God’s plan – bigger than mine!

This is a little late, but better late than never!

So, this whole time God was really speaking to me through the story of Abraham about just going… So I knew he wanted me to just go back to the orphanage I went to this spring, but I didn’t want to go.. So I argued with God for a really long time about other alternatives, but got nowhere. I knew I had to take that step and trust him. So after a few months of that, literally, in November, I finally surrendered to his will and said if you want me to go there, I will! And I sent the email to madam Jeannette at the orphanage.

She replied the next day and said they’d love to have me… and everything changed after that email. So I was talking to my oldest sister about it all and my doubts and concerns, and she was saying how sometimes it’s really hard to interpret what God is trying to tell us. (No joke!) That maybe God was just laying that little boy on my heart because he really want me to pray for him, because there’s probably not many people praying specifically for him. Then she told me that I needed to write down every option I have and pray about it. So that’s what I did! The more I prayed, I had confirmation that I just needed to pray for him. I was telling someone about it and just the questions I had and they piped in and were like, well maybe it’s like the story of Abraham! I was like, what?? That’s the story God has been using to tell me to go, not to stay. They replied the story of Abraham and Isaac. That maybe God was taking you up the mountains to see if you have a willing heart. Then I went to church the next day and the sermon was about Abraham and Isaac and God wanting a willing heart…

So I continued to pray for Sebastian and decided that I wasn’t going to Haiti unless God made it clear that I should at this point.

But I still had doubts of “what if I’m supposed to go?”

So in this time of waiting I ran into a swim coach that I had known for years and he was talking to me and telling me I needed to get back in the water and start swimming. He was saying that I needed to go somewhere where it would pay for my school and just enjoy the last couple years. So I really started praying about that too. He was the CEO of the team and told me that while I figured things out I wouldn’t have to worry about anything and that they could even help me find a job while I was swimming. So I told him that I was going to take the week and pray about it, because I was going to help my sister with her kids for the week.

So while I was at my sisters, I got a text from my youngest sister saying she had got a text from Molly, who works for convoy. Molly said… “Hey! I have big news for your sister… I’m in Haiti this week and went to madam Jeanette’s orphanage and Sebastian’s not even there anymore. I guess his mom came and picked him up!”

Like WHAT?!?! This was the final confirmation that I wasn’t supposed to go now. I had specifically been praying that God would give Sebastian a family and that He would know Jesus when he grows up. I was amazed and in awe of how God works!

So I decided I was going to start swimming again, and plan to be in shape to go somewhere fall 2016. It all just made sense. So, I was at a club meet this past weekend talking to one of the club coaches and he was asking about if I had figure out a job for this spring… Then I told him that I actually thought I was going to take some classes to get them out of the way. And one of the old colleges coaches piped in and said that he didn’t think I could do that because it would mess up my eligibility… So I drop my classes and went to talk to compliance people about it first thing Tuesday morning. I was so thankful that I found out Sunday, not Tuesday. Definitely God keeping me in line.  Had I simply been enrolled in classes for a single school day, then I would have lost an entire year of eligibility. I figured out that because I started classes in fall 2015, but didn’t finish that my eligibly was messed up and I basically had two options. Go back to Arkansas and take 24 hours before the end of the summer or go to the school I was going to go to and spend an academic year in residency before I could swim. So, the second option was really the only options, There was no way I could take 24 hours before the end of the summer. So I found out Tuesday, January 19th, that I was moving to Indianapolis and got there by Friday the 23rd. God is so good!

