Moving Forward, Letting Go by Katie Northey

Every job I’ve ever worked is now being done by someone else. Everyone I’ve ever discipled now has others building into them. I’ve been replaced and am no longer needed in the same way. Part of me mourns the loss and the other part of me rejoices greatly.

Outdoor walks help me process and think more clearly. The motion acts as a stimulus for deeper thinking. One fall day as I walked along the bike path lined with trees on both sides I thought about my upcoming move. I was moving to Spain for long-term ministry. That meant leaving everyone I knew. Leaving family. Leaving young women I had discipled for years. Leaving ministry positions that I enjoyed and did well. The mere thought was deeply unsettling.

As the leaves crunched under my feet, I felt the tension of discipleship. I cared so much about those in my life that I wanted the best for them. For a time, that was me being there and pouring into them. Meeting them for coffee, talking through Scripture, attending their school events, praying together. I learned from them and found deep encouragement through the process. My main aim was to build into them, to do as Paul instructed in 2 Timothy 2:2, “and what you have heard from me…entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” The same sentiment as in Colossians 1:28, “We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.” I wanted them to be complete in Christ, to go on to teach others in spiritual maturity.

At this point I stopped walking. What God was calling me to seemed emotionally daunting. A great practice I had recently learned was of mentally stopping and turning around when the future seemed too much to handle. In my mind and on the bike path I did an about-face to dwell on God’s truths. On what I knew and had experienced. I thought about the fact that God cares more about those in my life than I do. He has promised to take care of them and has shown Himself faithful countless times. I took a deep breath and turned back around. Now as I looked forward and saw things more clearly I knew that the most loving thing I could do was to follow God and leave. This ministry was not about me but was about Him and through Him.

Nowadays, years later, while discipling and investing in others, I spend the bulk of my time working in an office in the Barcelona area of Spain. While it is a national ministry the projects I have myself doing have dealt primarily with software systems. Most days I keep my head down and work the projects in front of me. Yet one day last year I had the opportunity to take a step back and look at the big picture. I saw that even the office work I was doing was in the same vein as discipleship. I was constructing systems to solve problems and then teaching those around me how to use them. I was very truly working myself out of a job. In a bit over a year I might not even have enough work to keep me busy. How providential, as God had been impressing on me that after my first term, in a year and a half, He was calling me to another opportunity in another area of the world.

I aim, through the Holy Spirit, to invest my whole heart into people and ministries. I care deeply about what is being done and the people doing it. I want to serve and love them the best way I can. God has shown me that faithfulness is pouring my whole self into others and then following Him when my work is done. My job is then ready to be done by someone else. With tears in my eyes, I can confidently say, “Praise God.”

Born and raised in Spirit Lake, IA, Katie earned her undergrad at Liberty University. In 2010 she started as Program Director at Hidden Acres Christian Center while earning her MA in Human Services online. She left after two years to prepare for long-term ministry overseas. During that time she served as interim youth director at the Boone First Evangelical Free Church. She moved to Spain in January of 2013. Currently she is living in the Barcelona area collaborating with the Evangelical Free Church of Spain (FIEIDE) and their online theological school (EET).