Linda says, "My favorite moment is the point where people 'get' my message. That's the point everyone appears to receive an instant face lift and to lose twenty pounds of worry. What joy to see these precious ones trust God more deeply."Linda is a nationally known Christian speaker and a best-selling author of over thirty books. She's the President of Right to the Heart Ministries, and the founder of GodTest.com . Her online and speaking ministries have seen well over 350 thousand people come to Christ and is seen by over 45,000 people daily.
Mentoring authors is a passion of yours. Can you tell me how that came about? Can you tell me what you love most about mentoring?
I believe in the power of multiplication. Though I write books as fast as I can, there is a limit to the number of books I can author in my lifetime. So my question became, How can I leave a bigger footprint so to better encourage and help readers?
|Linda Speaking 2014 AWSA Conference|
I realized the answer; I could help and encourage other authors to reach their audiences with wonderful materials! That’s why I mentor 400 women authors through Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. No, I don’t do it alone. The writers and I come together to pray for and to train one another to succeed in the craft of writing.
I love these women, many of whom appear in Book Fun Magazine as well as our own publication, Leading Hearts Magazine. I also love seeing all the wonderful works they create. I’ve found that the power of a writing sisterhood helps us all to further our outreach as we help one another polish our craft and close the gap between our books and potential readers. See www.AWSA.com for more information.
I've been reading your new book The Stress Cure. I’m encouraged with how honest and transparent you are about daily stress in our lives. How did the idea for this book come about?
In my case you could say I've been at the top of my class when it comes to the topic of being stressed out. I’m a natural; with a disabled child as a result of a car accident, a husband who is involved in a motorcycle ministry, not to mention the demands of running a ministry Right to the Heart and AWSA, my publishing deadlines and life in general. I know what it’s like to face frustrations, loss, trials, worry and more. However, after decades of on-the-job stress training, I've learned to enjoy the peace that passes understanding despite my stressors.
What do you hope readers will take away from The Stress Cure?
I wish I could have written a book to show readers how to stop stress all together, but as long as we are still breathing, we are going to stumble into stress. But the good news is we can learn how to keep our stressors from stressing us out. And that’s what the book is about; achieving peace and joy despite the craziness of life.
My goal is to give my readers hope as well as to teach them how to reach God with prayers like, “Lord, I give you my problems. My problems are now your problems.”
Plus, once we realize that God wants to be an active force in helping calm our stress, we will find not only a deeper strength but a deeper trust that God will get us through our troubles.
You mentioned that you love to travel to do speaking engagements. What do you love most about speaking? Can you tell us about a divine appointment God had for you on the road that blew you away?
I love to invite God to go with me in my speaking adventures to women’s and prayer conferences. There’s a time in my talks where people let go of their burdens, griefs, and bitterness and transform right before my eyes. I love to see worry lines vanish and peace flood the room. Most of my audiences actually look like they've lost weight or have had a face lift as they surrender to the peace of God.
Another thing I love about my traveling adventures is getting to pray with people one-on-one. Recently, while in Texas, I sat down with Elsa. She shared that several of her aunts as well as her mother passed away when she was in first grade. Her beloved teacher called her in after class to say, “What a shame that you are going to grow up to be alone and a bitter old woman.”
Elsa was still shocked by her teacher’s terrible words to her as a hurting child.
I agreed and told her, “Those words were a curse, but we can cancel that curse in the name of Jesus.”
When we finished praying to erase the power of the words of her first grade teacher, I told her, “I replace that curse with a blessing. You will not be bitter, neither will you be alone. You will be blessed with family and joy.”
This young woman wept in my arms with relief. But before we parted we prayed for the teacher who had hurt her so long ago.
At the end of our prayer time, Elsa was filled with peace and joy. She now knew who she was in Christ. Beloved! Never alone! Filled with God’s presence! Loved and free from bitterness and fear! It’s amazing to see how people transform when they discover how to pray for themselves.
This time of year the suicide rate is higher than any other time. You have a website called www.thinkingaboutsuicide.com. How did it start? What do you hope to accomplish thru this site? How has it helped people so far?
