This message was originally shared by Katie Haas at Katie Hubbard’s memorial.
What an honor to stand before all of you who have been blessed to know and love Katie Hubbard and share her tremendous impact on my life. When Norm asked me to share about the ways Katie has impacted my ministry and my parenting, I wanted to start to make a list of how she has done so, and then quickly realized it would be easier to list how she hasn’t impacted my ministry and parenting than how she has. In fact, I can only think of two ways in which her influence has not yet persuaded me to change my ways:
- I will never like grits. Sorry to all y’all who’ve come up from the South.
- I still prefer milk with pizza and tacos, a thought that repulsed Katie. Nonetheless, I have never given into her pressure to replace milk with a coke.
On my very first night as a freshman in college I was invited to a social at Norm and Katie’s house in Eau Claire- when Katie walked around with her homemade caramel corn for us all I was totally unaware that I was meeting someone who would become like a second mom/mentor/best friend to me in the coming years. Throughout the year I noticed her deep love for the Lord, I admired the
way she loved her family, I was welcomed into her beautiful home, I was guided by her wisdom, and I was instructed through her knowledge of the scriptures. By the end of my freshman year of college I had determined that my life aspiration was “to grow up to be Katie Hubbard.” And I’ve done my
best to do just that.
I started out with the advantage of sharing the same name, Katie, then I married Noah Haas and soon I had the same initials. We’ve both served in campus ministry with the Navs, including 4 years at University of Illinois together. She’s celebrated the births of all three of my children, including Annie Noreen born December 10, 2015—named after Katie Noreen—whom Katie got to meet just over a month ago. Most importantly Katie has taught me what it looks like to seek the Lord wholeheartedly and to live for Him in the big and very little details of life. I’d like to share a few Katie-isms with you focusing on how she has influenced me as I minister to students and parent my children.
Her wisdom in parenting is what I think of when my 3 and 4 year old are throwing a fit at the checkout counter not wanting to leave behind the candy or treasures that are just at their level. The Katie-ism “EVERY MOMENT is a training moment” comes to mind. And rather than getting upset and corralling them into the cart with anger I bend down, firmly remind them of the expectations and lovingly walk them out of the store. Like Katie says,
“Every moment is a training moment, and as a
parent there are plenty of moments you wish you could just be off duty.”
I’m sure Katie was tempted to go off the clock and get a free pass to just be off duty as a mom, but she never did. She was always praying for and thinking through her kids lives- what they needed physically, emotionally, spiritually, practically, what steps she needed to take to help invest in them or what corner she needed to turn in training them. Many of my friends admire Katie Hubbard dearly and would often ask me in the midst of parenting struggles, “Well, what would Katie Hubbard tell you to do?” I’ve walked closely with Katie through many major life events from my first day of college to the birth of my third child. Throughout the years I’ve found myself tempted to compare to those around me and am regularly reminded of the Katie-ism, “Comparison hampers joy.”
As I minister to college women I see them tempted to compare as well and every time I am reminded of Katie’s words at a Women’s retreat years ago at the U of I. She read from John 21 when Jesus had just reinstated Peter asking him three times if Peter loved him and each time Peter says “Yes.” And Jesus says, then feed my sheep. Finally the third time Jesus asks, Peter replies in verse 17 “Lord you know all things, you know that I love you.” As if Peter is getting annoyed and thinking, Lord why would you have any doubt? But then not a few minutes later in verse 20 Peter turned and saw that
the disciple whom Jesus loves was following them. When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus answered in verse 22. “If I want him to remain alive until I return what is that to you? You must follow me.” Katie calls this the ultimate verse on comparison as Peter was totally happy to follow Jesus UNTIL he looked over and saw John and that Jesus was asking something different of him.
Isn’t that how we are? Happy to follow Jesus in the way He has called us, until we look over and see that Jesus isn’t asking that same thing of the person next to us. As Katie often reminded me: COMPARISON HAMPERS JOY! How much of my life am I tempted to look around and compare, and how much joy do I then miss out on? Think about how much joy Katie would have missed out on if she decided to just spend her days comparing to others.
Instead Katie modeled this ability to NOT COMPARE when she was living with cancer. She was still able to find joy in her own life and the lives of others. Throughout all of her cancer journey Katie requested that I keep her up to date on our life. Over the past years we enjoyed sharing pictures and videos of our family life on a daily basis and in a recent text, Katie said, “ Thanks for the texts and pic. I love them. Don’t let my lack of response make you think I don’t love hearing from you.”
Katie excelled at keeping life normal despite the cancer that threatened to take normal life away- I like to say that she had cancer the size of a ginormous monster encroaching in her life, but she limited its influence to about the size of a ring box – always wanting to live and be and do normal as much as possible.
When I visited Katie I never knew how much pain she was in because I would find her spending time with her kids, which almost always included laughter, cooking for 6 or 16, just depending on who showed up that night for dinner, buying flour in bulk at Sams Club to keep up with all the bread and biscuits she baked, tending her garden and decorating her home, hosting socials for 20, 40, or 60 students who always were well fed and well loved. Katie never stopped digging deeply into the scriptures, and sharing her love of the Lord with the many people she invested in. Katie’s influence and investment in my life is immeasurable and will be sorely missed. As I aspire to “ grow up to be Katie Hubbard.”
I know I will be sharing Katie-isms with students, friends, and eventually my own daughters for the rest of my life. I am grateful for her incredible wisdom that will continue to guide and comfort me in the days ahead. I would like to end with something I have heard her tell me countless times before that she would surely give us for the days ahead as we celebrate her reunion with Christ and deeply mourn her presence with us.
“ Be ruthless with your thoughts and gentle with your emotions.”
Katie Haas has been on staff since 2007 when she married Noah Haas. Both graduates of UW-Eau Claire and Wisconsin natives they joined staff at UWEC and then did their staff training at The University of Illinois under Norm and Katie Hubbard. They currently serve at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. She is mom to three little girls: Ellie (4.5), Josie (3) and Annie (born in December of 2015). She loves hosting, baking and collecting memories of day to day life by creating shutterfly albums.