Carl Mathis wasn't prepared for the devastation the loss of his wife would bring to his life. He soon found himself grieving, struggling to make ends meet, and trying to raise his sons, who were also dealing with personal turmoil from the loss of their mother. After months of waiting for someone to rescue him, Carl had to face the inevitable truth--no one was coming. He realized that if he wanted out of the mess his life was becoming, he was going to have to do it himself. Join new author Carl Mathis in this motivational story about one man's struggle to put his life back together. Life Is What You Make It will teach you how to overcome any crippling situation you find yourself in and stimulate personal and spiritual growth by accepting the situation, taking responsibility, conditioning your mind, choosing to make right decisions, building a team, believing, and defining the new normal.
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Christian words of encouragment
In 2005, my life took a turn in a direction that I was not expecting. Something occurred that changed the course of my directions in my life in such a dramatic way, as a result, I had to make some adjustments to put me and my three sons lives back together again.
This dramatic change in my life brought much heartache and devastation to my entire family and made it extremely difficult for me to possess the strength to carry on in my life. Once in my life, I had a cup that was full of love, joy and happiness. But all that changed in a matter of years due to my wife slowly but gradually illness. I was in a very desperate, yet appeared to be lonely place in my life with no one to hold me up or comfort me during the times I needed it most. I hoped and prayed that someone, anyone would come to my rescue to relieve some of my pain and hardships. I waited for a very long time it seemed, but no one really showed up and that’s when I found out that life is truly what you make it as a person, and that no one else can make your life for you.
My life as I was living it was one that I inherited due to my choices and my actions in life. Although God will sometimes give us directions and even provide the means to accomplish a certain thing in life, in reality you are truly the only one that could bring it into fruition if you choose to receive and work at the things that needed to reach a certain plateau in your life.
Honestly, I could never say that my life was a bed of roses and I’m not certain that many could with the many struggles in life. My wife and I met in Brooklyn, New York and we were a match made in Heaven. Of course, we experienced many ups and downs, but we stuck it out no matter how trying times had become. We were very blessed to have two boys, and then we decided as a family to move to Miami, Florida, in 1995. Then my wife blessed me with another son. We were now a family of five, and everything seemed to be going pretty well for us. We were very active in our Church, and I was striving to be a minister. But in 1994 Dale, my wife was suddenly diagnosed with Lupus.
Lupus (also known as Systemic Lupus Erythematosus) is an autoimmune disease. It takes on several forms and can affect any part of the body, but is most commonly attacks the skin, joints, heart, lungs, blood, kidneys and brain. Autoimmune diseases are characterized by a malfunction of the immune system –- one in which the immune system cannot distinguish between the body's own cells and tissues and foreign matter, like viruses. Rather than simply producing antibodies to attack antigens (viruses, bacteria and similar foreign matter), the immune system creates auto-antibodies that attack the immune system itself. There is no cure for lupus, though symptoms can be treated with drugs such as corticosteroids and immunosuppressant’s.
There were numerous doctor visits, hospital attendance and stays, and not to mention the load of medical bills that begin to overwhelm us. We were in constant prayers all the time for a healing to take over my wife body and immune system. After a while there was no trace of the infirmity in her body. I credit that to the many hour of dedicated and devoted prayers of the righteous, the late Harriet Jones and the members of Holy Ghost Temple Church, and our family and friends who labored selfless in prayer and agreement.
After some time had passed, Dale was then diagnosed with a spinal virus called HTLV 1—Tropical Plastic Periphrastic. This virus attacks the spine and the lower part of the body, which sometimes travel to the respiratory system. From that point on, things started to decrease dramatically for my wife. One of the first of many signs was that she started to drag her feet when she walked. She eventually began to lose her ability to walk. First, it was walking with a cane and before I knew it, my wife was confines to a wheelchair. She was soon diagnosed as permanently disabled. She began to lose her ability to write, and then she had difficulty seeing, breathing, and eating. But with the unconditional love that I had for my wife, there was no doubt that I was going to be by her side to fight and endure this battle together and to never leave her side to the end. This went only for nearly ten years of our lives. I can recall the many surgeries, emergency room visits and seeing the tubes that were placed down my wife throat and in her side to feed her and help her breathe. Could you imagine the hurt, and pain my family had to endure doing this time? Yes, there were many times when I was extremely tired, frustrated and had feelings of guilt because the burdens were weighing heavily on me. Yes, only God knows the internal aches and pains that I sustained while keeping the Faith. It was a long hard battle that presented us with numerous challenges. I can personally tell you, whether you believe in God or not, a higher power than man must have been keeping watch over me because there is no way I could have endured all that and still here to speak about my experiences today. I confess to you today that I know it was God holding my hand, embracing me through the many nights, wiping my tears away, giving me the strength to endure another day, and guiding me through this trial and tribulation.
