“Everybody is special to someone, but some people are special to everyone. Katie Davis is one of those really special people. Sure it’s unusual to live in Uganda as a mother of 11 (or more?) children at age 20, but what makes her really special is that she has learned so much about life, people and her relationship with the Lord at such an early age…”
As I (Cindy) was trying to figure out how to introduce Katie again, the words above came to mind. They are from the back of Amy Grant’s first album released in 1977 (adapted to fit Katie). For those of you who know me, you know I’ve loved Amy Grant’s music since I was about 8 years old. And yes, I still have that album…more on that later.
Reading any of Katie’s posts are like reading a good book you just don’t want to put down. This one communicates such exceptional truth. Enjoy!
God has been speaking so much to my heart lately. I have been reading the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan (a book that I more than highly recommend), and spending lots of quiet time with Christ, both on long walks through the villages and peaceful nights after the kids are in bed (when you have no TV and little access to internet, magically there is so much more time to spend chit-chatting with the Savior). I am so grateful for the things He has spoken to my heart.
One thing God has strongly brought to my attention is that I have MORE than enough. I, like most, dream of bigger and better things. I justify this dreaming because I say that the bigger and better things will be used for the orphans. Example: Our house has been sorely out-grown for Friday night sleepovers; so I have been dreaming of a bigger and better house: a big house with separate rooms for my big girls and my small girls and a big wrap around porch.
Christine and I often talk about the new, bigger house, where a table big enough for all of my family will fit comfortably and we will not have to sit (on the ground) to eat and where our kitchen will be more than 10 by 15 feet, big enough for more than 2 to stand and help cook. Then sometime last week as I was walking, I dropped in to visit the home of 11 children in our program. They are all siblings and cousins living with their aunt. They all live, eat, and sleep together in one room a little bigger than my little girls’ bedroom.
It hit me like a rock how selfish I was. How in the world could I dream of a BIGGER house, when people around me live in such need. How could I possibly feel that my kitchen was crowded when 12 people lived in this teeny house. My house is even made of cement while these precious children live in a home made of dirt. I am embarrassed to even share this with you, but I know that we all have these “flesh” moments.
I get caught up sometimes in “I deserve this” moments– moments where I compare myself to some other people I know and trick myself into believing that I am doing pretty good. Moments where I “deserve” a hot shower, or I “deserve” that chocolate bar even though I know it is expensive, moments when I “deserve” a new pair of shoes, because hey, I work hard.
TRUTH: this is not at all scriptural. NOWHERE does it say that I am worthy or deserve a reward here on earth. Colossians 3:23 says “Whatever you do work at it with all your heart.” It does not end in “and after this hard work you deserve a long hot bath and a chocolate bar.” It does end in, “since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.”
Oh, doesn’t that sound better than all the material rewards you can think of? Matthew 19:21, Mark 10:21, Luke 12:33 and Luke 18:22 all say exactly the same thing, “Go, sell everything you have and give it to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven.”
I live in a world that tells me that if I sell what I have and give it to the poor, if I leave my rich American life to live in a cockroach-infested, cement house in a third-world country, I am doing a wonderful and radical thing. TRUTH: I am only doing what I love doing, and what God who gave His life for me asked me to do. Look at Jesus, doing more for the kingdom than any human can ever hope to and taking no pay, no reward, only accusations and eventually death. Ouch, there goes my pride.
I have MORE than enough, and God has spoken that I am ONLY to have enough. Jesus said that the GREATEST commandment besides loving the Lord God with all my heart, mind, and soul is to love my NEIGHBOR as myself. Doesn’t that mean, then, that I should be spending as much on my neighbor as I do on myself and my family? Doesn’t that mean that I should feed my neighbor as well as I feed myself?
It has hit me every hard this week, I DO love my neighbor, but I love myself more. TRUTH: that is not ok. We have been discussing this as a family and, as a family we will be cutting back.
