Shana Schutte is the author of Betrayed by God?, 30 Days of Hope, and over 500 articles and blog posts. She has hosted her own nationwide radio program on CSN International, is a former writer and editor for Focus on the Family, and is a regular contributor to Wisdom Hunters. Shana's mission is to help people with everyday life through biblical truths. You can learn more about her by visiting shanaschutte.com.
Q: Shana, thank you for doing this interview for us. You are such a prolific author who has not only published books of your own, but you have also been the former writer and editor for Focus on the Family, and you are a regular contributor to Wisdom Hunters. How did your love for writing begin?
My love for writing began in junior high like it does for so many young girls. My father wrote inspirational poetry and I had also a school friend who wrote poetry and both influenced me to pick up a pen and a journal. When I was a senior in high school, I told a classmate that I wanted to be a writer. A short time later, I asked my father if I could become a writer, and he said it was very competitive. That squashed my enthusiasm so I decided to become an art teacher. While I was teaching art in Texas, Beth Moore became my Sunday school teacher and my love for writing reawakened. Shortly after that, I wrote my first Christian article for women, and a year later, I got a job as an editor at Focus on the Family. I am living proof that if God has a calling on your life, you can do it!
Q: What words of wisdom do you have to our readers who are aspiring writers?
Write about topics that you love. Be authentic. Write from the heart. Don't compare yourself to other writers who are more successful or further down the "writing road" than you. Realize that if you write, you are a writer. You may not have a book published but you are still a writer. When you start to live with the identity of "writer" you will begin to act like one. Unlike many people think, writing is 90 percent perspiration and 10 percent inspiration. And, the inspiration often comes after you sit down at the keyboard, not before. Remember that building a writing career is like building a house. . . it happens one brick at a time, over time. Houses aren't built in a week or a month, and neither are writing careers. Take time to hone your craft. And, if you want to write books, remember that writing a book is like eating an elephant. You just do it one little bite at a time. And, if you write one worthy page a day for six months, you'll be done. So just get started.
Q: Let's talk about your new book "Two Minutes in the Bible for Women." What's the book about?
The book was written to help women develop a love for the Bible. Because many women are busy or struggle to commit time to Bible reading each day, "Two Minutes" is designed to help them connect with God.
The book is filled with 90 devotionals, and each devotional contains a reading, at least one question for reflection, and related scriptures for the woman who wants to dig deeper.
I have always written from my own experiences, and that's the same approach I took for "Two Minutes." I have always thought that if I have experienced it or felt it, that someone else has too, because people really aren't all that different from one another. So, the book is filled with topics that have touched my own life such as rejection, fear, loneliness, grief, intimacy, faith, friendships, risk, and dashed dreams.
Q: Is there a specific age or demographic of women you were writing for?
Not really. I have received feedback from women in their twenties to their seventies who are enjoying the book.
Q: I was reading the book myself, and you did share many of your personal stories in it. One of them being meeting your husband and getting married at age 46. What do you have to say to our readers who are also looking for a life partner?
The first thing I would say is that being single can be challenging, especially when you are longing for a mate. I would also say that God created us for relationship. It's how we're wired. But like all good things that God gives, they can become stumbling blocks in our lives that bring us a lot of pain when they become more important than God to us. I say this because that was part of my story while single. I had years when I was satisfied and at peace with being alone, and other times when I felt abandoned by God, overlooked and unloved. During those times when I felt the latter, I wasn't taking God at His Word, I felt orphaned, and I didn't believe He truly loved me. I felt cheated. These beliefs--and unbelief--brought nothing but emotional pain into my life. If you are praying and hoping for a mate, keep praying. God sees you and knows you and you are not forgotten. But while you are waiting on Him, remember that His goodness will follow you all the days of your life, and not just when you are married. It will keep you from feeling as if God has abandoned you in your desire.
Q: Was it more challenging to adapt to marriage at a later age? And are there any advantages of waiting?
Actually, it hasn't been difficult at all. Singles have many fears that are unspoken. One of those fears is not being able to adjust if they are older. I have found that being married at a later age has been such a blessing to me. But I think it depends on the two people in the relationship, not what age they are. Any relationship can be delightful when love, respect, friendship and tender care are present. My husband is a fantastic example to me. He serves me and teaches me what it means to be sacrificial.
As far as the advantages of waiting, there are some blessings that come with more maturity. I am not as hard on my husband as I could have been on a mate earlier in life. I don't have unrealistic expectations because I don't expect my husband to be everything to meet all of my emotional needs. So yes, that comes in handy. Recognizing that marriage is icing on the cake of life and not the cake is a blessing. And, my husband is grateful that I love him the way he is. Plus, I am just so grateful every day that I met--and married--such a fantastic friend. God is good.
Q: Obviously, one of the aims of the book is to get women to read the Bible. Why is the reading of the Bible important for us?
The Word is the light for our paths. It's God's guidebook and it's the way that He most commonly communicates His heart to us. It's His love letter to us, and who wouldn't want to get a love letter from the God of the Universe? It's simply fantastic and a never-ending well of refreshment. Plus, as we hide God's word in our hearts, it gives the Holy Spirit something to "grab onto" during those times when we need help from the Lord.
Q: Can you tell us a story of how God has changed you through His Word?
There are too many times to count when God has changed my life, my path, my expectations, fears, anxieties, frustrations, anger, hopelessness, selfishness, or a host of other ailments of the heart through Scripture. But one time in particular stands out as I think about it: When I was twenty-four, I was riding a bus on the way back from a single's retreat with a church group. I opened my Bible and turned to Isaiah 61 and read about Jesus' mission to "bind up the brokenhearted." In that moment, I sensed a little nudge from the Holy Spirit. I felt as if God was saying that I would be working with Him to help bind up the brokenhearted. And, ever since I started writing, that is exactly the assignment He has given me. I don't do it perfectly, but I do love using what God has placed in my heart to share with others. It's an honor for me.