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.
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.”