About the Author

Jessica Turner is the author of Stretched Too Thin: How Working Moms Can Lose the Guilt, Work Smarter and Thrive, and blogs on The Mom Creative. Every day is a juggling act as she balances working full-time, making memories with her family, photographing the every day and trying to be...

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  1. Chpt. 1 shook me to the core. The way the scripture of Hagar and her fear blinding her was intertwined with Angies experience was amazing.
    I just cannot believe that Angie was so much like myself as a child. I was 5 when my mother passed away. My sister and I moved in with our grandma, grandpa, and great grandma. They were our world. but I was never at peace. I used to share a bed with my mum and would constantly shake her to see if she was still alive. I would go out in the back yard and just sit and worry about the future. Are they going to leave me? I don’t want to go to school, etc. It was so sad. I felt the same way as Angie. So sad that little girl spent her childhood like that. But of course, it became reality for me. At 14, my grandfather passed from Diabetes, then 3 months later my grandma followed from lung cancer, 3 months later, my great grandma from pancreatic cancer. I was thrust in to the home of my absent father who disowned my sister for getting pregnant. The worry never stopped and the loss didn’t either. My sister then died from PPCM in 2005 when I was 21 and she was 23. So I never had the chance to recuperate and to work on stopping the worry and fear of what if. Because you’re right in the chpt. Angie, it is reality and sometimes our worst fears do come true. But I love how she writes that we should lay it all at His feet. We shouldn’t have to carry the weight and burden when there is some one else more equipped. That made me smile. I had so many trials of my faith. I often wondered if I did something to deserve this. I was really a headache for my gparents. Acting up horribly until the day they passed. Maybe its because I didnt behave…but Angie also addresses the regret of past actions and being chained by the thought that we caused damage. I related to this chpt immensely and it was touching and warm to know some one finally gets me!!! Simply amazing. Looking forward to all the ladies insight to follow ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Laura, thank you for sharing your story of pain with us. It’s so exciting to see God reach into some of those fearful places. Can’t wait to see more!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Laura, I too had this overwhelming feeling of responsibility and need to control things which I could NOT control – such as keeping siblings safe. Thankfully God has rescued us from these fears! Remember that nothing you did caused any of those deaths or problems – God’s not in the business of revenge!

    • Laura, i so appreciated that you wrote “you never had a chance to recuperate and to work on stopping the worry and the fear of what if.”
      wow! that is so true – -we keep pushing it away – – or trying to hide from the fear — -afraid to face it or uncertain what to do with it. why do we not take the time to heal? hmm . . .maybe that is further on in the book! thank you for sharing

      • I’m so glad to hear you ladies taking such great strength from my testimony. All of the loss and grief I endured only brought me closer to Him. You’re right, God is not in the business of revenge! I couldn’t have said it better myself. It has brought me to my weakest and darkest hour. And it was then that I called out to Him. My desire for His love and acceptance was deepened as a result. My sister was going through a horrible time and her life was being consumed in depression. My sister asked me to pray for her during my prayer group meeting. She didn’t know what to actually pray for so we all gathered and prayed for his will to be done. For her to find happiness in the way he sees fit. 2 weeks later she passed on.suddenly without warning. I do believe our prayers were answered and she has finally found her happiness in eternal salvation with Him. Angie is so right. We always see his workings in hindsight. Its always later when we look back and see his beauty.
        This study is awesome!

    • thanks for sharing Laura. I can just imagine what it is to loose someone so dear to you . I’ve only lost my grandmother whom I loved as a second mother. That was more than 20 years ago. I have fears of the “what if” I’m very overprotective of my kids. I guess it all goes back to my own childhood. I was scared to be left alone. That’s why I never like to leave my children alone at home. And I do not feel comfortable when they go on fieldtrips without me.

      • Rosario,
        That is EXACTLY how I feel. I have 3 children, 3 years old and under and I have never been apart from any of them, ever. I don’t know how I will manage without them when they have to start school. Knowing my track record, I have always been fearful of leaving my children motherless as both my mother and sister both died young and left their babies behind. Even worse, I fear they will be taken from me. I’m so anxious to start the chpt on fear of death. I’m praying that is where God will show me what he’s been wanting to tell me. This book has been blessed on me and I just know it’s going to connect for me. As im sure it will for you too! Praying for our anxiety to be lifted up to Him soon!

