Thursday, March 12, 2009

sometimes, life is a bit confusing.

I have been trying to Italicsee God's lessons in everything, big and small. The following are several unrelated stories and thoughts from the past couple days.. And I am trying to make sense of the lessons...
It has been particularly hot here recently. It is supposed to be rainy season, but the rain won't come. This makes for extra sticky sweaty days. On one of these days when I was feeling especially nasty (think sweating profusely in the middle of all the swirling red dust...) and grace had spit up me twice, I pulled into the gas station. The attendant looked at me and exclaimed, "Wow! You are so beautiful; your skin is glowing!" "Ha, It's sweat," was my unconvinced reply. "You have some really beautiful sweat," she said, as we pulled away. When you live in Africa, or maybe when you are the mom of fourteen children, moments when you actually feel beautiful can be hard to come by. I feel on many days that I am radiating God's love, but there are few days that I actually think that I look radiant. Not that God cares what I look like, but as a human and as a woman, sometimes I do wish to look nice.
Lesson: God cares about my feelings, even the petty ones like caring to look pretty, so He has someone tell me that my sweat is beautiful. Really, God has created and clothed the lilies of the fields, how much more will He take care of me!? Through this dear sweet woman at the gas station God reminded be how beautiful I am, we all are, to Him, after all, we were created in HIS OWN IMAGE. And He looks at me, at you, in all our sweat and dirt and brokenness and says, I CHOOSE YOU. You are BEAUTIFUL.
***
Yesterday, my sweet daughter Margaret, the most gentle and humble of all 14 of my children, beat up our neighbor, who happens to be one of her best friends. I was making lunch when Oliver, the little girl, and her mother came into the gate. The woman started shouting, "You daughter punched my daughter!" and then she left, leaving Oliver in our yard. I called Margaret, Agnes, and Hellen (all were accused of being involved) out into the yard. As we all talked with Oliver, the whole story came out. Oliver had been making fun of Agnes and Hellen for having a white mom. Her exact words were actually, "Your mom is white so you eat fish. You are going to get fat!" (At this point I walked away from our circle, pretending to be seriously upset, but actually resisting the urge to laugh.) After I composed myself I came back and explained to Oliver that since these girls were her friends, and their "white mom" happens to be in charge of the sponsorship program that pays her school fees, she needs to be careful to choose kind words. I explained to my children (though it seems Margaret was the only one involved in the actual hitting) that no matter what people say to them, as long as they are not being physically hurt, they must not hit their friends. We had a group hug and invited Oliver in for lunch, ironically, we were actually having fish. After Oliver left, our whole family had a talk about how we are all going to have to endure some teasing because of our family. Children often say mean things to my kids because they have a white mother. I explained to them that in America and here people often say ignorant and rude things to me because I have many children from many different tribes and cultures. We talked about how we have a choice. We live together as a family and sometimes hear rude remarks that we can choose to ignore, or we don't live together as a family and then we won't have to hear the mean words. It is no choice, we choose our family, our family from many different tribes and cultures and countries and colors. Sometimes its tough, but we wouldn't trade it.
Lesson: Jesus knows that we are a family. A REAL family, and He doesn't see our color. Beside, in Heaven I am going to be black, I have already asked God for it.
Another lesson: Parenting is sometimes tough. Parenting is almost always hilarious.
***
I went to visit Sumini's parents a few days ago and found her mother crying. When I asked what was wrong, she told me a horrific story of her neighbor who had killed his step-son, cut off his head, and sold it to the witch doctor for a little more than one hundred dollars. We cried together. Mama Sarah, who a few months ago was not a Christian, pulled out her Bible and told me how thankful she was that God had moved her children so that they did not have to witness this.
Lesson: Satan is not a fan of Christ winning this beautiful nation. Christ will win anyway.
***
I saw jjajja Nakibuuka today. She is the village leper. Her fingers and toes are missing. Everyone in the village thinks she is crazy because she burnt her own house down in order to live in the bush. She has no possessions, but lives completely on the land, by faith. Every time she sees me, she has one thing to say: "God is good and He is coming back." She says it over and over. "God is good and He is coming back." She believes it, and she lives it. She has nothing on this earth, she is fully prepared for Jesus to come and take her home. And they call her crazy. If this woman is crazy, I think that we could all use to be a little crazier. I ask God often as I pray for jjajja Nakibuuka, why He doesn't heal her wounds. I know that He can. Today it hit me. My faulty, shaky faith has to sometimes see it. I need to see the lame walk. Jjajja Nakibuuka doesn't need a miracle, because she already knows. God loves me enough and desires my heart enough to help me see; Jjajja Nakibuuka already sees. Her body may be broken but her heart is full. Jesus says "Now you believe because you have seen signs and miracles. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe."
Lesson: Open your eyes. God is good and He is coming back.
***
I have really missed Ben lately. It is undoubtedly Celine Dion's fault. Thanks to wonderful donors like you, Amazima Ministries has recently purchased a van. Our van is such a blessing. It enables us to give out over 1,800 pounds of food to over 1,500 children. This is a very good teaching tool when learning the story of the Loaves and Fishes. It also enables us to all go to church together as a family which is truly wonderful. My point: Celine Dion is extremely popular in Africa. In town, she can always be heard coming from one market stand's radio or another. In the car, Celine is always on every radio station, often we come upon a Celine Dion marathon where she sings all of the songs she has ever written. Don't get me wrong, I love some good Celine. I love to crank it up loud and sing it all the way to town with Grace and Jane dancing in the back. I guess when I was eight though, I did not realize that Celine Dion is ALWAYS singing about someone she is so desperately in love with. Such longing, such agony as she is away from her lover. It does usually make me miss having a boyfriend to cuddle. But once again, even in these little things I am trying to see the lesson. I think that the way Celine Dion feels about her lover is the way God must feel about the church, that in some ways seems to have strayed so far from Him. I think he allows me to really miss Ben to get a tiny glimpse of what His heart must feel as the church strays farther into Religion and away from the heart of God, that is the impoverished, unwanted of the world.
Lesson: Everything can teach you something. God so deeply, passionately, desperately loves us. He so intensely longs for His lover, the Church, to come back to His teachings of giving everything they have to serve the poor, of living in community (see Acts 3). He wants to woo us, each one of us, as we are the Body that makes up the Church. I am still trying to get there, and it makes me feel special to know that He sings over me even more passionately than Celine Dion. That is pretty wonderful.
We are still learning. Thank you for your prayers.

