Thursday, March 26, 2009

I have entered a new phase in my life. Potty training.

I decided to just buckle down and do it since right now is a pretty slow time for me (if life can be slow with 14 kids?). All the children in our program are in school with all of their supplies until a new semester starts after holidays in May, cold and flu season is ending meaning less sick ones to take care of (THANK YOU JESUS!), we pretty much have our feeding program down to a science, and my employees do a fantastic job keeping home visits, school Bible studies, and village ministry running. My life is NEVER boring, but it has been a bit more relaxed these days.

Usually when people ask me what exactly I DO in Uganda, I answer simply, "Just love. I'm just a stay-at-home mom." Well, stay-at-home mom has taken on a whole new, quite literal meaning. We are talking really STAY at home, as in never leave the compound, mom. I have two three year olds now, Grace and Jane, although Grace functions closer to an 18 month old. Both have been trained (or forced) in their previous lifestyles to just use the bathroom where ever they are seated. This is not super fun for me. So I pretty much spend my days sitting and playing on the floor with them waiting for one of the to yell "MOMMY! JAAGAAAALAAAA FOOOOFAAAA!!" (correct spelling is njagala fuca, which basically means, I have to pee). I then scoop them up and zoom them to the nearest potty (Jane still doesn't usually let me know that she needs to go until after she is already going on the floor, and while Grace is making huge progress, she cannot yet walk herself to the toilet). Some days this keeps me so occupied that I wake up in pj's, spend the day in pj's, and go to sleep in the same pj's.

I remind myself that this is just a season. It will pass and I will look back and laugh at the days that I didn't change my clothes and spent all day running back and forth to the potty and cleaning bodily functions off the floor.

I tell you all this in simply asking for prayer. Some days, I am just tired. I am happy, beyond happy. There is NO WHERE I would rather be. I am trying to remeber that what I DO is not what makes me valuable to the Lord (this is a trap I fall into often). It is so easy to feel useful feeding 1,800 children. It is not so easy to feel useful sitting on the floor of my little cement house all day.

It is just a season. Please pray that I would not grow weary. I love my life. But in lots of sitting there is lots of thinking and in lots of thinking the enemy reminds me of what I miss. I miss my mom. If you know her, you understand. The workers at a local orphanage affectionately refer to her as a "beaming ray of God's light to this earth" (copyright Rachel and Arielle) and it is so true. I miss the rest of my family too, just talking them at the end of the day, and I am easily saddened that I miss watcing my little brother play some of the best lacrosse of his life and go to prom and just live life. I miss Strong Tower Bible Church, being spiritually fed every week and having Gwen and Suzanne's sweet shoulders right next to me to cry on. I miss the YMCA, for those who don't know me, I am pretty addicted to running (I don't know if there are treadmills here... I would totally put one in my house and run while potty training, but I think that would be against all my "more than enough" theology...).

This is where I am. This is where I want to be, and I know that I know that this is where God wants me right now and that He is holding me. This is just a season. I share only because I know you will pray. I am a DO-er, sitting still gets me. I am learning; I am always learning, and I am thankful for that.

Jane needs to FOOFAA. I guess I do run a little bit...


Amy said...

Katie. Remember that video we have of musa when we went fishing on in Lake Vicky and he says " hiii......Hi mar pat!!" And we both crack up? I remember when me and bethany were sitting outside the source cafe and this woman comes up and she's kind of talking to herself and she's all over the place and i hear the exact same voice Rachel and Arielle (lovingly) copy when they say "now katie.... i cut up some pineapple..." (you know that one_?) anyway- we see this woman and i lean over to bethany and say That HAS to be Mary Pat! and sure enough- it was. Beaming ray fit to a T.

Love you katie!

Melissa Irwin said...

Your life is such a beautiful mess that I can't wait to read about it. But I pray for your strength, patience, and love during the potty training season.

When I was in Zimbabwe at an orphanage there, I was pee'd on a few times. : )

~ Lisa @ AbidingThere~ said...

Katie - I can empathize - been in that potty training stage for 5 years now. . . And thank you for the reminder that it isn't what I 'do' that makes me valuable to God. There is so much need - so much to do - it's a distraction from justing 'being' sometimes. xo

Anonymous said...

I am just a blog follower and sweetheart we love you and are praying for you! I had 2 little ones a few years back and I know what it is like to feel trapped at home tending to all their toddler needs.
I don't know much about missions or adoptions..or living without electricity.....just that caring for little ones can be draining. Remember that when you care for the least of these you care for Jesus.
I pray you find strength and a new feeling of excitement to get you through this season with your babes.
God Bless you~~ Sarah in KC

Laurel said...

