not an option.

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 6: A change of heart

Quick Summary: Katie has a new understanding of who God is, what He cares for, and how He will use her as His servant.  As she pours over the Word she realizes that what she is doing – helping the poor children – it is not an option, it is a requirement.  She also realizes that, for her, adoption is not just a good deed – it is how God wants her to serve Him.  It is His command for her life.

My reaction:

“Disease is certainly not a sin.  And poverty is not a sin; it is a condition, a circumstance that allows God’s work to be displayed…I knew God wanted me to care for the poor…It had happened so naturally, I was simply caring for those around me out of an overflow of love for Christ and the love that He had lavished upon me.  I never thought I was doing anything different or unusual, just simply what He had asked…as I poured over His Word, I realized that what I was doing was not simply my choice – it was a requirement.”

Caring for the poor is a requirement.   I have been a Christian most of my life but I have only recently realized this truth.  The gospel is meant for the sick, for the lost, for the captives.  And yes, for me.  I am all of that – but I have been set free by this gospel, by the love of Christ.  And now it is my requirement to share that with the world.  To be a worker – to harvest the field.  Yes, to do this from an overflow of love for Christ, but not forgetting – this is what God has commanded me to do.  It’s not about whether you feel called to it or not.  You must help the poor, the widow, the orphans.

“Adoption is a redemptive response to tragedy that happens in this broken world.  And every single day, it is worth it, because adoption is God’s heart.  His Word says, ‘In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will’ (Eph 1:5).  He sets the lonely in families (see Psalm 68:6).  The first word that appears when I look up adoption in the dictionary is ‘acceptance’.  God accepts me, adores me even, just as I am.  And He wants me to accept those without families into my own.  Adoption is the reason I can come before God’s throne and beg Him for mercy, because He predestined me to be adopted as His child through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will – to the praise of His glorious grace…I adopt because God commands me to care for the orphans and the widows in their distress.  I adopt because Jesus says that to whom much has been given, much will be demanded (see Luke 12:48) and because whoever finds his life will lose it but whoever loses his life for His sake will find it (see Matt 10:39).”

I realize that helping the orphans doesn’t always mean adoption.  But we need to be open – what if God asks this of us?  Christ is radical.  When he walked the earth He dined with sinners, lepers, tax collectors, the Am Ha-Eretz (unclean) of the Jewish world.  If He calls us to love the untouchable, to love the unlovable…if He Himself adopts the untouchable and unlovable into His family, if He Himself has adopted us…is it so inconceivable that He would ask us to do the same?  I don’t believe that Katie is trying to say that everyone should adopt.  But I do believe that she didn’t see this as part of her life – but she said yes anyway.  Because God said this was His will for her.  As difficult as doing God’s will is – it is still so much easier than running from His will.  He who loses his life for His sake will find it after all.  But he who seeks first to find his life apart from God will lose it.  I need to be open.  I need to be willing.  I need to expect to be called to doing radical things.  For my radical God.

“My goofy, trash-loving children are constant reminders of God.  They look at things that I see as used, broken, and dirty and they see treasure.  Can you imagine?  God looks at everyone, broken, old, dirty, probably not a whole lot more exciting than an old toilet paper roll, and sees treasure.  Something He loves dearly, something He would die for.  Wow…Thank You that when I feel old and used-up and broken and no more exciting than a cardboard box.  You whisper that You love and value me, and that in Your eyes, I am shiny and new.”

Katie talks about how her daughters love to play with trash and not the actual toys she has given them.  Amazing how children so clearly reflect both a sinful heart and the heart of God.  Children can be selfish and cruel at times – and so unfiltered in their expression of these things.  But they can also reflect purity and innocence and a clearer understanding of who God is than most adults.  To be entranced by trash…to say, “yes, there is value here”.  That is how God sees us – he assigned us value, knowing full well that as sinners, we deserved death.  Even as we have now turned to Him we still fall.  We still succumb to our fleshly desires and emotions.  And even at our worst he sees us not as trash, but as treasure.  If only the story ended there!  But no, He goes further – He asks us too, to see through His eyes, and to see others as precious gold, diamonds, rubies, instead of filthy, unclean, and untouchable.

P.S.

I was finally able to start doing outreach at a children’s home 🙂  And now my small group is planning to do outreach (Habitat for Humanity, orphanages, etc) once a month!  Praise God for answered prayers!

Matthew 10 - 38-39

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.