Featured Guest Blogger: Loving My Children, Katie Faris
I am so excited to introduce the Hope in the Unexpected© readers to my friend Katie of the page, Loving My Children and the Katie Faris blog. Katie and I met through the Her View From Home site as we are both contributing writers. Our relationship really began to deepen when I reached out to her while in the NICU with my son. I remember we were really struggling to diagnose his condition and God brought to mind a piece of hers I had read previously. Her piece encouraged my heart so much that I reached out to her and it was the beginning of a beautiful, blossoming friendship.
Wednesday, on our Facebook Live Q&A Katie and I discussed the suffering found in motherhood. With an open heart Katie shared from her personal experiences in suffering and encouraged us to run to God in those unexpected and difficult seasons. I hope you’ll consider catching the playback because there was simply too much good stuff to transcribe here.
Read on to learn more about this incredible woman of God and why I am honored to have her and her words featured here on the Hope in the Unexpected© blog.
Jessika: Have you always wanted to be a writer? Tell us a bit about how God called you to writing.
Katie: Yes and no. Growing up, I wanted to be a writer, a missionary, and a wife and mother. In God’s kindness, he gave me opportunities to serve in Christian ministry, and he allowed my life to intersect with a godly man; together, the Lord has blessed us with five wonderful children.
But over the years, in different seasons, the Lord has used a variety of people to remind me that “writing” might play a role in my life. Some of them profoundly dramatic. For example, in my early 20s, I was at a Christian conference, and a woman I didn’t know walked up to me and gave me a journal, telling me that she believed the Lord wanted me to write.
A few years ago, after stepping back from writing for a season, I was reading a book that prompted me to wonder if it might be time to start writing again. I shared the burden with my husband and we prayed about it together, just before going to sleep. The next morning, a friend texted me and said that she had been burdened to pray for me the night before, and that I needed encouragement. She thought it had to do with writing. Wow. Lord…
I didn’t start writing immediately, but over the next month or so, I decided to start a blog. Another friend encouraged me to write some articles. I connected with some other writers. And over the past two years, the Lord has opened more doors for writing, even leading to a book contract. So yes, I’m writing a book that will most likely be published next spring.
Jessika: What is the inspiration behind the name of your blog, Loving My Children?
Katie: “Loving My Children” comes from the title of a short book I wrote a few years ago. As a mom with two young boys, with a third on the way, I wanted to grow in understanding how to apply “biblical love” to parenting. That first manuscript grew into a teaching for a class at our church. After it was taught a couple of times, my husband helped me self-publish it to make it available to a broader audience.
In 2013, between writing the initial manuscript in 2010 and publication in 2015, we faced some significant life changes. My husband had a job change. Our first daughter was born. And then after a season of one child’s illness, three of our (then) four children were diagnosed with the same rare genetic condition. It was paralyzing. The grief was disorienting.
So, by the time I started my Facebook blog in 2019, I kept the title “Loving of My Children” from my book, but it had taken on new depths of meaning. I was freshly aware that children are a gift, and of their fragility. I was learning to love them through in new ways – through specialist appointments and distributing medications. And I had faced my fear of losing them.
In retrospect, I’m so grateful for how the Lord used the writing of that book to equip and prepare me to love my children in ways I didn’t know I would need to.
As a side note, especially as I prepare to write another book and hope to address topics that include but aren’t limited to motherhood, my website blog is now simply katiefaris.com.
Jessika: What is the mission of your blog?
Katie: For me, writing is stewardship and ministry. As a Christian, I believe God gifts and equips believers in all different ways to help build one another and the church. Consistently, writing seems to be an area that I come back to, and even though I don’t know what stewardship with this gift might look like in different seasons, my ultimate hope is to be faithful to the Lord, glorifying him and inviting him to use me to encourage others through my writing.
As the Lord has comforted me in my sorrow surrounding my children’s condition, I want to extend his comfort to others. One way I want to do this is by sharing stories of God’s faithfulness in our family’s life and consistently pointing people to God’s Word. As I do, I want my readers to experience the comfort, hope, and encouragement of Christ.
Jessika: What can readers expect from your piece that will be featured on Hope in the Unexpected©? Can you give us a teaser? Who is the piece to? What is it about?
Katie: Sure! As Jessika and I interacted, we decided to share an article that I wrote for The Gospel Coalition and also shared on my website blog. It’s called “Motherhood Is a Call to Suffer (In Hope).” I love that God’s Word doesn’t ignore or deny the reality of suffering. Instead, it provides a context for suffering that validates a mother’s plight. In the article, I share three truths about God’s Word that have helped me: 1) God’s Word explains why mothers suffer; 2) it sustains mothers with hope; and 3) it tells believing mothers, “You won’t always suffer.”
Jessika: What is one thing you want readers to take away from your writings?
Katie: Your experience, and my readers’ experiences, might not involve a rare genetic condition, but we all suffer in a variety of ways.
Some forms of suffering are more dramatic, or more traumatic, than other forms. Some are short-term and others chronic. They might include a child’s diagnosis or a parent’s cancer, prolonged singleness or an unwanted divorce.
Whatever it looks like, our suffering can cause us to ask questions—about God, his character, and his ways. I want to help others trust God and live faithfully for him not just on the other side of their difficulties, but right in the middle of them.
Be sure to check back Saturday to read Katie's exclusive piece for the Hope in the Unexpected© readers. In the meantime, you can read more of Katie's pieces by subscribing to her blog Katie Faris, or following her on facebook or instagram.