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What Women Fear: A Review

Its message was so timely for me — so obviously written for Amy Storms — that I wanted to call Mrs. Smith up and scold her for reading my Moleskine.

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One weekend not long ago, my husband graciously surprised me with a hotel room all to myself — no kids, no distractions, just the few books I took along with me.

I read and read and read, ordered room service, and read and read and read some more. One of the books, What Women Fear: Walking in Faith that Transforms, was released in September 2011 by Angie Smith. Its message was so timely for me — so obviously written for Amy Storms — that I wanted to call Mrs. Smith up and scold her for reading my Moleskine.

A brief pause to shudder at the thought of anyone ever reading my journal.

Angie’s first book, I Will Carry You, is also a treasure, as is her blog. But if you know me at all, you understand why What Women Fear speaks my language. Fear is my thing. It’s also been Angie’s:

I have very detailed memories of being hospitalized for anxiety as a child. As early as two or three years old, I began to worry about things that children need not worry about. I would insist that my father walk me around the house when it was time for bed so that I could check to make sure the front door was locked, the stove was turned off, that my baby sister was breathing, etc. I was tormented, even then, by thoughts of what could happen to them if I wasn’t vigilant.

The fear that plagued Angie as a child followed her into adulthood. She shares, “My father will tell you that even when I left for college I was haunted by what might happen in my absence.”

Writing from a place of experience, Angie discusses ten different fears, including the fear of rejection, the fear of death, and the fear of not being significant, and each spoke volumes to my heart. I can torture myself with the crippling “what if’s.” What if my husband isn’t faithful? What if my kids get sick? What if I don’t really matter? Such fear steals my joy, kills my relationships, and destroys my effectiveness.

But there is another way. Jesus came to give life — life to the full! (John 10:10). As Angie says, I can leave a life of fear and walk in a faith that transforms. I can, as Jesus told Thomas, “Stop doubting and believe” (John 20:27).

Angie balances gut-wrenching honesty with laugh-out-loud humor, and grounds it all in God’s Word. The book delves into the lives of biblical characters, relating their struggles with our own: Leah, Job, Midian, the disciples, the woman healed from the issue of blood. Angie uses these stories to encourage and challenge us:

David, who was called a “man after God’s own heart,” experienced the fear of death as his best friend-turned-enemy sought to kill him. In Psalm 55, he says, “My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death assail me. Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me” (vv. 4-5)… It gives me peace to know that the Lord has given us examples in His Word of people who were faithful, devoted servants of Christ who had fear. What these examples teach us is that we have an opportunity to glorify God in how we respond to fear.

I read What Women Fear through tears and laughter, and as I said, I read during my hotel stay. When room service arrived with my dinner that evening, I opened the door with this book in one hand, and my cell phone in the other. I held my phone because I was afraid of Mr. Scary Room Service Man! I figured my phone would show him that I was ready to call 911, so he’d better not try anything.

In my other hand, I clutched Angie Smith’s book against my chest. He carried in my dinner, set it down, and nodded toward the book. “So, what do women fear?”

I laughed. “Um, pretty much everything!” Did he know I was afraid of him?

If fear is your “thing” — if you long as I do to move from fear into a faith that truly transforms — then I highly recommend What Women Fear. Angie writes on faith and fear so honestly, beautifully, and biblically that I — Amy Storms, lifelong chicken — closed the book’s pages praying, “OK, Lord, let’s do this thing.”

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Amy Storms is a wife, mom, and writer in Joplin, Missouri. An Oklahoma girl at heart, she lives with her pastor-husband Andy, their kids Nathan, Anne, and Molly, and about a hundred other "sons" in a dorm at her beloved alma mater, Ozark Christian College. Along with guacamole and Dr. Pepper, words are some of her very favorite things. She loves to read words, craft them on the page, and, of course, say them. Too many of them.

18 Comments
  • I’m learning to step right into the fear and just do it, unless I can sense the HS saying that is me saying NO! It is a balancing act.

  • Erin

    I remember all of the times that God has been there for me in the past.

  • JJ

    I’m trying to learn to tell myself the TRUTH in every situation. Not what I am *feeling* at the moment (which is so easy for us emotionally-driven women), but the FACTS: God’s PROMISES. Things I KNOW to be sure and unchanging.

  • Joanne Viola

    I try to find the truth of what it is that I am fearing. In other words, what does Scripture say about it?

