Some people get presents under their Christmas tree.

Me? I get a family of 5. 4 children under 8 and their mother sleep on the couches and on mattresses laid out on the living room floor.

It’s 5:30 am and I find a place to squeeze in between the pile of children and blankets and attempt to have some “quiet time” by the light of the Christmas tree. I am distracted. Her kids all have a cough and they breathe heavily and toss and turn all around me. Her chest heaves and a small moan escapes her lips. The rain pounds loudly on the tin roof and we need this rain so I try to be thankful for it. I dream for her future. I dream that she’ll live. I fleetingly wonder if there are relative who will raise this brood of young ones if she doesn’t.

I wonder what their future will hold. I wonder what this day will hold. I watch their chests move up and down and hear my precious ones begin to stir in the other room, and I wonder if I can so it again today, the 17 children and the sick and the broken and those who will come for dinner and just all of these lives with all of their needs. The house is all a-twinkle, and I remind myself of all God’s promises fulfilled in a baby and breathe it deep, Grace.

And I am so thankful that Jesus meets us in these squished places. In the stretched places. In-the-squeezed-between-the-tree-and-the-kids moments, in the desperate-for-quiet-on-the-bathroom-floor-because-everywhere-else-is-full moments.

I read Luke. I think of Bethlehem and how it had no room, and I think of how His parents squeezed between the animals to place Him in a feeding trough. The shepherds gazed in wonder but Mary held all this wonder in the silence of her heart. I bet she dreamed of His future. I bet it was muddy and loud in there, but the sky was all a-twinkle with the light of that star, the heavens bursting with joy at God’s promises all fulfilled, Grace.

I look around and know: this is what He came for. The King of the universe who created all things, even life itself, clothed in splendor, took off His royal robes, laid aside His crown and squeezed all of the fullness of God into the womb of a woman and then into swaddling clothes in a manger.

He calls my name right here and how I long to recognize Him here, right here.

The squished places and the stretched places, the moments that are loud and messy and uncertain, this is what He came for. The heartaches and the doubt and the wounds that our sin carves deep, that’s why He is here. And all this life hanging in the dark of the morning, isn’t this why we wait, why we celebrate? Isn’t this why we light up the candles and the tree and the house and say with all the longing in our hearts, “Come, Lord Jesus”?

Come, Lord Jesus.

This morning in the dark, in the rain, in whatever mess or squished place or heartache you find yourself in, all God’s promises are Yes and Amen, and we can rejoice in thanksgiving! The Savior is here with us, Grace.

His promise is Yes to you, friends. “Yes, I have come, and Yes, I am coming. Yes, I am with you always, even to the very end of the age.”

I pray that you’ll recognize His handprints all over your day today.

Merry Christmas.

187 thoughts on “

  1. Hi Katie,

    I just finished reading your book, and wow it encourages me in my walk as well as re-ignites my passion for missions. I am 24 and have always had a heart for helping those who need it most and have been on many mission trips and even lived in third world countries. But after college I have become complacent where I am and I want to thank you for writing your book and once again making me uncomfortable where I am! Your book stirred in my heart my desire to once again live abroad and help those who need it. So thank you!

    -Mariesa Stombaugh

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  2. Dear Katie!
    It's weird, it feels like I know you, just because I've read your book. And I would love to just get on a plane and come to Uganda, to see with my own eyes how your life is like. In october I was in Ethiopia for 10 days, my school here in Norway is financially helping a school-project in Arba-Minch, south in Ethiopia, so poor children can get the opportunity to get an education. And some students from my school (including me) were chosen to join this trip, so that we could see how much this aid actually means for the ethiopian people, and then report our experiences back to our schoolmates here in Norway when we returned. This trip gave me a whole new perspective, and I learned a lot about a new people and how God is working all over the world, Thank God! In many ways I felt the same way as you tell in your book, and since I was a little girl I've alway been facinated of Africa, and the dark-skinned people. And one of the reasons why I wanted to join this trip to Ethiopia, was because I've had this little feeling or maybe it's Gods plan for me, but anyway, I've had a little dream to go to Africa, or actually anywhere in the world, where God need me, and help people and spread his word and love. So I thank you for sharing your testimony and experiences in Uganda! Your book has been a huge encouragement and inspiration to me. And I just LOVE the way that you are depending on God, that you just lay your life in his hands, and let him take control. So I just want to say Thank you soo much, and God bless you heavenly! I pray for you and your work, that it will provide lots of blessings in peoples life, and I'm sure it does! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  3. Thank you for your wonderful book. It was a gift to me from one of our church home bound members. The book has changed my life. I read your blog and pray for you often. As a Pastor I thank God for you dedication and love for the unlovely. May God bless you as you continue to follow the Master.

