Kim Hartney has been a faithful member of Covenant Fellowship for longer than some of us can remember. She and her husband, Michael, have three grown children and live in Delaware County. Kim’s long-term perspective on ministry is one you won’t want to miss—read on below!
Kim, tell us a bit about your family.
Michael and I are celebrating our 29th year of marriage this October. Kaitlyn is currently living in Allentown and finishing up a graphic design degree, Michael is working and looking to join the steamfitter’s union, and Allyssa is studying to be a nurse and playing D2 volleyball for Holy Family University.
You’re currently working as a teacher during a pandemic. What does a normal morning look like for you these days?
My morning routine has changed quite a bit since COVID hit last March. So, when I actually have to get up for work, I start my day with devotions and prayer time. Then I head down stairs to feed our family dog, Sophie, and begin my daily workout. Next comes a much-needed shower, before heading off to work, which either means our living room, where I teach 7th grade health class and 6th and 8th grade gym classes via Google Meet, or I head off to Drexel Hill Middle School.
Can you talk a little about what it’s been like to serve in the church over so many years? How have you seen God work?
Over the past 26 years or so, I have served in the children’s ministry, youth camp, and more recently the church book shop. When I began serving in the children’s ministry, my oldest daughter Kaitlyn was just an infant herself. At that time, I never would have guessed that I would one day see so many of those same kiddos whose diapers I had changed, tears I had dried, hands I had traced, and souls I had shared the gospel with, growing up into young adults and parents themselves. I get to see these same kiddos all grown up and are dropping off their own toddlers every Sunday morning.
I helped with youth camp for 15 years. I cannot thank God enough for the work he has done and the impact that youth camp has had on the lives of all three of my children, as well as myself. God never disappointed us. Every year He met us right where we were and we all came home exhausted, but closer as a family and changed by the biblical truths taught throughout the week. I cannot tell you what a joy it was to referee games of Stand, Ultimate Frisbee, Noodle Sockey, etc., especially compared to trying to teach or ref in a public school! What a glorious difference! The memories made and the growth and the testimonies that I have witnessed over these past 15 years of youth camp have been nothing short of amazing. I consider these opportunities to serve a gift from God. I have been befriended, encouraged, spiritually strengthened and truly blessed in every opportunity God has given me over the years.
Finally, three years ago I began serving in the church book shop. I have had the pleasure of getting to work with and getting to know a whole new group of church folks. Selfishly, it has been a wonderful way to meet new members, get the scoop on some great reads, and feel connected in a whole new way. I feel truly blessed to have been given the opportunity to serve in all of these areas.
With three grown kids, what’s something you can look back on as one of the best things you did with them?
One of the best things I did with my children when they were young was to make church a priority in their lives. In other words, church always came first, before sports and any other extracurricular activities. As my kids grew and became teenagers, Cross Culture and youth camp were added as non-negotiables. While it wasn’t always easy, and there was the occasional exception and more than a few arguments and struggles, I feel as though God had something for us as individuals, and as a family. Every time a struggle came along and I questioned whether or not I should force the issue of attending the church or a youth event, God would move. I never once regretted making the decision to take part and have my kids involved in the church. Whether it was a specific point of the message, the extra point for the parents at a Cross Culture meeting, or the fellowship that either I or the kids experienced at the event, we were faithfully fed. In my heart, I felt that if I did the right thing by loving my kids enough to expose them to the gospel every chance that I possibly could, despite their objections, then God would honor my efforts. Maybe, just maybe, one day my children would eventually be saved by God’s almighty saving grace.
Tell us more about ways you’ve noticed God working in your life and teaching you.
One area I feel God has been working on in my life has been my devotions. This year I started doing a daily devotional with a few close friends on the Bible app. This format of shared devotions is new to me, and it has proven to be a tremendous blessing. I have stepped out of my comfort zone and am not only reading, but processing and sharing my thoughts on what we are reading. I have started taking a closer, deeper look into the passages we are reading each day, and reacting to these passages. This has deepened my faith, encouraged my growth and understanding of God’s word, and drawn me closer to my dear friends. I LOVE the accountability!
Something that I have learned in my marriage (and through having kids) is that I am not in control, God is. I have always been a planner and planned the order of my life from a very young age. My parents were divorced when I was around 7-8 years of age. My father had little, if anything, to do with myself or my siblings. He was an alcoholic who had lost everything to alcohol, including his job, family and his health. As I grew I longed for my father to be a part of my life and to love me, to be there for me. But the only thing I could count on was the fact that I could not count on him for anything. I spent a lot of time fantasizing about what it would be like when I had a husband and kids of my own: how it would be different, and how I would ensure that they all knew and felt just how much they were loved, no matter what. So I planned.
I planned to be married within a year or two of graduating from college, I planned to have kids within a year or two of getting married, I even planned what our family life would look like/be like, etc. Needless to say, while I have been blessed with an amazing family that I love more than words could ever express, God has shown me through various situations and circumstances that I am not in control, He is. He has shown me that He has far better plans for me, my family and all of our lives. I learned that if I would simply loosen my grip, be patient, and trust Him fully with every aspect of my life, He would willingly take control. He would not disappoint me. To be clear, I am not saying that everything in this life would have turned out perfect for me and my family, but it certainly would have been different and I could have saved myself a lot of heartache and grief. But God is working all things together for my good and His glory, and for this I will be eternally grateful. What an awesome God we serve.
How do you like to spend your free time?
I love to spend time catching up with friends and family. I enjoy relaxing on the beach soaking up the warm rays of summer. This past summer was our first summer as boat owners, and I am learning all there is to know about the boating life. I quickly learned that there is nothing like the satisfaction that comes with catching a flounder or pulling in some blue claw crabs on a hand line, then bringing them home to eat. Not to mention a little family-friendly competition that comes along with each adventure, i.e. first keeper caught, largest, most caught, etc. I am also a flower fanatic and enjoy gardening, especially when I can find an unusual plant or flower that you do not normally see in our area. Something else about me that people may not know is that I love to go to yard sales or antiquing and to flea markets. I am addicted to Flea Market Flip!
Last question! How can we be praying for you?
I would appreciate your prayers for me in my work as a teacher. I am coming to the end of my teaching career, with only a few LONG years to go before I am eligible for retirement. Online teaching has taken a toll on me and has proven to be quite a challenge mentally, physically and emotionally. God has been faithful to sustain me these past months. But I am growing weary and I want nothing more but to be the best most effective teacher that I can be. I would like to finish this race knowing that I did my best and gave my all to all of my students. In addition, I would like to ask for prayers that God would clearly show me what the next chapter of my life would hold after I retire from teaching. I will need to work at least part time for a few years.