Well, Katie,

Welcome to motherhood.

There are so many days of a stay-at-home mom's life that she doesn't see the value in what she does. So many days that she can't see any accomplishment. So many days of loneliness.

Yes ... children are a blessing. Motherhood is a calling. I know that I know that I know that I am doing exactly what God has called me to.

But, contrary to popular beliefs, life as a stay-at-home mama is NOT easy, nor always fulfilling.

Blessings to you as you spend your days being "just a mommy".

mama of 13

Anonymous said...

Katie, I LOVE you!

Just like your awesome mom MP, YOU are a beaming ray of God's light to this earth. For real.

Smiling, thinking about you in UG and remembering the great times. My heart hurts to get back there.

Hey, you can always run down the "paved" mainstreet Jinja and get the typical, "Mzungu! You are doing what?"

Much much much love,
Rachel (and Arielle too!)

Anonymous said...

I have just come to your blog for the first time, Katie, but you have touched my mommy heart. I, too, am a stay at home mom and I hardly ever leave my "compound". I am sure I never will make as many meals or potty train as many as you, but our work...every bit of it is equally important to the Lord. He is pleased when we praise Him and see worth in potty training HIS children and dishes, etc.

When the enemy tells you that your current floor-sitting, potty training position is not worthy....remember that NOTHING we can do is worthy of the LORD, but that our God is a God of order and I know He is pleased when we mothers diligently potty train. Just take another moment and remember what your home would be like if no one were potty trained!!!! Praise God for His plan to allow us mommies to do these life-changing jobs! Those girls will never be the same once you've dedicated this time to them. I suppose we as mommies are never the same either!

God bless,
Heather Marie (Elyria, Ohio)

jena said...

In my much less complicated life, I have been sitting still for the last 6 months with my two amazing Ugandans. It's been hard...but well worth it. So on a small scale I know how you are feeling. Sometimes I just get that urge to accomplish something... but in reality I am accomplishing much for my two blessings with simple things. And that is exactly where I am suppose to be right now.

Anonymous said...

Only for a season and yet you are in the season now. I get that and will be praying for you and your little ones!


Gwen Oatsvall said...

oh sister .. i miss you right next to me at church and on the treadmill ... there are moments every day when i stop and realized i have wiped a few bottoms, swept up crums for the millionth time, folded laundry, and been chauffer for the day, that I feel very un-used by the Lord, but I know He looks only at my heart and if I will do all these things to glorfiy them then He is happy ... So I will stand beside you during this season knowing the Father is so proud of His Katie whether she is potty training or feeding the masses !!!

P.S. I love your mother too !!! She totally shines and ROCKS !!

I luffa you so so much !!!

Jenn in GA said...

in potty training's beginning stages, it is more the mama who is the trained one, asking every 30 min. or so who needs to go to the potty. i promise, that will change with time.

what you are experiencing is very much the stuff of stay-at-home motherhood. i hope you can find some time to get refreshed--perhaps even get a walk on your own--during this time.

resist the enemy and he will flee from you. draw near to God and He will draw near to you. that's challenging when it seems you're hearing the enemy's whisperings more than the Lord's still, small voice. ask Him to help you hear Him.

i reworded the lyrics to jeremy camp's "enough" to make it a prayer:

let all of You
be more than enough for all of me,
for every thirst and every need
please satisfy me with Your love, so all i have in You is more than enough.

hope some of this helps. rest in His grace.

Sara K. Parker said...

I have been so touched by your blog and your deep, burning faith in God. I have found myself often reading and feeling frustrated myself, feeling as though I want to/need to do more.

But you are right about seasons. Motherhood to young children does set limits on our usefulness in some ways...but God's purpose is not limited by seasons. Thanks for the reminder.

Mrs. Breum said...

just a blog follower but wanted to say how much I look forward to your posts each week since I've found your blog. Thanks for serving Jesus and sharing your experiences with us!

Beautiful Mess said...

Katie, thank you for your blog. It has blessed me greatly! I have had a heart for Uganda ever since I saw the movie Invisible Children and God just opened this place of love. Undeniable, unexplainable, but so true. Now, I am being opened up to this whole new world in "blog" world and am amazed at how we can be so close and so far at the same time.

Thank you for your ministry! I want to learn more for sure.

God bless! Jen

Holly said...

