Monday, November 2, 2015


Louisville, Kentucky. November 2, 1969. On this day and in this place a baby girl was born who would change the world. So far, she has never won a Nobel Prize or been highlighted in the national news media. She has never been a guest at the White House nor has she ever served a day in Congress. She has not been part of the many different roles the world might point to for someone who has changed the world, but we don't necessarily point to or operate on the same standards the world does. Instead, we have a different mark altogether for what it means to change the world, and this small baby who is now a mother herself fits the bill for certain.

Her name is Karen, and today is her birthday. I have only known her really for half of the years she has been alive. To be fair, we did meet in college, but only briefly and, since we were in different organizations and different majors, our paths rarely crossed. We met (or met again) through an interesting set of circumstances in 1992, falling in love and marrying a year later.

As a child, Karen changed people's lives by being part of their lives. Stories reveal that she was full of energy and confident in who she was. She became a follower of Christ at a young age, and from that point on, the spiritual impact she made coupled with the social impact to produce a lifetime of differences that are too many to count. As a cheerleader and then as a cheer coach, she has helped others know the game of football, and she has impacted some to help them know the difference Jesus can make by not only living a life but speaking confidently into relationships of trust about a Savior who had transformed her life. In college, her personality drew her to those who even today are making significant differences in the communities in which they live. As a teacher, she taught young learners the importance of reading and math. As a small group leader, she impacted the lives of young girls on the journey of faith and helped them see the possibility of being spiritually minded while at the same time being fun and engaging in life. Over the years, many have been blessed by this baby girl as she has grown and developed into a woman of God.

Over the course of life, this young lady has certainly impacted the lives of others for good. Pockets of the world have changed because she has been part of them. More specifically, though, this young woman has changed the world by being a champion for a cause that will last into eternity. She has been and continues to be a champion for one small group who is forever changed and would not even exist if it weren't for her presence. This small group of people have grown from her teaching, her nurturing, her investing, and much more. Even more than what she has done, this group has grown from who she is and from the sanity she brings to daily life. She works to find balance in a crazy schedule and many times she has to fly solo as leader while I am out of town. More than any other lives she has impacted, the lives of our family present and future are forever changed because of who she is.

Happy Birthday today to Karen Elizabeth Smith Permenter. We are blessed by all you do and by the many testimonies from others whom you have impacted, but most of all we are blessed by the woman you are and are becoming in Christ. Have a great day and be filled with the spiritual blessings of Christ in heavenly places.