My best friend recently bought me a book she had been trying to get me to read for a while now. It’s called “Kisses from Katie” and it’s the story of an 18 year old girl that graduated high school, moved to Uganda, and adopted 14 kids. All by herself. All because God told her to.
We agreed on reading a chapter a day and then discussing it over Voxer. I read the first chapter, cried my eyes out, and decided I had to share my reactions here. So for the next couple of weeks I will be blogging about this book, one chapter at a time.
Chapter 1: Falling in love – with a country
Quick Summary: Katie talks about the decision to do a short mission trip in Uganda while still in high school. She quickly realizes she’s meant to go back, for at least a year this time. After high school graduation she packs up and moves to Uganda for what she thought would be one year.
“I just sat right down on that cold, hard floor and snuggled my nose into their dirty necks and kissed their fungus-covered heads and didn’t even see it. I was in love.”
I felt so ashamed to even read that. I am all too aware of dirt, of disease, of filth. I have been to a couple of orphanages. I live in a country where street kids are all too common. I used to think I was compassionate. But I read those words and realized my heart is evil. My heart doesn’t look at people covered in filth and realize that’s how I must look to God. My heart doesn’t say love them anyway, play with them, kiss them, hug them. I cringe. I stay away. I’m not being Jesus to people that really need Him.
“It is simply an ongoing, ever-changing result of what it looks like to try to love like Christ in my life…this is the place where I am supposed to follow Jesus, obey Him, and make my best effort, with His gracious help, to treat people with dignity and care for them unconditionally. To say yes to each and every thing He asks of me, to each person He places in front of me.”
I started to cry while reading this. I am nearly 30 years old and I do not know how to live this way. A girl almost a decade younger is able to live this way. Why can’t I? The truth of it is that I am full of fear. I’m fearful that I’m not doing what God wants me to do. I’m afraid that what He wants me to do might be to live uncomfortably for the rest of my life. I’m afraid to step out in faith and change my life because I have no money to do so. I found myself thinking that if only I had the funds, I could take a year off and volunteer somewhere. But only if I had the resources to do so because I can’t imagine doing something crazy like that and not having the security of a hefty bank account to sustain me. I am trapped by my fears and burdened by my attachments. And I’m upset and angry. I’m upset to be confronted with my selfish, evil heart. I’m angry that I have come to this. I cannot reconcile the person I am with the person I desire to be. They are worlds apart and the realization sends me into despair.
My prayer today was simple. Lord change my heart. Enable me to love people, truly love people, the way that You do. I realize that You may have been breaking me all this time to get me to a place of surrender to Your calling and plan for my life. But Lord, please, can’t you just change my heart and enable me, by Your grace, miraculously, to be the kind of person that would leave everything and bravely go forward doing what You want them to do?
I’m emotionally exhausted just reading this first chapter. But I’m also cautiously hopeful. I am hoping that by the end of this book God will have given me a new heart, one that is ready to receive Him in any capacity.
To learn more about Katie and her ministry you can check out Katie’s blog here.