Fall Project 2016

Karrie – Committed to excellence

When I first met Karrie there was this immediate magnetizing pull I felt from her soul. I knew there was this deep well of experience and compassion hiding under the guise of her quiet and easy-going personality. A smile always ready, there exists something about this woman that exudes strength, something within her that shouts, “I know what I am about!”thumb_5u1a5566_1024

She came and sat down on my couch, the first of our interviews ever for Share Her Story. I wanted to see how this woman could be so gentle and concretely resolved at the same time. What was this pull I was feeling?

The answer is this: Karrie loves. That is the strongest part of who Karrie is. Her love is not made obvious by the overuse of the “Oh, I just love you’s.” No, it is quiet and unassuming – a love that has climbed a couple of mountains, a love that has grown stronger whilst amongst the thickets of life, a love that understands there are much bigger needs than her immediate own.      thumb_5U1A5612_1024.jpg

Out of this love blossoms her strength. Forever a mother, she looks to share her wisdom with those who will listen. She takes advantage of every opportunity to pour into others – through youth ministry, mentorship, and participation in women’s small groups. She deeply appreciates watching those around her grow. She nurtures and quietly encourages. This is her greatest highlight as a mother, watching as her children not only grow naturally, but spiritually.

“There is nothing like watching your kids lift their hands and worship in freedom.”thumb_img_9936_1024

Christ is the center of her life, followed closely by her husband on whose wisdom and love she enjoys depending. Recently having an experience with the Holy Spirit, Karrie’s perspective on life and faith have radically changed. She aspires to quote scripture easily and fluidly because she understands, now, this is the wellspring of life. A goal, undoubtedly, she will conquer because . . . Karrie loves Jesus. Over the past year the Lord has been doing a work within her, she now understands what it truly means to be a disciple of Christ; to live life day-in and day-out at His feet. Her life carries the evidence of it and her eyes constantly sparkle with His beauty and joy.

 

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There is no denying that Karrie is a woman we can all benefit from knowing . . .

 


Nicholette – Quiet and Powerful

Nicholette prefers to be the quiet one in the room, watching, observing. Until she has something to say. Speaking with steadfast grace, you realize that this woman knows what she is talking about. Undeniably, she walks intimately with God and carries no doubt when it comes to sharing what He has shown her.thumb_5u1a5470_1024

Nicholette is a born leader – proved worthy for authority through the fires of personal decision and unexpected circumstance.  Like Joseph, her path has been vastly different than what she had planned. Yet, in both highs and lows the Lord has kept her close to his side. When she was younger, Nicholette remembers having continuous encounters with God. She didn’t grow up being in church every time the doors opened, yet she heard His voice.

Unshakably marked, Nicholette’s life carried on and things happened that drew her away from Him. She lost herself, lost her way, and couldn’t find a way back. However, God had dog-eared Nicholette and He refused for her to stay confused. Drawing her to Him, He embraced her with open arms. Through His redeeming, she now hears His voice. And obeys.

thumb_5u1a5535_1024Listening intently, the Lord will show her deeper perspectives of His love; fresh revelations of His wisdom that carries an imprint that is uniquely Nicholette. Refusing to move from His lap, she has conquered things that many are afraid of even trying. She understands that her strength, her ability, to carry on in the life comes from Him alone. The Lord is her solitary source of joy and hope and life.

This beautiful love between Nicholette and her Savior bubbles upward from her soul and causes her to burst into song. With a voice close to angelic, she loves to worship. She places all the various feelings and emotions, colors and understandings, of her walk with God into her singing. And when she opens her mouth your soul can do nothing but simply listen.

It is her purest form of communication with the One who rescued her. And it is magnificently obvious.

     

Nicholette has a will of iron; a voice from Heaven. It is always the quiet ones that hit the hardest. Nicolette has proven that phrase true because of her love for her King . . .

 

 


Mariah – Releasing Control and Embracing His Will

Authentically friendly, Mariah is one of those talented people that could start up a conversation with just about anyone. Because, she genuinely cares about people. This caring attitude branches from her gift of compassion – which she, unknowingly, walks confidently in.

thumb_5u1a5756_1024This gifting affects every area of her life. And it is why she has so much favor when it comes to her career. Coupled with an extreme work ethic, Mariah works tirelessly for those who are placed under her. She carries a servant’s heart within her. Indisputably devoted to those around her, she loves to an extreme.

However, for an amount of time, Mariah was trying to care for those who were in need of her without any help from God. Trying to accomplish everything she deemed as right and good from her own ability, she began to pick up burdens that were much too heavy for her.thumb_5u1a5783_1024

God brought a stop to that; halted everything in her known world to teach her how to lean into Him. He took something profoundly important from her hands, her mother’s health, and placed it out of reach. Diagnosed with breast cancer, Mariah’s mother Tracy’s future was now at risk. Through a process of many months, Mariah learned the only way she could possibly get through this extremely painful time was by trusting God completely. She realized she had lost her ability to “muscle her way through it.” She was unable to speed up or slow down the process. She learned to wait until He moved. 

