I am pleased to introduce you to Katie Humphress, director of Lane of Roses, a non-profit ministry to young women in the transitions from high school to college to young adult. Welcome, Katie. #BeBoldGirl
My eardrums throb, throb, throbbed with every heartbeat. Hands slick with sweat, knees chattering, I didn’t even care a crowd gathered to watch me die. From the top of the cliff, I peered over the edge into the lake below where boats full of rowdy college boys screamed “jump already!” I inched my toe toward the edge of he cliff and drew it back.I never expected this was how I would go.
Growing up I envied the carefree kids who heard a cheerful jingle blaring through our neighborhood and ran to get money for a bomb pop. I was the kid who ran away from the ice cream truck, never towards it. Cautious was my middle name. When I was told a kid in another state was kidnapped by an ice cream truck driver, I steered clear of ice cream trucks.
You can never be too careful.
My family went to church where we sang “the devil is a sly old fox, if I could catch him, I’d put him in a box. Lock the door, and throw away the key, for all those tricks he played on me.” The chorus was upbeat, but the takeaway was clear: the devil was out to get me. I prayed the Sinners Prayer a thousand times to make sure God heard me and I wouldn’t go to Hell.
You can never be too careful.
But the pressure was exhausting. After a toxic relationship at 19, I finally cracked. I couldn’t handle one more person putting his thumb on me, holding me back. Broken and defiant, I suspected God was holding me back too. I went wild, felt miserable and empty, and with nowhere else to go eventually turned back to the faith of my childhood. I didn’t really want to return, but Cautious was surely better than Broken.
When I placed my security in caution it became a god to me. It even became my identity. Not only did I worship caution, I was Caution.
When I met my adventurous husband, I was drawn to his wild faith and even wilder freedom. He wasn’t stuck in the church fellowship hall freaking out over song lyrics. He traveled the world and chased his dreams. He took risks and encouraged others to do the same. Including me.
He’s the one God used to switch my nametag from Cautious to Bold.
It turns out, you can be too careful.
And that’s how I ended up on the edge of a cliff.
God used my husband to teach me two important lessons in boldness and identity:
1. Know God. I thought God’s middle name was JUDGMENTAL. I thought my extreme caution and devil-avoiding would make Him proud. When I found out God is the perfect balance of all-knowing, all-loving, and all-powerful it changed how I saw His nametag.
2. Know Yourself. My name is Katie, Daughter of God. It’s who I am. If God is Powerful, and my hope is in Him, then I am Brave. I can do all things though Christ who strengthens me. I don’t have to provide the strength, I simply rely on it.
Some people report feeling new stepping out of the waters of baptism. For me, it was cliff-jumping with my future husband. Even though it took me shaking, sweating, and imagining my head bashing against the rocks for twenty solid minutes as a line formed behind me at the top of the cliff, I jumped.
And I haven’t stopped jumping since.
My dream was to write a book, deliver speeches, and connect young women to resources so they can avoid the pain of misunderstanding who God really is. Ten years and two kids later, I jumped. I wrote the book, delivered the speeches, started a non-profit, and I’m not done yet. Even though my heart still races at the beginning of new adventures, because of my personal relationship with Jesus Christ I know anything is possible.
No cliff is too high when you know Bold is your middle name.
Katie can be found jumping cliffs on Instagram @laneofroses and her scariest adventure yet, raising funds for her ministry www.laneofroses.com. She lives in Kentucky with her wild husband and two even-wilder children. You can support Lane of Roses here