A heartfelt conversion leads to heartfelt participation in CHM
CHM board member, Dr. Carol Tanksley, combines medicine and ministry
Dr. Carol Tanksley (or “Dr. Carol” as she likes to be called) is on the CHM board of directors. Years ago, when her life was speeding miserably along life’s road, she was surprised by two God-inspired 90-degree turns, course changes which redirected her future.
One turn led to a new life direction, and the other to a new path in her work. Both changes are described on her medical and ministerial website (drcarolministries.com).
Dr. Carol had achieved her goal of becoming a physician in 1992. Even so, she felt something was wrong. At the time, she couldn’t see much because her life was spiritually dark.
“I grew up in a terribly dysfunctional family,” she said. By the mid-1990s, “I was so emotionally disturbed I could hardly function. I was seeing mental health professionals, but I wasn’t getting any better. Had nothing changed I might not be alive now; the stress and internal pain was so bad I wasn’t sure I could continue living.”
But then, she met someone and her life changed. It wasn’t a husband, counselor, friend, minister, or self-help guru; it was the Lord Jesus Christ.
“I’d been taken to church from the time I was a small child,” she says. “I knew about God but didn’t know Him personally. In a Good Friday service, I was overwhelmed by God’s love for me. The preacher said, ‘If you don’t know that when life is over you will spend eternity with God, please come forward.’
“At that moment something became alive in me—something that wasn’t there before. I met Jesus personally. I began hearing His voice as He healed me, grew me and ministered to me. It changed everything. The bad experiences and memories receded so far in my past; it’s like night and day.”
When she was eight years old, Dr. Carol spent a few days in the hospital and it motivated her to become a physician. It was such a positive experience that she wanted to give others the same feeling. Also, her grandfather had been a general practitioner, which was another personal motivation.
She chose obstetrics-gynecology and reproductive endocrinology as her specialties because she wanted to make a special outreach to women. She is board-certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. “I’m not sure there’s any aspect of health more integrated and personal than reproduction,” she says.
Several years after her conversion, she experienced her own “Damascus Road” moment.
“In summer 2001, I was driving to work and God spoke to my heart. Though not audibly, it was clear that there was something beyond medical practice He wanted me to do,” she says.
After prayer and consideration, she sought and earned her Master of Divinity (M. Div) and Doctor. of Ministry (D.Min.) degrees from Oral Roberts University (Tulsa, Okla.).
“Medicine can be a ministry, but in my case, I felt God calling me to combine medicine and ministry in a unique way.”
She met her husband, Alfred, in 2008. “Neither of us were ‘looking,’ and I’d given up on getting married,” Dr. Carol says. “When we found each other, we were surprised and overjoyed. We met at a radio station; he was the general manager and I was there to record a radio spot for an event. We ended up sitting and talking for a long time.” They were married six months later.
They did radio together for years, and were married more than seven years. In 2016, Alfred died of respiratory disease.
“It was excruciatingly painful,” she says, “but I’ve grown through this grief journey, and as a result, I’m more effective at helping others.”
Her ministry outreach, Dr. Carol Ministries, enables her to “help men, women, and couples live more fully alive and experience the good health, loving relationships, and joyful spirituality that Jesus came to bring us.”
Today Dr. Carol practices medicine part-time by filling in for other physicians. She also writes, speaks, and works with people throughout the world.
She was invited to join the CHM board of directors in 2017 and considers serving CHM members as part of her ministry work.
“I believe in the CHM mission,” she says. “I first learned about the ministry when I was looking for a healthcare cost alternative for myself. As a physician, the concept made wonderful sense. Board membership gives me the opportunity to help move CHM’s mission forward by helping others to have the experience and assistance I needed for myself.
“Serving CHM members is a great privilege and blessing.”