10 Aug Katavia’s Story
At the sweet age of 15, Katavia has never known another city than Charlotte, NC. She has spent all of her life in this city and will soon be journeying into her tenth grade year at East Mecklenburg High School.
When we sat down with Katavia the first thing she told us when asked about herself was that she was the middle child of three. This may seem like a vague way to describe oneself, seeing that she could have said anything to introduce her life to us, but as you dig deeper, you see this as a common theme with middle children. Being the middle child often times results in the feelings of not being known, loved, or important by their family, and sadly, as we began to search the depths of Katavia’s heart, this was exactly how she grew up feeling.
Up until the age of 13, Katavia lived in a two-parent household. Although her dad was present for the majority of Katavia’s life, she remembers a constant tension between her parents, which resulted into screaming arguments that the children were always present to witness. Katavia explained to us countless times that growing up in this kind of environment always caused stress and anxiety, as well as the feeling of responsibility for her younger sister, who has type 1 diabetes.
After the divorce, Katavia’s father left the family and moved only two miles away, and although he is close, Katavia never sees or hears from her father. According to Katavia, her father’s move threw her into a deep depression, which led to cutting, the only way she believed she would be able to “feel”. She went into a dark season of “acting up”, where she says she did not feel like she had purpose, she did not feel special, or set apart, and the only word to describe her heart, was broken.
Katavia always knew that God was with her she just believed the lie that He was too far to reach, and that a God like Him would never want to love a girl like her. That was until she met Mrs. Anderson. Two years after her father left, she met a teacher named Mrs. Anderson, who was also her cheerleading coach. Mrs. Anderson was a great example of what a Godly woman and lifestyle looked like. She taught Katavia that this world was meant to be lived for an audience of One, our sweet maker. She built a close relationship with Mrs. Anderson and would even have considered her to be like a mother. Last year, Mrs. Anderson was diagnosed with breast cancer, a battle she fought until February of this year. Katavia would come every Wednesday night requesting prayer for Mrs. Anderson, a women she would speak so gently of, and would often times reference as an angel.
Losing Mrs. Anderson was devastating to Katavia, but because of her “angels” leadership, she did not allow her core to be shaken, and she knew that Mrs. Anderson was finally home in heaven, right where she always longed to be. She told me stories of how Mrs. Anderson taught her to believe that Jesus was a God that was ever present. She taught her the importance of prayer, and that it was so much more than just a dinner time conversation. Katavia now lives by this truth. Throughout our entire talk, Katavia smiled. Although you could still see sadness in her eyes, the joy she possessed was overwhelming. I remember when she first came to the Abandon Project, she was hardened, broken, and hurt. She was afraid of being known, she was scared of being hurt and letting anyone in. Now, each and every day, Katavia reaches for God’s hand. She is really beginning to believe in the authenticity of her purpose, she is putting the world behind her, and setting her eyes on her one true love. Every Wednesday night she runs to us, hugs us, and never forgets to tell us how much she loves us. A girl who was once afraid of being known and loved, is now crazy about knowing and loving US. Katavia aspires to go to ECU and get a degree in sports management or dance. She says that dancing and music are what makes her the happiest!
We asked Katavia what was the one thing she needed from us and she quickly said prayer. Her response was just as vague as the first question we asked her when we were attempting to get to know who she was, but it was just as profound and crucial as her longing to be known and loved. She explained that she still battled with the feeling of being used in her household because of her status as the middle child. She still stakes care of her younger sister with no help from her older sister and mother. Although Katavia has a strong weight to pull in her family, we are confident that her loving Heavenly father, will continually press in to her and allow her to feel known, loved, complete, whole, and cherished in his divine kingdom. She is a part of HIS family, OUR family, and our purpose as the Abandon Project is to let our children know they are fully known, fully loved, and ever so pursued. Let’s rally together and pray that Katavia will not look at what this world has defined her life as, but rather to look to the precious heart of Jesus, and see that she is special, unique, known, and loved. She craves His love, and remarkably at the age of 15, is actively seeking Him out.