“One of the greatest gifts that I have been given in life,” Sheila Walsh says, “is to be able to share my own story; how God—even in the darkest moments—took my hand and walked with me.”
In a time when clinical depression was rarely acknowledged, especially in Christian circles, Sheila dared to tell the truth at Women of Faith events about her stay in a psychiatric hospital. Her transparency changed everything for women who had been suffering in silence, ashamed and afraid that God did not, could not, love them. “There’s nothing like being able to share face-to-face with thousands of women,” Sheila told us, “and say, ‘You matter to God, your life matters. His love will transform how you see yourself: you are brave… strong… but most of all, you are loved!’”
When Sheila joined the Women of Faith team her son, Christian, was just a few weeks old… and now he’s in college. (Where did the time go?) Over the years Sheila shared many stories from her family life, stories of good times and hard seasons. Maybe that’s why we feel like we know them so well. Or maybe it’s because little Christian traveled with his mom until he started school, Sheila’s mother-in-law came along for a time to look after him, and Sheila’s husband, Barry, worked at Women of Faith for several years in various roles—so our events really have been a family affair!
One thing we know about Sheila: she’s a huge animal lover. Maybe that’s why “ferret” seems to come up so often in her conversations (we’ll have to ask Marilyn Meberg if that has some kind of deep, psychological meaning). Sheila has told us stories about her adopted cat, Thomas, what it means to be a bummer lamb, even the donkey that carried Jesus into Jerusalem. Her home menagerie included/includes Hamtaro the hamster, a canary, a pack of fluffy little dogs, and who knows what else. (Over the years as beloved pets have left this life on earth, the Walsh’s have seen them on their way with full funeral rites, complete with a rendition of "Amazing Grace.")
And Sheila loves coffee! Rumor has it she’s lobbying a well-known coffee chain to add a bigger serving size called “bucket.” And have you seen her shoes? Maybe all the coffee helps keep her balanced on those heels. Even more than these delights, Sheila loves the word of God: studying it and sharing what she learns with the rest of us, in person and through her many best-selling books.
Another thing she loves is encouraging women to take the next step into a deeper relationship with God. Whenever you have a bad day—or a good one, for that matter—just imagine Sheila’s soft, Scottish brogue reminding you, “Whatever you are facing today, remember that God loves you more than you could begin to grasp… just come as you are. You can even bring your coffee!”
Join Sheila at the Movies
Women of Faith: An Amazing Joyful Journey will be in theaters across the U.S. and Canada in limited release on February 18 & 20, with encore showings (in some cities) on March 3 & 5, 2016. Sheila and her Porch Pals (including Barbara Johnson), and friends (including Amy Grant, Max Lucado, and Joni Eareckson Tada) all make appearances.
Find a participating theater, and purchase your ticket, at wofincinemas.com. If you happen to be in North Texas, there are special showings—complete with giveaways and visits from Women of Faith speakers—at select Studio Movie Grill locations around DFW and in Tyler. Get details and tickets here.