Monday, January 16, 2012

I really am going to start publicly sharing His 2011 miracles soon (you know, one day, when there is a calm season... ;) ) In the mean time, I am blessed to be guest posting here today..


One of my very favorite things about gazing out at my backyard is our sunflowers. Seeds brought from dry Karamoja and planted in the fertileJinja soil grow at least ten feet tall and radiant, heads lifted to the sun.

Much to my dismay though the time we get to enjoy the flowers’ bloom always seems brief in comparison to the time we have been waiting – days of pulling seeds from the dead heads and drying them in the sun before carefully pushing the back into the soft red dirt. Weeks of waiting and finally some tiny green shoots. Weeks of watching as the shoots become thick stalks and climb into the sky. Weeks of wonder as small buds open into something glorious and beautiful.

And then so soon, they bend their heads and begin to die. And something in me is so sad as I watch the flowers seemingly loose their splendor. But my children are nothing but excited. They rush to the backyard and I cringe as they hack the stalks down and pull off the flowers that are now bigger then their faces. I look at the bare garden and feel loss, but they feel only eager anticipation. Because they remember: next time, there will be more.

Always, the shoots spring up and reach for the sky. Always they bloom beautiful and then always they bow, bending low to the earth and waiting for my children to run wide-eyed in wonder to the harvest. And always, we plant the seeds and next time there is a bigger harvest, more flowers. Many more. They remember: beauty from ashes.

I see beauty in the outcome and sadness in the death, but they know beauty in the process.

This is what my loving Father was teaching me every day of the last year, this beauty in the process. That while a healed and whole family is a marvelous thing to behold, the process that got us there is where He was most glorified and where He drew us to Himself. That a wound al healed and covered with smooth new skin is not nearly as wonderful as the relationship that was built while I bandaged that wound everyday for 8 months and cried tears and laughed stories of my Savior. That dreams die and plans change and seasons end, but He is not dome yet. He sees the seeds that come with al the endings and He is faithful to turn them into harvest, into beauty.

Sometimes we look out at our lives and it seems the garden is empty – plans dead as withered leaves, dreams laid waste. Could we rejoice in the season of waiting, believing that God who brought Jesus out of the black tomb and brings green shoots out of hard earth will bring new life out of all dark seasons too? Could we know that beauty is in this whole process, the waiting part too, not just the end result?

This year, I have beheld exquisite flowers, glorious outcomes that could have only been designed by God himself. I have watched Him make family out of strangers. I have watched Him sell a book that I never intended to write. I have watched my little girl walk with her foot flat on the ground for the first time in all five years of her life. I have watched alcoholics become moms who work hard to provide for their families. I have watched my 16 year old walk through processing the abuse in her past and learn to jump rope and have her childhood finally restored to her after nearly 4 years of living in a family. I have watched God answer prayers that I hadn’t even spoken yet.

As I gaze in wonder, I remember how He brought us out of the dark and the hard. I remember how He protected us from the pounding rain and the scorching sun, baby green shoots clinging to Him for dear life. I remember that as we reached high to the Son, He came down and pulled us closer. We turn out heads up in awe and we know what is around the corner, but we look expectantly to the bowing and the bending and the death of all we had planned because we know – in Him, there will always be more. Glorious hope.

53 comments:

Candice said...

Thank you for this beautiful reminder of staying faithful in the process, even if we don't see the harvest till Heaven!

Candice

Anonymous said...

Beautiful! Thank you for sharing. You are such an inspiration!

Linda said...

How you encourage my heart Katie. Praying for you - for the seasons of waiting and the seasons of reaping the bountiful harvest.

Kendra Lynne said...

beautiful post, Katie. I like how you used the sunflowers to demonstrate what you were saying.

The Parker Family said...

