Today Let me introduce you to Katie! Katie says,
I might be quick to say no, I don’t get mad at God. But I do experience bitterness, discontentment, confusion and jealousy – all evidence that I’m not happy with God if I believe He is in control.
Katie is 25 years old and lives on the East Coast of Australia. Losing her mother at 18, a miscarriage, and struggling with body image issues are all a part of Katie’s story. But she is proof that God is faithful. Read more about Katie today.
Brenda: First, tell us a little about yourself – your name, age, where you live, and where you grew up.
Katie: My name is Katie Sandbrook. I’m 25 years old and live on the East Coast of Australia, about 4 hours north of Sydney. I grew up in the Blue Mountains, about 2 hours west of Sydney, with my biological family. I lost my mum when I was 18, several months after finishing high school. I spent the 3 years that followed living without God. When I returned, 3 years ago, God was gracious to lead me to who I now consider my adopted family.
Brenda: Where do you work, and how did you get started in your job?
Katie: I currently work as Ministry Support (administration) at my church. I began by volunteering in the office and God was gracious to let that lead to paid work!
Brenda: Do you feel like your job is God’s calling on your life or do you hope it leads to something else one day?
Katie: I do believe God has been in control to open the door to this job. The opportunities to serve others has been fantastic. It has also been a ministry to me while in a difficult season of life. In my spare time I like to write. As I look to the future, I hope for more time and more opportunities to write.
Brenda: When you envisioned your life as a young girl, did you hope to have a career when you grew up or was your desire more for marriage and children or did you want both for your life?
Katie: There were many things that I envisaged as a career when I was younger- policewoman, teacher, secretary. I always came back to writing. I certainly hoped for a career that would fit nicely with being a mum and wife. When I was 18, I did have a miscarriage. I thought that hope for being a mum was over.
Brenda: What fires you up? What are you most passionate about in your life and in the world?
Katie: I am passionate about writing material that encourages people and points them to Jesus. I’m also passionate about trying to show young girls and women the truth about themselves, the hope they can have in Jesus and freedom. The world is heavy with body image issues, and destructive cycles that came with low self-esteem.
Brenda: Are you involved in serving in your community or church? What, if any, ministries or organizations are you a part of?
Katie: I am involved with the children’s ministry at my church. Teaching on Sundays, watching children during the week for ladies’ Bible study and babysitting for families during the week. I also love any opportunity that comes up to help with practical needs like making meals.
Brenda: Tell us one thing you LOVE about being single and one thing you hate (or your biggest struggle) about being single.
Katie: I love the different opportunities I have. Recently I enjoyed the opportunity to baby-sit for families at our church so they could attend a marriage course. That encourages me to look for different opportunities I have in being able to serve in my church. There is flexibility in being single. When I wake up in the morning, it’s just me to organize!
The area I struggle with most is being alone. It’s a struggle when I go through a tough time and go to bed alone to cry. One of my love languages is physical touch. It seems limiting and difficult to express this appropriately when you are single.
Brenda: I imagine there are times when you feel content in your singleness and other times when you want to throw something across the room because of it, but overall, how do you feel about being a single woman? Is there more contentment and peace or more of the opposite?
Katie: Being content in my singleness has been a challenge. I think for a long time I thought I was content but have realised that I wasn’t. As I have faced that truth, I’ve been gently pushed into a journey of getting to that place of contentment. I don’t think I am there yet, completely. Yep, sometimes I do want to throw something across the room. But I think I am beginning to head into a place of more contentment and peace. The journey has involved learning who God really is. As I understand His true nature I feel content in knowing He is all I need. I yearn to grow in my relationship with Him and learn more about Him.
Brenda: Do you ever get mad at God because you are single? When bitterness, discontentment, confusion, and even jealousy creep into your mind, how to you deal with it? Do you have a go-to person or scripture verse or something else that helps?
