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photo by Kim Nunn

At the age of 18, Katie Davis traveled to Uganda for the first time for a three-week short-term mission trip her senior year. She immediately fell in love with the children and people she met. She determined she would do whatever she had to do to get back to the country that had captured her heart.

After graduation, Katie chose to leave her family, friends, boyfriend, college dreams, and the traditional American path, to teach Kindergarten to 138 wide-eyed children who lived in an orphanage. She began chronicling her journey on her blog, Kisses from Katie. In 2008 she became a mother to three orphaned girls. Later that year she established Amazima Ministries, a non-profit organization devoted to caring for orphaned and vulnerable children and the poor through education sponsorship, feeding programs, vocational initiatives, medical care, and spiritual discipleship.

In October 2011, Katie wrote her first book, Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption, released by Howard Books, a division of Simon & Schuster. Now a mother of 13 daughters and resident of Uganda, Katie inspires us to put our faith to action every day, saying yes to whatever needs Jesus puts before us.

***

One of my very favorite things about gazing out at my backyard is our sunflowers. Seeds brought from dry Karamoja and planted in the fertile Jinja soil grow at least ten feet tall and radiant, heads lifted to the sun.

Much to my dismay though, the time we get to enjoy the flowers’ bloom always seems brief in comparison to the time we have been waiting – days of pulling seeds from the dead heads and drying them in the sun before carefully pushing them back into the soft red dirt of Uganda. Weeks of waiting and finally some tiny green shoots. Then weeks more of watching as the shoots become thick stalks and climb into the sky. Then follows weeks of wonder as small buds open into something glorious and beautiful.

And then so soon, they bend their heads and begin to die. Something in me is so sad as I watch the flowers seemingly loose their splendor. But my 13 daughters are nothing but excited. They rush to the backyard and hack the stalks down, pulling off the flowers that are today bigger than their faces. I cringe. I look at the bare garden and feel loss, but they feel only eager anticipation. Because they remember: next time, there will be more.

Always, the shoots spring up and reach for the sky. Always they bloom beautiful and then always they bow, bending low to the earth and waiting for my children to run wide-eyed in wonder to the harvest. And always, we plant the seeds and next time there is a bigger harvest, more flowers. Many more. My daughters remember beauty from ashes.

I see beauty in the outcome and sadness in the death, but my girls know beauty in the process.

This is what my loving Father taught me every day of the last year, this beauty in the process. That while a healed and whole family is a marvelous thing to behold, the process that got us there is where He was most glorified and where He drew us to Himself. That a wound all healed and covered with smooth new skin is not nearly as wonderful as the relationship that was built while I bandaged that wound everyday for 8 months and cried tears and laughed stories of my Savior. That dreams die and plans change and seasons end, but He is not done yet. He sees the seeds that come with all the endings and He is faithful to turn them into harvest, into beauty.

Sometimes we look out at our lives and it seems the garden is empty – plans dead as withered leaves, dreams laid waste. Could we rejoice in the season of waiting, believing that God who brought Jesus out of the black tomb and brings green shoots out of hard earth will bring new life out of all dark seasons too? Could we know that beauty is in this whole process, the waiting part too, not just the end result?

This year, I have beheld exquisite flowers, glorious outcomes that could have only been designed by God himself. I have watched Him make family out of strangers. I have watched Him sell a book that I never intended to write. I have watched my little girl walk with her foot flat on the ground for the first time in all five years of her life. I have watched alcoholics become moms who work hard to provide for their families. I have watched my 16 year old walk through processing the abuse in her past and learn to jump rope and have her childhood finally restored to her after nearly 4 years of living in a family. I have watched God answer prayers that I hadn’t even spoken yet.

As I gaze in wonder, I remember how He brought us out of the dark and the hard.

I remember how He protected us from the pounding rain and the scorching sun, baby green shoots clinging to Him for dear life. I remember that as we reached high to the Son, He came down and pulled us closer. We turn our heads up in awe and we know what is around the corner, but we look expectantly to the bowing and the bending and the death of all we had planned because we know – in Him, there will always be more. Glorious hope.

By Katie Davis, Kisses from Katie

Kisses from Katie is a story of relentless love and redemption by a would-be college student who moved to Uganda instead. Katie is “writing with the hope that as you cry and laugh with my family you will be encouraged that God still uses flawed human beings to change the world.”

Learn more about Katie’s story. Watch her book trailer below {click here if you can’t see it}

To stay in touch with all God is doing in Katie’s life, visit: www.kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com

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  1. 1

    What a beautiful, beautiful story Katie! Thank you so much for sharing!

    God bless you!

  2. 2
    Southern Gal says:

    Glorious hope, indeed.
    May God continue to bless you as you pursue him, Katie.

  3. 3
    Michelle says:

    I know the year is still young, but this is my most favorite book so far.
    Thank you for recommending this book.

  4. 4

    Wow Katie! I am so moved and touched and inspired by your life. I will be buying this book and singing your praises. Bless you girl in your daily travels! God is with you!

  5. 5

    Every time I read something you’ve posted, I’m in awe all over again- in awe of all that God has done in and through you, the way that He simply receives glory in your life. I pray my life brings Him glory in this place I’m in. You challenge me. Thanks!