I just finished reading your amazing book. It is an encouragement to me how God has woven His Story so intricately into your story! There were lots of tears as well as lots of smiles as I read your book. You will be on my prayer list that God will continue to bless on this journey! May you not grow weary in well doing but be renewed each day by His love and power!
I truly had a light bulb moment in your book. I have three children--two boys (7 and 4) and just had a baby girl in October. When you talked about the dreams and aspirations your parents had for you and when those did not line up with God's plan. It really opened my eyes and my heart. Who knows what God has planned for my children and I need to always support them and not always measure their "success" by worldly standards. My family lives about a mile and a half from Ravenwood, so your story was truly close to home for me. I have talked with my boys about you and what you are doing for the children in Uganda and showed them the pictures from your book. While we were watching TV today, there was a commercial for Fruit Rollups and that were donating a portion of their proceeds to help children in Africa. My 4 year old said, "mommy, this is about your book and that girl in Africa helping kids." Your book and work have opened up another dialogue and way for me to talk to them about being like Jesus. I will pray for you and your daughters as you continue to be the hands and feet of Jesus!
Rebekah Parker

Alene said...

Love it! I can't wait to read the list of your miracles. I serve at a church on the inner city and I love seeing miracles abide there daily. God is so good. Blessings.

Jenn Nahrstadt said...

love these thoughts! when you commented that you've seen God answer prayers before you even prayed them, i thought of isaiah 65:34 where He promises to do exactly that!

have a friend's daughter who is in Uganda right now doing a practicum in social work and i am thankful for all the experiences she is having. unbeknownst to you, she and the others in the group are reading your book and being inspired and challenged. i loved being able to tell her about you and hear her reply that she had already heard!

can't wait for you to begin being able to regularly brush your teeth! ;_) happy monday!

BarbE said...

TY Fantastic post,mpicture at the end Priceless!

"Are These Kids All Yours?" said...

Praising God for the GREAT THINGS HE HAS DONE in your life and the lives of those you touch. Mine included!

emily said...

So thankful and blessed to see your heart. We have such a good Father. Even when its hard to see past the every day grime and work, He's still got a plan. He has a purpose! And its so sweet to be able to rest and KNOW. He is God. And even to give thanks for it all. Then joy comes.When giving thanks for the bitterest things. And the harvest is sweet. I am praying for you sister! I have been so blessed to see His work in Uganda, through you, just a willing vessel. Hope to see it all (for real) one day =) Love you!

Cindy said...

I am wordless for a way to describe how God has gifted you. You can put into words things I can just feel. Thank you Heavenly Father, for giving Katie the talents she is using to fulfill Your work here on earth.

I am 3/4 finished with your book, and can't put it down except to rest my weary eyes. Someday we will meet. We have lots to talk about!

Cindy Orsillo
North Carolina

Elizabeth said...

Beautiful, Katie--wonderful new year post :)

Karen Deborah said...

beautifully written poignant and true. The Lord has said that the kingdom of heaven is made up of children. THEY understand and believe so easily. Those answers to prayers that you haven't yet spoken speaks to me! Jesus the author and finisher of our faith is always intercedeing He knows our needs before we ask! Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.

thank you for this devotion today.

Karen Twombly said...

Thank for the book you never thought you'd write. We're reading it now, together as a family.
I am praying for you,
Karen Twombly

Sarah.Aeschliman said...

beautiful. something i need to be reminded by daily.

Ania said...

Such a beautiful reflection Katie, your writing is so inspiring. I'll be sharing this post. As someone who is currently struggling with infertility, you post is a beautiful reminder. As always, thank you!

Butterfly Kisses said...

That was a post I really needed to hear for my own life and some darkness that has plagued me over the years. Thx for a beautiful perspective to refresh and give hope!

wanderingtree said...

Thank you, Katie. As always. Thanks.

thegypsymama said...

Lovely Katie - we are honored, humbled and tremendously (in)courage to be able to share a part of your story today.

Blessings on you and your beautiful daughters,
Lisa-Jo
(in)courage community manager and mama to her first daughter.

knittedintheheart said...

Beautiful. Thank you for sharing. Thrilled to be partnering with you in your ministry to these precious ones.

Maureen said...

Thank you, Katie! Enjoy the beautiful flowers!
Maureen

M B Tice said...

Hi Kaitie! I.just finished your book....just.now :) There is so much I want to say and yet nothing left to say. To say you are an inspiration is the understatement of the century. I know you give God all the glory, as you should. But one thing sets you apart from most of the rest of us who call ourselves Christians....you are actually willing to obey, willing to follow, willing.to.answer His call. As soon as I started reading your book I started telling everyone I.knew to read it as well...and most of them are :). The power of conviction over your book is indescribable. I will forever be changed and I am ready and willing for whatever God has in store for me. Whether adoption, missionary work, or simple telling EVERYONE I know to read your book and let God do the rest! Thank you for sharing your life, thank you for following our precious Saviour and thank you for making a difference!! I am praying for you and your precious girls!! All 14 of them!!

