03 November 2013

Interview with Lisa Carter by Carrie Fancett Pagels


Author Lisa Carter

Lisa Carter is the author of Carolina Reckoning and of Aloha Rose as well as two other books releasing through Abingdon Press Fiction in 2014.

Lisa, 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? (transparency appreciated!)
Two situations in my life have tested my faith and brought me into utter dependence upon God to overcome and yet abide—the loss of my second child and my teenage sister’s stroke. Here are their stories and mine.

It is always the darkest before the dawn. It is February 4, 1998 about 5 a.m. I lay in the living room having cried myself to sleep. The doctor informed us that our ten week-old unborn baby had died in vitro. Part of me couldn’t accept such shocking news. So into the wee hours of that dark, lonely night, I cried, petitioned and begged God to make it okay, to make our baby live, to change His mind. I prayed for direction and wisdom in what to do. I fell asleep praying.

A robin’s sweet call pierced the stillness of the night and awakened me. I knew instantly I had my answer. The answer, God’s answer, was a gentle, but final no. As streaks of light illuminated the sky, peace, not despair, enveloped me. I got up, sad and grieving, but not bitter.

Later that day, my two-year-old daughter pleaded, “Sing with me, Mommy. Sing the Jesus song.” I didn’t feel like singing. It was a sacrifice of praise; but that may be when it means the most. It became a re-affirmation of faith. Together, we sang, “Jesus loves me, this I know. For the Bible tells me so.”

Sometimes God says wait. When I think of my sister, nine years my junior, I see her at the age of five. She is a flower girl, beautiful in her dress of yellow lace. Her eyes are serious with her responsibility yet her face grins with delight. Slowly, she proceeds down the aisle of the church with her flower basket. Instead of scattering the rose petals and quickly joining us, she meticulously places each petal next to each pew, going from side to side. Steadily, step by step, petal by petal she finally reaches the altar. Her walk takes ten minutes. But no one reproaches her. Her face glows with a job well done, a task accomplished to the best of her ability. She gives a happy sigh of completion.

When my sister is 13, she comes home from school one day with a killer headache — literally. I called the ambulance and outside the emergency room, she died. As they called code blue, waves like an ocean of fear crashed over and over my family. She had a cerebral hemorrhage, a stroke. They revived her, but she died twice more during the next few weeks in ICU before slipping into a month-long coma. Our entire church community cried, petitioned and begged God for her life and recovery. She awoke a different person — the little sister I had known, the little flower girl, the dancer, the singer — was gone. She has rarely left her wheelchair in the last twenty-five years. She is in almost constant pain and has had more surgeries and medicines than I could recount. In all likelihood, she will never have a date, drive a car, marry or have children.

Sometimes the answer, God’s answer, is neither yes or no, but wait. The wait for my sister may end with her complete recovery in this life. The wait may end with her resurrection at her death with a new life and body in eternity. The “wait’s” are the hardest, I think, to bear. They’re harder than no. The waits can grind your faith to powder if you let them. The waits try and test your faith’s perseverance and endurance.

But sometimes God says yes. It is February 4, 1999. Once again at 5 a.m. I sit in a darkened room. A robin’s sweet call pierces the stillness of the night air. Streaks of light illuminate the blue velvet sky. This time, I rock my new baby, Kathryn. With sudden clarity at the sound of the bird’s bittersweet ecstasy, I recall another dark night exactly one year ago.

How far I had travelled in one year! How beautifully and timely God had added this “grace note” to my life! Earlier the day before, I received a card from a friend congratulating me on Kathryn’s birth. This friend had suffered and grieved with me a year ago when we lost our second child. Her card said simply, “God is so good.” God is so good and He was good that year through the pain, too. He has been good despite my sister’s illness. My journey continues. At times, one set of footprints along the road — yes, sometimes He has to carry me.

That morning so long ago in 1999, then-baby Kathryn and I watched a new day dawning. And I sang, a declaration of faith, “Yes, Jesus loves me. For the Bible tells me so.”
Carolina Reckoning by Lisa Carter

Disability friendliness: Are your books available in audio format?  Do your e-books have audio capability? Do you have any in large print? 
While Carolina Reckoning is not currently available as an audio book or physical large print, many e-readers give you the capability for audio and large print settings. Carolina Reckoning is available with all e-book vendors (including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, CBD, iBook, Kobo and others).

