The Secret Place

My hands are calloused from my new best friend — a trusty, old-fashioned hoe. I spend 90% of my week covered in mud, dirt, and other treasures of the earth. I have undecided tan lines on my back and feet, interesting insect bites on my ankles, and the smell of pigs, goats, and cows in my nose. 

So, to say the least, our ministry here in Thailand is my dream. If you know me at all, you know it has been a recent fascination of mine to become a farmer. I find something so instinctual about working the land and seeing the fruits (literally) of my labor. It’s ironic that I was placed on this team for this ministry. It’s all divinely ordained. God has blown my mind with His provision and answered prayers. I have been living in a movie for the past month. 

So, hello, nice to meet you. I’m a farmer now. 

Laced through our work at the Little Farm with Heidi, and at Bethany Children’s Home with the children, are sweet relationships that never fail to fill me with genuine love. We have had the humbling opportunity to do life with people from many walks of life. Worship nights with Project Justice. Sports ministry on Sunday nights. Homeschool co-ops. Muay Thai classes. Endless Songthaew rides (little blue trucks that take you to town after you wave them down on the side of the road). Bar ministry with women stuck in the holds of prostitution. Hill Tribe ministry at a drug village. Bible study with the kids at Bethany’s. And this just scrapes the surface. We seem to have a Jesus encounter everywhere we go — from a coffee shop to a waterfall. I guess that’s what happens when you allow Jesus to become the air you breathe; you can’t help but see what He sees in the people you meet. 

I have been caught up in my new life here. So much so, I haven’t had the opportunity to write. To process. To sort things out in my mind. I thank God for this rare, free Wednesday morning for me to do so. I walked to a little hut next to the most breathtaking view of the Chang Rai mountains to write this. I’m feeling inspired to be honest about the manner in which God is changing me. This will cause me to be more vulnerable than I usually like to be, but I sense it on my heart to share. 

My leader let me borrow a book called Rooted by Banning Liebscher. It’s immensely convicting and has uncovered weeds in my character that the Lord wishes to pull. It holds metaphors of faith and gardening which is scary ironic considering our ministry here — I can physically see the truths I have been reading through the hoeing, tilling, weeding, and planting I have been doing. 

The book is about how a root system takes up more space underground than a plant takes above ground. A foundation should always be bigger than the thing it is supporting.

[To bear abundant fruit, you must be bigger on the inside than you are on the outside.] 

Since childhood, I have felt an unreasonable pressure on my life to become something “great.” I fit the typical mold of a small town girl with big city dreams. I wanted to be on a stage impacting thousands by the age of 21. I wanted to ditch what I considered a provincial life in Kentucky to pursue a life of what I considered glitz and glamour in New York City or Los Angles. 

When it was time for me to go to college, I was smacked in the face with reality. I knew God had blessed me with gifts and I wanted to use them on the grandest scale. To be honest, this was a selfish desire… it really had nothing to do wanting to honor the Lord and His giftings on my life. I wanted the glory for myself. For people to say, “Wow, look at Kaeton; she’s doing such amazing things.” This obviously means I wasn’t ready for that type of spotlight. I compared where I was to where I want to be and felt pressure to quickly close the gap. 

So, when the time for applications came, God called me to analyze my intentions. What am I trying to prove? Whose expectations am I trying to meet? What is the real definition of success? 

To everyone’s surprise, even my own, I applied to the University of Kentucky in the middle of the night, the very LAST place I wanted to go. Too close to home. Too typical. But, God was changing my perspective. 

The Lord was calling me to not skip steps in the process. So, I went. And it was the best decision I could have made because I surrendered to God and TRUSTED Him. The thing God wants most for us is also the thing the Enemy primarily targets: TRUST. 

I heard Christine Caine say once: 

“If the light on you is greater than the light in you, the light on you will destroy you.“ 

If I would have jumped into this life of “fame” I desired, I would have been destroyed because I wasn’t prepared yet. 

There are many reflections of this in the Bible. 

Joesph’s season of preparation was about 13 years. Moses has to spend 40 years as a shepherd in the desert before he was prepared to lead the Israelites. Even Jesus spent 30 years preparing for a 3-year ministry. 

Without deep roots there is no fruit, definitely not fruit that lasts.

Since I have been on this trip, I have been resting in the idea of active preparation. I know God has an amazing calling on my life, as He does for all of us. But, if I love the spotlight more than I love the secret place of communion with Jesus, that shows I care more about pleasing people than God. 

I’m learning to love when I don’t get credit. When I get passed over. I’m learning that the only “famous” one is God and I have the honor of serving Him. My roots are digging deeper. 

My desire to step into this “flashy” lifestyle has been traded for an acceptance of where God has placed me and trusting He will work within me. I am embracing being hidden and not rushing ahead by allowing God to work on my character. 

I am surrendering MY PLAN to God and trusting. It doesn’t matter if I am preaching on a stage to thousands at a conference in Thailand. It doesn’t matter if I am a New York Times best selling author. It doesn’t matter if I am dance teacher in Winchester, KY. It doesn’t matter if I am a farmer’s wife with 4 kids. Who is to say there is more God in one or the other? 

Trying to impress and please others is exhausting. I have confidence the Lord will use me no matter where I am. I am embracing this season of preparation and not forcing open any doors God has not opened. It is in our secret place that God meets with us and establishes the root system, the foundational elements, for the fruit that lasts. 

I have to build my root system in secret before making a visible impact on the world. My most profound convictions are born in secret communion with God. 

“He who dwells in the [secret] place of the most high shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.“  -Psalm 91:1

“You are the Lord. The Famous One.” Only HE is famous. I know I am across the world in Thailand, an opportunity I thank God for. But, I have realized no matter where I am, in Kentucky or Asia, God is developing my roots and that’s what matters most. 

Since I’m now a farmer, I have to end on a growth metaphor: 

In the growth cycle of fruit-bearing plants, fruit comes at the very end. Only when the plant is mature enough can it bear fruit. 

My time in Thailand has been watering my roots. 

More Articles in This Topic