Jenn Grimm said...

I started your book tonight and didn't even get to the first chapter without crying. It's amazing how God prepares us for the lives we will live even if they are not the lives we would have chosen. I never dreamed I would be where I am today, same as you. praying for you and yours in Billings, Montana

Teri Williams said...

Katie, It is a blessing to read your posts as you LIVE out what being a follower of Jesus looks like half a world away. I will raise my Asian daughters to know women like you, who live a different life than what is "normal" here in the US. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for bringing the focus to the eternal.

MYstory of HIStory said...

Beautiful, beauty-full post :)

Anonymous said...

God bless you and your family!

Brooke said...

Dear Katie,
I am more than half-way finished with your book. Thank you for setting an example for believers in life, love, faith, service, and unity. You and your family are prayed for and supported.
God Bless,
Brooke

The Big Apple said...

What an amazing and wonderful young woman you are. Your obedience will be richly rewarded. You are in my families prayers. We are the Foster/Adopt parents of 6. As soon as I can we plan to sponsor a child. God Bless you Katie.

Ebullire said...

Thank you so much for sharing that. It is a perfect reminder for this season in my life when it seems that the flowers have wilted and all I'm left with are dry stalks and withered leaves. There are seeds in the wilting and waiting, and a glorious harvest will come... for my God will supply all your/my/our need through his glorious riches in Christ Jesus!

It's good to re-focus sometimes. :)

Enjoy Country Living said...

Sunflowers are beautiful aren't they.

The way you word things is fascinating. You make everything seem so wonderful, even in times when most would think them not.

You open our eyes to the God of the Heavens. Praying for you this year. We love you Katie!!

Babirye said...

Hey girl,

This was so beautiful, I love reading your writings! You are a gifted storyteller and have such a nack of putting the beauty, pain, and redemption you experience into words!

I just want you to know that I work in Kampala with street kids and although I have never met you I have heard so much about you and the powerful love and ministry that you have. Both in Uganda and in the states! You have inspired and encouraged many Baazungu and Baaganda alike! I just want you to know that you are a beautiful person and that I admire you. If you are ever in Kampala (I am with family the month of Feb in the states) and want to come over to my place and watch a movie, have a shoulder to cry on, eat muffins ( I’d love to make you some) or meet some street kids I’d love to have you. I can send you my phone number (and if not so okay, girl I understand what its like to be needed and crazy busy I have about 20 kids of my own too!)

Take heart, because God is using you to move mountains, as joyful and painful as it can be at times

Love and blessings,

Abby (Babirye) Kakeeto

Babirye said...

Oh yeah I forgot to mention, my email is aperfectinjustice@gmail.com and my phone is 7743.08673 ( and you dont need to publish that lol) if you ever want to catch up

Abby (Babirye) Kakeeto

charity said...

God brings me here when my life is too busy or chaotic to HEAR Him...and I hear Him through you. Whispers of hope, reminders to learn to find the beauty of the journey, truths that bring peace to my soul and courage to my weariness. I smile at His goodness knowing He brings you those strenths in your trials as well...standing in the sun and bowing low.

charity said...

God brings me here when my life is too busy or chaotic to HEAR Him...and I hear Him through you. Whispers of hope, reminders to learn to find the beauty of the journey, truths that bring peace to my soul and courage to my weariness. I smile at His goodness knowing He brings you those strenths in your trials as well...standing in the sun and bowing low.

Anonymous said...

Your love and dedication to Jesus takes my breath away. God has for sure another Mother Teresa. Thank you for giving to the Lord.

carol hageman said...

I just finished your book and I love your ministry! I love you too for how you have given your all for Uganda, and for Jesus. I felt like I walked with you thru all the adventures you had. I loved your diary type letters. I am praying for your parents as they have sacrificed too. I hope to be able to support your ministry. Love, Carol

Krohn Family said...

