There is nothing more pleasing than A/C in Florida in July. Makes me wonder how people survived without it back in the day. Nevertheless, we’re sitting on the front porch. The ceiling fan is spinning. The lemonade is sweating in the pitcher. And the breeze only blows when a storm is brewing. So have a seat. The rocking chairs are a plenty, and help me welcome fellow author Shelly Beach!
Hello, Shelly! Please tell us about your latest book you co-authored with Wanda Sanchez, Love Letters from the Edge: Meditations for Those Suffering from Brokenness, Trauma, and the Pain of Life.
Love Letters from the Edge offers hope to anyone who’s been so hurt by life that they’ve wondered if God is fair or loving. It asks tough questions we ask when we feel broken and alone. More importantly, each devotional/meditation includes a love letter to the reader from God, based on God’s Word.
Why did you write this book?
I think everyone comes to a point in life where they experience a crisis or a number of crises that are so painful, so soul-searing, that they question whether or not God is really in control, whether He cares, and whether He loves us and takes care of us. People often reject God based on a response to suffering. I wrestled with these questions after a sexual assault when I was 19 and standing by and comforting one of my children after their sexual assault. I’ve also learned a great deal about how trauma and PTSD influence our healing, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Love Letters is a lament for sorrow and pain, but it is also an affirmation of God’s love for us in suffering.
What is the primary focus of your book?
God offers hope for healing from trauma and brokenness. You are not the asterisk in the Bible. God’s heart is broken for your pain, and He loves you beyond comprehension. God is at work for you in all things.
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
Hope in God. Hope that God has a future for them and that they are His unique, irreplaceable creation, gifted to the world to fulfill a heavenly mission.
How do you share Christ in your writing?
Most of my writing is drawn from experiences in my life and my walk with God. I’ve written 5 books about caregiving because that’s been a central focus of my life. I’ve also battled with some of the “Why, God?” questions stemming from painful issues like abandonment, abuse, illness, regret, and other universal topics. Life is hard, but God brings peace, purpose, and perspective to everything.
What themes do you return to again and again in your writing?
Life is tough, but God is good. Suffering is an inevitable part of a sin-infested world, but Jesus carries us in our weakness and pain. Abiding in Jesus brings comfort and peace.
What ministries are you involved in, and why?
I am a national speaker with Daughters of Destiny women’s prison ministry. Daughters of Destiny is an outreach of Prison Fellowship. I present seminars and inspirational sessions on Love Letters from the Edge and PTSD in prisons across the nation.
I’m also a board member for Music for the Soul (www.musicforthesoul.org), a Christian ministry using the power of songs and stories as a bridge to hope and healing for those facing life’s most difficult issues. I was privileged to serve in an advisory role for Dignity, a caregiver project, as well as writing devotional material for MFTS.
I serve with each of these ministries because they serve people who often feel they are unfixable, unlovable, or forgotten by God. God has given me a passion for hurting people—particularly women.
Do you have a “day job” or a previous career? Does it influence what or how you write?
I worked as a junior high and high school English teacher for thirty years, then transitioned into teaching college writing. I gave up work to care for parents in failing health with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other illnesses. My family caregiving, as well as helping care for students, church family, and friends has greatly influenced my writing, as well as my own health battles.
Shelly, it’s been a pleasure having you here on my Florida front porch! If readers wish to get in touch with you or find out more about you and your writing ministry, how they may do it?
Thank you, readers, for dropping by! And thank you, Shelly, for spending some time with us.
Until next time, may God bless you all, and may you bless God.