 

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Abandoning the “American Dream” – Updated

A few of you may have already read bits and pieces of this, but I’ve made a few changes since then just to give y’all a little more background… The last few weeks/months have been very hard for me, but at the same time it is so exciting to watch God unveil what He has planned for me. I look back at making my decision to quit swimming and remember a conversation I had with a friend. I was telling her how, I knew it was time for me to quit swimming, this isn’t where God will use me the most, but I was scared to death to quit. You see, not because I thought it was the wrong decision… but rather because I knew it was the right decision. With swimming, I knew where my path would lead, I’d be back at school no questions about it, swimming for the Razorbacks, following the path I had always dreamed of, and pursuing the “american dream.” But I knew that as soon as I gave up swimming, all this security was lost. It was a complete surrender to Christ to use my life as He pleases. I knew that there was a possibility that this may not take me back to school, or along the path many saw as successful, and as I told her, “I could so see God telling me to move to Haiti and adopt a little kid…” I was kinda joking when I told her that last part. At least I thought I was.

Well… God wrecked my life. And my plans. He is continually speaking to me about how He took care of Abraham and how Abraham trusted Him. “God told Abram, ‘Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.'” (Genesis 12:1) When He told Abram to go, He didn’t tell him the details of where He was supposed to go or how, He just told him to go, and Abraham obeyed. Because of Abram’s obedience, we have all been blessed because Jesus was a decedent of Abraham. I’ve finally come to terms with God about stepping out of my comfort zone, but honestly, I still am struggling with what I know He is telling me to do. I know He is telling me that I need to just go. But God is so good and He is our comforter. He has also given me the verse in Joshua 1:9 “Be brave and courageous for the Lord your God is with you everywhere you go.” As I write this right now I am reminded just how faithful He is and how much He cares for us. He is telling me to go, but He is also thoughtful enough to remind me that He is with me everywhere I go. I have nothing to fear for He is greater that every challenge I will face.

A few weeks ago, I withdrew from all my classes at the U of A and God-willing, December 28, instead of leaving for training trip in Puerto Rico, I will be getting on a plane to move to Haiti. I know, this is CRAZY. But God doesn’t call us to a life of the known and comfortable. I believe that God has created each of us to accomplish a global, radical, God exalting purpose that only each one of us personally can fulfill. How will the world ever see Christ in us if we never do anything that requires Him to be at work? I love this little section from the Experiencing God book by Blackaby;
“What our world often witnesses today is a devoted, committed Christian or church serving God. But they are not seeing God. They don’t see anything happening that can be explained only in terms of God’s activity. Why? Because we are not attempting anything that only God can do.
Our world is not being attracted to the Christ we serve because they are not seeing Him at work in our lives. They see us doing good things for God and comment, ‘That’s nice, but it’s not my thing.’ The world is passing us by because they do not want to get involved in what they see in our lives. We are not giving them opportunities to encounter God. They are seeing only us. Let the world watch God at work, and He will attract people to Himself. Let Christ be lifted up, not in words but in life. Let people see the difference the living Christ makes in a life, a family, or a church; that will affect how they respond to the gospel. When the world sees things happening through God’s people that cannot be explained except that God Himself has done them, the world will be drawn to such a God.”

Similar to quitting swimming, quitting school was one of the hardest things for me. It was me really taking that first step and going against the world’s idea of success to follow God’s fully. It was me completely abandoning every desire in me to finish and saying that He is worth it. This life is not my own, I am only a tool to further His kingdom. I think what we (meaning me) often forget is that when we are following God’s will and trusting in Him that He isn’t only thinking about how His plan will impact others, but His plan is what’s best for us too.

For the past however long I can remember, this has been my prayer. I realized just the other day that God has answered it in a big way. Audio Adrenaline ~ Believer

believer

I want to live this life unsafe, unsure, but not afraid
What I want is to give all I got somehow
Giving up letting go of control right now

Cause I’m already out here, blind but I can see
I see the way You’re moving
God how I believe that

I can push back the mountains, can stand on the waves
I can see through the darkness, Ill hold up the flame
Take me to the ocean I want to go deeper
I’m not afraid no, I’m a believer

And so I lose this life to find my way and come alive

They can try to deny whats inside of me
But there is more, cant ignore all the things unseen

Oh I believe I can walk on water with You, Lord

When I walk through the valley of the shadows
When I’m trapped in the middle of the battle
I will trust in You
Cause trouble comes, but you never let it take me
I hold fast cause I know that You will save me

I will trust in You, I will trust in You

Oh here I stand all alone waiting on you, Lord
Waiting on You.

