The Cost

I’ve been listening to one particular song on repeat lately. It’s called “The Cost” by Rend Collective Experiment. Take a look at these awesome lyrics:

I’m saying yes to You and no to my desires
I’ll leave myself behind and follow You
I’ll walk the narrow road ’cause it leads me to You
I’ll fall but grace will pick me up again

I’ve counted up the cost
Oh I’ve counted up the cost
Yes I’ve counted up the cost
And You are worth it

I do not need safety as much as I need You
You’re dangerous but Lord You’re beautiful
I’ll chase You through the pain, I’ll carry my cross
‘Cause real love is not afraid to bleed

March 12th marked my 1 1/2 year anniversary of moving to Paraguay, so naturally this really got me thinking about my past 1 1/2 years and how different my life is now compared to what it was September 12, 2013 when I stepped off the plane in the Asunción airport and into my awesome life here in Paraguay. I went to have merienda (a 4th meal that we have here in PY! YEAH!) with one of my dear Paraguayan friends just a few days later and was telling her that that past Thursday marked my 1 1/2 year anniversary, and so naturally she asked me how I was feeling.

I started telling her how I’m frustrated that I’m still not communicating on a level where I would’ve liked to, how I’m still pretty homesick often, how it is lonely for me lots of times. And as I was pouring my heart out to her  it hit me that very moment that I was communicating something to her from my heart. I wasn’t telling her about “normal” everyday activities – what I did that day, what I ate for dinner, etc. I was communicating to her the hard and unlovely things that the Lord was bringing me through, and how I was feeling about them. And as I was realizing what was going on, the tears started to flow.

I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to learn a new language while living in a new culture, and doing it all without the support of a family or a husband, but let me tell you, it’s hard. When you *love* people and desire to have relationships with everyone you meet, it is a fairly hard place to be in when you suddenly are stripped of the only form of communication you knew and just have to figure it out. It’s easy to want to rush through this process to “just be able to communicate what I want to communicate”!

Anyway, back to the story. So, as I’m sitting there with my friend, I realized so many things all at once.
1: I had this lovely friend that invited me to spend time with her, and has invited me into her life. She loves Jesus and she’s awesome. I’m very thankful for her.
2: I was communicating things on a heart level when 1 1/2 years ago I could barely squeak out an “hola!”
3: God has grown me, taught me, loved on me, and refined me in so many ways I probably can’t even list them all out. What an AMAZING God I serve
4: I have been given the opportunity to walk with Christ in a totally different context. I never thought I could love any one place as much as I love Michigan, but in that moment I realized that there are so many things I love about Paraguay. I was overwhelmed with how much I actually do love this country. (While, yes. There are hard things bout living here that I’m sure I’ll NOT enjoy, but there’s things about my beloved MI that I don’t enjoy, either! 😉 )
5: God has provided me with some awesome (and I’m not using that term lightly here) people to know and love in this 1 1/2 years that I could never trade. I have a wonderful group of people here in Paraguay that the Lord has brought along to walk through the trenches with me. I have Paraguayan friends and NTM friends that pray for me, love on me, and support me on a daily (sometimes moment by moment!) basis.

So, I’m realizing these things, coupled with the fact that I was just 2 seconds ago wishing I would be done with this process and “just be able to communicate already” and wishing I already understood everything about Paraguayan life and culture.

And what a clash it was. I was shedding many tears. My beloved friend was shedding many tears.

In that moment I realized that had I been able to “skip” this process of learning language and culture and “just been able to communicate” and understand already, I would have missed out on all of the awesome things that God has done in my heart, in my life, and in the hearts and lives of those He’s brought along my path. He has taught me invaluable lessons about His character, what it means to really walk with Him, what true love and friendship looks like. He has given me friends that ‘are closer than a brother’ because they have walked with me through some of my hardest, darkest times, and has given me the opportunity to walk with them through their hard and dark times. God knew EXACTLY what He was doing when He called me here to Paraguay and gave me this task of learning language and culture here.

Someone last fall shared about wood, hay and stubble vs. gold and precious stones. If all we want is “easy and pleasant” work, we will only end up with wood, hay and stubble, and that will burn up within seconds – it’ll vanish like lightning. But if we want something that will last, gold and precious stones, it will hurt. It will take fire and pain. It will take roughing up. It will take suffering. But in the end, you’ll have something that will last for all eternity. I realized that what I thought I wanted (communicating clearly and understanding as quickly as possible!) wasn’t what I actually wanted at all. What I really wanted is exactly what the Lord has given (and will continue to give!) to me. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

And now, back to the lyrics of that song:
I’ll walk the narrow road ’cause it leads me to You
I’ll fall but grace will pick me up again ….
I do not need safety as much as I need You
You’re dangerous but Lord You’re beautiful
I’ll chase You through the pain, I’ll carry my cross
‘Cause real love is not afraid to bleed

The cost is worth it. The hard times and things that come along are worth it. The ugliness of life is worth it… Because of Christ, and HE’S WORTH IT.


