What a joy it was to be Katie’s mom. I’m so thankful for every precious moment, every time of laughter, every tear, and every serious talk I had with her. Katie was a true gift from heaven born on a sunny 70 degree spring-like weather day on March 7, 1987. She joined her brother Brian who was 4 years old. When she was born, I was so surprised to see her blue eyes as mine were green and Jerry’s were brown. After seeing them, we decided to call our precious baby girl “Catherine” after my mother who had died of cancer when I was only 8 years old. She also had blue eyes.
At a young age (5-6 years old) Katie was very loving. She would hug so forcefully, some of my adult friends would fall over! Katie had a way of brightening up any room when entering it. She had radiance and joy. Her voice was bubbly, and she would jump up and down when she was excited. One time in particular was when her little sister Laura was born when she was 7 years old. Katie was happy to be a big sister and proudly wore her BIG SISTER button. Whenever I would watch her sing in Kids’ Choir, her voice was one of the loudest and her mouth was “wide open” while singing praise to the Lord. What a delight to watch her.
When Katie was 10 years old, our church held special services called “revival” services which were held 3-4 times per week. There were wonderful speakers sharing about the love of Jesus. Katie was very interested in the speakers and would write intently in notebooks on all they were sharing. She asked us to drop her off at church if we weren’t able to attend. The music and praise was so beautiful. Katie would dance with joy before the Lord.
When Katie was 12 years old at 6th grade church summer camp in Carlinville, she felt the Lord’s calling (along with her friend ) to become a missionary to India. I remember being surprised to hear this news but excited that she was hearing from the Lord. Katie truly had the call on her life for India where she wanted to care for the young girls who were sold into prostitution. This call on her life never left her despite a period of depression. (See category “Depression.”)
In the summer of her junior year 2004, Katie went on a missions trip with her church youth group to Portugal that transformed her life. She saw that God worked everywhere and she came back with a renewed passion for the call God had placed on her life for India. We praise the Lord for this trip!
After high school, Katie was called to Master’s Commission in Rockford, Illinois. Master’s Commission is a 9 month discipleship program to get closer to God. Katie wanted to find the quickest way to get to India to help those young girls in such desperate situations. Katie never completed the Master’s Commission program. We see the Lord had other plans for her life and ours as well. As Pastor Jeremy DeWeerdt, director of Master’s Commission, spoke at her funeral, “Katie came to Master’s Commission to get closer to Jesus….mission accomplished.”
Even though Katie is not here with me on this earth, my love for her continues to grow as love is so strong and “never dies.” She gave me a precious letter before going away to school in the fall sharing her love for me and thanking me for taking care of her since infancy. She encouraged me to help others and by doing so I will be laying up treasures in heaven that will not be destroyed.
Now when I am at church singing praise and worship songs, I picture Katie dancing joyfully before Jesus with her tie-dyed skirt, twirling around with her long brown curls flowing. It gives me great joy, for I know that I will see my Katie again!