In Carolina Reckoning, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation?
All of my books are issue-oriented. Carolina Reckoning deals with the topic of forgiveness in light of betrayal and adultery—and handling these issues in a way that pleases God and brings healing. Alison and Claire both arrive at crossroads of anger—a choice to forgive, whether or not the person who has wronged them deserves it or not. And readers are provided with thought-provoking discussion questions to examine their own hearts on these issues or to stimulate group discussions.

Aloha Rose by Lisa Carter

Thank you, Lisa, and congrats on your upcoming release, in two weeks, of Aloha Rose! Readers you can connect with Lisa on her FB page, on Goodreads and on Pinterest.

Giveaway: OWG is giving away readers choice of either of Lisa's two 2013 releases, including Aloha Rose or Carolina Reckoning in choice of format.  (Outside of USA ebook only.) 
Q - Have you had a sibling become severely disabled?  How has God helped your family through this?

44 comments:

  1. Not a sibling, but a child who is now adult. It hasn't been easy, even now. Love him though!

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    1. My adult, and older, sibling, recently recovered from a stroke. Bless you for caring for your disabled child, Sonja! I pray God gives you extra strength.

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    2. Sonja, your love for this child shines through. God's blessings upon you both.

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  2. I dont have a sibling but I have a daughter who is mentally ill.......and doesnt want any help......and doesnt want God in her life
    Im very proud of you You healed...
    God bless you
    Chris Granville
    granvilleATfrontiernetDOTnet

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    1. Chris, Thanks so much for sharing. These things are so painful. I'm praying God's strength for you.

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  3. Lisa, oh my. Thank you for sharing this powerfully moving testimony with our viewers here on OWG. My heart is heavy and tears flood my eyes at this moment, and I'm so sorry for your losses. Although your sister didn't pass away you still suffered a terrible loss. I am remembering another young lady, who at 4 months pregnant, sat in her car sobbing and petitioning God in much the same way you did, after the dr. said there wasn't a heartbeat. He said, "no" and I lost my baby---I lost 3 in a row as a matter of fact. But just as He was faithful to you, He was likewise to me. 15 years after the miscarriages, God gave me a dream of Heaven, and I saw my 3 babies ( they were so close in age they looked like triplets) that I had lost. I woke up with my skin tingling and told my husband, "We already have three children in Heaven and two more to help get there!" My broken heart was healed instantly!

    I love your writing style and am looking forward to sharing my review of ALOHA ROSE in a couple of days!

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    1. Diana, It's so amazing you shared your dream with us. One of the things I didn't say in the interview was how that night after I fell asleep God revealed to me that child in heaven, too. And that's why when I awoke I knew the answer was a firm, but gentle no. God is truly the God of all comfort. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. Lisa, I can't even imagine having that happen to my sister. I had that happen with my dad and he was in his 50's but not as severe and he lost speech etc. and had to relearn everything but eventually recovered. So sorry you and your family and sister have had to traverse this valley. And so sorry you've lost a child. It's a heartache but God has your precious babe with Him. Hugs!

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    1. Carrie, these things are hard places in the journey of our life. Most of us, if we live long enough, will experience some level of pain. God has used these things to bring me closer to Him and enabled me to share what He's shown me through the pain. I was the director of a MOPS group when I lost the baby and God used that event to powerfully bind us as a group together for His glory that year.

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  5. My brother developed diabetes at age two. Although he was not severely disabled it still knocked our family out of balance. It seemed so much had to revolve around the needs of my brother. The foods our family ate, our schedules and activities. It was difficult to at times feel neglected because of the attention my brother required because of diabetes.

    It would be great to win a book. I donate books after I read them to Christian Library International for chaplain lending libraries in prisons. Therefore the books are touching the lives of many instead of being stuck on my book shelf.

    Blessings, Janice
    Jsmithg(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. Janice, my brother and I were in our teens and 20s when my sister became ill. It has been difficult for my mother to balance the care of my sister with still being involved in our lives and the lives, now, of our children. It is a path she continues to walk.

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  6. The only thing I can think of is my grandson has some autism. He is doing better I think because we all have learned to accept the way he does things. He is my little love bug. Although he is now 12 and plays baseball, runs track and loves basketball on his school teams. Best thing yet he has been A and B on his report card. He excells cause we all know how to help him.
    Blessings
    joeym11@frontier,com

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    1. Diaina, it has been very hard for me to let go of the sister who is no more. In many ways, the sister who remains is like a stranger. Our entire family has grown in the effort to get to know her and know best how to help her. Thanks for sharing.

