Mom on mission to help others
It isn't easy to trust in God when your problems never seem to end. First Carmilea James's husband Mills lost his job; the next year she became seriously ill after having her second child.
“The doctors were saying nothing was wrong,” she said. “In November of 2012, after one year of chronic bleeding and vomiting, I was sent to Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston for observation. That's when placenta was found in my system from my last pregnancy and a surgery was scheduled to remove it.”
Their struggles didn't end there. In 2013, while pregnant with their third child, Mrs James developed hyperemesis gravidarum.
Because of the extreme nausea, weight loss and dehydration, doctors prescribed bed rest. She was unable to work, walk, or even eat. It was especially difficult to cope with two young children but Mrs James's faith never wavered.
“I had no other outlet but to trust God as finances were no longer coming in,” said Mrs James, mom to Tehillim, 7, Zamar, 5, and Erelah, 2.
“We were no longer able to pay the rent, barely able to afford electricity and had to rely solely on what we knew about God. We trusted in Him to pull us through.”
Mrs James went to St Paul AME Church as a child but it wasn't until her late teens, while lying in a dorm room listening to gospel artist Kirk Franklin's Imagine Me, that she really turned her life over to Christ. “That day I cried from my heart and knew it was God speaking to me,” she said. “From that moment on I couldn't imagine how people could not believe — when evidence seemed so clear with everything around us, like the trees and sky — that He was real.
“From that point I just lived. There was no mystical thing that happened. I just decided I would consciously choose Him each and every day.”
That relationship deepened in 2014 when the family moved to Boise, Idaho.
“It was a place unfamiliar to us, but where we felt God was leading us to go,” Mrs James said.
“I went to study sociology and my husband became a full-time caregiver to our three children. My university fees were given to me through a pension plan and an anonymous financial contribution. We had no savings, no job, only God's words and the promises He made us.
“It was hard in the beginning but it forced us to trust God all the more and with our whole hearts. We literally watched the hand of God in His protection over our family as He continued to provide for our needs.”
Random acts of kindness helped them through difficult periods. They received bags of groceries from strangers while riding the bus one day.
On another occasion the family was walking home just before Christmas when a lady offered them a ride. Upon seeing their needs, she decided to decorate their home for the holidays.
God didn't stop there. He has continued to provide for the James family since they returned to Bermuda a few weeks ago.
“My husband recently acquired a temporary position,” Mrs James said. “Jointly, we are on assignment to share and continually live the glory of God to all those we come in contact with.
“This median is not exclusive to traditional employment but through complete trust in Him for all things.”
To show her appreciation for the goodwill the family received in the US, Mrs James has made it her mission to give back to others.
“Every day is an opportunity to impact the life of someone around you by showing love and compassion,” she said.
“This isn't about material possessions. It's the act of giving of yourself solely with no expectation of what you can get in return.
“There are people around us who are saving up for a rainy day but the reality is right now it's raining in someone else's life; there may even be thunderstorms that they're dealing with.
“So why not fulfil their need and have a heart of compassion — not just for people you know but for those people not directly connected to you.”