Waiting on Him

It is rainy season again. My friend and I slip and slide down the muddy hill to Masese where we weekly study the word with a group of women who have become so dear to us. Every Tuesday we come, joyful and overflowing, or broken and weary, or anything in between and we don’t have to hide it because these women have become friends. We wear our babies on our hips and we wear each others’ burdens. We break bread together in each others homes and each week we crack open His word desperate for His filling, searching for His wisdom, inquiring together, “What do you have for us, God.”
It is beautiful, when I have eyes to see. It is beautiful, but my heart isn’t prepared for Masese today.
We sit in a circle in the dirt space between falling-apart slum buildings and I scuff the dirt under my sandals and let my mind wander as the women share prayer requests, each of them more devastating than the last. Last week, just two days after I held her baby in this very circle, our friend was poisoned and quickly died. We shake our heads in disbelief and we try to remember the good things she brought to this community without losing hope. But as we continue to share, someone else’s mom is slowly dying of tuberculosis and some else’s daughter was assaulted and far too many people that everyone knows have fallen prey to alcoholism and addiction and we see the way this so quickly destroys the lives around us. And how do we not lose hope, I wonder. I let my mind wander because I am weary. I don’t want to engage in this kind of suffering again today. I live just a few minutes away from here but my life is still so different. My hard looks like teenagers with rolling eyes and fragile hearts that are crushed with a few wrong words or glances. Their hard is rampant disease and rape and murder. I haven’t spent enough time with Jesus and today I just can’t seem to open my heart to that kind of hurt without despair.
I force myself to get down in the dirt and lay my hands on a sick friend and pray. My hand is wet and I realize that she is letting her tears fall, vulnerable, in front of me, in front of our Father. Her hurt is different than mine, but really, it is the same. We are the same. Both just as in need of a Savior as the other. Both willing Him, begging Him to come quickly. I ask Him to open my heart to right here and right now. I ask Him to make Himself known.
We sit in the dirt and let the tears fall. And despite my best efforts to harden myself to the suffering today, Faithful God breaks me, gives me eyes not just to see the pain but to know it intimately. These aren’t just people. These are my friends. These are people I know, people He knows. I know their names, their husbands, their children. He knows each hair on their heads and the deepest cries of our heart.
I allow myself to imagine us in the palm of His hand. I imagine his tenderness as He numbered those hairs, I imagine His hand cupping my face as a Daddy cups the face of His daughter, and I imagine Him looking into these women’s eyes and smiling, delighted in His daughters. I close my eyes and in my mind I hear the voice of my husband as he sits on our bed and strums his guitar, “for mercy for comfort we wait on the Lord,” He sings.
Today I feel like we are just waiting. Today, hope is something we fight for.
A woman I don’t know very well walks by our circle. I have heard stories of her. She sits on the ground against the wall of the little dirt church we meet behind and stares vacantly. Nobody is really sure if she is disabled or if she has just been abused by so many men that she doesn’t talk anymore.
 Another woman who I know well and love dearly stumbles down the hill and nuzzles her head into my shoulder. She lived with us years ago as she recovered from alcoholism and her child recovered from resulting burns, but it is clear how drunk she is as she tries to communicate with me through language barriers and slurred speech. My eyes look into hers, blood-shot red, and I plead with her. She is such a good mother, sober. I ask where her little girl is, trying to remind her that being home alone is how she got so injured last time but she isn’t listening. She kisses my cheeks and stumbles away.
It is just days after they lowered our friend’s body into the ground because she was brutally, intentionally killed. Just a week ago she sat in this circle with us and now her body rots in the ground while we try to figure out who will check on her babies. The women look defeated. I feel defeated.
How do we find the hope of Jesus here? How do we proclaim that He is at work when we just can’t see it?
“Let us see you here, Lord,” I pray it desperately. He answers with Romans 2:8, “To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, He will give eternal life.” These women, they persist. Against all the odds, when it would be easier to just give up and go ahead and call this place hopeless, they cling to their hope in Jesus and the persist in doing good, they persist in seeking His glory.
I trudge back up the hill with my mind full of questions. God where are you in this mess? Where are you? As I ponder, my foot slips and lands in a mixture that is surely part alcohol and part human waste. I choose to call it mud and begin to sigh, of course. Two strong arms wrap around me from behind and Santina’s laughter fills my ears. She is laughing at me because she knows how distracted I was and of course, of course I stepped in the hole. She pulls my arm and drags me to her home where she pulls off my shoes and scrubs them in a basin of soapy water. Water isn’t an easy thing to come by around here and I can’t believe she is using it on my sandals. She proceeds to wash my feet. She is washing my feet and I want to protest but I think of Jesus. Bent down, towel around His waist, arguing with Peter who just doesn’t understand. He whispers to me, “See? Do you see Me? I am at work here.”
My stubborn heart may not always want to believe it but I know that it is true. He is at work here.
Margaret walks up the hill in front of me still giggling about my feet and my grumpy-ness. Margaret, who I thought would die. Margaret who at 19 years old held her 4 year old and her dead baby and bled and bled all alone in her house with no one to help her and no one to call family. Margaret who moved in just as frail and sick as Katherine or Betty. Margaret who slept on an extra mattress in my room for weeks because I was so afraid of death that the couch seemed too far away. Margaret who lived. She walks up the hill her arms full of necklaces that now provide for her and her little guy, both happy and healthy back at home in this community, and her heart full of God’s Word which she loves to share with others. “I am at work here,” He whispers, again and again. “Can you believe me? Can you believe my promises?”
Of course I do. I read the words of 1 Peter now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. I cannot deny that I have tasted of His goodness. I cannot deny that I have seen and known Him working all things for the good of those who love Him, even the ugly, hard, unspeakable things.
For mercy, for comfort, we wait on the Lord. And He is at work here.
What is too hard today, friends? What is too messy? It is hard to believe sometimes but we can knowthat God is good in that place. We’ve tasted and known His goodness, even in the impossibly hard places. Romans 2 says, “To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory honor and immortality, He will give eternal life.”

