Her name is Catherine and she’s nine years old now.
I met her when she was eight. She was a little girl with close cropped dark hair and eyes like looking into a well at midnight. I had a nose ring then, a silver hoop. She used it to identify me, asking for me by pointing to her nose and saying “Sista.”
She was bilingual, just not in English. Bahasa–the official Malaysian language–was natural to her, and Tamil tumbled over her tongue.
In the instant when she walked into the children’s home, blue and white pinafore slightly askew and little hands fisted over her backpack straps, I knew she was my girl.
I spent April 2012 with her arms wrapped around my neck. She fell from the swing on the playground; I carried her home. She learned an English word; I learned a little Bahasa. She tickled my stomach and then laughed uncontrollably when I went after her in return.
And when, one night, she stopped breathing, fainting from panic, I bolted from the house, running as I have never run, for help. I stayed on my face, interceding, until she came home.
I prayed about staying behind, quitting my Race and living in Malaysia with her.
But God said no.
In the middle of this, I wrote. I wrote about our daily routines and the way we’d fall asleep with our feet pressed together. My heart was expanding far beyond it’s previous capacity for love.
The last time I saw Catherine, I walked her to the van that took her to school. She didn’t cry or kiss me or say, “I go too!” as she had all the weeks before. And when she drove away, my heart splintered into a million pieces that God laid into a simple path leading me back to the purposes of His Kingdom.
But it didn’t stop with me.
At some point between now and then, another girl in America named Emily read the stories I wrote about Catherine and felt something stir in her spirit. She started praying about going on the World Race and was recently accepted onto V Squad, which launches in September. She wrote a blog that told me about the effect Catherine had on her life. I got the message last night and just wept.
My little girl is bringing Kingdom and she doesn’t even know it.
I have prayed circles around this child, begging God to send people who could love her after I left. And He is. He is caring for our girl better than I could have, had I stayed myself.
More than that, He is showing me the fruit of seeds planted almost a year ago, seeds that were sown with tears and a broken heart. He’s showing me a love too big to be contained in time or space. He’s explaining His purposes behind Catherine in my life, purposes that include Catherine as a rallying cry for future Racers.
The thing is, He doesn’t owe me that explanation. It wouldn’t be out of line for Him to say, “Just trust me.” But He knows that right now, I’m struggling in that area, and so He’s giving me a promise fulfilled to hold onto.
And honestly, I feel like He’s given me a star. A little piece of light to hold in my heart. Something warm and shining and mine.
Catherine’s bringing Kingdom. He used her to bring Kingdom in me.