My name is Judy Gatewood-Keim, partner, then spouse, to Cathi Gatewood-Keim since 11 FEB 2008. We are handlers to a PBGV dog named Sprocket. My favorite thin spot to heaven is walking through the woods with Cathi and Sprocket or just hanging out with them in a campground. Words that describe me are: caring, disciplined, achiever, learner, consistent. We have been associated with HTCC since we moved to TN summer of 2015.
You might have noticed in my introduction paragraph about what I do, there is no employer listed. That is because the trial I want to share is about identity. I learned growing up as a PK in the Church of the Nazarene that I was loved by God just as I am. I believe God does love and care for me whether I achieve much by United States standards; however, the struggle is really believing.
After 28+ years serving as a soldier in the US military, and having what most would deem a successful/adventurous career, I had to leave because I could no longer hide my multiple sclerosis. I still had a strong desire to serve in an organization that was trying to do good in the world (yes, there are arguments for how much good the US military does in relation to the destructiveness of combat) and since fellow soldiers told me I ought to become a preacher I began attending seminary. After 3 semesters, and much soul searching, I knew I wasn’t meant to be in ordained ministry. During that time, I had also began volunteering at an animal shelter.
My identity as a soldier overshadowed every activity I participated in. I often felt I was not living up to any standard I had lived by during my military career. Then I got angry, and then I doubted that the “simple” volunteer activities I was participating in and being the household manager and spouse for Cathi was not enough. God loves me verses I don’t love myself because what I was doing was not enough, pointless, worthless. An honest acceptance of God’s love for me ensued, for the next 10 years.
God and HTCC in Judy's Journey:
One of the things that keeps me from giving up on my faith, and belief that God loves me, that God is okay with my small faithful actions, is the community of believers, along with the relentless love and patience of Cathi. Oh, and those moments I get to spend with nature and the animals. Thank you HTCC community for helping me love and believe in myself, and love and believe in God’s plan for humanity.
Judy's Take Away:
The take away I would want others to have from my long struggle with nagging feelings of worthlessness to my life is be okay with those nagging feelings. There will be opportunities to keenly connect with God and with others. When this happens, you will experience what life is all about, love. Love is ALWAYS good, no matter what simple forms it is experienced or expressed.
Judy's Favorite Verses:
“Let’s not get tired of doing what is good” – Galatians 6:9
“The LORD has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” – Micah 6:8
“. . . nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God . . .” – Romans 8:39
“So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time He will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares for you. In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Jesus Christ. So after you have suffered a little while, He will restore, support, and strengthen you, and He will place you on a firm foundation.” - 1 Peter 5: 6-7, 10
NOTE: I had written the 1st Peter verses on a “Post It” note and placed it on my bathroom mirror. That “Post It” note retained its ability to stick to a bathroom mirror for about 7 years and 3 moves. I have always wondered why this happened.