Blog Tour – Hanging on by the Scratch Marks My Nails Left Behind (Raw Faith) – Elizabeth Chalker

Recently I have had the opportunity to read Elizabeth Chalker’s book which takes you on a journey of her soul while living with a misunderstood illness called lyme disease and all the devastating things it does to your physical body. Being someone who struggles with chronic pain and various things that one can not really see when you  first meet me I truly understand Elizabeth’s cries to the Lord and her Job like day-to-day life when she feels abandoned by others and even sometimes by God himself even though her raw faith holds her up  only  to persevere  even more. I’m not going into the details of her illness—that will follow in the virtual blog tour interview.

At many times while I was reading Elizabeth’s book I felt like she had read my mind and some of her words were the very words I would write about my experience which pales in comparison. The same would be true of her thoughts while just trying to make it through life. Elizabeth’s book is her questions, confusion. and yes at times anger for what has been dealt to her but one thing Elizabeth found out that I have since found myself and it is this which I wrote myself being inspired by her writings:

Illness makes one weak in the physical but able to see things in your spirit as you never did because you are hanging on to the Lord more than ever in the past. Sure you loved him but you still were in control right? Your faith was not in the raw state it is in now was it?

I am struggling on my own to compose my thoughts into a proper form today but I go on as Elizabeth does –having real joy in the spirit while physically you are half or less of what you once were and in Elizabeth’s case she must fight this country’s complicated and ridiculous health system that denies her the treatment/s she deserves to have. Your friends leave you because they think you are exaggerating everything and they can’t see it because you might not have a crutch, might be having a tolerable day, and because you can’t automatically get up and go shopping with them or in my case which hurts even more is you can’t go ministering with them. You can’t make those commitments for the Lord’s work that you were once so zealous about in fear of letting people or worse the Lord down. Elizabeth and those others of us who suffer with invisible illnesses still have visions and dreams and desires to serve God but our bodies rebel against us and our souls become downcast as King David’s did. All we can do is cry out to the Lord and cling to His promises and walk in the spirit as that is where the joy is.

I ask you to buy a copy of Elizabeth’s book if you can identify with invisible illnesses or if you would like to truly know from a spiritual insight what a person is tortured with in such illnesses and perhaps you can keep your connections in a more informed, heartfelt way with your friends and loved ones that live with this way of life everyday in whatever intensity it may be that day.  It’s understandable that you cannot understand what you have not experienced but if you read Elizabeth’s writings you will get as close to it as possible and you “can” experience spiritually her cries of pain and anguish. I agree totally with her that the presence and words of the Holy Spirit become amplified when you are physically weak and in a way you can almost sense in a very minute way of course the pain Christ felt on the cross but He knew when to say “Father, into thy hands I commit my Spirit”. Elizabeth has times in her life knowing that her illness could become fatal and that she may be saying these words soon herself but she trusts wholly in his sovereignty, the comfort of the Holly Spirit, and the example of Jesus to continue to carry her while she holds out for a miracle from God–that miracle that would enable her to serve Him with “all” of her strength. In the meantime she asks God to use her still with her story in anyway which brings Him glory.  This hasn’t been a regular book review as you can see but I recommend you to read Elizabeth’s book, learn about invisible illnesses which are finally becoming legit and noticed in society, and do what the Holy Spirit would have you do or if you are not spiritual you still have a heart and your heart will tell you how you can take part and possibly give to Elizabeth Chalker’s valuable life, as all of our lives are, according to God. Thanks for stopping by “The Road Back” today.

