Dear church,

We’ve been in Greensboro for about a month now and I’ve met many of you. Maybe you’ve read my resume, seen my Facebook profile, or perused my faith statement, but I think it’s time for me to introduce myself.

Here are the basic facts: born in Texas, twin sister, little brother, big extended family almost all of whom live in Texas; college at Texas A&M; moved to California to serve as a Young Adult Volunteer for the PCUSA for two years; met and married my husband in Hollywood; went to Seminary at Columbia in Atlanta; took my first call in Columbus, Ohio as an associate pastor for youth and families; two kids: Gracie is 3 and Jake is 16 months.

Got it? You know me now, right?

Okay, more… I love to read even though I rarely have time. Literature is lovely but I’m particularly fond of young adult fiction – fast paced, emotional, plot-driven, finish it in one night kind of books. I love rivers and hills and hiking and canoeing – yet another thing that falls to the wayside in the midst of life. I probably need to work on keeping these things in my life. I should spend less time watching TV or checking my Facebook feed, and more time doing things I truly love.

I love my kids. They do NOT fall to the wayside. In fact, they are one of the reasons I don’t read or hike very much! They are insanely exhausting but an immeasurable blessing – loving, creative, wise, high-energy, joy-inducing, crazy-making blessing!

I have a bit of a bed bug phobia. I’ve never had them, and I plan to do everything I can to keep it that way.

I love my husband. He is the most generous, most fun, most compassionate man, and he’s an incredible pastor.

So, NOW you know me, right?

Probably not. Many of us spend a lifetime getting to know ourselves, so how could we be known by another in just a few short sentences? We are our stories and our life experiences. We are what and who we love. We are our failures, our life choices, our tragedies. But, we are so much more.

We are who we are in the silence, when the heart whispers and the mind remembers, “before I formed you in the womb I knew you…” (Jer. 1:5). There is a piece of divine mystery in all of us – a few wisps of holy wind from the moment God first breathed life into clay, a reflection of divine image upon each face, the sacred imprint of grace pressed into the heart.

This child-of-God-self has very little to do with where we are from or what we do for a living; she does not dress-up in game day colors; she does not care about letters: PhD, CPA, ΚΑΘ or even Rev. She makes herself known in keeping silence, in speaking truth, in giving mercy, in loving – beyond reason or will.

The beauty of a church community is that if we stay true to our calling – to love God and love others – we will get to do all of these things together. We will meet each other in hospital rooms and in homes, in food pantries and garden plots, in candlelit sorrow, in sunlit truth. And every Sunday morning, I’ll show up with my true child-of-God-self to worship. I hope you will too!

grace and peace, Karen

Selfie with a child-of-God (who is also a child-of-mine)

Selfie with a child-of-God (who is also a child-of-mine)