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