Author Links:
Personal Website:www.helpelizabeth.net
Book Trailer:
Connect with Elizabeth:
http://www.publichealthalert.org/pdf/2010/2010_06.pdf (this is a link to Public Health Alert medical paper, the issue has some of my story, photos, and a letter to President Obama). I am happy to send a hard copy of this issue too?
For Book Ordering:
About the Author
Elizabeth Chalker is still in the furnace of life’s’ calamities and fighting the good fight of faith and endurance, keeping her eyes on the prize of heaven. Before serious, physical illness devastated her body, Elizabeth was on the fast track as a successful psychologist and addictions specialist, working with violent juvenile offenders and their families, near completion of her third graduate degree. Her life is a testimony of faith that is steadfast and remains no matter the seemingly dark, unjust, and treacherous circumstances of life. She resides in Lighthouse Point, Florida. Elizabeth continues to minister to those in need and aspires to show God’s glory through every breath she takes.
This is a real life story of being in the fire, where I currently remain, where my heart for the Lord has become increasingly insatiable. A deepened intimacy has developed and continues to grow even through this very moment, and will continue beyond. As you read, this is my hope and prayer for you as well.
Interview with the Author
QWhat is the aim of Hanging On by the Scratch Marks My Nails Left Behind (Raw Faith)?
A: I have several aims of my book. One is to inspire individuals to self-examine and find their core; to realize that we are all children of God and therefore, one in Him. We tend to see as if from under a quilt as it is being made, where all that is seen is a bunch of haphazard threads from our view. God’s view is from above where everything comes together and forms a beautiful and complete picture. Another aim is to encourage people to seek love and extend love.
One of the most important aims of the book is to strengthen anyone who reads it, to cause him/her to embrace all of who he/she is, the parts we consider ‘dark’ and unacceptable as well as the parts we see as praiseworthy and pleasant.
Most importantly, my hope is that the reader will embrace intimacy with God and realize that raw expression of heart, no matter how unacceptable to the world, is honorable in the eyes of God and welcomed.
We live in a world where appearances are most important and true character; integrity, honesty, ethics, service…are balked at and mocked in exchange for superficial ‘wealth’ that only breeds hate and egocentricity. I pray that the God inspired messages in my book will lend ‘permission’ to the readers to step up within themselves and fully own all of who they are and share such with others, while also serving as a soft cushion for others to share.
QWhat was your experience like with your publisher?
A: I had a wonderful experience with my publisher. [They were] very helpful, patient, generous, humble, with expertise and leadership for guidance.
QWhere do you look for inspiration when you are struggling?
A: Mainly I look to God. I see Him everywhere; through nature, other people, and the trials/triumphs of life.
QWhat are some activities that you are involved in aside from writing?
A: Currently I am fighting for my life and doing all I can to promote my book in order to have some income for life-saving medical treatment. Due to severe limitations from physical illness, I am not able to participate in much of life. Nevertheless, I do all I can and push to do more. Encouraging others and giving to my loved ones in all the ways I am able…sharing my relationship with Christ wherever I can…to God be the glory.
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Everyday Matters Bible for Women – A Review

I’m happy to tell you that because of the kindness of Hendrickson Bibles I get to tell you about their latest release called Everyday Matters Bible for Women. I like the title because it says two things to me.  First is when we turn to the Word of God every day “matters”AND we have help to handle our everyday “matters” with the spiritual disciplines that are the focus of this Bible.

Hendrickson Bibles chose the New Living Translation (NLT) which uses clear, contemporary language. You will find separate written reflections throughout the books of the Bible  written by some of today’s foremost Christian thinkers. There are 300 articles that focus on 24 spiritual practices such as faith, Bible Study/Meditation, and submission, among others.  Each spiritual practice is explored in four different types of articles which are Everyday Matters, Everyday Profiles, Everyday Reflections, and Everyday Q&A’s.  The color coded icon for each spiritual discipline will be noted on the far right top of the reflection itself and a scripture is referenced at the bottom for further study. There is a section in the back that gives a short “About” for each writer who contributed. One of the writings that caught my attention is on page 1545. It is called “Tempted to Leave” by Elaine Creasman. The spiritual discipline is Community. If you feel alone in your faith this is an encouragement to persevere and welcome Christian fellowship.   Another reflection I enjoyed comes under the spiritual discipline of contemplation. It is on page 68 and 69 and is written by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun. In one of her paragraphs she says, “It’s not enough just to have eyes and ears. We need to learn how to hear and see God’s presence and his guidance for us.” That alone can be contemplated for a long time.

There is  a section in the back that shows how you can use this Bible along with the articles for a small group study.  I think it could probably be used as an individual study also. It’s noted that if you spend two weeks per spiritual practice your study would last approximately a year.  There are other study models mentioned either shorter or longer. It’s nice to have these choices to make the Bible so effective for study.

Also in the back is a “further reading list” to give you more learning material on the spiritual disciplines. It’s a great reading list referencing such writings as Constantine’s Confessions all the way to ChristianBibleStudies.com. I definitely intend to use this.

I think this is a bible that any woman would want to buy or receive as a gift.  It would especially be good for a new Christian who is looking for help in maturing in their spirituality.

Purchase online at: AmazonChristianbook.com, or at your local retailers.

I received a free copy of this book/Ebook/Product to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.