  6. 6

    oh katie…this is just lovely…and sunflowers…oh my favorite flower of all…I got to hear you speak when you were home in Nashville…I have never encountered such humility coming from a “stage”….I love your book and I love what you do…you, young lady inspire, not because you try…but because you LOVE…when this kind of LOVE is seen and felt…this LOVE changes lives…those who are near and far….
    I pray for you daily….
    Blessings to you.

  7. 7

    Oh goodness this is the most beautiful thing I have ever read. thank you, Katie, for being willing to serve Jesus with all that you are and all that you have. Thank you for being an example. You are a living witness.

  8. 8

    Incredible story and life for Christ in Katie Davis. An inspiration to me and all my girls, 6.
    I have been following her for a few years and know the ladies in Nashville, 147 Million Orphans, who support hers and many other efforts. I was introduce to her through them. Thank you for sharing her message with us.
    Kindest regards,
    b†
    @madreminutes

  9. 9

    Feeling quite in the dark; I needed this. Thanks, Katie!

  10. 10

    I absolutely adore the story of Katie Davis and all she has accomplished in her young years! She has touched the lives of so many, and her writing is beautiful. :)

  11. 11

    What an amazing, inspirational story, thank you so very much for sharing this! I am now ordering a copy of Kisses From Katie and I am really looking forward to reading it!

  12. 12

    Oh wow! I am so glad you’re writing here!! My husband and I have been recently burdened for the poor. I mean, where it really bothers us in a way it didn’t before.

    My husband just finished reading the books Radical (a book I was seriously scared to read at first!) But I do believe we need to pick up your book and just glean from those who are there before us and allow God to give us confidence in what He is calling us to do (which we aren’t completely sure of yet). THANK YOU for this. I look forward to checking out your blog and reading your book.
    Blessings!

  13. 13

    I love the way God writes our stories, and ours is to simply live them in uncomplicated faith and trust. What a beautiful picture this harvest, the grain of wheat falling into the ground and dying that it might not abide alone, but bear much fruit. Katie, it is so plain to see that, like the sunflowers, you have died and your life is hidden deep in Him. No wonder all this beauty springs up into fragrant radiance for His glory, the good of your children, and the edification of many. Your joy reflects His faithfulness to those who are content to walk the path given. Blessings on your journey.

    Jeanne

  14. 14
    Tiffany says:

    Your writings are incredible and encouraging! Thank you for allowing God to work through you to touch lives. You are blessing people all over the world!

  15. 15

    I read about the Son flower seeds, the analgy, and thought of the “process” of life. I am 73, I have been fighting cancer for the past 7 years, and now it’s in my liver, lymph nodes ,and my l kidney left. I know in my heart that I am near my life’s “harvest”, I have come to the almost end of “my season of life” to “wither & die like the sunflower”, I have produced “fruit” by sharing the Gospel of Jesus, I have planted “seed” in the many that I have sponsored in Alcoholics Anomynous over the past 31 plus years. I baptized some 27 Souls. My Soul will be resurrected into a new and glorious “Sunflower” before the throne our Glorious Loving/Faithful Father!!!!!

  16. 16

    Praise our Amazing Lord…this is beautiful and your walk of faith is so incredibly inspiring. Thank you.

  17. 17

    Dear Katie,

    You have truly died to self, Katie, though I’m sure you still struggle mightily sometimes. It is so beautiful to see and to read about. When my life feels too hard, I think of your writings and your love for others and I know I can do it…all for His glory! For He has equipped me just as He has you, through the indwelling of His Holy Spirit. He’s equipped all believers…we just have to die to self and open up our hearts to be His hands and feet!

    I am praying for you, Katie! What a lovely lady you are and such an inspiration!

  18. 18
    Marcie Stevens says:

    Dear Katie,
    Your story is one of PURE and HOLY LOVE -a RADIANT display of the HOLY SPIRIT in action! I look forward to the opportunity and blessing to support you in prayer and ministry to children of Uganda. In great anticipation of meeting you and your beautiful family. May God richly and abundantly bless you and keep you safe and healthy.
    Love,
    Marcie Stevens

  19. 19

    Incredible, incredible story – I can’t wait to read your book, Katie!

  20. 20

    Beautiful post Katie! I am currently taking care of twelve deaf girls in Mexico. My girls and I watched your video and loved it! Many blessings to you and your beautiful daughters! I love your name by the way! :)

  21. 21

    I really enjoyed Katie’s book!

  22. 22
    Belinda says:

    I bought the book for myself and read it non-stop. Katie, I can relate to you in so many ways. No one else has understood my love for another country and another people like you have. Thanks for being so honest and open. God has used you in my life. I am praying for you!

  23. 23
    Carol Collier says:

    Very inspiring!

  24. 24

    Katie, with the help of Grace Hartmann I shared your story over at http://www.imperfectpeople.net as well, I am about half way through your book and I am just so encouraged! I see everything around me through a different lens now. Thank you for saying YES to Jesus call and encouraging us to all do the same!

  25. 25
    shirlee says:

    Just read the book. What a wonderful story, very inspiring. A child shall lead us.
    A good book for book clubs to read.

  26. 26
    heather says:

    Your a wonderful person!

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