Sheila Walsh has such a way with words, words that get right down into our hearts, breaking away the wielded iron that perhaps surrounds. I am beyond excited that she will be coming to my church with this much needed and powerful message, It’s okay not to be okay! Here is an excerpt of her book that I highly recommend, In the Middle of the Mess. ( see more information below)
I looked at my face in my dressing room mirror- pale and tired. I was losing weight. I wasn’t trying to, but I didn’t have the heart to eat these days. I felt sick and cold inside. What was wrong with me?
It was time for my daily television show, and Gail, our floor director, entered my room. “Five minutes to air,” she said. I picked up my notes, headed out into the studio, and took my seat on the set of Heart to Heart with Sheila Walsh.
The lights came up, and the heat set against my cheeks. The director pointed to me, and I opened. “Hello, and welcome, I’m sure you’ve heard other recording artists perform songs such as ‘Sing Your Praise to the Lord’ and ‘Awesome God.’ “Today’s guest has written these and other hits songs.” “But not only is he a writer and recording artist, he also feels a responsibility to be real, and tell the truth, to be genuine with his audiences.” “His latest album, The World as Best as I Remember it, Volume 2 gives us a hint: he spends time thinking about life.” “Welcome Rich Mullins.”
The studio audience offered a conservative church applause, and the cameras turn to Rich at the piano as he sang, “Oh God, You are my God, and I will ever praise you.” There was something about the way he sang, the depth of his lyrics, and the pain that welled into that chorus; it was if that aching was just beneath the surface, haunting his music. It was both a comforting and unsettling piece, the kind of song that leaves you feeling raw and ragged. The lyrics bored down to the place where my secret lived, a secret I could never tell.
After playing his opening number, Rich walked from the piano and took a seat opposite of me on the studio set. The applause died down, and I asked Rich my first question. “What are the most important things in your life?” I still remember his answer.
“At any given moment it might be slightly different, but I would imagine that nothing would be more important than becoming fully who you are supposed to be. You know what I mean?” “For me that is what salvation is all about.” I wish I’d known how profound his response was. I wish I would have dug deeper and asked him to talk more about his understanding of salvation, the process of becoming more fully who we’re supposed to be. I had no idea how much I would need his wisdom in the weeks and years ahead- the wisdom of a thirty- six year- old musician. Instead, I pushed forward with my preplanned questions. “How are you different at thirty-six than you were at twenty-six?”
“Oh. I’m very different,” he said. “I have failed enough that I’ve learned that its not the end of the world to make mistakes… every morning the sun come up anyways.” “I think when you stop being afraid of failing, you become a lot more free.”
Throughout the interview, Rich talked about accountability, community, and the loneliness of not being known. He was speaking to my deepest pains, my deepest needs, but I didn’t quite understand yet. What’s more, I didn’t know how to ask for help. The very idea of being free, of being fully who God created me to be, felt cruel and unattainable.
I didn’t know God had a plan in place to help me understand. I didn’t know that in just a few weeks everything in my life would come crashing down and this would be the beginning of a fresh understanding of salvation for me. I didn’t know that this kind of salvation- the salvation Rich spoke of- isn’t a pretty process. Sometimes it’s a costly, bloody mess.
I hadn’t thought about that interview with Rich Mullins in years, but his name kept coming up in conversations. So, I decided to find the interview on YouTube. When I did, I asked my husband, Barry, if he wanted to watch it with me. The familiar music began, and as the show opened, I was transported back to that time and place. Neither of us said anything for a few minutes. Then Barry asked, “Do you see the date of this show?” “Yes, Its May of 1992,” I said. Then I realized the significance of the date. “How long was it before you ended up in the psych hospital?” “Three months.” “But you look fine, if I didn’t know, I’d never believe you were on the edge of a breakdown.” I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. He was right. I looked very put together and in control, but I was dying inside, disappearing a little more every day. “I was very good at looking fine. “That was one of my problems.”
If you decide you want to purchase the livestream which I highly recommend. Watching a conference from the comfort of your home or with girlfriends. This is one you don’t want to miss. Go to http://sheilawalsh.gotothehub.com/
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