Life stories chronicled by local authors inspired by faith

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By Terry Hollahan
Three local authors have contributed to an award-winning book by Paulette Harper that has just been endorsed by author, motivational speaker and former Ohio state legislator Les Brown.
Harper wrote “The Breaking Point” in collaboration with 20 authors who shared their experiences dealing with adversity and how they pushed through challenges to rebuild their lives and renew confidence in themselves.
Three of those 20 authors are Betty Collier of Bartlett, Sondra King of Lakeland, and Teresa Ward of Cordova. They will have a book-signing on Saturday, June 4, at New Covenant Outreach Ministries, 3474 Egypt Central Road, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Terry Gurley, a Cordova author and sculptor who wrote the afterword in one of Collier’s other books, “The Birthday Gift,” will be a special guest at the book-signing.
The 20 authors in “The Breaking Point” each shared personal experiences in which they came to a point where something had to change in their lives. A common theme in the stories is spirituality and how faith in God can help people change their lives for the better.
Collier’s chapter is titled, “Love Broke Me,” the story of how her high school sweetheart’s near death from a traumatic attack made her realize he was the person God put on the earth for her to be with for life.
“It’s actually a love story,” Collier said. “It’s not a breaking point in a negative sense, but a more positive way. It’s about being open to expecting love, and to be loved, and what that feels like to an 18-year-old girl.”
She and her high school love, William Collier, were on the verge of breaking up. About a week before graduation, he was hit by someone with a pool stick at a community center and was hospitalized with a head injury. He was sent home after surgery, but got worse and was hospitalized again with an epidural hematoma that almost killed him.
“It was that event that really broke us, and then we came back together and have been together ever since. Married for 35 years,” Betty Collier said.
The breaking point for King was deciding to end her marriage. She was never physically assaulted, she said, but suffered mental and emotional abuse from her controlling husband. She had a good job, but emotionally had slipped into a malaise that was affecting every part of her life. She couldn’t sleep anymore. She didn’t tell anyone how miserable and unhappy she was.
“Home was always a dark place. You just feel like you are living two different lives, almost,” King said.
Leaving wouldn’t be easy for many reasons, but one was disappointing her father, who was a pastor and had married them and many other couples. King’s would be the first divorce in all the marriages her father had officiated.
When she finally made the decision to leave, she quietly rented an apartment and even had her grown daughter occupy it while she slowly started moving things in.
“People didn’t even know I was doing that,” she said.
Inevitably, her husband confronted her and she ended it, although pleadings that he would change his ways delayed the ultimate separation for some time.
“When I finally left, it was like the weight of the world was lifted off of me,” King said. “I had so much peace, it felt like I had recovered rest that I had lost of a whole year.”
She hopes telling her story, “The Silent Killer,” helps someone else.
“It’s pushing into your faith and overcoming fear. Fear of failure, fear of the unknown, fear of trying something different from what you are accustomed to and comfortable with.”
Teresa Ward had two revelations in her story, “Tear-Stained Pillow.” The first was extricating herself from her husband emotionally because she could no longer live in fear of him dying. His hypertension was bad and he was hospitalized with chest pains that later revealed after testing that his aortic value was torn slightly. Rather than surgery, the plan was to put him on a path toward better health with medication and a better diet.
But when he recovered, he would not take his medication as prescribed and continued eating unhealthy foods in spite of her efforts to persuade him otherwise.
“I would touch his body while he was sleeping to make sure his heart was still beating, that he was still alive,” she said. “At night I would just cry myself to sleep.”
Over time, the fear of her husband dropping dead at any minute had taken Ward to a breaking point.
“I got to a point where I just said, ‘You do what you do and I’ll do what I do,’” she said. “I let him go emotionally. I got to a point I really wasn’t concerned anymore.”
The second revelation was that giving up on her husband emotionally was not pleasing to God and that she should have relied on Him to get through her fear.
Her renewed faith brought a solution to serve as an example to her husband while not giving into the fears of losing him. So she would cook and eat healthier foods in front of him and slowly, he began to partake in these healthier foods, started exercising more, and paid closer attention to the medications he was taking.
Even so, he fell ill again and had to be taken by helicopter to St. Francis Hospital with blood on his brain.
“I had learned how to lean on and trust in God, so I wasn’t as afraid of losing him,” Ward said. “It was scary moment, but I wasn’t afraid anymore.”
Many readers may relate to these and the other spiritual stories in “The Breaking Point.”
Les Brown said the stories “will inspire readers to bet on themselves and push forward” in spite of challenges they face, and “discover that they have all it takes to steer their lives in the direction they deserve.”
Ward and King have written most all of their lives. Ward has authored a children’s book, “Busy Little Anthony,” and will soon release a series of Bible memory journals and another children’s book.
An educator and entrepreneur, King is a health and wellness lifestyle blogger and wrote a “My Daily Prayer” devotion 20 years ago. She will update that with a sequel, “My Daily Prayer II” that will soon be available on Amazon and by audiobook.
Collier is the author of the best-selling non-fiction book series, “Living Inside the Testimony.” She has written the first of a series of fiction books, titled “The Birthday Gift,” and will follow it with four more related books.
The inspiration for the fiction book series came from Terry Gurley, who asked her to write a story about a symbol he created called The Gospel Symbol that has four images representing the promise, death, resurrection and future coming of Jesus Christ.
Gurley also founded the John 3:16 Global Placement Mission to circulate the symbolic monument around the globe.
You can learn more about the three authors here:
Betty Collier:
Website: www.livinginsidethetestimony.com
Teresa Ward
Website: www.teresaannward.com
Sondra King
Website: www.mydailyprayer5.com

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