Xulon Press Successful Author Spotlight: Elizabeth Chalker

Filed in Successful Author Spotlight by on March 4, 2013 1 Comment

Xulon Press author Elizabeth Chalker is our featured author profiled in today’s Successful Author Spotlight.  She is a psychologist who specialized in working with at-risk youth until her body was attacked with Mold/Biotoxin disease, along with Lyme Disease. These diseases have adversely affected Elizabeth’s life and caused her intense pain and placed her in extremely difficult living conditions, all of which can be viewed on the website www.helpelizabeth.net which speaks in frank detail about the life our featured author endures on a daily basis. Her book “Hanging on by the Scratch Marks my Nails Left Behind (Raw Faith)” shares her testimony as these diseases and subsequently, enduring nine surgeries left Elizabeth with very little of her old life, and yet… she speaks of her struggle to deal with all of these insurmountable odds while having ever increasing faith.

Xulon Press author Elizabeth ChalkerElizabeth was a well known psychologist, athlete, who was engaged to be married, when she was finally diagnosed, after years of going undiagnosed. She shares how her life fell apart as this disease wreaked havoc on her body, her life and all that she held dear—leaving her with little more than a dark apartment and her faithful friend, her dog Symon. She shares how Symon was used by God to help her through so many tough times and also shares the sad news that Symon is no longer with her. He was taken to heaven a few years ago.

As I listened to Elizabeth, I was amazed and impressed with her ability to push past the pain and provide her faith filled perspective of how God had given her the strength to endure all of this so she could write her story and share her testimony with others. I listened intently as Elizabeth shared the word she had been given by her Lord and Savior, and I knew—she was bringing a timely message!

The front cover of her book has an interesting drawing. I asked Elizabeth how that design came to be. She shared “The drawing is God inspired- I had a different title but the Spirit hit me one day with a true depiction of where I am and where I was when I was writing the book. And the cover design? I have a friend who knows how to do graphics. I shared my vision –  and he came up with the well – there are hands being used – front cover has hands being used – just to depict where I was and how God saved me!”

As we started to get into the interview, I asked Elizabeth “what is the most important life event you have had?” She shared the following about her precious dog Symon: “I had a four legged son named Symon, who was a Corgy Shepherd mix. He was God sent, an angel with four legs; and yes, he really was my son– the love of my life! Symon died 2 years ago on January 24th from liver cancer—he had to have 75% of his liver taken out. He rejuvenated it. He got sick on a Saturday, thought it was a flu but… by Monday morning, he was gone. It was his day to go. I needed to make the decision to let him go. Animal Hospice came to my house and let him go. I remember that I said “Lord, if you take him, you’re going to have to take me.” This was after the book was written. He was my life. I said that I can’t do this—I found that I am still here! I have found that, of all of the people I’ve lost, Symon was definitely the hardest to survive. I just don’t think the pain will resolve until I see him in heaven; I could either turn from God or… resolve to go in deeper! And that’s what I decided to do. I can promise you: There are fist prints on God’s shoulder from my pleading – it really was a defining moment!”

With all that she has endured, from the unique and yet debilitating diseases she endures to the loss of her friends and beloved friend Symon, I asked Elizabeth “what message do you want shared by the story of your life?” She responded “That every individual has it in each of them to change their whole world toward love; one interaction, one relationship, one decision at a time. We all have within us the capability, the power– we have it within us to change this world for love. It’s a choice! Our choice!”

Sensing just how deep her faith in God was and how devoted she was to her Savior, I asked her “what would you tell others about your relationship with Christ that would inspire them?” This hero of faith spoke resolutely as she answered “What might inspire them is that it’s real—like the raw faith subtitle- very intimate, very vulnerable, very raw; I have reverence for Him as God yet He knows me more intimate than anyone. Some see Him as this distant, far away being. They ask… how do you have a relationship with Him? Reality is…He’s closer than your heartbeat!”

When I got to my signature question ”What will they write on your gravestone that will sum up your life?” Elizabeth smiled as she answered—“Lived my life striving to constantly become all that God created me to be and to give and receive the kind of love that He is!”

