Oh, Yeah… I have a blog.

I sat down tonight to write this post, and I honestly had to think for a second about how to create a blog post. It’s been so long!!! I’m sorry I left you all high and dry last week. The first week of school was a doozey in and of itself, but we had a nasty virus run through our family that took each of us out of commission at different times, and left me playing Florence Nightingale all week. This weekend it was my turn, but I seem to have escaped with just a sore throat. Fingers crossed it stays that way!

On Saturday morning, I had the huge privilege of speaking to 130 women about answering God’s call at my church’s annual Women’s Breakfast. It was a really great morning, and I was so glad that my mom and grandma came down to attend with me. It was nice to have a little cheering corner while I spoke. And it was nice to have someone capture this one picture:


I thought today I would share my remarks with you all. Most of you probably have heard the story of our move from Connecticut to Florida, and many of you were following along right beside me while we went through the most stressful time of our lives. I’ve shared often about that experience, but until this weekend, I don’t think I’d ever looked at that experience as answering God’s call before. Looking back, though, I’m sure that’s what it was…


Good morning. My name is Katie Brown. My husband, Chris, and I have been members here for three years. I am a mom to two-year-old Gracie, and four-year-old Michael. By day, I am an eighth grade language arts teacher. It’s nice to meet you all. I am so honored to be speaking with you this morning. Never would I have imagined standing on a stage in front of so many women, talking about my faith. But I have prayed this week that if this is what God was calling me to do, then maybe he could also provide me with teleprompters like the President has. I have to say, my faith is a little shaken this morning because of the obvious lack of presidential prompters. Let’s all pray, then, that if God can’t provide me with a teleprompter, then he at least provide me with a clear voice this morning.

My husband, Chris, and I have been together since we were 15 years old. We grew up in the Florida panhandle, and the summer after we graduated from undergraduate, we moved to Connecticut where he began graduate school at Yale University. We loved Connecticut, and ended up buying our first house there right after he graduated three years later. We both had wonderful, high paying jobs, great friends, and a bigger house than anyone else our age. We were going into Manhattan for dinners with friends, to concerts at Carnegie Hall, and to see Broadway shows. For a 20-something couple who started out barely being able to afford rent, it was quite a life. We were still faithful people, but we hadn’t found a church to attend regularly in the six years we had been in Connecticut. Truth be told, we hadn’t really looked all that hard. And so our faith continued to sit quietly inside the little box that we put it in and only took out on the rare Sunday mornings that we attended church.

In our seventh year in Connecticut, Chris and I became a family with the birth of our son, Michael. It only took a few months of motherhood before I began to feel homesick in Connecticut, and I longed to be closer to our families back in Florida. Chris and I prayed about our move. We prayed for jobs to work out, for a nice place to live, for a smooth transition. And I felt God calling us home. Everything we had in Connecticut was wonderful and we had worked hard to create it, but it all paled in comparison to our sweet baby Michael, and I felt God calling me to a life with more substance.

We moved that summer to Orlando, and everything fell apart. My job fell through, leaving me to face unemployment at a terrible time in our country’s economy. The house we had rented for six months turned out to be in an unsafe part of town. Our money ran out about four months into our move. We had no health insurance and, in the middle of it all, I found myself unexpectedly and untimely pregnant again.

What we had originally seen as God’s calling had turned out to be a horrific experience and as my husband and I worked to get some semblance of feet back on the ground again, we both began to wonder if perhaps we had heard God wrong. We thought of our life that we had left behind in Connecticut and we both faced a terrible realization that we had made a mistake in moving to Florida.

One night, we went out to dinner at a friend’s house to celebrate the fact that I had finally landed a job interview and that things might actually start to look up soon. We came home that night to find that our rental house had been broken into while we were gone. They vandalized the house and stole all of our electronics and my jewelry, along with any sense of optimism, security, and the last shred of hope that I had been holding onto. And so I did the only thing I knew to do, I fell to my knees.

I remember my prayer vividly that night. I told God that I didn’t understand why he had called us here. I didn’t know what he wanted us to do or what I was supposed to be learning. But I knew that all we had left was our trust in him. That was it. He had literally taken everything else away from us.

And that’s when it clicked.

He had taken everything else away from us.

Could that have been God’s calling? Could God have called us out of a life of abundance and into a life dependent on faith?  Was that God’s calling? Not to a specific place, but to a specific kind of life? A life completely dependent on him?