Persist in doing good, dear one. Persist in resting in and relying on Him. Peace that passes understanding is promised us, and eternal life awaits us!

111 thoughts on “Waiting on Him

  1. Katie thank you! I really needed to read this today. I am praying that it gets better, and I'm so sorry to hear about your sweet friend, she is in Heaven with Jesus now:)

  2. 2 Timothy 1:9 “He has saved us and called us to a holy life-not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time…” Dear Katie,
    God has a purpose and a plan for us from before the beginning of time. The really awesome thing about God is that He provided the grace for us to accomplish that purpose before the beginning of time also!!!! Praise God for His grace and his strength which is made perfect in our weakness!

  3. Oh Katie. I have followed your journey for years… awed by the faith that you possess. I look at your life and I wonder at the goodness of God… at HIS faithfulness to you and your little family. You encourage me today. Everytime, really. Each blog that you put into words blesses me. Today I am discouraged. No, I don’t live in the conditions you do….surrounded by the pain and hardness…so I ask myself when reading your blog….how do I have the right to be discouraged? How do I have the right to be sad and lowly of heart? I am lonely, though. I am not alone, but I am lonely. I am grumpy…and I have a bad attitude. And then I read. Your blog. And my heart is encouraged….that God is there. That He knows my heart…my hurts…my sadness…my loneliness. And I remember that there is hope for my future. Again. And I thank God for you…and your heart….even in the times of YOUR discouragement…because you always remember to look up…and you always remind me that He is there. Loving me. Waiting …for me to remember. He used you , yet again today. Thank you, sweet girl, for your words. Words of hope. Words of love. Words that I will go to bed and ponder….and wake up tomorrow morning remembering that He is there. And that He loves me. Even me.

  4. A friend of a friend posted a link to this post on Facebook tonight. In 2007 & 2008 my husband and I spent two weeks in Uganda with Trinity Center for World Missions and our hearts are forever tied to the beautiful land and people of Uganda. This post made me weep. I've been watching a friend's posts this week as she traveled to Karamoja from Kampala and it has made my heart ache for Uganda. Lord, thank you for drawing us–even in our weakest state–to your heart. Keep us leaning on you for our breath.

  5. Thank you, Katie. Another timely post at a time when I needed a reminder. Thank you and God bless you and your family.

