She had every reason to give up long ago. As a child, Thelma Wells was locked in a closet without food or water for hours at a time. Growing up, she was locked out of opportunity because of her skin color. Despite the abuse, racism, and discrimination she has encountered, Thelma is admired for her never-say-die attitude. Wells chronicles how she defied the odds in her best-selling book, Bumblebees Fly Anyway (1996). She continues to motivate women with her book, Girl, Have I Got Good News For You! (Thomas Nelson 2000) and as a speaker at Women of Faith conferences.


Wearing her "signature" piece of jewelry, a bumblebee broach, is Thelma's way of showing that God can use us in spite of our limitations. "The bee is scientifically too big, its wingspan too narrow, for it to fly," she writes. Yet it flies around anyway doing what God made it do. "Human beings need a lot of encouragement to be able to do the things required and desired of them," Thelma says. "Sometimes I've gotten bogged down in the pity parties of life, and I've tried to deny that I have the ability to do whatever God wants me to do. But I know He doesn't assign me anything I can't handle."


Thelma spoke with recently about her life, her work with Women of Faith, and about racial reconciliation.  You are speaking again this year at "Women of Faith." What is the theme, and what will you address?


Thelma Wells: Our theme this year is "The Great Adventure." It's a lot of fun and I am specifically talking about the faithfulness of God on our adventure. I share five personal stories about how God has taken what seems to have been the impossible and made it possible, and how he doesn't just do it for me - he does it for all of his children.  Even sometimes when we don't trust him to do it.


My daughters who travel with me are dancing to the song, "Great is Thy Faithfulness."  I'm taking that song and matching the lyrics with the stories that I'm telling, so that people will see the song differently. When they sing it in their churches or wherever, they will know that God is faithful to them for various situations.


All of the speakers are talking about an aspect of a great adventure in our lives, how good God is, how he loves us, how he guides us in our lives, how we can celebrate the great adventure along the way.      Can you give me an example of one of the stories you share?         


Thelma Wells: I'm going to talk about how He was faithful to us in healing one of our daughters. And how He was faithful to us in bringing the money in for my daughter and son-in-law to get the home that they built. We had promised them the closing costs and just before that, the Internal Revenue Service came and took all the money that we had. I didn't see how in the world we were going to be able to keep the promise. But God delayed the closing. And the day before the closing, miraculously, someone paid me before I spoke and God provided the money. My daughter had great faith, and I had the faith of a mustard seed that was cut in half. My, oh, my. In accordance to her great faith, God showed His faithfulness.