a renewed spirit

9.23.2009

I know that I've established this as a design blog... which I love. But I've also tried to show part of who I am. Whether it's running or sewing or baking or triathlons or book reviews or family & friends...whatever it may be. But one part that I don't mention enough is my love for Jesus. We spent some time in Bible Study last night talking about things of the world.... and our need for a Savior. Why do the 'things' of the world lure us in? Why do we find comfort in them?
.
I recently came across this blog that I highly recommend you taking the time to visit. To say that I am speechless is an understatement. A true testimony of Katie's love for the Lord. It really is amazing. I know that everyone isn't called into the mission field... but it's just a reminder that where we live and work each day is our very own mission field- whether in Alabama or Africa. It's a reminder to set your mind on things above, not on things of the earth.
.
Do I think a design blog is bad? No. Am I going to stop posting on pretty things? No. Does it make me less of a Christian to have a design blog? I hope not. But did Katie's blog put things into perspective and renew my heart? You bet.

I hope you'll take the time to read and see what she's been up to. If you want to read from the beginning- you can start here (just scroll down and read up). She is amazing and her love for God is unshaken.
.
In case you don't go visit... here is an excerpt from one of her entries explaining how she got to where she is today. I know it's long but you'll be thankful you took the time to read it. I promise.
.
"It is my 16th Birthday and I am eating sushi at my favorite restaurant with my parents when I tell them that I would like to explore the possibility of taking a year in between high school and college to do mission work. This is unheard of in my family and they say they are not sure and will think about it. I am nervous, but somehow I know it is right. He changes their hearts.
.
I have just turned 18 and find an orphanage online. I beg my parents to let me visit over break, just three weeks. A month later I am on a plane. I am so excited. I am so scared of being, but I know He is going with me. I fall in love.I graduate high school having made the commitment to teach Kindergarten for a year at a school in The Middle of Nowhere, Uganda. In August I get on the plane. I’m apprehensive and I cry most of the way because I miss my Mommy and my boyfriend. I am eager, but so uncertain. I trust Him. I teach 138 children how to speak English and to love Jesus.
.
It is October and I am just not sure I can do it anymore. I live in the smallest room I have ever seen in the back of a pastor’s house. I am more uncomfortable than I had bargained for. No one understands, not people here, not people at home. I am tired. But I am prideful and I am not going to quit. I don’t like this. But I know He has a plan. I learn, I grow, He is there.
.
It is December and God has spoken very clearly about opening a ministry that sponsors 40 of the orphaned children in the village where I am working. This involves moving into a different house, ALONE. It is big and I cannot imagine how God will fill it up. I am lonely and I am anxious. But I am still trusting. He fills the house, and we now have 400 children sponsored.
.
It is January and I am looking at a little girl, crushed under a brick wall with no one to care for her or her younger siblings. I offer to take the three home with me until we find them a better placement. I am not really sure what to do with them, but I know they are God’s children. They stay.It is three days later and the littlest looks at me and calls me mommy. My heart might break in two. Something clicks. I am even more scared than I was the day I stepped on that plane, but I KNOW. Today I have 13.I have to deliver a baby, give a boy stitches, pull a tooth, give and injection. I am petrified. But no one will do it if I do not. He is present, He holds my hand, they are all fine.
.
It is August and I must get on a plane back to America to go to college, as I have promised my father. I do not remember how to be a teenager or what it is to be normal Brentwood, Tennessee. I will have to leave my babies. I will have to make new friends. I am sad and I am terrified. He wraps His arms around me. He puts just the right people in just the right places, and they help me and they make me feel at home.
.
First semester is over and He speaks clearly to me that I cannot serve two masters. “Go HOME,” He says, “and stay.” I am uncertain, but I want to be obedient. He squeezes tighter. I am thankful.I have to look at my loving parents who have given me everything and tell them that I will not go to college right now, because I feel God wants me to be in Uganda. I know how disappointed and how angry they will be. I am more scared than I was when I got on the plane and more scared than I was when I took my first children. But I know that this IS the Plan. They love me anyway.

