Her Story: Janet Karr

Let me begin by saying I am not a writer, but since God has been so very faithful to me all along my journey, I want to acknowledge Him and His blessings and love for me; so here is some of my story.

The first time I met my husband, Philip, was at the church my family was attending. I was in the seventh grade, and he was a mighty senior! He was like a big brother to all of us “little” girls, and we all had a crush on him. Fast forward to when I was 18 and he was 23; we married and began 30 years of life together! I loved that man with all my heart. Life with him was full of great fun and experiences. We lived in Georgia, Mississippi, and Illinois and even had an 18-month stint in Italy. In all these places, Philip worked for an engineering company, Chicago Bridge and Iron. 

While living in Italy and pregnant with our first child, he decided he wanted his doctorate in engineering, so off we went to Clemson University in South Carolina, where our second daughter was born. He had already obtained two engineering degrees at Georgia Tech. Finally, back to Atlanta, where he became the youngest manager of Cobb Marietta Water Authority, we bought our first house. We called that place home for 22 years; our other four children were born there.  

And then suddenly, my world came crashing down and came to a complete halt. 

Philip had a brain tumor, and after eight gut-wrenching months, the Lord took him home to be with Him. He was 53, and I was 47! I still had five children at home, including six-year-old twins! All I could say was, “What will I ever do without him, what will the children do without their dad, and how am I ever going to raise them by myself?” So many unanswered questions. Needless to say, I was scared and overwhelmed.

During our life together, Philip taught me so many things. One was to go to God and His Word for everything. Another lesson was that God is the only one who will never fail you. There is no greater love than His, and He gives us grace for the things we cannot possibly do ourselves. But how was I going to accomplish all the things Philip did? I know I couldn’t even if I tried. 

But somewhere deep inside me the Lord said, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10). All I could do was stand on these promises that God had given to us and obey them. “Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even make a road in the wilderness, rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:18-19).

God’s Word had to be my focus and my lifeline, even if I didn’t feel like it. Philip always told our children and me, “Keep your eyes on Jesus,” and that’s what I was going to do!

Twenty-seven years have passed since he died, and I can say it is well with my soul. My heavenly Father has been my guiding light, and He has showered me with His mercy, grace, and compassion. “I will instruct and teach you in the way you should go. I will counsel you with My eye upon you” (Psalm 32:8). Our six children are all married to godly spouses and raising children of their own. And they all love Jesus; what a blessing! I have 18 grandchildren, and my first great-grandchild is on the way. 

I know how blessed and how rich my life is. I also know what I would have missed if I had given in to my fears. I can’t say enough about how God has been ever faithful to me, and He still is. He is not finished with me yet. So, remember hunger for His word, pray always, and know that nothing is wasted with God. And when we pray, it is most important for us to know that our God is greater than any of our circumstances. “Weeping may last for the night but joy cometh in the morning” (Psalm 130:5).