What Sheila Walsh Learnt In Psych Ward - Hope 103.2

What Sheila Walsh Learnt In Psych Ward

Sheila Walsh says the message of her latest book, Five Minutes With Jesus, is something she learnt when she was “locked up in a psych ward”.

By Clare BruceMonday 24 Aug 2015Hope MorningsGuests and ArtistsReading Time: 5 minutes

Sheila Walsh says the message of her latest book, Five Minutes With Jesus, is something she learnt when she was “locked up in a psych ward”.

The message of the devotion-style book is that even five minutes spent reading one simple Bible verse or praying a simpler prayer, is enough to change your day and your life.

The Scottish-born writer, singer, TV presenter and Bible teacher, says she learnt this lesson the hard way — during the “worst days of her life”.

From TV Host To Patient In A Psych Hospital

Woman in trauma

“Years ago I co-hosted a TV show called The 700 Club,” she said. “One day I went from being the co-host of that, to being in the locked ward of a psych hospital, diagnosed with severe clinical depression.”

She says her bout with mental illness was something she’d been running from all her life — by staying busy with Christian activities.

“My dad committed suicide when I was 34, and before he did that, he attempted to kill me, and as a five-year-old girl you don’t understand mental illness, all I knew was that my dad seemed to hate me,” she said.

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“I kind of buried that deep inside and just tried to stay busy, and I thought the only way I’ll get through this is if I serve God so I just kind of used the church as a place to hide.  I just got busier and busier.

“And God, in his mercy, let me hit the wall at 200 miles an hour.”

That was when she learnt to take put her faith in Jesus, rather than in herself.

Taking Her Faith One Step At A Time

Sheila Walsh

“When I ended up in that psych hospital for a month, literally all I could do each day was to take one verse – I couldn’t read chapters in my Bible,” she said.

“I would literally just take a verse – like Psalm27 verse 1 where it says “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?”

“That was as much as I could read, and I would just sit with that all day. And it was the beginning of realising, it’s not about “reading, reading, reading, praying, praying, praying”, but just sitting with God’s word and letting it just kind of soak into us.

“And it was in that dark place where I was locked up, that I realised what I should’ve known all along: that I’m not the good news, Jesus is. And that really changed everything for me.”

The Message Of Jesus: “Come As You Are”

Sheila Walsh Preaching

Message of grace: Sheila Walsh in preaching mode

Sheila said she wanted readers to know God’s love for them, regardless of their position in life.

“I was speaking at a conference recently and I slipped out at the break just to get some fresh air, and there was a woman there who was smoking, and the minute she saw me, she put her cigarette out,” she said.

“I went and sat beside her and said “don’t put your cigarette out, be yourself, God wants you to come as you are”. I think that’s what I hope people will really get from this [book]. As you are at this very moment, God’s crazy about you. So come as you are, let Him love you. And it’ll change your life.”

“If I take my ‘not-enough’ and I give it to Christ, and He adds His ‘more than enough’, that’s where miracles happen.”

She illustrates her point in an entry titled Offering Your Not-Enough, based on the Bible story of the boy who gave his lunch to Jesus. Miraculously, Jesus used it to feed thousands of people.

“I don’t have enough to be a good wife or to be a good mum, I don’t have enough to get up on stage and speak, I don’t have enough to do anything,” she said, “but if I take my ‘not-enough’ and I give it to Christ, and He adds His ‘more than enough’, that’s where miracles happen.

“Jesus will never ask you for what you don’t have.  He will only ask you what do you have.”

God Knows Everything You’ve Done And Still Loves You

Hand reaching out

Sheila added that we don’t need to start our prayers with apologies.

“Even if you haven’t picked up your bible in 20 years and you haven’t been to church since your mother dragged you there at Christmas, I want you to know that God loves you,” she said.

“He knows everything that is trust about you.  He knows everything you’ve ever done, there are no secrets.  If you spend a few moments not trying to tell God, “I know I’m a mess”, but just sitting there and letting Him tell you how much he loves you – it really will change your life.”

How To Find Five Minutes Each Day

'5 Minutes With Jesus' by Sheila Walsh

When asked how people in this busy age can put aside five minutes to pray each day, Sheila quoted Martin Luther.

“I was reading about the life of Martin Luther who was the 16th century reformer of the church, and he said, “the busier I get the more time I spend in prayer”. That was really interesting to me because sometimes the busier I get, the more things [like prayer] get pushed to the side.

“But I’ve really discovered, if I want to be a woman who loves God and a woman who you can tell has been in God’s presence, then that’s what I need to do.

“So I don’t condemn myself if I don’t grab the first five minutes of the day, but even if I’m stuck in traffic, it’s a great place just to sit and talk with the Lord.

If you’re waiting to pick your kids up from school, it’s a great place to just grab those moments when life is going on all around you, and remember that Christ is with you in it.”

The First Thing Sheila Says Every Morning

Bible on a wooden table

One of Sheila’s favourite verses from the Bible is Psalm 143, verse 8: Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.

“I love it,” she says. “I’ll fail the Lord, but He’ll never fail me.”

According to Sheila, each morning when she gets up, she recalls that verse and then says a simple prayer. It is: “Good morning Lord, I don’t know where you are going today but wherever you’re going I’m coming with you”.