Karen Brown

  • Sept. 25, 2015
  • #8715

Multiple sclerosis took away Karen’s dream of becoming a missionary overseas. She is now ministering through her poetry and her courageous endurance.

Karen Brown

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with a story that will bless you.

Karen Brown had always wanted to be a missionary; she had dreams of serving the Lord on some far distant field laced, perhaps, with a little adventure; some exotic place where her gifts and talents could be put to work for the sake of Christ. This was all Karen’s dream.  

But God… well, He had other plans. Because almost 30 years ago, Karen was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a debilitating neuromuscular disease that stole away that dream. And now? The exotic place where Karen’s gifts and talents are put to work is a state-run nursing home in Rapid City, South Dakota. Over the years, Karen’s paralysis has taken its toll: she has lost movement in her arms and legs and has many struggles with her health. Her bed and the four walls of her little room limit her horizons, not to mention that she is unable to move any part of her body except her head.  

But, bless her heart, though, Karen has not allowed these crushing limitations to dampen her spirit. Remember, she is, at heart, a true missionary. And so, Karen is able to use a computer with a headset, and using voice activation, she writes the most beautiful poetry. In fact, oh, I guess it was about 3 months ago that I read one of Karen’s poems on this program. It was a surprise to Karen and she wrote me an email, saying, “Joni, I wanted to let you know that you reading my poem on your radio time was one of the biggest moments of my life! I cannot tell you how marvelous it was, and how much God has blessed me! I just cannot hardly believe this blessing.”

Oh my goodness, I can’t begin to tell you how touched, how moved I was by her words of joy. To know that, well, such a simple gesture as reciting one of her poems could bless Karen’s heart in such a deep way. Because think of it: her mission field is the nursing home where she lives. Her multiple sclerosis has taken away so much, separating her from her long-ago dreams, but her sweet spirit and courageous endurance is an inspiration to all. And so, I want to share with you one other poem that Karen wrote from her bed. And as I share it, I want you to picture that little room, her bed, and her limited world in that nursing home. Because Karen’s poem is aptly titled “Where Are You?” And listen to what she writes,

“’Where are you,’ my spirit asked, within the storm that took my night, and put my gentle fleeting hope to flight.
‘Where are you,’ my helpless soul longed to know, within the veil that hid the stars, and took my joy, and left me scars.
‘Where are you,’ my harried heart sought, within the lifeless forms of play, that marked the years of endless day.
‘Where are you,’ my being cried, when all who'd come had only lied and left me empty, still behind, within my weary wondering mind.
“And then, the root of David split the darkened halls of anguished calls, within the tomb a manger stall stood up against the deadly fall, and all at once the light was there, and everything, everything was crystal clear...
'Where are you,' ‘Oh My child,’ He said, ‘I've come, I'm right here.’... And that is why I love Him so.”

What a testimony of the grace of God in her life. Her world isn’t so limited after all, because now, her gift has reached you. And if you’d like to tell Karen so, just go to my radio page today at joniandfriends.org, drop a line and we’ll pass it along to her.

© Joni and Friends


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