Karen’s year, 2011

At the end of the year, I love to be able to look back at what God has done, see the progress He’s made in my life! What a year 2011 has been! I feel like my life has taken a giant leap forward, and yet in doing so, has taken a giant leap back (in a good way).

Let’s see: in 2011, I became a teacher at ESEPA, where I offer courses in Bible and counseling at the certificate level. I started a study group in a hairdresser’s salon, where Christian and non-Christian ladies learn methods of studying the Bible. And finally, I still work with Missionary Kids and their parents, helping them adjust to life on a foreign field.

When we returned to Costa Rica October 2010, after spending some months with the family in the US, it was one of the few times in my life when I felt like I was truly starting over. It was agony for me to leave all of our family behind in the US, and return here without them. I felt like a stranger in my own home, and nearly all of my former ministries (including ministering to my own children) were no longer available to consume my life 24/7. It took months for me to grieve and get used to all the losses, work through the issue of contentment, and get to know my own house again. I found myself with nearly a blank slate of a life stretching in front of me: an empty calendar with no commitments, no schedule, no job, and lots of empty days.

I had no misconceptions that it would stay like that for long; I knew God would have plenty for me to do, and would bring it to me when I was ready. But first, God had some work to do in my own heart. Faced with an unhurried and unstructured life (for the first time in a veeeeeeery long time), I realized that over the years I had fallen into the trap of linking my identity to what I do: I was a wife, a mom, a teacher, a counselor, etc. Anyone who has taken care of children even for a few hours understands how all-consuming it can be; now God was reminding me that Karen isn’t what she DOES, she’s a unique person that God created for His own purposes. So who was she?

I’ve already shared with you much of the story of God’s leading and provision of new ministries/jobs. Plus, I’ve had to improve my Spanish (both oral and written), prepare my Bible study lessons and my classes, and come to terms with technology. Yet I already feel very at home in the opportunities God has provided. In a very short time God has let me serve many women in a very personal way. It has been a giant leap forward!

So how has it also been a giant leap back? Because now I am busy full-time in what I have dreamed of doing since my teen years. And as I am rediscovering who God created me to be, I realize that He put those dreams in my heart right at the beginning! As I spend my days in Bible study getting ready for my inductive classes, God suddenly reminds me of an afternoon when I was 17. I had been accepted at Philadelphia College of the Bible (now PBU), and I couldn’t believe how wonderful it was going be to have all that time to immerse myself in Bible study. Here I am 36 years later, and apparently for the forseeable future my “job” will be to spend a lot of time studying the Bible and teaching others how to do it! And as I am studying like crazy to get ready to teach my class in biblical counseling, I remember another day during my high school years when I had just been to a counseling workshop – I thought that the best thing in the world would be helping people work through their problems from a biblical perspective. And here I am, teaching others how to do it! Back to the future!

Heavenly Father, I am so grateful for your work in my life, so grateful that you put these desires in my heart many years ago, so that now you can fulfill those desires while you use me to further your Kingdom. And so grateful that your plan is always best!

1 Comment

Filed under Costa Rica, ESEPA, Gary Shogren, Karen Shogren, Missions, WorldVenture

One response to “Karen’s year, 2011

  1. Debbie Payton

    You asked who you were – You were, are, and always will be a lovely person with a heart of gold!

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