Sheila Walsh

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Sheila Walsh, singer, author, and former co-host of the 700 Club, says in Leadership journal:

In 1992 my life hit the wall. One morning I was sitting on national television with my nice suit and my inflatable hairdo, and that night I was in the locked ward of a psychiatric hospital. It was the kindest thing God could have done to me.

The very first day in the hospital, the psychiatrist asked me, "Who are you?"

"I'm the co-host of the 700 Club."

"That's not what I meant," he said.

"Well, I'm a writer. I'm a singer."

"That's not what I meant. Who are you?"

"I don't have a clue," I said, and he replied, "Now that's right, and that's why you're here."

And the greatest thing I discovered there is sometimes some of God's most precious gifts come in packets that make your hand bleed when you open them, but inside is what you've been longing for all your life?to be fully known and fully loved.

I measured myself by what other people thought of me. That was slowly killing me. Before I entered the hospital, some of the 700 Club staff said to me, "Don't do this. You will never regain any kind of platform. If people know you were in a mental institution and on medication, it's over."

I said, "You know what? It's over anyway. So I can't think about that."

I really thought I had lost everything. My house. My salary. My job. Everything. But I found my life.

I discovered at the lowest moment of my life that everything that was true about me, God knew. After I'd been there about three weeks, I remember asking the doctor if I could go to a church service. Two nurses went with me, and I sat at the back of this little Episcopal church in Washington, D.C. God spoke to me through a priest I'd never met before, hymns I'd never sung before, passages I don't remember reading before. But the words of that old hymn described me perfectly: "Nothing in my hands I bring. Simply to thy cross I cling."

Jesus knew the worst, and he loved me. What a relief to know the worst about yourself and at the same moment to be embraced by God. It's so liberating to reach the end of yourself.

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