This month we’d like to look into the life of Karen here at GFC and find out what following Jesus – as a woman – looks like for her. It is true that Jesus offers to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all our unrighteousness – saving us from a future eternally separated from Him as His enemy. This is all by faith in Jesus Christ alone, not by our good works so that we can’t brag about it. But being released from a fear of dying isn’t all Jesus offers, He offers us His very life to dwell inside of us with power and a position of purpose and influence in His Kingdom work that gives us a joy in living! Here at GFC we call this living with mission - as we build a community to reach a community! Praying we encounter Christ and experience transformation, not merely learn information, let us stir one another up in our faith to follow Him yielding our energy, time, talents and whole heart…
Good morning, Karen, thanks for being willing to share where God is working in your life and what it looks like for you to follow Him and live with mission as His disciple daughter!
Karen, how long have you been at GFC?
I have been here for about twelve years.
Are you married? Do you have children? What occupies the majority of your time in the week? I have been married to my husband and best friend, Philip, for almost 33 years! Woohoo! And it takes time to build that friendship. We have a daughter and son-in-law who live in Charlotte and are expecting our first granddaughter in May. We also have a son who lives here and bought his first house about year ago. My days are spent pouring into other women, hoping they gain a greater understanding of their relationship with Christ. Because it has had such a profound impact upon me, I cannot help but offer a space for others to gain the same understanding.
When did you place your trust in Jesus Christ for your salvation? I came to know Christ as my Savior when I was nineteen. I was invited by an older woman to be part of a bible study in her home. Because two of my “cool” friends were going, I went.
Did you know at that time what it meant to follow Jesus as His disciple-daughter? Since I did not grow up in church, the bible study offered up truths I had never heard before. I remember being intrigued by the person - Jesus - I was meeting in Scripture for the first time. Coming to know Jesus as my Savior through this bible study had a deeply profound impact on my life.
As you’ve grown as a woman, how has your view of following Jesus as a woman changed, if at all? I feel as though I have grown in knowledge, in depth of understanding of how personal God is…over the years I have been in relationship with Him, I feel as though there have been three distinct turning points, or deepening points, that have led me to know God more intimately. I first came to know Him as Savior. I then came to a point in my life where He challenged me grow in submission to Him as Lord of all. Although I cannot measure one lesson greater than another, the lesson that filters into every area of my life comes back to understanding who I am “in Christ”.
What circumstances or people were instrumental in your growth as a Jesus-following woman? The greatest instrument in my growth as a Jesus-following woman is being a student of God’s Word. I am also blessed to have a few women in my life who sharpen me in the school of growing in Christ-likeness. I make myself accountable to them to remain teachable.
What would you say He has given you to do this season to serve Him, what particular mission with Him are you living out in His power? My heart’s desire is to see generations of women growing in healthy, life-giving relationships with God and with one another. My daily service is given to this end. I spend my days encouraging and equipping women, just as I am encouraged and equipped in my walk with God.
Did you always feel confident when you stepped out to build relationship with another woman? NO! Absolutely NOT! I grow in confidence in relationship with other women ONLY as I draw what I need from my relationship with God. If left to myself I am prone to comparison, insecurity and defeat. The more I draw what I need from the truth of God and my relationship with Him, the more peace I have to risk building relationships with other women.
Why do you serve in Mom to Mom Outreach (M2O)? I serve in M2O because there is a need. I have been where they are. I know the hope I needed when I was in their season of life. If I can serve with or without words and offer hope and encouragement, it’s important to me to let them know they are not alone in the day-to-day of this season of their lives.
What new path is God leading you on this season that you’d like to share? As I read this question sitting here at my desk, I look to my right and see the path God has me on written down and sitting on my desk: “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26. I’m learning God wants to be my portion in all things. I often look to my own sufficiency (which lacks greatly) to complete the tasks before me. I am in the classroom of learning to let God be my portion in all things. God is asking me to be courageous in stepping out with Ruth’s Hope, a ministry He has put on my heart to carry out. I have to trust that He alone will equip me and be my portion in what He has put on my heart to do.
How is your heart doing on that new journey so far? What are you praying God will do for and through you? Great question! I love hard questions, especially ones that hold me accountable to stay with the process. I am facing this journey one day at a time. I am finding God to be my portion. He is supplying my needs as I draw near to Him. My drawing near Him is key. I desire to be obedient and to risk failing in my own eyes.
If you could say something to a woman out there today who wants to share the wisdom God has given her in life, with another woman – but feels inadequate…unsure of how to even “do it” – what would you like to say? Christ in YOU is beautiful! As you share life with another woman intentionally, you will see God grow the relationship in such natural ways. We don’t have to have an agenda or a degree in how to share our wisdom gained along the way, it will just happen naturally.
Karen, thank you for your friendship to me, and for opening your heart up today for our women to savor and from it gain encouragement and strength. You are a woman of wisdom and we praise God for you!
Posted on Wed, February 27, 2013
by Heather Yates