Today on the blog, I am excited to welcome my regional leader’s wife, Karen Heintzman. Karen has impacted me personally in many ways: she has helped me grow in self-awareness, she has lovingly given me counsel and care in difficult times, and she has been an example to me of a godly mom. She has balanced the roles of mom and Nav staff for the long-haul. She also has a great sense of style and humor. I am pumped for you to get to meet her today.
This month is the anniversary of our daughter, Callie’s, car accident. She suffered a traumatic brain injury and wasn’t expected to live until morning. That night was the longest of my life. Even though this was 10 years ago, I remember every moment like it was yesterday. Waiting for her to regain consciousness, comforting our other kids, and continually praying for a miracle all comes flooding back to me as I write this. The uncertainty and sheer terror of the situation left me feeling numb. Verses and promises eluded me. Thankfully, God’s presence never did. Elisabeth Elliot’s advice to “do the next thing” kept me going.
When Callie finally came to, we were elated. But although conscious, she didn’t speak. Could she, we wondered? The doctors told us we would need to be patient because there had been a lot of bleeding in her brain and it would take time to see what the damage might be. Eventually, one day she looked at me and asked, “Where am I? How did I get here?” Overjoyed, I slowly explained what had happened. When I finished, she looked away, then looked back at me and asked, “Where am I? How did I get here?” Our family would continue to answer these questions many times in the days to come. Deep in my heart, I feared this might be our new life…answering these basic questions over and over again. But my love for her made me realize that I would do this for her as long as she needed me to.
Callie tells the story of when she finally “woke up and came to.” She says, “I was brushing my teeth and I thought, ‘This is not my toothbrush.’ Then I looked in the mirror and thought, ‘These are not my pajamas and I don’t know where I am, but that’s my mom standing behind me.'”
Her memory is still missing about two weeks of her life, but she knows what happened to her because we told her. Because of her relationship with us, she trusts and believes that we are telling her the truth. What a powerful illustration. Believing truth because of a relationship with someone who loves us! This continues to be a reminder to me to trust Jesus even when the circumstances surrounding me feel overwhelming.
As the years have passed, I’ve thought about those questions Callie asked many times. It seems that even though the situations may be vastly different, we all find ourselves at places in our lives where we ask, “Where am I and how did I get here?” We forget the truth of what God has done in our lives and need to hear it again and again. “Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.'” II Cor. 12:9 (NLT) While it has not been an easy lesson to learn, the truth of leaning into hardships and trusting that God’s strength will work through me when I feel the very weakest has been demonstrated in my life many times as I’ve faced difficult situations with each of my children. I boast in God because He is my strength.
Karen Heintzman and her husband Mark have been on staff with the Navigators for 32 years. They served as Campus Directors at the University of Georgia before moving to Slovenia for 9 years. Karen assists Mark in his current roles as Regional Leader in the Blue Ridge and Eastern Divisional Leader.
If you would like to order a copy of Karen’s book of devotions, GRANTED, please visit her website: thespiralseries.com. Use the code NAVS at checkout for a 20% discount.
Want to enter for a chance to win one of 3 copies of GRANTED? Head on over to the FB group and be sure to comment there for your chance to win!