Tag Archives: identity


I am the queen of awkward…seriously, you don’t even know. I’ve heard I’m known as “Professor Awkward” on campus. I can’t argue. I once insisted that I recognized someone at church from RPM spin class, even though this poor man repeatedly insisted that he had never been to a spin class in his life. I continued repeatedly to insist that he had been there – as if someone is going to forget going to a spin class! Trust me, when you come that close to believing you are going to die by exercise, you don’t forget! (So sorry Jesse – so glad you joined the small group despite our awkward start!)  Then there was the time I was asked to take a family new to the community a meal following the birth of their first child. I was running late and so burst in the door, setting the meal on their kitchen counter while proclaiming, “Hi, I’m Karen. Cute baby. Here’s a meal. Sorry to rush but I’m late for dinner plans.” And then I left. I’m not even sure of the person’s name! WHO DOES THAT!? And why does the director of hospitality continue to ask me to interact with real life human beings! (Jenny – that’s you!) There are actually small children at church who enjoy teasing me by greeting me with the taunt of, “AWWKWARD!!!” I seriously seem to have a knack for making a perfectly normal situation extremely awkward. I just do. It’s a gift.


Well, without even trying, this moment is naturally awkward…

Maybe not Kanye interrupting T-Swift awkward. awkward moment

Or Steve Harvey announcing the wrong winner awkward.awkward moment2

It’s not “butt fumble” or “butt slide” awkward.

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It’s not even Dan Quayle trying to spell potato or President Obama trying to spell respect awkward.

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But it is awkward…it’s awkward that it has been over a year since MND GMZ Ministries has posted on a regular basis. So we are owning the awkward.


But I want to assure you that we have a very good reason for our absence and that we are back with new material that will be posted on a regular basis.

First, let me explain the “we”. Although I (Karen) have been the primary contributor to the website, MND GMZ Ministries has always been a “we”.  And I am SO excited to introduce you to others who have been, and continue to be, an integral part of the ministry. You are going to be SO BLESSED by them! And yes, you’ll still hear from me on a very regular basis as well.

So what happened? Well, frankly, God called us away from writing for a season so we could focus on other aspects of the ministry. Which is awkward when you are primarily a speaking and WRITING ministry. Sometimes being obedient feels awkward. God calls us to do things that don’t make sense. However, being obedient is also so rewarding! And God’s way, as awkward as it may feel or seem, is always the best way! God has been so faithful to the ministry over the last year and we CANNOT WAIT to share with you all that He has revealed to us and taught us. Oh man is it going to be a fun ride!

So where are we going? Here’s a sneak peak – we are still ALL ABOUT IDENTITY. And that is not going to change anytime soon. But we are going to take our discussions around identity to the next level. You can read the first blogs on identity by clicking HERE. And HERE. And HERE. And HERE and HERE. I told you – we’re passionate about identity in Christ! We’ve spent a great deal of time discussing where identity comes from and where it shouldn’t come from. Now we’re going to begin discussing what it means to actually live from a Christ-centered identity. And I. CAN’T. WAIT!

And as always, you and all of your peeps are invited to “join the journey”. Those of you in the Pella area can join physically by attending the Summer Series this Tuesday at 12:00 at Third Church. Check out the promo video below and if you are in the area I hope to see you there! (And if you’re not, don’t worry, it’ll be available online later next week!)


Karen (and the entire MND GMZ Ministries team)

Confessions of a Single Life – Part 1

So here’s the deal. This blog has been in process for months. There is so much I want to say (and have been wanting to say) but the words have not come easily. Writing is like that – sometimes you have to untangle the thoughts and wrestle with the words. But here it is – the one to put questions to rest and clear the confusion. What kind of questions? The polite ones: “So…are you dating anyone?” The awkward ones: “Who are you bringing with you to the wedding?” The funny ones: “You’re not unattractive so why aren’t you dating anyone?” And the ones that are left unsaid: “What’s wrong with you?” Yes, it is time to talk about my single status.

It is odd to me that I am such an anamoly and it is especially strange to me that even many churches don’t know what to do with someone who is single. After all, Jesus was single! (So all you singles out there – remember that Jesus knows and can relate to what you are experiencing!) Paul was single and recommended it as the preferred marital status. It appears that many of the prophets were single. And yet…

But I digress…back to the questions. Let’s get right at it: Why am I still single?

Is there something wrong with me? No. I mean, yes, there are lots of things “wrong” with me – but no more or less than any other person who walks the earth. I’m not damaged goods. I’m not inept at relationships – in fact, I think I’ve learned to be pretty good at them!

Am I just disinterested? NO. I am very interested in finding “Mr. Right”. In fact, wanna know a secret? I’m a SERIOUS romantic. I’m as sappy and gushy and Hallmark greeting card as it comes! (If you are interested in assisting in the search, you may send all prospects to MNDGMZMin@gmail.com.)

Am I just too picky? NO! (For one thing, is that even possible? This is a spouse, not a pair of shoes or my coffee order!) However, I do know what I am looking for and I am willing to wait until I find him (or he finds me).

