It’s Simple, But Not Easy {excerpt from Katie Davis}

Serving overseas as a single woman can mean sacrificing opportunities. It can mean lessening your opportunities to meet a longed-for husband. For some it has even meant sacrificing an existing relationship to follow the Lord’s leading.  Such was the case for Katie Davis.  She left America intending to serve in Uganda temporarily.  She parted with a boyfriend, but they had hopes and plans for the future.  Plans that never happened because God had something else in store.  

Today she is the founder of Amazima, an organization that feeds and empowers the impoverished of Uganda.  She’s the adoptive mother of  thirteen African daughters.  She tells her story in her book, “Kisses from Katie.”  Here is an except from her book…

*****

I never meant to be a mother. I mean, I guess I did; not right now, though. Not before I was married. Not when I was nineteen. Not to so, so many little people. Thankfully , God’s plans do not seem to be affected much by my own. I never meant to live in Uganda , a dot on the map in East Africa, on the opposite side of the planet from my family and all that is comfortable and familiar. Thankfully, God’s plans also happen to be much better than my own. You see, Jesus wrecked my life.

For as long as I could remember, I had everything this world says is important. In high school , I was class president, homecoming queen, top of my class. I dated cute boys and wore cute shoes and drove a cute sports car. I had wonderful, supportive parents who so desired my success that they would have paid for me to go to college anywhere my heart desired. But I loved Jesus.

And the fact that I loved Jesus was beginning to interfere with the plans I once had for my life and certainly with the plans others had for me. My heart had been apprehended by a great love, a love that compelled me to live differently. I had grown up in a Christian home, gone to church, and learned about Jesus all my life. Around the age of twelve or thirteen, I began to delve into the truths of Scripture. As I read and learned more and more of what Jesus said, I liked the lifestyle I saw around me less and less. I began to realize that God wanted more from me, and I wanted more of Him. He began to grow in me a desire to live intentionally, and different from anyone I had ever known.

Slowly but surely I began to realize the truth: I had loved and admired and worshiped Jesus without doing what He said. This recognition didn’t happen overnight; in fact I believe it was happening in my heart long before I even knew it. It was happening as I explored the possibility of overseas volunteer work, it was happening as I took my first three-week trip to Uganda, it was happening as I fell in love with a beautiful country full of gracious, joyful people and immense poverty and squalor that begged me to do more. It was happening in so many ways, and I couldn’t deny it. I wanted to actually do what Jesus said to do.

Today I am living the desires of my heart and I cannot imagine being happier; I cannot imagine living any other life than the one that unfolds before me day by day. But believe me, I am by no means living my plan. I thought that I wanted to go to college with my high school boyfriend, get married, have a successful career and children, settle into a nice house down the road from my parents, and live happily ever after.

Today I am a single woman raising a houseful of girls and trying to teach others the love of Jesus in a land that is a far cry from my hometown and my culture. This is not a life that I dreamed up on my own or even knew I desired. I am watching God work, and as I “delight myself in the Lord” by doing what He asks of me and by saying yes to the needs He places in front of me, He is changing the desires of my heart and aligning them with the desires of His. As I go with Him to the hard places, He changes them into the most joyful places I could imagine.

It sounds beautiful, adventurous, even romantic in ways, right? It is beautiful. And the crazy thing is, it is so simple. Don’t misunderstand; it is not easy. But it is simple in that each and every one of us was ultimately created to do the same thing. It will not look the same. It may take place in a foreign land or it may take place in your backyard, but I believe that we were each created to change the world for someone. To serve someone. To love someone the way Christ first loved us, to spread His light. This is the dream, and it is possible. Some days it is excruciatingly difficult, but the blessings far outweigh the hardships.

*****

To read the rest of Katie’s incredible story, order her book here.

How is your journey of delighting yourself in Him, of aligning your desires with His?

 

Disclosure : Amazon Affiliate links included in this post. If you click through to Amazon, any purchase you make supports this site.

Photo credit: katiedavis.amazima.org

13 Comments

  1. Morielle May 28, 2014

    What a cool story, I really enjoyed reading more at Katie’s website. Very inspirational for this young single woman who feels like she’s letting down so many expectations placed on her from the outside, to follow the still small voice of the Spirit and the commands of God’s Word.

    1. Amy Young May 28, 2014

      Great reminder for all of us, eh? Not to buck the system just for the sake of being different, but to be sure we are attuned to the right Voice 🙂 … I doubt I’ll ever hear, “adopt a bunch of kids” (and now am too old for most countries to think it would be a very good idea), BUT my niece made a comment this week about “when I grow up I want to live with my family to live with my sister’s family the way Aunt Amy lives with Grandma.” It was affirming given that I am rather counter cultural and following different expectations than some think I “should” … I’d be curious to hear how some of you are also listening to other voices?

  2. Brittany May 28, 2014

    I love Katie’s story.  Kisses from Katie is one of my favorite books!  She is an inspiration to me of what leaning on Jesus, depending wholly on Him, looks like.

    1. Amy Young May 28, 2014

      Agreed! I’m curious to watch what the next few decades will bring. (and truly hope it’s good!)

  3. Debbie May 28, 2014

    I love this book and it is one I can read more than once. Her testimony is an inspiration for all of us to do only what GOD can do through us.

  4. Danielle Wheeler May 28, 2014

    Yes!  She depends so completely on him, is so in tune with his voice and his leading…and look what has happened because of it!  Such an amazing story, worth reading again and again.

