I recently read and reviewed a book of a fellow pastor in our neighboring state of Colorado. I didn’t get paid for it. And I didn’t receive any payment for reviewing this book at all except for receiving great satisfaction in reading a true story of God’s redemptive love. Torn Apart/Restored is a story of how God took a man and woman and a marriage that was torn apart and restored it. Torn Apart/Restored, by Darin Carroll is co-authored by Teila Tankersley with special guest writers Gloria Carroll and Chandra Bryan. What seemed to be a hopeless situation was turned into a marriage full of hope. What looks impossible for humans is nothing at all to God. The story of Pastor Darin and Gloria Carroll is an amazing testimony to the power of God that defies human logic and swims upstream against all odds and is contained in the book Torn Apart/Restored. It reveals that no one is ever beyond the redemptive and unconditional grace of God.
Darin and Gloria, and even their daughter, Chandra, retell a story that is straight from the diaries of their hearts. Presently the pastor at Victory Life Ministries in Pueblo, Colorado, this family took all that life threw at them and survived, thanks to the mercy and grace of God. They were able to salvage their lives that were headed for hell to point them to heaven. Darin was steeped in a world of crime, drugs, gangs, and alcohol. The powerful biography of this family gives anyone who is presently struggling with addictions and a sin-riddled life hope of an eternal future full of joy and forgiveness.
At one point, the court psychologist had given up on Darin. Even the courts had felt he was beyond rehabilitation and deemed him a Career Criminal. Darin’s wife had apparently given up on him, at least before she came to know Jesus Christ as Savior. Even Darin had given up any hope in changing his life.
Darin had grown up being angry with his father; he was infested in an environment of drugs, gangs, alcohol, and crime. At one point, Darin grew ruthless in his treatment of anyone he came in contact. As a youth, he went forward in an altar call to accept Jesus but was living with one foot in the world and one foot in the church. Marrying at the age of eighteen, it wasn’t long before his marriage and his world began to crumble.
When Gloria was nearly divorced twice she was transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. She felt God had plans for Darin and her despite there being no evidence in her husband to the contrary. In a freak accident, while Darin was holding a gun, he accidentally shot and killed a woman. Darin’s personal struggle with a demon had such a stronghold that at times it controlled his thinking and his behavior. He was held captive in such a vice gripe of a wicked spirit that he could be freed, not by any human effort, but only by the power of God. That and his wife Gloria’s unrelenting prayer and unconditional love.
Gloria, in her transformation, would even share the gospel with the drug dealers, boldly asking them, “Do you know that Jesus loves you?” These hard core drug dealers were astounded. They had never heard anything like this before.
Ironically Darin became free while incarcerated. How amazing that many prisoners were set free while behind bars. Life in prison was dangerous since there were relatives of the girl he had killed in the same facility that he was at. This made him pray fervently and with desperation. God was faithful and answered prayer and prayer for his protection.
The touching entries in diary form by Gloria and Chandra, their daughter, were particularly compelling. They gave unique, up close perspective of their personal struggles. I highly recommend this book to anyone. As a pastor who deals with prisoners and was a former prisoner himself, I feel this book would be a great blessing for any prisoner, prison library, prison ministry, or even a church library. Once I started reading this book, I could not put it down. It is about as riveting and real-life non-fiction book that I have ever read in my life. Finally, it is the story of how only God can change the human heart and that mankind, left to himself, is powerless against the struggle of evil and sin in the world.
When you read Torn Apart/Restored, you will read about how this family moved from disasters to pastors and went from terrible mess to wonderfully bless. This book shows that the human heart in even the worst circumstances possible can be redeemed and restored by the power of God and by prayer. What is torn apart or broken, like a bone, heals all the more stronger and this family shows that it is not all the sinners’ responsibility; it is their response to His ability. Holiness is not the way to Jesus…Jesus is the way to holiness.
Torn Apart/Restored, by Darin Carroll, co-authored by Teila Tankersley, with special guest writers Gloria Carroll and Chandra Bryan. Available on Amazon.com. ISBN 978-1456536303