fearless love.

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 5: “Can I call you Mommy?”

Quick Summary: This chapter details the beginnings of Katie’s new call – a “mommy”.  She talks about how she took in a trio of young girls and realized she could not just leave them at an orphanage.  From being a mother of 3, she is now known as a “mommy to many” – to her adopted daughters, to the kids that come to her home everyday to do schoolwork/have dinner/play, and to the 400 children in her community.

My reaction:

“At nine years old, Agnes had become the primary caregiver of her sisters, seven-year-old Mary and five-year-old Scovia.  Their father had died of AIDS and their mother had long since disappeared.  Their grandmother, who lived nearby, helped with what little she had, but often her own food was barely enough for herself.  Days consisted of digging in the fields for a little something to eat and walking miles to and from the nearest well with a large plastic jug to collect the day’s water.  Mary kept a neighbor’s baby and, in return, was provided with some food for herself.  Even little Scovia went to dig for hours in the field to find food, helped fetch water, washed clothes and cooked supper when Agnes had to stay late in the garden.  Like all little girls, their hearts held hopes and dreams of the future, but the hardships of everyday life kept them focused on one day, one experience, one moment at a time.”

This appalled me.  A mother leaving 3 defenseless little girls alone to raise themselves, clothe themselves, feed themselves.  A nine year old forced to dig in the fields for something to eat.  A seven year old having to babysit for a living.  A five year old made to cook and clean clothes and help dig in the field for food.  At these ages I was playing with Barbies and having birthday parties and snuggling up to my parents.  These little girls – well they didn’t have the chance to be little girls like I did.   These 3 girls were the first children Katie decided to adopt.  This started her on a new calling – the calling to be a “mother to many”.

I don’t think I can be a “mother to many”.  I’m not sure that I’m called to that particular lifestyle.  But, don’t I have a responsibility to the helpless and hurting?  Don’t I have a responsibility to love as Christ loved me?  Forget responsibility – don’t I have the desire to love the orphans, the poor, the lost children?  Perhaps I have not always had this desire to do so but slowly and surely it is being awakened in me.  I feel like someone who is seeing with new eyes.  To quote a Switchfoot song: “This is your life – are you who you want to be?”  The sad answer to that is NO.  This is not who I want to be.  I want to be like Christ.  I want to care.  I want to be fearless in love.

“They laugh hysterically when I cuddle them or kiss their foreheads, and it hurts my heart a bit that they find the fact that someone loves them so funny.  And that is the blessing God has given me in this house: I get to provide a home for children who are homeless, a safe haven for children who feel threatened, lost, and unwanted.  Most of all, I get to love children who don’t know love otherwise.  I get to accept them for who they are.  I get to present them with my love and then teach them of the Father’s extravagant love.”

I have said it before and I’ll say it again – I’m not trying to be the next Katie Davis.  It’s not about opening orphanages in Uganda, or about adopting 14 girls.  I just want to have what she has.  Fearless, beautiful love for others.  An overflow coming from our Father.  I want to extend myself for someone other than myself.  I find myself asking if this is what it means to love like Christ – and I already know the answer is Yes.

no such thing as "loved too much"

To learn more about Katie and her ministry you can check out Katie’s blog here.

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being available.

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 4: Saying Yes

Quick Summary: Katie details the beginnings of her nonprofit organization.  She wasn’t qualified to start any sort of organization – she merely made herself available to God.  Within 3 months, her dream had become a full-fledged nonprofit organization that was sending over a 100 children to school, feeding them, offering medical assistance, and telling them of Christ’s love for them.

My reaction:

“I was in no way qualified, but I was available.  I have learned that something happens when one makes herself available to God: He starts moving in ways no one could imagine.  God began doing things in me, around me, and through me as I offered myself to Him.  I began each day saying ‘Okay, Lord, what would you have me do today?  Whom would you have me help today?’  And then I would allow Him to show me.  I would like to say that I had all kinds of great ideas about what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it.  I would like to say my ministry was born out of a carefully thought-out plan.  These things simply aren’t true, though.  I was walking through life one moment at a time, blown away by what God could do through me if I simply said yes.  My heart was on fire with a passion to say yes to God’s every request – to do more to help the people around me.”

I am a reticent person.  I will offer a million reasons why it is safer to not reach out, or to merely donate money to people who are more “trained” to reach out to others.  I am Moses, bargaining with God to send someone else.  I am Jonah, running away from the mission God entrusts me with.  My sister however, is none of these people.  She has always been brave – fearless really.  And with a capacity to love and interact strangers that amazes and scares me in equal measures.  I remember her coming home to tell me how she met a young boy in the city park and upon starting a conversation with him realized he was a runaway who had been “recruited” into prostitution.  She helped him go home to his mother.  My sister is my secret hero.  But I don’t have to wish to be like her – I CAN be like her.  I can be the person that says yes and is available to God.  I can be fearless because I’m beginning to understand it’s not about how hard I try.  All I need to be is willing.

“God had promised Sarah and Abraham that they would be the parents of a great nation, yet at the age of sixty-five Sarah was still childless.  She was beginning to doubt.  Leaving behind her homeland, she and her husband moved hundreds of miles south to the land of Canaan, the place where god had told them He would fulfil His promise.  The land was full of God’s promises but barren of all things cherished and familiar.  Finally tired of waiting, Sarah tried to take matters into her own hands by letting her husband sleep with her servant, and though the outcome was a child, this was not the perfect child God had promised, the one who would make her the mother of a nation.  Years later, at the age of ninety, Sarah finally gave birth to her promised child. She called him Isaac, meaning ‘The Lord has filled me with laughter.’  Despite her frailties, little faith, and self-reliance, God accomplished His purpose – and Sarah was filled with joy.

I will doubt.  This is not a call to not doubting – let’s be honest, we will all doubt.  But thank God He is faithful when we are faithless.  Despite our frailties, our doubts, our lack of faith, our desire to control our own destinies and rely on our own strength, despite our humanness – God will accomplish His purpose.  I just don’t want to fight Him along the way.

2 Timothy 2:13 (NIV)

To learn more about Katie and her ministry you can check out Katie’s blog here.