Hi there!
I have just recently discovered your blog, and I am hooked on it! Your heart beats like mine, for the orphan, and especially for the African orphan, and I would love to come visit someday! You remind me of Amy Carmichael, and today's post really made me think about her. She gave up the "valuable service" of sharing Christ with many to cleaning up orphans' messes, and felt the same struggles as you. And yet, her service was just as noble, as I know you know yours is as well! Keep going! Many would give time to feed 1800, but not many would give their time to clean potty off the floor. You will be richly blessed! I am praying for you. : )

Your new friend,
Holly Gilliam

Anonymous said...

I'm a stay at home mom that enjoys your blog. I'm so thankful for your ministry in Africa. You have been an inspiration to me. You have motivated me to change my thinking about material possessions.

I can relate to your feelings of loneliness and all the "thinking" time staying at home allows. Like you I am far from my family...although not as far as you!

Motherhood is the toughest but most rewarding job there is. I know you agree. But it sure gets lonely and even boring sometimes. Hang in there! I have to believe that despite all the difficulties I will look back at this time in my life and be eternally grateful for the opportunity.

Intentional Living Homestead said...

Your post made me smile...I remember being in Liberia and visiting a home for deaf children...There was a litle boy who was incredibly sick and filled with scabies...he had such a high fever and just sat and snuggled on my lap...we was too weak to move or perhaps was just soaking up my arms and my love...he peed all over me..but I hadn't realized it for a few moments as it was so intensely hot that I thought I was just sweating...but I sure didn't care as I wanted him to just stay in my arms until I could put him in my suitcase and take him home.

You are truly as representation of what God is calling all of us to do...even the "messes".

I will be praying.


Jennie Allen said...

You have to know while you were sitting on the floor in Uganda you have been changing my life and the people around me. Many many people are following this Katie, and I am sure that some day in heaven besides the beautiful color of black Africans lined up to thank you- there will be hosts from all nations lined up telling how they were adopted or fed, or ministered to because of your faith and God's works through those who read your blog and changed.
My friends/church and I -We are all reading and praying God show us where to lay down our comforts for the gospel. And you inspired that and you are doing that for so many- press on for the days are few and we will celebrate all of this soon face to face forever!

Blessed Mom of Four AND More said...

Katie, you are truly an inspiration. Having potty trained three children, and in the process of learning how to helpa child with spina bifida learn to control bowel/bladder functions, I know how we can feel "lost" in the mundane.
Enjoy the pj season of your life. I hope to stay in mine tomorrow. ;)

Over Caffeinated Mama said...


This is the first post I have ever read from you where you sound like a "regular" mom... not that you don't sound like a mom all the time, but today, for the first time, you have the same burden and worry and load that me and all the girls on my street have. You are trying to feel useful in something that seems a bit mundane and it's sooooo hard. I struggle with this every day. Many is the day that I have wished I was helping you bathe, clothe, feed orphans instead of doing homework or coloring with the ones GOD GAVE ME! Sweet friend, what I am failing so miserably at saying is that this particular prayer, I can pray for you with empathy and totality of heart because I live this one every day. I have to remind myself I am "potty training for the Lord." :)

And on another note, I met your sweet precious mama tonight. This was the first time I had met her. I went into Gwen's party and this cheerful woman walked up and said, "Hi, I'm Mary Pat Davis." And I just said, "Hi!" Then about 15 seconds later I turned around very emphatically and said, "Oh, You're KATIE'S MOM!!!!" I hugged her and then talked about how fabulous you are, of course, and how I have been telling you for over a year that I want to take her to lunch and find out exactly how she instilled this precious heart in you. So now I am going to have to have her and Adrienne Hayes over to my house and just bathe them in tranquility so they will spill all their motherly secrets... because after all, I want to be called a ray of God's light or something like that too! :) hehehehehe More accurately, I want my children to be known as God's rock-star. If they are going to be a cult icon, I want it to be in the Jesus Freaks cult... just like Auntie Katie.

Sweet friend, I love you. I pray you much peace and purpose in these days of potty training. Hang in there, it can be so trying. I hate potty training, truly. But it's a necessary evil of motherhood.

Much love!



Hey Katie!! I saw that you wrote a comment on my blog and I just never saw it was there!! Its amazing your in your 20's and already serving in Uganda!! I have 3 years left till im 18 and can move there. I love Uganda to death. Im going back on May 27th I leave the states to fly there and help lead a team with my Dad..This will be my 3rd time there in less then a year..I would love to hear about all you do and get to know you and hopefully meet you in Uganda some day soon so my e-mail is I'd love to hear from you!
Blessings and Prayers *Emma

Love said...

what a beautiful, and (in many ways) universal post.

i found your blog as i searched the internet late into the night about african adoption. we are just starting our journey and i am filled with joy to begin to find out who these children are that God has been growing in my heart for many years!

looking forward to exploring your "world" more....