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Blast from the Past –The What Ifs

I recently enjoyed the opportunity to study Chapter 1 of Jennifer Rothschild’s new Bible study called “Missing Pieces”. You can read a review of it here on this blog if you’d like to.  What this study brought up was a blast from the past called “Why all the What Ifs?” that I wrote in 2009. Some of the questions Jennifer addresses in this new study are “God are you there?” God are you Aware?” This post is a good representation of these questions in my life I believe without even my asking them. I think we are always subconsciously asking God something if we have a relationship with him and  are trying to understand the whys of life especially when we might feel alone. Here’s the post:

I woke up this morning in “one of those moods”.  You know, the kind that make you start asking questions about why things are going the way they are.  I guess it’s the residue of the last couple weeks of just experiencing life.  My husband had an injury on the job and of course my mind right away went to the “what ifs?”.  Will he have to have surgery, will he be able to continue doing the job he’s doing, can he transfer to an easier job so he won’t have to continue to do heavy lifting at his age (4 years from retirement)? Well I hate to say it but that kept us consumed the whole week  he was off but he was able to go back to work yesterday and he says his shoulder feels like it’s improving so that is good.  I’m not sure why panic sets in.  I had visions of having to go back to work myself so we could have medical insurance  after being on disability for the last two years and wondering if I have the physical strength needed to go back into the work world.  So instead of enjoying my time with my husband last week while he was off it ended up being one of those tense times for us.  I had to keep telling myself that I had to trust the Lord in this situation but kept trying to take control of it once again.  Will I ever be able to release all control to Him?  I so desire to be able to do that.

Well, then this past Friday after my husband came home from the Dr. and said he was released to go back to work I took a little sigh of relief and took  my dog out for his daily walk.  While on this walk one of the menacing dogs of the neighborhood came running and lunging out of his yard and before I knew it I was trying to kick him off of my poor little dog who is two thirds of this dog’s size.  I once again went into the panic mode when I saw all the blood under his left leg and after taking him to the vet to get stitched up and an Elizabethan collar put on those old “what if’s” came back again.  What it this damages his leg, what if he gets sick, what if he’s scared of other dogs for now on,  what if the owner of the dog tries to cause trouble when we go to court for a viscious dog report and so on.  Then I began questioning myself again, “Why do you allow yourself to live in the “what ifs”?

As I looked back over my life I began to see that a lot of this started when growing up with a diabetic mother.  In my younger years her health was pretty good but when she was thirty-eight years old she became pregnant with my baby brother and her diabetes became totally out of control during this period when she almost died several times after going into insulin shock.  Me being the oldest at the time became the substitute mother to my younger siblings and helper to my Father for the things needed done in the home while still trying to excel in school.  That’s when I think my “what ifs” started to begin to control me.  Those “what ifs” were what if my Mother dies and we have a little baby, what if my baby brother is not healthy, what if something happens to my Father and we’re left to fend for ourselves?  I know, it sounds dramatic but it is something that I truly lived and seems to have followed me through the rest of my life.  As I try to chuckle a little it brings to mind that old song by Bread called “If”. Maybe I listened to that too many times. Ha! Ha!  By the way, my mother just had her eightieth birthday and my brother is now 41 years old and has his own six year old son.

So, I guess what I am trying to express today is that I need to give my “what ifs” to God.  As soon as that “what if” comes into my mind and before I let it begin to control me I need to say, “I trust you Lord”. “I give this to you Lord”.  ”I will not dwell on this Lord but I will think on things that are true and noble.” When Jesus was presented with the temptations of Satan He said, “It is written” over and over.  Perhaps I just need to say “it is written” because when I say those three words invariably the Holy Spirit will bring scripture to my remembrance.  So moving forward today I am asking the Lord to help me to conquer the  ”what if” syndrome as I determine to replace “what if” by “it is written.”

