Q & A with Carol
For those who don't know your story, part of your testimony involves your son's arrest for murder. This short space is inadequate for everything you could say, but what is the biggest thing you've learned about God through this experience?
I've learned that God is close the brokenhearted and He never wastes our sorrow. I'm continuing to experience a new kind of normal where I can make hope-filled choices based on His eternal truth. Every day I try to find one thing to be thankful for and it's my goal to look around and do one tangible act of loving compassion for someone else who is walking a difficult path. I'm also learning that God gives us splashes of joy--and even laughter--in the middle of a difficult journey.
You founded Speak Up for Hope for the families of incarcerated people. Tell us more about this organization.
Speak up for Hope is the nonprofit organization our family launched to help inmates and their families adjust to their "new normal." We provide boxes of encouragement to wives and moms of inmates, books, Bibles and teaching DVDs to prison chapel programs, games and coloring books for the children in the prison visitation area, and subsidized Christian counseling services to families that have been impacted by incarceration.
You’ve been speaking on the theme of "Survive and Thrive." How have you moved from surviving to thriving in your own journey?
When the life we once dreamed of turns out differently from what we originally hoped for, we have a choice--will we continue to choose life and faith, or will we curl up in the fetal position and die emotionally and spiritually? I choose life! At conferences I often share our personal journey through our son's arrest, trial and conviction--but I also share the important choices we are making. God has given us some Divine surprises along the way, including freedom (on the inside), increased compassion for others, renewed hope, fresh faith and an opportunity to help others use what has happened to them to give God glory.
Do you and your husband ever speak together?
When I am speaking for a weekend women’s conference, Gene and I are often invited to remain in the host city to speak at a Sunday worship service. We share our journey based on my newest book, Between a Rock and a Grace Place, and together we talk about hope-filled decisions based on God’s truth that all of us need to make when life is challenging.
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