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Sheila Walsh: God Matters

By Cheryl Wilcox and Scott Ross
The 700 Club

CBN.comScott Ross talked with the Scottish-born Women of Faith speaker at her Nashville home.

SCOTT ROSS: Sheila, I remember years ago you, when Pat Robertson and I were co-hosting The 700 Club, and we all simultaneously realized [speaking with a Scottish accent] we are all Scots. Of course, you and I are real ones. We will say nothing about the third member of the party! You were born in Scotland, as I was. Why do you still speak the way you do, and I speak the way I do?

SHEILA WALSH: Because you paid a lot of money for expensive elocution lessons, and I just decided to be the woman God had called me to be!

SCOTT (reporting): Yes, she still has that fiery passion for Christ, coupled with her fantastic wit. Of course, we remember Sheila Walsh as a former co-host of The 700 Club. Today she is known to packed audiences around the nation through the Women of Faith ministry.

SHEILA: It’s five women talking about, 'Here’s what I’ve gone through. Here’s how I met Christ in the middle of it. Here’s what’s available to you. Don’t be afraid to live your life. Come and live your life.'

SCOTT (reporting): It’s a message that is resonating with women in city after city. The Women of Faith ministry team laces humor with candid talk about their brokenness. Sheila speaks openly about her own struggle with clinical depression.

SCOTT: You had already achieved a great deal of 'success'. You were well known. You had written books. You were singing. You were selling albums. You were co-hosting The 700 Club. You were married. And yet you end up in a shrink ward?

SHEILA: Because I was one of the loneliest people on the planet. You can be incredibly well known and very alone. And that’s who I was. I was a well-known person who was very alone. The first day at the hospital the doctor said to me, 'Who are you?' I was in a very flip, angry, depressed-kind of place. I wanted to say to him, 'Listen, buddy, you’re getting paid a lot of money. Read your notes and that’ll tell you who I am.' But I came out with this pathetic answer: 'I’m the co-host of The 700 Club.' I thought that was a good answer. He said, 'No, no, I don’t mean that. Who are you?'

SCOTT: Not what you do.

SHEILA: Yeah. 'Who are you?' I said, 'Well, I’m a writer and a singer.' He said, 'No. Who are you?' And I said, 'I haven’t a clue.'

SCOTT: How long did it take you to find out who you were?

SHEILA: Quite a long time. I mean, somebody said to me the other day in an interview, 'How long did it take them to fix you?' I said, (laughs) 'They haven’t actually signed off on the job yet. They are still working on that.' It was the beginning. It’s almost like they gave me a compass and said, 'That way is north. Keep walking.'

Sheila Walsh at a Women of Faith conferenceOne of the days I remember, I’d been in the hospital maybe two weeks, and I got a pass on a Sunday to go to church with a couple of the nurses. I sat in the back of this little Episcopalian church in Washington, D.C. I didn’t know anyone. The sun was streaming through the stained glass windows. The pastor, who I had never met before, said, 'Some of you in here feel as if you are dead inside and you are already six feet under, but Jesus is here. If you would simply just reach out your hand – you don’t have to get yourself out of the place you’re in – just reach out your hand, and call on His name, He will reach in there and grab hold of you.'

I’ve never walked to an altar in my life. I gave my life to Christ in my bedroom as a child. But I said to the nurse, 'Can I go?' She said, 'Yeah.' I ran to the front of that church, and I lay flat on my face in front of the altar, and it was like, 'God, I’m done. I’m absolutely done. I have nothing left. And you either help me here, or I'm done.' God said, 'Yes. You’ve been done for awhile. You just didn’t know it.'

Paul said, 'There’s not one good thing in me.' I never got that before. I thought, 'Oh, come on! You wrote a fairly decent part of the Bible, buddy.' I totally get that now. There’s not one good thought in me, apart from God. That’s the good news.

When I work with Women of Faith, I probably talk to anything from 15- to 20,000 women a weekend. They are dying to hear somebody tell their story out loud and not self-combust, to bring all the secrets out of the shadow into God’s light and say, 'You know what? Here’s who we are, and here’s who God is. As you are, at this moment, you don’t have to tidy yourself up. Just come as you are, and God loves you.'

It’s my absolute passionate belief that every single human being, man, woman, or child, is aching to find a face-to-face relationship with God. But sometimes when they look at us, we don’t look like what they’re looking for.

SCOTT: Us being...?

SHEILA: Us being the church. I have a book out called All That Really Matters. The reason I wrote it was because I thought, 'OK. I’m now a mom of a six-year-old son. What do I tell him about God that actually is important, as opposed to my own ideas, my prejudices, the things that I wanted to do and then pretend they’re in the Bible but I just can’t remember the verse? God, what do You actually want me to tell my son about You that matters?' I came down to realizing there is just one thing. It’s like when the guy said to Jesus, 'Is there one thing that matters more than everything else?' Jesus said, 'Yes. Love God with everything you have and are, and love your neighbor as yourself.'

SCOTT: You are a mom. You are a wife. You’re doing all the other things. You came out on the other side of this thing.

SHEILA: It’s a different thing, though, Scott, because before if you took away all the stuff around me, if you took away – I think I hear wee Jimmy coming even as we speak. Christian, come here, darling.

Christian and SheilaCHRISTIAN: What?

SHEILA: I want to introduce you to some people. Come here. Come over here and sit in my lap.

SCOTT: We’re talking about you.

CHRISTIAN: Momma, I just wanted to get some food.

SHEILA: (laughs) You just wanted some food? So, you actually have no interest in saying hello?

SCOTT: That’s the priority.

SHEILA: OK, well –

SCOTT: Thank you for visiting.

SHEILA: Thanks for dropping by.

SCOTT: (laughs) It’s a perfect example. This is a role that you have now that you didn’t have before. Any child’s a gift, but this has to be so fulfilling for you.

SHEILA: I got pregnant and turned 40 at the same time.

SCOTT: Whew!

SHEILA: That was pretty amazing.

SCOTT (reporting): Our brief interruption so clearly illustrates the biggest change in Sheila over the last decade. Her ministry is not just performed on a platform but lived out in relationship with her husband, Barry, and her son, Christian. Away from all her creative endeavors, like authoring books and writing children’s stories, while still singing and performing, she has a family. This is where she draws her strength and purpose. They help her keep it real.

SCOTT: There are a lot of people watching this, listening to this right now, who are living secret lives, who are dying quietly in corners. They go to churches, raise their hands, or worship and go through all the games, marriages, failure, sexual problems, drug problems, whatever it is, wounded inside, but they have nowhere to go. What do you say to them?

SHEILA: What I want to tell you is God has seen your movie, and He loves you.

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