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  4. I am so thankful to have found your blog this week. We just lost our 2.5 year old foster daughter after two years of fostering and pursuing adoption. I cry when I think of your Jane and my Mia and all that is lost. But I find some hope in the way you have come out with a stronger faith than before. I have been writing about the process on my blog under the “foster care” category, but it's only been four and a half weeks since we lost her and only ten and a half since they told us she was leaving, so I am fully in the grieving stage and not as firm in my trust of God yet…I know He is perfect but it will take time for my heart to catch up. Thank you for writing in your book and here online…it is God's blessing that we children of His can bring comfort to each other in our darkest times.

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  5. katie-

    i am moved by you and your actions. the love you give is incredible. i am sure you would say you receive the same in return!
    is there a need for volunteers with amazima? whether in the u.s. or uganda? i am a flight attendant, and have passed the book to coworkers/friends who would all be interested in helping. please contact me if we can help. mbez.1026@gmail.com
    sending love and positive thoughts!
    cyndi goodreid

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  6. Katie,
    I finished reading your book minutes ago. I finished it in two days, despite having a painful eye infection, because I just couldn't put it down. What God has done and is doing in your life is truly amazing. I pray God will use me where I am to do all He wants me to do and be all He wants me to be.
    Hugs from a like-minded sister,
    Lori

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  7. Hey Katie, I've been thinking a lot about you and Uganda, and I didn't stumble upon your blog for nothing. God has touched my heart through you and your work, and you and Uganda have inspired me, and confirmed my path to love the orphans.
    As I was reading my Bible today, and thinking and praying for you and your mission, I opened my Bible to 2 Corinthians 2:1-4, and it reminded me of something you would put on your blog.
    Prayers with you always,
    Grace C.

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  8. You have a very beautiful family. The book was a wonderful story and now time for a sequel. You have done an amazing job with the help of our Saviour. Thank the Lord for people like you that have a heart for this mission. I had checked into that after retiring and they told me I needed a college education and that I was too old. I
    wish I would have known about your type of situation. Now it is too late as I am the primary caregiver for my 3 year old greatgrandson. And that is a BLESSING. Thank you for all that you do everyday.I will remember you in prayer.

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  9. Katie,
    I write this almost in tears because I am so thankful for your book, for your inspiration and for you family. I am around the same age as you, in a transition time in my life. I received your book and one of your blue necklaces for Christmas. I can honestly say they were the best Christmas gifts I recieved. I have been discerning my path from God for some time and your story, girls, and your connections to scripture have inspired me and challenged me to continue to say yes to all He asks of me. I am planning on traveling to Ethopia this summer with my boyfriend who is from South Sudan to meet his family for the first time. I have been excited/nervous about the trip. After reading your book and spending time in prayer, I have been given a renewed sense of hope, grace, and a reminder that I have desires to do more for Him and he will be with me whereever I go. You remind me that just because I am a twenty something teacher with college debt from the states, I still have much to offer and am loved. Just as the disciples were just regular men, without much else to offer but their lives to God. Please know that I have been raving about your book to almost everyone I meet. I know it sounds strange, but I really would love to meet you some day and just be able to spend time with you and see you in action. I do not know if this will ever happen or be possible, but I feel like we are strangely connected even though I have never met you before. God bless you, your beatiful girls, and all whom you work with in Uganda.

    In Peace of Chirst,
    Tori

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  10. Dear Katie and girls,

    May you all have a blessed, blessed New Year. Your story is such a wonderful inspiration to me. There is power in your service in Africa, and I think you would be the first to agree that it is a power not of yourself, but of God. Only He can bring such beauty out of the chaos of everyday life, such certainty in the middle of uncertainty. What a beautiful paradox our God is! I pray that you all may be given the strength to rise up every morning and to say “This is the day that the Lord hath made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

    May He be with you in all your joys and struggles!
    Carolyn in Michigan

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  11. Hi Katie ! Love your book, my husband and I are in Kenya trying to start a feeding program and are wanting to look at succesful ones to get ideas. I know you are busy please comment if you have time ! Praying for you and your kids !

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  12. Hey katie ! Love your book ! My husband and I are in Kenya working as houseparents at an orphanage and are trying to start a feeding program and would love to come check yours out if thats possible. Thanks for your time !

