I am featuring women in the next few weeks who are also speaking at our Inspired conference (By Women: For Women)
I have two daughters I am very proud of, and today you will get to know Charity a little bit better. My daughters are in my close circle of people I also consider cherished friends. Charity has been a constant source of joy, encouragement and inspiration to me and has helped tremendously with this website and with my journey to minister to women.
Thank you, Charity!
Life With Charity
*photo by Risk Media
A Little About Me
Hi! My name is Charity Elliott, and I am a 27-year old wife, soon to be a mom, and I am a business owner. I also happen to be Cindy’s oldest daughter.
I was blessed to grow up in a Christian home where we were taught that loving Jesus would bring us more joy than loving the world. Many of these lessons were learned by watching my parents take care of my oldest brother, Kyle. If you have been following this blog, then you know quite a bit about Kyle, but just in case this is your first time I will catch you up.
Kyle is 28 years old, and he has autism. As a kid, I knew he was different. He didn’t play with me, he played beside me. He didn’t have long conversations, yes and no questions worked best. He had night terrors and seizures that scared him, and us, awake at night. Despite some of the difficulties of understanding Kyle, I felt like we had a connection and that it was my duty, as the next oldest sibling, to protect him and keep him safe.
If I go into too many details, this post will turn in to a book. Suffice to say, Kyle was a big part in moulding who I am today. I would say, and my siblings would agree, that Kyle’s early 20’s were some of the most difficult years we have, and may ever, experience. That connection I thought I had, disappeared. He didn’t talk, make eye contact or seem to want anything to do with us.
He was deteriorating quickly, and anxiety was keeping him locked inside his body.
This hurt more than I realized and sometimes I could feel resentment creeping into my heart, but my parents always reminded us that Kyle was in pain and did not want to stay this way. They taught us to have empathy in the most trying situations, and I believe this is why we all have a heart for helping others.
While a lot of this was happening, I began to have serious health issues myself. I became very ill and lost weight rapidly. Within months I was skin and bones, despite constantly seeing my doctor, and no one had a solution. I began to experience severe depression and anxiety but refused to take any medication because I could feel God telling me there was a bigger problem. My family and boyfriend (now husband) stuck by me throughout these years despite my attempts to push them away. I can never thank them enough for not giving up on me.
Finally, I was diagnosed with celiac disease. It took me many years to recover from the damage that was done, but at the same time, this gave me a passion for health that has never died. Celiac disease was not my only issue, but over time I was able to slowly repair and heal my body.
I decided to go to Lake State University for Exercise Science in the hopes that I would be able to help other people reclaim their health. After school each day, I worked at a CrossFit gym where I was lucky to learn a lot about business from my boss. I was given a lot of responsibility, and this helped me gain confidence and grow as a young adult. I worked there for 4 years after school and then decided that I wanted to be able to help people even further, after much thought and prayer, I felt God telling me to pursue a diploma in Nutrition. After receiving that diploma, I started my own business, Charity Elliott Nutrition, and that is what I currently do today.
*photo by Andreane Fraser
A Typical Day
My days are not typical! Running a business means that every day is different. Some days I have client appointments, other days I’m working on upcoming events or developing recipes. Many of my days are spent in front of my computer developing projects and writing on my blog. My husband Dan works for my family’s business and is usually home between 6-7pm. We catch up over dinner and spend the evening together. I cherish our time together and love that he is truly my best friend!
*Visit Charity Elliott Nutrition
*photo by Andreane Fraser
My Daily Struggles
Working alone can be tough. This past year I’ve tried harder to reach out and collaborate with other people. It can be very lonely at times to work alone, and I know that I need that human connection.
In December I will become a mom for the first time, I am so excited to meet this small person moving around inside of me, but I’m also wondering how I will keep everything up and running at the same time. It’s a good problem to have, but it does tend to nag at me.
One of my biggest struggles has always been selfishness. It’s easy for me to only think about what I want and what I think is best. Kyle was a huge help in forcing me to think outside of myself and consider others. Being married has also forced me to consider the needs of someone else and put him ahead of myself. Its 100% worth it but it is something I must remind myself of daily.
Joy is one of my favourite words. I believe that no matter what circumstances we are experiencing we can still have Joy. Joy is something only God can provide, and I can sense when someone has it within them. Often people confuse happiness with joy.
Happiness is fleeting, but joy is everlasting.
My husband is one of my greatest Joys. We were married at 22 and 21 and have not regretted it once. He truly has a servant’s heart and always puts my needs ahead of his. I know he is going to be an amazing Dad.
My family is another constant joy in my life. I love spending time with my siblings around our parent’s dining room table playing games and laughing. I also love that our family enjoys CrossFit together and can spend time together that way. I have also been very blessed with amazing in-laws who have invested in me and are so excited to be grandparents.
I find that being thankful/grateful often brings joy with it. Realizing that we would have nothing without God is humbling and helps me keep my mind focused in the right direction.
It’s easy to chase worldly success, but no one wishes they were rich or famous on their death bed.
Finally, helping people find health has brought me great joy. Seeing clients rediscover who they once were, makes my heart joyful because I know they will now go out and share with others what they have learned.
I dream of being a good mom. I know I won’t be perfect, but I also know that children are a blessing and that they will be one of my greatest investments.
I dream of sharing my passion for health with more people and slowly this dream is becoming a reality. I hope that the Inspired Women’s Conference is just the beginning of many such opportunities to lift people up and encourage them to better themselves!
Moments with God
I’ll be honest. When I first saw this heading, I felt unworthy. I talk to God a lot, and I can feel his presence, but picking up the Bible has always been a challenge for me. I find having the Bible app on my phone very useful! Once a day it sends me a notification with the verse of the day which forces me to stop, read it and think about it.
God made his presence very clear to me throughout my life, and I know he is real and that he cares. My family should not still be together after the stress we went through with my brother. We should be broken, and torn apart, but instead, we are closer than most families, and God has turned a traumatic situation into a beautiful story. If you haven’t read my moms book about our family’s journey, Beauty from Ashes, I highly recommend it!
I hope you enjoyed Charity’s feature! If you would like to read a bit more about our family’s journey with autism read: My Brother’s Keeper
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