Book of the Month: The Storm Inside by Sheila Walsh

TheStormInsideThe chaos of life can be overwhelming . . . Each day comes with its own pressures, heartaches, and disappointments that slowly erode the joy, peace, and closeness to God every woman needs. But there is hope!

In The Storm Inside, best-selling author and Women of Faith speaker Sheila Walsh uses insightful biblical teaching, intimate stories of her own storms, and the chaos other women have faced and overcome to show how:

Heartbreak can become strength
Shame can lead to love
Unforgiveness can find freedom
Restoration can undo rage
Courage overcomes insignificance
And so much more

TheStormInside_bookYou are always a child of God no matter how you feel. In The Storm Inside, you will learn to see yourself as God sees you—not as someone forever tossed by the waves but as a woman fully known, fully loved, and growing ever deeper in faith, hope, and love.

“When life feels like a storm, this book will help anchor us to truth while sheltering us with hope.” —Lysa TerKeurst, New York Times best-selling author
and president of Proverbs 31 Ministries

“Sheila Walsh has an uncanny ability to plumb the deepest truths without sounding superficial or preachy. She touches the heart, soothes the soul, and lifts the spirit. I am so thankful for her and this book!” —Max Lucado

Buy the Book       About Sheila    Read an Excerpt      Watch the Webcast

The Letters on My Desk: from The Storm Inside by Sheila Walsh

I have the letters revealing our pain on my desk and on my computer, each one telling another story of heartbreak.

“My husband has left me and our three children. What do I tell them? They are heartbroken.”

“My son is in prison. I did everything I knew to do. I raised him in the church. My heart is breaking.”

“My daughter’s cancer has returned. She has gone through so much, and just when we thought she was clear, it’s back. Why does God allow such heartbreak?”

These are devastating questions. The word overcome doesn’t seem to scratch the surface of such primal pain, so we dig deeper.

Overwhelming sorrow or grief > deeply afflicted.
Overwhelm: To overspread or crush beneath something violent and weighty that covers or encompasses the whole. To immerse and bear down: in a figurative sense; as to be
overwhelmed with cares, afflictions or business. (Websters)

If you have ever walked through a personal storm where you find yourself saying, “I’m not going to make it through this one,” your spirit will resonate with these words:
Violent grief

The grief component in heartache can lead to terrible isolation. I’ve read that when a couple loses a child, the suffering often acts more like a wedge to drive them apart than a glue to hold them together. That tends to be as true for Christian couples as for those who profess no faith. We all deal with pain in different ways, but when we add prayer and hope and faith to the equation, seemingly to no avail, we can easily allow our sorrow to drive us into our own solitary corners.

One might hope that the place where heartache is understood and honored more than any other would be within the community of faith. But I have talked to many women who have voiced a much different experience. Many have arrived at a more sobering conclusion: at times, the church has no idea how to handle deep grief and heartbreak.

Not long ago I met a woman who had lost a child in a random accident. A few months later she told her Bible study group that on some mornings she honestly didn’t think she could make it. Someone saw her cue and declared, “Just remember this verse: ‘I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength!’”

The grieving woman took a risk and voiced her pain, and instead of being heard and given the space and grace to struggle, she was silenced by a verse that clearly she hadn’t lived up to. And how could she miss the clear implication that if you’re not strong, then you’re not relying on Christ. How unutterably sad.

God didn’t give us His Word to use like a weapon or some kind of Hallmark card we can pass across the fence and keep some distance. It is a weapon, but one designed for use against our enemy, not against our sisters. It is meant for encouragement, not for pat answers in the midst of real pain. Just because something is true doesn’t mean you must voice that truth in all circumstances. Shortly before His arrest, Jesus told His grieving disciples, “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear” (John 16:12 niv). His followers really needed to hear certain true things—things that would eventually help them—but hearing them at that moment would have crushed their spirits. So Jesus held His peace.

Oh, that we would read and embrace that memo!

When you hurt, is anything worse than having scriptures randomly thrown at you? How can you catch them when you can barely stand? I’ve sat for hours thinking of the many stories like this I’ve heard, wondering, Why do we do that?

Why do we try to “contain” those who suffer or attempt to “fix” them?

Do we think suffering is an embarrassment?

Do we feel personally ineffective in our faith if we can’t make the pain
go away?

Do we think it detracts from the power and goodness of God when one of His daughters limps around wounded?

For whatever reason, heartbreak makes us most uncomfortable. I have talked to women who have miscarried and heard how others have basically told them to “hurry up and get over it.” People seem to have a better knack for dealing with acute illness than with chronic conditions. Short shelf life, okay. Ongoing situation, not so much.

