Kerusso: As a mother, what has been your greatest joy?
Carolyn: My greatest joy is that each of my children has accepted Jesus as their Savior, and they are living for Him. There is nothing more important. My second greatest joy is that my family enjoys being together. Anytime the children are all home together there is lots of laughter and conversation!
Kerusso: Conversely, what has been your greatest challenge?
Carolyn: My greatest challenge has been to let each one find his or her own way. Whether it was the decision to come to faith or work through some major decisions, it has been a challenge to only give advice when asked. I don’t like to “let them hurt,” but they have learned some valuable lessons through the pain of making mistakes.
Kerusso: How was your own mother a mentor to you? How did she uniquely inspire you?
Carolyn: My mother was probably the strongest, hardest working-woman I’ve ever known. She never finished high school, was widowed in her 40s, and through sheer strong will and hard work, she took care of herself and my brother and me. My brother became ill as an adult and moved in with her, and she devoted her life to caring for him until he died. She was also an astute businesswoman. Nothing scared her – she would figure out a way to do what needed to be done.
Kerusso: You are a bestselling author. How do your experiences with motherhood inform your writing?
Carolyn: Honesty. I tried to be honest with my children. I shared my struggles with my children (as appropriate). I felt that honesty was better than an “I have it all together” attitude. I felt that letting them know I had to work through some things gave them permission to do the same and to talk with me about their struggles. I do my best to take the same approach in my writing. I never want to sound like I have everything figured out. Life and faith are journeys.
Kerusso: Share with us a memorable response or two you’ve received from readers.
Carolyn: Two come to mind. One was early on in my writing career, when I got a letter from an adult who taught Bible studies for women in prison. She wrote me to say that she was using one of my Bible storybooks for children to teach the women, because the stories were explained simply and clearly. I loved that.
Another time, I received a letter from a grandmother who wanted me to know that her granddaughter was reading one of my devotional books and liked it so much that she asked her grandmother to buy copies of it for all her friends – so she could lead a discussion with them. That was such a joy!
Kerusso: You’ve spoken in various parts of the world. Are audiences in, say, India that much different from those here in the States?
Carolyn: Well, the women I met in India desired to grow strong in their faith and walk closely with the Lord just as women here do. The main difference I saw was that their trust in God was so pure and deep, and they were very open about it – not reserved like some of us Americans are. Many of them had so little materially, but yet their joy in the Lord was very evident. They were a blessing to me.
Kerusso: What is your main goal in writing Bible storybooks for children and devotionals for adults? What are you aiming at with these projects?
Carolyn: I didn’t set out to become a writer. God brought it to me and has given me so many opportunities. I am so grateful to Him. My wish is simply to bring honor to Him by what I write, and I pray that my readers are drawn closer to Him in authentic faith relationships.
Kerusso: How do you view mentoring among women? Do you see a lot of that going on, or is there a lack of women discipling women and girls?
Carolyn: I see some mentoring happening, but not like when I was a young woman. Women today just seem to be so busy – both the young women and the older women. It’s a shame. Mentoring relationships are helpful for both parties involved – in building friendships, sharing stories, encouraging one another and helping one another. I meet regularly with another woman, and believe me, the mentoring goes both ways. I love our times together.
Kerusso: Carolyn, thank you so much for visiting with us for Mother’s Day!
Carolyn: Thank you!