Thursday, February 11, 2016

My Tribute to Katie

My friend Katie Hubbard walked into the arms of Jesus Monday evening January 25 bringing to conclusion a 7 year battle with breast cancer.

Katie and I were part of the same extended family, The Navigators. It's a large family and we didn't often cross paths. She was like a daughter to me, a few generations removed. Along side our husbands we both ministered among the students at the University of Illinois (Bill and I in the 70's; Katie and Norm until just recently). Anyone who labors in that harvest will always be a special to Bill and me.

A little over 4 years ago, we were visiting Norm and Katie at the U of I. Katie and I spent the morning visiting with one of our other Navstaff family members, Katie Haas and her newborn daughter, Ellie. Katie #2 and her husband Noah were doing their ministry training with Katie and Norm. What a privilege!

You know what I noticed about Katie that morning? She gave her 100% attention to whomever she was with. First to me; then to Katie and Ellie; and later when we were back at their home to Joe, their youngest who was still a pre-schooler at the time.

Katie was a woman full of faith. These words she penned earlier this fall are a tribute to that ...

The kingdom of God is a mystery, and its’ growth is a mystery.  God’s ways and thoughts are not our ways and thoughts.  Jesus assures us in Mark 4 that His kingdom grows even while we are sleeping!
And Jesus said, "The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how." Mark 4: 26-27
Norman and I love these verses!  They are our favorite “ministry verses.”  Oftentimes when we climb in bed at night, we laugh and say, “The kingdom of God is growing over there on campus while we sleep!”  What a fantastic thought.  What a relief! (underline mine)

What is your favorite ministry verse?

Every time I was with Katie, she was surrounded by family, Norm and/or her children. Her family
was never an interruption - they were her priority. In her own words, "As always my chief concern is my kids. there is just no way to shield them from the intense difficulty and upheaval that my illness brings. And as a parent it is agony to know that my circumstances cause my kids stress and pain. I have no control over that. But I have so much assurance from scripture that God has them. These circumstances are Father filtered and He will use it for their good ..."

Katie's heart was for the next generation, the next generation of laborers, the next generation of young mom's, the next generation growing up under her roof. Her life demonstrated that great influence can happen during the mommy years. Last spring she wrote these words ...

"I don’t want recognition, fame. I don’t want the big selling book, I don’t want a thousand people at Nav Nite…I want laborers.  And if that means that my little cup of cold water in Jesus’ name is one gal, right here, right now, then so be it.  Because that one little gal is, by God’s grace, going to grow into an oak of righteousness and God is going to take her places and do things in her life and bring people across her path that I could never imagine or conceive." Mommy Missionaries blog.

Katie regularly contributed to The collegiate Navs Mommy Missionaries blog. Her wisdom born of years of walking with God and years of ministry encouraged and blessed many. These words will live on and continue to minister.

Katie loved and prayed even when her home consisted of the four walls of her bedroom. Right up to the end of her time here on earth, Katie prayed for and with those prayers blessed other young Nav moms in their hards.

In her writing, she securely shared her humanity. She was transparent and open with her words, an indication of how she lived her life. She shared her own insecurities about vocational ministry and support raising. I laughed when I read one of her stories of not knowing how to explain what a Navigator was. I laughed because I identified!

One of C. S. Lewis's roles was that of spiritual director. He fulfilled that role primarily through letter writing. Lewis died in 1963. His life continues to minister deeply around the world through his penned words.

Katie was a writer too. I'm confident that her penned words will also continue to minister deeply. Those words will echo her heart for Jesus for many years to come.

As I read Katie Haas' eulogy for Katie Hubbard, she shared one of the lines she often heard Katie say,
Be ruthless with your words and gentle with your emotions.

That was a balm to my soul. I knew Katie from a distance, but in her words she loved me well. I needed to know it was okay to cry A-GAIN.
"Truly, truly, I say to you,
unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone;
but if it dies, it bears much fruit."
John 12:24 (italics  and bolding mine)

Just recently I was introduced to this song. My guess is that Katie would say YES and AMEN. May it bless you.

I know Norm and the children would be so appreciative of your prayers for them.

"And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above;
 and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever"
Daniel 12:3



  1. Thank you, Sue, for this beautiful tribute to my beloved daughter. You said it all so well. I know how much Katie thought of you and spoke of you throughout her years of ministry. Betsy Hansen

    1. Betsy, it is so kind of you to write. I too thought so much of Katie. And so many friends commented on my facebook page ... a few saying, 'Oh, I wish I had known her.'
      You are in our prayers.