There are many reasons why people take their own lives, but one reason is because they feel they just can’t go on. I can relate to this feeling because twenty-five years ago, after the doctors told me that my daughter would never wake up from coma but could live as a vegetable for the next eight years, I came very close to taking both of our lives. I didn't do it because I wanted to see what God could do with my mess. I’m happy to say God didn't disappoint. Laura woke up and we went on to have a blessed life.
But it got me to thinking, how could I be there for others who felt suicide was their only option? I soon discovered that Google Search is a place where people type out their hopes and prayers, “Help!” “Should I die?”
I wanted to be there, with links to help in response to their googled prayers.
|Check out Linda's Story http://goo.gl/UBXtjE|
The members of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association joined the effort and we wrote two-hundred and fifty articles in response to this need. We created a library of encouraging words to inspire people to live and hope in God.
The site has resulted in a lot of ‘saves!’ We've heard back from people who found enough encouragement to live into the future. They say, “I’m still here because you were there for me on the darkest night of my life. I just wanted to write and let you know that you were right, my life has turned around. I’m so glad to be alive.”
Can you tell readers of a recent situation that made you press deeper into prayer? Helped you put into practice lessons from your books?
They say you should be careful what topic you choose to write about because you will surely live into it. This certainly proved true in my own life. Since I turned The Stress Cure into my publisher Baker Revell, I experienced the loss of my dear father as well as a damaging flood that split my town in half. And I admit it, there were days I turned to the prayers in the book and prayed them again and again as I released new stressors to the peace of God. All I can tell you is trusting in God, developing a grateful heart, and yielding to His peace is a solution that works to calm any storm.
Out of all the sounds in the world which are your favorite? Why?
Today, Laura, my twenty-eight year-old disabled daughter loves to sing. She may not be able to carry a tune or even sing the words she hears in her heart. Still, she lifts her voice to sing to God with joy. Hearing Miss. Laura sing is a beautiful, holy experience.
What was your favorite book growing up? Why was it your favorite?
|Brother, Mother, Dad and Linda|
My mother read to my brother and I from the Egermeier’s Bible Story Book, a beautiful telling of the stories of the bible with amazing lithographed illustrations. It gave me a wonderful overview of the Bible, not to mention the ability to ‘picture’ the stories because of the wonderful artwork.
What are your favorite books of all time? Why do you love them?
I so love books and have sampled many different authors and genres. But sometimes I’m too busy to read so I cheat. For example, when my kids were small, I would take them to the library to get classics on ‘cassette tape.’ During our long commutes to school, my son and I would listen to Heidi, Tom Sawyer, Alice in Wonderland, Treasure Island and many other gems. But my very favorite book is one I've enjoyed several times -- A Shepherd Looks at Psalms 23 by W. Phillip Keller. Maybe it’s because my name is ‘Shepherd’ and I can relate to the topic, but I must say that the book is lovely in both print or read aloud by Maurice English. Such a treasure.
There are so many types of weather – which are your favorite? Which do you try to avoid?
|Paul and Linda Shepherd|
What has been a favorite book club meeting you attended? What made it so much fun?
I was once invited to speak at a book club in California which was discussing my series The Potluck Club which I wrote with Eva Marie Everson. It was amazing because the women had actually made all the recipes that Eva and I had included in the book. So I not only got to discuss the characters and plot, I got to eat my character’s favorite foods. It was the most delicious book club I've ever attended.
Nora: THANKS for stopping by Linda and sharing your childhood story in the first part of this interview and allowing us to get to know about you and all that the Lord is doing through you. I'm EXCITED about the GIVEAWAY Opportunity we have at Book Fun right now. Revell is giving away 5 copies of your new book THE STRESS CURE. You must Join TBCN. It's FREE and Easy.
GO TO TBCN www.bookfun.org CLICK the LINK On TOP of the BOOK COVER. JOIN REVELL'S Page. ANSWER one of the Questions there to be ENTERED into the Drawing. The LAST DAY to enter is DECEMBER 31st.
SEE YOU THERE!!
Nora St Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!
The Book Club Network Blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com
Book Fun Magazine www.bookfunmagazine.com