This month, Finding Her is featuring Karen Hawthorne of Umatilla, Florida. Karen is happily married, is co-owner of a successful landscaping business AND owns/operates an In-Home Daycare. This year, Karen also elected to begin Homeschooling her youngest son. She defines “Momentum” as a constant, steady flow. In her shoes, she says she’s definitely the Momentum behind her family. In tough times, or when they are struggling or stressed; she makes certain her family doesn’t feel the effects of that. She’s the momentum every day, sick or not; tired or not!
With so much on her plate, Karen still finds time to give back to those in her community, especially struggling Moms. One of her biggest struggles has been when she was a single mother, raising her daughter from age one to age four. Karen worked 60 hours per week while her mother cared for her little girl and lived in her mother’s den during that rough time her life.
What I love so much about Karen is that each year, at Christmas, she sponsors a family to provide presents for and fills shoe boxes for needy children at her church. I love her heart, and though she’s found her way out of the hard times she faced years ago, she is present for other Moms in the moments that mattered to her way back then. She says, “Not only am I honoring the Lord, my children are witnessing this behavior and I pray they choose to give back as they grow older.”
I asked Karen what her biggest accomplishment has been, and she says, “Like many other moms would say, my children; raising them in this crazy world! My daughter, now 19, has turned out to be pretty amazing! Through some tough teenage years, I was worried, but I have prayed for her and continued to be a positive Godly role model for her and she has begun following in my footsteps. The saying, ‘It starts at home’ is so true! Our children mimic our lives, right down to our word choices and how we treat others.”
Karen’s inspiration is her mother and Jesus Christ. She’s passionate about helping others. Karen says she’s always putting everyone before her own needs. “If I had a good week at work, I find someone who needs their electric bill paid or needs food. I often find someone through social media. She prays that she’s making an impact on those around her and that they see there are still good people in this world. “I hope and pray they see Jesus’s heart in me and this leads them to a relationship in Christ,” says Karen.
Looking back to where she was five years ago, she says that today she’s able to be the woman she hoped to be. “I’ve worked hard to get this life. 10 years ago, I would have never imagined myself as a Christian woman, or even as giving as I am now because I was so selfish.” Looking ahead five years, she wants to continue to be an example for her children, grandchildren and for young mothers.
“I can be an overachiever! I’m the mom who gets up at 6 a.m. to start the day with a pot of coffee, I home-school my son, then I am a caregiver to many children. Dinner is on the table at 5 p.m., I do a load of laundry every day. I enjoy a challenge of how many things I can do in one day. I volunteer at church two nights a week, and freely give to others when I see a need. By no means am I perfect, but I do want others to know me as that amazing Mom and Wife that loved the Lord.”
Again, I love Karen’s heart and her desire to give back. You see, some things happen in our lives that are meant to build our character. Karen is a perfect testimony to the fact that she took her rough circumstances, and not only persevered but God restored her into a woman that is driven to help the very young women she saw herself to be twenty years ago.
Our stories are our testimonies. They are how we share with others the things God has done in our lives. It’s important that we use our experiences to help another. If you’ve been through a great deal of turmoil in your life, allow God to use that to build His kingdom. He will not only heal you from it, but restore you into a newer, stronger, better version of yourself you never knew existed. It’s not about where we’ve been. It’s about where we’re going…But we can use our pasts to help others!