Space to Grow
By Angela Sanders
“Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance.” Proverbs 1:5
Sometimes all a child needs is a little space to become the person God designed them to be. This is certainly true for sixteen-year-old Katie, who has not only found the space, but also the support and guidance she needs to mature into the godly young woman she now desires to become.
“My mom and I didn’t have the greatest relationship,” Katie explains. “We love each other, but we also both like to get our point across. I’d like to say I don’t push my point as hard, but one thing I’ve learned is that it takes two to tango, so I can’t blame her.”
It was Katie’s idea to find a place to live away from her family. Together, she and her mother chose Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children.
“I had been to boarding school before,” Katie says, “but this place was different. I was actually a little afraid that we might have picked a place that was for really bad kids I didn’t want to go somewhere weird or extreme, but this place turned out to be way more homey than I ever expected. I was really moved by the warm welcome I got from the Hesses, who were my house parents. I felt a little shy at first, but I knew I was in the right place.”
“I love it here. All the adults are there for us whenever we need it. It’s a very spiritual place. Like, if something happens and we get upset about it, someone will bring up a verse and talk about it with us to help us see what it has to do with what we are going through. They really do that.”
Katie became a Christian when she was just ten years old. “I remember I was standing in my window at my house and started talking to God. I asked Him if He really loved me, and I felt a strong pull to call on His name. I did and was saved. My grandad, who is a preacher, baptized me. I know something changed in me that day. I’m happier and more energetic than I was before, and it changed my perspective on how people treat me. When they are super mean, I just remember that Jesus had to deal with stuff like that, so I can do it, too, with His help.”
Katie is thankful for the way her current house parents, the McClures, encourage her to grow in her faith.
“They do devotionals with us, and they aren’t afraid to talk to us about real stuff,” Katie explains. “They’re realistic, and they don’t beat around the bush. They always let us know what’s going on and tell us the truth, and I appreciate that. They are very wise people and seem to always say the right thing at the right time without making us feel bad. They’ve taught me it doesn’t help to get mad at God or anyone else. When you get mad, you just end up doing things you didn’t want to do. There are other ways of handling things.”
Eventually, Katie plans to become a realtor but is in no hurry to leave OBHC.
“I’ll at least stay until I’m eighteen,” Katie predicts. “It’s good here, and my relationship with my mom is healthy now. Plus, I like the school I go to, I enjoy the things I get to do, and I love the people I live with.”
To those whose financial gifts have provided Katie with the space she needed to adopt a new perspective on life, she offers enthusiastic thanks. “I don’t know where I’d be or what I’d be doing if I hadn’t come here,” Katie says. “I feel like I would probably still be wasting time trying to find meaning in life, but that’s not a problem now.”
*Katie’s photos have been changed to protect her privacy.