    • Laura, thank you for sharing! I felt so heartbroken for you. I am so glad that you know that it was nothing that you did that caused the events in your life. I will be praying for you and I am so glad you were touched by chapter 1 ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I knew fear was a big component of my life, but until this story, I did not realize how manipulated am by Satan through fear. Fear is wedged in so many corners of my life that it’s crazy. But Angie, you do a great job of showing us where are fear is coming from- who our manipulator is. I relate when you write, “It is so easy to fear we have ruined something beautiful. So easy for us to believe that we held the keys to what was suppose to be and now we are destined to live among the ashes that remain” (pg 24)…”There is a difference in learning from past mistakes and ruminating over the million-and-one ways we might have done it better” (pg 24-25)…”I believe that Satan preys on these moments, taunting us with our own self-doubt, rejoicing as we replay things over and over, desperate for a different out-come” (pg25)….I do not want Satan rejoicing over any thing I do or don’t do.

  3. My biggest “what if” thoughts are about mistakes I’ve made, sins I’ve committed, “What if I had not given in to that temptation to say or do that…I wouldn’t be paying the consequences now.” “What if we had stayed in church instead of getting discouraged and getting away from God for 3 years…it would’ve saved us a lot of heart ache.”
    The main things that stood out to me in this chapter were the statements “There is a difference in learning from past mistakes and ruminating over the million-and-one ways we might have done it better.” (pg24)
    “I believe that Satan preys on these moments, taunting us with our own self-doubt, rejoicing as we replay things over and over, desperate for a different outcome.” (pg 25)
    “We can’t go back….what we can do is go to the throne of grace with our regret and let Jesus redeem it as only He can. Take it captive before it takes you.” (pg25)
    And the major one….”I don’t want to walk through this life with my eyes closed, convinced that God has forgotten me. I have begun to pray against this, asking the Lord to open my eyes as I cower from a fate I have imposed on myself.” (pg 28)
    That last statement goes back to the intro for me, my fear of God being mad at me…I’ve imposted this fate on myself of “something bad is going to happen b/c He’s waiting on the perfect moment to punish me…” And so I’ve been kind of walking through the last few years with my eyes closed, breath held, waiting for something bad to happen.

    • Lisa
      Don’t you sometimes feel like you are just waiting for the other shoe to drop? I have this tendancy to live life believing that the worst case will always be my case. And typically it isn’t….and it isn’t even close.

      This is the biggest way that satan targets me and can be such a stronghold in my life. Praying against this way of thinking for both of us and wishing you a very blessed Friday!!

      • Yes Kristin that’s exactly how I live! …just waiting for the other shoe to drop.
        And like you, my circumstances aren’t even close to being ‘worst case’…
        It is definitely my biggest struggle I think, I don’t know why I even have that mentality, I haven’t always been this way…just over the last few years it’s developed.
        Praying for you too!

    • I think the quote about walking with our eyes closed jumped out at me – -because the truth is that I am afraid there will be more to fear ahead. I pray that you will be released from the fear that God might be mad at you . . He loves you more than you could ever imagine – -my guess is that your brain knows that – -i pray your heart will believe it.

      • Thank you so much Susan! Yes, what’s weird is, my brain does know it, and if anyone else were telling me that they felt like God was mad at them…I would be the first to say “No, you’re wrong!” But for some reason when it comes to myself…I’m having a hard time grasping it lately.

  4. Great chapter, this is one line that I underlined and felt deeply – “Things I never though would bloom in that desert soil have been the most spectacular, life-changing moments of my life.” I relate to this. Even in facing some of my worst “what-if” fears head on and seeing them come true, I can look back and say thank you God for the beauty you brought out of those ashes. His love is a perfecting love, thankful for that.

  5. This chapter spoke to me on many levels. The first thing that grabbed me was your childhood story which parallels mine to a great extent. I’ve never met anyone else who had an ulcer as a child. I was hospitalized when I was 5 after I started kindergarten. My fear was of new situations, new people, etc. which I still struggle with on some level today, but certainly not to the extent I did when I was a child, thank God! I had a great childhood, great family, and great Christian parents, and I’ve often wondered where my fears got their beginnings.
    I often take a situation and “what if” it to death. More often that not, it’s something in the future, but there are certain things in my past that bring up the “what ifs” in me as well. I will pray and hand things/fears over to God, but then continue to worry and try to figure out all the “what ifs”, so my challenge is to actually let go and trust. Why is that so hard to do when I can look at all the times in the past that God has seen me through?
    I’m so thankful for the opportunity to do this Bible study. I can already tell it is going to be a blessing and time of growth for me.