  • Becki

    Oh, how I long not to be so fearful! I’m letting go little by little to trust in Him to ease my fears and worries.

  • Berti

    I renounce the fear in Jesus’ name and proclaim/claim God’s promises about that specific thing.. (ex. fear in relationships praying for perfect love that casts out all fear).

  • Can’t wait to read this book! I absolutely love her style of speaking and writing! :)

  • Jennifer

    To overcome fear I need to be more diligent at taking my Lord at his word and kow that perfect love casts out fear and many other verses.

  • To overcome fear in my life, I need to put on the armor of God and keep it on! As a result of this decision, I can no longer be like a child and be tossed to and fro. Thanks for this post. :)

  • I’m learning to focus on my mind on “what is” not “what if” – and not just “what is” about my current situation, but “what is” about my God!

  • Amy

    I have a heritage of fear. So it was natural for me to fear Everything! God has had to work to open my eyes that I am free, link by link of m chain he shows me that he has crushed it & I have been set free.

  • Amy

    Oh I forgot to say what I do, I substitute what other people rely on besides God in whatever situation that I am facing in the below verse and repeat it & repeat it until God makes it true. “Some boast in chariots and some in horses,
    But we (i) will boast in the name of the LORD, our (my) God. “(Psalm 20:7 NASB)

  • Fear has been a major obstacle in my life but fear is simply a symptom of a place where I have not understood God’s love for me. Perfect love casts out fear.

    And faith plays a major role because fear (being more than just an emotion but spirit) will try to dismantle faith in our life and make it inoperable.

    The word of God is the only answer for me. When we are physically sick, we take medicine. Spiritually speaking, we need to take the Word of God to deal with not just the symptom of fear but also the cause of it.

    Another thing that I also do, is take communion…just to remember Him. To bring my mind and heart into focus again.

  • Jessica Boling

    Fear is my biggest enemy, too. It’s the one area where I am perpetually attacked. I’ve experienced a lot of victory, yet this fear monster takes new forms, as if the enemy says, “Okay, so you’re not afraid of THAT now…but what about THIS?”

    Coping takes many forms, but the best by far is to sit at God’s feet and wait for his voice. He does speak and in times where I am anxious, I KNOW his voice because it brings me peace when nothing else can.

  • I often give into my irrational fears, and my mind tends to spiral downward. But, similar to Stacey, I always have to go back to the word of God–the truth.

    This book looks like a great read!

  • My fear is That I’ll waste my life without fulfilling Gods purpose for my life. I try to take over making something happen and have to frequently lay my life back down at his feet.

  • Jodie

    I keep hanging onto God and going back to Scripture. Been doing that a lot the last few years!

  • I overcome fear by praying and speaking God’s command to “fear not”. Anxiety is something I’m working to overcome.

Articles

When Doing Justly, Loving Mercy, and Walking Humbly Stand at Odds

If your compassion far exceeds your capacity, here’s one way you can be sure to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly.

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One of my life verses is Micah 6:8, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

It is one of my favorite verses because my heart has been so moved by the love Jesus has for me and the sacrifice He made for me that I am grateful to have a way to express my gratitude through acts of justice and mercy while walking humbly with God.

I have found at times, however, the call to do justice and love mercy come in conflict with the call to walk humbly with God. For me, one of the ways to walk humbly with God is to recognize my limitations. I have to put skin to the fact that I am not God which means saying, “no” to ministry requests. It means going to sleep when I could be spending time advocating for the harrowed and helpless in the world. It means limited seats at my table, limited funds in my bank account, and limited energy in my body cannot be ignored but respected and adhered to.

This is hard for me at times, especially when I scroll my Facebook feed and see friends who are caring for their really sick children, spouse, or other family member all while millions of refugees flee war torn countries and babies are slaughtered by the hundreds each day in our country through the abortion industry.

As I scroll, I receive texts about one family member’s surgery gone wrong and another family member announcing a new baby is on the way. I have in mind my neighbor who has inpatient surgery scheduled this week and another neighbor who is trying to hold down a full-time job, care for twins all while battling profound “morning” sickness.

Folks at church are fighting for their lives in physical and spiritual ways, and strangers who pass me on the road are clearly battling something as demonstrated by their impatient honking because I won’t take a right turn on red. I want to meet the needs of all; I want to do justice and love mercy, but I’m daily confronted by the fact that I am so limited.

What am I to do when doing justly and/or loving mercy seem to come in conflict with walking humbly with my God?

