I can’t believe that it has been over a month now since I patted my sweet friend’s head as I said goodnight to her small frame on my couch. I can’t believe it has been over a month since I sat behind her in the hospital bed holding her body in the only position that was comfortable in those final hours.
And truth be told, in the late night hours alone with the Father on the cold, hard floor of my bathroom, I have beat my fists against the smooth tile and against my strong Father’s chest and I have sobbed it until the words won’t come, “I can’t believe she’s dead.”
We fought so hard.
It is her little boy’s sixth birthday. We had talked for weeks about the party we would have, with a cake, but that was when they still lived here, when his mother still lived. Instead, I drive across the bridge to where he is now being raised by his aunt and a kind neighbor. We bring the cake. We sing Happy Birthday and he is ok and the kids have fun and are happy. And as we drive away and all smile and wave, I cry.
I didn’t want the story to end this way.
I wrote the ending in my head and it was the ending where my friend gets better, becomes strong and healthy, and is able to move out with her children. It was the ending where they get to sign their names on the bottom of our table to be remembered as friends who lived here and fellowshipped with us and we would all cry happy tears as we served them their last meal before they headed out to their new life healthy and whole. In the ending I wrote, I didn’t have to look 4 children under the age of ten in the eyes and tell them that their mother died in the night as I bounce their baby sister on my knee to keep her quiet. In my ending I didn’t spend every hour of 5 consecutive days fighting and fighting and fighting for a mother to get well and end up clinging to my best friend as we lower a body into a casket.
But His voice comes strong, steady, clear, “Child, this is not the end.”
And behold, some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed and they were seeking to bring him before Jesus, but finding no way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the midst before Jesus. And when He saw their faith He said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.”
First, He forgave their sins. First, He secured the eternal. Because really, what is a few more years of walking in comparison to an eternity of worship and sins all forgiven?
Death is not the end. Then end was when He hung on a cross and rose from a tomb and I asked for life, and Life is what He gave. Better, glorious, eternal Life. In those final hours, I held my friend’s head, and I watched her chest heave as her soul first laid eyes on His face and I could nearly feel His breath on mine. And no, I do not know His ways, but I know Him. I know Him. And I do not just lay my friends before Jesus for physical healing but that they might know Him too, that they might be saved. And Katherine, she knows Him.
We fought so hard. And still we won. He won.
This week I take a two-month-old baby to the doctor to confirm that he has a terminal skin condition that causes burn-like blisters to cover his entire body and will ultimately lead to his death. There is no treatment. I wrap and dress the wounds because I know how. Because keeping them clean will prevent infection and anemia from blood loss and prolong his life. But I recognize that prolonging his life will ultimately prolong his suffering.
I take a grandfather from our community in for a check-up. Cancer. It is everywhere. They give him a few months, weeks maybe. We try to make him comfortable, and keep him company. We tell stories of a Father who would send a Son, the only sacrifice that could absolve all this sin, the only blood that could wash us snow white. But part of me still wants to fight. Still wants to research, still wants to explore other options, still will not believe that this is it.
There is something so sacred about the fight for life. I believe that God wants us to fight. There is a focus that comes from being so close to death, a clarity, a purpose. My heart that still fought for Katherine and believed for her healing even when my mind knew there were no more options cries out that this can’t be it, this cannot be the end, there must be something else.
This is the audacity of hope.
We fight and we wait and a watching world says, “Why hope for life in a world of death?” And we know the answer. My heart is right. This isn’t it, this is not the end, and there is something else. His life is better.
Our fight is not for this life, our fight is for eternity. 
We wanted to let you know that our friend went to be with her Maker. We wanted to thank you for praying. And we wanted to encourage you that the fight on this side of heaven is not over yet. But we look at the pain and the suffering all around us and strange as it is, our hope only grows. We know Him and so we lift our heads to the Life-Giver and say, “We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, character produces hope, and our hope does not disappoint us because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit.”
Here’s to hope, friends, a hope that does not disappoint. Keep fighting for the Gospel, keep fighting for Life, because He has already won.

