By: Ali Elizabeth Turner
Five-time inspirational writer, speaker, wife, and mom Caris Snider never had any aspirations of being a writer. She never thought she would be interviewed on TV. She also never expected to fight, and win, a fierce battle with anxiety and depression, but it is that battle that has caused her by grace to take her pain and turn it into her purpose. She does so with humor and refreshing honesty for the benefit and encouragement of fellow travelers. I think it’s safe to say that her works will lift the spirits of all who read them, whether or not you are getting in the car line two times a day.
Caris is the oldest (by one minute) of a set of twins. She and her brother grew up in a loving Christian home, and she became a believer when she was 8 years old. She struggled with cerebral palsy on one side of her body, which hindered her ability to move freely. As a result, she was bullied and mocked beginning in the first grade. There was an incident with a boy that was especially painful, and her understandable response to just “try harder, work harder, and be perfect” slowly began to take its toll. “I became a ‘stuffer,’” Caris told me, and added, “I was completely pressured by perfection.” It took a long time, but the day came when she could not stuff her emotions any longer, and a “perfect storm” emerged that caused her to hit rock bottom. She had a miscarriage after having one child, and the waves of ensuing worthlessness seemed relentless. Caris just wanted Jesus to take her home, and came to the point where she believed everyone in her life would be better off without her. Outside of her doctor’s office, the Lord tenderly told her to “look up,” and that act of obedience was what started her recovery.
Several things served to help Caris fight back, crawl out, and stand. She got counseling and, for a brief time, was on medication. She became a part of a community where it was safe to not be perfect. She journaled, she worshipped, and her “survival song” during that time was “Revelation Song” by Jenni Lee Riddle. The lyrics are uniquely suited to helping anyone get their eyes off of themselves or others, and on to God and His beauty.
The journaling eventually turned into a talk that was about how anxiety felt like an elephant on her chest, and she was asked to speak about it. That led to a 10-day devotional that was printed locally, and kept selling out of the Christian book store. It was expanded to 31 days, and during COVID, she got messages from all over the world telling her how much it had helped. She wrote a version of “Elephants” especially for tweens as well as a version for younger kids. It was her two daughters who encouraged her to write for their respective age groups because they wanted other kids to get the help they needed.
Caris’ newest book has just been released, and the title is Car Line MOM: 100 Days of Encouragement for the Mama Who Gets Everybody Everywhere. It is simultaneously deep and light hearted, funny, and challenging. I have a copy and had the opportunity to take it out for a “test drive” in a literal car line the other day. I thoroughly enjoyed it and wanted to share one of my favorite entries which is from Day 59. This particular day’s devotional is entitled “Time to Unpack the Lunchbox” and deals with bitterness. The analogy Caris uses is the horror of finding, in one of her kids’ backpacks, a half-eaten lunch that had been “ripening” all summer. It was discovered the day before school started back, and its unique odor was a literal gagger. Caris enjoined, “It’s time to unpack the lunchbox in your heart. The unforgiveness, anger, bitterness and hurt you have been holding onto is causing pain to you, not those who instigated the dispute.” She includes Scripture, an action step, as well as a prayer at the end of each day’s entry. She also does a beautiful job of reminding every car mom that it all goes by so quickly, and that believe it or not, the day will come when the “Mama-who-gets-everybody-everywhere” will actually miss the car line.
Car Line Mom is now available on Amazon and is published by B&H Publishing out of Brentwood, TN. It can be found as well at carlinemom.com. Arm yourself with it when you are in the car line, and let it strengthen you when you are not. The book and the author are a gift to all, and I am grateful that both have come into my life.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner