This is a short trailer that shares our Nomination Process that started off with Karen’s story.
We were both headed on a path towards ordained ministry. It seemed appropriate for me to become a full time pastor, in this, the church where I was raised. Hadn’t this been what I’d been planning and studying for my entire life? What else would God want me to do?
The pieces were all coming together- until, of course, it all fell apart.
In September, my husband Ben and I had individual and combined psychological evaluations as part of our path to ministry. We were congratulated by the counselor on our emotional health as both individuals and a married couple.
In October Ben preached a sermon on total surrender at church.
Over Thanksgiving we visited Ben’s home town. What began as a great weekend ended up tragic when a traumatic childhood memory started an intense, rapid downward spiral in Ben. It broke him.
By Christmas, despite his attempts at avoidance, it was clear that Ben was not himself.
In January he declared to me that everything he thought he had known about God and life was completely wrong. That included our marriage and future, and that broke me.
At this exact time, my paid church position was ending due to funding, but the church would allow us to continue living in the home and use the laptop and phone, with the condition that we would together be moving towards ordination.
Ben broke the news to me, to my absolute shock, the day after our anniversary, and just days after my position ended. Since he still had a job, he took our one car. So in a nutshell, I quite unexpectedly lost my house, my car, my laptop, my phone, my husband and my future all in one week.
There where days where it literally hurt to breathe. There were whole months without income. There were years without gainful employment. The only thing I could really hold onto were the promises of God, in Scripture. So I searched them out and clung to them for dear life. God was all I had. God was enough.
It is hard to describe, or even understand, just how God even enabled us to survive, let alone rebuild, amidst a pretty shattered life. But God parted the Red Sea more than once, and our needs were always met. And God restored everything that was lost, everything and then some.
A car accident that by all logic should have left my daughter and me dead ended in just a couple of small bumps and bruises between us, and the beginnings of a better, strong marriage (and family) with Ben.
In seeking out a counselor to help us navigate through the mess that had just happened, we found an incredible church family. As we have healed and grown within this loving community, we have found a better fit for us, in both a place of worship and an outlet for our call to ministry.
My current career is far from what I would have ever expected, but I am happy and fulfilled. I am also moving forwards towards my dreams. Not all of our questions are answered, nor are all problems solved. But in the breaking God made room for a renovation, from the inside out. And we now can approach challenges from a perspective of health and peace.
At the time of “the great break” I wanted to move as far away as possible. But God planted me in this place and moved my heart instead. There is nowhere else I would rather be than right here, in the center of God’s will.
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Karen has Nominated (N) or Introduced (I) the following, plus (S- person shared their story):
Seek God, always. Trust God, always. Believe God, always. And when you forget, God will forgive. Scripture is a centering force that helps us focus our minds in the right direction, and it's full of people with problems just like ours. There is no mistake, no sin, that can even begin to outweigh God's grace.
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Christian Ministry- Author, Speaker, Podcast Host
For one thing, almost everything I offer is for free. I am just trying to get an important message out. I help people to discover wonder, adventure and grace in every single day.
My typical customer
Anyone who desires to have a deeper relationship with God and discover the adventure of everyday living as it connects with the stories and messages of God's Word, the Bible.
Visit my website: https://karenmariepennington.com