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Singer, songwriter, Bible teacher, television host, children’s author…Sheila Walsh has done it all. And the latest thing she’s done is a beautiful children’s book meant to teach kids about the comforting nature of God’s presence. Listen in to a thoughtful conversation about the book, Is God Still Awake?, and learn about Sheila’s motivation and inspiration for it.
The Conversation | Sheila Walsh
This transcript excerpt has been lightly edited for clarity and conciseness. Listen to the full podcast episode at the player above or wherever you get your podcasts.
Josh Olds: Before we start, you’ve had such an eclectic career. You’ve done so many things. I think people might know you or know your name from one area or another, but maybe not know in full scope everything you’ve done. So can you give us a little background on your life and your ministry?
Sheila Walsh: Sure, yeah, that’s really true. I mean, I’ll often meet someone who says, oh, gosh, I didn’t know you wrote books. I know you from your music. I grew up in Scotland, as you can probably tell by my accent and I went off to seminary in London when I was 19. And after I graduated from that, I worked with Youth for Christ in Europe for a year. And then in the UK for a year I also hosted a show on BBC Television called the Rock Gospel Show. I did that for five years. And then I was doing a concert in London somewhere. It wasn’t a huge event but someone called Billy Ray Hearn, who used to be head of Sparrow Records at that point was there. He invited me to come to America and open for one of his artists…I kind of fell in love with America and felt as if God was really calling me to relocate here. Initially, I came as a contemporary Christian artist and I would sing at Billy Graham events.
Some people write because they’re experts in a particular area. I never write that way. I write because of what I’m questioning, of what I want to understand at a deeper level. – Sheila Walsh
While I was actually on a show called Good Morning, Canada, because the Crusade was in Canada, someone from the 700 Club saw me and said to Pat Robertson, “I know you’re looking for a new cohost, what do you think of this girl?” So I was invited to come in for five days to Virginia Beach and cohost with Pat. And the idea of being on a contemporary Christian program talking about faith was just foreign to me. But I really felt God say, “No, this is where I want you to be.” And so for five years, I did that. Then I went back to seminary, and then for 20 years, I worked with Women of Faith where we did these large women’s events, maybe thirty a year in arenas. And now I work with James and Betty Robison on a show called Life Today, which I absolutely love. So, most of my days, I’m a couple days a week in the TV studio, I go up most weekends and speak at women’s conferences. And in between that I hang with my husband and our dogs.
Josh Olds: Yes. And somewhere you find time to write. What was your journey into writing as part of your ministry?
Sheila Walsh: I honestly never saw it, Josh, as something that would be published. I mean, I wrote to kind of help process my own life. Some people write because they’re experts in a particular area. I never write that way. I write because of what I’m questioning, of what I want to understand at a deeper level. I wrote a book two years ago called Praying Women because I felt like that was the one area I struggled with most. I wrote a book called It’s Okay Not to be Okay because I spent the first 35 years of my life trying to be perfect until I realized that wasn’t actually what Christ was asking.
At the moment, I have a Bible study going on my Facebook Live every Sunday night. And whenever I share issues that I’m struggling with, I discover I’m not the only one. There are so many other women out there who are like “Yeah, me too. Me too.” So it’s almost like I get to be the detective for all of us, trying to unpack what God’s Word says about what we’re dealing with.
I came home, and I went to bed, but I couldn’t sleep. So I came back downstairs and that’s the question I asked my mom, I said to my mom, “Is God still awake?” And she said, “What do you mean?” And I said, “Well, I don’t know what hours he keeps. You know, I would like to become a Christian. But I don’t know if he’s still up, or do I have to wait till Sunday?” – Sheila Walsh
Josh Olds: I think especially the themes that you write on…t’s become especially relevant in the past couple of years with the pandemic and everyone’s mental health as you know, things that we took for granted and normal life suddenly wasn’t…you know, we didn’t have normal life anymore. And the understanding of you’re not alone in this is such a powerful message, such a powerful thing. Your children’s book is, Is God Still Awake? And it is a cute, beautifully illustrated rhyming story of a young girl who is asking this question of “When I go to sleep, is God still awake? Is there a time that God takes off?” Where did this story come from?
Sheila Walsh: You know, the funny thing is most of my stories, even a children’s book, comes from my life. Because I remember I was probably about 10 years old at the time and my mom took me to hear a gospel concert. And at the end, the guy said, “God has no grandchildren, he only has sons and daughters.” And that was like, such a kind of mind-blowing concept to me that even though I went to church with my family, that didn’t mean that I personally knew Jesus. And a lot of people went forward that night, and I couldn’t, I was genuinely shaken. And so I came home, and I went to bed, but I couldn’t sleep. So I came back downstairs and that’s the question I asked my mom, I said to my mom, “Is God still awake?” And she said, “What do you mean?” And I said, “Well, I don’t know what hours he keeps. You know, I would like to become a Christian. But I don’t know if he’s still up, or do I have to wait till Sunday?”
The Book | Is God Still Awake?
In this delightful full-color picture book that teaches children about prayer, bestselling author Sheila Walsh helps you show your kids how, when, and why to talk with God as they learn more of who God is and how much He loves them!
Inspired by the ways God has used her book Praying Women, Sheila Walsh wanted to share her passion for prayer with kids–a passion that began when she was a little girl who wondered if God could hear her any time of the day or night.
Is God Still Awake? introduces curious young readers to Poppy: a little girl who has big questions about God! Poppy wants to know how to talk with God and whether God listens to her. As she goes through her day with her cat by her side, Poppy discovers that God is always there–even when the world is asleep!
With humorous, rhyming text, Is God Still Awake? assures children that God loves them and is always with them. Whether it’s day or night, God is awake, He’s listening, and He loves to hear His children speak!
The Author | Sheila Walsh
From Scotland, Sheila is a wife and mom and in her spare time she is an author, Bible teacher and television host. She has spoken around the world to over 6 million women and reaches a potential 100 million people daily as co-host of the “Life Today” television program.
Sheila loves to make the Bible practical, sharing how God met her at her lowest point and helped her to rise up again. Her message: God is for you and you are not alone.
Sheila’s books have sold almost 6 million copies including her bestseller “It’s Okay Not To Be Okay”, her Publisher’s Weekly bestseller “Praying Women, How to Pray When You Don’t Know What To Say” and her newest “Holding On When You Want To Let Go”, releasing in Fall, 2021. All of these have accompanying Bible study workbooks. Her new children’s book “Is God Still Awake” also releases in Fall 2021.
Texas is her home where she lives with her husband and two little crazy dogs Tink and Maggie. Her son, Christian is in graduate school studying Clinical Psychology.