On Feb 4, 2018, Karen Barlett was baptized for the forgiveness of her sins and added to God’s kingdom. For Karen, it was both the end of a journey and its beginning.
“For many years I felt a void in my life that I could not figure out how to fil,” she said. “I always felt empty inside, but not for any particular reason. I had a happy childhood and a good life. There was just never any lasting joy.”
She said that although she had a religious upbringing and believed in God, she never thought about having a relationship with him.
“So, I just went on through life feeling depressed and anxious, never really having any inner peace. My life was always a roller coaster of emotions, and I didn’t understand why.”
About 10 years ago, Karen met a coworker who began to talk to her about God and a friend who invited her to her church.
“I tried to connect with the people there, but for some reason it still wasn’t what I was looking for. I had a friend who invited me to her church, and started attending on a regular basis. I was beginning to understand more about God, but was still not able to fill that void. I was looking for more. I prayed that God would show me what I had to do to get to know him. I prayed God would put people in my life who could teach me how to study the bible, so I could understand how to connect with him. I wanted the peace my pastor always talked about, but I still did not know how to get. That is when I met Jan, and from there, I met Octavia, Cheryl, Sandy, Deanna and LaNelle who all, in their own individual way, opened my heart and helped me to receive the love of Christ. They showed me scripture in a way I never saw it before. I finally understood what I had to do to fill the void in my life, I had to let Jesus in.”
Karen said that one of the biggest things she learned during her Bible studies was how to accept God’s unconditional love for me.
“I knew God sent his son for everyone, but I never knew how to accept that and what to do with it. I learned that in order for me to get closer to God, I needed to face the sin in my life, ask God for forgiveness and be willing to turn away from it. I learned that I had to die to myself and follow Christ. I learned what it was that was keeping me from having a relationship with God… it was me!”
Karen said that studying the Bible has helped her not to allow situations and people to affect her and instead to take ownership of her problems and think about what she could do to be more loving and forgiving like Jesus.
“There are still times my emotions take over, and I do not act in a godly way, but then I ask for forgiveness and look back to the word, or talk to one of my sisters in Christ and get godly wisdom on how to handle it for the next time. This has helped me to stop being afraid of confrontation with people. I’ve learned as long as I speak the truth in love, most people are willing to listen. I am also a lot more comfortable talking to others about Jesus and the changes accepting Christ into my life has made. Now that I truly feel it, it is so much easier and exciting to share his love with others!”
Although Karen has a number of spiritual goals including being bold in her faith, listening to God’s direction, and being courageous in following through, one goal stands above the rest.
“My ultimate goal is to get to heaven and hear God say to me, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.’”