I am a Christian author and speaker. I am receiving chaplaincy training free at Christian Leaders Institute. I came to know Jesus at the young age of 5. I remember the day clearly and that is saying something since I am now over 50! I was sitting in a church service on a Sunday night and to my little 5-year-old ears the message of Jesus and his death and resurrection became crystal clear in my mind. I went to the altar. I prayed my little heart out and felt the presence of God immediately. How do I know it was God’s presence in my soul at only 5? Because it is the exact same still small voice, the exact same presence I still feel almost 50 years later.
I remember on that night I wanted to live my life completely for God. I was so disappointed to find out that I couldn’t be a nun because we weren’t Catholic. 🙂 But God has blessed and used me in non-vocational ministry throughout my life. In my teen years, I played the piano and sang in church services, led a youth choir of about 20 teens, worked in prison ministry and assisted my mother in many women’s ministry happenings at the church. Yes, I am a PK…pastor’s kid.
Throughout most of my adult life, I was an elder in my chosen church after leaving home. I was in charge of scriptural authority in teachings, wrote much of the Statement of Faith and orchestrated the large group services. But my favorite task in ministry was serving and mentoring the women in the church. When I reached middle age, I became afflicted with a chronic illness. Eventually, my health made it impossible for me to work or to volunteer in ministry. This was a huge challenge to my faith. I never gave up on God, but I did fall into a sinful pattern in an effort to escape the depression, pain, and difficulty of the disease. I began abusing alcohol and pain pills so that I could escape feeling bad. This caused my depression to deepen and I attempted suicide.
But my family and friends banded together and held an intervention. I would get help from them. I would love them back and learn to love myself. While I was in the psychiatric hospital, I began to feel that familiar presence and hear that beautiful still small voice. These were the only thoughts of clarity I had and I relished in the scripture and song lyrics God streamed to me.
I am still ill, but I have the audacity to say, “I am well.” Because God has brought me through. I am more than my body. I am body, mind, and spirit, and though my body is weakened by illness, God has fortified me in other areas. So the whole of me is well. There is nothing in heaven or earth that can take me away from the love of God.
When I got home from the hospital, I researched through decades worth of journals to try and understand how I could have fallen so far. I discovered that in 2008 I began taking some bad advice from some well-meaning friends, even though I knew this advice was not supported by scripture. I extracted journal pages, wrote essays, and poetry to tell my story in words. I created original artwork to tell my story from the end of a paintbrush. When I was done I had an art journal that helped answer my questions. One day, God laid it on my heart to share this art journal, so I transferred it electronically into a book entitled “Well”.
Because of my story, I am especially burdened for Christians with depression and/or addiction. I have taken some certification courses on suicide intervention. I have also enrolled in the Chaplaincy Certificate program here at Christian Leaders Institute. I am taking this chaplaincy training in order to better minister to these precious people. I write under the pen name Alias In Town. It is an anagram of my name, Anita Wilson, but more importantly, there are alias people in every town suffering from chronic illness, addiction, and suicidal thoughts. I write for them. I am called to minister to them.
I’m not sure what that future looks like yet, but I am being obedient to the steps I see God laying out for me as I receive chaplaincy training at CLI. He has done miraculous things with endorsements, interviews, one-on-one ministry and public speaking ministry already and the book hasn’t even been published a month yet.
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