What do reckless love and American Sign Language have to do with each other? Katie can tell you how for her, the two will always be inextricably intertwined. Katie talks about how she grew up in the church and used to be actively involved. But when her parents divorced, they divorced not only each other, but the church.
Here is Katie in her own words….
After that, I walked away from God and felt really uncomfortable around Christians. I didn’t want anything to do with the church. Even if I was just flipping through radio stations, and Christian music came on the radio, I had a visceral reaction. Anything having to do with Christianity turned me off.
My friend at the time, now my fiance, invited me to the Easter service at Eastside. And at first, I said, “no,” but about a week later, I got an invitation in the mail. I noticed on the flyer that there was (ASL) American Sign Language interpretation available during the services. That piqued my interest. Even though I was uncomfortable going to a church service, I thought, “I’ll go just to watch the ASL.”
When I got to the service, I actually recognized the interpreter, Nancy Watson, who had done some volunteer work with me when I was going through my interpreting program. After service, we started chatting and for some reason, I said, “Hey, if you ever want a break, I can interpret the music.” I didn’t even want to call it worship at that time.
I thought to myself, “‘I’ll interpret the music….just for practice.” Nancy was excited and said that she would love that. I don’t know if she even knew I was not walking with God. Looking back, I don’t even know what made me offer to volunteer!
So, I started interpreting during the worship time. One weekend they started singing the song, Reckless Love. As I was signing, the words hit me, and I felt the Holy Spirit moving in my heart. Even though I had walked away from God, there was still a small ember left.
I was signing the words, “There’s no wall you won’t kick down, there’s no lie you won’t tear down coming after me,” and right there, in the middle of signing, the flame was fanned! It hit me that Jesus was pursuing ME. That was really when my relationship with God started over. I wanted to search out and understand this love and why God was pursuing me even though I’d told him ‘I don’t need you, I don’t believe in you, I don’t really want anything to do with you!’ Why was He still pursuing me?
There is a bible story many people refer to as The Prodigal Son, but I think it would be more accurate to title the story, The Running Father. You see, in the story, the father sees the son coming from a long way off, and he comes running. Like the son, if you face the father’s direction and take one step at a time…even with the doubts, even with the hurt, or even anger…just take that one step and then the next step, as you get closer, as you keep walking, you’ll see in the distance that the father is the one that’s running towards you, and he will meet you. Don’t miss that – God is meeting you wherever you are on your spiritual journey!
You can catch a glimpse of Katie’s signing on Eastside’s Instagram!
Interested in learning ASL? You can find out more about our ASL classes at eastside.com/asl.
If this story piqued your interest about church, we would love for you to visit us in person or online. For times and locations of our services that feature American Sign Language interpretation, or to find out more about Eastside, visit eastside.com/about. We believe that this is a place for everyone, wherever you are on your journey.