Envision trying to take care of a disabled love one, without much help from insurance company from piled up medical bills, raising three growing strong boys, paying the household bills and mortgage, placing food and necessity of life within the household, trying to hold down two jobs to keep my family above water, and trying to manage to still be involved in my son’s school activities. I was a quiet and shy person, but there were many, many times that I wished, hope and prayed that God would send somebody by just to offer some physical help. I could have really used some help during that time. No, I am not insinuating that no one helped us out during that time, but the burden, hardships, and the task and all the things that needed to be done was overwhelming and we truly needed much more than just the basic help. They say, a man is not supposed to cry. Well I can honestly attest that I broke that mold many days and nights with no shame.
I shall never forget this particularly morning, which was unlike any other on December 15, 2005, I was getting ready to leave work from doing a graveyard shift when I got a phone call from one of my sons, informing me that Dale, my wife had passed away in her sleep. I instantly begin to scream from the top of my lungs from withal I had in me. It felt as though my internal flesh had been ripped and shred into tiny pieces that ruptured with intense burning sensation as though my soul was literally on fire and burning. It appeared as though I could not put out that flames that were stinging and burning inside me. My heart was so heavy and appeared it was going to just burst and explode at any minute. When you receive a phone call saying that your wife, husband, or significant other is no more, what would be your reaction? There were no warm embrace, no last intimate kiss, no laughter, no turning off the light and saying good night, and reading the bible to share a passage and word. I could not handle the fact that Dale, my wife had left and that I would be without someone to talk to and have long intense funny conversations with at night. For that moment on, I was like an empty vessel and the covering of my shell had been ripped off and distorted.
Here I was ordained as an elder in the church, but hurting on the inside like a little boy that lost his first love. I preached and ministered to people yet hurt so bad on the inside. I went to work and supervised people yet hurt terribly on the inside. I still had to muster the strength to do the necessity to provide for my three boys who were growing day by day. I would ask myself, “When will it end? When will I be able to say the hurting is over and my vessel has some substance inside it?” After one’s cup has been totally emptied, I was in search of answers on how to refill it once again. When the flaming fire on the inside totally evaporates all the liquid you once had from being complete disappears, what do you do? Who do you turn too? I was completely a total wreck. I was actually that someone that had fallen into a darken pit with no strength to pull myself up and find my way back home again. Yes, I may have looked good on the outside, but inside I felt like a totally empty man walking around with dried up withered bones. I didn’t have anyone to run too and talk too. I was extremely lonely and preferred being at work to keep myself from thinking all these crazy thoughts. Began to pray that God will give me a friend to talk to and keep a conversation. Unfortunately, that never happened or took place, so I just assumed it wasn’t in His plans for me. So finally I realized that none was coming and life is just what I make it. I choose to not give up, and keep believing and trusting Him that He will never place more on me than I can handle. This has all been a learning experience for me that if you allow your situation to control your life; your future will remain uncertain. In order to rid myself of all this pain and suffering, I have to reach a place where I can accept that in life there will be many things that we have no control over and we have to accept that and forgive ourselves, so we can start our healing process. I’m still a progress in work. I’m not completely there just yet.
Harvest Times Book Review
Learning from the adversities that we face in life, and allowing God to birth His purposes in us, is proof that the victory is truly ours. As is the case in "LIFE is What You Make It: seven steps to moving forward" where new author, Carl Mathis spells out 7 life lessons that God taught him to use to turn his situation of being the victim to the victor.
Carl Mathis' life took an unsuspecting turn, when the death of his wife, leaving him to raise 2 sons on his own, left him devastated and looking for someone or something to rescue him. Grieving, stressed and in disbelief of his present situation, Carl Mathis had to come to grips with his new reality and through prayer, God gave him the will and steps to move forward.
Mr. Mathis does a fine job in detailing the steps that he used to get his life back on track; steps that the reader will be able to apply to their own life. The applications of these biblical truths are key and Mr. Mathis backs up his theories with a wealth of scripture. I was impressed that because it was in recent years, his lost took place; Mr. Mathis was willing to share his story so profoundly, proving the spiritual growth that took place in his life.
"LIFE is What You Make It: seven steps to moving forward" will be an asset to any readers' library. The reader will easily identify with his struggles and come away with the motivation that although bad things happen to good people, there is hope.
Reviewed by Anita Finley
Carl Mathis writes about the dramatic change he experienced when suddenly his wife died. He said that he waited a long time hoping someone would come to his assistance but that didn’t really happen. And it was at that defining moment that he found out that life
is what you make it, and that another cannot make your life for you.
