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?
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Photo credit: katiedavis.amazima.org