Sue Carlisle is an enrolled member of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska. She grew up on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. She and her husband, Wes, raised their children in Montana and then immigrated to Alberta in 1989.
Sue published several articles in PAOC’s magazine, testimony, and wrote stories for the Canadian Book of Hope. She has written a column in the Indian Life Newspaper for 11 years. Indian Life also published her book, Walking with the Creator Along the Narrow Road, in 2013.
If you missed Part 1 of my interview with Sue, please check out yesterday’s post.
Sue, tell us a bit about your book, Walking with the Creator Along the Narrow Road.
After coming to Canada, my life fell apart. It had been fraying for years; I just didn’t know it. The book tells a bit of my story and how God encouraged me with amazing truth.
Romans 1:20 tells us that we can see God’s character and nature by observing what He has made. I needed to see something more than the chaos around me. I desperately needed hope. I began to focus on the natural world. I remember the stars and amazing auroras in Alberta. I basked in the peace that the forest and waterfowl gave me. I began to see God in a different light.
Then I began tying scriptures together with science. The fact that the One who spun the galaxies, perfumed the flowers, and flavoured chocolate was the same God who went to the cross for me transformed my thinking. Then I organized my book into the creation story from Genesis and I saw something I had never seen. God planned it from the beginning. God said, “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3 ESV). We cannot live without light. Photosynthesis energizes plants to provide food, clothing and even oxygen to breathe. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12). We cannot live spiritually without Him.
God divided the waters. We not only have lakes and rivers but clouds to replenish them. We have a 500-mile layer of atmosphere to protect us from outer space and maintain water and temperature variables. We cannot live without water. Jesus invites us to come to Him when we thirst. He gives us refreshing living water. He also washes us with His Word.
The seeds-bearing plants appeared out of the dry ground. We cannot live without seeds. They provide everything from food to habitat. Seeds are miraculous life bundles. Jesus became our seed. He went down into the ground and became the first fruit of many.
Our Creator not only made our planet to reflect who He is but how we can walk with Him. If Jesus is who He says He is, then we have a God whose majesty and glory is way beyond our comprehension. And if we are who He invites us to be, then we have an identity and a purpose that is far beyond our wildest dreams.
Where can readers get a copy?
They can order a copy from Indian Life and Amazon [dot] ca. I have copies for sale also, but I don’t have a website yet to facilitate ordering.
As a licensed pastor with the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada and now as a full-time volunteer with NorthWind Family Ministries, how have you found time to write?
Most of my time with NorthWind is spent in preparing messages for Sunday afternoons or for our Ladies’ Friendship Circle. I always like writing messages or teachings.
I also like the opportunity to write for Indian Life.
I have to confess that, since retiring, I find it easy to fritter time away. I am working on that. I want to learn to write fiction and get some other writing projects finished.
Is writing something you’ve always wanted to do?
I remember talking to a counselor when I was in high school because I had no idea what I wanted to do. Her aptitude test revealed that I should be a farmer, a pastor, or a writer. I am delighted to see that God blended all three ideas. I love writing because I love sharing God’s amazing majesty with others so they can be strengthened and encouraged as He encouraged me. I also like sharing testimonies from others. We all need the truth and we need each other.
Why do you think it’s important for First Nations people to write their own stories?
I like to read their stories because they are the ones living them. Many have something important to say. It is important to see beyond the stereotypes. One of my favourite authors is Crying Wind. I laugh, I cry, and I treasure the privilege of catching a glimpse of her heart.
As a member of the Ponca Tribe yourself, what is the #1 thing you would like to say to your fellow First Nations writers? And what is the number #1 thing you would like to say to the readers of their work?
Writers, please share your stories and your history.
Readers, please listen to their hearts. I have read messages from chiefs like Standing Bear of the Ponca’s, Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce, and Chief Sitting Bull of the Sioux, and I marvel at their wisdom and statesmanship. I like reading the testimonies in Indian Life. Along with Indian Life, Jim Uttley has written the Conquering Indian books 1 and 2. God is still performing miracles in the lives of Native people. I could list many other writers like Craig Smith, who wrote Whiteman’s Gospel.
We can all learn from what they have to teach. They have a story that has been drowned out by the society and media around them.
Thanks again for joining us, Sue.