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Featured speaker, Women of Faith (WOF) conferences
Former The 700 Club Co-host and Host of Heart to Heart
FOUR UNCONNECTED EVENTS
Sheila was busy writing her latest book and speaking at Women of Faith conferences when four unexpected events occurred in her life that demanded her attention. While in San Jose for a conference, Sheila’s laptop was stolen from their hotel room -- complete with the files for her new book! Devastated, Sheila realized she faced a great opportunity. She could either believe that God is in control of everything, or He’s not. “I believe that He is,” says Sheila. (The laptop was never recovered, but Sheila located a file with part of her book on it.)
In January 2004, Sheila received an email from her friend, Janice, who had a tumor behind her right eye. A follow up email brought worse news: the cancer was in other areas of her body. Sheila was stunned. (Janice is still battling her disease today.)
In March 2004, Sheila got a phone call that her friends' son, Brandon, was in a horrible car accident. Brandon survived but faced a long road ahead because of the numerous fractures and rips in his heart and liver.
In May 2004, Sheila and her husband, Barry, put their home up for sale. After months of no offers, the realtor offered them a contract but they had to be out of their house in 17 days! Sheila’s family managed to move out, camped out in a friend’s closet and later ended up in a small apartment. After squeezing everything into the apartment, Sheila walked the dog and fell off the sidewalk! Fortunately, she ended up with torn ligaments.
Sheila says while these events are unconnected, she couldn’t escape the conviction that they were deeply linked. The link is: this is life. Life is full of minor inconveniences and the occasional disaster. She reminds us that faith is presented to us in Hebrews 11:1 as a present reality, not a pursued reality.
When the president of WOF asked Sheila to write a book about the 2005 theme, "Extraordinary Faith", she was reluctant. She says that the issue that troubles her the most about faith is the burden many carry when they don’t get the answers they have prayed for. But Sheila was grateful for the opportunity to examine an area that was troubling her.
“The issue that troubles me most with faith is the burden many carry when they don’t get the answers they have prayed for,” says Sheila. “I’ve realized it’s not about us. Even if we don’t get the answers we prayed for, God is still in control.”
In her research about faith, Sheila realized there are three P’s. There’s a “path.” The fathers of faith didn’t know they were heroes; they just went about the next thing to do and kept walking. There’s a “puzzle.” God sometimes answers prayer and on occasion, it seems heaven is silent. There’s “promise.” God is faithful.
“He has a track record,” says Sheila. She reminds us of Psalm 18:32,33: It is God who arms me with strength. And makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of deer, and sets me on my high places.
“There’s no key prayer,” she says. “Just bow the knee.”
Sheila says she has struggled with depression for many years. At the beginning of 2004, Sheila and her doctor came up with a plan for her to be completely free of pills. For the first month, she felt great; then she felt herself spiral downward.
Sheila even found herself dreading the new WOF season…something she always looked forward to.
“It’s hard for me to describe to you what it’s like if you have never suffered from depression,” says Sheila. “It feels as if a cold winter is settling on your soul.”
One night at dinner, her son Christian spilled his soda on the table. Sheila scolded him but realized she had hurt her son as she looked into his eyes. Sheila called the doctor’s office for her medication.
At every conference when Sheila shares of her struggle, many women tell her that they are grateful for her honesty. “The very wounds that seemed they might break you will be used by God to strengthen you and to give strength to others,” says Sheila.
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.