Catching up with the Barnes…

In a nutshell… It has been a busy, stretching year. Time has flown by more quickly than I’ve ever been used to. We’ve now been in the DC area for 8 months, which is hard to believe.

In hindsight, I wish I had written more along the way. It’s been quite a journey. I feel like I’ve been stretched in every way possible. But in all honesty, starting a new job, part of it is a balancing act of figuring what you can & can’t say (or should/shouldn’t). Part of it has been the fact that I get home in the evenings feeling pretty drained & find it hard to exert the effort to write (or insert other productive activity). So for all that I’ve missed, here is the brief overview. If you were to call me and ask me about our transition, this is much of what I’d probably tell you…

Professionally… I love my job at IJM. I’ll have to write more about that sometime soon. I’m completely confident that it’s where I’m supposed to be. But it has been challenging. I was up against a steep learning curve to begin with. I was at Thomas Nelson for 6 years, starting at entry level. I learned and grew with the job. Here, I’m thrown in & have to figure out how to be successful as I go. I also quickly learned the difference between the “for profit” and “non-profit” worlds. In a non-profit org, there is never enough time, money, or people to get it all done. I’ve never worked harder and longer than I have these past many months. For the first couple months, I’d come home completely wiped out & capable of nothing else. (I felt like I was sort of sucked into a black hole. I’m glad to report that is much more under control these days.) Every day has a new situation that needs figured out as I go. I have learned so much and am quite hopeful that when I hit the year mark, I’ll look back and (*fingers crossed*) marvel at how far I’ve come.

Spiritually… Most of this has been due to my time at IJM. I have been stretched in my prayer life for sure. Every day at IJM we have 30 minutes of stillness (8:30-9am) to start our day. It’s just you, your Bible, and God. The meetings & work day then really kick into gear at 9am. Every day. There are days when it is quite a challenge to be still for 30 minutes. My mind tends to wander off to upcoming meetings, to-do’s, the pressures of the day, etc. I am a work in progress, but have really come to value that time. I think I can tell a difference when something crazy comes up & I’m not able to have a good stillness time. The rest of the day just seems a bit off. We also come together from 11-11:30am every day for a time of corporate prayer. We recognize that the work we are doing as an org is rather impossible (freeing people from violent injustice & overhauling the systems that perpetuate that). It is only through God’s strength, equipping, and intervention that much of it happens. So we share praises of what we’ve seen Him do (5 girls rescued from a brothel, an inexplicable major donation…), and areas where we need His help (a rescue operation happening the next day, a client/victim that has to testify in court, a major speaking event coming up…). I feel privileged to have witnessed some major miracles this year! I’ve also appreciated the fact that I often feel completely incapable and have felt forced to rely on the power of prayer to get me through my days. That is a neat gift in many ways.

Home…We enjoy the condo that we’re renting. The funny stories revolve around how a large proportion of the people in our condo community are probably 60 and up. We make exaggerated jokes that we live in a retirement community. But it’s a very nice place. The condo we’re in was completely renovated last November. It’s a lovely, short walk to the metro (which is how I commute everyday) and we like it here. I’m just intimidated at the thought of where we’ll move to next, when we want to buy a house. This area is so expensive and rush hour is awful. So I try not to get ahead of myself too much and just enjoy the present.

Church…We have found our new church home, after searching for several months. It has been difficult comparing everything to our wonderful church community that we had in Nashville. But we feel good about Immanuel Bible Church and are getting plugged into a Sunday morning class. Cason has started leading an 8th grade boy’s Bible study on Wed nights, and I’m attempting to get plugged into a women’s small group.

Friends…It has been hard practically starting from scratch again. I have terribly missed the community of friends that I once was a part of in Nashville. It has been hard keeping in touch. Part of it has been the above mentioned working harder/longer and the state of feeling so drained at night. Part of it has probably been my own insecurities at wondering who really wants to keep in touch with me. If it doesn’t feel reciprocal, it’s hard to keep trying… Here in this new world, it seems to take even longer to make deeper friendships. Everyone is so busy (& also transient). But we are doing our best at trying to initiate getting together with different people. It’s hard to see already formed tight-knit groups and try to figure out how/if you might be able to fit in there too. But I also keep telling myself that it takes time. I think it was about a year into living in Nashville that we really started making good friends.

Family…The bonus on top of this move is that we’re back close to my side of the family. After being gone for nearly a decade, it has been wonderful to be around for random events and get-togethers. My parents are about an hour away, my mom’s side of the family (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins) are about 40 min, my oldest brother & family are maybe a 4 hour drive, and my other brother is now an hour & a half. So different than being 11 hours away!

Random Misc… We have gotten out to do bits of exploring from time to time, but not nearly as much as I thought we would have done by this point in the year. We are a literal stones throw away from the nations capital and there is so much to see and do. So that’s something we’re still working on.

So that’s our life in a nutshell. Maybe now I can get back to writing more around here. Stay tuned…


5 thoughts on “Catching up with the Barnes…

  1. Karen – Very touching! You are gifted with your writing, don’t ever give it up!! I believe you reach out to many people with your messages since it is one of God’s way of reaching out to his people. Carol

    Date: Sun, 14 Oct 2012 19:48:28 +0000 To:

  2. Karen we certianly enjoy your updates. We are glad you have found your ideal place in the universe. We are very proud of you and what you are doing. We are continuing to support you by praying for you.

  3. Pingback: Did I Embrace 2012? « Live.Love.Serve.

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