God keeps bringing me to this answer: prayer.

God invites us to cast our cares before Him because He cares for us.
God tells us to be anxious for nothing BUT WITH PRAYER present our requests before Him.
God commands us to pray without ceasing.

And, when I walk humbly with God, I see the immense kindness in His command.
He gives us a way to do justly, love mercy WHILE walking humbly with Him.
It is by praying without ceasing.

I cannot take a meal or give money to every sick person or family I know. I cannot extend kindness to all my neighbors all at the same time they’re in need nor conjure up sustainable solutions for the refugee crisis and contact all the necessary world powers to make it happen.

I cannot heal all, but I know the Healer.

I cannot provide for all the needs, but I know the Provider.

I cannot rescue everyone in need, but I know the Rescuer.

I cannot comfort all the broken, but I know the Comforter.

I cannot speak peace over every situation, but I know the Prince of Peace.

I cannot be all to all, but I can go to the Great I Am through prayer, lay all the people, problems and pleas for help before the Omniscient and Omnipresent God of all Creation.

I can do this through prayer.

Recently, via an Instagram contest of all things, I came upon A–Z prayer cards designed by blogger/author/speaker, Amelia Rhodes. It is a simple concept packed with a powerful prayer punch. It has served me personally in this tension of wanting to do far more than I practically can do. It provides prayer prompts starting with each letter of the alphabet along with a scripture that coincides with the prayer focus. It ranges from Adoption to a creative “Zero Prejudice” for the letter “Z.”

The cards are well thought out, color printed on sturdy cardstock with blank lines for the user to write in the names of people and/or organizations that are personal to them.

If, like me, your compassion far exceeds your capacity, pick up a set of these prayer cards and unload your burdens onto a God whose competence matches His kindness, both boundless.

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Articles

Facing Our Fears in Motherhood

Do you have fears tied to motherhood? If so, here’s encouragement for you.

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“Are you scared?”

I was taken aback by his question. Scared? Of what?

“Of anything,” he answered.

I had just shared my due date with a new class of trainees.

“He has three boys,” another new hire volunteered. So fear is to be expected, I reasoned. I’m just about to face the most frightening experience in my life.

Of course I was scared.

I was scared…

  • I’ll lose my temper.
  • I’ll whine about sleepless nights.
  • I’ll breastfeed too often or not often enough.
  • I’ll leave piles of unfolded onesies in the middle of the nursery floor because I’m too tired (or lazy?) to fold teeny-tiny baby clothes for the upteenth time.
  • I’ll go with disposable diapers when the better choice would be cloth.
  • I’ll work too many long hours at the office and miss precious moments with her.
  • I’ll sign her up for too many activities and push her to become Miss Achieve-It-All.
  • I’ll pass on to her my ugly pride, self-righteousness, and perfectionism like a dreadful contagious disease.
  • I’ll miss countless little joys in life while pursuing worthless dreams.

Facing Our Fears in MotherhoodIn short… I was afraid I was going to fail miserably as a parent.

And now, holding my second-born daughter in my arms, thinking back on that brief exchange just a few years ago, I realize those fears were well-founded. I’ve failed many times. I’ve lost my temper. I’ve raised my voice. I’ve worked too much and played too little. I’ve seen my own sinfulness reflected in my daughter.

Yes, I’ve failed, but over and above it all, God’s grace has covered my parenting imperfections and made me run to the cross day after day. The writer of Proverbs puts it this way:

Whoever fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge.
Proverbs 14:26

When it comes to fears, we have two choices: Will we fear the unknown or will we fear the Lord? Will we allow the uncertain to grip us in its clutch or will we turn to God’s Truth to set us free?

Scared? Oh yeah. There was so much to be scared of that day. And even now, if I’m completely honest, there are still fears nibbling at the edges of my consciousness. Fear that we won’t outgrow the temper tantrums. Fear that the two girls won’t get along. Fear that I’ll mess them up and cause them interminable hours on a psychologist’s couch.

I’m sure you have fears, too.

But rather than allow those fears to consume and paralyze us, we can take them to the Lord, acknowledging His sovereignty over our parenting, pleading His grace over our mistakes, and entrusting His provision over their futures. He is not only able to handle it all — He is far more capable to be trusted with it all.

If I say one thing to that frightened 9-month-pregnant me standing in that room years ago, I would say this: Don’t let fear rob today’s joy with tomorrow’s unknowns. Each day has enough worries of its own (Matthew 6:34).

