Strength Renewed is a book of 90 meditations based on actual incidents that happened during Shirley’s cancer journey, tied in with relevant scriptures.
During her time on treatment, Shirley spent much time in the botanical gardens near her home. There she watched a pair of Vereaux’s eagles and wished she could rise and soar over the cancer valley. Isaiah 40:31 says:
Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles.
This favourite verse of Shirley’s became the foundation verse for her book, as well as the title of her website, Rise and Soar, to encourage those in the cancer valley.
Did you experience any unexpected challenges as a breast cancer patient?
A number of things blind-sided me. I felt inferior to “normal people” and insecure in company. It was as if everyone looked down on me because of my diagnosis. I think a lot of that was caused by the number of people who felt they had to tell me why I had cancer.
What about after the treatment? Did you face any unanticipated challenges then?
A month after I finished a year’s aggressive treatment, my oncologist explained that the chemo would still be in my system for many months, and it would continue to work in cycles. I wish he’d warned me in advance as I couldn’t understand why I still felt so ill at times. I also grappled with a sense of failure because there were so many things that were still too hard for me.
Today, you’re a published author. How did that come about?
From the age of 14, I wrote songs and skits for the church, and for a period I wrote quite a bit of poetry. I also did a correspondence course in creative writing, although I had no thoughts of being published. During cancer treatment, I started journaling, and a year after treatment I started writing short meditations for The Upper Room and other similar markets, often using anecdotes from my cancer journal.
In 2004 I won a scholarship to attend the Sandy Cove Christian Writers’ Conference in the States. Following this, I started my first website as well as an online support group for Christian Writers of Southern Africa.
In 2010, the Lord miraculously provided the means for me to attend the Florida Christian Writers Conference. There I met the acquisition editor for Revell/Baker, and as a result, Strength Renewed was published in 2012.
Where is your book available?