So what’s the deal? The deal is that in college I prayed a very dangerous prayer that God has continued to answer every day since. I looked around at the married couples that I admired, including my parents, and noticed one commonality: they all complimented one another in ministry and service to God. I noticed that without the other, they would be much less effective in their work advancing God’s Kingdom. And so my prayer was this: “God, may I only marry if and when I am able to do exponentially more for your Kingdom with him than I can do by myself.” I’m telling you, if you pray, God will answer – so be careful!


May I suggest that  being single is not a “less than” way to live? I am not incomplete because I do not have a husband. And being single does not necessarily mean that the person is broken or weird or clueless or anything else. Single people do not need pity, a sympathetic head tilt or looked at as if they are aliens. They need the same thing married people need – relationship, community, love, grace, affection, and understanding. Yes, I get lonely. So do married people. Yes I feel misunderstood. So do married people. Yes, sometimes I feel life would be easier with someone to share it with and yet my married friends tell me they think life would be easier if they were single!

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Marital status does not define me and it ought not define you! Single or married is not your identity – your identity and my identity are found in Christ alone and in carrying out the unique calling he has placed on each one of our lives. Yes, my heart’s desire is to be married someday, and I believe that in time God will grant or change that desire. Until that day, I have so many blessings and am doing my best to live life in a manner that honors God and fulfills the calling He has given me. I have a career I love and can devote a lot of time to because I am single. I have friends I love and who love me. I have the ability to bless others with time and resources that I likely would not have if I were married. And the things I fear I am missing out on because I am not married? Such as kids, what leads to kids (we’ll talk about this more in a future blog!), and the unique companionship of a spouse? Well, I trust that God’s current plan is better than those things and I choose to trust that I am not “missing out” but carrying out the unique life God has blessed me with.

So, to my married friends, be kind and gentle to the singles in your life! Include them in your community and family life. Invite them over for dinner and to your children’s activities. They will gladly be “aunt” and “uncle” and will likely treasure being included! And take an interest in what is going on in their lives! Even confident singles are hurt by exclusion or assumptions so offer grace and seek to understand.

To my fellow singles, please live life to the fullest! Do not  alienate yourself from friends that have gotten married. They still need you! Do not sit around pining for that perfect someone or expect the pizza delivery person to be that someone! (I’ve tried it – they were always awkward high school students and that much pizza created a bad health situation.) Remember, you are not less than because you are not married! You have a special place in God’s kingdom. You have a special calling to carry out! Don’t wait to start life until you have someone to share it with. Instead, start living life and expect God to provide someone to join you in the process!


Selfies, Statuses, and Snapchats…and You.

Last fall I spent a week teaching at a local high school. By the third day I had noticed a troubling trend among the students. Few of them were able to look me in the eye when speaking to me. I also teach a couple courses at a local college. It is not uncommon for me to return to my office after class to find emails from students I just saw in person voicing questions or concerns. And then there is the sheer panic I see in the eyes of the teenagers who have lost their cell phone or internet privileges upon my recommendation. “But how am I going to talk to my friends?” is a common questioned quickly followed by “But what if their parents answer!?” when I suggest they use a landline to call. And then there are the married couples, who come into my office for counseling and seem to communicate exclusively by text message.


I’m not someone who tends to get overly worried about the direction our world is headed. I tend to trust that God has everything under control and I know the end of the story so why worry about the middle of it. However, it is experiences like these that cause me to pause and wonder what impact technology is having on us and make me fear that it is not positive. Now, before I am accused of being some old fuddy-duddy who just doesn’t get it, let me say that I love technology and use it every day. But it is actually my own use, and overuse, of technology that has made my concern grow. I’m often shocked (and frankly embarrassed) by how much time I spend on Facebook, Twitter, or just surfing the Internet. I hate that I feel “naked” when I forget my cell phone at home. It bothers me that my thoughts become obsessed with discovering what is behind every “ding” and “bleep” my phone makes, even if it means disengaging from the real people I’m spending face to face time with. (Dr. Arch Hart calls this the “Digital Invasion” and wrote a book by that title I’d highly recommend!)


Unfortunately, I fear that the grip and negative impact of technology is even worse for younger people. I believe I receive emails from students because they are afraid (or simply don’t know how) to interact with adults face to face. I worry about young people who find their identity in the number of comments or likes they get on an Instagram post or who feel unloved because they haven’t gotten a “Snapchat” or text message. Most of all, I worry that instead of discovering the person God designed them to be, young people will simply create the person they wish they were in the digital world. Another potential hazard of technology is the ease with which we can compare ourselves to others. Social media allows us to know exactly what someone is doing at any given time. Granted, we compare our real life to the life others create on social media, but conveniently forget this in the process.

On the one hand, finding identity in Christ is as simple as receiving the gift and claiming that truth. On the other hand, it is a constant struggle against the lies of this dark, sinful, and broken world. Technology does not make this fight any easier and may just make the pull to define ourselves in other, ineffective ways more powerful and alluring. Winston Churchill once said that we create the tools and then the tools create us. In our digital world of Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, and others, will we opt out of the struggle to find our true identity and continue to opt for a fantasy? I know for me, it might be time to “unplug” more often!

Is your use of technology drawing you closer to God? How is your use of technology impacting your relationships and your view of yourself?