245 thoughts on “

  1. Hi Katie
    I'm sure you've heard this before but you are my HERO! Some day I want to be like you but since I'm only 14 right now I'll just motivate others to help instead of going on mission trips to Africa which I plan to do. It would mean the world to me if you would follow my blog
    http://www.time-4-africa.blogspot.com
    Lets Change the world!!!!
    Thank you so much:)

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  2. Katie, crying as I read your post! You seem to be such a lovely spirit and a wonderful inspiration. I am young, but I pray that my life my be a dedicated to Jesus as yours is. I can't imagine all the suffering you must go through and witness- but it seems to be making you so beautiful! Praying for you stranger but sister in Christ, and also for the children's and your loss. Much love.

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  3. Katie, Thank you for all you do! I just finished your book. Outstanding, of course. God is GOOD. He is with you, (ALL THE TIME)! holding you up when you want to fall down in a heap. My heart and prayers to you and your spectacular family. You are a beacon of hope to the lost, and are an absolute blessing and encouragement to everyone around you and the world. Jesus is using you to change COUNTLESS hearts and minds about Him. Thank you Lord Jesus, for your continued blessings, mercy, and hope upon dear, sweet, precious Katie and her family, and everyone they touch through You!!!! P.s. I cannot WAIT to get my necklace!!!! They are beautiful! 🙂 Much love from Phoenix, Arizona–Rachel Ward

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  4. Katie, Thank you for all you do! I just finished your book. Outstanding, of course. God is GOOD. He is with you, (ALL THE TIME)! holding you up when you want to fall down in a heap. My heart and prayers to you and your spectacular family. You are a beacon of hope to the lost, and are an absolute blessing and encouragement to everyone around you and the world. Jesus is using you to change COUNTLESS hearts and minds about Him. Thank you Lord Jesus, for your continued blessings, mercy, and hope upon dear, sweet, precious Katie and her family, and everyone they touch through You!!!! P.s. I cannot WAIT to get my necklace!!!! They are beautiful! 🙂 Much love from Phoenix, Arizona–Rachel Ward

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  5. Hi. I have been trying to read your book, I am somewhere in the middle of it now. I just want to say, you are truly awesome! It takes a brave person with lots of love to do what you are doing!

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  6. Just found your book and started reading….inspirational and full of God's wisdom. Many things you write are speaking and encouraging me in my work with young people. May you know His continuing Presence as you share His love and compassion Katie, can't wait to read the next chapter. Bless you.

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  7. You are right Katie, this is not all that there is. We fight for a kingdom that will one day come in all its fullness. One day we will dance on streets that are golden with all those loved ones that have gone on before us. Oh, how I long for that day. But until then, let our lights shine for Him in a world that is desperate to know Him too.

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  8. Hi Katie,
    My name is Atlee and I am fourteen years old and I am homeschooled. This year my brothers and some other homeschoolers we know are doing something called Hall of History. Every person choses someone to research about, and then all of the homeschoolers come together, and the parents, who don't know what person that other people have researched about, come around and ask each of us a series of questions to try to guess what person we researched. It is basically a chance to learn about different people who have done things that have really helped others. (I hope that made sense!) Anyway, I have decided to learn about you this year. I have read your book, but I still have some questions about you and your life. I know you are very busy, but if you could email me, maybe I could ask you a few questions so that I could have the information I need for my project. My email is atleecatlett@gmail.com I completely understand if you don't have time to email me, thank you so much!

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  9. This is my first time commenting, and I want to mention that your blog is inspiring. I am so sorry for your loss, and I am praying for your and Katherine's family. Yet there was another sentence that stood out to me: “Cancer. It is everywhere”. Is there an epidemic of cancer centered specifically in your general area? I know Uganda has exceptionally high cancer rates due to the high prevalence of HIV (I am asking this because I am a biomedical student, looking at researching populations with high cancer rates). I know treatment and medical facilities are limited there, and was wondering how you cope with caring for the sick.
    Keep strong 🙂

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  10. Katie, Is there a way to send you a letter? I have an awesome story to tell you, but I want you to receive it personally.. Is that possible?
    you are my inspiration! thank you for being God's hands and feet!

