When Caring For Sick Kids Heals More Than Illness


Week 3, soon to be week 4, of kids home from school. School holiday, followed by several snow days, followed by sickness, and spring break is just days away. As one can imagine, life has been anything but normal here. I am non-stop canceling appointments, re-planning, cleaning (laundry and dishes I’ve never seen), nursing kids to health, running up and down stairs. Well, you get the picture. No different than your own life.

I’m reading Kisses from Katie right now. If you missed yesterday’s post, here it is. It’s changing how I view my life – in more ways than I can begin to write about.

Prior to reading this book, I would have found myself day 2 into nursing sick kids, grumbling my way through the laundry, huffing and puffing by my husband in an attempt to receive sympathy or a pat on the back. (It’s embarrassing, but I can be so incredibly childish and selfish) You would likely hear me list all the ways I’d served my family all the long days long. Giving and doing but deep down wanting something back in return. A thank you. Appreciation, Recognition. Please silently nod with me that you do this too. It would make me feel so much better.

This time was different. The Lord has started something in my heart, which I’m still unsure about as He is only revealing it to me bite by bite. It’s all I can really handle at one time anyway.

Just as the snow days came to an end and school resumed, Zachary came down with something like the flu. Maybe it is, I’m not sure. Another day at home. Then another. Then the third day, Andrew came down with the sickness. Another day at home. Monday rolled around, and 2 are home again, and I wonder if they will even make it back before Spring Break begins on Friday.

On Day 2 of taking care of Zachary, I stood at the kitchen sink and felt the Lord’s presence. He spoke and stopped me right in the middle of vitamin prep and dish duty. A vivid picture of Katie Davis caring for these children in Uganda played in my head. I saw her bathing, feeding, nursing, teaching. Loving. I saw her falling into bed exhausted, yet elated and filled with a peace and joy I’ve never experienced in that way. A joy that comes from fully expending every ounce you have to love another because you have so much love for Jesus that has to go somewhere, so it pours on the ones you touch.

I saw these scenes in my head that I’ve been reading in her book. They were alive. Those scenes faded and the Lord turned the channel. This time it was a running list of the blessings I’d failed to recognize. The list of what I had to be thankful for. The Lord brought to mind the words of a friend who told me to remind Zachary how the Lord uses ALL things for good. Even our sicknesses. We’ll come back to this.

The list began to unfold.

1. I’m healthy enough to physically care for the needs of my family

2. We have stores we can get to within minutes and buy all the supplies we need to heal our bodies

3. We have fresh, safe food to nourish our sick bodies to health

4. I have friends the Lord has blessed with wisdom and knowledge to guide me in treating sickness naturally

5.  We have running water

6. We have hot water

7. We have a car to get us where we need to go

8.  We have doctors

9. We have money to buy our supplies

10. We have knowledge and skills to care for each other

11. At the push of a button, we have all the information we need to research anything

The list went on and on and on. Setting the dishes down, I gazed into the backyard, half slush, half snow.

My mind went back to Katie Davis. How does one live a life so selflessly, I wondered?

Here I sit in my comfortable home, and my mind threatens to whisper to me all the ways I should feel discontent. It tempts me to focus on the negatives, the sick kids, the constant barrage of the unplanned, the lack of time for me.

That is when it hit me. I’m the most selfish person I know. At the root of my negativity is my own unfulfilled desires. I just want to rest. I just want some quiet. I just want to sit and eat a meal. I just want to read a book. I just want. I just want. I just want.

So how does one combat selfishness? What is selfishness? Is it not a love for one’s own self? The best way to rid ourselves of anything is to replace it with the opposite. We can’t simply remove something and leave that empty space. We have to find the opposite to fill in the crevices.

To kill selfishness, we have to love another more than our own self. Jesus. When will the message of the cross stop shocking me? When will the gospel stop amazing me with its simplistic, yet unfathomable message? I pray never.

