Today we welcome author, blogger, wife, mother and follower of Jesus: Trillia Newbell. Trillia’s new book Fear and Faith: Finding the Peace Your Heart Craves (Moody, 2015) is one that addresses the issue of fear and how faith can help us as women address this issue in our lives. I am almost finished reading it (and loving it!) and hope to have a review up by the end of the week. As I have emailed with Trillia, I have been struck by her humble yet infectious passion for Jesus and her desire to see people the world over grasp the richness and depth of His grace. As you read her responses to my questions below, may you too be encouraged and touched by Trillia’s life and example as she pursues God for herself and encourages the rest of us to do the same.
How would you describe your relationship with God?
Trillia: That’s an interesting question. I suppose I would describe it as secure. I’m not always faithful, but he is. I don’t always follow his commands as I ought to, but Jesus did. He is my Father and I sense that. He is teaching me more about himself and my utter dependence on Him daily.
What are some ways that you pursue a relationship with God?
Trillia: There are two main ways I pursue relationship with God. 1) I pray. I love to pray. I sense a vulnerability and honesty as I pray. I believe it’s intimate and helps me fight unbelief. 2) I read the Bible. He’s revealed himself to us through his Word, so I want to make sure I’m reading it. There are, of course, weeks where my reading is confined to what I am writing about, but I attempt to spend time reading every day.
How does your relationship with God affect other relationships in your life?
Trillia: If I have God in view and in mind, I’m much more likely to be gracious and loving. When I push him out of view, I will seek my own selfish way (comfort, isolation, etc.). So, I remember that I am his and I’m an ambassador of Christ. I want to be a good witness. I also must remember that people will sin against me (and I them) and the blood of Jesus from the Cross, as well as love, covers a multitude of sin.
You are the author of the book “Fear and Faith” released in April- why do you think fear is such an issue for us, particularly as women?
Trillia: There are several reasons, but a theme I hear and see, as well as something I’ve experienced, is the need to be in control. Much of our lives are spent completely unaware of what will happen next. I think this type of fear can be unique to women, definitely. We worry about starting school, then who we will marry, then having children, and what’s going to happen to each child. Of course, fear manifests itself in several others ways that I think women can be susceptible to: fear of man, fear of tragedy, comparison, body image, rejection, etc. Thinking of that list makes me most grateful for our Savior who provides all we need for life and godliness.
Throughout the Bible, and particularly as Jesus teaches, we are reminded to “fear not,” how do you practically live this out in the day-to-day?
Trillia: I must preach the gospel to myself. I think remembering that God really is for me is a good first step. I also need to remember God’s character—thinking about who God is (holy, creator, good, sovereign, loving, wise…) helps me remember whom it is my trust is in. I can’t fight fear by simply saying to myself “don’t fear”. That’s just a rule. I need to replace my fearful thoughts with truth found in God’s Word.
What advice would you give to women, particularly mothers, in allowing God’s Word and his Spirit to shape and define their purpose and focus for life?
Trillia: I would most likely tell the mother to study God’s word so that she is able to hear from the Lord and then pray that God would illuminate the Scriptures to her. I would encourage her to pray for the truth to be in both her heart and mind (Lord, let the meditations of her heart be filled with his Words that bring life). God’s Word is living and active. If we’re in it, he’ll be faithful to use it. Pray for the Spirit to work and ask for faith to believe.
I think a difficulty in spending time in the Word for many mothers is distractions and interruptions (even good ones). We have such limited time and are often pulled in several directions (caring for children, home, and for many—work). So, the objective for her might not be to try to spend an hour in the Word every day, but instead to ask God to fill her during those times when she can read.
If you don’t mind me taking the liberty to address your single and younger readers for a minute, I’d love to add one thing. Now is a wonderful time to begin to read and study the Word thoroughly. One of the greatest benefits I’ve seen from my campus ministry college days is that Scripture comes to mind even when I’ve had days or weeks where it’s been difficult to get in the Bible frequently. I have the Words of God memorized though I may not be able to quote the exact verse (or even book) it comes from. That proved to be a special gift when my first child began to take off and crawl at 6 months old! He was busy exploring the world and I was busy chasing him down. I was thankful for the implanted word in my head and heart.
You have a beautiful smile that radiates from you- how does the God’s Word, his grace and your relationship with him help you in the ups and downs of life?
Trillia: Thank you, very kind! It’s interesting, I do smile often and as my friend, Gloria, has said, it’s because I don’t have or feed on fake hope. I’ve had various trials (death of faith, miscarriages, etc.), so I’m not one who has had an easy life. What brings me joy is knowing that Jesus died on the cross bearing the wrath I deserve and, as a result, I have an eternal hope of glory awaiting me. One day every tear will be wiped away. We won’t be sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; we’ll only be rejoicing. Bye bye sorrow. Isn’t that amazing?! That’s simply amazing to me! No more sorrow. No more sin. We’ll stand and worship before the Lord—united together. We have such a hope.
Finally, you are a woman of many gifts- you write, blog, speak, mother and are a wife to Thern, how do you manage your time and prioritize how to use your time and gifts for God’s glory?
Trillia: I giggled at this question and thought, I am a woman of many tasks. J Some days I simply don’t know. Ha. Is that too honest?! But seriously, what I’m learning now is that rest isn’t an option. In order for me to effectively complete the tasks assigned to me in any given day, I have had to learn the unfortunate task of saying no. I’ve also had to take a Sabbath. My Sabbath may not look like others. For example, a Sabbath for me would be playing at the park with my family all day—for others that may seem like work (it refreshes me). So, perhaps this is a strange way to answer your question, but I think recognizing my limitations is helping me achieve what the Lord has given me to do each day.