NEW ISSUE SNEAK PEEK: Karen Whiting: Reaching Families Called to Serve

by Taylor Bernquist, LH Intern in Leading Hearts Magazine.

I hope every family who reads this devotional thrives more, bonds more, serves more, and learns more about themselves and God.

“AS WE WERE GROWING UP, THERE WERE TRAGEDIES THAT MY GRANDFATHER, THE FIRE CHIEF, HAD TO DEAL WITH— BUT COULDN’T TALK ABOUT. I remember the silence after the night that my grandfather responded to an accident that killed one of my friend’s parents.  Because I couldn’t talk to my grandfather about my feelings, I did talk to God.  But still, my fear was a lot for me, or for any child, to process,” says veteran author and speaker Karen Whiting. 

Her memory of her longing to explore her feelings as a child is what inspired Karen to open the conversation about the importance of service careers as well as the unique needs of first responders and their families in her 26th book—52 Weekly Devotions for Families Called to Serve.

Growing Families in the Word 

The devotional, which released in September, features 52 topics for families called to serve in the military, mission field, and law enforcement and other services. Each devo includes a hands-on activity like creating a craft or volunteering at a soup kitchen. The book also consists of two- to four-minute Bible lessons with tools to help prompt parents to continue the conversation throughout the week. 

Karen’s hope is that families who read this “Do-votional” will thrive more, bond more, serve more, as they learn more about themselves and about God.” 

A Heart of Service

 A legacy of service is deeply rooted in Karen’s family, considering that not only was her grandfather a fireman, her father had served in the military during World War II, her mother was a nurse, her husband served in the Coast Guard and her sons also served in the military.  But in reviewing her family’s service record, the thing Karen is most proud of is that her children are all are dedicated to serving God and others.  

Early on, Karen made it a priority to model servant-like behavior to her young children. Yes, she knew it was important to not only read them devotionals but to teach them how to engage in acts of service.  That’s why she enlisted her kids to accompany her whenever she volunteered in their community. She found that by leading her kids into acts of kindness, their times of devotional reading became even more meaningful.

In Karen’s book, 52 Weekly Devotions for Families Called to Serve, she writes stories to encourage the readers to serve as well. For example, when Hurricane Irma wreaked damage to the home of a young family, Social Services deemed the home unsafe for their newborn baby. A service worker learned about their situation and contacted FEMA on their behalf.  Not only did UMCOR send a team to repair the nursery, but members of their community also volunteered to help, and soon the new parents got to bring their baby to a home that was safe for parents and child. This story is but an example of tales of real-life people who have learned to have the heart of a servant.

A Legacy of Faithfulness

Karen’s heart to share God’s stories of faithfulness with families is at the heart of every devotional she writes. Her family has lived through four lightning strikes, two spontaneous fires, and two separate hurricanes. 

During Hurricane Andrew, Karen’s family lost half their house and had to rebuild. During that time of recovery, she wrote devotions for her family on the story of Nehemiah and how he rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem. Having her children connect with this Bible story showed them God’s faithfulness—and pulled them closer to Him. That kind of relationship with God is what Karen desires to instill in families who read her devotionals. 

A Foundation of Truth

Karen herself never thought she’d be an author of this many books. In fact, she started out as a mathematician. She first picked up a pen to write when she created devotionals for her own children. Soon she was encouraged to publish her devotionals for other families.

Even though the idea seemed crazy, she told God that she would give writing and publishing five years, and then she would go back to her old job. The publishers of her devotionals gave her a five-year contract for five books and it didn’t add up to her way of thinking. “At that moment, I knew that I did not have to have all the answers about my future, but God did,” she says.

Karen wants other families to know that they can trust that God does has answers and that they can serve him even before he reveals all the details of their future.  That’s just one of the things that her book, 52 Weekly Devotionals for Families Called to Serve does, it helps instill peace in knowing that families can serve a God they can trust. 

You can find two weeks of devotionals for free on Karen’s website karenwhiting.com/freedownloads

Karen is making this offer because she wants to be of service to you and to your children.  She says, “The things we teach our children when they are young, create an impact on the rest of their lives. Make sure your impact is a positive one.”

Find 52 Weekly Devotionals for Families Called to Serve on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Christianbooks.com

Top 5 Ways You Can Help Out Your Local Public Safety Workers

1. Cook a meal or bring dessert

Bringing a meal you made or a dessert you baked is a great way to say thank you to public safety workers. Often with their hard jobs and irregular schedules, getting homecooked meals or baked goods is a luxury. Someone bringing them something homemade is sure to bring a smile to their face and make them feel like you care. 2: 

2. Donate to a good cause

Donating to the public safety workers department is another excellent way to take care of them. This does not always have to be a monetary donation. Many public safety departments need cases of water, furniture for the station and construction materials for training. Try reaching out to your local public safety departments and ask what they need. . 

3. Send a thank you letter

Nowadays, with social media and email, it is very easy to show gratitude to our public safety departments. However, taking the time to write out or make a thank you card is much more personal. If you go to hand-deliver it, the workers can see the sincerity of your thank you. If you send it in the mail, they will get to have a pleasant surprise. Taking the time to be thoughtful towards service workers is essential because they are continually thinking about ways to make your community safer. 

4: Spread the Word

If you have a positive experience with your local public safety department, then spread the word. That kind of positivity will lead to more people getting helped and perhaps to even more funding. Your local public safety department will definitely appreciate the extra positivity. 

5: Just say Thank You

If you have a positive experience with your local public safety department, then spread the word. That kind of positivity will lead to more people getting helped and perhaps to even more funding. Your local public safety department will definitely appreciate the extra positivity.

Coming Soon! Text LEADINGHEARTS to 64600 to be the first to get this issue when it drops!

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