By Karen Steinhauser
*Note: Karen will be set up in front of the Christian Worship Center on Broadway with her children’s book during the Mountain Mushroom Festival, on Saturday, April 28, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. She invites you to stop by and say, “Hi!”
If you never read another one of my columns, I hope you will this one. Maybe you have heard this story before, but it bears repeating. I will tell it over and over as long as there is breath in my body. My level of gratefulness far supersedes any concern for what others might think of me. April is such a special month to me because it always causes me to reflect on just how far I have come; more importantly, just how far God has brought me.
Thirty four years ago I was about to give birth to a son that I had considered aborting. After a good Christian upbringing, I had gone about as far as you could go in the opposite direction. My life had been ravaged by drugs, alcohol, bad relationships and jail. And on and on I could go. I’m sure you are getting the picture. I didn’t even have a place to live. I was here, there and everywhere!
The birth of my son was the beginning of my life changing. I learned what love is. It took a while and almost losing my life, but I started to pay attention. The events led me to the pivotal moment that would change everything, when a dear friend would invite me to church, and I would go because I had exhausted all my options in trying to straighten things out by myself. I was in need of something bigger than me! I found it, soon to be twenty-nine years ago.
You may be wondering why I would share something so personal. There are three good reasons that I can think of immediately. The first: To encourage all those with a family member in whom they have lost hope that they will ever change. No one, and I do mean no one, is so far gone that they cannot make a turnaround. If they are breathing, there is hope.
Secondly, to help those who may have done nothing thus far in life but make bad choices, realize one good choice can make all the difference for you. You may be so far down on the bottom you can’t see a way out. When you have hit the bottom there isn’t but one way to go, and that is up!
Thirdly, I am an advocate for a child’s right to live and not be aborted. When I think about what life would be like if I had not ever known my son, it’s heart wrenching to me. The world needed a Jason. Jason works with the homeless. He is kind and caring. He is unique and artistic. Jason sees everyone as being equal and treats them accordingly.
Many times we look at people with our preconceived notions, thinking that we know all about them and where they have come from. I have learned to truly “not judge a book by it’s cover”. I clean up fairly well and most people are quite shocked by my background if they are unaware of my past. It remains my story for His glory. I have shared a very small portion of it. I have always said jokingly, “I would write my life story but no one would believe it”. It sounds humorous, but it’s actually true.
However, some folks have watched me enough through the years to know that it is indeed true. My heart’s desire is that God would use what He has done in my life to inspire others to have hope and make a decision for Christ. I never sit down to type a word without asking God what I should write. Words fail me when I try to express how thankful I truly am that I have been blessed to not only survive against many odds, but I have been blessed way beyond what I could ever deserve or have imagined.
Happy 34th birthday to my constant reminder of mercy and grace, my son Jason! You are loved!
Thank you for allowing me to share an even bigger piece of my heart than usual. I hope we will meet again next week as you settle down someplace quiet. Maybe you will have a nice cup of hot tea with a raspberry scone, and we will once again talk about what’s on my heart and what I have learned from it. As always God bless.
Karen Sparks Steinhauser is an Estill County native that currently resides in Richmond, Kentucky. She is a Christian children’s author and speaker. If you wish to contact her or schedule her for an event, you may email her at Karensteinhauser7@gmail.com or 859-893-1758.