29 September 2013

Elaine Marie Cooper Interview by Carrie Fancett Pagels



Elaine Marie Cooper

Elaine Marie Cooper is the author of her new release, Fields of the Fatherless, as well as the Deer Run Saga: The Road to Deer Run, The Promise of Deer Run and The Legacy of Deer Run.

Elaine, welcome to Overcoming With God.  We appreciate your willingness to share your testimony of overcoming with our readers. 

Would you tell us about the most difficult thing in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help? 
This has been a very difficult time with the passing of my Mom last month. Although she was elderly, it happened fairly quickly and I’m still trying to recover as I distribute family memorabilia to the relatives.
As difficult as this is, however, nothing can compare to my only daughter being diagnosed with a brain tumor in January of 2002. Our lives (Bethany, my husband, our two sons) were turned upside down with the realization that this was terminal. My daughter might not see her 25th Birthday. (She was 23 at the time) Who ever thinks their child will die? I’m sure it’s a fear that lays hidden deep in every parent’s soul but I had never allowed that possibility to ever take form in my conscious thoughts.

Yet now we faced the unthinkable: A cancerous brain tumor. Along with the many months of treatments and hospitalizations—and eventually hospice—I shared nearly every moment that I could with Bethany. Looking back, the time was a blend of exhaustion, grief, terror and anger. My Christian friends were the best support to me and I gleaned spiritual sustenance from Praise and Worship music. Those songs were a constant on our CD player.

Prior to Bethany’s diagnosis, I had already made morning devotions a priority in my life. Although I was “too busy” to keep up with this habit, I MADE time to spend with the Lord each day, reading His Word, pouring out my wrenching prayer requests. If I didn’t stop to hold His hand each morning in prayer, how would I have the strength to endure?

Bethany was with us for one year and nine months after her diagnosis. She did not reach her 25th Birthday.

Life never returns to “normal.” As the grief counselor told me, your life takes on “The New Normal.” So I returned to work as a school nurse, and held back my tears all day. But after I got in my car to drive home each day, the floodgates would open and I would cry for most of the drive home. One day I was especially angry and brutally honest with God. “This is TOO HARD!” I shouted out loud to Him.

I felt his gentle presence and heard a very quiet, inaudible voice in my spirit: “My Grace is sufficient for you.”

It startled me. And it helped to heal my anger. I knew that He was right—His grace truly is sufficient for each day. And while I cannot bear the burden of grief on my own, He is more than willing to help me carry it. If I only ask Him.Four years to the day after Bethany died came another inaudible voice: I was to write a book. Thus began my new writing journey.

It will be ten years ago this October that Bethany went home to be with the Lord. I am currently working on the manuscript for a memoir of my daughter and our journey together during her last days here on earth. It is tentatively entitled, Bethany’s Calendar.


Disability friendliness: Is this latest release available in audio format or do you have any other works available on audio?  Do your e-books have audio capability? Do you have any in large print?
I wish that my books were available in this format but, unfortunately, they are not. Hopefully in the future.
Fields of the Fatherless by Elaine Marie Cooper

In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation?
My books all have running themes of forgiveness and recovering from pain. Some of the steps in my own healing process weave like a thread of healing through each novel.


CFP: Elaine, I have really enjoyed getting to know you better through the Colonial American Christian Writers group and the Colonial Quills blog. I am so sorry you had to go through this loss of your daughter and our condolences on the recent loss of your mother.

Giveaways: This week, Elaine will be giving away one each of the Deer Run Saga to three recipients (from the reviews coming up.) This is limited to within the USA winners and includes The Road to Deer Run, The Promise of Deer Run and The Legacy of Deer RunOvercoming With God will also be giving away a copy of winner’s choice of Elaine’s books in ebook format (open to international winners.)




45 comments:

  1. Elaine, I am so sorry you had to go through that with your daughter and then losing your mother. My heart truly aches at the thought of it. You are such a blessed author. God has given you a wonderful gift and I know that He is pleased with you. I really enjoyed reading the Fields of the Fatherless, so well written. I've only read the first book in the Deer Run Saga. I need to get my hands on Books 2 and 3. Thank you so much for sharing with us all. God bless.

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    1. Debbie, you are such a discriminating reader, I know I must read this book! Thanks for sharing!

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  2. Chaplain Debbie, thank you so much. God never promises any of us freedom from deep sorrow, but it is in clinging to the Rock of our Salvation that we can find strength. I know all that I have been through has impacted my writing, hopefully in a positive way. When I write about someone's grief, it is not just from my mind but from the deepest recesses of my soul. Thanks so much for your sweet words.

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  3. Elaine, Thank you for visiting with us this week and for sharing your story with us. Praying for you as you recover from the loss of your mom. I know that GiGi duty with the triplets will bring a lot of joy, though!

