By Susan LeDoux
Years ago, recently saved and emotionally healed by the Father, Charlene DeCory was listening to Christian radio when the pastor’s tone suddenly changed and he began to slam other churches and denominations.
“I was new to this, but I knew it couldn’t be right. I thought, ‘Father God in heaven, is this real? This is what I’ve been saved into?’ It just didn’t feel right.”
That was the seed of DeCory’s book Connect: The Real Meaning of Love.
Like all of us, our early years color the way we see others, the world, and ourselves. DeCory grew up in a home where both parents struggled with mental illness caused by childhood circumstances that made them the products of fear. Although they did the best they could for Charlene, she became a product of fear as well.
“I know what it feels like to be a person who is a tangled web of emotions, fears, and insecurities that need to be healed. It’s not fun, so I encourage everyone to get healed. God is so merciful and kind to untangle us. We just have to ask him.”
DeCory left her healing to the Father. Not only did she wear “a path in the church to the altar for the first two years because I went up for every altar call,” she got professional help from a Christian counselor.
Although she and her parents had attended church faithfully, and she knew about her heavenly Father, DeCory said she was not saved until age 28, and then it was through several influences. She recalled growing up next to a Christian family God had radically rescued from a life of drinking and partying. “They prayed for us and I know that was huge. So I had prayer happening for my salvation for probably 15 years.”
Then there was the moment her first baby was born and given an amazing perfect health rating (Apgar score of 10). As the doctors enthused, she recalled the evening she had promised God she would praise him for the rest of her life if he gave her a healthy baby.
On the advice of friends, she and her husband, Mark, visited New Hope Community Church, where they would later become part of the pastoral team. Back then, the church was having an evangelism class and using visitor cards, which she and Mark filled out. One evening, when Mark was at work and their son in bed asleep, DeCory was relaxing with a glass of wine when the doorbell rang.
“It was the people from church. They came in and talked to me. We talked about a Bible tract. They told me about the Lord and about salvation.”
Later that night, she woke up at exactly 3:16 AM. She recalled John 3:16 because that was the tract they had discussed. “I went downstairs and got the tracts they gave me and I read the prayer. So that was my actual salvation.” Later, she and Mark went to the Billy Graham Crusade where they made their salvation official.
DeCory said she had given up her original career in IT because it was not “family friendly.” Within one year, she became a stay-at-home mom with a new baby, a new church, and a whole group of new friends. “By September of 1988, my entire life had changed.”
It had taken DeCory years to find her new life. Hearing that pastor rant about other branches of this Christian faith she had just come to embrace, had rocked her world. Her book, Connect: The Real Meaning of Love, challenges what she calls “the status quo of unhealthy junk in the churches and between the churches.” Connect demonstrates how “a new mind-set that is healthy, victorious, authentic, timely, and right on in the Spirit” should guide the universal Christian church into the future.
This book is best read slowly to savor the insights she brings to such parts of the Bible, as John 17 where we read Jesus’ prayer to the Father for himself and those given to him. Asked if she used commentaries for references as she wrote, DeCory credited the Holy Spirit.
“When you’re a writer at heart, you almost see outlines in your brain. So I read John 17 and thought this is a three part outline for a book! Read what Jesus prayed. He said to go to the Father, one another, and then the world will know.” (Parts one, two and three, right there.)
DeCory believes we need to get over ourselves as we reach out to the world.
“Everybody wants to be right. We need to value each other and value people, value peace and unity, over valuing being right. I think the whole world is fractured because of everyone’s pride and because everyone wants to be right. Being right makes us feel important. We need to feel important because we’re insecure, and insecurity is based on fear. I don’t care if I’m right. I want to be kind and loved. This is what God wants me to be.”
DeCory maintains we misrepresent the Father when we find fault with each other.
“We’re giving the Father a bad name, but the Father has the Name above every name. He is perfect and all love, but we’re walking in all this drama. We want people to run to us because we’re safe, not away from us because we’re going to tell them their sins.”
Her thoughtful insights make this book a perfect guide to rediscover the Father’s love for each of us, how to become whole and victorious, and find one’s unique place in God’s kingdom. Suitable for Bible study, group discussion, or even daily devotionals, this is a “must read” from a new author. Connect is available at Amazon where it already has garnered five star ratings by reviewers. Stay tuned for more books from this gifted writer.