Photo of Dr. Shirley Cheng taken by Juliet Cheng
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Dr. Shirley Cheng continued the interview.
In her words, “I became an author at age twenty, and have written nine books, contributed to more than twenty-five, and edited one. Because of my arthritis, I can type with only my two index fingers—but I can produce about 65 words/minute. I've completed every step of book production, from formatting my manuscripts to designing and maintaining my own websites http://www.shirleycheng.com and http://www.ultra-ability.com
She talked about difficulties, “I contracted severe juvenile rheumatoid arthritis since infancy that has left me wheelchair-bound with limited mobility. I lost my eyesight at age seventeen. But despite my multiple physical disabilities, I'm passionate about life. I've overcome my disabilities to become an award-winning author, motivational speaker, and Bible teacher. My motto is, "I'm not disabled--I'm ultra-abled!" My bio above details some of the challenges I've faced and how I've overcome them.”
She has evolved as she has overcome. She explained, “I would like to answer this question by first looking at Psalm 119. In Psalm 119, the psalmist rightly viewed their affliction as a divine turn of events. Prior to being afflicted, they were going astray from God's statues like a lost sheep (Psalm 119:176), but now that they had been afflicted, they observed God's Word (Psalm 119:67). Prior to their affliction, the psalmist was likely going about with their life like everyone else, indulging in worldly things and not paying attention to God or His Word. So God either directly afflicted them or allowed others or events to afflict them to get their attention. Sometimes, God draws us to Him through our hardships. When we are thrown down in life, we realize what we have trusted in (our job, our own talents and abilities, worldly treasures and fame) cannot help us get up. We then learn that the only One who can save us and help us through our ordeal is our Creator. When we have lost what we possessed in this world, we will have gained a treasure that is out of this world: a sacred relationship with Yahweh.
I can relate to the psalmist. Like them, I began observing Yahweh's Word much more fully after I have been afflicted. After losing my eyesight at age seventeen, I gained a spiritual vision to see what's truly most important in life: obedience to and relationship with my Maker and Father. It's at age nineteen that I read the Bible for the first time (I actually listened to it on audio tapes). Then I began studying it a few years later and wrote my book on Christianity titled "Do You Love Jehovah?" at age twenty-five. Finally, I founded my Ultra-Ability.com Ministry and began my Bible class in 2011 when I was twenty-eight. I bless Yahweh for afflicting me! I know He didn't actually cause the loss of my eyesight, but had only allowed it to happen so I can be drawn to Him and not be bogged down by everyday unimportant activities like going to college for secular careers.
If I hadn't lost my eyesight, I would have become a scientist, and not bring to others spiritual food that far surpasses any worldly achievements or influences. I had wanted to be a scientist to find the cures to some of the deadliest diseases, but the thing is: even if we can discover cures to all known diseases, we cannot offer people eternal life. This is why by spreading the Gospel, I have found my true purpose, and this is how I can best serve our fellow human beings. Only the Gospel brings the best, unsurpassable gift to anyone who believes. So Yahweh has squeezed my lemon into lemonade by giving me a spiritual vision in place of my physical sight.
Now that I'm closer to our Creator by applying His Word to my life, I am a better person spiritually. I am able to enjoy an intimate relationship with my Creator by obeying His principles and precepts. Walking in His ways gives me the assurance that I am heading in the right direction.
For the first time in my life, I feel I've found my purpose of existence. For the first time, I have sight of where I'm headed, and most importantly, that I'm heading in the right direction, for there's no better guidance than that from my very Life-Giver. I'm living the life of my wildest dream, a life I never imagined I would be privileged enough to live, a life that I hope will transcend duty, beyond mere humanly accomplishments, to a life of service for the betterment of humanity, a life offered in love for Yahweh.
Thus, I can echo the psalmist's words concerning divine afflictions:
‘It is good for me that I have been afflicted,that I may learn your statutes.
Yahweh, I know that your judgments are righteous,that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.’ (Psalm 119:71, 75, WEB)
Dr. Cheng advocates and supports others.
She described, “When I was little, my mom was my biggest advocate. Now that I've grown mentally and spiritually through the strength Yahweh has given me, I rely on that strength to help me advocate for myself, but most importantly help advocate for others. I am a living example of what divine power can do in your life. Through me, from what I've been able to accomplish despite my challenges, people can see the workings of God. God can work through anyone likewise and in greater ways, only if people allow Him to. My life is a testimony of this. My life is my silent but powerful advocate that attests to the powers of Yahweh.
