(This post contains affiliate links which means when you order from these link I will receive a percent of the profit. I am also a part of the Daring to Hope Launch team and was given a copy of the book to review. In full disclosure, I had already preordered the book because I knew it would be that good!)
About 6 years ago, I ran across the book Kisses from Katie, I had just quit my full time job teaching to stay at home with our baby girl. I almost didn't read the book. I thought, "How can I, a 31 year old mom who is at home 90% of the time, relate to a girl out of high school that gave up everything to move around the world to be a missionary?" But - I read it anyway. It broke me, challenged me, and encouraged me in a way no other book, outside of the Bible, ever has. It wasn't just a story of a missionary, but of a girl that completely surrendered her life to Christ. It was exactly what I needed at that point in my life.
Fast forward, to the present...and I see her second book coming out, Daring to Hope. It's a continuation of Katie's story in Uganda. How she has overcame so much and been able to have a deeper relationship with God through it all. Again, I think "I can't really relate to that. I'm not seeing devastation, starvation, and death all around me like Katie is." However, because the first one was just SO good, I went ahead and preordered it. A few weeks later, I had the opportunity to join the launch team for an early preview of the book. Little did I know that about the time the book would arrive, I'd be facing some serious spiritual issues. Things that made me question everything in which I believed. God always has a way with perfect timing. As I read the book, I too, like Katie, wrestled with God through some things. To be honest, I'm still wrestling through some things, but here are some truths that Katie reminded me of in her book:
God is still God even when I don't get MY ending.
We've all been there. That time in our life when we think we know better than God does. When it seems that our way is the only way for "all things to work for good." When we're praying and praying, but God just keeps right on leading in a different direction. Katie was there too. She had to surrender a foster child back to the natural mother and she is so open and honest about it. She says:
God kept reminding me that I wasn't the writer of this story, and that when I tried to write all the endings, wrapping them up in a neat little package, I was diminishing who He was and all He could do. He was asking me to trust Him, to believe that He would bring about His own glory even when I couldn't see it.Maybe we don't always see the big picture, but God does. Sometimes the big picture may include uncomfortable, challenging moments to us but that doesn't make Him any less good. He will love us right through it and we will be able to look back and see how He used it for His glory.
God shows me SO much through the eyes of being a mom.
Maybe we are literally a world away; however, Katie and I face some of the same struggles as a mom. Grant it she has 8 more kids than me in a 3rd world country, but we are still trying to raise our children in a way God would be pleased. Often that means giving up control to Him even in our own homes. It means realizing we can't do it without Him; in fact He never meant for us to. When it comes to being a mom, He has a way of humbling me and deepening my relationship as His daughter.
I'm just barely scratching the surface on this one - but Katie really speaks to my mom heart.
Our mission field is all around us.
For Katie, it's Uganda. For me, it's my own home, it's my neighborhood, it's my church, it's wherever we may be that day. We both have our own issues to get past - for Katie it's disease, uncleanliness, lack of food and supplies; for me, it's modern day culture, the constant race against time, and having so much we don't even realize what we really need. She lives in a world that is so hungry for natural and spiritual food. I live in a world that is so overfed, we often choose complacency and self-centered desires, over what is best for us. In both places, there are needs all around us.
Katie speaks of practicing the art of being interrupted. I begin my day with my own agenda and instead of taking advantages of what God places in front of me as a ministry, I often just consider it an interruption. I've been able to go on a couple of mission trips and when I came back from the second one, I remember thinking one of the best parts was just being focused on Christ and that communities needs for the week. Katie reminds me that , "Life was certainly intended to be lived as ongoing ministry, not separate from ministry."
There is always hope, there is always a cause.
It's easy to look around at the world and think, it's just not worth it. We're already too far gone. I don't want to risk hurting myself or hurting my family. Guess what? Christ went through death, hell and the grave for us and because of that we have hope! There's our own children, neighbors' children and future generations that need Christ, so we have a cause. Katie shares how she had to learn how to put herself out there and trust God even at a time He was asking her to take care of someone very similar to a friend that had just passed away. It may hurt us for a season, but if it brings glory to God isn't it worth it in the end? Sometimes the only way to know God better is by coming to know His children better.
And perhaps the biggest reminder of all throughout the entire book - Through our trials we come to know God in a deeper way as He shapes us into the person He wants us to be.
We all have trials - God rains on the just and the unjust. However, there's a difference between someone seeking Christ through a trial and someone just wallowing their way through it. When we seek Him through the trial, he shapes us and molds us into what He wants us to be. We are drawn closer to Him and He reveals more of Himself to us. Our trials can have purpose. They can strengthen us in ways we wouldn't have otherwise been strengthened. They can help us depend and know God in ways we otherwise wouldn't have. Katie has certainly not lead a life without disappointments or trials, yet she has learned to surrender to His will and praise Him through the storm.
The woman with the issue of blood never would have reached for Jesus so desperately had she not been bleeding. Certainly, twelve year of sickness and being completely ostracized is not desirable, but to have Jesus himself look into her eyes- was it worth it? Though we would rather be delivered from our suffering and our trials, or never encounter them at all, I have come to long for the tender care of Jesus that fees most tangible in places of pain and desperation.
I actually wrote down 5 other points, but I'm not going to share them all, because I want you to read the book! Scriptures came to life in ways that I hadn't seen them before. Did I mention that in a 200 page book, I had over 50 post it notes from quotes I wanted to remember? Or that I was in tears by page 3? On my knees by the second chapter? Amen-ing through the entire book? Rejoicing alongside Katie towards the end? It's that good, y'all!!
God is the same yesterday, today and forevermore. In this book, Katie shares how God has proven His presence in her life, especially in the most difficult times. She reminds me that if God was there for Abraham, Jacob, Mary, and her, then He will be there for me. She also reminds me that God's purpose is to take the broken and make it beautiful. That's exactly what He can do, when I surrender my life to Him.
Through her testimony and the places in her own life she has marked, "God will provide" she inspires me to step out on faith to try Him even more. She encourages me to draw close to Christ and help meet those needs around me. She dares me to hope.
Daring to Hope will be released on October 3. However, if you preorder it between now and October 3 you will also receive a free gift. Simply go here and order the book. Then go to https://amazima.org/daringtohope to enter your information for your free gift.
Anyone want to win a copy???? When I was chosen to be on the launch team, I had already preordered my copy of the book, so I thought I'd just pay if forward! If you'd like to win a copy, simply share this blog post on Facebook and then comment on the blog. U.S. residents only. I will contact the winner on October 3.