On Living and Leaving


“What brought you to Nashville?”

“Life.” Life is always my answer. Sometimes people give me a perplexed look & ask me to explain. Then I get to tell them the story & that’s my favorite part.

More life has been crammed into the last three years than I could’ve ever imagined. But I’ve learned that when you commit to living & not just surviving, God will be faithful in giving you that desire of your heart.

I don’t think I was prepared for the grieving that comes along with living. In my experience, being alive requires a lot of things to die. Sometimes even good things. Friendships. Work. Experiences. Traditions. Good things that are ideal distractions from greater things. It’s that “seasons” thing we talk about – at some point the winter will come, it always does, to kill off the old & make room for the new.

A friend shared a passage from “Through Painted Deserts” with me a few months back that nearly brought me to tears. It was one of those moments where you feel like an author wrote those words just for you…

And so my prayer is that your story will have involved some leaving and some coming home, some summer and some winter, some roses blooming out like children in a play. My hope is your story will be about changing, about getting something beautiful born inside of you, about learning to love a woman or a man, about learning to love a child, about moving yourself around water, around mountains, around friends, about learning to love others more than we love ourselves, about learning oneness as a way of understanding God. We get one story, you and I, and one story alone. God has established elements, the setting and the climax and the resolution. It would be a crime not to venture out, wouldn’t it? 

It might be time for you to go. It might be time to change, to shine out. 

I want to repeat one word for you:


Roll the word around on your tongue for a bit. It is a beautiful word, isn’t it? So strong and forceful, the way you have always wanted to be. And you will not be alone. You have never been alone. Don’t worry. Everything will still be here when you get back. It is you who will have changed. 

I am in a season of metaphorical leaving. I’m not moving, not even taking a long trip anywhere. But leaving nonetheless.

A friend asked me today how I’d been. I told him I was hanging in there. He asked if I thought this time was going to end up somewhere good or if it felt aimless. I told him I thought it would be good. That it was hard because I was choosing hard. I got tired of feeling like I had settled into going through the motions, yet again, so I made a choice to dig in. To have hard conversations. To do the hard work of growth.

Winter is dragging on but I sense Spring coming. And I have hope that even this chapter belongs in my Nashville story. My grandpa asked me a few months back if I planned to stay here forever. I told him absolutely, if I had it my way! But even when you find home, it would be a crime not to venture out now & again, wouldn’t it?

In the Mystery

We were catching up on life while several hundred folks swirled around us. It had been a year since we’d last chatted – in this same spot in a city neither of us call home.

“I quit my job,” he said. “I sold all my tools and decided I was done.”

“That’s awesome!” The tone in his voice told me that this was indeed an awesome thing – a leap towards something undefined yet filled with the Kingdom. “What’s next?”

The chuckle and the shrug told me he was in mid-step and didn’t know where his foot was going to land. “I don’t really know. But, I’ve always been inspired by your story & I figured ‘If Katie can do it, I can do it.’”

Something in my soul wasn’t okay with what my friend had just said. (And not just because I’m terrible at receiving compliments) While I was humbled in that moment I was even more so convicted. That’s not the first time I’ve heard the “I’m inspired by your story” line, but I can’t tell you the last time I heard it in reference to my present life. Most of the time people are talking about the life I was living 3 years ago – one of risk, of stepping out in faith into a hazy unknown mystery.

“Thank you, I’m honored,” I said while simultaneously resolving in my heart to quit enough things to make room for mystery in my life again.

Because mystery isn’t the language of my comfort-prone, detail-managing self. No, in my story, mystery points to the Storyteller. It’s in the mystery that He ignites dreams in my heart for things far greater than myself. And I want those dreams.