Sunday, October 23, 2011

31 Days of Letting Go: Katie Davis Book Review

I struggle to find new words to relay my journey of the past twenty months. What more can be said? I was slapped in the face by reality. For the first time ever, I touched the very edges of humanity, and I was surprised by the burn. In no time flat, the world didn't make sense any more. It was perplexing. Unfair. I didn't want everything to change. I was cozy under my blankets. I did my best, for a time, to jam the pieces together anyway. Oh, I'll make them fit. I'll still live right here, right in this safe place. I can share a chunk of my broken heart with them without actually going there...right?

Well, of course that didn't work. I knew it all along. Because once your heart changes the only thing left to do is let it lead. It wouldn't be right to trap a changed heart in an unchanged life. It would go back to its old way. It would forget the things it had learned. As much as that sounded safer and a lot less complicated to my mind, this changed heart beat back louder. It almost always wins, this heart.

So right now, right when I'm feeling my way through the aches and the thrills and the pinchy toes of change, I pick up Katie Davis's book and suddenly my life feels easier again, in contrast.

Here is a girl who really understands the dusty vaporness of this life.

She was a regular girl living cushy in the suburbs. She had a nice boy who loved her, the college of her choice on the horizon. Then she took a trip to Uganda and her heart split wide. Her passion to share the love of Jesus - the love that she herself knew - drove her heart to crazy ends. She wanted to stay.

Her parents said no. Her friends thought she was nuts. In time, they relented. She was allowed to go back, one last time, just to get it out of her system. Then she would return to the States and live the life they thought she was meant to live - a life of education, wealth, security. A life blind to the plight across the ocean. A life lead by her head and not her heart.

In the end, that's not the way it all went down. Over time, her parents' hearts changed, too. They let go of the dreams they held up in hope for their daughter and they allowed room for new dreams to take shape.

Katie is now in her early twenties. She is single. She sees to the basic care and education of 400 village children. She has adopted fourteen Ugandan daughters of her own. She is their Mama - forever.

My family, adopting these children, it is not optional. It is not my good deed for the day; it is not what I am doing to 'help out these poor kids.' I adopt because God commands me to care for the orphans and the widows in their distress. I adopt because Jesus says that to whom much has been given, much will be demanded (see Luke 12:48)...
-Kisses from Katie

She let go of almost every last thing. She lost her life so that she could find it.

She sees that God doesn't trace a line between his American children and his African children. We're all just His. We're all a family, we need to take care of each other.

This book, written in her own words, cuts to the heart of every emotion involved in laying it down, all of those things that we cling to to the death. She doesn't sugar coat. She talks about how hard it is to break into a culture so different from her own. She talks about the times she gets lonely. The times she gets tired. The times she wants to close her drapes to the death at her doorstep and take an eight-hour bubble bath. But mostly, she talks about the joy that she never even imagined. She talks about the fact that her life right now is a no-brainer.

She quotes Frederick Buechner, saying, "The place God calls us to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet."

This is why it's not optional. This is why safety and seclusion are not a calling, even when we snap our eyes shut so tight and wish, wish, wish that they could be.

So the anxiety bubbles up a little, reading these words, because it's all so open-ended, the world's deep hunger so vast. Who knows where it is that God's calling me. It's enough to make me just a little jittery. But oh, to know that deep gladness. My heart beats faster at the thought.

Find Katie's book here. Pick up a copy. Pass it around. Let it change your heart. Then lead your heart lead on.

Read Katie's blog.

Support Amazima, Katie's ministry.

*For the rest of the Letting Go series, click here.


  1. so blessed by her ministry! can't wait to read her book. lord, make us all putty in your hands and ready to let go of ourselves. and caught up in YOU and your plans.

    thanks for sharing, shannan!

  2. The book is on the nightstand, right beneath my Good Girl book. :)

  3. Your seiies leaves me a little breathless after reading each post - fear! But in a good way :) I just put Katie's book on hold at the library. Can't wait to read it. Thanks.

  4. Oops, that was supposed to be "series"

  5. I have been a quite lurker here for a while now. I have been doing the 31 days too, and just found it crazy that on the 23rd I also posted about Katie Davis!! Just thought I'd share :)

  6. I LOVE this!!! I am reading this amazing book too, when we were in Jinja this past summer we were looking for her house and hoping to run into her at the market. What an incredible woman!!

  7. I just finished reading it too. AMAZING - the only word I can come up with. I am going to read it again just in case I missed something. Can't get it off my mind....or heart.

  8. i better read this book.

    i love the Truth in losing your life to find it. i just need to remember it requires more than just a mindset, but action, too.

  9. Your words are so inspiring. Life is such a crazy thing. We are headed down a path similar to yours-one where we give up things that the world thinks are normal and head to a place where family, faith and being a light are the only things that matter. Thanks for sharing your heart.

  10. I love Katie, I was so excited when Amazon told me about her book (they know me well... :)

    She challenges me so much as do you, friend.

    xox, jenny

  11. Can't wait to read this book! Her story tugs at my heart and stirs my heart in a big way.

  12. I love Katie and her heart. I remember the first time I read her story on her blog and I just cried. Such a love of the Lord and a willingness to go and do what he commands. I can't wait to read this book.

  13. Thank you for sharing your life journey with us. I am praying for you and your family. I also just finished reading Katie's book. What an incredible example of God's love for this broken world.

  14. AMEN! I am challenged by this, in so many ways.

  15. "It wouldn't be right to trap a changed heart in an unchanged life"...Gurl! I love it! So beautiful wise words. Thank you for them!
    -Ceci Loves

  16. Thanks for letting us take the book home with us!! I too can't get it off my mind, and I hope God tattoos it on my heart.

  17. I for one, am not interested in living a safe little, snug little, tucked in tight little life anymore. It's a sort of prison, comfort, and I am excited to be free. Who knows what will happen?
    We can do anything! ANYTHING! With Him.

  18. Wow. I tear up, asking "where is 'that place'?" Definatly on this journey. May my heart be changed, and unable to stay in an unchanged life!!


  19. Thank you so much for sharing "katie" with us! Her story and life are so inspiring! And a bit of a slap in the face that I really needed! I've decided to gift Katie's book and a necklace to those on my Christmas list this year. I pray they are as moved as I am!

    I also pray and think of your family often! May God be with you all in this new venture! Im looking forward to hearing where he directs you!

  20. "It wouldn't be right to trap a changed heart in an unchanged life." -That was so of the Lord. Thanks for your vulnerability and letting the Lord speak through you.

  21. shannan - you have such a gift of expression His truth. thank you for sharing and keep sharing!!!

  22. Shannan, I just wanted to invite you to visit my friend, Amanda Lawrence, at Visiting Orphans. They have a website and a Facebook page. They do a lot of mission trips just to visit and love on orphans in several different countries.

  23. oh golly, miss molly! you are rocking my world with these posts. xo