Q&A With Author Sheila Walsh
- Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Christianbook.com: "Come as You Are" begins with a touching story about your own little boy; please share it with us.
Sheila Walsh: Christian has traveled with me since he was six weeks old, so home for him is wherever his dad and I are. He is very used to large arenas and seeing his mom on stage. On Friday night as I was about to be introduced I heard a little voice behind me calling my name. I turned round to see my son running towards me with his arms out. He had just finished a big piece of chocolate cake and it was all over his face and hands. I bent down and gathered him up in a big hug as he deposited chocolate kisses on my face and suit. I knew that the women in the arena would understand when I explained the mess. What was more important that night was to be part of God's show and tell to my son. I want Christian to understand that just as he can come to me with chocolate all over his face he can come to God whenever he has messed up in his life.
Christianbook.com: Do you believe that the thought of coming to Christ as you are is often too much for people to accept? Why?
Sheila Walsh: God's love is so different than any love we will experience on this earth. All human love is conditional and we have all experienced moments of rejection that cause us to be afraid to show who we really are. It takes the grace and mercy of God to be able to understand that Jesus invites us to come with all that is true about us and he will love and receive us just as we are.
Christianbook.com: You have had some struggles in your own life; during those times what has kept you coming back to Christ?
Sheila Walsh: There have been many struggles in my life, the death of my father and my battle with clinical depression, but the one constant thread through each and every day is the conviction that God, my Father is the only true refuge. One of my favorite scriptures is Psalm 27:1: "The LORD is my light and the one who saves me. I fear no one. The LORD protects my life; I am afraid of no one."
Christianbook.com: As an author, an artist, and a Women of Faith™ speaker you see many people who have trouble coming to Christ; do you find that there is a common denominator in this?
Sheila Walsh: One of the greatest barriers in coming to Christ as we are is shame. Guilt is different. Guilt tells us that we have done something wrong but shame tells us that at a core level we are something wrong. Many women who struggle with shame have carried it with them since they were little girls. Children are the best recorders of information and the poorest interpreters. When we face trauma as children, we take it all in but we don't have the ability to process what has happened. So often we think that whatever has gone wrong in our family is our fault.
Christianbook.com: Each chapter in Come as You Are talks about coming to God from a different place; please talk about some of your chapters and the stories behind them.
Sheila Walsh: I wrote each chapter from experiences in my own life or from women I have met. God invites us to come when we are angry, afraid, broken, ashamed, waiting for an answer or when we are disappointed. I watch my son strive to be perfect at everything he does and part of me grieves at the harsh task master that lives inside his soul. We play Junior Monopoly and if he wins he is thrilled and if he loses he is deeply disappointed – enough to spoil the joy his enjoyment of the game. He paints a picture for me in art class. It’s of a peach. I love it and have it in the kitchen but all that Christian can see is where his brush slipped a little and went outside the lines of the fruit. I see flair, he sees failure. Women can be very hard on themselves, too, when they don't measure up to an internal standard that they have set for themselves.
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