ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Vonda Skelton is an entertaining speaker with a heart for women and their families. Her first women’s book, Seeing through the Lies: Unmasking the Myths Women Believe, “takes a hilarious look at all things female as we search for truth in a counterfeit world.” Her first two books are part of the Bitsy Mystery Series for children 8-14 years old. The third book in the series, Bitsy and the Mystery at Hilton Head Island, will be released in the spring of 2008. An RN and freelance writer, Vonda’s articles frequently appear in magazines such as HomeLife, Christian Single, Focus on the Family publications, and New Man Magazine. An award-winning playwright and lyricist, her scripts have been performed in churches around the country. She is a frequent instructor at writer’s conferences and enjoys mentoring and encouraging new writers.As one who tries–and often fails–to be like Christ, Vonda is thankful God continues to take her messes and use them for His glory!
Q & A with VONDA:
Why did you write Seeing Through the Lies? Where did you birth the idea for this book? When? How did it come about?
This book was written out of my passion for women’s ministry. We–not just women, but all of us –are deceived by so many lies! They are woven throughout today’s culture. I wanted to help us get focused, or in some cases, refocused, on the timeless truths of God’s Word. I knew I could reach many more women through a book than I ever could reach through my speaking ministry. So, I started with the key points from my Celebrating Womanhood presentation, where we look at the seasons of a woman’s life and come to the conclusion that God can use each of us, no matter our age or situation. After several revisions and rethinking the needs of women, Seeing Through the Lies was born.
What takeaway points do you hope the reader pulls from this book?
I hope that after women read my book they’ll realize that Satan works hard tomake us believe his lies, but this is what God wants you to know:
- Your worth is not dependent on your beauty, your busyness, or your stuff.
- A happy marriage is one that endures.
- Motherhood is an honorable profession.
- God has the power to overcome your fear.
- You win when you lose.
- Your life won’t be perfect until you reach perfection in heaven.
- You can’t win God’s love because of your goodness, and you can’t lost His love because of your sin. And that, dear sisters, is the truth.
How do you deal with your other obligations (family, job, church, etc.) when it’s crunch time near writing deadlines?
Did you have to ask that question? In all honesty, this is one of my biggest struggles–balancing my time between my husband, my family, my home, my church, and my writing and speaking ministry. The truth is, my husband, Gary, is a dream husband. As I mentioned in the book, his mother made sure he knew how to cook, clean, change diapers, and iron long before we married. And I know you’re not going to believe this, but I promise it’s true: I never have to ask him to take out the trash, fix the car, or pay the bills. (And no–you CAN’T have him! He’s MINE!) So on those days when he comes home from work at 6:30 and there’s no dinner on the stove and I’m still at the computer in my pajamas, he doesn’t say a word. He simply goes to the frig, pulls out the sandwich makings and asks if I’ve eaten anything that day. Can you tell I tend to get tunnel vision when it comes to crunch time? Yes, God has to rein me in over and over. I’m kinda like Paul, “I don’t know why I do the things I do!” (Now, if somebody out there could just tell me how to go to the potty without having to actually leave the computer–just think how much more I could accomplish in a day!)
What’s your favorite worship song, and why?
One of my favorite songs is “Majesty” written by members of Delirious. The line that says, “Your grace has found me just as I am–empty-handed but alive in Your hand” just gets to me. I can see myself standing before Holy God, falling to my knees…empty-handed, with nothing to offer Him. And yet, He takes me just as I am–selfish, self-centered, and proud–and cleans me up to be used by Him. I can’t wait to get to heaven, ’cause I know that when I belt out the songs there, it will be beautiful! No off-key notes, no frightened, trembling voice–it’ll be loud and clear and powerful! And Jesus will be there, smiling at me. Yep. I can see it now. I’m the lead singer and Hillsong is backing me up. And Jesus is smiling real big. As we say here in the south, it just don’t get no better than that!
What do you crave (beverage or food) when you have writer’s stress?
Oh, a banana split always works, as long as it’s a real one. That means chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry ice cream, real fruit, and wet nuts, with whipped cream on top. And anything chocolate, of course. But then you have to balance it with salt, right?
Can you share something with our readers about what God has been teaching you lately?
He’s teaching me that I need to trust Him more. I recently had so many things going on that I couldn’t prepare for three events as thoroughly as I usually do. I found myself feeling vulnerable, weak, and needy. Not that I don’t ask for His help every time I speak, but this was different. I was crying out to God, begging Him to fill me with His words, His message. And you know what? Those three events were the most powerful, most amazing events I’ve ever had! Instead of working from a well-defined plan, I spoke the words God placed in my heart and mind. As always, I had been praying God would use the week’s events to change hearts…and He did. He changed mine. I learned to relinquish my agenda and plans to His; to trust Him in a way I hadn’t truly trusted Him before. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That week, God’s power was made perfect through my weakness. I never want to work in my strength again.
What are some of the lies or myths women tend to believe? And what are the best ways for women to see through the lies and unmask the myths, in order to live the lives God would have for them?
You mean, besides the one that says we have to be a size 2 and perpetually 23 years old? Besides the lies we’re most familiar with–like our worth is based on our beauty, our busyness, or our stuff–we look at nine areas of deceit women tend to struggle with, like the lies inadvertently promoted by the Christian community. How many times have we been told, “Just believe God and everything will be wonderful?” Or “If you have enough faith, you won’t be sick.” (The truth is, Jesus tells us we will have trouble in this world.) Or what about the lie that says we’ll get married and live happily ever after everyday? The only way we can unmask the myths and find the truth is to go to God’s Word. Read His instruction. Take to heart the Bible stories of people who lived through similar experiences and then apply the principals to our own lives.
What are the effects of women being sucked in to the lies? What are the benefits of overcoming this temptation to believe what the world and the enemy would want women to believe?
Regardless of where I go, I find that women are disappointed. We’re disappointed in ourselves, in our marriages, in our lives in general. The problem is, we’re trying to reach some impossible dream the world sets for us. Living in truth frees us to be what God uniquely created us to be. He wants us to live the abundant life. But we can’t do that as long as we’re falling for the lies.
I like how you utilize humor in your writings. What is your philosophy about integrating humorous thoughts into writings that have more serious subjects?
Some people believe that Christian women speakers have somehow “arrived.” Ha! All you have to do is spend a day at my house and you’ll see that’s one of the biggest lies of all! Let’s face it, we’re all in the same boat. We’re all struggling along this path called the Christian life. When we laugh at ourselves, we level the playing field and see that we’re not alone. That in itself removes a mask. Then we can move ahead to the truth God has for us.
You give great discussion questions at the end of the book that really helps readers assimilate what they have read. Do you have some ideas or suggestions for how churches and other groups can use this book in a group study? How would a group dynamic enhance individual growth?
For a long time, I compared myself to women at church…and always found myself lacking. But when we come together and honestly confess our hardships and celebrate our successes, we encourage each other in the struggle. Isn’t it great to have a team of prayer partners who will intercede on our behalf throughout the week? What strength! What love! Oh, just imagine what we can be for Christ when we take off the masks and become real! (By completing either one or two chapters a week, the study can be used as a 6 or 12 week study.)