Katie: I might be quick to say no, I don’t get mad at God. But I do experience bitterness, discontentment, confusion and jealousy – all evidence that I’m not happy with God if I believe He is in control. It’s tough to deal with. But, I am thankful and blessed that I have a family that shares in those times with me. My adopted parents help keep me accountable and there is another single woman at church who has been a mentor through my struggles of singleness. There are scriptures I am learning to go to. 2 Corinthians 10:5 directs me into giving Christ my thoughts that lead to any of those feelings. I am also working my way through the Psalms. Psalm 5 reminds me of God’s persistent and patient listening to our cries.
Brenda: How do you deal with loneliness?
Katie: Not very well sometimes. I do have hobbies that I can use to occupy myself before I get into a ‘woe is me’ attitude. Other times, I cry and feel frustrated before I remember to turn to God’s word. I’ve begun to search for some specific scriptures to memorize in those times. Jeremiah 29:11 says, For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. It’s a verse that prompts lots of trust that God really does know the plans for my future, and while those plans might not involve marriage and children, they will give me a hope and a future.
Brenda: Do you struggle with obsessing about guys and dating? Like, if you’re interested in a guy or if you just start dating someone new, do you think about him constantly, analyze every conversation, and get overly attached quickly? Is so (or if not) how do you deal with your emotions?
Katie: I have a history of past relationships that weren’t God-honouring which led to obsession, emotional dependence etc. Currently, I am not in a place where I am obsessing over guys. I am in a place where I know that I am not ready for a relationship, especially emotionally. Because of my past, I am concerned that if I was interested in a guy that I would be obsessive and attached, but I’m working at and desiring to be at a place one day where I can have a relationship that does honour God and has Him at the centre.
Brenda: What is your biggest pet peeve about the way single women are perceived?
Katie: Often single people are viewed as their life is unfulfilled because they aren’t married and have children. That frustrates me.
Brenda: Do you struggle with finding community in your local church? How do you find community in a world that seems coupled up?
Katie: I feel really blessed to be part of a church that works hard at loving singles. It can be tough when it seems like everyone is coupled up. I’m part of a young adult’s small group that has married and singles together which is great.
Brenda: Are more of your girlfriends married or single? How do you find authentic friendships as a single woman?
Katie: I have a mix of single and married girlfriends although it often seems easier to spend time with my single girlfriends. I’ve found a lot of my friendships through the Bible study at my church. It is a great way to get connected.
Brenda: Our perception of you is that you are living a fulfilled, purposeful life as a single woman. You’re not waiting around for marriage, but fulfilling God’s call on your life now. What would you say is your secret to doing this?
Katie: I feel I am only just beginning to understand what this is and working out what this means for me in my life. I’m surrounded by a family who model living a fulfilled, purposeful life and have encouraged me that life need not start once I am married. They encourage me to seek God’s plan for my life whether I’m single or married.
Brenda: What words of advice do you have for other single women who want to live with purpose now and not wait for marriage to start their lives?
Katie: Read God’s Word. Really get into it and get to know your Heavenly Father. Look for opportunities to serve others. Be accountable have a mentor, an older woman who can mentor you in your life, encourage you when you struggle. Pray. Pray. Pray.
Brenda: And some fun stuff!
Brenda: Which do you like best – Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or Pinterest (or all of it!)?
Katie: Facebook and Pinterest. I love Pinterest!
Brenda: What’s your favorite drink?
Katie: Coffee (for a hot drink) or water or coke zero (for a cold drink) or an Australian soft drink called lemon lime and bitters.
Brenda: Where would you want to live the rest of your life – beach or mountains?
Katie: Oh, the mountains!
Brenda: Do you read more fiction or nonfiction?
Brenda: Are you an introvert or extrovert?
Brenda: What’s something quirky about you?
Katie: I’m left-handed. And a vegetarian. Apparently that is very quirky!
Brenda: What else do we need to know about you? Where can we connect with you online?
Katie: Keep an eye out. I’m on my way to setting up a blog!