Our Stories: Katie Willis

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Hello there- I’m Katie! Despite studying English at Uni, blog writing isn’t a strength of mine. It can sometimes remind me of my GCSE French exam; I live here, my hobbies are this, in my house at home you will find… however, I am giving it a bit of a go!

City Church Archives: I’ve been part of the City Church family since 2011. Popped along during my first year of Uni and haven’t left just yet. I was blessed massively by church when coming along as a student- being served in wisdom, kindness, welcomed into real-life homely homes (oh, the novelty from halls!) growing deeper and experiencing more of the love of Jesus. Not to mention heaps of gracious and dedicated investment from friends and disciplers along the way. I am hoping and praying that your experience won’t sound too dissimilar if you find yourself reading this as a student. Since then, I am enjoying being part of the two best teams around; City Students & City Youth (potentially biased but not in my personal opinion…).

On the daily: Trying to make your own 9-5 sound interesting is always a challenge for small talk scenarios, however it is something I find super interesting to learn about others. Whether it be employment, parenthood, adventure – it’s often where we find ourselves spending a lot of our energy, prayer and time. During this current season, I get the pleasure of working for a local charity who support women and children affected by domestic violence & abuse. I have been a support worker for almost 6 years (Luddaaa!) working with the effects of trauma, prevention and intervention. It is an amazing place of light and hope. Most importantly, I get to work with young people all day, every day- which is great- adults are too boring! My opportunity to work there has definitely been part of God’s plan for me, something I am grateful to be able to share. I don’t know about you but I can be quick to forget God’s goodness and favour in the present. Like many of us, my heart has always been to see God’s perfect love break into darkness and bring freedom to those held captive.  It has been a privilege to be able to speak His heart over young women every day- a zero tolerance approach to violence and abuse. Not only in the view of UK law or worldly moral conceptions but more powerfully, in the name of Jesus Christ who loves them.

Lately I’m Learning: I feel like God has been challenging and changing my heart on compassion lately. Taking me back to the very basics again- in who He is. In terms of my day to day work, my heart had become stoney and unforgiving towards those harming others. What was once a heart of prayer seeking justice given by the Holy Spirit, slowly transformed into a lack of faith and ungracious compassion towards those guilty of perpetrating abuse. Scary right? A heart not reflecting the goodness, mercy and compassion of Christ our King and his sacrifice made for all.  Instead, a heart calling out on behalf of victims but not the perpetrators. I had to come back to him in repentance afresh, asking for a glimpse of his heavenly compassion and justice- knowing I am not worthy yet he still has compassion on me. It was scary how subtly, in my own heart, I found myself deciding who ‘deserved’ Love and compassion - ‘Katie’s Kingdom’ vs His Kingdom. It made me reflect on how I can so often decide who I think ‘deserves’ love based on my own opinions. I think we do this as a world and as individuals. This person deserves love, affection, attention, honour, fame.  The lady who helped me out deserves my love and time today, the bloke who held the door for me does, my friend does, my kid does…However, forget about the person who cut me up, the ex who hurt my friend, the dad screaming at their kid, that political leader, the stranger on the bus, the grumpy cashier, and don’t get me started on that particular family member or friend who hurt me. The glorious truth is that Jesus’ sacrifice and the redemptive love of Christ is for everyone. In the bible, Jesus is beautifully, sacrificially, indestructibly transparent about who He is and who He died for. Not one heart or life excluded. Not just for who I or the world thinks is deserving (hallelujah!). I believe the enemy loves to try and dwindle hopeful hearts, steal Kingdom vision and blur God’s promises. I believe the enemy would want us to think we are rulers of our own lives and are worthy of deciding who gets to be loved and accepted in this world.  However, I believe in a Heavenly father who reigns above this word and sin. A father who IS love and love for all. He reigns with indestructible compassion and has mercy, turning hearts of stone into hearts of flesh again and again and again. So take heart and rejoice!

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About the Author

Katie is a support worker for a local charity and part of the City Church Canterbury. She enjoys investing her time and energy in relationships with friends and family and is most likely to be found running late to something she forgot she was invited to.