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    1. Dear Carrie, thank you so much for having me as your guest. And thank you for your prayers. And yes, GiGi duty is the BEST! The triplets bring the brightest smiles to my face and offer lots of hugs in my arms. :) Thanks again, Carrie!

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  4. ELAINE, thanks so much for being with us this week on OWG. I'm terribly sorry about the loss of your mom and your daughter...my heart was so saddened to hear of this. Thanks for reminding us that His grace is sufficient even in the darkest valley and that we're never alone. Big hugs to you.

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    1. Thank you, dear Diana. God's Light is ever brighter in those valleys of darkness. He truly is "our ever present help in our time of need." Big ((HUGS)) back. :)

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  5. I am sorry that you lost your daughter! I can't imagine life without mine! She was born 61/2 weeks early so there was a chance that we could have lost her but we praised God then and now that we have her! I know it is not the same but I am glad to know that God is there to help you cope with your loss! a_stonecipher@yahoo.com

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    1. I am so happy that your daughter is alive and well to bring you joy! Such a blessing! And I know you will always treasure the gift that she is, especially because you were not sure at first if she would stay here with you or be taken home to heaven. I am so blessed that you can hold her in your arms here on earth. :)

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    2. You are the winner of book of choice a_stonecipher! Congrats!

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  6. Elaine, my prayers are with you. My Mom and I live together. I have many health problems and I'm disabled because of a medical error that causes serious health complications. We live with the Lord day by day. I don't know how people survive without Him. You touched my heart, Elaine, and you will be in my prayers.
    Barbara Thompson
    barbmaci61(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. I was really touched by Elaine's interview and testimony, too, Barbara! Blessings!

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  7. Elaine, thank you for sharing. I can't imagine the heartbreak of losing a child.

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    1. Dear Kay, no one should imagine it. It's too painful. Unless the Lord takes you on that journey, just be there to support and pray for those who walk that road that no one wants to take. Blessings and hugs.

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  8. Oh my. Elaine. I'm so touched by what you've gone through. I don't think I can even begin to imagine it. I'm glad you have your faith to carry you through. I'm looking forward to the day Bethany's Calendar is available. In the meantime, I'll look forward to reading your other books. Bless you, Elaine. Thank you for sharing your story.
    susandianejohnson at gmail dot com

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    1. Thank you so much, Suzie. Without faith in the Lord, I can't imagine surviving it. He is my strength! Thank you for commenting. ((HUGS))

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  9. Barbara, I am so sorry to hear of your situation and your own grief on a daily basis. And I agree—I don't know how ANYONE survives without Him. My prayers are with you and your Mom as you support and love each other. Blessings and hugs to you.

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  10. Elaine, your journey with Bethany, and learning to allow God to use her passing in a positive way to benefit others continues to inspire me. Your books an added treasure.

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    1. Janet, you are always so encouraging. Thank you so much for your sweetness. :)

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  11. It was very hard for me losing my Father earlier this year, but to lose a child...


    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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    1. Mary, every loss of a loved one is painful. I remember losing my Dad years ago and it was so difficult. I think when you lose a child, you feel this hole in your heart as though part of you is missing. You are never quite the same. Yet God can fill that hole with His presence in such a powerful way, if we allow Him to. Losing Bethany has made me lean upon Him even more.

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  12. Elaine
    thank you for sharing about your loss Praise God you made it through the grief
    God bless you and yours
    Chris Granville
    granville AT frontiernet DOT net

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    1. Praise God He helped me through and indeed, continues to help me through each day. The one thing about losing a loved one is that you are never finished grieving. I've had to learn to be at peace with that and to realize it's OK that occasionally I will have a moment where I miss Bethany so much that I long to see her and kiss her sweet face. Moments of tears occur at the most unexpected moments. But that's OK.

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  13. Elaine, I am so sorry for your the loss of your daughter, and now your mother.. It it so hard. I have lost my mother, father, and 5 siblings, but not a child. Without knowing our LORD don't see how anyone could make it through. All we can do is offer our sympathy and pray that GOD will continue to give you the strength to get through the pain, one day at a time. I have wanted your Deer Run series ever since I first saw them on someone's blog. They sound so good. One day I will own them. Thanks Carrie for having Elaine here, and thank you both for the give-away. MAXIE mac262(at)me(dot)com

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    1. Thank you so much, Maxie. The losses just multiply in our lives, don't they? Yet they keep our focus on heaven where we will, hopefully, see them again one day. Thanks so much for your sweet words. Blessings!