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  13. i'am sooo encouraged……..Jesus come with youre strenght that's making this women soo strong,,,,i am stretching out to the same, just where i am….in my family!!!
    Thank you Katie!!
    Love Thea from the Netherlands

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  14. Hey, Katie! My name is Gabrielle. I am 15 and i am in a freshmen Bible class at Lakewood Park Christian School in Indiana. We are reading the book, kisses from Katie and we journal after every chapter. One of my classmates had a crazy idea!! “What if we take a missions trip to Uganda! What if we meet Katie?!”

    My Bible teacher is my Aunt. Her name is Lauri. She was totally moved by the Holy Spirit when she was asked to take us on a missions trip to Uganda.

    We were reading chapter 10 and it was about how God made the impossible, possible. We didn't think that going to Uganda was possible, but after that chapter we all believed and had overflowing faith in this adventure to Africa. Crazy right?!

    My best friend, Kendall and I have been looking up plane tickets and our class has been thinking of fund raisers so that we would be able to go. Everything seems to be pulling together. Every girl in my class is overflowing with excitement. (One of the girls literally jumps up and down every time we talk about it!)

    I feel like this HAS to happen! God is moving all of us and shaping our hearts to Uganda. Being in a slump with God is not fun and I want to get out of the slump immediately! This missions trip would be life changing and I wanted to share this with you to see if you could give us a lot of prayer. If God moves us to come to Uganda, we would LOVE to help with anything we can. Maybe even meeting your beautiful daughters! Through reading this book, we feel like we already know and love your daughters!

    Our theme saying for this missions trip is “simply love.” We would be ecstatic to give simply love to as many kids as we can in our week there. We would love to keep in contact. Our goal is to come to Uganda early June of 2013. Thanks so much!

    If you feel led to reply, please do so at, gasinn@lpstudent.org

    Love, Gabrielle.

    Like

  15. My name is Ruthie, and I am also 13 yrs old. I feel the same exact way about “being Katie when I grow up”. I used to just pray because I knew it was the right thing to do, but when I read Kisses From Katie, I realized the importance of prayer and the importance of listening to God's response. I also want to go to another country and help, even though I am not sure how I'll do it. All I know is that if God wants it to happen, I will make it happen!
    Your Sister in Christ,
    Ruthie

    Like

  16. hi there. just kind of catching up a bit on your blog…been a few months since i was free to venture over here. is the mother of 5 still with us? thanks for providing us a little window into your life here. prayers and hugs.

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  17. Katie,

    I just finished reading your book tonight. Thank you for doing what you do and for sharing it with us all. May you and your family and your work always continue to be blessed, and may the rest of us be inspired to do our part too.

    Like

  18. What a true and honest testament of our Savior Jesus Christ. God bless you for fulfilling His calling on your life…for trusting in Him. I pray the Lord continues to fill you and your kids up till you overflow!

    I just purchased your book today at the Christian bookstore after the clerk came up to me and said, I'm giving up my last copy that I put aside for me…I think you'd really enjoy this.

    Coincidence?? I truly believe there is no such thing…only God instances. I'm excited to be inspired and led towards God's good and perfect will! I will be donating as soon as I get paid…along with forwarding to several other friends and family to help in your amazing calling! God bless you and all your angels!

    Like

  19. Hey Katie,

    It's been a while since we have heard from you. Praying everything is okay. You guys have been on my heart the past couple of days. Blessings and protection to you all from the Father above.

    Ali

    Like

  20. Hi Katie,

    i got your book for Christmas, and have recently finished it. You have inspired me so much. I have been trying to understand what it means to serve God, the way you do. And I don't have it down yet, but I've learned that when i put my complete trust in God, He moves me so much. And I feel like you do an amazing job of that. Trusting in Him, and letting Him lead you, not the other way around. I pray for you and your children. You've become my role model. I love you so very much. Thank you for your work in Africa, for your work to the families and children, and for you love to serve. Continually praying for you, em

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  21. Hi Katie! I just finished your book, and i just wanted to say what a blessing and encouragement it was for me. It showed me how i need to just love. Love the Lord with all of me, and with His love to give it away. It is so amazing what God is doing through you! Thank you so much! I am praying for your ministry and also for you!
    Love,
    Alyssa A.

