Carolyn Henderson is a lifestyle writer who writes about family, finances, homeschooling, food, and contemporary Christianity.

The co-owner of Steve Henderson Fine Art, Carolyn is a regular columnist for Fine Art Views and has contributed to the Artist Daily blog. She is a contributing writer to Thoughtful Women and has been published in Deseret News and Deseret Connect.

Carolyn has also written for Homeschool Handbook Magazine, Epoch Times NYC and the Walla Walla Union Bulletin. She is the author of Live Happily on Less — 52 Ways to Renovate Your Life and Lifestyle and Grammar Despair: Quick, simple solutions to problems like, “Do I say Him and Me or He and I?”

A former public relations writer, Carolyn successfully homeschooled four children over 20 years.


11 Responses

  1. Angela

    Hello Carolyn. My name is Angela, and I was so happy to find you when I googled “unchurched christians” and saw your “Commonsense Christianity” article on the website, Beliefnet. It seems my life may be similar to yours in that as a born again follower of Christ (and I use that term very carefully) I was called out of the institutional church several years back and have never returned.

    However, for me it is a very lonely place to be because other believers treat me with disdain, so trying to connect and fellowship has been a struggle. The reason for my message to you is simply to connect as strangers who, by Christ’s definition are also like minded sisters.

    It’s nice to know that there is someone else out there. Thank you for courageously sharing.

    1. Angela — I am glad that we found one another. It is a lonely road, my sister in Christ, but it can be harder when we continue to try to find fellowship in all the old places — namely, among those church-going Christians who look at us and see backsliding sinners because we sleep in on Sunday mornings. (Not all church goers think this way, obviously.)

      I live in a really small town, and it took years before I realized that 1) not everyone who lived in it attended the church we used to go to and 2) there were all sorts of people in the area, from all walks of life, and this was still my town, too. God has introduced us to all sorts of people through various experiences in our lives, and many of them we literally would never have seen before, because we didn’t hang around “those” kind of people. There was much humbling to get us to this place.

      My best advice to you would be to stay away from people who treat you with disdain — Christian or not — because you don’t need this message in your life. Fellowship with people who do not respect you is not fellowship.

      Ask God to open your eyes and heart to the fellowship He provides — and He may already be providing it, but it’s difficult to see, because it doesn’t look like what we think is “normal.” This conversation we are having, right now, is fellowship, and as your sister in Christ, I am praying for you on your journey. You, like we, have been called out to a difficult place — a truly narrow road — and when God puts us together in some form, we support one another in prayer.

      You are not alone — more of us are out there, and if God calls you to speak up about your experience, you’ll find people seeking you out because they’ve thought, for so long, that they were alone in their thoughts. Seek God. Read His Word. Pray. Grow. This is what He calls us to do. As He continues to teach and lead you, you will see, more and more, that you’re not some rebellious weird person who can’t get along with others, but you’re a frustrated truth seeker who can’t understand why people are so content to bob along with the flow.

      Quite frankly, some days I want to pull my hair out in giant clumps because I feel that no one is listening, and I’m banging on a tin drum — and then I get notes like yours, and I am grateful to God for the encouragement. You are the fourth person today who has contacted me, one way or another, to tell me that you are frustrated with the establishment church and you find some encouragement in what I write. What a gracious answer to prayer that is from the Father!

      Be of good hope. You are God’s daughter, and precious to Him. — Carolyn

      1. Angela

        Boy, did I need these encouraging words! THANK YOU!! My greatest struggle right now is to “meditate on that which is good…” because it’s been so long since I’ve noticed goodness. But God has used your message of encouragement to take the blinders off and give my heart hope again. I can’t thank you enough for your articles, AND for including your husband’s art work. It’s absolutely beautiful! Please tell him that.

    2. Donna Whitfield

      Angela,when I wrote the post I just sent you, it apparently never went through, so I just resent it. I’d love to connect with another believer who is in a similar situation if you are interested. 🙂

      1. Angela

        Hello Donna. I just noticed your message to me here and when I tried to click on the link it didn’t work. I would love to connect with you. Carolyn, please feel free to share my email address with Donna if you have time. Thanks much.

  2. Angela

    Hello Carolyn. I wanted to share something God is doing in my life since we connected and you took the time to write your words of encouragement. I’d like to encourage you back with a short story.

    You see, I am somewhat shy, which can cause me to turn inward and consequently be ineffective for God’s kingdom. That fact, coupled with the aloneness I feel on this journey has caused my fire for Him be squelched. So I don’t shine His light like I should, and I find myself just getting through until the day I can dance with my Savior.