  • Sharon Persons

    Oh dear Katie!! I think about you so often! I’m right there with you sister. My friend calls it “being in the trenches” together. I’m thankful for the struggle some days, some days I’m quite resentful of it and other days I’m both at once. Intellectually I know the struggle produces the gold and precious stones but I’m often too satisfied with hay and stubble. I want to WANT the good stuff. If that is my true desire, then the struggle is a gift and not something to avoid at all costs. I feel like a 4 year old stomping my foot most days. The image isn’t pleasant but funny. Reality is: only He knows best. Faith is real and we really do have to live it every moment of every day. Praying for you as you work in Asunsion and move on to your assignment wherever that may be. Miss you and Paraguay. So love that we have such great memories of our time there. Sorry I don’t write/encourage you more often. Loving you from afar….Sharon

    • KatieMae

      Hi! So good to hear from you!

      Yes, I am right there with you, acting like a 4 year old sometimes. I’m so thankful for the Lord, who is faithful to reveal those things to me though, and accept me even when I am acting like that! WHAT GRACE!!

      Anyway, Don’t feel bad. I don’t write to you enough either. BUT I am always thankful for you and the short time I was able to spend with you. 🙂

      Love you!

  • Sharon Szegedy

    A friend whose church supports your ministry has put me in touch with your website today. Your words are powerful and cut to the heart of what I am going through these past 3 weeks. You helped to remind me that the cost is truly worth it! As you said, the ugliness of life is worth it…because of Christ! I will listen to the song and pass it on to someone who needs to listen. The Lord speaks through music and songs. He has created special people in this world who have the awesome gift of writing and performing wonderful music.
    Thank you for loving Jesus and sharing your heart with us. You are an answer to prayer today for me. God bless you and I am praying for you.
    Love Sharon

    • KatieMae

      Hi Sharon!
      SO good to hear from you! Can I ask what church your friend is from? And how funny to think of how small the world is, eh?! 😉

      Glad the Lord could use this to encourage you! I’ll be praying that He will be stretching and growing you, and that you’ll be able to be leaning on and relying on Him through it.

      Thanks for praying for me!! I appreciate it LOTS!


  • Linda

    Katie, sweet Katie,

    I wept right along with you as I read your story. It is only after God has brought us through something that we appreciate just how “Wonderful” He is. I am so thankful for you and your mission in Paraguay and I thank God for you.

    Hugs & prayers,

    Linda Long

    • KatieMae

      LINDA! 🙂

      Thank you for the note! And, YES! I’m SO thankful that he gives us those little glimpses of how Wonderful He is! And it makes me thankful for Heaven, where we will truly see Him in all of His splendor. 🙂 Love it.

      THANK YOU for praying, Linda! I am so very thankful to have you guys, too, going “through the trenches” with me!


  • Carmelita

    Katie, I loved reading this newsletter! I pray for you often and very often for perseverance in your studies. Your love for people and to communicate with them is so encouraging! We do miss you, but trust in Gods wonderful plan for you!

    Love, Aunt Carm

    • KatieMae

      Hey Aunt Carm! 🙂

      Glad you enjoyed reading it. THANK YOU for praying for me! I know HE is the only reason that it is even possible, and that you’re prayers are helping so much. 🙂 As well as your encouraging notes and pics and your awesome kids…anyway. Love and miss you guys lots!

  • Mom

    Crying with and for you and me! Still miss you but encouraged and know you are where the Lord wants you! Life’s lessons are hard but He is so worth it! Thanks for sharing your heart and will always be praying for you KT.
    “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. amen I Perer 5:10-11
    I love you!

    • KatieMae

      Sorry you cried, momma! But I love you! We serve and AWESOME God! And without awesome ‘rents like you guys, I wouldn’t be here, so thanks for being faithful to HIM!! (Thanks for praying for me, too!)

  • Cris

    Loved it.. While we have the privilege to witness the process “live”, it’s very very interesting to read it, from a different perspective, and get to listen to your heart giving praise to Him who is doing such amazing things in your life. Love those lyrics as well. 🙂
    You’re such a blessing to us, you’re such a blessing to me -even more in this particular time in my life.
    “Fiel es el que hizo la promesa” (Hebreos 10:23)
    Love you!

    • KatieMae

      Cris! 🙂
      Sí, mi amiga. También vos sos unas de las grandes bediciones en mi vida. Estoy muy agradecida por vos y tu amor, siempre. Te quiero mucho!

  • Pastor Johnny

    Katie, what a wonderful testimony you are of God’s grace in your life! May God continue to sustain and encourage you as you serve Him!

  • Amy

    Love you Katie !! Thank you for sharing… Ministry is hard and the work of it is often painful. There are many times when I want to hit the fast forward button too! I am so very thankful that our God is so very faithful, gracious, loving, good, big, patient, …. !!!! Wish I could give you a big hug over a coffee 🙂 We are praying for you too !!!