Sheila E. says All she Needed in Life was God (Gospel Light Minute #78)

Sheila E.
Sheila E.

She is an outstanding American musician. She is best known for her work with Prince, George Duke and Ringo Starr. As a child and teenager, she frequently performed with her father who was also a percussionist. By her early twenties she had already played with George Duke, Lionel Richie, Marvin Gaye, Herbie Hancock, and Diana Ross. She joined Prince on several Purple Rain recording sessions and served as a writer and musician on many of his records as well. In her own right, she scored hits with “The Glamorous Life” and “The Belle of St. Mark”. She was nominated for an American Music Award and a Grammy for “The Glamorous Life”.

She says of her faith, “I was raised Catholic and only went to church because I had to. But I actually gave my heart to the Lord for the first time when I was 18. I was playing in George Duke’s band and one of the singers was driving me to a meeting and I was crying, just stressed out. There was a bunch of stuff going on and I said, ‘You know what? This is crazy.’ She said, ‘Look, if you just give your heart to the Lord, everything will be fine.’ And I thought, ‘You know, it’s not that easy.’ She said, ‘No, really, really it is.’ So we prayed in the car and I accepted Christ right then.”

As her popularity increased, she felt something was missing in her life. The abuse that she had suffered as a child and the immediate pressure to always perform took a toll on her physically and mentally. She soon became very sick and was admitted to the hospital with a collapsed lung. She was bedridden for weeks, lost a lot of weight, and could barely eat. It was at this point that she felt she was about to die and she cried out to God for help. She said of this time, “It was then that I decided, ‘You know what, Lord? If you just give me another chance, I’ll do whatever you want me to do.’ I got the Bible and I started reading and I kept it on my chest. I slept with it and never took it out of my hand for weeks.”

After being in the house for weeks, she finally walked outside for the first time in a month. She said of this time, “As soon as I walked outside, I saw this crack on the ground and I bent over and touched it. I just cried. Then I went over and I touched the grass. I looked up at the sky and it was so blue. I laid on the grass and said, ‘Lord, look at all these wonderful things you’ve given us that we just take for granted. I thought that I needed this and I needed that, but I only need you.’ That was the turning point.”

Today, she uses her talent for God and is dedicated to serving the Kingdom through her music and her foundation for children. She says, “God has given me a gift and the energy in performing comes from just loving so much what we get to do and being able to share that gift with people.” Her name is Sheila E.


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