I’m so excited for this adventure and can’t wait to share it with all of you! This is the sweetened condensed version – I’d love to share more for those who want to hear! Please be praying that God continues to show me the next step to make!

Love y’all,
❤ Katie

Everyone can do something.

First off, awareness is HUGE! How can someone make a difference if they don’t know why they need to make a difference?

A few simple ideas…

Change for change penny wars – collect change or have a competition between groups to see who can raise the most in change.

Water change – drink only water for two week or till you reach a set goal and put the money you would normally use on other drinks toward providing clean water.

Lemon-AID stand

Water walk – This connects the reality of walking that many people have to do on a daily basis just for the bare minimum water to survive. A water walk is a team activity that starts at a certain point and walks to a water source to collect water in jugs or other containers then walks back to the starting point. This is a great way to raise awareness and raise funds through donations!

Previous experience:

Hard practice to makes others lives easier – My club team supported Splash of H2Ope by letting me use the pool for a Saturday morning practice and got the kids on board and understanding how much of a privilege it is to have, use, and love clean water. They ask family and friends to support/sponsor them to be able to raise money for filters and then came in and did a really hard practice in honor of those without. It was really awesome to see even the really young kids think outside themselves and realize they could give back!

Heatsheet H2Ope – Another way that a club team has supported Splash of H2Ope was by putting a write up in their heat sheet at their meets and raising the price of heatsheets $1 and giving that to Splash!

My vision is that as other swimmers think about water, their love of it and our sport, that they would realize how incredible it is that we have the ability to do what we do but also think of those who do not have the same privilege and that they can change those lives!

The water filters that we are raising money for are Sawyer point one water filters, they last 20 years and filter up to 500 gallons of water a day. Each water filter cost $50 and is literally life changing for the family that receives it! How many families can you give a life changing gift to? Set a goal, and get started!

I’d love to hear what you are doing or any other fundraising ideas!

With H2Ope,
Katie

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The next chapter… bittersweet

Well, many of you already know this, but many of you may not. After a lot of prayer and fighting with God I know I have made the right decision to hang up the suit and be done with swimming. Well, that is to be done with swimming in the role of competitive swimmer. What in some ways feels like the end of an era… I believe is really only the beginning! The beginning of a challenge, the beginning of change, the beginning of a dream! About four years ago God placed in my heart a dream to change the lives of people struck by poverty in Haiti. I had this moment of realization and wonder… “How amazing would it be if God could use us a swim community who LOVE water to change a WHOLE world of people who NEED water?!?” four yrs ago I knew He could. And He began. Today I still know He can. Which brings us up to date. This is something that has been on my heart for so long and I’ve tried time and time again to get it done, but I’ve never had the time. Swimming has always taken all the extra time I had. Especially college swimming. I’ve wanted to do more, but couldn’t do more. Now I can.

In 2012 I started to wonder why I swam. “Why am I putting 20 plus hours a week into this sport?” All I could come up with was because I love it. I loved swimming (and still do) and that is why I did it, that was it. Then I started thinking about what that time could mean outside of the pool… Time that could be spent in so many different ways, changing people’s lives! What was I supposed to do? I couldn’t bring myself to just quit something I had done since I was four. I began to pray and wrestle with ideas. God started showing me that I could instead give swimming this same purpose… Maybe this sport I love could even be a part of changing people’s lives in a bigger way!

I was planning to go on my first mission trip that fall to Haiti and still trying to figure out what to do with swimming. I loved it but couldn’t justify it. After coming home and seeing the water problems first hand, I knew I HAD to do something. And I knew what to do. It made perfect sense. Using what we love… water… to give them what they need… water. So it began. I did what I could during my senior year while swimming and going to school and it worked okay. But I knew this wasn’t what it could be. Then I went to college and had no idea what to do or how to do it. Much less the time to make it happen. Then came the decision a couple weeks ago to continue to swim or not. I was having the same dilemma that I had just a few years earlier, but this time I couldn’t do it with the time I had. I knew God was calling me to do more. I knew He was calling me now, but that didn’t make the decision easier.