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  14. ELAINE, I'm so thrilled to have you on OWG this week! I just love your books, and you! I'm very grateful to CARRIE for introducing me to you as an author also! :)
    Thank you so much for sharing your moving and encouraging testimony with everybody. I sent up prayers for you and your family when I'd heard your mother passed away... but I just can't fathom the depth of pain you must of felt when your beloved Bethany left this earth. I'm so grateful to the Lord for giving you His grace, strength, and love to help you through this very difficult time. God bless!

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    1. Dear Noela, you're bringing me to tears with your kind words. Thank you, dear lady, for all your prayers and messages of concern & care. You are a blessing to me. :)

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  15. As others have commented, I cannot imagine suffering the loss of one of my children. Know your strength comes from your walk with Christ. I can see that He has enabled you to turn your sorrow and the pain of your loss into positive encouragement to others in your writing. God bless you as you continue to use your gift to bless, even as you daily feel the loss of your precious daughter. I have tremendous respect of your strength and faith!

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    1. Thank you, Sharon. I remember a friend sharing this verse with me in the thick of our suffering: 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
      Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. (NIV)
      How true this verse has been altho, at the time, I was neither emotionally or physically ready to turn my sorrow into comforting others. God can take us to that place in His time.

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    2. SHARON, I totally agree with you--Elaine is a faith-filled gal and is so strong in her walk. And I believe you, ELAINE that God had to grow you in all of this. Thank you both for sharing!

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  16. ELAINE thank you so much for being with us this week on OWG and for sharing your story. Reading this brought tears to my eyes, I am so saddened you have had go through so much sorrow. I cannot imagine having to cope with the lose of a mother and a child. Isn't it wonderful that GOD provides His grace for us in the most difficult circumstances? Looking forward to reading Bethany's Calendar. :)

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    1. Thank you so much, Teresa. I am so blessed to be your guest here and I thank all of you wonderful ladies for having me. Blessings!

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  17. Hi, Elaine!

    I really enjoyed your interview, I haven't read any of your books & would love to - looking forward, also, to reading Bethany's Calendar! SO sorry for your losses - only those who have gone through the loss of a mother or child can truly understand! I listen to praise & worship music constantly when I am quiet enough to be able to "soak" it in, such as when I am on the computer, etc.. I also took it with me into the holding room before having surgery, a few years ago - I find it to be so calming, & helps me feel closer to the Lord.

    Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy of your book!

    bonnieroof60(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. You're very welcome, Bonnie! I find Praise & Worship music provides an atmosphere where I feel the Lord's calm, even if I'm not paying attention to the lyrics. God inhabits the praises of His people. So glad you have found it so calming as well! Blessings and best wishes!

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  18. Elaine, I am so deeply sorry that you have had to journey through grief in the loss of your daughter. I am 16 1/2 months into walking that road now and it is like you say...'a new normal'. My family is still navigating the waters and figuring out just what that means.

    I don't believe I have read your books but would be delighted if I win a copy.

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    1. Dear Anne, I am so grieved for your loss and that you & your family must now experience "The New Normal." If you ever need to "talk," you can e-mail me at elainemariecooper (at) yahoo (dot) com.

      Blessings to you Anne. We share membership in a "club" you and I never voluntarily joined. ((HUGS))

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    2. Anne, I think you'd really enjoy Elaine's books. Sorry you two lovely gals that u are in this awful club. You are both inspiring examples to others in how to walk in grace.

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    3. Thank you, Elaine. I appreciate your willingness to communicate. I'm delighted to have 'met' you through Carrie and look forward to your books :)

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  19. A dear friend of mine lost her sister to cancer last year, and her mother to it some twenty years ago, and one verse she has been proclaiming is that "though sorrow may endure through the night, joy comes with the morning" (psalm 30:5). Even when she isn't feeling joyful, she keeps proclaiming this verse and holding God to that promise.

    rdalquis(at)css(dot)edu

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  20. It sounds like you have a wise friend, Rachael. Our joy in the Lord does not depend on our feelings or circumstances. It is knowing that we rest secure in His love and that He keeps His promises. My prayers for your friend.

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  21. God bless you, Elaine. You are such a sweet and supportive force at Colonial Quills and in the Christian writing community. I pray that the refreshment you sow out to others returns to you manifold. Prov 11 :25 "those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed."
    Blessings!
    Kathy

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    1. I feel the same way, too, Kathy, about Elaine!

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  22. Elaine, I'm finally getting a chance to come read this. I'm so so so very sorry. I have a daughter who is 31 and I can't imagine losing her. I'm not sure I would survive. You are one tough lady... and what a testimony of God's strength, hope, and love. Bless you, sweet lady.

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    1. I have a 24 year old and I feel the same way, ML. Elaine is a tough cookie--I assume that is just God's grace given her testimony.

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