Lord, on this day I relinquish this issue of not trusting you in these situations and dwelling on all the “what ifs”.   “It is written” in Romans 8:28  ” And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”   Lord I know that I am called according to your purpose for me and I thank you for your mercy and grace upon my life.  Amen

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Peaceful Passage – Kim West PhD – Book Review

When I first saw this book Peaceful Passage by Kim West, PhD.  I was a little hesitant about reading it. This book is a resource book for those who might be a caregiver for a family member or anyone who is terminally ill and hospice is their next stop. Why hesitant about reading it? Almost to the day in August, 2005, I was being challenged with being my father’s caregiver upon his return from a month-long hospital stay where we almost lost him. One of his resident Doctors was actually standing in the hall crying after they had to ask us how far we wanted them to go to keep him alive. He had a do not resuscitate wish but he had not come to that point but had aspirated and was in great respiratory trouble. After being on full-time CPAP with oxygen and many breathing treatments for the emphysema/black lung he’d been suffering with now for so many years he once again proved the Dr’s wrong and came back from deaths door.  My Mother and we had heard the 6 month speech several times but this time we were faced with a choice of nursing home, which we knew my Father could not handle, to hospice at home. My Father could not make any decisions at all for himself and was basically hanging on a thread kept alive by oxygen. My Mother was very frightened and angry at the same time upon hearing the word Hospice. At that time she was 75 and my Dad was 76. She had her own diabetes and very little sight to deal with and I could tell she was scared she would not be able to take care of him. After reassuring her that the reason I had taken FMLA was just this she finally agreed to hospice. All of our lives changed from that point. We were facing something we knew nothing about. Before they sent Dad home in an ambulance in a condition we thought might just be days many people started showing up at our house. The first hurdle I had was learning to work several oxygen tanks that were almost taller than me and the CPAP machine. The reps from the company were very helpful but I didn’t know if my tired brain could comprehend it all and the thought of my Dad’s minute to minute life being in my hands was very frightening. We then had someone show up to teach us how to change the sheets on his hospital bed with him in it and how to change his diapers which was very humbling for both of us. My older sister helped me set up a bookcase with all of his meds and a system to move the meds so I would know I had given them to him along with supplies such as bed pads, diapers, hospital gowns, sheets, etc. Nurses would come out every other day and check him out along with people who came and bathed him. These people became an extension of our family and my Mother and I leaned on them greatly  after my other siblings had to return to their lives and I took over for what would become the next four months. I came up with my own lists and inventory managing and had to log what he ate everyday to report to the hospice people whom I wanted to make sure I was doing the best I could do. We went from giving Dad food and meds in the corner of his mouth with a dropper to a fairly miraculous return by Dad to life but not as he once knew it. He knew what was ahead.

Hospice gave us a book about the signs of the body breaking down but everyone was hesitant or too upset to read it. With the help of God I knew day by day why  Dad was given a chance to come home to die. He and I had never had that much time together in  life because of his hard-working and now he was here in this hospital bed he could not leave.  There were some frantic times with Dad having panic attacks and me hoping I was turning the oxygen up fast and high enough up but he began to relax some and when he saw I was capable to handle he became pretty secure with it.    It truly ended up to be a healing time for me and my Father as we watched TV together, laughed rather embarrassingly about the diaper changes although he was so humble and trusting about. We were able to enjoy that time in that moment and  were also able to discuss his  eternity which he had never discussed much at all in his life.  I thank God all the time for this experience and how He held me up physically and  emotionally through those months. You might ask, “What does this all have to do with this book review?”

Well, if you have older parents or family members who are suffering terminal illness I strongly urge you to get this book NOW and to go ahead and read it NOW so some of the things I had to face head on within a couple of hours you can be ready for so you won’t be more overwhelmed than you already will be at this time.Everything I had to face in a panic-stricken way is discussed in this book such as basic care and handling of the meds, a very good run down of the things that hospice will be responsible for, as well as what can be done for you when you get weary and you will. Some advice from someone who is strong-willed and thinks they can do it all is this– don’t. Don’t take the superwoman/man role or you may not be able to be there for them when things come to them that they might want to say or discuss. Even if I had  this book to read during those many hours I sat there listening to his oxygen machine it would have been a very big encouragement to me. I have even been comforted by reading it now cause I have still questioned myself through these last years that I did all I could do.  The help she gives in this book is priceless. It is a book that you want by your side at all times when finding yourself as the main caregiver. I especially enjoyed her journal at the end of the book about her experience with her Mother. It once again was a confirmation to me that I had done the right thing and had done my best not only for my Father but for my Mother. Her physical limitations would not have allowed her to take care of my Dad but with hospice and all the team members she was allowed to live Dad’s last days of their 50 year marriage with him at home looking out their favorite windows to the peaceful surroundings of country living–the fruits of their labor.   Once again I urge you to get this book for yourself or others you know who might be suddenly faced with an end life care giving mission as well as Hospice workers.  It will take a lot of the scariness and questioned confidence out of a situation none of us want to have. If confronted with this again I would first go to God and then to this book.