  6. I wanted to thank you for keeping it real. Sometimes in our Christian walk, there is mess all around us, and we step in mess. We struggle to understand why the suffering goes on; how evil seems to win that day's battle. The Lord recently gave me Psalm 77 as a reminder that when I get bogged down with pain of the day, I am to remember His (many) miracles of long ago (or as recently as yesterday). I will continue to pray victory over evil, I will remember how the Lord has conquered evil in the past, I will worship the One I know wins the war on evil in the end. And I will continue to shed tears with those around me who are suffering in the moment. Thank you again.

  7. Thank you Katie. What an inspiration you are.I'm a missionary in Indonesia. just started language learning.On 6mth and it still hard. I havent even started where you are. I'm humbled.

  8. Thank you Katie for sharing the real and rawness of the life you live. I am undone this morning reading about it! May our gracious Heavenly Father continue to give you strength for the life he has called you to. My prayers are with you!

  9. Thank you Katie for sharing the real and rawness of your life. I am Undone reading about it this morning! I am praying that our heavenly father will give you great strength for the life he has called you to live. My prayers are with you.

  10. As I read this post, two verses that I read this morning in my time quite time came to mind. Psalms 103:13&14 “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.” Praying for you and the work God has called you to.

  11. Zach 9:11-12''As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you, i will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit. Reutrn to your stronghold, o prisoners of hope; today i declare that i will restore to you double.''

    I thought of you today, Katie, when reading that verse (no, you don't know me, i just read your blog). You once wrote that we are prisoners of hope. That's so beautiful, sister.

  12. True words…Thank you for the encouragement…May you be encouraged by all who are praying for you and your ministry…

  13. You are not alone, Katie! As Paul speaks to in 2 Cor 1 Christ gives us comfort that flows from one to another. You are joined with a body of believers lifting you, these precious woman, the persecuted, poor and fatherless up in prayer and petition to our Father! That may seem like not enough when you are faced with such raw hardship, but be comforted in the fact that when you are downtrodden, your brothers and sisters are standing with you on mission for the gospel. God has blessed us with a body of believers, hand in hand moving forward for the gospel. Thank you to our Heavenly Father for His faithfulness, His grace, and your obedience to choose Him, over and over again. Praying for strength to persevere!

  14. Thank you Katie for being very real in your book and your blog. May God bless you for the love and compassion you lavish upon others. Your story has greatly impacted me and I find myself drawn to something greater, someone greater through your words. I truly admire you for the work you have done for others yes, but even more so the love and devotion that you have for the Father. Your writings prompt me to go deeper and to pursue Him in a greater measure. God bless you and cause His face to shine upon you!

  15. Thank you for this post! My friend recently committed suicide, and I've been struggling to see the hope in the midst of the despair. Your post reminded me that even though I feel beaten by the enemy, He is so purely present!

  16. Thank you for this post! My friend recently committed suicide, and I've been struggling to see the hope in the midst of the despair. Your post reminded me that even though I feel beaten by the enemy, He is so purely present!

  17. He truly is transforming us,we His bride who long for Him more than our next breath. He is faithful! He is unveiling us! Joy does come in the morning. He who has no end and no beginning is all we need. Every cell of us cries out for He who made us to bring us into a new day and a new breakthrough.
    May all that He has planned for your good; to give you a HOPE and a future, come to fruition as you wait on Him.
    You are a beautiful daughter of the Most High God! May you walk more boldly in your identity.

  18. Katie,
    As you encourage us, may you & your loved ones be encouraged 100 fold.

    As you speak life and choose it abundantly, may you & yours live it in the glory of our King.

    As you push through the hurt & seemingly unconquerable trials, may Yeshua hold you close, supernaturally protect you & yours, & comfort you & all whom you touch.

    You are doing a mighty work, Katie! You are willing to do something most are not BECAUSE of the seemingly insurmountable hopelessness. Keep standing strong, as I know you are. You are 1 of many The Lord is raising up in this hour. Hugs from our family to yours in Carrollton, Georgia.

  19. Katie,
    Your life is an inspiration to so many! Praise Jesus for being the lady He made you to be and not wanting to be anyone else! I am in Uganda for work and was hoping I could come visit Jinja this weekend to be encouraged and to encourage others in Him. My email is Daniel.stephens24@gmail.com. Would that be possible?