    Like

  11. I am a 17 year old girl who just went on a missions trip to Brazil, and am almost finished reading your book. I can't explain what an inspiration you have been to me. You have encouraged me that you are never too young to surrender everything to God. Thankyou!
    Janae

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  12. Katie, this blog is exactly what I needed to read. I am on month eight of an 11 month mission trip. I have seen so much physical pain, suffering, and sickness. I have prayed prayers of physical healing and not seen them answered. I have witnessed malnourished babies weeks before they too went to be with the Lord. My heart aches as I read your blog…but rejoices in the truth that it is NOT the end. I have had to cling to the hope of our loving Father and trust that His timing and His plans are always bigger than my own.

    I do not find it coincidence that I read this blog right as I was struggling with the same thing. I am a missionary with The World Race. We go to 11 countries in 11 months partnering with local missionaries and serving wherever there is need. I just recently started reading your book on our flight leaving Cambodia and heading to Africa. We will be coming to Uganda next month and are looking for contacts to partner with and help serve. My heart comes alive reading your book, your blog, and hearing your passion for the people of Uganda. My team, “Daughters of Zion”, would love to come work along side you and help you in any area of need you may have. I know that you do not usually take short term mission teams, but I felt the Lord tugging at my heart to ask anyways. We will be there for the month of May and as I know it is short notice, I also know that our God is a God who moves in the 11th hour. I would love to hear from you and any need you may have that we can help. You can email me at Stephiggsworldrace@gmail.com.

    My blog is http://stephaniehiggins.theworldrace.org/

    You are such an amazing woman of God, and your story has inspired the hearts of my team. I cannot wait to hear from you! Praying for you, your heart, and your family there. Don't give up sister, He is still right there beside you and moving in ways we may never fully see.

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  13. Katie, this blog is exactly what I needed to read. My heart grieves with you as I read this entry. I am a missionary with The World Race and am entering month eight of my eleven month journey. I have seen so much physical pain, suffering, and sickness. Just recently I have prayed physical healing over people who were desperate to see God move in their life. I have seen malnourished and premature babies just weeks before they died. I have held the hands of a blind man that couldn't walk because of all of the physical sickness he lived with on a daily basis. Over and over again my heart has been broken for each person, each child, and each family member that has to watch their loved ones endure pain. This was so encouraging and such a good reminder that God has won the fight. So often He has to remind me that He is in control and His plans and timing is far better than my own.

    I just began reading your book as we began traveling from Cambodia to Africa. My passion grew as I began to read your story and remember why I left all the comforts of home to come serve and follow His calling in my life for this year. I know it is no coincidence that I am sitting here reading your blog, reading your book, and having my heart come alive for your ministry. We are looking for contacts in Uganda for next month. I know you do not usually take short-term mission teams, but I felt the Lord tugging at my heart to contact you anyways. My team, “Daughters of Zion”, would love to come serve along side you, do life with you, and help where there is need. We will be in Uganda for the month of May and would be so excited if you had any work or ministry we could help with…even if it is just loving on the people in your community and working along side you. You can respond to stephiggsworldrace@gmail.com. And if you would like to take a look at my blog it is: stephaniehiggins.theworldrace.org.

    I know that this is short notice, but I also know that timing is no problem for the God we serve :). I cannot wait to hear from you and look forward to reading more of you story and hearing more of what God is doing in your life and in the people of Uganda. Keep fighting sister, He is there with you and holding you during these times! You are doing good work and He is moving in ways you may never get to see or fully understand! Praying for you, your family, and your ministry.

    Steph

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  14. Today I am reading about your walk in a study called…STUCK.
    This chapter is on discontentment.
    Today I want to pray that you feel Gods arm of encouragement. That you are strengthened in your inner man to run with purpose the race He set before you. That you would know more than anything how deep and wide His love is for you. That by His `enoughness' you would see His glory.
    My heart goes out to you in this new day.