There is so much motivation on the pages of this small, but power ful book,
that it requires re-reading to absorb the excellent messages. One of his chapters, “Accept the Situation” probably
af fects each and ever y one of us at
some time of our life. Mathis continually reassures us that we have the ability to achieve anything we want or need. One should ask if hanging on to negative past events makes ever yone feel better or worse? We all know the answer, it’s just how to accomplish being positive and not letting the negativity that surrounds us inter fere. To prove Mathis’ point,throughout the chapters,there are biblical references that match what the paragraphs have inferred. It’s all put together ver y nicely. Taking responsibility
for who you are and what
you do is probably the most impor tant
task of your being. Because the author
is a minister, it is easy to understand
why so much sounds like listening to a
Sunday morning sermon.
In our time where technology keeps
us unfocused, between cell phones,
i-phones, Blackberries, computers, Blue
Ray Video, TV, and ever so much more
“noise,” the author says that in order
to make the right decisions, one must
stay focused. “If you ever want to make
your dreams come true, you need
focus to play a big role in your life. Don’t give up and fall short of your goal!” He also discusses how time is
so valuable and it is important
to use it wisely. We all
know that but how do we
stay focused to do that? Stay
After reading Mathis’
book, I felt that his chapter,
“Condition Your Mind,” says
it all. It begins with “the mind
is the seat of perception, selfconsciousness,
remembering, hoping, desiring,
wiling, judging, analyzing, evaluating,
and reasoning. To accomplish success
requires that you change your mind—
get away from selfish and negative thinking,
which are par t of human nature.”
This is an excellent book to read if
you need motivation for anything: weight
loss, smoking, any addictions, but as
a general “good feeling” book. There
are so many excellent messages
throughout the chapters. And the best
par t, it is such easy and fast reading!
About the author:
Carl Mathis is a minister who
devotes his life with a passion for
helping all people who are in need of
help. He is also the single parent of
three boys. Carl hopes that LIFE is
What You Make It will be an encouragement for all people who have
experienced any type of situation similar to his own. He strongly believes
that nothing is impossible to achieve
once you put your mind to it. His dedication of his book is to his wife, Dale Averill Delaney Mathis, “who died
before I could get an oppor tunity to
put pen to paper” and to his three
sons: Jaron, Carl Jr. and Torrey.
(LIFE is What You Make It was
published by Tate Publishing & Enterprises,
$9.99. To purchase, go to
amazon.com or order at your local
Reviewed by Melissa McDary
Life Is What You Make It: Seven Steps to Moving Forward by Carl Mathis
Reviewed by Melissa McDary
Author, Carl Mathis writes from his heart and soul. It is inspiring to read a moving book where the author’s heart beat is felt on every page. Why? Because it makes the reader feel connected to the author and drawn into the message of the book. This is truly how lives are changed and impacted. This is how readers move forward in life.
It would have been easy for the author to write a story that would make people cry, but instead, a story was written that powerfully uplifts the reader, reminding them that through a reversal of fortune comes triumph.
Life is What You Make It: Seven Steps to Moving Forward explores how the illness and transition of Carl Mathis’s wife’s left him with a hole in his soul with a deep desire for someone, anyone to come rescue him. As the author writes, “I prayed but no help came.”
Believer’s can relate to this message because often we are living a life that we really wished we weren’t living. Other people’s lives look better than ours does, we have desires, needs, wants, fears, disappointments and set backs, but who can any of us really turn to? This is what the author delves into in the pages of this life-changing book.
Carl Mathis provides the reader with the seven steps he used to put his life back on track to heal, restore and create the future God had designed for him. Each step and section of the book provides a wealth of Scripture in which the reader can meditate and reflect on, as well as, journal about.
If I were to compare Carl Mathis’s writing style, I would compare it to Dr. Myles Munroe, Pastor T.D. Jakes, and Dr. Tony Evans. Fans of these authors and ministers will truly enjoy reading, Life Is What You Make It: Seven Steps to Moving Forward.
(Part II below.)
The grammatical errors, sentence structure and flow of paragraphs may be off putting to readers of, Life Is What You Make It: Seven Steps to Moving Forward. It appears that editing and proofreading may not have been done before the book was published. If the author plans to write more books, I would like to suggest that he consider securing a professional book editor and line editor before his book is submitted to the publisher as most independent publishing companies do not provide this for authors. These improvements will help to increase the quality of his writing and won’t distract readers from his powerful story telling ability.
Overall, Carl Mathis, has written a gem. Life Is What You Make It: Seven Steps to Moving Forward will provide readers with hope and encouragement for victorious living.
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