Instead, let us keep seeking God, running to Him as our secure fortress and resting in the knowledge that He will care for us and our children one day at a time.

What are you scared of today? Name your fears and bring them to the Lord, allowing Him to replace them with His peace that passes all understanding.

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Articles

He Gives Shade To The Weary

If anxiety is a struggle for you right now, remember that He gives shade to the weary.

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Do you ever have those moments of fear because you don’t know what lies ahead? When do those thoughts tend to happen to you?

For me, most of those thoughts happen when I lay my head down to sleep at night. The vulnerability comes forth every time. That’s what happened the other night to me. I shut my eyes and immediately anxiety welled up inside me.

What if we don’t succeed in this new venture? What if we have to move? What if we can’t pay our bills?

I laid there with the covers drawn tight over my head (I still think that I am safer if the covers are over my head), praying scripture over my anxious heart. Assuring myself that God sees me and that He cares.

In the morning, I turned to Isaiah 41, specifically verses 10-20.

“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10, NASB)

Yesterday, the “what if’s” piled up as I anxiously looked about me. My daughter needs tutoring, however at this point in life, tutoring feels like a luxury we can’t afford. So I listed some items online to sell hoping to make just enough to cover the tutoring. I’m buying groceries on a Visa reward card. I’m holding my breath until the next paycheck comes. But what did God speak over me: Do not fear. Do not look anxiously about you.

“For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’ Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel; I will help you,” declares the Lord, “and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 41:13-14 NASB)

Why shouldn’t I be anxious? Because God will hold me up. God will help me. When I first read the word “worm” as a description, I took it as a slam against Israel. Like, gesh, God. What animal does He relate me to? But through further study, He calls them a worm because worms are helpless. They are viewed as insignificant, despised and weak. God will help me — seemingly insignificant, helpless me — because He is my Redeemer. He is my go’el — my next of kin. The Redeemer is the one who provides for all my needs. Rent. Car payment. Credit card bill. Gas. Food. Clothes. Debt. God will redeem.

He Gives Shade to the Weary

“Behold, I have made you a new, sharp threshing sledge with double edges; You will thresh the mountains and pulverize them, And will make the hills like chaff. You will winnow them, and the wind will carry them away, And the storm will scatter them; But you will rejoice in the Lord, You will glory in the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 41:15-16 NASB).

God is transforming me from a helpless one to a powerful one. The description of that type of threshing sledge is like a modern day earth mover. Powerful. Strong. Immovable.

“The afflicted and needy are seeking water, but there is none, And their tongue is parched with thirst; I, the Lord, will answer them Myself, As the God of Israel I will not forsake them.” (Isaiah 41:17, NASB)

He will come to our rescue. God, Himself, will answer you and me. Can you hear how personal that sounds? Have you ever pleaded with someone important whether your boss, public figure, or even a parent, and they responded to the need themselves? You expected for them to send their assistant, but instead they — the most important one — responded to you.

“I will open rivers on the bare heights And springs in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water And the dry land fountains of water. I will put the cedar in the wilderness, The acacia and the myrtle and the olive tree; I will place the juniper in the desert Together with the box tree and the cypress.” (Isaiah 41:18-19, NASB)

This passage describes the wilderness-like times in life. You are barren. You are thirsty. You are hot. You are in need. God will provide what you need. God will quench your thirst. He will provide shade when you are weary. During those times, God can provide in creative, innovative ways. He can provide something out of nothing. Doesn’t that give you great hope? Even when you can’t answer how He will do it, He is creative enough to figure it out even when the odds are stacked against you.

“That they may see and recognize, And consider and gain insight as well, That the hand of the Lord has done this, And the Holy One of Israel has created it.” (Isaiah 41:20 NASB).

God will do all of this so that His glory will be put on display. People — including yourself — will see that He is powerful.

So you can see how after a night of wrestling with fear and anxiety, reading this was like shade and water for my soul. God is a god who sees. And God is a god who acts on your behalf.

What do you need His help with today? What are you fearful about today? What keeps you awake at night? Where do you need some shade?

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Hi, I'm Ashleigh Slater, founder and editor of Ungrind. Here at Ungrind, it’s our goal to churn out biblically-based encouragement for women. We strive to be honest and transparent about our struggles in a way that inspires hope, faith, and perseverance.

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What Women Fear: A Review

by Amy Storms time to read: 3 min
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