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: New Heart Publishing; 1st edition (September 10, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0984052666
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984052660

Available for sale at Amazon or here.

You can find Karen West’s website at Peaceful Passage

I received a free copy of this book/Ebook/Product to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Missing Pieces by Jennifer Rothschild – A Bible Study Review

Real Hope When Life Doesn’t Make Sense

This is the first bible study of Jennifer Rothschild that I have done. I have seen her on TV many times and she has always inspired me with how she lives her faith through blindness.She is truly a good Bible study author and she also sings great.
The first lesson addresses how we can’t understand why it seems that God is just not with us when we seem to be struggling the most. She refers to when the disciples were crossing over the water in a storm and Jesus was sleeping in the back of the boat. The disciples said, “Do you not “even” care?” She discusses how they were accusing Jesus of not caring that they might go down in such a tremendous storm and why He told them to go anyway. Sound familiar? I know I can identify with asking Him these type of things–what about you?
There are a lot of scripture examples of those who have gone before us and had the same questions we may have. Answers came but not always as fast or in the way they wanted them to as happens to us. Can we accept God as He is-the way He accepts us, or are we trying to manipulate him in a way to get the results we want? Can we increase our faith and wait for his answers by understanding his compassion and more about who He is?
This is a six week study which I am glad to see more of these days. It’s not so long that you might be tempted to drop out as I’ve seen in 11 and 12 week studies. The study layout is very enjoyable as she helps us to understand the questions such as “Are you there God?” Do you care God? and so on. She is straight to the point and honest about her own struggles which makes you feel more free to look at your faith in a more insightful way. It can be used individually or in a group with  Leader/DVD resources and member books. I think any woman who enjoys Bible study would be glad to get this one.

Buy at Amazon
I received a free copy of this book/Ebook/Product to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.
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Ramblings from the Shower by Faye Bryant – A Book Review

Do you sing in the shower? I don’t because it would scare my dog who likes to lay on the floor and go to sleep to the sound of the water. It seems to relax him. Faye Bryant meditates and ponders in the shower(as I do) and it’s from her meditations that she was given the idea to write this book about various questions and subjects that Christians are confronted with everyday.  As you read the book you almost feel as if you are sitting across the kitchen table from Faye with a cup of coffee as the two of you share the questions and concerns you have in your spiritual journey. She writes about some of the challenges she’s had in life and she explains them in an upfront honest way.It hasn’t always been a “June Cleaver” life for her. There is something in this book we can all admit to trying to either ignore or cover up.  She talks about self-inflicted stress and letting others control our emotions and admitting our mistakes. Do we control the outcome or does God? She uses experience and wit and charm to put you at ease as you are confronted with things that you perhaps may be wearing a mask about. Hopefully by the end of the book you will be able to take the mask off some of these things in your life you have tried to gloss over and you will be a much more free and usable Christian. I recommend this book to any Christian no matter what their level of spirituality is. It contains straight, honest, gut-level conversations we all have with God. So put on your “God goggles” as she calls them and be revived and renewed. You can buy it at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

“I wrote these words like I would talk to the person who is sitting there reading. I simply shared the answers I got while seeking God. My hope to share with folks who need the answers, but haven’t ever looked for them.”  Faye Bryant

  • ISBN-13: 9781439240328                 
  • Publisher: BookSurge, LLC
  • Publication date: 12/8/2009
  • Pages: 212
  • I received a free copy of this book/Ebook/Product to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.

 

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Judge Not ((?)

Today I’d like to share a prayer from a Country Music veteran that he wrote for Randy Travis. Thereare a lot of horrible things out there right now on the news about his recent arrest in Texas. I am a lover of all kinds of music so it does not matter who it is but this is about someone whom I saw several years back in Branson, Mo at a prayer conference who got up and sang with the clearest voice ever heard of him and confessed his love of Jesus Christ and asked for prayer–He and his wife. It’s easy to point fingers and laugh at someone but as  a Christian it hurts me to see this happen to someone who has a God given talent and evidently battling many battles. It is my prayer he will receive deliverance whether he has to serve time or not and that God will show him grace and mercy in a far out way. Here’s what Stan Hitchcock prayed for his fellow performer. It will be the second post dated Wednesday, August 8th, 2012….Excuse my lack of tech. Since it was on Facebook I copied link but I guess you have to get the whole page. Here it is.

https://www.facebook.com/stan.hitchcock1

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