28 comments:

Kristin Laughlin said...

Katie -

I have yet to write on your blog, but read it all the time. I just want to thank you for sharing your stories, as your life is causing me to evaluate mine and the way I live, pray, respond - in a way like I never have. I love the intimacy you have with Jesus, the faith you have in his unfailing love, the joy you have in serving him with your life, the hope you have for the church to start living like the church is meant to! As I have heard it said in Africa - Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen!!!

Lately, I can't help but share your blog with people every single day. It is moving us back here in America where the church has been asleep. Thank you dear one. You ARE beautiful in every way, and as I was sharing your story at a birthday party last night (after a friend pulled me over and said... Kristin tell her about that amazing young girl in Africa - I had even used those words to describe you and your heart. So excited that friends are on their way to see you! We can't wait to see and hear of that blessing here on your blog! Praying for you and your beautiful family!

~ Lisa @ AbidingThere~ said...

Thanks for taking the time to post, Katie. I so enjoyed reading it. You are always in my prayers. xo

sarah bess said...

loved it. love your love for Jesus. bless you and your cultural mix of a family today.

Anonymous said...

so thrilled to hear about you van. So happy to hear from you on this blog, thanks for your teachings, you are one amazing girl, what a journey!

Oatsvall Team said...

I tried not to laugh about Margaret getting in fight, but I did chuckle and called Suzanne ... Sister, you are FABULOUSLY, BEAUTIFUL MOTHER ...

You speak so many words that my hearts yearns for ... I am so heart broken for Mama Sarah and all that she has to witness, but the fact that she has a bible and is reading it just makes my heart sing ... I pray God will heal the many wounds she has ...

My sadness and joy begin today as the group boards the plane w/out me ... I am so excited for them to come to give you and all your children hugs plus they are bringing lots of goodies, but my heart is so broken that I can not be there ....

Soon sister ... As God's will provides I wil be there soon !!!

Amy said...

K-D!
"the pictures are amazing, and that girls prespective is absolutely refreshing and wonderful (most of the time it makes me feel like a dick, but whatever, i probably need that). "
That is a direct facebook quote from my friend Mike. He used a quote from your blog last week in his sermon at church and I was Oh So Proud of you!
You're wonderful and our Lord is awesome!

Love!!!

Shonni said...

I am the mother of 10 (3 from Liberia) and I LOVE reading what you are learning as you serve Him in Africa. I thought my dream was to be a missionary in Africa...funny He showed me I am to be a missionary here in America...
I am so encouraged also as I read about the work you are doing and how you make choices to love and serve...
gotta run to get my "nations" ready for school.
Thank you! and praying fo you today.

Lauren said...

you.are.beautiful.


and so is this family. Family of choice is waaay better than family of origin!

amyb777 said...

