Hello from Davalynn Spencer who’s hanging on tight. The winds off the Rocky Mountains can blow every cloud from the sky and everything from the yard that’s not tied down—a perfect reason to read what today’s featured author Twila Belk has to say in her new book.
Welcome, Twila. Please give us a nutshell overview of The Power to Be: Be Still, Be Grateful, Be Strong, Be Courageous.
Relatable, honest, and with splashes of humor, this 40-day devotional reveals that we have the power to be still, grateful, strong, and courageous—even when undergoing trials, facing unknowns, battling fears, or struggling with feelings of inadequacy or insecurity. It all has to do with where our focus is.
I suspect you had some personal experience to pour into this devotional. Can you tell us why, exactly, you wrote this book?
When I was undergoing treatment for aggressive breast cancer, I received an email from the acquisitions editor at BroadStreet Publishing. He said they’d like to do more books with me, and The Power to Be: Be Still, Be Grateful, Be Strong, Be Courageous was one of the projects he proposed. I said yes, of course, and then started praying about the direction to take with the topic.
I’ve told people that in many ways I consider this to be my legacy book. It has all the important messages and truths I want people to know. I could die tomorrow knowing I did what I needed to do (not that I have any plans for dying tomorrow, though). I’m thrilled that God gave me the opportunity to write it!
What a legacy, indeed, and what a challenge—encapsulating everything we want to share with others. Is there one big take-away you hope readers will find in your book?
I want readers to learn, as I have, that our circumstances don’t change who God is; they show us who God is. I also hope they’ll get the message that whatever we focus on becomes magnified.
An interesting perspective, Twila, one that might seem easily acquired but is so often overlooked. Given your viewpoint that what we focus on becomes magnified, did you have one, primary focus for your book?
The underlying message boils down to three things: (1) knowing God, (2) trusting God, and (3) keeping our focus on the right things. The better we are at doing these things, the more successful we’ll be in our pursuit of the power to be.
In your writing, do you have specific themes to which you often return?
Good question! Three themes seem to pop up again and again in my writing and speaking: (1) who God is, (2) how big God is, and (3) that He can be trusted. I have lots and lots of proof of God’s faithfulness and goodness, and I just gotta tell somebody!
Why do you write devotional material?
The biggest reason is that my favorite thing to do is brag on God. Also, God has made it clear to me that my job is to make important truths easy to understand. This is a great avenue to do that. I love using stories—funny stories, silly stories, crazy stories, serious stories—to illustrate God’s truths.
Is there a touching moment you’ve shared with a reader that you wouldn’t mind sharing here?
A little more than a year ago, I heard from both a husband and a daughter of a woman who died unexpectedly in a car accident. They told me she had been faithfully reading my one-year devotional, Raindrops from Heaven: Gentle Reminders of God’s Power, Presence, and Purpose, and as she read it she pointed out to her family members things that touched her in significant ways. Her husband said that she was ready to die largely due to the messages I had written. To have them reach out to me and tell me how the book impacted her encouraged me in a big way.
What a wonderful confirmation of your gift of storytelling. Besides using this gift, do you have a “day job” or a previous career that might influence what or how you write?
Since June of 2007, I’ve worked with veteran author Cecil Murphey as his executive assistant, event planner, miracle worker, “mother,” and biggest fan. I tell people that I’m the wind beneath his wings. He claims that I’m the hot air behind him. Cec has written more than 140 published books, including the bestsellers 90 Minutes in Heaven (with Don Piper) and Gifted Hands (with Dr. Ben Carson). He’s helped countless people with their writing careers. Whenever I write—even if it’s an email—I picture him standing there and scrutinizing every word. He’s had the biggest influence on my writing, and he’s opened many doors of opportunity for me. I’m grateful.
From an author’s standpoint, do you have a favorite bookstore, and if so, why is it special to you?
I love bookstores and am tempted to buy so many things when I’m in them. But I’d have to say my favorite store was StraightWay, the Christian bookstore my husband and I owned in Davenport, Iowa, for nine years. I have so many fond memories from our StraightWay days—from the crazy radio ads we’d voice to the fun events we held, and our special customers, many of whom are still close friends. Having access to all the fabulous products on a regular basis was like Christmas all the time. (And it got me into a lot of trouble.)
I can imagine! Besides the hard work, owning a bookstore would be an ongoing delight. With first-hand knowledge of people always looking for the next great book, what’s the next project on your agenda?
I have several ideas floating around in my mind and lots of notes tucked away. One thing for sure is that it will be a project that allows me to brag on God. In the meantime, as I pray for clarity, I continue to contribute devotions and articles for a few online venues.
Thank you, Twila, for sharing a bit of your life with us.
Read more about Twila and her books on Twila’s website.
May all that you read be uplifting.