Jesus loved me more than he loved himself. To the point he died for me. He gave every ounce he had to save me out of love. He had so much love for me, there wasn’t room to love himself more than the ones he served. He loved me. And you. And the world.

I went back to the message from Kisses from Katie that the Lord is etching into my soul. Love. Each person the Lord brought to Katie, she looked on with love. She could only do that because she was in love with Jesus.

Eventually, my love for my family will prove to be inadequate. I will lack joy in serving them if I do it from my own personal storehouse of love. If I do it from my own strength and will. It dies. It gives out completely. I can maintain for a bit, but then it fades to misery disguised as servanthood. I will eventually attempt to paint myself a martyr for my family. Serving them because I love them so, but deep down true joy will be lacking. Then the guilt. And the list goes on.

The root is selfishness. That is where it all stems from. So I must kill selfishness. I must love Jesus more than I love me. Only when I’m filled with love overflowing, can anything pour from me into another that is sustaining.

He is ready to give us new eyes, a new vision. One that sees Him in all things.

Turning from the dishes, I slowly walked up the stairs, fully aware of this revelation God was planting in my heart. I have been praying to love Him more than anything else. And He is beginning to show me piece by piece how it will change everything.

I reached the edge of Zachary’s bed and gazed at him with a fresh perspective God granted to me. His weak eyes fluttered open, a tiny smile emerged through dry, cracked lips, and he whispered, “Thank you for taking care of me. I love you.”

The Lord fulfills every desire we have. If only we stop trying to fill them ourselves and give Him room to work.

Lord, thank you for never giving up on us. Thank you that even when we are blind, you continue to heal our sight. Give us fresh eyes to see you today. Give us hearts that love you so much there is no room to love ourselves too much. Let us love others out of love for you and not from our own storehouses, which eventually run dry. Fill us to overflowing. Amen

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Kisses From Katie


In 2008 we moved from Georgia to Virginia. I remember a friend of mine from Georgia emailing me and telling me about a blog I must start reading. She described a young girl who left everything straight from high school to become a missionary in Uganda.

Over the years I continued hearing about this story and this person. She published a book, and I continued to hear about it. Then this year my sister and niece fell in love with the book and a friend’s daughter left to serve with Katie’s team in Africa. It was time I read this book. Kisses from Katie.

It’s one of those that God uses to dig down into the deep spaces. I can’t stop thinking about it. The last book that affected me this much was David Platt’s Radical. I see a theme here.

This from the Foreword, “When the child had been bathed to her aunt’s satisfaction, Katie wrapped her in a towel and carried her to a nearby bed. She knelt in front of her and began to remove jiggers from her feet. Jigger was not a word I’d heard before. In Uganda, jiggers are everywhere and they cause much trouble. They are small insects that burrow painlessly into a person’s skin and create a tiny egg sac, leaving a little bump that appears as inflammation. While having jiggers doesn’t hurt until they have practically infested an area of the body, having them removed can be excruciating. But the child didn’t wince, scream, or jerk in any way as Katie removed the jiggers and cut away dead skin around them. She simply sat silently as a few tiny tears made their way slowly down her face.”

God is using this book to burrow into me like jiggers. As I become inflamed with this message, it hurts. Yet throughout this book the theme that stands out over every story she shares is love. LOVE. Katie, with extreme love, removed those jiggers one by one from that child. The love Katie shared, which was a manifestation of God’s love, is what truly heals. The jiggers that are making a home into my heart, love will heal those too. Sometimes, we have to become inflamed before love begins to heal.

From the introduction, “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.”…..”So I quit my life.”

People often ask if I think my life is dangerous, if I am afraid. I am much more afraid of remaining comfortable.”

Yes! I get this. My heart cries out when I read this. I wrote for 30 days on this in 2013. Yet, what have I done about it?

More from the introduction, “I am surrounded by things that can destroy the body. I interact almost daily with people who have deadly diseases, and many times I am the only person who can help them. I live in a country with one of the world’s longest-running wars taking place just a few hours away. Uncertainty is everywhere. But I am living in the midst of the uncertainty and risk, amid things that can and do bring physical destruction, because I am running from things that can destroy my soul: complacency, comfort, and ignorance. I am much more terrified of living a comfortable life in a self-serving society and failing to follow Jesus than I am of any illness or tragedy.”

