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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Hunger (11/08/04)

TITLE: Karen & God's Sheep
By Liz Hoyt Eberle


The house had been quiet for twenty minutes. Karen’s heart was hushed, her eyes and spirit buried in God’s Holy word. She seldom found time for solitude with her Lord and today it seemed that God’s presence filled her kitchen. She closed her eyes and the words she had been reading enveloped her being.
“Karen, feed my sheep.”
“Oh, Father,” Karen said out loud, “What would you have me do?”
“Mommy! Hurry!” Jennifer’s scream shot through the silent house. “Tommy’s throwing up everywhere!”
Karen was on her feet and down the hall in one motion, unaware that her Bible had fallen to the floor.
“Sweetie, it’s okay. Mommy’s here,” Karen soothed her three year old son as she carried him to the bathroom. When Tommy’s vomiting subsided and he and the bedroom were cleaned up, five-year old Jenny grabbed her mouth and ran to the bathroom! Lot’s of chicken soup tomorrow, Karen thought.
Late that night as she was slipping into an exhausted sleep, Karen whispered, “Father, I just have so much to do; I’ll feed your sheep… soon.”


“Ladies, as we bow in prayer, seek God’s will for your life,” the Bible teacher instructed. “Don’t be afraid to ask how He wants you to serve.”
The Bible study was a powerful one, the room was quiet and as Karen bowed her heart to her Lord, she heard, Karen, feed my sheep. It was at that moment the church secretary tapped Karen’s shoulder, “Urgent phone call in the office for you,” she whispered.
Karen picked up the phone to hear Betty’s frantic voice, “I don’t know who else to call; you are my best friend. Jimmy has gone into a coma.”
“I’ll be right there, Betty. Hang on. I’m coming.”
Karen knew that Jenny and Tommy would be okay after school until their dad got home. They were good junior high students and very aware that Miss Betty’s husband might die at any time.
Karen held Betty in her arms and both women cried softly. Then they sat in Jimmy’s room, holding his hands while Karen prayed. The Most High himself surrounded them and was their comfort. Long into the night, the friends talked to Jimmy and to each other of their long friendship and of God’s love.
Karen hummed as she took the cookies out of the oven. Tommy, Valerie and their three boys were coming for a week’s visit. The last ten years had been hard but Jenny had moved close to home after her divorce and she and her seven-old twin daughters seemed to be adjusting. Karen stayed busy teaching the teen age Sunday School kids and organizing the ladies who provided meals when there was an illness or a funeral in the church family. She also read to the homebound every week. Life was hectic- but good. While the next batch of dough chilled, Karen sat down at the kitchen table, opened her Bible and began to read. Her heart grew still and she sensed a new closeness to her Father.
“Karen, feed my sheep.”
“Oh Father, I’m so busy… how.. I …” Her prayer was interrupted by a blast from Tommy’s car horn in the driveway. Karen’s Bible fell to the floor as squealing grandchildren clamored around her.
The nursing home room was dark and silent. Tears streamed down Jenny’s cheeks as she stroked her mother’s thin, wrinkled hands. “Oh, please, God,” she whispered, “I’m not ready to give my mother up. I’m all grown up with my own grandchildren, but I still need her.”
Karen roused at the sound of Jenny’s voice.
“Mama, you’re restless and frowning. Can I get something for you?”
“No, Baby. I’m ready to go Home but I’m not finished. God always wanted me to do something special. All through the years, He would ask me to feed His sheep.” Her tired voice broke and tears spilled down her weathered face. “Jenny, I was always too busy to follow His call.”
Karen’s breathing became more labored. Jenny picked up her mother’s worn Bible, turned to Matthew, chapter 25 and began to read.
".. the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You……' "
Karen opened her eyes and smiled. Her Master held out His arms while Jenny continued reading softly, "to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, you did it to Me."

Member Comments
Member Date
Sally Clark11/15/04
Oh, Liz, this gave me goose bumps at the end and brought tears to my eyes - a sure sign of success! How often do we not realize that our interruptions are our life? I may be the only one who knows that this is your autobiography. Bless you, dear, and please keep feeding, especially gluttons like me!
Corinne Smelker 11/15/04
A wonderful reminder that what we do to the least...we don't all have to be Billy Graham's to fulfill the call of God.

Well written - good job.
Kathy Cartee11/16/04
Your story touched my heart.
very well written.
Dear Liz,

I had a very difficult time reading your story through my tears. You were right about what you said in your email to me. The funny thing is I just got done telling someone I felt that I had not been doing what I should be doing while I was doing it. I hope you understand what that means.(:

Wonderful, well-written story. I will continue to look for more of your work.
DeAnna Brooks11/16/04
Not fair, Liz! You made me cry, again!!
What a beautiful picture you have captured of a heart so obedient, in true humility it is still looking for answer God's call to "feed My sheep!" Loved it!!
Karri Compton11/16/04
I really needed to hear that. With all I do "for the Lord", I don't really feel like I'm doing anything for the Lord. (Does that make sense?) Thanks for the blessing. Karri
Betty Shattuck11/18/04
Quick, grab the kleenex! Thanks for the comforting message that what many Christian mothers experience - the desire to minister - is being done every day of her life. If she is willing to serve, there are ample ways to serve - perhaps without being aware that she IS
Rita Garcia11/18/04
Liz, Wow, dynamic, well written article. The message rings our loud and true. Much love, Rita
Mitzi Busby11/18/04
Liz, I enjoyed the story and the message. I liked how you broke it up**** Great job!
Deborah Anderson11/19/04
Got goosebumps on my goosebumps, again. God bless you.
Lois Jennison Tribble11/19/04
A heart-wringer, Liz. Expertly written, with a message of comfort and encouragement--I loved it!
Debbie OConnor11/21/04
This is so precious. What a wonderful message. We have a black and white photo of a path in our home. At the bottom of it is the statement, "The journey is the destiny." That's what your article speaks to me. Beautifully done.
Cynthia Zirkwitz08/10/05
Such a sweet story-- just opened my heart!