|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.”
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?