    • Christi,
      I too had never heard of any one else dealing with worry/fear to the extent that I did as a child. I felt like such an odd-ball all the time not being able to deal with things the way others did. And worrying all. the. time. It’s nice to know (even now at 33 years of age!) that there were at least two others in the world!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. This was such a hard start for me–just what I fear most and really didn’t realize how much. I rationalize my fears of *what if* by saying that I am realistic that God has plans that might be different from mine. And though that’s true, I cling so tightly and fear so much.

    I fear that I did it–that what seems a mistake is my fault. And I often see this as though I’m not good enough and I’m stupid. I know it’s not true, but I feel such a responsibility for so much and have a hard time living Grace for myself.

    When I See how I could have done something differently, I often beat myself up over and over again, and apologize over and over again, and I sit and wonder how I can never do it again, instead of trusting that God allows everything for purpose.

    I want to be freed from some big fears that I tuck underneath and don’t even consider as such. The timing of this book is truly Divine for me.

    • Amy – I love how Angie say “Pray as you release this to God, asking to help you submit to His authority and leadership as you move away from a life consumed with regret.” pg 25-26

      I too can beat myself up again and again over past mistakes – but I believe that act can also be an act of sin because I am not allowing myself to fully accept God’s perfect grace in my life.

      Here’s to praying for the release of guilt and the full acceptance of God’s grace and mercy in our lives!!

    • I’m coming into this many months later but have loved it all!

      Amy, everything you wrote is exactly what I’m feeling. I have lived such a blessed life and it’s only been these last few years that I started fearing, worrying, stressing over making a mistake and messing things up.

      I could have written your second paragragh word for word.

      I trust God but I don’t trust myself. I’m so worried I’m going to miss a cue and make the wrong decision, say the wrong thing.

      Satan is having a field day with me and my self doubt.

      Angie, this book has been God sent and I’m so thankful for it! It truly has helped me to start going … “to the throne of grace with our regret and let Jesus redeem it as only He can. Take it captive before it take you.” (pg25)

      Thank you

  7. There are so many underlined parts in this chapter. Such a great way to start this book!! The fear of the “what-if” has been such a stronghold for me for many years. When I was in college I met my now husband. I was head over heels in about 1.2 seconds and made the choice to have sex before marriage. Surpirsingly I got pregnant. I was shocked because a good Christian girl who has always followed the rules doesn’t have something like this happen!! So at 21 we were planning a wedding – that at the time my parent’s didn’t fully support – and having a son.

    We were unprepared for life as a married couple, as parents. My husband wanted to be 21 and party and have fun and I expected him to be “grown-up” and a parent. The conflict started so early and I would beat myself up thinking that this was God’s punishment for my sins.

    When alcohol started to dominate my husband and our relationship we spiraled out of control for almost 10 years. The anger that I felt towards him and what “he was doing to me” and the anger I felt at God for not “just fixing him already” was overwhelming.

    And then almost 5 years ago (October 15th) my husband reached his bottom and reached out to God for help. God heals and restores what was once terribly broken. We are proof of that. And I am so grateful to have a Godly and sober husband leading our family today. But even when I got what I had long prayed for I was still plagued with the questions of “what-if”….how could we have done it differently. Oh how I had hurt our children when my own sickness and control was running crazy.

    But I love when Angie says “What we can do is go to the throne of grace with our regret and let Jesus redeem it as only He can.”

    It is a free gift this gift of grace and I would be crazy NOT to accept it! So today I leave it all..the past hurts and regrets, the anger and the what-ifs at the feet of the cross of my Savior. And I praise God that He does redeem. I praise God for the work He has done in my family and the many blessings we have seen unfold since we began our journey of walking with Him and in Him together.

    Thank you Angie again for sharing your heart so that we can feel free to share ours as well.

    • What an amazing unity with God in the center. Beautiful testimony showing that there is nothing to impossible for Him. What a great way to begin all over again. Committing to leaving it all in the past as of today. Very powerful & inspiring ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Kristin, I’m thankful to you for sharing your life with us. I was always the good child. The one that did everything right. But in college I did some dumb things. I tried to make things better and keep so many things to myself. Very few people know. But I always feared that my actions had something to do with my current life. My husband is not a believer. He drinks, I prayed for him for all this 15 years of marriage. We had so many problems. I keep praying that one day he will stop drinking and get closer to God. Our daughter was diagnosed with scoliosis at six years old. And I thought he will change and be more supportive. But he still the same. Thank God my daughter had surgery last year at 11 years old. She is doing well. We keep praying for husband to come to church with us. But we just have to wait for his right time. Leave it in God’s hands. I thank God for all of you. Please pray for me and my family.

