A northerner by heart southern by choice, Carley has called Virginia her home since 2010. While attending Liberty Univeristy, Carley began a collegiate-run conference ministry for teen girls, called Renew which was soon adopted by Liberty’s Center for Ministry Training.
After graduating in 2014, Carley served as the director of Renew until beginning her Masters degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling through Regent University in 2016. It was during this time, Carley began to develop a passion for integrative work that combined the principles of counseling practice with the foundation of Christian theology.
Since completing her degrees, Carley has gained over 8 years of invaluable experience in both ministry and clinical settings and has been published in RELEVENT magazine and biblestudytools.com.
Currently, Carley is pursuing her License in Professional Counseling while managing a community mental health program within a growing nonprofit in the heart of Virginia. When Carley is not working with clients or writing, she enjoys good cups of coffee, training for triathlons, and traveling to new places.
I like to think of my story in context of my identity as Christ's child- Loved. Called. Chosen. Equipped. I heard these words in a sermon by Levi Lusko from Fresh Life church, and have clung to the truth of this identity ever since. You see, love is where my story begins...At the young age of 12, my heart was forever transformed by the truth that I was a loved and valued child of God. Throughout the years, my faith has fought to find it's foundation in this simple truth.
As youngest of two siblings, I quickly took on the role of the “good girl”, dancing along to the expectations of my Christian upbringing. I was known for my bright smile, stubborn personality, and love for Jesus. All the while, my soul secretly waged war within me. My heart longed to trust in the truths of scripture, yet my mirror displayed daily disappointment, dividing my devotion. Like many young women, I sought for acceptance and worth through attempting to control my calories and hide my dissatisfaction behind a mask of maturity. Jesus met me here, and began to place on my heart a burden for proclaiming truth against the distortions of our culture.
Through college, I experienced rejection in relentless waves as I navigated new relationships and discovered my call to ministry. I learned in this season, that the Lord desired my heart more than my hands, my worship over my work for Him. Shortly after college, I was placed on the front lines of a battlefield that battered my soul and deepen my understanding of God's grace. For the first time, I felt lost, as my work in the mental health field wearied my soul. This season broke me in every way possible. It challenged my heart. It emptied my spirit and shook my faith's foundation. Again, my sweet Jesus met me here. The reality of my sin awaken me to the depth of God's love for me once again. In this season, I made the choice to choose Jesus over the illusion of love and experienced the healing power of Christ's unfailing grace and forgiveness.
Through inevitable pain and beautiful blessings, I have seen God work His purpose and fulfill His promises. In the countless stories of my stumbling, God's gracious guidance is evidences of His unchanging love for me. The reality of this journey continues to bring me back to the feet of Jesus, the sustainer and perfecter of my faith, my greatest good!
As I look through scripture, I see the evidence of God's plan for my life. Ephesians 1:4 says, "For He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in His presence." This theme reflects my current path of purpose. For now, I call Virginia home and it is here, I am learning to trust fully, speak freely, and embrace the beauty in each new day. When I am not working or writing, you will find me outside, in the kitchen, or adventuring with sweet friends, who add such spark to my life. I would be lying if I said trusting God's plan for my life is always easy. There are times when I wonder and wander from the truth. Daily, I am reminded that the Lord has planted me right where I am, so that I may deepen my roots and strengthen my surrender. Ultimately, my purpose is found in His presence.
God has many general callings throughout scripture for His children, but I believe that He individually places passions in our hearts that direct our souls to where we will best be used for His good work. For me, this is found in the counseling relationship and through the opportunity to share the truths of scripture.
Since I was young, I have felt called to use my words to share with others the love Christ. The Lord placed a passion for teaching in my heart, and I began to mentor young girls in my church. By 16, I wrote my first manuscript which thankfully, was never published but produced in me a passion for applying God's Word to the reality of our world.
I attended Liberty University in 2010, completing a degree in Religion with a specialization in Women's Ministry. Through these formative years, I served on a collegiate ministry team, which allowed me the privilege of serving youth in several states throughout the east coast. It was here, my calling was refined as I worked with youth in search of their significance and worth. With God's grace and several other faithful souls, I was led to create a conference ministry for teen girls, called Renew. Our vision was soon adopted by Liberty University, which supported our team's efforts for several years.
As like any good story, the Lord directed my heart to working in a girl's group home shortly after college. Here is where He grew my passion for integrating the truths of God's Word with the various aspects of counseling. Through this experience, I was led to pursue a degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Regent University in 2016. Now, working towards my licensure in the state of Virginia, I have the privilege of managing a community mental health program within a large nonprofit in my area. My team and I work towards mental health prevention, assisting individuals and families facing various difficulties. God's call on my life continues to be refined as I seek to combine my counseling work with my passion for writing and speaking. My prayer is simply that He would continue to direct my dreams in encouraging others to seek their true identity, as God''s Child.
We see when God calls His children to something, He also equips them. Through the Holy Spirit, we are each given spiritual gifts, inspired visions, personal passions, and a promise, that He who began a good work in us will be faithful to complete it (Philippians 1:6). It is here, I am learning that just because God has called me to write, does not mean it will be easy. Yet, His steadfast presence, undeserved grace, and overcoming power, welcome me forward, to pursue my passions with purpose. As I step on to the battle field of brokenness each new day, I am reminded of Paul's words in Ephesians 6 (put on the whole armor of God) and 2 Corinthians 3 (my sufficiency is from God). This is where I will continued to venture, dedicating my dreams to God's design and allowing Him to inspire my soul to share His story.