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  7. LISA welcome to OWG I'm so glad you are with us this week. What a touching testimony, thank you for sharing it with us, it breaks my heart to hear you had to go through so much. I am so glad you were able to overcome victorious with God's help. I will be praying for your sister and your family as they take care of her.

    I totally enjoyed Carolina Reckoning and can't wait to start Aloha Rose, it just came in the mail this past week! :)
    As for Carrie's question all of my siblings are fairly healthy I do have several little great nieces that developed Type I Diabetes as young children. It has been hard seeing them go through this, one was less than two when she developed it and the other two are sisters and they developed it when they were around five and seven. We praise God that they are all doing well at the moment, the oldest one is now 16 and the sisters are 8 and 10.

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    1. I'm so glad your nieces are doing well. My grandmother had severe diabetes, adult onset from age 28. And yet she lived a full and complete life. I pray your great nieces will become all God intends for them to be.

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  8. Thank you for sharing your experiences. I haven't had a family member become severely disabled, but I've worked with several disabled young adults. It's a humbling experience and helps me to not take my health for granted.
    Looking forward to read Aloha Rose!

    colorvibrant[at]gmail[dot]com

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    1. Heidi, I commend you for working with disabled young adults. It takes a person with a great deal of compassion and patience. God bless you as you work as unto Him.

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  9. Thank you for this interview CARRIE and LISA, and welcome to OWG Lisa! Lisa, your story really moved me... I could feel your despair and pain, but then also God's grace and love, comfort and hope. I'm so sorry for your younger sister's pain, I will keep her in my prayers. How sweet and precious, the way she laid down the rose petals beside each pew.

    I haven't read your books yet, but from my cohorts Teresa and Diana's rave reviews, I know I will be putting them both on my TBR list! I don't have a sibling with a severe disability but my brother and my son both have Asperger's Syndrome. My son has grown up in a Christian home and is thriving thanks largely to God who has looked after him and blessed him every step of the way, whereas my brother who sadly isn't a Christian, gets by but is often miserable and his social skills are extremely poor.
    Blessings, Lisa!

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    1. I have a friend whose son has Asperber's. It is a difficult path she walks as his mother. But oh, how God has used this in her life. So thankful to hear your testimony of God's faithfulness. Thanks for sharing, Noela. I love your name, too, btw. :)

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  10. I didn't know this about your sister! I hope you are continuing to speak at MOPS events and can share your stories. I remember you sharing about mourning the death of your baby in utero. My father-in-law has vascular dementia and Alzheimer's and so when I read about your sister having a stroke, it had a new meaning to me. Congratulations on being obedient to the Lord and using your talents for His glory!

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    1. My heart and prayers go out to you as you live out the challenges of having a loved one coping with Alzheimer's. This heart-rending condition figures prominently in Aloha Rose as Laney comes to terms with her grandmother's illness.

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  11. I have no siblings, and I've never been severely injured, but I have had health problems. Even as a child, I had childhood asthma and other ailments, which put me into the hospital often, and I was bed-ridden for a month. However, God has blessed, and I've lived a pretty normal life as an adult.

    I would love to win either of the books. I am a native North Carolinian and honeymooned in Haiwaii. I guess if I had to choose, I would say Carolina Reckoning, but Aloah Rose would be just fine, too.

    Thank you so much and God bless,
    Janice

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    1. Love Hawaii. What a special place to spend your honeymoon! And I may be prejudiced but NC is a great place to call home. :)

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  12. My sister was born with a hole in her heart and back then they did not know what to do for them. She was also a downs baby. She had heart trouble all her life and ended up having to be on oxygen 24/7. She than got galstones and they would not do surgery on her cause she would be a high risk. She was in the hospital for about a week and came home with hopsice care. She lived for a little over a year with hopsice. God gave us strengh to make it through. Everyone who knew her loved. I love and miss her to this day. OWG angelachesnut246@gmail.com My name is Angela

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    1. Angela, thank you for sharing the story of your sister's life and the testimony of how God was sufficient for you during this time.

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    2. Oh that must have been so difficult, Angela. So glad God provided strength. And that is so cool about how everybody loved her! Hugs!

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  13. Lisa, I never knew you lost a baby. That is a hard time. And the story about your sister is so sad. I think especially because my granddaughter was "the best flower girl ever" at my wedding to Neil. Love you.

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    1. Love you back, Carol. Thanks for stopping by.

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  14. I don't have any close family members that are or have become disabled. It would be very difficult to be sure.