It is February and my daughter’s biological father comes to take her away. My heart breaks in half, and I am not sure I will ever be able to get out of my bed again, let alone foster another child. I am more than devastated, but I want what is best for her, what He wants for her. She comes back and her biological father learns about Jesus.

It is March and a lame little girl is brought to my gate. She is undoubtedly mine, but I am still anxious. What if I can’t do it? I don’t know what to do with a special needs child, especially as my 13th child. I am criticized and ridiculed. I wonder. I trust and praise God for her sweet little life. She starts to walk.

I find myself in a village full of starving people that for some reason seem to want to kill me. God says to serve them anyway. I am not sure how it is going to work, or if it is safe. I can’t figure it out, but I know He can. 1,200 Karamajongs, the poorest of Uganda’s poor, are now served hot meals daily.We keep taking in more children until there are 400 in our program. There is no way we will raise enough funds, but by now I have stopped worrying. He has always provided. Blessings rain from the sky, and all 400 children go to school.
.
I am 20 years old and have 13 children and 400 more who all depend on me for their care. Who are all learning to love Jesus and be responsible adults and looking up to me. The reality of it all can be a bit overwhelming at times. However, it is always pure joy. 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. Most mornings, before I even get out of bed I am overwhelmed with His goodness, with His plan for my life; I stand in awe of the fact that He could entrust me with so much. 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.
.
And another post that touched my heart (among many):
.
"... at first glance, it would be easy to feel sorry for these little boys. their clothes are tattered, they sleep on old, dirty mattresses, they walk to school barefoot in the rain. they have no electricity, no running water, and it is raining so hard that the whole compound has become a muddy swamp. but you should not pity these children, in fact, you should envy them. i know i do. at six years old, these children know what it is to be filled with the Holy Spirit. these children know the Greatness, the Wonder of our God.when was the last time you prayed out loud for 30 minutes? when was the last time you spent as little as half an hour listing to the Lord all the reasons that you love Him, thanked Him for all He has done for you, or even simply marveled at his awesome grace? i've had people ask me why africa is so impoverished, even had people tell me that it is a cursed nation. africa is not impoverished. these children are not poor. we are. we put value in things. these children, having no things, put value in God. we put our trust in relationships, these children, having already seen relationships fail, put their trust in the Lord. this nation is blessed beyond any place, any people i have ever encountered. God has not forgotten these people, in fact, i believe He has loved them just a little bit extra."

35 comments:

Haven and Home said...

Brooke this may be my favorite post of yours to date. Thank you for introducing me to this blog, I read some last night and I was so moved. Really beautiful!

nkp said...

This is tremendous. I am of a different faith than you and this truly amazing young woman and so when I sam this post in my reader I was going to pass on to the next. But I am so glad I scrolled down and read it in its glorious entirety. What incredible work and inspiring words. Thanks for sharing. We could all use such reminders in our day-to-day lives. At least I can.

Lauren said...

wow Brooke, I'm in tears. Just amazing. Off to check out her blog- THANK YOU!!!!
xoxoxoxo

lsadler said...

Simply Amazing

paula said...

What an amazing woman of God! I remember when I dreamed of living on the mission field, life has changes so much, one day still I suppose. Can't wait to read more of her journey. thanks for the intro.

Smitten Design said...

What an excellent entry. Thank you so much for sharing. I am going to her blog now!

Jennifer said...

thanks for the introduction, I look forward to reading more about her amazing adventure with the Lord

Susie (So Blessed) said...

I spent some time last night reading this blog and it is truly amazing...it just blessed my heart to read this young woman's story. I appreciate that you shared it here on your design blog. I don't believe there is anything wrong about admiring and liking beautiful "things"...it is only wrong when we treasure the gift more than the Giver.

Love you,
Mom

Rachel said...

This is absolutely beautiful. Thank you for posting about her story and yours.

Deliciously Organized said...

Thank you for sharing such a sweet post with us. What a moving story. I have to go check out her blog...

inthetweeds said...

