Today’s guest blogger is Karen Pickering. Karen is a
Biblical Counselor and founder of 
The Lytroo Retreat. Lytroo Retreat was created to minister
to women who have been sexually abused.  It is an opportunity to
shift your focus from your painful past to a hope filled future. You can read
more about Karen and Lytroo Retreat 
here

Girls can be so cruel.  We watch injustice and determine to make a difference…to be the one to “save” the lost soul, and yet the reality isn’t as romantic.
I was seven.  My mother gave me a rare birthday party that didn’t involve just family.  I was allowed to invite three friends.  One was a shy little waif who lived down the road from us.  She was a year or two younger than I was.  She came, but didn’t speak.  We played a game that involved breaking balloons.  She couldn’t bring herself to break hers and carried it home intact, like a trophy that would sit carefully on a shelf.
She must have had a good time because for the next two weeks she followed me around the school playground whenever I was out.  She never said anything, just silently followed.  Elementary school is all about your place in the society.  To have a younger kid following me around didn’t enhance my image.
After two weeks I had had  enough.  I suddenly turned around and burst out.  “Quit following me!”  She immediately stopped, looked down and hurried away.
It still makes me sick to think about it.  I should have run after her.  I should have apologized.  I should have been the friend she needed me to be.  Instead I muttered something to my friends about how irritating she was.  I was too busy worshiping the god of self to be bothered with her.  I don’t remember what kind of reaction my companions had.  I don’t even remember who they were.  But I can still remember my neighbor and the lesson she taught me that day without even speaking a word.
“We love, because He first loved us.  If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.  And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.”  I John 4:19-21

Karen Pickering moved from North Dakota to Wisconsin in her 20′s.  She is a
certified Biblical Counselor with IABC.  She volunteers at the Seed of
Hope Center in Hartford and West Bend, WI and also spent three years as a
Hospice volunteer.  She is a wife, mother and grandmother.  Her
passion is discipleship.  Karen is friendly, caring and reserved with a
determined spirit.  She has been known to spend all day at auctions and
enjoys music, cooking, travel and a good cup of tea.

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