  5. Ashley Felder May 28, 2014

    10 years ago, I thought my life would look like hers. I’d dreamed of living in Africa since learning about it in 4th grade. I made 1 short trip that definitely whet the appetite, but boy did He have other plans! Sometimes I still dream of loving on those beautiful kids, and it brings tears to my eyes to remember how people literally danced down the aisle to give their offering at church. But, I know He has us in China for this time and I try to see that the locals are just as beautiful as the Africans are.

    1. Amy Young May 29, 2014

      Oh Ashley, who knows how God will use/redeem these desires (and the joy that comes through your comment)? I obviously have no idea if you’ll ever been in Africa long term, but I can tell Africa is in you. Here’s to loving places we may never get to live (and reminding myself that praying isn’t “nothing” … it’s very powerful. Sometimes, I admit, it feel so inadequate.)

  6. Polly June 1, 2014

    For days I have been trying to figure out how to type out my thoughts in response to this post, wanting to be a voice of encouragement to other ladies who may have experienced what I did.  I thought maybe it was taking so long because I couldn’t exactly figure out how to make my comment brief but clear.  And then I wondered if I should even bother because more than likely my comment wouldn’t even be read since we’re almost into another week’s topic here at VA, and how much do people read back through old posts looking for new comments.  But now I wonder if it has more to do with the fact that there are deep-seated fears and lies that my response crashes up against (and even feels engulfed by at times), and my heart, though desperately wanting to be free, still sometimes has a hard time believing that the Truth really is the truth.  And saying it aloud may take me to the edge of something that feels terrifying; or it may ask more of me than I’m comfortable giving.

    I read this post, and then I read a few more things about Katie on her blog and I had two pervading thoughts.  One was something along the lines of “Wow, that’s quite an amazing story and there are so many great things that have been accomplished through her young life.”  The second thought was more like a shame storm – “Wow, what have I done with MY life?  I haven’t lived up to any greatness like this…so I wonder if I’m really following Jesus like I thought I was.”  I felt like I had been measured, and been found sorely wanting.  For me there was less a  feeling of being inspired, and more a feeling of failure or of not “living up to” some expectation of what I could (or should) be doing for God.

    But just as quickly as those thoughts came, there also came the immediate realization that the voice I was hearing was not that of my Heavenly Father, but of the enemy of my soul instead.  And I was grateful for the immediacy of it, because that doesn’t always happen.  Sometimes I’m left flailing around in the cruel winds of those shame storms, and I don’t always think (or want) to call out for help.  And then I was angry.  Angry that the enemy tells such lies to so many, and throws so much shame on the goodness and beauty that God has created within us, all because he hates the image of God that he sees in us and he wants to keep it hidden.

    If you happen to be reading this and heard the same thoughts as I did, then allow me to pick up my sword with you and fight off the enemy.  That is NOT the voice of your Beloved.  And let me encourage you to sit with Him and ask Him to show you and help you believe what really IS true.  A good friend of mine told me years ago about a conversation she had with the Lord about purpose and meaning one day in which He asked, “A., what if all I ever want from you is just to be loved by Me?”  That question cut to something deep within my soul when she relayed it.  Did I believe it was enough if I did nothing else “for” God in my life, but only was the recipient of His love?  Did I believe that God would in no way be disappointed with me if my life never really “amounted to anything significant?”  Now, while I don’t think that God intends for our lives to only be receptacles of His love (and not pour-ers out as well), I do think that His question to my friend helped me to see that my belief of my own worth was sorely misplaced.  God deems us creations of immense worth because of who we are to Him, never because of what we do for Him.  And yet so often I find myself trying to do more to prove myself.

    For most of us, our lives probably aren’t going to look anything like Katie Davis’s.  We may never do anything that would seem like greatness in the world’s eyes.  But what we can do is receive and trust in His love and obey His voice even if it means that our lives look nothing like what we would have hoped for or even expected.  In the words of Blaise Pascal, “Lord, help me do great things as though they were little, since I do them with Your power; and let me do little things as though they were great, since I do them in Your Name.”

    You are greatly loved, ladies.  And that is enough.

    1. Morielle June 2, 2014

      The Enemy got me with the same shame storm he got you with. I am so glad you took the time to comment, and bring out the weapons against him! That is part of what the story of Mary and Martha is about, isn’t it? what if all I ever want from you is just to be loved by Me? amazing.

      1. Polly June 2, 2014

        “The enemy is crafty, but he’s not original.”  I don’t recall from whom I first heard that, but I have seen it to be true over and over and over.  He uses the same lies that he’s been using since the garden, but he inserts them into our lives through all sorts of avenues, especially avenues that make it seem like the lie is actually truth.

        And I like the Mary/Martha tie-in.  I think that’s exactly the message Jesus was trying to help Martha understand.

    2. Amy Young June 2, 2014

      Polly, I am one who goes back and read’s comments 🙂 … and some day, I think we are building a great repository of resources and others too will come back and read these. And even if they don’t, what you share is important! What Katie has done is certainly unique (understatement!) and I agree it’s good to hear these kind of stories — mostly because they reflect the heart of God for all his children and less because it reflects on Katie. Good to hear them 🙂 … not idolize or see them as a road map to how we “should” be living. I can look back on the YEARS I invested in China and wonder if I made any difference at all. But as you pointed out so lovingly, is that’s the voice of the one who comes to steal, kill, and destroy. No, I didn’t do any one great feat … but I did thousands of small ones by showing up and just doing ordinary things. Here’s to the God who loves the small, the unseen, the faithful. The one who says, I desire mercy, not sacrifice. Polly, you have been merciful here to many. And I believe God is smiling on you and those who read this. Thank you.

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