I took a moment to ask her about her writing style. She explained “I don’t really have a method per se, but guidance for other writers– I would say… really consider what you heart motivation is and what it is you’re writing about and who are you writing it for and what do you hope to accomplish with what you have written and who do you want to reach? How do you answer the question “so what?” What is your goal in writing? Sometimes, you write for yourself and just go with the flow. It’s a parallel to how you live life; what message are you hoping to inspire in people by what you share? Write what speaks to you!”

As we drew to an end of our conversation, I decided to ask “what one past experience changed the course of your life?” She thought for a while, and I could tell that this question, more than any other, really had her questioning her journey. Then she spoke volumes. “An accumulation of things; there were two important life changing benchmarks: First, I was adopted as a baby. I always knew that I was adopted– it brought out my character! Who do I want to be? Who am I? Different things that happen in your life can define you– good or bad. I remember in high school, I had a teacher in a loud class. That teacher singled me out and said, “you need to shut up!” I said “excuse me, you don’t tell me to shut up and for the record, I was not talking.” She said “I know that you are adopted and your parents may not have taught you to respect your elders.” I told her “you don’t get to tell me to shut up and I was taught to respect those who respected me!” Unfortunately, this caused a confrontation. I was sent to the Dean of the school and had a confrontation with the teacher and she denied saying any of it.”

She paused for a moment, as if reflecting on the experience and then continued “It was that black mark of being called out and being labeled different at age 14. It made me wonder how adults can treat children with such little respect. I realized that you have to know who you are– if you don’t know who you are, they and their words can define you. If you know who you are, then you build your character– not someone else! The second life benchmark was– two of my closest friends died when I was 18 and 20; one from Hodgkin’s disease and another with having too much iron–which ate a hole in his heart. I watched the one fight for their life, going thru chemo; and the other, the guy, his family claimed me as their daughter– maybe because we were both red heads(she laughed). I learned at an early age about loss and grief– I learned to persevere. They both died young; I remember asking “why is this happening all around me?” But, I can see now that it helped me to learn how to trust God more– showed me that God is God! His ways are so much higher than ours. I am not going to understand; God allows what He allows! It is a release to just accept His control. It’s not easy; it’s something I will be working on until He takes me to heaven.”

There it was– in the simplicity of acceptance that “God is God—He allows what He allows!” I could sense her strength of faith—knowing that someday she will see her Symon again and will get to understand all that she has had to endure and just accept because “He allows what He allows!”

Her words gave me great pause, and I had to admit—I was inspired by Elizabeth to just accept the things I cannot change and understand that God allows what He allows—and she taught me something that I can apply to my daily walk with Christ. Acceptance is key and recognition that God is in control is required.

And for that—I had to thank her.

Find Elizabeth Chalker’s book “Hanging on by the Scratch Marks my Nails Left Behind(Raw Faith)” in the Xulon Press Bookstore.

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About the Author ()

Alan P. Scaglione is a writer who reflects on the simple contradictions and complexities to living this ”gift from God” called life. He believes that Life is a journey that, with compassion, a little levity and perspective, we help each other get through. His greatest compliment was being told “you draw pictures with your words!” He has devoted his life to “drawing”…in his poetry, his songs, his weekly “Reflections of Life” blog entries, his monthly SAS articles, his short stories and now, his novels! Alan is an everyday guy who refuses to let circumstances dictate his view to life; he lives an attitude of gratitude and spreads his positive outlook everywhere he goes. His BEST day is a day shared making a memory that will last a lifetime! Please check out Alan’s books “One Unexpected Event – How Would Your Life Change?” and its sequel “One Unexpected Event – Aftermath!” in the Xulon Press bookstore.

Comments (1)

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  1. avatar Elizabeth says:

    Hi Alan, thank you so much for the gracious interview and kind words! It was a pleasure sharing with you. I hope your readers will be encouraged and blessed!

    To God be all the glory!
    Elizabeth Chalker

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