Kisses From Katie…where my journey meets hers…

Several months ago my sister asked me, “Have you heard of Katie Davis?”  I answered I had not, and that was that.

A few months ago I followed a link and found myself at Katie Davis’s blog.

For the next 2 weeks after that I read all of her blog posts from the very beginning.

When my sister sent me her book, I spent the next 2 weeks reading that.

And now, I will spend the next however long pouring out in words what has been poured into me.

Here is where my journey meets hers…well, in a matter of speaking or writing or, hopefully, living.

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Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption by Katie Davis with Beth Clark

Introduction:

…the fact that I loved Jesus was beginning to interfere with the plans I once had for my life and certainly with the plans others had for me.  My heart had been apprehended by a great love, a love that compelled me to live differently…I began to realize that God wanted more from me, and I wanted more of Him.

I was entering 8th grade when I met my Savior, and my life has never been the same since!  Even when actions didn’t changed over night, my desire was for them to.  Sin could no longer be ignored, earth was no longer comfortable, worldly success was no longer appealing.  By the end of high school the last thing I wanted was to go to UNC and become a “whatever” with a high paying salary.  Me, I wanted the life of Mother Teresa, minus being a nun.  So, I would find a college with a major in Christian Counseling and a minor in Missions, and I would finish college and move on to whatever third world situation God had in store for me.  I was in love with Jesus, but now, 16 years later, I realize I was still telling Jesus what Peter told him on the shore after His resurrection…”I love you (like you a lot) Jesus!”

I look back and know that many of my motivations were selfish – all about me and what I could do for the Kingdom of God to say “Look what I am doing for the Kingdom of God!”  God knew.  He loved.  He was patient.  He gave me a choice; two choices of faith.  I chose, and it is good…so much better than I ever dreamed, but it is different than what I dreamed.  The Christmas following the first semester of my sophomore year, I married a godly, wonderful, growing-in-maturity-like-me-man.  The picture was now forever changed.  So, what do you do with God-given desires when the journey takes a different course?

…I look at the life of my Savior, who stopped for one…I am much more afraid of remaining comfortable…I am running from things that can destroy my soul: complacency, comfort, and ignorance.  I am much more terrified of living a comfortable life in a self-serving society and failing to follow Jesus than I am of any illness or tragedy…We are not called to be safe…

Want to know another part of my dream.  I’ve shared some of it before, but it’s been awhile.  I don’t remember the first time I told Nathan this dream, but I do know that his reaction made me laugh a little.  Me: “You know those scriptures that talk about Jesus touching and healing the lepers?” Him: “Yeah.”  Me: “That’s my dream!  I want to work with the lepers, the AIDS patients, the HIV positive people.”  Him: “Can you wait until our kids are out of the house?”  Me: a small smile and laugh escape me.

I get his reaction.  It wasn’t one that wanted to deny the need or the love of Christ; it was a logical, protective dad and husband reaction.  I mean, don’t I tell him to be safe as he drives the 7 minutes to the gym every morning…same route to the same place at the same time every day?  So, I can get why your wife touching the “leper” might stir some uneasy feelings, but it was my dream.  Still is.  That and loving the orphan and the widow and the poor.

I am also terrified of remaining complacent – of looking too similar to the world.  Christians aren’t supposed to because Christ never did!  I cringe at the times I know I haven’t just been comfortable but sought for and grasped for and begged for it.  It’s like that candy that you want so very badly, and you eat it…and eat it…and eat it…and the end result – SICK!  I have been sick for awhile now.

…Psalm 37:4: “Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart.”…I have learned to interpret it…It is not about God making my dreams come true but about God changing my dreams into His dreams for my life…I am watching God work, and as I “delight myself in the Lord” by doing what He asks of me and by saying yes to the needs He places in front of me, He is changing the desires of my heart and aligning them with the desires of His.  As I go with Him to the hard places, He changes them into the most joyful places I could imagine.

I have quoted this verse.  In fact I have used it in reference to those “dreams”.  I have also called out to God, reminding Him of these words, when I wanted grass and another bedroom and a clean house.  I thought He would give me the desires I already had in my heart; I didn’t realize that He would actually “give me” the desires for my heart to have.  It’s this heart-surgery – this circumcision – that has taken years.  That is taking years!  Even when my desires are scripture-aligned, I have found that doesn’t mean they are the exact ones He has for me.  Again, I am Peter, asking, “What about John?”  Again, He is Jesus, telling me, “What is that to you?  If I want her to do…YOU follow me!”

Sometimes it’s “my desires” turned over to Him that are the “hard places”, and sometimes it is His desires that are the “hard places”.  Regardless, the hard is where I find the joy.  It seems hidden; sometimes, even, not there at all.  Sometimes I walk out of the hard place wondering why I couldn’t find the joy to take with me, and then along the journey I realize one day I have it.  It had been “found”; however, at the time it was “manna” – “what is it?” – to me.  I didn’t recognize it.  I didn’t understand it.  But, I did receive it.  Like today…

Yesterday I was walking around like a spiritual zombie…feeling like I was existing but not living.  I was continuing to pray for His Spirit’s filling, so that I could have the fruit of Joy and Love.  I went to bed after shedding tears over it!  Where was the joy?  Today I was talking with a friend, and God guided my thoughts and words.  At the end of a heart-cry, I said these words, “It was a joy to pray for…”  Then another statement.  “It was a joy when Hannah…”  Then another.  Finally, I realized what I had been saying…JOY.  This fruit that I thought I had missed altogether, and I am claiming it – naming it.  (I re-read those words today in Ann’s book (p.53)…”Now, in the Bible a name…reveals the very essence of a thing, or rather its essence as God’s gift…To name a thing is to manifest the meaning and value God gave it, to know it as coming from God and to know its place and function within the cosmos created by God.  To name a thing, in other words, is to bless God for it and in it.”)

…we were created to change the world for someone.  To serve someone.  To love someone the way Christ first loved us, to spread His light.  This is the dream, and it is possible.  Some days it is excruciatingly difficult, but the blessings far outweigh the hardships.

This is the dream.  To change…serve…love…someone.  Here’s the rub, you don’t always get to choose the “someone” or the “somewhere” or even the “somehow”.  That’s God’s; not ours.

This truth of “God is God and I am not” and “What is that to you…you follow me” has been hard to accept.  Reading this book, even looking at the cover picture, has created longings within me.  Sometimes the longings have been for the former dream (missionary to the leper, poor, orphan, and widow), but more often the longings have been for the joy Katie found where God placed her, to be found where God has placed me.  Wherever He Is there Joy Is.  He is in Uganda – Praise Him, He surely is!  He is in Colorado Springs – Praise Him, O’ my soul, He surely is!

As I dissect Katie Davis’ journey to and in Uganda, I will be doing the same to my own.  It has not been easy.  I read many of her words through tears. There was much to learn about myself as I read about her; there was much to learn about God as I read about Him.  He is loving.  He is patient.  He is there.  He is here.