My name is Kathy.
I was born under a pew. Okay, not really but that’s what it often felt like. I lived in small towns where my dad pastored communities, not just churches, and everyone knew who everyone was along with all of their business. Even though my household was small with my pastor-dad, teacher-mom, big brother and me, my giant extended family created laughter, fun and plenty of cousins at holiday or summer vacations.
I can’t tell you about the first time I said Yes to Jesus, but I can talk about many of the DAYS I have said Yes. The day I said “Yes” to a call on my life, followed by a “Maybe”, a “Can We Compromise on That?”, and finally a “Yes” again. There was the day I said Yes, I choose to forgive, even though I don’t know how. The moment I said Yes, I need you to forgive me (yet) again. Of course, there was also this morning. Another day, and another Yes. Each one different, but the same. Because the Yes always brings breath to my lungs, and life to my day.
I think about ladies like Sister Hilliard when I think about sharing my testimony. She used to always stand up and start her testimony by saying, “I just wanna thank God for saving me and keeping me.” When I was a teen (without a fully functioning brain that should have known better), I used to wonder or pray about having a better testimony. Mine seemed so bland. I’ve been a believer. But oh, I grew and I learned. I’m a kept woman. Not how the world would define that of course, but how my King does. He’s kept me close by His side, even when I’d stray. He’s kept me safe, even when I’d walk straight into harm. He’s kept me whole, even when others would break me. And He’s kept me going, even when depression and anxiety should have had its way. I’m a kept woman. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I remember sitting on the couch, curled up in a ball one night. One lamp was on, but otherwise the room was dark and I was face to face with my unsaved self. Around 2am, Ben came out to the living room, wondering where I was, then seeing the silent but massive tears streaming down my face. Was I okay? Could he do anything? But it was something I had to work through with God alone. You see, I had been studying for small group when I was suddenly faced with an image of who I would be without Jesus. If I held myself to the standard of His Words in the New Testament, I was a lying, cheating, murderous, bad-word-for-a-woman. In that moment I was overwhelmed with the darkness that I’d live in without him, and overcome by His grace, His mercy, and His love. Instead of lies He brings Truth. Instead of cheating He brings loyalty and integrity. Instead of murder He brings reconciliation. And instead of that bad-word He brings a calling, a future and a reputation based on loving Him. And instead of it being that bad, He shows me just how good it really is. So with wonder and trust I step out and follow that calling He put on my life that drew a Yes from deep down within. So I love. I parent. I pastor. I lead. I plant. Or to put it plainly, I’m married to an amazing man, I have five adopted kids, I’m a senior pastor, a church planter and coach and I do my best to lead well as I follow Christ. My life looks different than what many people have ever seen. But that’s okay. God’s writing this story, not anyone else.
I desperately want God to be the highlight of my story. I want open doors that without Him would have been shut to be seen in every chapter. I want boldness and confidence and endurance to be seen in my life that has nothing to do with my strength, and everything to do with His. I want churches that grow and thrive and produce life-long disciples and pastors and missionaries and business leaders and healthy families and more churches. I want generations that remember me the way I remember my grandmother– sitting there in her chair at that giant family Christmas, with all of her kids and their spouses and their kids, who all love Jesus, also loving each other and enjoying laughter, fun, and plenty of cousins.
My anchor verses:
1 Timothy 4:12 – “Let no man despise your youth, but be an example of the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity.”
Psalm 51:13 – “Give me a job teaching rebels your ways, so the lost can find their way home.”
Habakkuk 2:3 – “For the vision is yet for the appointed time. It hastens towards the goal, and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it, for it will certainly come.”