Friday, January 21, 2011

LETS CHAT FRIDAY with KAREN BALL

I am honored to have Karen Ball with us today. I fell in love with Karen's writing after reading, "A Test of Faith." It is such a beautiful book filled with deep meaning. As an aspiring author with hopes to publish my own book one day, Karen, is one those inspirations for me. You can find Karen on her Facebook Page . This is where I see her funny posts and all her wisdom she shares. You too can visit Karen's website to learn more about all she is doing. Plus find all those amazing books she is gifted at writing. In asking questions I pray over each one. I want to ask questions that really get to the heart of a person. I asked Karen a question that she graciously answers about motherhood. It is my prayer that you will get to know Karen a little better today. Maybe even learn a few things you didn't know. She seems like one of those girls you want on a shopping trip. I think Karen would be a hoot to be with and I too think she would be the friend you would want by your side. Well, sit back and enjoy our chat. Grab yourself a cup of coffee and get ready to be blessed. Maybe one those vanilla iced coffees from McDonald's. LOL Those are my new favs!!


(Robin) Please tell us a little about yourself
(Karen) I'm a PK and PGK (preacher's kid and preacher's grandkid), who grew up in a family where we spent most of our time laughing together. My dad always made his family his first ministry, so my two brothers and I never felt as though we were pushed aside by the needs of the church. In fact, the folks from the church Dad pastored (for 45 years!) are my pseudo aunts, uncles, and cousins. I've always loved telling stories, reading stories, writing stories. My mom was a teacher, so she and Dad both encouraged my love of reading and writing. Becoming a novelist and an editor was a natural outgrowth of that encouragement. I love Oregon and animals of all kinds, and have been married to Don for 31 years (Dec. 21st was our anniversary!)



(Robin) I would love for you to share your testimony
(Karen) I don't have a dramatic testimony. I grew up seeing true faith lived out in my home, so it was an organic part of who I was and who I've become. I can't tell you when I accepted the Lord. He's always been a part of my life, and I've always loved him. My faith has deepened as an adult, of course, especially as I went through some really tough times in my marriage and in losing my mom in 2002 to diabetes.



(Robin) In your journey as a woman what has been the most challenging?
(Karen) Two things:

First, understanding that submission in marriage isn't a 4-letter word, but an act of obedience and love toward Christ. It took me a lot of years, a lot of pain, and many counseling sessions to finally see that the One I refused to submit to wasn't my husband, but my Lord. When I finally started doing that--when I focused on doing what I was supposed to do instead of on what Don was supposed to do, when I placed my "rights" on the altar and served Christ rather than myself--it changed everything. When I didn't feel respect or even love for Don, I put my focus on Christ, loving Don as His representative in our home. And doing that rekindled my love and respect for my husband.

Second, figuring out who I am as a woman without my mom. Her death was a terrible loss for our family, and it took me several years to get past the loss and grief. And anger. It just didn't seem right that someone as wonderful as my mom should die when there were so many awful people who seem to live forever. God had to do some serious work on my heart and spirit, but He finally helped me past all that. I still miss her--so much!--but now I'm grateful for the time we had with her.



(Robin) What has been the most challenging aspect in being a mother and the most rewarding?
(Karen) LOL. Um...not having any children to mother? Seriously, all I wanted growing up was to be a wife and mother, so not having children was a terribly difficult thing to deal with. Especially since it wasn't because I couldn't have children. Don suffered terrible abuse as a child and when it came time to start a family, he just wasn't willing to do so. He wasn't willing to risk continuing the pattern of abuse. It took a long time to reconcile my heart to the fact that I wouldn't never know what it was to hold my own child, to see our children grow up and become amazing adults. It's been the greatest regret I have. God has helped me to accept it, and for that I'm grateful.



(Robin) I believe a mistake is only a mistake is we cannot walk away with a greater wisdom. Has there been a time in your life where struggle occurred from a poor decision and if so, how did you overcome?
(Karen) Ha! Don will agree with me on this: getting married! Don't get me wrong. Don and I love each other, but we went into marriage with more foolishness than wisdom, and paid a heavy price. Our backgrounds were so different, and we are so very different. It's taken a lot of work--and almost 15 years of counseling!--to reach a place of peace together.


(Robin) How do you define success?
(Karen) Perseverance. Not giving up when the going gets ugly. Holding fast to the truth, no matter what people around you are saying. Don and I both had people telling us we should just give up on our marriage, but we knew that wasn't what God was telling us. And I'm so glad we held on. Though we're still very different, and though we still butt heads at times, I wouldn't give up who we are together--and who I've become because of all I've learned.


(Robin) Looking back, what advice would you give to yourself at the age of eighteen to prepare you for life ahead?
(Karen) Run! Seriously, I'd tell my young self to spend more time in the Word and less time wishing things were different. To be more careful with money--that "shopping therapy" feels good in the moment but costs dearly in the long-run. And to remember that there's wonder everywhere because we have a Father-God who loves to delight His children. All you need to do is keep your heart and spirit open.


(Robin) With a new year beginning, what do you hope to accomplish this year?
(Karen) I don't make goals for the year. Instead, I ask God each day what He wants me to accomplish, then focus on doing that.



(Robin) What encouraging words would you give to someone encountering loss?
(Karen) It will get better. It may take a long time, but it really does get better. It took almost three years for me to be able to talk about Mom without crying. I still remember when that shifted, and I found myself smiling and laughing when I talked about her. But let it take the time it takes. You can't rush recovery from loss. Don't get down on yourself when the grief strikes. It still hits me at times, and it's been almost eight years now. Just lean on God and your friends and family, and look forward to the reunion in eternity.


(Robin) My pastor says, "If the Lord has done something for you the least you can do is say so." Dear friend, what is the Lord doing in your life?
(Karen) He's sustaining me in the face of continued beat-downs. It's been a tough couple of years, on several fronts. But with each new hit, God has proven faithful.


(Robin) What empowering advice would you give to someone facing adversity?
(Karen) Remember, this life is a blink of an eye in light of eternity. God tells us we'll have trials; it's pretty much guaranteed if you follow Christ. But He's there, in the midst of them, to uphold and strengthen. Don't waste energy defending yourself or getting angry. Look to God, seek His truth, and let Him carry you through the hard days.



(Robin) In your legacy what do you hope to leave behind?
(Karen) That life is full of wonder, God is ever-faithful, and peace can be found in letting go and resting in Him.


Karen, thank you so much for stopping in. I just find you a simple joy. You carry such wisdom and your heart is one that is willing to surrender to the Lord and in your walk you show others that trusting Him is the only way to become all we were created to be. Friends, what did you gain from our interview? Is there something that really touched your heart? Please share with us. Leave your comments or questions for Karen. Have a blessed day in the Lord and see you next week with guest Leah Hofmann DiPascal.
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