The secret to my triumph over tragedy is my Heavenly Father, Yahweh God Almighty, who has squeezed all my lemons into lemonade. He has illuminated my path to lead to Him. He is my Rock and Shelter at times of trouble. I know I will never be disappointed when I trust in Him for my every need.
She offered an overview of her written collection of work, “I am the author of nine books, including The Revelation of a Star's Endless Shine: A Young Woman's Autobiography of 20-Year Victories over Victimization (foreword by New York Times Best Seller Cynthia Brian), my 700-page autobiography which I wrote at age twenty; Dance with Your Heart: Tales and Poems That the Heart Tells, which is also translated into Vietnamese; Do You Love Jehovah? God Almighty's Infinite Love & Wisdom to Propel You to Greatness, which has garnered seven book awards; Waking Spirit: Prose & Poems the Spirit Sings (foreword by New York Times Best Seller Cynthia Brian), another award-winner that has won eight book awards; Embrace Ultra-Ability! Wisdom, Insight & Motivation from the Blind Who Sees Far and Wide, which has received twelve book awards; The Adventures of a Blind and Disabled Award-Winning Author: Inspiration & Motivation to Empower You to Go for Your Own Gold Medals; Daring Quests of Mystics, which is also translated into Chinese; Parental Rights in Children's Medical Care – Where Is Our Freedom to Say No? A Look at the Injustice of the American Medical System; and First-Step Guide to Publishing & Promotion.
My books are available as Kindle ebooks on Amazon and print books on Amazon and BN.com. Autographed copies are available through my site, http://www.shirleycheng.com Book stores can order them from Ingram.
Of all my books, I feel "Do You Love Jehovah?" (ISBN: 9780578000794) is the most important title to read, as it answers some of life's colossal questions, clears up common misconceptions about Jehovah (Yahweh), Jesus, and the Bible; and gently points readers to the path that will lead them to a sacred love relationship with their Creator.
Ever wondered where you came from and where you will go? Is your life more than the cradle and grave? Your origin, purpose, and future do not have to be enigmas. "Do You Love Jehovah?" will help you discover your purpose and gently direct your way to align with the most sacred will: that of your Life-Giver, Jehovah.
Besides answering life's colossal questions, "Do You Love Jehovah?" clears up some of the most commonly misunderstood teachings about the Bible, such as:
• Who is God? Who is Jesus Christ? How about the Holy Spirit?
• What happens after we die? Do we have an immortal soul?
• Since Jesus died for us, does that mean we will automatically enter the Kingdom of God?
• Are we predestined?
• Why does God allow suffering and wickedness?
• What will happen to the wicked? Will they burn for eternity in hell?
‘...this book deserves to sit on the shelf next to the Bible...Shirley has all of the properties, emotions, logic and spiritual being that [Jehovah] was hoping to instill in each one of us. Shirley may be in a wheelchair, but has walked the universe. She may be blind but see's the true color and beauty in the world...’ -Jan Hayner, Professional Organizer, Motivational Speaker and Personal Coach
‘[Shirley] could preach a sermon with the best of the 18th century preachers.’ -Laura Evans, United Methodist Church Pastor’s Wife, Certified Instructor
‘In poetic prose Shirley describes the nature of God and the character of Christ with clarity, emotion, and passion. She boldly addresses traditional church doctrine giving her own personal insight and interpretation logically, using a common sense analysis. In a concise, yet complete, Bible summary, Cheng covers important events and a review of the important themes of the entire Bible from Genesis through Revelation.’ -Dr. Richard R. Blake, Former Instructor at Bay Cities Bible College
‘Do You Love Jehovah? is well worth considering for Christian readers.’ -Midwest Book Review
Apart from my books, I also have articles I've written on Bible topics that people can read from my site http://www.shirleycheng.com”
It is clear God is her support. She was asked if a higher power was part of her life.
Her response, “Absolutely--Yahweh God Almighty, my Life-Giver and Sustainer, along with His Son, Jesus Christ. It's my faith in, love for, gratitude toward, and hope in Yahweh that's the secret to my happiness and success. Without Him, I'd be powerless. He and His Son are the foundation of my life. With my life built upon Jesus as the Cornerstone, I know I will be unshakable and unmovable. With divine strength from Yahweh, I know I have the power to scale high mountains and cross deep oceans.
