Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Interview with author Jeanette Sharp

Interview by ~Mary as it appears in the January online issue of The Wordsmith Journal

Hurray God-Hope Pray Believe was compiled by the perfect person. “Early on when my husband and I were dating, he called me ‘God’s cheerleader’ and that title stuck. We had the privilege of living in Denver when John Elway won the Super bowl championship back-to-back. We were just crazed fans. I was so inspired and thought, why don’t we say “Hurray God” when he does something great?” And so began the process of constructing a Chicken Soup for the Soul type of book that high-fives God on every page. Based on the concept of answered prayer, author Jeanette Sharp admits that “my heart and passion is to inspire the church to prayer and to just get out of their comfort zone and engage a hurting world with the love of Christ. We as a country have got to get back to the basics of prayer.” Motivating the church is on her left hand, while heart felt compassion for the lost is on her right. “I believe that the world longs to see true authentic Christians living their life out loud, living their life for Christ.” If anyone knows what living their life out loud means, Sharp does. Catapulting from her father’s death to a failed marriage and through a personal health crisis, life gave her plenty of time to think and pray. She now inspires the reader to get real and cultivate a lifestyle of prayer. Sharp’s story resonates with the kind of happy ending you know she deserves and it testifies to the fact that God answers when we call.

MN-You are heavily invested personally in the concept of prayer.

JS- Absolutely.

MN-And it began when you were a child.

JS- It did. My father died when I was nine years old. It was my first experience with death. He was there that morning, and that afternoon when we came home from school, he wasn’t there anymore. My mother being a single mom and a widow had to raise the rest of us and she had only been a housewife raising kids. The doctor had compassion on us and he asked her if she would be interested in coming to work for him and he taught her to do some basic blood pressure things and how to give an injection. Of course that was years and years ago when the requirements weren’t quite what they are today. My father died in May, and by the Fall I turned ten and my twin sister and I got the bright idea that we would help with the family income by selling Christmas cards. I took my case every afternoon after school and knock on doors. I managed to sell all but five boxes and had gone several days without selling any. This one cold afternoon in November, I had been out and had no success. I knocked on this one door, and before I did, I said “Oh, God. Would you please help me sell my boxes?” The lady opened the door and asked “What can I do for you?” and I told her about my cards and asked “Would you be interested?” She knelt down, looked in my eyes and said “I’ll take five boxes.” I connected that prayer that I prayed at the end of her driveway with the answer that I received. I was so thrilled and excited. I wasn’t greedy, I just thought, ‘God, you can do anything’ and that anchored my soul with a genuine experience with the Lord. I ran home and told my Mom and my sister and my brother what had happened and that is still what I am doing (today). The passion in my heart is to tell people that God loves them, he sees them and that he answers prayer.

MN-You later became a single mom. Tell me how that anchored prayer helped you through. There are a lot of women experiencing that.

JS-I struggled. I was in the marriage for eleven years and it was in a sense abusive, not physically but verbally. I decided I couldn’t live my life like this anymore. I took our daughter and I just left. It was then that I came full circle in my faith. I moved back to the area I was raised in and reconnected with my family and the church and became anchored in church since my husband had not allowed me to attend church. He felt it was a crutch and that I was a fool but there was such a pull in my heart. I came back to the Lord and he carried me again and it has been a journey that I want to share with the world.

MN- Was He your husband at the time?

JS-God was my husband, absolutely he was. I was single for about seven or eight years and I met my husband who is a Godly man. I told the Lord, “If you want me to marry than it must be a Christian. He must be sold out. I will not be quick to jump into anything. I will examine his life carefully to make sure his life bears fruit.” The Lord brought that to pass. He answered that prayer.

MN-It must have been very scary when you were diagnosed with Lupus.

JS-Yes, it was.

MN-What were the events that led up to that diagnosis and what was your recovery like?

