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.
Connect with Elizabeth:
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
Q: What 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.
Q: What 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.
Q: Where 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.
Q: What 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.