    Pattymh2000(at)Yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Thanks for being a part of the conversation, Patty. God's blessings to you.

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  15. My son has a profound hearing loss, but he is bright and funny, so the positives all add up.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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    1. One of my good friend's in college was deaf. What a joy she was—and so funny, too. :)

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  16. Lisa, Thank you for sharing your families struggles and the faith that helps pull you through.
    For myself I have a harder time with the waiting on God then when He says no. Thank God for Grace!
    I didn't have any siblings with disabilities. However I took care of my Father who was 83 I was his sole caregiver for several months. He used a walker but eventually had to be confined to a wheelchair he was also diabetic and had dementia .
    Shortly after my husband s cancer returned and he became totality disabled as the disease spread. He lost all use of mind and voice and ability to walk. I had 7months of total care for him.
    In both these instances God had me wait and accept No.
    It is the hardest thing to do is accept the no but He Said yes to grace!
    mcnuttjem0(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Jackie, I so admire your nurturing heart. How God has uniquely gifted you as a caregiver. You are a very special person.

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  17. I have been verry blessed that neither of my two brothers had to suffer from anything like this, however, one of my husbands sisters (he had 5 sisters and 5 brothers), went through some horrible depression after a failed marriage and losing both her children to the ex, whose family has money & she did not. Eventually, her mental condition worsened ntil she is now in a home, where she can be watched over. Even in this situation, we have not really been exposed much to her & her condition, because she does not live very near to us.
    On the other hand, I have been blessed that God has given me a special heart for those who are disabled, beginning as a child. Later in my life, I even became a school bus driver (van-size) for handicapped children, some with Downs Syndrome and others with physical disabilities, such as palsy. It was during that time, that I learned a new appreciation and thankfulness that God had His protecting han on my 2nd child (a daughter), when she fell from the 2nd floor, landing on a rocky dirt flower garden. Although she had any bumps ad bruises and needed stitches in her forehead, she did not even receive a concussion! she definitely had God's angels watching over her. About a month later,,.when subbing for another driver, I met a young boy (about 5 or 6) who was in a wheel chair because of cerebral palsy and I asked him when his condition started and he told me, he fell from a 2nd story window. I got goose bumps and realized how very blessed we truly were! FYI--Also, my oldest son was born with brachial plexus palsy, due to a birth trauma from forceps, so we also experienced "wait", fortunately for us our "wait" was only a few months, because the Lord healed him after he was anointed with oil & prayed for in our church service--it was because of him, that I had asked the young boy about HIS condition.
    Your books sound good, and I would love the opportunity to win one of them--thanks for sharing with us here on OWG>
    Vicki
    vmarney at hot mail...

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    1. Vicki, you do have a special heart for the disabled. God has used you mightily and I pray He continues to do so in the future. Thanks for sharing.

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  18. Oh, Lisa, I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes over your stories -- what an inspiration you are, my friend!! Thank you for sharing these difficult but oh so very poignant memories from your life, and thanks to Carrie, as always, for her incredible interview ministry.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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    1. I've always meant to thank you for sharing—awhile back on your Journal—some of your own childhood memories and struggles that touched my heart. Thanks for sharing in the discussion. Love you.

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    2. I am always SO blessed by the authors' testimonies and by our guests' comments, Julie! Thanks so much for coming by to encourage us.

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  19. Thank you for sharing with us your darkest moments. We sometimes never know why God has certain things planned for our lives. But the comfort we know is that it is always for His glory. What a humbling thought to me. I do not have any disabled siblings. I pray for peace for you as God continues to bless you!
    lattebooks at hotmail dot com

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    1. Thanks for joining in the conversation. It is humbling, Susan. We sometimes never know but the faith comes in believing anyway that He has everything in control. Easy to say. Hard to do. But how God will use these difficult situations in our lives to bless others if we will glorify Him through it.

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  20. No one in my family has become disabled and lived. We have had our share of diagnoses that resulted in death but no lasting disabilities except for me I guess. I recently went through cancer and now struggle with the neuropathy, self image, and surgical scars that go with it. I watched how it affected different family members as well as lived through it so I feel like I got the worst of both worlds. It's been a year and a half and I'm still dealing with pain, loss, scars, anger, bitterness, and depression. But each day I'm closer to being past my diagnosis and closer to better days.

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    1. Oops forgot my email!

      LitlePokie at aol dot com

      Thanks!

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    2. I'm praying better days for you. Thanks for sharing your struggles with us.

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