JS-I was involved in the beauty industry while married to my first husband. We owned three beauty schools, a wholesale or retail wig salon, two beauty salons…we were heavily involved in that industry and I worked myself into the grave. After the divorce, I purchased my own salon. My client base was wealthy, mostly non-Christian. I told the Lord I wanted the salon to represent him and so I put verses all around, tastefully done. I worked many long hours and became ill. I simply couldn’t go anymore. I went to the Mayo clinic where I was diagnosed with Lupus. I asked “Can’t you give me some pills; I’ve got to get up. I’ve got work to do” and they said no, that was not the way this usually happens. My husband married me sick-I was sick flat on my back. We dated years earlier briefly and then he came back into my life and said “I love you and I don’t care if you’re sick or not. You are who I want.” We’ve been together ever since.

MN- He’s a keeper.

JS- Yes, he’s a keeper.

MN- Are you ok now?

JS-I am, but you know it’s been like a choke chain because I am one of these personalities that if I’m not feeling good, I am off and running. I have learned to monitor myself and make wiser decisions and to pace myself.

MN-You have this enthusiasm and I can see you driving yourself hard and you need something to stop you before you self destruct. (laughing)

JS- One night in the middle of the night I was sick and I told (my husband) that I needed to go to the hospital. So we get to the hospital and he is one of these that have never been sick-always healthy. So I am in the bed and on the other side of the curtain is this guy who was in a motorcycle accident and he’s moaning and groaning and my husband, I can see him slowly turning green. He mouthed “I’m going outside” and he went out and sat on the curb.

MN-At three in the morning he is sitting on the curb?

JS-It was a real learning curve. (laughing) He has risen for the cause, worthy of the challenge. He’s my inspiration and has encouraged me to write.

MN-Let’s talk about the book. It’s got several contributors.

JS- I set up a website, horraygod.com and solicited stories on facebook and began marketing madly. I approached Christian writers groups and asked them to get the word out that I wanted answered prayer stories. Soon they began to flood my email box.

MN-I’m disappointed that you only put three in the book because you are such a good writer.

JS- Thank you.

MN-Will there be a Hurray God series or is this a stand alone?

JS- No, there will be a series. I want to do at least two more books with this. I want to do Hurray God For America to include patriotic stories and I want to do a Hurray God for kids to help the parents help them write out their prayers. I have a staff that will help with that.

Mn- Because Hurray God is about prayer, did you encounter any spiritual warfare while writing the book?

JS- (groans) Do you really want to know? It has been a nightmare.

MN- I bet.

JS- In fact, I have been so sick for the past three to four weeks. We just moved and I have had allergies so bad. I saw an allergist and she said “I’d like to do a cat scan, you know, just a baseline.” She did and it came back that I had a bad sinus infection that would have gone undiagnosed without the cat scan. I’m just finishing my second week of antibiotics. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to attend this conference. But I prayed, “Lord if you want me there, you are going to have to help me.”

MN-With the concept of the book, I just knew you were giving the devil a black eye and he would come at you.

JS- And he has but I have learned to pray and resist the enemy. James tells us to resist the enemy and he will flee from you and I do that continually, several times a day. If you don’t, you won’t recognize it and you are in for a nightmare.

MN-You’d be a punching bag.

JS-You are exactly right. We fight this battle sometimes in a fog and he (the devil) will want to bring confusion on your mind. That is a trick he uses. Procrastination is another one. He wants to get you off your game. He wants you out of sync and off what God wants you to do.

MN-And we conquer it with prayer.


MN-What is prayer?

JS-Prayer is simple. You don’t even have to say it out loud. You can whisper it in your heart because God sees your heart and knows your heart and he will answer it. It’s simple, not hard or difficult, just commune with God.

MN- As a former business owner, what advice do you have for aspiring leaders? How much does faith play into the success of a business?

JS- Faith and prayer play vital roles in any business venture from my perspective. If you haven't seeded the ground with prayer and watched for God's directives, you're basically in it alone. That's not a good place to be.

MN- In the year 2012, what do you hope to accomplish?

JS- I hope to be able to speak about prayer in 25 different states, publish the children's book and begin accepting stories for my book, Hurray God! For Children, and lay the groundwork for a radio show.

To purchase a copy of Sharp’s book, visit hurraygod.com

You can also connect with Jeanette Sharp on facebook