“Hanging On by the Scratch Marks My Nails Left Behind (Raw Faith)” by Elizabeth Chalker

Raw Faith Like Job…Hanging onto God!

Foreword by Pastor Charles Carrin and Dr. Corey Cameron

Dr. Cory Cameron

You—one person—an individual, can literally change this whole world with love. By focusing on love, making a choice to love, feeding all that is positive, good, and of the light with exuberance and abundance instead of feeding the negative and evil things of the darkness. You can literally change the world and yourself. One relationship–one interaction–one decision at a time.

If you are experiencing the dark night of the soul in affliction year after year, it will present you, as it has me, with opportunities not found in most other life circumstances.

This is a 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.

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 the 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 Boca Raton, Florida, with her beloved “son” Symon (a Corgi/Shepherd mix dog). Elizabeth continues to minister to those in need and aspires to show God’s glory through every breath she takes.

Pastor Charles Carrin (Retired from serving an individual church; now pastoring pastors):

Sudden loss and great destruction shattered the everyday world of Elizabeth Chalker. Facing difficulties from the beginning of life, her spirit had persevered. But when a serious, long-term, physical illness that went unnamed for most of her life devastated her body, her hope for a future and her very life were threatened and continue to be even today.

In a short time, this beautiful, educated young woman—already established in her career in forensics and neuropsychology and engaged to be married— experienced the unthinkable. Her engagement was abruptly broken, her career was lost, and most family and friends disappeared from her life. Nevertheless, as Elizabeth’s health has declined and she has endured other life calamities that sent her into intense suffering, remarkably her faith in God has matured and proven to be steadfast. At times she has had nothing left in her dark apartment but Symon, her loving dog, and the “Presence” of her heavenly Friend. He never left. Elizabeth might have argued that point for there were times when even He became silent. During those long periods she could have said with Job: “Oh, that I knew where I might find God, That I might come to His seat! I would present my case before Him, and fill my mouth with arguments. . . . Would He contend with me in His great power? No! But He would take note of me. There the upright could reason with Him, and I would be delivered forever from my Judge. . . . But He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold” (taken from Job 23:3–10).

In the years I have known Elizabeth and witnessed the merciless testing of her faith, I have watched this spiritual realization rise to the surface. Like Job, she has been abandoned by the majority who were closest to her. However, like Job, she has come forth as gold. Elizabeth has not allowed her mind to stagnate. Instead, she began to write. The ripe fruit of that writing is in your hands.

This is no ordinary book about personal loss, crisis, physical illness, and shattered ambitions. The message here runs much deeper. What I discovered— being mirrored back to me—were my own responses to life’s disappointments. Somewhere, Elizabeth disappeared and I saw myself struggling with personal issues that needed fixing. Many were issues I did not know were there. At that point, I realized the book had a “surface” message and a deeper, heart message. As you read, allow the book to read you. Let Elizabeth’s cries of the heart and spirit uncover what is sequestered in your own heart. Let Elizabeth’s words lead you on a journey beyond her illness and life tragedies to its conclusion— where you will emerge challenged and even strangely comforted by your own life struggles, knowing that you too can have access to this pure faith, realize the bigger purpose for your life, and “come forth as gold!”

To contact the author and/or help her, go to www.helpelizabeth.net

Trailer:

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.

My Review:

Elizabeth Chalker’s story as told in Hanging on by the Scratch Marks my Nails Left Behind (Raw Faith) is a poignant story of life as a normal, healthy young woman, engaged to be married, who is struck down into the chasms of deep, painful diseases (Lyme and endometriosis).

Though her life eerily reminds you of the book of Job in the Old Testament, and she cries out similarly at times, yet she does not wallow in her condition.  She spends many hours of deep intimacy with the Lord. She’s not superwoman, with hours and even days of severe pain, unrest and loneliness, but her goal is to reach people with the message of faith in Jesus Christ through her suffering and bring others to Him.

Hanging On is an inspirational book, dealing with the following issues:

  1. Broken Yet Still Standing
  2. Embracing God
  3. Letters to loved Ones Over Time
  4. Poems and Mediations
  5. Seeing God Everywhere
  6. A Song from the Heart
  7. Will You Drink from This Cup?

Each of these sections is personal and specific, encouraging and exhorting.  There are multiple entries within each chapter that typify her walk with Lord, as well as hearing some of the raw pain through her writing, but the pain doesn’t override her goal.  Yes, she cries out for healing as would any of us.  She surely needs our prayers and if possible, finances to receive the help that’s needed.

Though abandoned by her church, friends, and some family, she is not bitter.  That spoke to me, as I have been abandoned through my illness, and her life lessons through the Holy Spirit convicted me of my sin of bitterness.  I saw myself in several areas.  You will probably find yourself in her story as well.

The amazing aspect of Elizabeth’s book is her forgiveness, love, joy, encouragement, etc. in the midst of her pain.  Though I don’t agree theologically with all she writes, the essence of God’s sovereignty, love, and presence are very real, personal and intimate and are a challenge for all of us to get and stay in tune with the Lord.

This book was proved free by Paulette Harper-Johnson in exchange for my honest review.  No monetary compensation was received or exchanged.

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2 thoughts on ““Hanging On by the Scratch Marks My Nails Left Behind (Raw Faith)” by Elizabeth Chalker

    • I was impressed with your level of transparency. Chronic pain is not easy to deal with. I enjoyed your depth of Scriptural truths. Thank you for the pleasure of reading and sharing your book.

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