    But your message was just enough to spur me on to something more – a lot more. As I was spending time with Jesus one morning I heard in my heart the verse that talks about a lamp stand being hidden, or something like that. I couldn’t remember the wording, so I picked up my Bible and opened it to the exact page of that verse in Matthew (He’s so awesome like that!):

    “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5: 14-16

    So with tears of joy, I responded with, “I hear you, but that doesn’t mean my stubborn heart will follow through. Stay with me on this.” In the next several days I can’t tell you how many times I heard messages about shining God’s light to the world, whether through song or people speaking. It got to the point where I chuckled because I caught a glimpse of God’s humor and I was laughing out loud.

    Anyway, I am now equipped with the confidence in who I am in Christ and the vigor to walk this thing out. I’m finding that I don’t cower anymore at the thought of people looking down on me for not attending church, and I have started the process to volunteer at City Gospel Mission, our city’s homeless shelter. I’m excited to share Jesus with broken hearted people and I thank you again for fearlessly doing what you do.

    1. Angela: I read your message with tears of joy in my eyes, because God, in His infinite, wise, and sense-of-humor way, is using each of us to support the other. I am in the midst of a stressful time with a deeply beloved elderly family member who needs caregiving, and I find myself, literally, living moment by moment and leaning on God to show me what to do next. The lessons that He is teaching me through this experience are profound, and in times of quiet and rest I process them, under His guidance.

      Your encouraging message is beautiful — you know, I stumbled upon that verse about the lamp in Mark 4: 21-23 — It’s getting through to me that, when God sees fit to repeat parables in different Gospels, then it’s wise to ponder them, because obviously He thinks they’re important! You and I — and many of our “misfit” brethren — are being comforted by God that He does indeed have work for us to do, and He wants us to do it.

      I want to encourage you about your feeling that you are in danger of being ineffective for God’s kingdom because you are somewhat shy. Not so, my sister! Because you are who you are, able to turn inward (many loud, obnoxious extroverts, the kind that get TV evangelism shows and book publishing deals, are incapable of doing this), you understand things about people, and feelings, and emotions, and circumstances, that others do not. Where some will then plow in, telling hurting people to “Just get up and over it! Where’s your faith?” you listen more than you speak, pray more than you try to fix things up yourself. God can then step in, because of your humility (that’s a really essential quality He needs in us in order to truly use us), and employ your wisdom and discernment to truly comfort someone who is hurting.

      Quietness is not a bad thing, any more than loudness is a good one. Any aspects of our unique personalities have good and bad elements, and as we submit to the potter, He shapes and forms us into the perfect vessel for His spirit.

      I pray, with joy, for you as you work at the Mission. Hurting people don’t need more people talking AT them. They need people who respect their dignity, listen well, and shoot straight — verbally — when the time is right. This type of discerning wisdom is not something we have within ourselves; it is the result of God’s teaching and words in our lives, and it sounds like He is giving you some phenomenal teaching and information.

      If you wish, please keep me up on this. Thank you, again, for listening to God and following His leading in writing what you did — it’s the best message in my in-box (quite full after some days away) that I’ve got, and I’ve run it off and placed it in my Bible for encouragement through the days ahead.

      Blessings upon you — Carolyn

  3. Angela

    Hello Carolyn.

    Just checking in to see how things are going as you’re caring for your elderly family member. I’ve been thinking of you and praising God for how he has used us to encourage one another from such a great distance, and I wanted to follow up. Know that I am praying for you during this time, and I hope you’ll keep me updated on what God is doing through you in your loved one’s life.

    I visited the mission yesterday and spent time with some of the women who are in recovery there. At first they were apprehensive (understandably – I would imagine that volunteers come and go pretty frequently.) But I shared my heart with them and a few of them perked up and shared back. I didn’t get to be with them very long, but look forward to what God has in store for me as time goes on.

    As always, thanks for your “This Woman Writes” emails. I look forward to each and every one of them.


    1. Hi, Angela —

      It’s good to hear that all is going well, and I pray for your continued adventure as God unfolds the path before you.

      I sent you a reply via private e-mail, but if you don’t get it (check the junk pile; it’s amazing what goes in there — The Norwegian Artist’s emails to me, consistently go there!), and if nothing comes through, let me know.

      Prayers and blessings to you, my friend – Carolyn

  4. Donna Whitfield

    Hi Carolyn! I just read your article about Christians being bold for Jesus! Thank you for sharing your heart in an open, honest way. I’ve been a believer for over 40 years and, like Angela, desire to have fellowship with like-minded believers. I’m in the middle of reading your book “The Misfit Christian” right now and would be interested in interacting with you. Since I’m homebound due to chronic illness, online is the best opportunity for me to get any real fellowship. Would you be open to more private messaging via email? Thanks again for your article, I can relate to much of what you shared. I truly appreciate your heart in this matter. God bless you! 🙂

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