Posted by on Jul 9, 2011 in (in)courage, Faith, Family, Inspiring, Mom stuff, Mothers and daughters | 4 comments

To the unacquainted, it seemed like an innocent enough question: "Mom, have you heard of 'kisses from Katie'?"

But I saw something–her eyes danced, a fleeting twirl of mystery and expectation and satisfaction; she was already calculating my response.  

Heart


Knowing her question was loaded, I tossed a non-chalant "Nope, what is it?" in her direction.  A casual reply, sniffing her bait yet not quite hooked.  

Delusions of a mother whose kid knows her well.  

"Just google it," she urges.  "You'll know when you find it."

Her veiled expression, simultaneously playful and serious, suggested I stop what I was doing and immediately begin the search; laced between the lines, invisible words hung in the air–feathery dust illuminated by a drop of golden sun.

At the top of my search, I clicked the second listing; its domain a perfect match to my keywords.  

A quick read told the tragic but redemptive story of a family who lost their infant daughter, now honoring her life by supporting others.  

My quizzical look told Rachel I wasn't there yet.  Seeing my landing page and with gentle insistence, she puppeteered, "Keep looking….you'll know when you find it!"  

I flirted with and nibbled her bait on my second click.  It was a blog, simple in design but with a picture that lured me:  two genders, two generations, two ethnicities…laughing so loud I could hear them.  "On earth as it is in Heaven" for a tagline.  

 

 

Why was my daughter so determined for me to find this?  She knows my job has evaporated time to the degree reading blogs is luxury; not to mention my reader stopped counting "unread posts" when it burst from capacity months ago.  Why another?

I skimmed the first post–something about Jesus changing the world 2000 years ago, yada yada, yada…and I kept going.  {If I've read one "religious" blog, goes my arrogant thought, I've read ten thousand….}

And then I clicked to the second post and saw…a disclaimer.

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Disclaimers are train wrecks.  They superglue your eyes and rubberize your neck.  

This disclaimed post began as a love story; I sensed a tragic one.  

Katie's heart spilled in the telling of first love, young and determined and sure of a future.  Time revealed a different ending, stroked in heart anguish but comforted in God's call.  

The post shifted.  Katie shared another story, her outward response seen, but her inward response told.  "Seen" was gracious; "inward" was angry.

But as is often the case, her one finger pointed in accusation left her with three pointing in her own direction.

She began talking about a different love story.  

Katie preached Jesus.  

The hook was set as tears filled my eyes.  

And Rachel smiled because she knew I had found it.

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Katie is crazy-foolish, barely two decades alive and mommy to 14.  

When she was 16, she hinted to her parents she wanted to take off a year between high school and college to do mission work.

My Rachel, 17, is exploring similar options.  

Before she is 21, Katie delivers a baby, stitches up a little boy, pulls teeth, gives an injection.  She claims she is petrified but takes action because if she doesn't, no one will.  She says God is present; He holds her hand.  All in her care are fine.  

My Rachel is squeamish at the sight of blood; suddenly I'm thankful for this.  Her first three teeth literally fell out because she wouldn't let anyone near enough to wiggle them to freedom.  She has to turn her head when getting a shot; I'm glad…and hopeful she can't watch anyone else receive an injection, too.

Katie is dangerous, she puts ideas in your head.  She's a radical, obedient God Truster and her words–no, her life–make me nervous.  She says things like, "There is a common misconception that I am courageous. I will be the first to tell you that this is not actually true. Most of the time, I am not brave. I just believe in a God who will use me even though I am not."  And, "Most days, I don’t have much of a plan. I don’t always know where this is going. I can’t see the end of the road, but here is the great part:Courage is not about knowing the path. It is about taking the first step. It is about Peter, getting out of the boat. I do not know my five year plan; even tomorrow will probably not go as I have planned. I am thrilled and I am terrified, in a good way. So some call it courage, some call it foolish, I call it Faith. I choose to get out of the boat. To take the next step. Sometimes I walk straight into His arms. More often, I get scared and look down and stumble. Sometimes I almost completely drown. And through it all, He never lets go of my hand."

Katie talks about Truth.  She talks about "counting the cost".  She explains that the orphaned children she ministers to have never been loved and can't comprehend what it means that "Jesus loves them" until they are loved; so she feeds, clothes, cares for and loves them unconditionally until they grasp the concept.  That Jesus could offer a greater love than what Auntie Katie offers?  Only now, can they know they want that.

What greater joy for Christian parents than for their children to whole-heartedly serve the Lord (like Katie), right?  

Except it scares me to pieces, this thought of my daughter living in a dangerous place, devoid of comfort, so far from hugging distance.  Will God require this of me as a mom?  I feel selfish and ashamed my first response is focused on my own desires rather than God's perfect plan. 

My Rachel is drawn to Katie's life and witness; I sense she was "testing waters" when she sent me on this Kisses-from-Katie treasure hunt.  

When I stopped reading long enough to respond to Rachel, through tears I told her "I…see…you…in Katie's story…."  

Rachel, still smiling says, "What would you do?  What would you do, Mom, if I wanted to do something like that?" 

Heart aching at that possibility, I told Rachel I'd hate it.  That I'd fear for her safety.  And, as I read Katie's story, I was afraid…

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I had seen a glimpse of her future.  

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We've always parented in a way to encourage our children's age-appropriate independence; the reality of what that can look like as they grow older is sometimes difficult to accept.  So…I remind myself once again:

I think about how God tested Abraham (asking him to sacrifice his son), one of scripture's most troubling accounts to me.  I remember Hannah, who prayed desperately to conceive and then willingly and thankfully gave her son Samuel to the Lord.  Oh, how I want to be like them, to love God blindly and with radical devotion!  Left to my own devices, I'm weak and anxious and self-serving.  

Katie's parents gave birth to a hero; I wonder if they feel that way.  

Holding our children with an open hand, a parent's forever-challenge.

Amazima badge {I would be remiss if I didn't ask you to investigate Katie's ministry Amazima; your heart might be pierced to support this amazing Kingdom work…:) }

Note:  This was originally posted on (in)courage in April '10; somehow it didn't transfer when we went from Typepad to WordPress…and I didn't wanna lose it!  Re-posting now 'cause it's one of the ones I wanna hold onto :).