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  15. I am so sorry for your loss, i cannot possibly realize what that must be like. You are truly inspiring though! You always keep your head up so high when most people would just give up, i'm 12 and i read your book and it really moved me. One day i want to go to africa for a year to help people there, and you helped me realize thats what God wants me to do, so thank you very very much!!!

    Like

  16. Keep loving sweet sister! Jesus is enough, and I am praying for you now and will continue to pray that You lean on Him more. More with every breath. Because you are His and He loves you deeply, more than we'll ever understand fully. My prayers are with you always, and I can't wait to meet you someday, and that day will be glorious! <3

    Love and Hugs and prayers from Orcas Island,
    Lana

    Like

  17. UHi Katie, My name is Emmie and I am 12yrs. old
    I am reading your book that I just got and I wanna do just that hopefully when I grow up. I am being greatly inspired by you!
    Keep it up! ; )

    Like

  18. Hi Katie, I'm Emmie and I'm 12yrs. Old
    And I'm reading your book that I just got.
    I am so amazed by the work your doing and the the work. God's doing through you.
    Maybe i want to do something like that someday!
    Keep it up!

    Like

  19. Katie, Just wanted you to know that God really used your book, your story, your faith to encourage me as I labor in Thailand. I needed most to see how much HE LOVES. Thanks for taking the time and energy to share all you are experiencing in Him on your journey.

    Like

  20. Katie, I just wanted to tell you that I was so encouraged by your faith, your love and your story this week. I really needed to see again how MUCH HE LOVES as I journey with Him in Thailand. Thank you for sharing your walk with Him and all of His love for His people through your words. Many blessings!

    Like

  21. Katie, I'm 13 years old and I'm almost finished reading your book. Your story is truly inspiring and I'm realizing I don't need things to make me happy but love. In class we were asked what do we need to survive and I answered God, prayer, and love. If I hadn't read your book I would have probably said something way different. Instead of spending my money on clothes or other silly things I'm going to donate to Amazima. I won't be able to donate that much but every little bit helps:)

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  22. Beautiful. Katie, you have inspired me in so many ways, and I just want to thank you! Now I know what I want to do in the future, I want to be a missionary. If you could email me and answer a few questions I would be incredibly grateful! My email is samanthawerner26@gmail.com. You, your family, and your ministry are in my prayers. Sending much love to Uganda!
    Thanks!
    Samantha Werner age 15

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  23. I am an eighteen year old high school senior and i feel like God is calling me to the mission field, I have been to Haiti 6 times, and want to go to Africa more than anything. I recently happened upon your blog and it really inspires me. You are truly amazing and I hope God will work through me like he has you.
    Thank you for your faith and obedience.
    With love in Christ,
    Erin

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  24. I heard the song “Kings and Queens” by Audio Adrenaline today and it reminded me of your story. (The song talks about helping orphans) and I thought of you.
    You truly are an inspiration!

    Like

  25. Hi Katie
    My name is Ashley. I am 17 years old and I live in South Africa. I recieved a book voucher about a year ago and I kept going to this particular bookstore and not finding any books I wanted to buy, then about a month ago I found your book, and when I picked it up I had no idea it would change my life! I am so grateful God is in control and made me hold out to find your book! As I was reading it, I told my mom: “You have to read this book-it is going to be my life story too.” Maybe not in Uganda but I just know I will find my “Uganda” somewhere on this earth. I suspect it might be closer to home than your story but if thats where God wants me, that is where I will be. Thank you for sharing your story with me. I will be forever grateful. God bless you and your amazing family. Kindest regards, Ashley

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  26. Dear Katie
    Thank you, for the example that you are to me. You and your children are in my prayers every day. May God bless you and be near you in all your situations.