I will live in my beautiful cement house, complete with all its critters until God very clearly speaks to me that I am to go elsewhere. I will LOVE my 10 by 15 foot kitchen because it is where I have the privilege of cooking for God’s children. As a family, we will use only 3 hours of electricity on days when the power is on and put the money we would have spent on the electric bill into our hospital ministry fund so that we can go more often to the hospital and feed the people there more food.
I personally will save my chocolate money and instead buy more biscuits and juice for the street children. We will each keep 4 outfits (this is going to be very difficult for me as I do LOVE clothes.) In most people’s standards, my little family does not have much, but we have MORE than enough. And we know in our hearts that really, Christ is ALL we need.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal FOR WHERE YOUR TREASURE IS THERE YOUR HEART WILL BE ALSO.” Matthew 6:19-21
Now that I have shared my embarrassing pride and “flesh” moments and been totally vulnerable with all of you out there in cyberspace, I feel I can ask you some questions.
I want simply to challenge you to push the envelope a little more with your faith. I don’t know what this looks like in your life, but there has got to be something. Like I said, it is all too easy for me to fall into the trap of “I am doing good enough.” TRUTH: good enough does not exist. We need to do better.
In one of my favorite Bible passages, the prophet Elijah feels God’s presence. The scripture says that a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart, but God was not in the wind. After the wind, there was an earthquake, but God was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire but the Lord was not in the fire. After the fire came a gentle whisper. It was the whisper of God. He is whispering. Are you listening? God is not in the bigger house, or the new shoes, or the self-indulgence, He is right here:
In my opinion, God is not even in the new 7 million dollar church building, or the upgrading of missionary tickets to first class at an exorbitant price, or the super fancy extravagant outfit worn by the Pope (no offense). He is right here:
Do you love your neighbor as much as you love yourself? Do you love your 147 million orphaned neighbors and your 3.5 homeless in America alone neighbors as much as you love yourself? Do you grieve for them the same way you would grieve if your very own children were hungry and homeless? What would be different if you did?
TRUTH: 53% of the worlds population live on $2.00 a day. If you, like me, live on more than that, you have MORE than enough.
People ask me quite often when I am in the states why in the world THIS is what I have decided to do with my life. 2 answers: 1. Because this is what makes my heart sing. Yes, it really truly is complete selfishness; this is where I am happiest. 2. Because I believe that TODAY is all I am promised. Because I believe that Jesus is coming back, “the day and hour unknown.” And THIS is what I want to be doing when Jesus comes.
If this day is all you are promised, what are you doing with it? Right now, today, are you doing what you want to be doing when Christ comes back?
Dear, dear Corinthians, I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life.The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. I’m speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively! -Paul in 2 Corinthians 6:11-13, the Message translation
As I (Cindy) read Katie’s blog earlier this week, I asked the Lord to show me my flesh. He shows up at the most unexpected moments. When I pulled out that Amy Grant album to get the words from the back cover, I knew. I felt the lump in my throat, and then the big rain-drop like tears start to slide down my face.
I have a big collection of all of her albums, signed by her when I had the privilege of meeting her in 1997. I’m guessing they are worth something. I’ve sold a lot of stuff over this past year, and some of it made me momentarily sad (until I remembered the infinitely greater joy of meeting a human need), but honestly, I never shed tears over any of it…until the decision to sell these.
But as I glance up at my wall, I see a picture of our sweet Alfred. I keep that picture there on purpose…to keep me focused on what is eternal. What’s more important? A collection of Amy Grant albums or a human soul? The TRUTH is, selling those albums will bring me great joy, because I’m “giving up” something that won’t last for something that will last. That’s not a bad trade.
I love those Amy Grant records (silly, I know), but I love Jesus more. And therefore I love Alfred and his siblings and every other person more.
The focus of my gaze determines the condition of my heart~ Susan Sellers
Visit Katie’s blog at: http://kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com/
*post and photos shared with permission