  20. Dear Katie,
    I read your book and discovered your story a few months ago and i was deeply moved by it. It really changed my fearful heart, reading you reminded me how nothing is impossible for God. I'm French and i was sad that most of my friends could not read your book. I would feel so blessed to be able to translate it to French because i'd like everyone around me to read that beautiful testimony of God's faithfulness and of your journey with Him and with Ugandan people. I don't know if the book is already being translated to French but if not i'm asking your permission to do it. Thank you for sharing your journey and for blessing me trought it. Be abundantly blessed you, your family and your ministry. Anne Worms anneworms36@hotmail.fr

  21. COLOSSIANS 1 comes to mind for you after reading your post Katie.
    Yes it over whelming at times and I know your heart is so soft with Grace and the Love of Jesus and your community family & friends. It is the fragments of Jesus that surrounds you daily. I Will be praying for all of you daily. That the peace of Jesus can heal the heart ache of your community.
    Thank you so much for being so real with us with your blog. I have asked for my fiend in my church community to be real and they have such a hard time sharing. I know it was hard to share but refreshing to see how Jesus is maturing you and your family and friends there in Uganda. So honored to intercede for all of you:)

  22. I'm from Singapore. I've been attending BSF for a number of years & have been wondering why the great people in the Old Testament always forget God's goodness to them.

    Then thru the studies I learnt that though God communicated with them but there were times according to His will He waited for the right moment to act & that explained the long silence.

    Your posts helped me to understand the struggles of the great people like Moses, Elijah, Job, even the Psalmist etc.,

    You have added the heartaches, desperation, hopelessness, doubts, joy, insecurity, chaos, brokenness, the overwhelming pain that creates a momentary blindness & sometimes I can even visualize the sound effect too.

    Your sharing simply make the bible stories come alive. Thank you for your sharing & may God bless you richly:)

  23. “In the word and prayer there is a balm for every wound.” -Matthew Henry

    May you find these verses to be encouraging when sorrows of this world swell in your midst. I am encouraged by your perseverence and am uniting in prayer with you.

    Habakkuk 1:2-5, Habakkuk 3:17-18

  24. Katie,

    I just finished reading your book. May God continue to give you strength in your ministry of love to the people of Uganda. Praying for you and your family.

    Robert Perricone
    San Francisco, CA

  25. Written so beautifully I could feel the agony and hopelessness of the situation but also the hope that Jesus is still there and will never leave us, all we have to do is trust Him even in our darkest hour.

  26. Katie, for 4 weeks I have been sitting, recovering from a foot surgery. Near me is a an open box and on top of the box and overflowing over it, are beautiful, colorful necklaces made from the blessed women of Uganda. I ordered these necklaces recently from Amazina. They are ready to be given to my daughters, Goddaughters and a few close friends, however I can't give them yet. So,everyday I look at these necklaces. I am humbled to think these were made by women who want to make a better way for themselves and their families and that by touching them I am somehow connected. Please tell them they are remembered and prayed for 1/2 a world away in CT. Please tell them how I appreciate the time and work it took to make these necklaces and how beautiful they are. I look forward to wearing them and have people ask where they do they come from. Please tell them I will pray for them and their children everytime I wear them. Tell them and I tell you we are all God's children and even though we are far away you and they are not forgotten.I read your blog and pray the Lord strengthen you, your husband and your daughters. Flo Sarigianis

  27. Dear Katie,
    Reading about the faith of George Muller, I was reminded of you. Take heart, Precious one. May Jesus give you the eyes to see that those who are for you are more than those who are against you.
    Peace be with you
    from Le from South Africa

  28. Ahhhh….life is too hard. Suffering and torment are too hard. I try and I try to see any good coming out of it, but I don't yet. I haven't yet. But with you, I can say that I have tasted and seen that the Lord is good. I have tasted and seen that in the past. But it's been a really long time since then. With tears streaming down my face (so often), I thank you for the good words of Romans 2, for the encouragement to persist in doing good and to wait for the hope that is promised me. Love you dearly, and if I weren't in such a pit right now, I would attempt to bear your burdens with you more. It seems the most I can do is cry, and just be thankful that God has given you a new husband who can be that shoulder and that encouragement to you in the incredibly hard things you encounter. Hugs and love.

