Don’t worry, ladies, this isn’t another foolish and ignorant guy setting himself up as the latest male expert on female emotions. No, I’m basing my headline on a female expert on female emotions. Her name is Sheila Walsh, a fellow-Scot living in the USA, whom the Lord has blessed with a worldwide ministry to Christian women.
I first came across Sheila through two unforgettable interviews (Part 1, Part 2) she gave to Focus on the Family about her father’s suicide in her childhood, and her long struggle with depression, ultimately resulting in her being hospitalized for treatment. What impressed me about these interviews was not only her raw transparency and authenticity but also her ability to understand and articulate what she had experienced and how she was overcoming it with the help of God’s Word, God’s Spirit, and God’s people.
When I saw that Sheila had written a new book, The Storm Inside: Trade the Chaos of How You Feel for the Truth of Who You Are, I was intrigued to discover if her speaking voice would come through as powerfully and helpfully on the printed page, and I’m delighted to say it definitely does.
The book is based upon thousands and thousands of stories, letters, and testimonies that Sheila has received from hurting women all over the world. As she surveyed these, she found that “Time after time, they fall under the banner of the following ten feelings that can become overwhelming burdens”:
Each chapter in the book addresses one of these persistent and devastating issues. As well as describing and illustrating these paralyzing feelings using many touching personal anecdotes and other women’s letters, Sheila demonstrates the suitability and power of God’s Word and demonstrates how to skilfully minister it to hurting women.
So, is this a book just for women? I must admit by about the fifth time Sheila addressed her readers as “Girls” I was beginning to feel a bit guilty. It felt like I was furtively eavesdropping on a women’s Bible Study, or, even worse, looking through my wife’s purse (“handbag” for UK readers).
But I decided to persevere and even managed to finish the book with a clear conscience! How? Because I believe it’s given me a greater sensitivity to the special spiritual challenges that women face. Yes, there’s overlap with male issues too (I’ve had my own Storm Inside recently), but there are definitely some areas that are much greater struggles for women and therefore a tougher challenge for men to minister to.
That’s where I found the most benefit; the book not only heightened my awareness of these spiritual battles, but also showed me how to better serve those fighting them. As such, I hope it has made me a better husband, a better father of my two daughters, and a better pastor to the Christian women I am privileged to pastor.
A good book for women. An even better book for men!