      • Rosario
        I WILL be praying for you. I know the lonliness and pain all too well. But I do know that you can find happiness and strength from God regardless of what your husband does. And that should be your focus. Often times if we change first we become that example for our husbands and they follow….it doesn’t always work that way – but if the end result brings you closer to God and reliant on Him more than I don’t think we have failed. It was so hard for me to stop putting all of my focus on my husband and what he was doing and focus on me. But as I did I realized that I didn’t even know who I was anymore…..I am finding the new “me” little by little and I will pray that you too can see all of the beautiful things you have to offer. So very very glad you are here Rosario! HUGS!!!

      • Rosario,
        You have our prayers. What trials you face. Just remember, you can only do so much to bring someone to the Lord. From there it is out of your hands and in the allmightys’. You are not responsible for your husbands struggles. Keep the faith and prayers, show your husband your strength that comes in rejoicing the Lord. Im sure he will catch on and want some of that incredible love ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. I am so in the season of “what ifs” ~ maybe it’s not a season, but I’ve only now opened my eyes to it and been dwelling more and more of my “what ifs”. Thank you for this book, right now, in the season I am in. “That there are always two sides to the what ifs”. “That God shows us the beautiful things about the way He is always working at the things around us”..beautiful and peaceful at the same time being reminded how GREAT GOD IS. Having the vision of having Him orbit around us, so close and intimate, that when fear creeps up, we are not alone..

  9. Wow I see myself in all your comments. I feared losing my parents at a young age, simply because they were 40 and 45 when I was born! Where did that come from? I feared losing my husband because my sisters both became widowed at an early age. I feared losing a child because my brother and sister each lost one. Do we inheirt fear????Alcoholism was a factor in my first marriage and I was always afraid of what was going to happen next and how to pay the bills. Guilt also filled my thoughts as my oldest daughter became pregnant in high school and our other daughter was overcome with eating disorders. Always feeling like it was something I had done or not done the way I should have. God carried me through these times and He gave us 9 months of sobriety and a healing time that only He could give., before my husbands sudden death. Then He blessed us with another man to bring more healing into our lives. That all was over 23 years ago. I trust healing from fear is a lifetime job. Get up turn it over, turn it over, turn it over, Let Go and Let God. Life is good now both daughters are happily married with family for us to love and I find that gratitude covers my fear, and Gods word gives me hope and strength for my journey each day. Love Isaiah verses. They are my support in this everchanging world around me.

  10. Oh, my gosh, how many of us as young girls had all these “random” fears? I, too, was constantly afraid that something would happen to family members if I wasn’t there to protect them. My mother birthed 6 kids, then lost one to prematurity. Two kids later, then she had 2 miscarriages and another preemie die. When my youngest sister was finally born, I was afraid to leave, for fear that she would die. As if I could have ANY control over that! And that’s the main theme for all of us, I think: we assign to ourselves all this control that we really don’t have.

    My husband & I used to jokingly call my fears “the what-if monster” because I CONSTANTLY worried about what-ifs. Thankfully, God has healed me of most of that, but Satan is still trying to get at me by having me relieve my past with what-ifs. No kidding, I had my head in the past JUST yesterday, trying to rewrite an occurrence. We all need to realize (thank you, Angie!) that it’s Satan, and therefore aimed at separating us from God. Now to go practice what I preach…….

  11. I live in the “what-if’s” everyday! I wish I didn’t but like Angie said in the video satan loves it! Everyday I fear something is going to happen to someone close to me, that my parents, sibling, husband or child may pass away! I often think of my past and think “what-if” I had done that differently or didn’t give in to that, etc. I know that satan has a big grin on his face as he listens to my fears. Reading this book is helping me so much. I guess I never really thought about my fears but reading this book is helping me to work through them and to pray that God may bless me with peace and understanding that everything is in his hands and I need to have stronger faith in him that all will be ok!

  12. this chapter spoke VOLUMES to me. . . .fear has been a constant companion to me for the past couple of years (from a tragedy that shocked me to the core of my being) . .(gosh, that sounds so melodramatic! ๐Ÿ™‚ – but it’s true). I have always held tightly on to some of my fears, so I appreciated Angie’s reminder to “go to the throne room of grace with our regret (I changed it to fear) and let Jesus redeem it as only He can. Take it captive before it takes you.” I think my biggest fear has become an obsession and it has taken me captive.. I hadn’t thought of it that way before. I wish (how much that is like what-if) I could just let it go – -really be able to put it in God’s hands and leave it there . ..I pray over and over to be free from it . . .and then something happens to bring me back to that place of fear again. I am thankful that the statement was made that I may not lose my fears, but I will become balanced, grounded in knowing Him.
    Angie, thank you for opening up and being vulnerable about the pain of your childhood. it made me think of some of mine and how they impact my today. and like you said, “I believe Him and I’m still standing.”