Yes, me too. Yet I’m still very comfortable in the American life. This books challenges me in new ways. The most surprising is that this book is revealing something far greater than what I realized when I opened the first page. I expected the entire book would be a beautiful story that would inspire the reader to reach out and stretch our limits in serving the poor. And while it does, it does something far more radical than that.

The word that whispers in my soul with every page I turn is this: Love. It’s love.

Katie Davis is very clear about one thing. She isn’t a hero. She isn’t brave and courageous. She isn’t an extraordinary human being. She is no different than you or me. Except she is different in my opinion. She has a love for Jesus that is worth giving her entire life to share. She has experienced His love to a point she can’t contain it. She must give that love back out. It’s too big to keep inside. She couldn’t possibly keep it inside. That’s the kind of love I want for my King.

When Katie got to Uganda, she had no idea she would be where she is today with her ministry. She didn’t go with a strategic plan for establishing a ministry. She went with a plan to love.

What if every moment of my day here in America looked like Katie’s days in Uganda? What if my entire strategic plan could be summed up in one word – love?

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Well, it would change everything in my world. And if we all did that, it would change the world.

Katie isn’t changing the world because God has made her super awesome and amazing. Katie is changing the world because she has a love for God that couldn’t be physically contained within her. She let it flow into each person she crossed paths with, and along the way she obeyed God. She loved, she obeyed.

Out of everything I’m reading in this book, I can’t help but put it down each night and say, “God, let me love you like that.”

Loving God more is a process. It’s not an overnight snap of the fingers. It comes from spending time with Him, from seeing Him repeatedly show up at unexpected moments, from calling out His name in distress and realizing He was right there all along, from whispering His name through tears and feeling His hands wipe the tears, from praising Him throughout the day, from laughing so hard your side hurts when He allowed His sense of humor to shine at just the time you needed to laugh the most.

I started the process of loving God more when I started looking for Him harder. He’s not hard to see, except yes He is if you live in affluent America. He is kind of hard to see because we can at times pat ourselves on the back for working hard and smart and creating a super comfortable life. So, yeah, He can be hard to see.

When we intentionally move through the day looking for Him, we are blown away. He’s all over our day. All over our lives. Over the last few months, I’ve felt God doing something in my heart that I’m not sure what it is. I still don’t really know. All I know is that each day, I find my love for Him becoming more passionate. Then I look back at my prayer journals and see the years of prayers that said, “God make me love you more than I love anything else in this entire world. Make me love you so passionately, I feel I might burst.”

Do you want to change the world? I do. Want to pray a prayer we know God will say yes to? Let’s pray He lights a fire in our hearts for Him that grows bigger, brighter, and bolder everyday.

If the most important command is to love Him and the second is to love our neighbor, then let’s pray to love Him more. Only when we love Him more can we love our neighbors. Only because Katie loved the Lord could she love on the least of these in Africa.

And many of us can’t go across the ocean to serve the least of these, but God’s world is mighty small and His love is mighty big. What I’m learning from this book is that loving Him is the first step to changing the world.

I want to do more, love more, serve more. We sponsor a child, we’ve hosted orphans in our home, we give generously, but none of that is uncomfortable. None of that is hard. In fact, it can be quite easy. 

Loving the world can seem hard, but I think it’s because we start backwards. We try to love the world before we are madly in love with the Creator of the world. Maybe if we loved our Father more than the world, then loving on the world wouldn’t be so hard.

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It would be quite easy. Then doing what is uncomfortable wouldn’t be so difficult. It would seem natural. Maybe that is how we were created to live.

Love really can start a fire. One that can’t be put out.

Lord, light a fire in my heart for you. Let the world not dampen the flames. Burn so that it can’t be physically contained any longer.

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