Tone Series with Karen Stewart

Documented by Lisa Larson

what do the words ‘so worth loving’ mean to you?

It means no matter who we are and how much we mess up, we are all children of God and so worth loving.

when you hear the words dark and light, what comes to mind?

Dark: Isolation, void of God, despair, fear.

Light: Jesus, love, angels, peace, warmth.

did you find God in the middle of a dark season?

April 13, 2013. God left me when my only sister died at age 46 leaving behind three children and a husband. I was with her when she died and felt God leave me. I’ve never felt that before. Even when my mom died when I was in my 20’s. I was angry, but still believed. I had gone to a traditional church my whole life, but after my sister died, I was done with church and God. My husband wanted to try NP. I agreed. We immediately joined a NP group that helps people struggling with faith. I was very angry and had a lot of questions. As I learned more about God and began reading the Bible, I realized, for the first time what it meant to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. I finally understood what it meant for Jesus to have died to save me. The death of my sister was one of the darkest seasons of my life. In going through this darkness, I found a light I never knew existed. I found a God that is not a God of rules, but a God of love. A God that will never leave me no matter what. He is there in the darkness waiting for me to call out to Him.

what did you learn about His love for you at that time?

Even when I abandoned Him, He will never abandon me. He will wait patiently. He will love me through the good times and bad. All I have to do is turn to Him.

what would you tell the next generation about God?

In John 16:33, shortly before Jesus is taken away and crucified, He tells his disciples, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart because I have overcome the world.” What Jesus is letting us know here is that there will be trouble, but we will not be alone. Jesus does not abandon us. Your heart will be broken, someone you love will die too soon, but God is there. Only through knowing God and His word will your life truly have peace and will you be able to see the light in the darkest moments. My sister was a perfect example of understanding that. When she was close to death she said to me, “Karen, I never felt sorry for myself when I had cancer in college. God gave me an amazing husband and three wonderful children. I have been loved more in my 46 years, than most people experience their entire life. God has blessed me.” My sister completely understood, and she had peace. Also know that God is not a punishing God. I lived my whole life believing that in order to be worthy of his love, I had to follow certain rules. There is only one rule with God: Love. He won’t love you any less when you mess up or any more when you get it right. His love is unconditional. It really hit home for me after having kids. Nothing could make me love my children any less, no matter what they maydo. God’s love for us is even stronger than that. And, finally, God’s timing is perfect. I wasted so much of my 20’s and 30’s worrying about whether I was going to find a husband. I wish I had leaned into God and trusted that he had the perfect plan. I got married at 35. Then worried about whether I was going to be able to have children. I had three children at the ages of 37, 39 and 41. This never would have been my plan, but it was God’s perfect plan. And, it is perfect.