Article of the week: Flourishing in the Wilderness
7 August 2021
ON MY BOOKSHELF: Summer book club podcast
In this series, Shield Book authors talk about the books they have written and the books they love – this week Emily Bright interviews Territorial Envoy Alice Swain (Greenock)
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE FLOURISHING IN THE WILDERNESS?
I had been struggling with a tough time experiencing infertility. When I read books on the subject, they focused on the ‘happily ever after’ stage, rather than on what it was like to be in that kind of wilderness. God had taught me so much through my experience of infertility and my relationship with him had deepened during that awful time. I wanted to share that you could flourish, find joy and thrive in whatever wilderness you face.
WHAT DO YOU HOPE READERS WILL TAKE AWAY FROM YOUR BOOK?
I hope that they will be renewed in their faith and learn that God is good, even in the bad times. I love sitting down and saying to people, ‘Look at what God’s done in my life.’ It reminds me of Psalm 34, which says: ‘Listen to my testimony: I cried to God in my distress and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears!’ (v4 The Passion Translation). That was what I did. I just sat down and wrote about what God had taught me.
It was lovely to get my feelings out and have faith that God would use it to help people. And it has. I get emails regularly from people who say that they are going through a difficult situation, have been reading my book and that God has spoken to them. In the early days of lockdown I also had a lot of people say they had my book on their shelf and now they had the time to read it. What a right time to read it!
IS THERE A CHRISTIAN BOOK THAT HOLDS A PARTICULAR SIGNIFICANCE FOR YOU?
Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer was completely transforming for me. It taught me that we can live in victory, even in difficult situations. And God’s given us the power to overcome all those negative thoughts and the attitude that we are defeated. Joyce Meyer has always stood for declaring Scripture over life, and that’s a big thing for me. I love Scripture. When I’m in a sticky situation, I declare Scripture over it. I listen to worship music in those situations as well, because I love song lyrics. At the end of every chapter in my book is a Salvation Army song. I tend to use the songbook as a devotional because it speaks the truth and expresses what I sometimes can’t. Really understanding the lyrics gives great power to overcome.
IS THERE A BOOK NOT ABOUT FAITH THAT HAS INFLUENCED YOUR LIFE?
Jane Eyre was one of the first classics that I read, and it captivated me. I’m a bit of a romantic at heart – I love a good love story! There’s a brilliant quote in the book: ‘I would always rather be happy than dignified.’ And I think it sums me up pretty well!
Another book that changed my mindset was Daring Greatly by Brené Brown. She talks a lot about shame and vulnerability, and the book is full of wisdom about how to live a life free from shame. I think that is such a biblical, Christian concept – that we have to come to God in vulnerability and to live authentic lives in order to show who Jesus is. That book gave me the power to share my story. Infertility is sometimes quite a shameful, private thing, and a lot of women won’t talk to other people about it. But when I reached out and shared my story, it gave me power and it gave me the opportunity to say: ‘Look at this; but look how God is in it.’
WHAT BOOK, OTHER THAN THE BIBLE, WOULD YOU TAKE TO A DESERT ISLAND?
It would have to be a big, meaty book. One that’s always been on my bookshelf, but I’ve never read, is The Lord of the Rings. My dad and my husband are massive Tolkien fans
- Flourishing in the Wilderness is available from sps-shop.com priced £4.99 (plus postage and packing) or as a Kindle ebook from amazon.co.uk priced £3.99
To hear the conversation in full, find the Shield Books Summer Book Club podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or Podbean, or visit shieldbookssummerbookclub.podbean.com