Always faithful, He restored that which He took away. Tracy now lives life cancer-free! Mariah now lives life with an even deeper appreciation for those around her. Her compassion has deepened. She carries a pause within her soul that wasn’t there before. A pause that allows the Lord to show her how to better and more earnestly love the ones He has placed around her. 

Her speech carries a new flavor of grace. A gentleness springs forth from her, a gentleness that comes from eyes open to a new perspective. With a thankful heart she praises the Lord.

Mariah is a woman who has had her world shaken. With her faith growing stronger Mariah’s ability to love people will continue to make her a game-changer for the Lord . . .     


 Olivia – Abundant Love from a Healed Heart

As you get to know Olivia the most enchanting part of her is how she strives to make you laugh. Joke posed at the ready, she understands the natural give and take of conversation and knows exactly where to land her humor, making you feel at ease and so welcomed to be her friend. Not surprisingly, underneath this bubbly personality lies a woman who has truly been tested.thumb_5u1a5653_1024

She has endured pain. Slashed to the emotional bone by those closest to her, Olivia understands all too well the misery of rejection, the boulder-like weight of shame, and the haunting fear of loneliness. She leashed her anger and confusion towards God and in turn, rejected him. But this decision only lead to a deeper loneliness; one that made her thirst for a life so much better. The Lord knew this. And set Olivia on a path that washed away every lie she ever told herself.

Driving home one evening, she came up on a semi-truck too quickly and found herself logged underneath the gigantic automobile. It was in the moments before everything came to a stop that Olivia realized God was real and surrendered her life completely to His will.

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Her story is a story of redemption. It sings with the deepest revelation of how much God loves.

Things happened, people did bad things, but Olivia now understands that this doesn’t change God’s love. She holds tightly to the understanding that she is redeemed because He redeemed her.

A warrior, she carries this knowledge into battle. Wearing her knowledge as a shield, she refuses to allow the idea that she is “never enough” to have any advantage over her life. Actively, and with incredible wisdom, Olivia expertly combats the idea that she is defined by anything other than God, himself.

A true soldier of the spirit, she refuses to allow anyone to be left in the muck of despair she herself has intimate knowledge of. She shares her past with freedom, proclaiming the goodness of God with a shofar-like blast of gratitude. Unknowingly, she rallies others to embrace God’s love as strongly as she does.

Raven- colored hair streaming behind her, Olivia holds her head high. Strength and wisdom. Graceful and hilarious. These are the colors of Olivia’s soul. With an open hand she reaches for friendship. And in the other, a sword with which she fights for freedom – for herself and for others.  

Olivia’s life carries the imprint of God’s hand and it’s still not over yet . . .      

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Katie – His Will, Her Joy

Katie is sweet as sugar. Anyone that has the pleasure of knowing her would agree with that. Her smile is constant, her laugh easy. She carries a hint of wonder for each new day that is a rarity within humanity. It is absolutely contagious.thumb_5u1a5763_1024

Her kept innocence allows her to connect with those that are many times unseen or passed over. She truly wants to befriend the ones who cling to the walls and stay on the outskirts. Her genuine smile and adorable quirkiness help those, that wish to go unnoticed, ease out of the safety of their shells and into the light.

thumb_5u1a5846_1024Her bubbly personality is a perfect fit for her role as a middle school youth leader – where she not only engages with the students, but teaches them as well. “I see myself as a kid still,” she confesses. With an age that is all awkward moments and odd smells, hers is an important perspective. These wonderful aspects of Katie are a necessity for her life goal.

Wanting to work in and with local and foreign orphanages, Katie looks forward to the immense task of helping, guiding, teaching and loving those that been cast from society. This determination to do so arises from her victory over fear.

When she was younger, Katie was petrified of being left alone. Since then God continually proves that He is always with her. This knowledge has rooted itself within Katie. She is resolved to help those who have no one, understand what she knows – that God will always be there.

This young woman possesses a confidence that is quite special. Partially, it was gained through being born the youngest of four girls. The incredible patience that has been ingrained within her by having four times the amount of mothers is a feat in itself. But this fact, along with the resolute knowledge of who she is – because she knows who HE is – has nurtured within Katie a confidence that refuses be shaken.

She is completely at ease with herself. This wisdom is what gives her the ability to be sensitive and responsive to the needs of others.

Katie is young, but she hears from the Lord. He is constantly telling her secrets. And this I know, though she may just be starting out, Katie is going to change the world . . .