  29. Katie,
    My 9 year old daughter and I are coming to Uganda in July of this year to serve children there. My mother-in-law has been there before and we are accompanying her this year to help with a type of “VBS” for the children there. My daughter, Madalyn, has never even been on a plane but when my mother-in-law asked we both knew we wanted to go. God has already blessed our “yes”. I can not fully grasp and can not even begin to help her grasp how this trip will change our lives and what is in store for us and those children. We are both so excited to serve. In preparation, I came across your book. I ordered it and we began reading it together today. We've only gotten through Chapter One but it has already been a blessing. We will be praying for you as we prepare for our trip to your beloved country. Please also remember us and be praying for our trip too.
    Thank You for serving Jesus and showing LOVE to those in need!

  30. I am praying for all the women you meet in this awful, beautiful, difficult, wonderful opportunity God has blessed you with. Philippians 1:29 “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him.”

  31. Hey Katie! I was just wondering what your testimony was, and why it wasn't on your blog or on the website. Please don't let this come across wrong or arrogant, I was just wondering.

  32. Katie,
    I first got your book as a Christmas present about 2-3 years ago. My family got it for me because it is on my bucket list to go to Africa to work in an orphanage. If I could I would adopt every child I could!
    I am contacting you because that dream will finally be a reality!! I will be in Kyarusozi and working at a clinic as a nurse in Kirinda. We are able to take trips to other places while we are there (May 21-July 9) and I and other nursing major would love to meet up with you and meet you if possible. You are my spiritual role model and to know that I will be able to see and do what you do gives me goosebumps. If it doesn't work for us to meet up than please pray for me in my spiritual journey!


  33. Thank you for that encouraging word. I cannot fathom the abuse and heartache these women face daily; but it is a comfort to know that God looks and my trials; so frivolous in comparison, and still has grace and compassion on me.

  34. We mormons are Christians and believe in our Savior jesus christ. He is my redeemer and has saved me over and over again. We can all be ministered to but don't think we are unbelievers. Quite the opposite. God bless.

  35. Katie,
    I just started reading your book today. I'm only in chapter one and can already tell you this book is going to change me. You are such an inspiration. The work you are doing in Uganda is not just hard work, but it is Gods work and the people of Uganda need you. Thank you for sharing your story and inspiring others to do the work of Jesus.

  36. Katie, thank you so much for sharing your feeling and thoughts. I know most of us here in the U.S. can't even imagine the kind of struggles you see on a daily basis. I have been praying for you and continue to pray for you and your family. Romans 8:28 is one of my favorite verses.

  37. I pray for you everyday Katie because you had the courage and love to step forward. Something that so many of us would love to do, but didn't have the courage to do. May God bless you every step of the way. I was so happy when God brought a man to you to be your husband. What a blessing for you! We love you with a Christian love.

  38. I have just started reading your messages and really enjoy them, however, it's really difficult for me to see them on a dark background. Would you all consider putting your beautiful messages on something lighter? My eyes are old. 😉

  39. Ah, our Father is so gracious in reminding our hearts repeatedly of His goodness. Goodness in the midst of pain, goodness in the abundant blessings He pours into our lives, and always the goodness of His presence. I am thankful for peace that goes beyond understanding and His Spirit to revive my heart when I feel overwhelmed. Thank you for sharing. Pain and joy have been intermingling in my life and I need the reminders to lift my eyes above these things to the One who holds us all.

  40. Hello, Katie, Our family read most of your Kisses book several years ago, and I have not tracked with you, but prayed for you as God brought you to mind. Tonight I wondered if you had married! Of course, it would have been fine if you had not, but I always thought that a husband to support you, and you him, and a father for your children would be such a gift from the Lord! And there you are, a married woman! God gave you exactly one of the things your heart surely longed for, as scary as it was to hope . . . as scary as it was to not hope: a man in love with God and in love with Uganda as well! And living near by to boot! May your marriage indeed be on earth showing that it was made in heaven! It won't be perfect, but a match made in heaven means perfect for each other! Thank you for sharing the hard and the joys. JLW

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