Solid Foundation

I was asked to write my testimony for Good News. I freaked and said "no "I felt little old me had nothing of interest to say! By the 3rd or 4th asking I felt God wanted me to be obedient. Afraid of not knowing where to start I prayed and God put it together. Everytime I tried to write what I thought would be more details or emotions I found myself erasing and God taking the writing over. I try to live my life as a vessel for Christ so I pray that this will touch someone whom God intended it for.
Hi my name is Karen Nielsen, I grew up in sunny San Diego, Ca. I am the middle child with an older brother and younger sister. My childhood memories are of loving, caring parents. Both my Mom and Dad supported us in anything we would want to do. Family togetherness was always a first priority. Growing up our family spent a lot of time camping, this would be just our family or with groups of families from our neighborhood. My parents were such loving people they always said the more the merrier! Snow skiing was another family sport we enjoyed. I can appreciate the effort and expense my parents had with a family of five.
With all the love and family closeness I had growing up sadly God was not talked about much in our house. We went to church, mostly on the special holidays, said grace only before dinner and prayed before bed. When I was in junior high I went to Youth Group. I remember going to a Church camp out in the mountains. Kids were coming to the Lord, crying, emotional and I could not understand what was going on. I felt like an outcast, I just couldn''t grasp what was so great! My life was fine I knew God was out there and I could pray to him if need be, but why be so emotional and I knew I didn''t want to be one of those" Born Again "embarrassing people! So life went on .... I got through the teenage years pretty good, I guess I would say the normal bumps and bruises.
At nineteen I got a job with the airlines in reservations. This was wonderful I got to see the world. And my parent''s received special airline rates too. So we traveled many interesting places together. I will always cherish the memories of those days with them.
About 20 years old I wished that I had had a relationship with Jesus. Lots of heartache could have been avoided. I met and fell in love with a man from Jordan. I thought with the traveling I had done and all the countries I had been in this would be another excited adventure in my life. My parents were heart sick, they knew the differences between our life styles, customs and religions were gigantic barriers to overcome. He told me he was a Christian, I thought great so am I. (I believed in God, up to that point in my life I thought that was all there was to it.) I didn''t see the problems that my parents saw. Against my families wishes we were married. I believe it was the first week of marriage he informed me that he was Muslim! And any children we have will be raised Muslim in Jordan and that I will become a Muslim! I was numb I didn''t know what to believe. I always had a heart for God. But I knew that I was not rooted in my belief. One thing I did learn, a wife of a Jordanian did not question her husband. I tried to be obedient but it was a tug of war. I honestly tried to make the marriage work. I had feared being a failure ... I thought love would conquer all. I have a heart full of compassion for anyone that has gone through what I have, the marriage ended fortunately without any children brought in to a very unhappy, mixed up marriage. Hindsight, God filled me with knowledge through that life experience and started me on my lessons of forgiveness.
Several years later I met Cregg. Life was so easy; he also came from a loving family with similar backgrounds. Both families were thrilled when a wedding was announced. After our first two daughters were born we joined a church. Cregg came once in awhile and I searched for friendships and place to call home. We built great friendships I was active and on many committees. But still had many unanswered questions about God. I do not remember anyone taking about having a relationship with Jesus. But we figured we were doing right - going to church, having women''s bible study in our home, serving at the church, going to a the family activities.
Especially both Cregg and I coming from families that only said grace attended church now and then. I still felt something missing. Cregg and I decided out of the blue to move to Coeur d'' Allen in 1993. We prayed and we both felt called. This was new to us because we did not have a reason to move. Both families were in San Diego, we knew no one in Idaho. Our painting business was successful and we had our "dream home". But God was pulling us to step out in faith. We were going to find out what faith was really all about!
We sold our house without ever listing it. We really thought God was telling us something because in 1993 no homes were selling in San Diego. We had no idea what kind of business we would get into. Cregg felt this was the time to get out of painting and try something different. My parents were worried for us and my Mom was especially upset about us leaving. In just one month after arriving we bought our floor-covering store. We have gone through many trial being" new in town "and taking over a business. Which in turn has strengthened our faith with the Lord.
After being in Coeur d'' Alene for 2 months we found our church home in New Life Community Church. We now are blessed with 3 beautiful daughters and all of us have found Jesus as our Lord and Savior. It''s so exciting and wonderful to have Christ in our hearts, marriage, home and business. I know now the emptiness I felt all those years growing up has been filled with Jesus Christ.
April 1997 my family had horrible news; my Mom had melanoma cancer that had gone to her liver. I felt God was using this to bring my family to the Lord. I was able to be with my Mother her last week. God had given her unbelievable strength and I was able to pray and talk to her. I think we all some time or another think about the time we might loose a parent, I dreaded to think about how I would fall apart. Praise the Lord for his strength, I leaned on him, prayed and walked with his courage he gave me, I was able to witness and be lifted up by prayer. As odd as it sounds to me even my Mother''s death was beautiful, I thank the Lord for letting me be apart of it. But boy does it hurt. Especially see the pain and loss my Dad was feeling. He spent a lot of time with us here in Coeur d'' Alene, which was healing for all of us. God never stops with his miacales; a good friend of mine we meet through New Life has a Mother that had been a widow for 8 years. We decided that our parents should meet. Low and behold my Dad accepted Christ as his savior and married my friends Mother. Our family has grown and God has blessed all of us. God has a plan for all of us. I know I draw my strength first through Jesus then my husband and daughters. Family and friends and very important to me and God has blessed my life with solid foundations in both. Glory be to Christ