In the three years that we have lived here in Florida, Chris and I have gotten our family back on its feet through prayer. We have learned to pray for EVERYTHING in our lives. For jobs and homes and health and joy and peace. We both ended up in jobs that we never would have chosen for ourselves, but that once God put them in our paths, we realized this was what we were created to be. We have bought a home and are continuing to make it our own day by day and prayer by prayer. Our paychecks are not what they ever were in Connecticut, and our lifestyle doesn’t even resemble our life there. But every need we have is met and then exceeded in ways we usually don’t even think to ask for. We have traded lavish expenses for family around our dinner table, and our beautiful, impeccably clean home in Connecticut for a fixer upper with Legos on the floor and the occasional action figure hidden under my pillow when I lay down at night.

And, you know, we couldn’t imagine our life any other way.

In the years since our move, my life has changed in such drastic ways that it could only be the hand of God. I have learned that when God calls me, it doesn’t always mean he is going to call me into perfect circumstances. Just because something is blessed by the Lord doesn’t mean it is easy. He promises us a path for the faithful, but he doesn’t promise that the path will be smooth. And I’m okay with that because I know now that the stumbles and challenges we might face in answering God’s call are not necessarily obstacles, but are actually mile markers on our journey.

When I heard the phrase “God’s calling,” I used to picture God pointing me down a path in the jungle. This path was wide and safe with walls that protected me and was lined with bright lights and angels pointing me in the right direction. That’s how I would know it was God’s call. Because the path was so clear that it couldn’t be anything else but God. I’ve learned instead that God’s calling isn’t quite so obvious or easy sometimes.

Now, when I hear that phrase, I instead picture peering into a jungle with vines and foliage so thick I can’t see more than foot in front of me. With mosquitos and bugs swarming, and with the sounds of animals and the call of birds squawking too close for comfort. And I picture Christ standing right beside me with his arm around my shoulder. I picture him turning to me and saying, “Okay, are you ready to walk through with me?” And then we begin to forge our own path, tripping and sometimes falling along the way as we encounter all sorts of pitfalls. But every time I feel afraid or become anxious as I wonder how much longer I can make it, I feel Christ squeeze my hand and whisper in my ear, “You are right where I have called you, and I am right here with you.”

Faithfulness ain’t for the weak, y’all. Sitting in a church pew on Sundays and praising our Lord is kids stuff. But living a life that is dependent on faith, even and especially when it feels like we are standing alone in a jungle of disappointment and chaos and confusion, that is answering the call. Pushing ahead when all we want to do is turn back, that is answering the call. Praying prayers that say, “I don’t understand what I’m doing or where I am supposed to be going,” that is answering the call, friends.

God’s call used to mean to me that God had opened the path where he wanted me to walk. But now I know that God’s calling in my life is whatever path it takes to draw me closer to him. When I step closer to Him, become more dependent on him, put my trust only in him, THAT is when I am answering God’s call. And he continues to be ever faithful throughout my journey.

And all God’s people said, “Amen.”

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39 thoughts on “Oh, Yeah… I have a blog.

  1. I’m not a religious person, but I still appreciated this blog post and its life lessons.

  2. LIssa

    Thanks Katie….Really enjoyed this one.

  3. Katie you spoke to my soul. This is something I deal with all too often. I have dealt with patience and not having my plan be His plan and learning that that is what I need to learn! Beautifully written as always!

  4. Trish D

    This is just what I needed to hear today. Thanks! Beautifully said. I keep reminding myself of Psalm 46:10..”Be still and know that I am God”.

  5. Definitely a good life lesson, even for those of us that are farther from faithful.
    Thank you

  6. Wonderful post. Following God’s call can be hard at times, but being where he wants is far better than any plan we could have.

  7. Tiffany

    I’ve been reading since the Connecticut days and I’m so proud of you for giving this talk and posting it! The Lord is using you in such a powerful way–it’s encouraging to watch your faithfulness unfold. And I love the image of the jungle. I’ve never thought of it that way before, but it’s so helpful! Thank you!

  8. Sounds like you were an awesome speaker!! Watch out or you will soon be speaking at women’s conferences all over! As I read this story not only did I love how the Lord has blessed y’all and taken care of you – through the most challenging of times, but all I could think of was Him bringing you home to be near family with all y’all have gone thru in the passing of your Dad. While I can’t even think of that, nor comprehend it without tearing up, I also think of how sweet God is to allow and lead the timing of your move. Forgive me for such an emotional comment, but your Dads picture popped up as I flipped to your blog and I had him on my brain as I read! xoxo

  9. I loved this post! I love your honesty and your heart. Thank you for sharing!

  10. Thank you for posting this…it was exactly what I needed to read this morning!

  11. Jen

    Thank you for this post. I am starting my new journey today as I wait about a month for the arrival of our first child. This is the first time ever I have not gone to be a student or a teacher myself and internally it is a struggle to make such a life change to be home for my family waiting for this baby. I needed this post to remember why this decision fell in my lap and that the call to God is not always having everything but making everything out of nothing.

