Book of the Month: The Storm Inside by Sheila Walsh

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February 3, 2014

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:
Overwhelmed
Crushed
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.

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