Karen (Brown) Ash

Live so that when people get to know you, they will want to know Christ. Who has been your mentor? Are you mentoring others? – from my friend Karen Ash’s Facebook page.

I was considering who to write about this week, when this quote from my friend Karen popped onto my Facebook News Feed. I had my answer.

Karen Ash was my mentor all through middle school and high school. I was 12 years old, in a new house, in a new town, with few friends and now in middle school. Karen, who was a year and a day older, had gone to camp that summer and decided with friends to start a Youth For Christ Club in our small town. She invited me, which was convenient because her parents could take all of us the seven miles into town. I enjoyed going, and made a profession of faith, that year.

Karen became my best friend. I rode to church with her family. She always encouraged me. I spent many afternoons at her house talking about life. Having a friend take an interest in you is always good, but in our small town it was vital. Back then was cliquish, and if you didn’t belong to a group you were sort of invisible. It was difficult to be in the popular crowd. That left the jocks, which I am most definitely not. The group that was most accepting of new people were those involved in drinking and drugs. I’m not saying that I would have been involved in that group, because I was pretty scared of my mom’s reaction (and it would have been bad). Karen most likely kept me from being one of the invisible people or someone who was picked on a lot. She acted like my life meant something and that I was important. That vote of confidence helped me to succeed in school. She also mentored me in my Christian life and in my relationships with others. As an only child I didn’t grow up automatically knowing how to relate to people my own age. Karen’s patient friendship helped to change that in my life.

We stayed friends until I moved several hours away. In the days of expensive long-distance phone calls and before email, internet and Facebook, it was much harder to be friends with someone far away, especially since I don’t write letters well. We lost touch for several years, and then would see each other occasionally. Once I was on Facebook, I continually looked for Karen, until she finally got a Facebook account. Now, I get questions, like the one I quoted, to make me think about my life, and Karen continues to be a mentor to me.

Karen Ash thank you for making a difference in my life.

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