Katie! I have to tell you that your book and your blog inspire me daily! To love more - to give more - to be more - for the Kingdom. God has begun us on the journey of adoption and we are currently waiting for our daughter/children from Ethiopia! We have said several times that it is ALL about the process - the journey! God has taught us - blessed us - used us - molded us - opened our eyes so much on this journey to grow our family. We are stronger than before, more heartbroken than before, more inspired than before. We now know that God is NOT done with us yet and that His plan and His glory is ALWAYS enough! Thank you for allowing God to use you and your family and for inspiring us to follow God's destiny for our lives! With God's Love and Blessings from IDAHO, USA - Tausha Krohn

Anonymous said...

So, so beautiful. This post was written for me, as my husband and I near the end of a very long year full of the ups and downs of trying to adopt our 2 daughters. I often want to hit the fast-forward button because I cannot see the beauty in this process full of aching and longing and sadness and uncertainty. You are right, though, that He is a Master of making beauty from ashes. We have so much to hope for. "The Lord is good to those that wait hopefully and expectantly on Him." -Lamentations 3:25. What a beautiful, timely post. God bless you.

japanmamma said...

Beautiful. We just finished your book, and the kids are all touched. Praying for you, dear sister!
Pragnells in Japan

Anonymous said...

Katie & family, we pray for you & the work being done in Uganda every night. Thank you for taking the time to blog & post photos, it is wonderful to be encouraged and challenged by God through you. Every time we sing the song "I Will Follow You" in church I am praising God for His promises to make us useful to the world. May God bless you, Ephesians 3:16-21

Brittany said...

Wonderful, lovely. There really aren't words to describe what I feel whenever I read something by you. I laugh, I cry. Your words always resonate with me and draw me out of myself and more toward Him. Thanks for that. Oh, and my two-year old prays for you every morning. Much love in Jesus, Brittany

Nicole said...

Katie-I just discovered you and your story through your talk with David Platt last fall and I am now thinking and praying about you and your family there almost constantly. I love this post about the sunflowers and how He brings life out of death. Trusting that for all of us-we can find life through His death.

Julee said...

I LOVE your story. I'm going to pray for you today. God bless you as you continue to serve. Can't wait to read about the miracles. Don't worry about brushing your teeth before blogging ;-)

Flgirl31 said...

I want to love orphans day in and day out. How did you get started?

Laine said...

I bet those sunflowers are an amazing sight!!!! What a beautiful analogy...a picture of redemption..

Remember you are covered and smothered in prayers!!!!!!!!!!!

Sabrina said...

I love the painted toe nails :)

Cindy said...

It amazes me that from so far away that God could use your life to speak to me today, right where I am! I so needed this today. I'm sure I will never view sunflowers the same again.

Joan said...

I am surprised there were no comments here yet.

Perhaps that was saved for me. Through the kindness of a friend, I know the increase of sunflowers in my garden. What started out as about six small plants a few years ago have grown into such abundance to share...from providing delight to those who pass by, bouquets lush for sharing, to plants and seeds that hopefully will provide new pockets of joy in many areas next year.


Anything grown outside where God is actually the one taking care of it thrives here.

I can plant and water when the ground is dry but anything that thrives here is truly the creation of another.

Katie, may you and your family continue to increase and overflow in all that he does through you. May he continue to write the story of his love wherever you go.

God graced me with the gift of Uganda.

Katie's blog was one of the great treasures I found as I researched before our team headed to Uganda. I would have loved to have actually met all of you but our team's work was in the many villages surrounding Masaka.

What a joy it was to meet the people in Masaka and the surrounding area.

Unlike Katie, God left a big part of my heart there and then returned me to the hearts waiting for me here.

Like Katie, he has gifted me with people to tuck into my heart - one person at a time.

In loving, I have found love.

In frustration and pain I have found gratitude.

In searching, I have found the joy of his hand and the abundance of his plans in this sharing of your journey...as well as encouragement and wonder as he continues to write your story.

Megan Keith said...

What beautiful words. Thank yo :) I feel inspired and uplifted!

Janna said...

Katie, this is a beautiful reminder! Thank you for being willing to share with such poignant detail how our loving Father works so powerfully and perfectly.

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Bear Creek Mama said...

Oh, Katie, I think this is perhaps one of the most beautiful things you've ever written. Love to follow the stories of how God is using you, but this one, well, it says SO MUCH and speaks SO WELL of all of His glory power. Thanks for sharing.

Chris said...

Wonderful, true words.