All of my life, I've entrusted all my hopes and dreams in God's hands. I let Him take care of my problems as I enjoy life. Whenever stress threatens me, I pray to God in the name of Jesus Christ, and I become so grateful to have and know the Father and the Son that I no longer find my circumstances stressful; I am able to endure any negativity so much better.
I believe challenges are life's vaccines: they equip your soul with the necessary tools to battle future storms. I've received many of these vaccines; the obstacles have left numerous scars on my body in all shapes and sizes, but these marks have made me stronger and more invincible as I wait for the next high mountain to scale. Thus, challenges strengthens my faith in God and deepens my need for His support.
If there were no darkness, how could the stars appear so bright? If there were no challenges, how could I name myself a victor? And if there were no God, how could I receive the strength to propel me to greatness?
Having a relationship with God is the most fulfilling achievement in my life. I've won twenty-seven book awards, earned my doctorate Summa Cum Laude, received standing ovation for every speech I gave, wrote and calculated chemistry in my head without Braille, but nothing can compare to the rewards and fulfillment I have with knowing God—it brings me lasting happiness, unlike the passing happiness my fleshly accomplishments bring.
Knowing Yahweh fulfills my every need and desire: it fulfills my curiosity about life—it answers the most pivotal questions about life: Where have I come from? Why am I here? Where will I go? How can I live the best life possible?
It fulfills my life and allows me to live the best life possible. The Bible is the ultimate life's manual. It is the map and compass I use to guide me on the right path to living a positive life that harmonizes with God's will. Without it's infinite wisdom, how could I have a peace of mind and a sense of security, or know whether I am moving in the correct direction with the right support? But this does not mean that my life will be error-free or problem-free. In actuality, Christians are guaranteed to suffer. Suffering is a blessing that strengthens us and pulls us closer to God.
Lastly but most importantly, knowing God and having a relationship with Him fulfills my responsibility in honoring and rightfully crediting Him for His wondrous works of art. Every product in supermarkets displays their manufacturer on their labels and packaging; every automobile we drive is engraved with their company's name; and every article of clothing we wear has the tag that shows their brand name. When every manmade product has been credited to its maker, should not the most awesome creations—our universe and all it contains—be especially credited to our Creator as well?”
Dr. Shirley Cheng’s advice to others struggling, “Never, never, never give up when you're faced with a mountain to climb. Life is how you respond to it. If you choose to be miserable, you will make things worse than they already are. But if you choose to remain positive and are resolved to overcome your challenge, you will. But like a mountain climber who needs the right equipment not just the right attitude, you need to be divinely equipped by your Creator.
Only Yahweh can equip you with divine power that will propel you to greatness. Since He is your very Life-Giver, only He can help you overcome all your mountains. So throw your cares on Him and allow Him into your life to work powerfully in and through you”
Her closing words, “While I have gone through trials of fire and water, God has used them to refine me as gold is refined in fire to draw out any impurities. I am reminded of the words of the apostle James, who exhorted his fellow Christians to count it all joy when we face trials and tribulations of life, ‘knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. Let endurance have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.’ (James 1:3-4)
Why should we rejoice when we face trials of life? Because Yahweh uses trials of life to perfect His people, to strengthen our faith in Him and His Son. Trials and hardships of life are like exercising machine for our faith. When we are able to overcome our challenges by depending on God to give us the strength and power to do so, we become spiritually mature, which includes the quality of endurance. Spiritual maturity is Yahweh's aim for each and every Christian.
We can react to our trials in mainly two ways: allow our challenges to defeat us and destroy our faith in God, or use our challenges to perfect us and strengthen our faith. In the face of trials we can choose to become bitter complainers, get angry at God, and claim that "Life is unfair." Or we can choose to rise above our challenges by relying on God to give us the strength to endure them, not necessarily be rescued out of them. I have chosen to let my hardships build me up, rather than tear me down.”
You may contact Dr. Shirley Cheng through her websites:
“From my Ultra-Ability.com Ministry site, folks can sign up for my free Bible class where they can learn the entire Bible in depth via e-mail at the comfort of their home and in their own pace. I always welcome new students of any background. I have students from Australia, Africa, and the US, from all walks of life. I'll be happy to e-mail a couple of sample lessons upon request.”