    Like

  22. Dear Katie, My name is Anna and I live in Knoxville, TN. I want so much to be like you…To be able to say yes to Jesus and His mission and be so filled with joy and love that I would be willing to go to Uganda. I have a heart and a little dream to be able to go there and help you side by side and maybe God put that there. ๐Ÿ™‚ I am reading your book right now and it's just so amazing. I love you and your girls and your country already!!! Hoping to meet you one day, lovingly, Anna. P.S. Save a place for me okay? ๐Ÿ™‚

    Like

  23. You are such an inspiration, Katie. I am reading your book right now and it is challenging me so much to love what I'm doing; I just got down to Guatemala to live there for 3 months and teach English to second and third graders in the public school. I listened to God's call to do it, and I am asking Him to change the way I see the world and what He wants me to do. I am loving your book!

    Like

  24. Katie,
    What a beautiful story you are telling! I loved your book and read it cover to cover in just one day. I have just returned from Haiti on a mission trip to a small orhanage in Williamson. I have been unable to communitcate effectively my recent experience there because words just aren't enough. You seemed to say it all in your book for me. I understand with all of my heart your burning dersire to be in Uganda. I yearn for the children in the village of Williamson that way. It's all I can think about these days. I accoumpanied my 18 year old son (his 3rd trip in a year) to Haiti over Christmas break of his senior year. He too seemed to struggle with how to put the experience to words. I thought for a time it was just his age or that he was a guy but I now know that its because his heart is so full it seems impossible to express. It so precious that the Lord would drag me all the way to Haiti to speak to me. (Or maybe I just dont listen intently enough at home). I am from Jackson Tennessee and the Lord has allowed me to biologically mother four beautiful children and in all of God's glory he has made room in my heart for 34 more children in Haiti that I call mine…even if the only thing I can do for them from here is pray. There is one little boy that stole my heart… not because of the wide bright smile and open arms but because of the pain I saw in his eyes and face void of a smile. His quiet and shy personality just drew me closer. No English is spoken there so communciating with Nelson is a challenge. If you could pray for this little boy they nicknamed Pepe', I would be greatful. I know God is teaching me something here. Thank you for serving Uganda and my prayer for you will always be that “one child at a time” that country and Haiti will be forever changed.
    Love in Christ
    Carol Adkins

    Like

  25. Katie,
    What a beautiful story you are telling! I loved your book and read it cover to cover in just one day. I have just returned from Haiti on a mission trip to a small orhanage in Williamson. I have been unable to communitcate effectively my recent experience there because words just aren't enough. You seemed to say it all in your book for me. I understand with all of my heart your burning dersire to be in Uganda. I yearn for the children in the village of Williamson that way. It's all I can think about these days. I accoumpanied my 18 year old son (his 3rd trip in a year) to Haiti over Christmas break of his senior year. He too seemed to struggle with how to put the experience to words. I thought for a time it was just his age or that he was a guy but I now know that its because his heart is so full it seems impossible to express. It so precious that the Lord would drag me all the way to Haiti to speak to me. (Or maybe I just dont listen intently enough at home). I am from Jackson Tennessee and the Lord has allowed me to biologically mother four beautiful children and in all of God's glory he has made room in my heart for 34 more children in Haiti that I call mine…even if the only thing I can do for them from here is pray. There is one little boy that stole my heart… not because of the wide bright smile and open arms but because of the pain I saw in his eyes and face void of a smile. His quiet and shy personality just drew me closer. No English is spoken there so communciating with Nelson is a challenge. If you could pray for this little boy they nicknamed Pepe', I would be greatful. I know God is teaching me something here. Thank you for serving Uganda and my prayer for you will always be that “one child at a time” that country and Haiti will be forever changed.
    Love in Christ
    Carol Adkins
    caroladkins@mac.com

    Like

  26. Hi Katie.
    My comment is the same as above. I'm young, but I've always told myself Uganda was a place that I was always going to do missionary work. Then I found your book. I'd really like to chat to you, could you email me at: paige-b@live.co.za ? I understand if you are busy ๐Ÿ™‚

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  27. Wow. I truly admire your faith in God. Your view of Him is so precious. Truly inspiring. I want to strive to be like that.

    As I read the part where you mentioned the rain falling on the roof, it immediately started pouring down rain onto the building I am in. I think that was God. No, I KNOW it was God. I've been having a hardc time spiritually (spiritual warfare and such) lately and a friend of mine encouraged me to check out your blog. I'm so glad that I did. I'm not sure if you'll be able to read this or not, but that's not what matters. Thank thank you for sharing your heart. It truly has affected me.

    – Jordan

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