Shellie’s candid descriptions of her quiet times with the Lord hit close to home. Through laughter and conviction I realized my need to connect with Christ throughout the day vs. checking Him off my to-do list. Shellie’s confessions, exhortation and hospitable nature put me at ease as the Holy Spirit worked through her words to help free me further.
Q1: In Heart Wide Open you address some of the basic concepts of the Christian faith (bible reading and memorization, prayer, loving and forgiving others, etc.) and you help the reader see the joy and grace available in those practices. Would you tell us how God transformed one of these practices from a mundane discipline into a life-giving experience?
A1: Thank you so much for having me at your place Katie. I appreciate the opportunity to elaborate a little on how God has transformed the discipline of prayer in my life! Prayer has become the type of life-giving experience that once seemed unattainable to me. I attribute this to the Father teaching me that Jesus is my access to His throne and nothing else. He has taught me to abandon some of the silly things I used to do to try to connect with Him through prayer. Coming to God isn’t a process I go through or steps I take. I have access to Him through Christ, regardless of whether I “feel” His presence of not, and regardless of what I have or haven’t done. Embracing the sweet truth that we are fully welcome with Him and fully accepted at all times and that His favor isn’t contingent on our actions, has been the encouragement I needed to develop a vibrant prayer life!
Q2. It is evident that you love the Lord and desire for others to love Him more. What is one of your favorite stories about how God demonstrated His love for you in an everyday kind of way?
A2: I’m inviting my readers to join me on a Christmas Advent. You can read about it here. Here is a most recent example of God demonstrating His love to me in a personal way through the Heart Wide Open Christmas journey.
*Please take a few minutes to head on over to Shellie’s blog to read this beautiful account.
A3: If I could sit with all of my readers on my back porch, I would probably exhaust my every breath trying to help us all understand that He loves us so and His great big heart beats with a desire for our company. It’s the astounding truth that I pray I never get over!
Q4. One of my favorite quotes from your book is found on page 139, “We can fill our days with rules and regrets, or we can kick Legalism in the shins and live with our hearts wide open in the beauty of unending grace.” Ah, that is fresh air to my try-hard soul. What is one way that Jesus has helped you find victory over legalism?
A4: Ah, the brute of legalism! One of the greatest lessons Jesus has taught me is to realize that my enemy will use my very desire to please Jesus against me! The enemy wins if my eyes are on my Christian “progress.” I call myself a recovering legalist instead of a recovered one to always remind myself that the only way I stay free of those tendencies is to keep my eyes on Jesus. He frees me from me!
Thank you Shellie for sharing your heart with us today!
Bio via Waterbrook Multnomah