Local author shares story of hard times
By Sherrie Williams
In her recently published book Unraveled, Time to Tell, Carol “Lisa Lynn” Gilbert shares her life story of hard times and salvation.
Up until the tender age of nine-years-old Lynn had lived a fairly “normal life” in the 1960s with her older brother and parents.
Her dad worked long hours on boats and was often gone for weeks at a time. Her mother worked odd jobs, selling paintings, decopage, and Avon products as well as worked at the school cafeteria and cooked at summer youth camps to help make ends meet.
Lynn was often by her mother’s side helping where she could.
Despite being busy Lynn’s mother taught her and her brother about Jesus and salvation.
Lynn recalls in the book how her mother cooked Sunday lunches and she got to help set the table. Often times she would set a place for Jesus.
Lynn’s older brother Ronnie tinkered around making go-carts and would occasionally give her a ride. He often played jokes on Lynn for fun.
“It wasn’t all wonderful and perfect, even though momma tried hard to make it that way,” wrote Lynn in her book.
And then one summer life as Lynn knew it changed.
Her mother who had catered to her and taught her salvation was murdered.
In her book Lynn recalls being at her Dad’s parents house when her grandmother received a phone call. Lynn would later learn that call was to inform her grandmother that Lynn’s mother was dead.
Lynn’s family lived on three acres of land and their house was behind her mother’s parents home.
Lynn recalls during the chaos she didn’t see her brother. Then she learned he was accused of having an epilepsy fit and shot their mother. He was taken to a mental hospital.
Lynn’s dad gave her to her mother’s parents.
For the next few years Lynn drew strength from the things her mother taught her and Jesus.
“She taught me about Jesus, and that all you have to do is call on him,” wrote Lynn.
Lynn’s dad remarried and took her to live with them. There were four children. It wouldn’t take Lynn long to learn not everyone was kind and gentle like her mother.
The abuse started almost immediately.
Lynn recalled it made her stepmother very angry if she cried.
So, one evening while in the bath Lynn cried into her bath water.
She wrote, “ Without even realizing what I was doing, I remember what Momma had always told me. I went under the water and sobbed hard into a washcloth, “God, Jesus, please be with me. Forgive me, take me, I need you, I love you!” I cried so hard to my Jesus and His Father, and I didn’t care who heard. When I came back up from under the water, I had such an indescribable, undeniable feeling of peace, comfort and joy. It was like everything had been lifted off my shoulders. I understood what Momma had been telling me about. I was saved.”
Lynn’s life continued to be one of suffering, but she made the best out of it. She excelled in many areas winning essay contests and was second runner-up and Miss Congeniality in a beauty pageant. But, her accomplishments didn’t necessarily impress her stepmother. In fact, she was eligible to participate in the next level, but her stepmother wouldn’t allow her to.
Her dad and first stepmother got a divorce, but her second mother was also abusive.
Her brother got out of the hospital and lived with his and Lynn’s mother’s parents. He eventually moved into town so he could be closer to Lynn and look after her. But then he died and in her book Lynn suggested there might have been foul play. She also mentioned that due to a time frame it might not have been possible for him to have been a suspect in their mother’s death. Today her murder goes unsolved.
The book ends with Lynn having a wonderful loving stepmother.
Lynn shares with her readers many poems she wrote starting as a child and Bible verses that helped her through life.
She also shares how she met her husband, Jim, and her life turned around. They started their family early on and had three children, two sons and a daughter.
Lynn’s children were grown and started their own families before she shared her life story with them, in the form of a letter.
With her husband and childrens’ approval and support her letter was published as a book.
Lynn recalls her mother’s mom had always told her she should write a book telling their story. Lynn tried a couple of times, but it wasn’t time.
When it was time to write her book, she knew.
It not only tells her story but might give those reading the book who are going through tough times in their lives hope.
She recalls when she and JIm traveled she would write.
“It was like God was pushing my pencil,” said Lynn. “At first there were a lot of different emotions.”
She started writing the book in 2010 and it was published Sept. 30, 2015.
Since that time Lynn has had several speaking engagements and Bible studies. Her first was at Anchor Baptist Church in Wichita Falls. She recalled she expected a few people. But, people just kept coming into the room and soon there were several. She was a bit nervous, but once she started speaking she felt calm.
In addition to Bible Studies and speaking engagements Lynn has had a book signing, will participant in one today at Tom Burnett Memorial Library at 6:30 p.m., has one booked in Lawton Oklahoma, and another at Hastings in Wichita Falls on Sept. 10. She is also planning to attend a convention and bookfair.
“My book is not all uplifting. But, I hope people will read it to the end and learn. It is about God,” said Lynn. “God told me to share. The book is not about me, it is about God.”