Gods agenda for me right now. Love your neighbor. in africa. in germany. in pennsylvania. everywhere you go. no matter where. so he is changing my heart and its hard. super hard sometimes. and your raw entries of faith shake me and say: you dont have to go to africa to love your neighbor. dont make excuses. love extravagantly. give til it hurts. i need to do that. here. now. thank you for reminding me. again. karise.

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  8. praying for you in Uganda right now! the Lord used your blog years ago to open my eyes… don't even have enough room here to explain all the ways.. but i thought of you just now and prayed for you and wanted you to know. 🙂

    -another katie in (memphis) tennessee

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  9. Hey Katie!
    I've read your book and i am praying for you and your dear girls. I am praying for Amazima and all the people you come into contact with in Masease and the women over there you reach! I am buying a necklace and your beloved family is in my prayers! Love you,sister! -Ashley Banks, USA

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  10. Hi Katie!

    One of my sisters found your blog and got your book from the library… I've had a thought going around in my mind for a while now that I wanted to share with you. 🙂

    In the world's (and even some Christian's, sadly) eyes, what you've done is insane–or utterly amazing, astonishing.

    But, really–the more I've thought about it, the more I think you are one of the most sane, normal Christians I've heard of. Your response to the gospel, to God's word, is exactly what everyone's response should be–thankful, loving obedience.

    So–thank you for your example, and thank you for being a [what should be] normal Christian girl. 😀

    Christ in you is amazing.

    Keep hoping, keep loving, and keep obeying.

    May God be with you yet more and more.

    In Christ's love,
    Carissa

    P.S. You are just a bit older than me… I turned 22 this year. 🙂

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  11. How ever much you have given up of yourself to tell your story to many you will never know – you have in turn become Jesus' living light here on earth – you are an example of how to live faithfully and deeply in all that life brings your way. This example for others to draw strength from and an example for which to gleen from is a true blessing and gift. And for that we are truly thankful!

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  12. Hello Katie! My mother received your book for her birthday in June, and I just picked it up this afternoon and finished it in three hours. 🙂

    I am beyond words in the joy that I feel when I hear how God is working through you. I am the same age as you actually, so to read your book is to hear some echoes of my own struggles, yet you my friend, are more fulfilled and blessed than i'd ever be able to know! I've also spoken with Bob Goff, who's book has also recently inspired me.. and I feel that i would like to visit Uganda sometime in the near future! Until then, many many prayers to you and your children.

    Thank you for writing this blog, I hope you realize just how much you are being used to minister to all of us in the States as well!! Blessings!

    ~Jennifer

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  13. Hello Katie! My mother received your book for her birthday in June, and I just picked it up this afternoon and finished it in three hours. 🙂

    I am beyond words in the joy that I feel when I hear how God is working through you. I am the same age as you actually, so to read your book is to hear some echoes of my own struggles, yet you my friend, are more fulfilled and blessed than i'd ever be able to know! I've also spoken with Bob Goff, who's book has also recently inspired me.. and I feel that i would like to visit Uganda sometime in the near future! Until then, many many prayers to you and your children.

    Thank you for writing this blog, I hope you realize just how much you are being used to minister to all of us in the States as well!! Blessings!

    ~Jennifer

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  14. It sounds like you are on a spiritual journey. Don't stay up late at night to much. Your health should always be number 1. Your book is going to be awesome. Just what my heart says.

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  15. Oh my! What a beautiful blog and how gracious you are to share your struggles, thoughts and joys with us. Something about your writing style reminds me of Bishop Sheen's book, Treasure In Clay. He too, loved spending an hour with Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. May God continue to bless your ministry.

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  16. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for being honest. I cant imagine what is like for you there. But, being a Mom…in general…is a pretty amazing job. It's long hours, never ending list, never ending messes,no sick days (for mom), never enough rest,the list can go on really. But, it is rewarding. More than any raise, or title. When your children look up at you and say “Mommy, your the best Mommy in the whole world!” it makes, the noise not so loud, the messes not so big, and life not so boring. I hope you have many “Mommy, your the best” moments today and in the days to come! I pray your children will rise up and call you blessed. That God would give us all the Grace needed to keep going, fighting this good fight. That we would win the race set before us!

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  17. Just finished reading your book. Thanks so much for giving me this God-gift. I had been feeling weary/discouraged about my work with the children in my resource room who come with so many issues emotionally, physically, psychologically, academically…a potpourri of RAD, behavior disorders, autism, low IQs, broken homes.

    Your writing helped me get back on track with loving these kids unconditionally and then letting God work out the details through me to helping them with their various issues.

    Praying you will feel God-loved today and that his precious arms of grace will surround you.

    Friend in Christ

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  18. Katie, I'm using a large chunk of this update to read on Mother's Day at our church tomorrow to really encourage moms in the Lord! The Lord is using you in far-reaching places! Love NEVER fails!
    Your sis in Christ,
    Jen

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  19. Thank you Katie,
    “To god be the glory for the things he has done.” God led me to your book at a library book sale this weekend. I was curious just by seeing the cover. Once I opened it up I just couldn't put it down. I have shared your story with several people at work and in my family. I marvel at your gift of prophesy, servant and anointing. Thank you for the edification on the western world philosophy of materialism, acculturation and the newest definition of affluenza. I learned the meaning of affluenza this morning while listening to a news story about a 15 y/o from a wealthy family that murdered a family while driving drunk and is privilaged to go to a 2 yr rehabilitation as time served. Unbelievable. Anyway, thank you for teachining me and the world more about Jesus!!
    Deirdra

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