One of the goals I set for carrying out my mission statement was to read 25 books a year! I feel like this is a reasonable number, but it will require me to be a bit more intentional with my current method of reading! As of yesterday I had about three books started, and two more that I was itching to crack open! I have this problem of making it through about 1/2 to 2/3 of a book, and then I get interested in another book! Instead of waiting until I am finished with the one, I usually go ahead and pick up the next one! I always know a book is really good if I finish it so quickly I never have time to pick up another one! Unfortunately, this is not the best approach! Last night I decided to stop this crazy cycle, and I finished one of the books I have been working on!
Kisses from Katie was an absolutely wonderful book! Much like reading Katie's blog, tears formed nearly every time I read about her life in Uganda. Katie was a normal eighteen year old living in Tennessee when she decided to follow God's call on her life and take a short term mission trip over Christmas break. Her parents hoped this mission trip would satisfy her desire for mission opportunities, but it was only the beginning. The next year, she decided to forgo college. With the reluctant approval of her parents, she sat out on a year long mission trip to Uganda. Originally she planned to return home after a year to continue her education, but she absolutely fell in love with Uganda and the work God gave her to do there. Currently, she is in the process of adopting 13 girls who all live with her and call her, "mommy". In addition, this now 22 year-old girl has started a wonderful ministry that feeds and sends hundreds of Ugandan children to school while teaching them about the love of Christ!
Katie's love for people, and her willingness to give up everything to serve the Lord is inspiring! She is so young, and yet she has discovered that the abundant life is not always easy, but totally worth every sacrifice!
I don't want to spoil the book for you, so I will refrain from telling you anymore, however, I do want to share a few quotes with you:
"As I look back, I can see that God spent my whole life preparing me for the life He had planned for me - the people He placed in just the right places at just the right times, and circumstances I could never fathom would eventually be for His glory."
"I was convinced in my heart that my desire was right. I was ready to go; it was up to God to convince my parents."
"The children would run to me with gifts of stones, or dirt and I saw myself, filthy and broken, offering my life to the God of the universe and begging Him to make it into something beautiful. I sit here in a broken world, small and dirty at His feet, and He who sits so high chooses to commune with me, to love me anyway. He blinds Himself to my sin and my filth so that He can forge a relationship with me."
"I have one purpose, in Uganda and in life, and that is to love. I could ask for no greater assignment."
"In the beginning, I would have described it as God turning my world upside down, but now I know that He was actually turning it right side up!"
" I loved my new life. It was wonderful in so many ways, but I would be lying if I said I didn't miss the comforts and the people of my old one desperately. My human flesh still sometimes wanted to go to the mall and spend a ridiculous amount of money on a cute pair of shoes. Sometimes I wanted to sit on my mom's kitchen counter chatting with friends and eating brownies. Sometimes I just wanted to turn off my brain and watch mindless television. I wanted to go on dates with my boyfriend. Sometimes I wanted to hop into my convertible, go to the grocery store, and pick out any kind of food that my heart desired. Most days, I wished I could wake up under my down comforter with my loving family, not all by myself. Sometimes I just wished I could hang out with my little brother and his buddies, eating junk food and laughing late into the night. Sometimes I wanted to spend hours upon hours talking with my best friends about boy and fashion and school and life. I wanted to go to the gym; I wanted my hair to look nice; I wanted to be allowed to wear jeans. I wanted to be a normal teenager living in America, sometimes.
But I wanted other things more. All the time. I wanted to be spiritually and emotionally filled every day of my life. I wanted to be loved and cuddled by a hundred children and never go a day without laughing. I wanted to wake up to a rooster's crow and open my eyes to see lush green trees that seemed to pulse with life against a piercing blue sky and the rusty red soil of Uganda. I wanted to be challenged endlessly; I wanted to be learning and growing every minute. I wanted to be taught by those I teach, and I wanted to share God's love with people who otherwise might not know it. I wanted to work so hard that I ended every day filthy and too tired to move. I wanted to feel needed, important, and used by the Lord. I wanted to make some kind of difference, no matter how small, and I wanted to follow the calling God had placed on my heart. I wanted to give my life away, to serve the Lord with each breath, each second. At the end of the day, no matter how hard, I wanted to be right here in Uganda."
" I have learned along my journey that if I really want to follow Jesus, I will go to the hard places. Being a Christ follower means being acquainted with sorrow. We must know sorrow to be able to fully appreciate joy."
As many of you know from my mission statement I posted yesterday, I feel so blessed that my highest calling is to be a wife and a momma! I am so thankful that God wants to use me in this way! Even though Katie is not married, she is now a momma to 13 Ugandan girls! Many of her stories touched my heart and encouraged me in my upcoming adventures with motherhood as I read about the family God has given her. Although God may not call every girl to pack up and head to a foreign country, adopt a house full of girls, and start a ministry prior to ever getting married, I think Katie sets an excellent example to all of us about what it means to surrender EVERYTHING to God, and love the "least of these" unconditionally!
Have you read Kisses from Katie, or her blog!? I would love to hear your thoughts! How has she inspired you? What were your favorite quotes!?