  12. Janet

    Yes, indeedy, Amen. Do I have the faith to step where I cannot see? A question that gets asked everyday.

  13. Joanne

    Beautiful post! Your words truly spoke to my heart.

  14. Allison

    I loved reading this this morning. My husband and I recently moved 12 hours away from family for him to take a job in a very unfamiliar (to us) place. There are times during the past few weeks where we have wondered, “Was this the right thing to do??” but we know we were led here for a reason. Thank you for your encouraging post!

  15. Emily Becnel

    Thank you so much for sharing your speech. I have come a long way in my faith but I still have trouble finding a place where I understand why and how “everything will be ok”. Reading this has helped push me further towards that place.

  16. Nancy

    You have learned so much at such a young age. I am humbled by your insight. I would love to have you speak to the ladies at my church. A new career for you?

  17. Cindy

    Katie this is a great blog post- I am going to share it on my facebook page for all of my other mom friends who need a boost in their day. I am the discussion leader for my MOPs group this year and am praying that you will be able to come speak for us one day!! It is only an hour away from your Gulf Breeze family (I live in Fairhope, Alabama). Our theme this year is “A Beautiful Mess” and your speech would go along with that theme so well!!

  18. Pamela @ Little Red House

    Great speech, Katie. I especially like this line: “Just because something is blessed by the Lord doesn’t mean it is easy.” So very true. Very, very true.

  19. Thank you God for speaking to me today through Katie!!!! Awesome post girl!!

  20. Joke

    I’ve been following your blog since you were in Connecticut and it is a remarkable journey you and your family made indeed, Katie. Your honest posts about both struggles and good times give me confidence that I will be able to take on the challenge as well when my turn comes to start a family.
    I’m another less religious person but there is important truth for everyone in your speech.

  21. Andrea C

    Thank you for posting this! It’s something that I definitely needed to be reminded of right now.

  22. Great post Katie! I have been following your blog since you had been and am so grateful that you have allowed me to follow along on your amazing journey!

  23. Lissa

    Am I the only one not seeing any of the photos on this page? I tried in 3 different browsers…

  24. Lissa

    Sorry…just to clarify…I am seeing photos on the page, just none of the photos within the current post.

  25. This is wonderful, and I think your description of God’s calling is so appropriate. Sounds like you did a wonderful job sharing your journey!

  26. Lisa

    Wonderful, inspirational post.

  27. Amy VH

    I have followed your blog since Bean was a baby. I hardly ever comment but just wanted to let you know that your speech was wonderful. I am in the midst of a job change that I truly feel is God’s will for me and my family. Thanks for the encouragement!

  28. Suzanne


    We’ve talked about this before but boy do I ever feel you on this. I was just talking to God about this exact thing this morning.

  29. LOVE this post, Katie! Some of the best lessons are the hardest ones to learn, but man, are they ever life changing!

  30. Amen! This is beautiful! I’m so glad you shared it 🙂

  31. Melissa

    Thanks for sharing! This was really good! I have read been reading for a long time and have read through your archives and I really appreciated hearing your viewpoint now that you can see some of the “why” you had to go through things.

  32. Aileen

    Thanks for this awesome post, Katie. I’ve been struggling with trying to understand why what I see as God’s calling and path for me is so incredibly difficult sometimes. This post really helps put it into perspective for me. Because I’ve had to throw up my hands and say, “Okay, God, Your will, not mine,” so many times when I just couldn’t understand where the rainbows and sunshine had gone. I may be traveling through the jungle, blind and questioning at times, but never have I had to cling to hard to my faith. Thanks for this. I love your blog!

  33. Hi there.

    This so resonated with me it has me in tears. We have a similar story. We were living in Upstate NY with an amazing job for my hubby, had a home we loved, good money and had everything we needed. I got pregnant with my first daughter and we longed to be close to family in FL again. We both grew up in FL. We moved back and haven’t been settled since. We’ve been trying to buy a home for about 2 years now and everything keeps falling through. We’ve had a second baby since moving here and she’s almost 2. We’ve been longing for how good things were up North. We came to be close to family who we hardly see because everyone is so busy. The list goes on, we have lots in common and live in the Orlando area. Asking God where or what we’re supposed to be doing, we can’t see the forest for the trees right now and we’re so incredibly frustrated. Thank you for writing this, I know I was supposed to read it.

  34. Natascha

    I am so blessed to have met you while we were in Orlando. I wish I could have been there to here this wonderful speech. You wanted to “Bloom where you are planted”, well you did it!

  35. Jenna

    Thank you for these reminders and for your beautiful illustrations through words. I’m sure you brought down the house in your church that morning! 🙂

  36. I’m not a very religious person but this is really beautiful. I’ve been reading since you were pregnant with Bean and its been wonderful seeing you finally bloom. Hugs!!

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