Some years ago I met a very sweet lady who has a continuing and critical health situation. She told me that, during the first year, those around her would ask how she was doing and offer to pray for her. But with no end in sight, she lost her prayer support. I don’t know if her friends simply grew tired of praying for the same thing, or if they thought her long-term suffering might indicate some long-term sin. I gave the woman my phone number—something I rarely do—and told her that when she needed to vent, to say things that would curl my mother’s hair, she should call me. We all need a place where we can give voice to the worst that torments our souls and still be held.

 Excerpt from The Storm Inside ©2014 Sheila Walsh (Thomas Nelson) Used by permission.


  1. 6 months ago
    Sojourning With Jews says

    When my father committed suicide, folks were okay with my grief– for about a week or two. After that, I got the feeling that they needed me to be over it. But I knew it was gonna take a bit. I’d been the one the police called at work, the one to see the crime scene tape spread across the yard. Alone on our driveway I was the one that had to avoid the media circus, see the note, and call my mom and brothers, and the one asked to ID the body.

    Within 2 weeks of this, one long-time client dropped me when I told her I wanted to reschedule her appointment because I just needed to go pick up my daughter from school and go home and hold her the rest of the afternoon. I began to feel as if I needed to hurry up get done grieving before the expiry ran out.

    Over time I’ve realized people are uncomfortable with 1) quiet. They need to fill it (hence, throwing scripture and platitudes at someone) and 2) not knowing how to fix someone’s grief. I resolved that giving an ear, my time, and eye contact, are some of the least expensive, and most precious gifts you can give to someone hurting.

  2. 6 months ago
    Kim Harris says

    Our family, like many others, has gone through much. My husband of 23 years became seriously ill with Temporal Lobe Epilepsy and could no longer work about 7 years ago, our 18 year old son passed away 2 years ago and I recently lost my employment and health insurance because the new CEO wanted to give my job to her friend causing us to have serious financial difficulties 3 months ago. I have been a Christian for many years, know the Word of God and raised my children to serve the Lord to the best of my ability. Through it all I have experienced some of the same responses described, either a flippant Hallmark remark or people stay away from us afraid to ask us how we are or don’t know what to say. I have learned to rely on God and he has given me peace, joy and strength beyond what I could imagine. Things I thought would not be possible to experience again. God is good, faithful and true. I had not heard about this book until now, but can’t wait to read it!

  3. 7 months ago
    Bonnie says

    Thank you Sheila Walsh for your words of encouragement and wisdom. How easy it is to blatantly apply the Word of God like a bandaid when a sister is hurting. I admit I have done it out of ignorance. After today I pray to be more sensitive to the needs of others and less judgmental.

  4. 7 months ago
    sly louise says

    Raised in an alcoholic home, no food, clothing, shoes, living with the horrors of the night beatings after a bender. I’d pray for one night of sleep that did not come. Finally, it ended with a shot to the head. Being still to young to change the circumstances of my life. The beatings changed from one angry drunk to an angry hurtful person. The inflection were strips that stayed on the back, legs, arms, and face. Still no change but my prayers continued to grow. At 16, sold into marriage. Anger continued but this was rape, beatings, degrading hurtful word that cut as much as the whip to the back. Still I prayed and tried to grow in Him. I met a women who taught me more about God and his Love that I could hold on to and wait for the change. The promise of His words have come true in my life now, AMEN

  5. 7 months ago
    Sally Ann Price says

    This looks like a great book!

  6. My husband of 28 years passed away on June 1, 2013. He had an industrial accident 3mos after we were married which broke his neck, ruptured three discs in his thoracic and four in the lumbar area of his back. He ended up having a stroke and then need heart bypass surgery by the age of 40. God had blessed us a saw he and I through so many serious illness situations. It was discovered that he had spina bifida at birth that was not detected until he was 60 yrs old, it caused him to have 13 heart attacks in one year. The hard thing about his passing was that God had brought us through so many illnesses that when he actually passed away it was so shocking, even though the Dr’s had given him three to five yrs to live 17 yrs before that His death was unexpected. I also experienced my greatest fear when he died in our drive way and was found by a neighbor driving by and I always feared this would happen. It was a blessing that he did not suffer in a hospital after lingering for a long period and that his death was quick, however I do not know how long he laid in the yard without my knowing he had passed.

  7. 7 months ago
    eileen says

    For about 2.5 years now, me and my family have suffered some tragic losses; feeling that life continues to throw us one crisis after another. I confess there are times when I shake my angry fist at God and ask Him when will all this ever end?! And I too sometimes feel like I just can’t make it another day. As I listened to Sheila discuss her book in the attached video and read the excerpt above, I felt like she MUST be talking to me. I look forward to reading this.

  8. 7 months ago
    Sandy says

    Our ladies Bible study group is thinking about doing the study by Sheila of “The Storm Inside”. If we do the DVD do we each need both the book and work book or just the work book?

    • Sandy,

      Just the workbook is required. Sheila recommends to have at least one book or a few depending on the size of your group to share.