To the untrained eye, Apollo Beach resident Madi Spano appears to be a typical mom, wife and neighbor. However, Spano is not only all of those things, but she also just wrote her first book, Gospel Beautifull, which was influenced from her upbringing, her spiritual journey and her calling to help others who may have experienced similar struggles.

Gospel Beautifull is a labor of love, and I hope it inspires and encourages readers wherever they may be on their own paths,” said Spano.

Spano grew up in a nonbelieving, unchurched family, but she began attending church at the age of 7 with a friend’s family. She shares briefly in the book that she knew at this young age she had a desire to seek God.

“And yet, in all my years spent in the church searching for their God, I didn’t really find any resemblance of him,” said Spano. “I found religion, and it was more oppressive to me than having no God at all.”

This was really the inspiration behind her writing the book. “Because if I wanted anything at the young age of 7, it was a book to help me find God outside of what many find to be oppressive religion that really just busies us and becomes the stumbling block to finding Jesus.”

Writing Gospel Beautifull was cathartic for Spano. “I’ve realized the effects my religious upbringing has had on me as a whole,” said Spano. “There’s a lot of talk about holistic spiritual wellness these days, and I really began writing this a few years ago because I’ve seen that my faulty religion didn’t just affect me spiritually, it hurt me physically and emotionally as well.”

Spano found it important to correct her faith journey so that she could find wholeness in other areas of her life, such as healing from mental struggles like depression, anxiety and OCD.

“My overly oppressive religion fed these things and I’ve realized these aren’t the freedom ways of Jesus — who came to set us free.”

Along with her husband, Vincent, and son, Silas, the family attends Bell Shoals Church of Apollo Beach, where they’ve found a great community of believers that they can grow with authentically and intentionally.

“I really believe in the power of community and that God heals us through the community of believers,” said Spano.

Currently, Spano is working on two additional books. “I talked briefly about the book I’m penning, Redefining Sisterhood: Discovering Community Healing and Divine Connection for Women. My most upcoming book is exploring the trending movements behind womanhood: Embracing Jesus Femininity: From Boss Girl to Soft Girl — Navigating Away from the Not-so-holy Hustle to a Life of Presence and Purpose.”

Spano’s book, Gospel Beautifull, can be found on Amazon, other online book retailers and at Barnes & Noble. A free e-book version is available on her website

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Kelly Wise Valdes
Kelly Wise Valdes has been writing for the Osprey Observer since 2008. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications and enjoys writing and traveling. She currently resides in northern Hillsborough County with her husband, David. When not traveling and writing, Kelly and her husband enjoy spending time with their five grown children (as well as their grandchildren) that still keep them very busy.