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  27. Hi Katie, I stumbled upon your blog and read it from start to finish in one day and then bought your book and finished that just as quickly. You are a huge encouragement to me and I pray for you and your ministry. For several years now I've felt strongly about working in a developing country, probably in South America. I am training to work with children with disabilities and my dream would be to work in a similar situation to where you are working. The most desperate children with the least access to help. Most people around me think I'm just a bit crazy at best and irresponsible at worst. The way you whole-heartedly follow God is inspirational and I am so thankful that you have taken the time to share your life and the lessons God is teaching you.

    Much love,
    Jalyss

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  28. Thank you for your wonderful book which my daughter gave me for my birthday. Very inspiring, I will pass along to my friends. Turning your will and life over to God is not easy and I love the way you share your struggles in this. Al-anon taught me that message long ago and my Catholic faith continues to do so. God Bless!

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  29. Thank you for your wonderful book which my daughter gave me for my birthday. Very inspiring, I will pass along to my friends. Turning your will and life over to God is not easy and I love the way you share your struggles in this. Al-anon taught me that message long ago and my Catholic faith continues to do so. God Bless!

    Like

  30. KAtie, i have just discovered your book and what a true inspiration it is to me to follow our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. I am not sure if you will read this, but your life of giving all has reminded me what I didn't say yes to when I was 18 or 19 and wanted to got o the Pacific Islands and live. I have always felt like I was meant to be somewhere else than where I am. I love my life now as I am a mum and wife, but 15 years on, your story stirs the embers of my fire that has never gone out. I go on shoort trips to Vanuatu with my family to where my husbands family origianlly came from and each time I go, I feel at home…now I wait and ask the Lord, what is it you would have me do at this time. I know it is not to sit and I am not happy just with giving money. MY family and I are being moved by our God to live for Him and forsake our comfortable lives. I have been convicted of self serving and self preservation. TO Him I give my life and to Him alone do I long to please. MAy you be blessed continually in your walk, and that is to know Him more deeply. I pray for you as you have shown me so powerfully what it is to serve the Lord with joy, even when life is extremely tough.
    IN HIM ALONE DO I BREATHE.

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  31. Katie, you are such a blessing. We are praying for you, and are so sorry for your loss. keep going sister, and rely on him. Love Isabelle

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  32. Hi Katie,
    I wanted to check in on the baby with EB. Is he still alive? My son is from Romania and has EB. The EB community would love to offer you and him support! -Caroline (romanianbutterfly.com)

    Like

  33. I've read this post before but it seems I've just read it for the first time. A dear friend of mine was just diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer and I do not want to be here; I do not want to believe that his life will end in a matter of months, but I trust God and I pray that my friend's lif would be filled with God's presence and blessing for the remainder of his time here. I pray that he will have the highest quality of life for as long as possible. And I cling to the promise that God isn't done and He has a place for him in heaven. This isn't it.

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  34. Thank you so much for sharing your focus on Jesus, it must be the focus of every believers life. I press on towards the mark.
    G. Davis

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  35. Hi, Katie… My sister in law who lives in San Diego went to your conference a while back and I got to read your book, your story…..wow, what a beautiful woman of God…I have a young adult daughter who has dreams….right now she is going through a suffering period in her life…I think of you…I think of her…I send tons of hugs over the ocean knowing that our Holy Spirit loves to share himself with his children…may our loving Lord fill you with His grace, His power, His wisdom over there in Uganda….

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  36. Rune of hospitality
    I saw a stranger yestereen;
    I put food in the eating place,
    drink in the drinking place,
    music in the listening place;
    and in the sacred names of the Triune God
    he blessed me and my house,
    my cattle and my dear ones,
    and the lark said in her song:
    Often, Often, Often,
    goes the Christ in a stranger's guise.

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  37. The Rune of Hospitality

    I saw a stranger yestereen;
    I put food in the eating place,
    drink in the drinking place,
    music in the listening place;
    and in the sacred names of the Triune God
    he blessed me and my house,
    my cattle and my dear ones,
    and the lark said in her song:
    Often, Often, Often,
    goes the Christ in a stranger's guise.

    Like

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