What Women Fear

Something is going on in my heart right now and has been for a few months, and I pray it continues. I feel like I’m experiencing a personal revival of sort, except that the word “revival” makes me nervous to type because for me it conjures images of old big-haired men and bad “special” music and manipulative invitations. But what is happening to me has much to do with hearing the Lord and having a tender heart and this feeling that the Lord loves me and has His hand on my life, and nothing to do with guilt or manipulation, so I am trying to redeem the word revival from even my own perception. The Lord has been speaking and I find myself more open than I’ve been in the past. It’s been priceless to me. I’m grateful for it.

One of the things I have loved about these past few months is that I have read some amazing books that have shown me new things about the goodness of the Lord. This week I read “What Women Fear” by Angie Smith, and it really touched my heart. Many of you may have heard of Angie Smith, and many more of you have likely prayed for her. Her husband, Todd, is in the group Selah and she began to blog in 2008 when they found out that the child she was carrying, a beautiful little girl named Audrey, would likely not be born alive because of serious complications. I stumbled onto her blog during that time and was so moved by her heart for the Lord and her honesty in writing through such an incredibly difficult time. It’s interesting that I prayed for her without knowing her and now the Lord is using her and her story to draw me closer to Himself. This is why I love the body of Christ.

And I loved this book. Angie has struggled with fear throughout her life, as I certainly have and I know most of us do, and she writes honestly and insightfully about the struggle with fear and what we can do to live a full life trusting the God who made us. I saw so much of myself in her writing. I saw so much of my daughter Grace in her writing. It made me weep. I think I highlighted about 70% of the book in my Kindle. It is a powerful message straight from the Holy Spirit.

In the book, which is written with prayerful intention, full of kindness and love for the reader, she takes a fear, explains how it has impacted her life, shows it manifested in the life of a character in the Bible, and explores how the Lord speaks to that particular fear. Reading it, I saw common Bible stories I have read a thousand times come to new light, and it was extraordinary. She opens herself up to the reader, exposing her fears and her story, and in it there is grace. So much grace.

It was a really precious book. I’m starting it over today – rereading it because there is so much in here that needs to settle into my heart. I wanted to quote it for this post, but everything weaves together so well in context that taking anything out doesn’t communicate the message like I would wish. I just hope that some of you will read it. I highly highly recommend What Women Fear.

Kisses from Katie

Oh my friends – I just finished a book that absolutely shook me up (in the best way possible). Kisses from Katie – the story of a girl who followed the Lord to Uganda at 19 years-old. I had heard about this book, and this girl, for a while. So I came to the story with expectations and assumptions.

And they were blown out of the water.

Katie’s perspective on life and ministry is unbelievable and yet absolutely right in every way. She takes the Bible and Jesus seriously and she is changing lives as she follows Him and says “Yes”. I actually cried reading it (and that’s unexpected for me), I highlighted more than half of it, and followed Justin around reading parts. It’s the kind of book you have to put down and process because it so changes the way you think and relate, and it makes you want to do something meaningful with your life.  She says over and over (and I believe her) that she is an ordinary girl saying yes to an extraordinary God, and He is working extraordinary miracles all around her. It’s not just about justice or mission, although it certain is one of the best books on justice I’ve ever read. It’s about faith and life and possessions and purpose and motherhood and pain and how God intends us to live our days on this earth.

Please get this book.

I struggle to know a passage to share, because truly, so many were absolutely precious and profound, but here’s an example of why this book will forever be one of my favorites:

“I learned that I will not change the world. Jesus will do that. I can, however, change the world for one person. I can change the world for fourteen little girls and for four hundred school children and for a sick and dying grandmother and for a malnourished, neglected, abused five-year-old. And if one person sees the love of Christ in me, it is worth every minute. In fact, it is worth spending my life for. 

Many days, I am still overwhelmed by the magnitude of the need and the incredible number of people who need help. Many days I see the destitute, disease-ridden children lining the streets in the communities I serve and I want to scoop up every single one of them, take them home with me, and feed and clothe and love them. And I look at the life of my Savior, who stopped for one. 

So I keep stopping and loving one person at a time. Because this is my call as a Christian. I can only do what one woman can do, but I will do what I can. Daily, the Jesus who wrecked my life enables me to do so much more than I ever thought possible.” 

And another passage I loved here:

“I do not know my five-year plan, even tomorrow will probably not go as I have planned. I am thrilled and I am terrified, in a good way. Some call it courage; some call it foolish; I call it faith. I choose to get out of the boat. Sometimes I walk straight into His arms. More often, I get scared and look down and stumble. Sometimes I almost completely drown. And through it all, He never lets go of my hand.

Lord may we choose you every moment of every day. We want to be fully committed to You. We want every day to become a day we say “yes” to You. We repent for lukewarmness, from mediocrity, from normalcy. We want to shine so brightly for You that others can’t help but see and feel Your love. Let us look at every encounter as an opportunity to show Your love. Lord, on the days where helping just one more person seems like too much, help me to choose You. on the days when Satan whispers, “You can’t save everyone, why are you trying?” let me choose You. On the days when it would be too easy to pop in a movie for my children instead of reading Scripture with them, let me choose You. When harsh words are easier to find than kind ones, let me choose You. Father, like Paul, I know what I want to do, what I should do, and yet I find myself failing and discouraged. Thank You for Your grace. Thank You that You who sit so high would look low upon people like me and use us as a vessel for You. How blessed we are to even be called servants, to be able to share in Your kingdom and share Your love with others. Thank You for the cross, where You have given us peace and holiness. Father, we long to say Yes to You.”

Here’s the video trailer of the book: 

Brace yourself friends… this one is beyond challenging. I pray we will be changed.