Small Stones said...

Everyone has said so many comforting and uplifting things to you, Katie, but I wanted to add one thing. I have learned from being a single mother that the BEST thing you can give your children is YOUR TIME! Sometimes, especially as they grow older, it is SO HARD to find time to give your child(ren)(as pathetic as that sounds!!). Take advantage of this "excuse" to spend SO MUCH time with your two smallest, especially while the other kids are away to school. It may be SO difficult for you to do nothing all day but wait for them to have to go potty (OH HOW I KNOW THE FEELING!!) but you are changing their lives and hearts by spending this one-on-one (two??) time with them. They may not remember it later, but it is what they really need, and they will grow to be different people than they would if no one spent time like this with them. Even if you are not doing anything specific with them as you sit with them, their minds are comprehending that you are there FOR THEM, and are catering to them, and will supply their needs at the drop of a hat. They are learning they are loved and valuable.

Katie, remember, NO work is small in the sight of God.

Praying for you,

mom said...

mom said...I remember potty training you!! When I thought you were ready to go at night without a diaper I said "Katie, if you wake up in the middle of the night and have to go to the bathroom, call me". Sure enough, at 2:00 am I hear "mom I have to go". Oh, the fun of potty training...Brad was not as easy. I love you so much and am so proud of the awesome work you are doing and the love you are providing to so many!

Our Hearts for Uganda!! said...

Hello there Katie...My name is Stacie Shaw and am from Missouri...someone just informed me via facebook about your blog. I am serving in Entebbe, Uganda for six months and was super excited to read your blog. I know you must be super busy chasin after babies all the time, but if you don't mind, I would absolutely love to get together at some point...I though I read in your blog that you are somewhere near Entebbe?? Maybe I didn't read that and it is just wishful thinking. I really would like to meet you if it is possible!! :-)

Sarah said...

God is so good to teach us all of what He wants us to learn. Truly, this is just a season. But it is HIS season for you right now. I am so grateful that you are seeking Him and finding your joy in Him during this time of learning.

Praying for you.


Unknown said...

Thank you so much for this blog about the potty training, I have cried so much reading it, and God has really used it to help me refocus on what He wants me to be doing. I went with my family to Zambia where my parents and bothers work with a couple of orphanages and run a boarding school to help provide a home life and education for the children. I helped support the ministry in various ways, and spent all the rest of my time cooking for the boarding school, and I loved it! As is God's way often, after finally learning to be at peace being single all my life, - I met my husband, and I had to struggle with the idea of leaving all that I loved and worked for there, to get married. God made it very clear to me, through the overwhelming love He gave us, (and almost dying of malaria 3 times before I got the message) that He was calling me to get married and leave Africa. I've been pregnant every year since, and with two little ones and one on the way, I'm in the middle of potty training, and sometimes I just feel like I'm wasting my time and am so useless as a mother, I want to be back feeding orphans, cause I felt more like I was helping and accomplishing more in Africa. The enemy is very clever, he would have us do just about anything but what God calls us to be doing. But I know without a doubt that God wants me to be raising an army of my own children, teaching them, training them to love and serve wherever the Lord calls them. Whether it be to homes and families of their own, or to the mission field, or both, I have a mission, and I am accomplishing God's will for my life, even if that's just cleaning up accidents off the floor at this particular time. We must be faithful in the "small" things. Thank you again!

Joyful Le said...

This blog and all the comments from the mommies were exactly what I needed to hear today! God is so good :)
From one mommy to another - God is using us EXACTLY where we are today!
Even thinking about this comment on a blog that is years old - that still ministered to my heart this early morning! He knows where He has us, and I know that He knows EXACTLY what He is doing! There is so much peace when I can trust that - and then so much joy to follow when I can rest in that, and then follow His will in being faithful in the little things (like another commenter said). Thank You LORD for Katie and putting Your Words in her mouth for me this morning!
We love you Katie!

Lasso the Moon said...

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I am sitting here, a mother of three who stays home while my husband, a pastor, is sent all over the world on the "front lines" for Jesus. And sometimes I feel so so useless. I am shocked that you ever have felt the same, and it is a huge encouragement to me that you would share your heart on the matter. I just heard you speak at Catalyst Dallas, and have been utterly caught up in your story. Thanks for your obedience. Anna