Thursday, October 19, 2017

In the Middle of the Mess (Strength For This Beautiful, Broken Life) by Sheila Walsh

I first heard Sheila Walsh speak at Women of Faith. I loved her then in all those moments she spoke transparent love. I was blessed to see her many times, hearing her stories as she shared her love of Jesus. I too have been blessed to review most of her penned works, created to bring us closer to the Savior. Are you ready? This just may be my favorite. Just maybe it arrived in God's perfected time and it is just what He ordered. You gotta love a God who brings to us just what is needed for the journey forward. 

I would say to get yourself over to Amazon and pre-order this gem of a read. Reading this cover to cover I already have a friend in mind who I'll be sending it to. This is a book for every woman at every age. Sheila writes so transparent, so easy. I would even say that there isn't a man out there who shouldn't read it too. After all we are all a mess, right? 

Sheila shares about her own deep wounds. She shares personal. She's that girlfriend that goes deep. The encouraging friend we all need. The woman that inspires us because we see Jesus in her life, through the beauty and mess. Sheila shares life for her in the death of her father and later in life when her mum leaves this world for the other side of heaven. 

In 1992 Sheila was in a psychiatric hospital for two weeks. Her words hit home with me. "Sorrow was not to be shared; it was private. So I learned to cry alone." Let me share a few more words from Sheila that point blank bring truth to so many of us. 

"I have always needed a community around me-we all do-but it was the thing I was most afraid of. It's why I hid, even when surrounded by community. It's why I guarded that secret cellar. I wondered: What if I let you see the real me? What if I let you into my innermost thoughts and feelings and you too a long, hard look? Would you see scared, broken little girl? Would you see someone who didn't have it all together, who didn't know how to trust the Jesus she loved to preach? Would you turn and walk away? What would I do then? What would I do without my hiding place? You would think that within Christian community-specifically within the church-I could have confessed my shame, my panic, my fear. But I knew that sometimes our Christian community is the crucible where shame is born. Many of you also know this sad truth. Too often, sharing secrets and shame in the church begets more shame, which leads to more secret-keeping. That is tragic. We survive, cut off from the very help and healing we need." 

I could continue sharing. This book is powerful, redemptive, grace-filled. There isn't any hiding here, but a place where it's safe to be us. I found myself within these pages. There's healing to be found here too. I would love to wrap my arms around Sheila and say, thank you. Even through reading I can hear her accent which brings her to be so genuine in a time and place where fake resides, but not here in this book. 

I'll leave you with a few quotes that I found to be poignant.

"We all have struggles, though they look different-booze, anger, bitterness, pills, disconnection from our children or spouse, drugs, discontent with our career, conflict with our boss or neighbor, porn, homosexuality, depression, physical illness-it's all the stuff of present brokenness. And though we, the church, have little grace for certain struggles, that is why Jesus came. He came to save us for eternity, yes, but He also came to save us today."

"My child, do you believe that I love you?" That was the most important question of all, the one that's redefined me. It has never been about me getting it right. You either. We've got it all upside down. We see from the earth up, but God sees from heaven down. We see ourselves from the perspective of the mud we're sitting in, but God sees us through the blood of Christ that washes us clean, in the present, in the middle of our messes. And in His love, He wants to save us-in the present. He wants to give us strength for our broken, beautiful lives."  

Sheila reminds us that we are fully known and fully loved. She allows us to journey with her through some of the most difficult times in life, but what I love the most is she gives way for us to see that Jesus was there the whole time, past, present, and future. She not only shares the mess, but through it all she shares the Jesus, the Friend, pointing us straight to Him, never wavering side to side. This book is about her journey, but pulls back the curtain for us to see the glory of God at work in her life. Yes, the light is always on Him even when she is on stage. 

This is a book that blessed me and I cannot wait to gift it to a friend so they too can reap the in the blessings. 💙

This book was a gift from Thomas Nelson for sharing my review with you. 

Sheila Walsh is a powerful communicator, Bible teacher, and bestselling author with more than five million books sold. She is the author of the award-winning Gigi, God's Little Princess series, Peace for Today, Loved Back to Life, The Storm Inside, Five Minutes with Jesus and The Longing in Me. She is cohost of Life Today with James and Betty Robison. Sheila lives in Dallas, Texas, with her husband, Barry, and son, Christian. 


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