Whoa. Thank you for sharing this. Amen and amen! You just reminded me to quit looking at circumstances and start looking at what God is trying to do or teach me thru circumstances. You and all your beautiful children are in my prayers Katie.

Amy

Sarah said...

Wow. I just found your blog (through Robbie at "And Now There Are Five").

Powerful, moving post. Prayers.

Anonymous said...

~~~Katie~~~

Thank you so much for sharing with us!! I am a nurse, wife and mom here in KC,Mo. I too share your blog with anyone I talk to!! I read it out loud to my daughters. Your heart for your children is so beautiful!! We are praying for you daily...
Peace & Blessings, Sarah

FollowJC said...

In the book The Practice of the Presence of God, by Brother Lawrence, he states: "many things are possible for the person who has hope. Even more is possible for the person who has faith. Still more is possible for the person who knows how to love. But EVERYTHING is possible for the person who practices all three virtues.

You obviously have these virtues and rely on God to lift up and provide. Thank you for you for sharing your stories of God's love.

rhouston@joycemeyer.org
robbie.houston@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Hi There, I've read your blog for some time, I love it! Not knowing much about the program or you personally, I was just wondering, you refer to yourself as these children's mother. Are you there long term, and are staying there forever to raise them...........or is it more of a fostering system. I love the stories. I have plenty of my own..............I'm coming back to Uganda this summer! Yipee. Keep up the good work. If you can't answer this question, maybe someone else out there can.

Chantelle said...

Recently found your blog and it INSTANTLY became a favorite. BLESS YOU for sharing with us, encouraging us, and INSPIRING us to be and do more for Christ. (I am an adoptive mom to a few beautiful Africans as well, plus a few gorgeous Indians, and more in the works). You are beautiful inside and out and a blessing to us all. (PS I will now be adding Jjajja Nakibuuka to my prayers. I'd love to hear more about her.)
KEEP ON SHARING!!! (((hug)))

Lindsey DeYoung Photography said...

Rock on with your beautiful self!!!

Every time you post, you amaze me.

Janell said...

Once again I'm in awe. I love your stories and how God is revealing himself to you more everyday and the fact you share it with all of us! Thanks and God Bless.

redeemedintohope said...

this was yet again amazing sister. i've had visions in my mind all day of the clan there with you and i am SO SAD that gwen and I arent there. the celine cracked me up. I lift you up to him today, knowing that He provides in the midst of emptiness and longing for those people in our lives. i love you sister and walk the journey with you.

Anonymous said...

Hi read your blog all the time and i prayed so hard that you would get a van!! Hooray that you did-- God is good and he is coming back!! Elizabeth

Amy Jo said...

Sending you blessings, Sweet Girl! I'm so thankful God made you! :-)

mom said...

mom said...I am so excited that your friends will be arriving soon to spoil you and bring you gifts. You are so awesome and amazing and I am so proud of the work you continue to do. "He shall give his Angels charge over you (my angel) to keep you in all your ways." Psalm 91:11 I love you

Diane said...

Wow! No other word can sum up all I've read, and, I reread this post twice:)

I stand firm with you in Spirit and say "Christ will win anyway"!!!

Hugs to you, Katie, and all the precious children...

drea said...

Kaite, Thanks for reminding us that the Lord desires to teach us in every thing.

We are praying for you.

Sharlyn Guthrie said...

Another wonderful post! Your insight is inspiring. I love the story of Margaret and Oliver, and the human feelings you've shared along with spiritual applications. Thanks for writing!

Melissa Irwin said...

I missed your blog so much while I was away for 8 days on a short-term mission trip. It was the ONLY thing I missed about not having internet. I had an opportunity to share your blog and quoted you a couple of times while I was serving with others. The faith that you share has made a huge impact on me. I'm SO excited that Grace is walking and feeding herself. I'm blown away and rejoicing!

sarah in the woods said...

I just found your blog, and it is wonderful. Thank you for sharing. I look forward to reading more in the future. God bless you and all your beautiful children.

Blessed Mom of Four, Now Five said...

Your heart, your love for Jesus, your transparency, all tools in the Master's hand.
Blessings,
Robbie
mom to only 5 and equally crazy somedays. ;)

Christy said...

Katie,

Your story has melted my heart and the hearts of all I tell about you and what you are doing for the Lord. I'm so glad that Becca told me about your story when I was visiting at UT Knoxville a couple of weeks ago. You'll be hearing more from us and our ladies bible study!
God Bless you and He has!

jen said...

Can't remember if I've commented here before or not, but I'm reading archives today.

Found out something the same about the US and Uganda - my children also get funny looks, because they have a white mother!

:)