Quitting swimming was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. It wasn’t just something I did for a few years and decided I didn’t enjoy anymore. I started swimming when I was four and was involved in club swimming by the time I was 6. I spent countless hours loving and passionate about the sport of swimming and what it gave to me. I still love swimming. But there’s so much more!! And this is where I can’t justify it… I can’t justify not doing more because of swimming. God has called me to bigger things!! And one of those things is to do more and commit more time to this initiative. I hope that through this initiative, other swimmers will be able to say they are a part of something bigger. That swimming isn’t just something they love, but something that is changing the world. That they can literally save someones life through being involved in this sport. Can you imagine? This world needs… A Splash of H2Ope.

Represent!

Remaining T-shirts available, $15 plus shipping ($3). Keep an eye out, new designs in the works! They do tend to run just a little smaller as they are the soft style! Please email me size and quantity at SplashofH2Ope@gmail.com

All proceeds will do go towards the purchase of filters!

Wear it loud! Wear it proud! You can be the voice of Splash of H2oPe.

With H2Ope ~ Katie

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The U of A

Hi Everyone! Hope y’all are doing grand!! Oh boy, it’s been so long, but I haven’t forgotten about the Splash of H2ope initiative. College has been great, I love it here and couldn’t have chosen a better place to go! Go Hogs! It’s crazy that I’ve already been here a year. When I got here at the beginning of the year I was pretty overwhelmed and intimidated.. I wanted to continue Splash of H2ope, but had no idea where to start or what to do.

There was one girl who I found that was interested in doing water related community service, but I let my schedule take over. I let myself think that I was too busy, but I have learned a lot since then. One of the biggest things I have learned is that you are NEVER too busy! There is always time for the everyday stuff and you just have to make time for the important things in life.

So… I need your help! I still don’t know what to do or where to start, but I have to do something. I can’t not do something. The world is to broken for me to sit here and just move on. The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. I want to be a worker! I want to do what God has laid on my heart! And I want to do it well! I have a dream that one day, Haiti won’t have an issue with clean water. Currently, nearly 3 million people draw drinking water from rivers and unprotected sources in Haiti. That’s not ok! So what do we do? How do we help? I need your ideas! I have talked to a number of people here and everyone wants to do something, but what do we do? I don’t know, but action is key! Let me know what you think! I’m so excited for the journey that God will lead me on, US on! Can’t wait to hear some ideas!

With h2ope ~ Katie

Sources: Unicef.org/Haiti/French/

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Summer.

I have been absent… busy-ness has gotten the best of me this summer, I didn’t realize just how many little things I needed to get done before I leave for school NEXT month! Sorry!

So let me catch you up on Splash of H2ope! NorthWest Arkansas Aquatics was the first outside team to step up and partner with us. They did an awesome full page front cover ad in every heat sheet sold at their meet and a display with pictures and a slide show as well! As a team they donated $1 of every heat sheet sale, and put out a donation bucket! Their donation purchased 16 filters!! THANKYOU NWAA sharks!

Also, since last time I posted I got the privilege to go to the Rotary meeting where they presented the total amount of filters that have been purchased for Haiti! The ones we have been contributing included… 338 total filters!!! Of which… Splashofh2oPe has bought…. 192!! (Now over 200!!) Wow, you guys. That is SO huge!! God is so good!! I am so proud to be a part of this initiative. It’s only the beginning of a journey but in this short time it’s restored hope for me in the GOODness of my peers and people in general. You. Me. We. Are making a difference, lives are being lived! Kids will see tomorrow, another holiday, another birthday, another opportunity for truth to be spoken in to their lives. Forever changed, humbled, and continually blessed!

With h2ope – Katie