Betty (Elizabeth) Chisholm has published her first book with Word Alive Press, Out of the Flame, her story of having survived childhood, teenage, and adult trauma and journeying into freedom.
Born as number five in a family of seven children, Betty began as an adventurous and mischievous toddler. An early fascination with fire left her teetering between life and death. Facing a lifetime of medical interventions and adjustments, she soon learned that scars, pain, and loneliness would make her longing for peace seem well out of reach. Regrettable choices, including abortion and a broken marriage, resulted in a downward spiral of hopelessness, shame, depression, and attempted suicide.
During her early adult years, Betty stepped into a promising music career that led to her having a number one hit in the country music industry. But even this honour and acclaim left her empty and searching.
Betty found a level of fulfilment and joy in her career as a professional hairdresser and the owner of numerous salons, but the physical and emotional scars of her past continued to dominate her every move.
Her dramatic journey to the cross and the naivety of her early walk with Jesus will leave you both laughing and crying. Her personal decision to accept God’s grace and mercy stood the test through near-death accidents, severe blood clots, cancer, and life-threatening heart surgery. Betty’s story testifies to God’s amazing redemptive plan. Her journey has taken her into renewed health, travel around the globe, behind prison bars, and into favour and victory.
Betty is an ordained minister with Open Bible Faith Fellowship and has served as founder and director of Prison Revival Ministries for thirty-five years. Her ministry has included Music with a Mission, her local Aglow organization, international missions, speaking and teaching engagements, and media interviews.
Q: What was your inspiration for writing this book?
A: My inspiration is the Holy Spirit of God, who is constantly working in and through us to restore us to wholeness. Once you’ve received a touch from the Master’s loving hand, you want everyone to believe, receive, and know Him. He wants us to help others who have gone through similar traumas and situations.
When you’ve received so much from the Lord, you can’t help but want everyone to also know Him and receive freedom, love, joy, and peace. There’s so much inspiration for all of us in and through the word of God, which is Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Q: What was the most difficult chapter to write?
A: The most difficult chapter to write was the one about my abortion. That subject goes so deep and stays with us in an unexplainable way. It affects so many areas of our lives. To offer hope, know that the Lord can heal our most traumatic experiences, even the ones that seem impossible, especially abortions.
Q: How did you deal with the emotional impact of writing your story?
A: Dealing with the emotional impact of my story was difficult at first. As I dug deeper and dealt with the underlying trauma that hadn’t been dealt with, it became a very freeing experience. I let go and admitted things about myself that set me free in a way I didn’t expect. We don’t always see ourselves as we are; rather, we see ourselves as we want to be, and even as we pretend to be.
Q: What do you hope your readers will take away from the book?
A: I hope my readers will allow themselves to go deep, admit things to themselves they’ve been hiding, and allow themselves to be open to deep healing they never thought possible—because it is. I hope and pray others will experience the healing virtue of Jesus Christ, who took all our pain and suffering on the cross.
Q: Are there any authors or book series that have been significant to you in your writing journey?
A: I would like to say that the testimonies of authors like Betty Maltz and Hal Lindsay truly inspired me. Those books sparked a courage within me to believe that I could one day share my story, too. True testimony books, like the ones our ministry sends into prisons, inspire us for the work of the Lord.
After thirty-five years of ministering, I knew that my testimony will hit people where they live; the lost expressions on their faces have always affected me deeply. Their pain is so familiar to me. They feel like it’s too late for them.
Q: Your book has some deeply moving and emotional material. Have you also built in any relief for the reader?
A: The same relief that I got from my deeply emotional experiences is available for everyone. I pray that my readers will come away having been touched by God, so that they will never be the same again. I hope they have a Damascus road experience, if you will, where the Lord reveals Himself in a deep way. Believing in Him will transform people into who He has destined them to be.
Q: What advice do you have for new writers just starting out?
A: My advice is to believe for the impossible and put all your trust, hope, and faith in Him. He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we dare to believe. If anyone told me I would write a book at seventy-five years old, I would have thought they were nuts. He gave me everything I needed in order to do what He called me to do. He sent me the most wonderful people to work alongside me, day after day, moment by moment.
And as others have said, never give up. You don’t always get it right the first time, or even the second or third times. Just keep going… you will know when you’ve got it right. If you don’t feel fully satisfied after writing a chapter, don’t be afraid to write it again. Just start over and be patient. Have faith that if you relax, stop worrying, and let go, it will come quickly.