I have been SO happily surprised to have found so many design bloggers who are also Christians! Thanks so much for sharing your heart, your faith, and Katie's amazing blog! I love seeing the different ways God moves in people's lives.

Sweet Nothings said...

amazing. i can barely get to church sometimes on sunday. she is an inspiration for me to be a better catholic.

Ms. Bright said...

What an amazing post. I hadn't yet had a chance to read, but then saw mention of it over on Two Ellie today. I cam right over...Wow. It brings me such joy that there is such an amazing group of design bloggers out there that I have so much in common with!
Can't wait to read more of Katie's blog. Thank you!!

Mimi said...

Oh, Brooke! What an inspiration! Thanks so much for sharing it with all of us. I have already bookmarked the blog and will continue reading.
Love you bunches, Mimi

mary-kathryn said...

wow...a message we all need to be reminded of more often! thanks for sharing!

Casey said...

you have spoken my thoughts. I too love Jesus, and from time to time, struggle with having a "design" blog. thank you for this post! and the link to the other blog, wow, so so so inspiring, and heartfelt, and thought provoking.

High-Heeled Foot in the door said...

Oh totally tearing up and I'm certain I won't get very much done today. I'm off to read her blog from start to present.

Thanks Brooke!

Beks said...

Amen! Amen! Thanks for the introduction and for your blog post today. I can't wait to read more!

Lauren said...

This is an amazing story, thanks for sharing! I can hardly make it through her blog without crying.

nestegg said...

I love this post!! Thank you for saying those things- I think it's wonderful that you bring up Jesus on the blog!
Praise the Name.
And what an unbelievable story!! This girl... wow, there are no words.

botanical brouhaha said...

Wow...so inspiring...a lesson about what it would look like if we REALLY trusted God to lead and provide for us. Can't wait to share this with the group of 11th grade girls in the Bible study I lead. Thanks so much for this post! Headed over to read the blog tonight.

lifewithkeiki said...

Yes! I found her blog several weeks ago and have been meaning to dedicate some time to blog about it in order to share with others. Thank you for doing so!

courtney said...

oh, wow. i just came across your blog via a link from paula on two ellie... i'm recently re-starting my walk with God and it's absolutely unbelievable the way that He makes himself seen in my life in so many unexpected ways.

thanks for your post. :)

Re:Fresh Design Studio said...

wow, what an inspiring blog. Thanks you so much for sharing that will all of us!

Hillary and Russell Jordan said...

Loved this post and love you! Hope we get to see each other this weekend. Call me.. 662.544.7400 (new number)

PS~Erin said...

Wow. I just really can't say more than that right now. Thanks for devoting a post to sharing this.

Southern Aspirations said...

Very inspiring- thank you so much for sharing. And what I also like- seeing the positive/inspiring comments from other design bloggers like yourself- a group of ladies for whom I have a lot (and even more now) of respect.

urbansardines said...

I love seeing people doing inspiring things that are more challenging that I would dare! I love that you wanted to share this part of yourself because a blog should definitely be about what inspires you in all forms... Lovely!

Tamsyn said...

Thank you so much for sharing Katie's story.

megan said...

i can't wait to read about her journey.

Alisa said...

Thank you for posting about her and introducing her story to me. I'm in tears and am deeply moved and reminded of what is important in life. It is always nice to be given reminders about the meaning of life and how blessed we are and how important it is to serve.

Donna said...

Such a breath of fresh air in this blog world...thank you for sharing this blog and a glimpse of your true self in doing so!

Stephanie Sabbe said...

great post Brooke!

Design Actually said...

Great post! I heard about Katie's journey a couple of weeks ago and am amazed by her story. This is my first time visiting your blog & I just wanted to let you know that it is refreshing to see someone be open about their love for Jesus on their blog, that takes courage!

Emily said...

it is such a tricky thing - being a blogger with a blog that is not overtly about faith, and feeling like you are being real about your life and priorities with your readers. i struggle with the same thing. lately i have done more faith based posts and definitely have fewer comments - but who cares? i so appreciate this post and the balance that you are attempting to strike.

xo - emily@wide open spaces

Post a Comment