  13. I liked the story of Hagar in this Chapter. As I was reading this chapter, I started looking back into my own childhood memories. The same way Angie looks back to her own fears. The part that stood up for me was on pg. 25 “You weren’t made to walk through life with the stack of missed opportunities pressing you into the ground. Unless it is a thought that will spur you on to good action in the future, it isn’t worth allowing back in.” and pg. 28 ” Is it possible that the well is right beside you but you haven’t seen it because your head is hung in grief?” It is amazing how God has been speaking to me this week concerning my fears, not just by reading the book but thru daily reading the bible. Yesterday in the daily readings devotional, from Luke 11:5-13. The writer of the reflection for that scripture says, that everytime we feel alone or thinking that God does not care, to read the scripture again and know that God “How much more will the Father in heaven give you the Holy Spirit!…” Luke 11:13 All we need to do is Ask for it! I am not alone, neither are you.

  14. I agree that this first chapter was a really good way to start the book. There were several things that I felt like I could really relate to. On page 16 Angie talks about how we “want to trust God and do to a certain extent” its so true for me! You may have read on my comment on the intro to the book that two years ago we lost our first baby at virtually the end of my pregnancy, it was the sort of thing that shook me and turned my world upside down a few times. Nothing was secure anymore for me. In the hospital, the social worker told us several times that most marriages fall apart after the death of a child. I thought my husband would blame me because I should have known it was going to happen and should have told someone in order to hopefully stop it. Turns out, the doctor said even if I had came in earlier she probably would have died.

    Anyway, since then, its been very hard for me to give all of my life completely to God. The song “I surrender all” was very hard for me to sing in church & still is at times. I will admit, sometimes I sing it out of going through the motions but the vast majority of the time my heart isn’t in it.

    On page 19 Angie talks about how she “had to be in control all the time or things would fall apart.” I crossed out the word “control” and put “worry” underneath it. I have felt since Ella died that if I don’t worry then something bad will happen. Now, I don’t think this way all the time but again..the vast majority I do. I know its illogical but I still do it.

    In regards to the woman who lost her child, I too think about “what if” what if I would have went in sooner..what if I would have listened to the voice telling me that something was wrong.

    on page 27, Angie says “I become convinced that the worst- case scenario is upon me and I better give up” I feel this way in regards to the diabetes I was diagnosed with when I was pregnant with our first baby.

    Angie,
    thank you so much for writing this book. God has totally blessed me in a way I didn’t expect ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you to those who provided the book to those of us who couldn’t join the study without your help

    • Ashley,
      That’s how I feel as well. If I DON’T worry then things will rain down while I’m not expecting it. But then I got pregnant when my second child was only 2 months old. I worried so much and spoke with my husband about my fears and the research on all that could happen getting pregnant so soon. I thought I was cushioned because I was worrying so much. I though it would be a coicidence if it would really happen. Guess what? It did happen. The pregnancy was non.viable and I had to have a d&c at 10 weeks. So I quickly learned worrying doesn’t accomplish anything but eating away at us. If it’s written, it will happen regardless of our awareness or lack of.
      I am so sorry for your loss but so glad you are with us. I hope your journey of healing is accompanied by Him.

      • sorry! I don’t know how to get rid of that reply. Thank you sharing with me Laura! It’s very conforting to know that I’m not the only one who deals with this

  15. hi!i am not a blogger.i started reading bloggs because a friend of mine is a blogger.i came across this and i got the book in your disscussions.i have not read all and i have skimmed it.i want to tell you some of my fears,as a child i feared getting fat.then 2 yrs ago i was very sick and found out i have Ankylosing Spondylitis.my fear came true,i went from 109 pounds to 175 pounds in 5-6 months.i have since found so many great friends.i never was very close to too many people but in the last 2 yrs i keep meeting people who have brought alot to my life.as a child i was so into God that when i shared his love in school i was tortured.i put God on a shelf and kept him close to my heart but i didn’t talk about Him with anyone.Then thru my illness i have slowly taken Him off that shelf.I still fear the humilitation i felt as a child.I have been slowley losing my consintration so reading this book is very hard but i am trying.i have enjoyed listening to the discussions on this book so far.thank you!

    • Colleen, you have found a warm, welcoming, and supportive community here. We look forward to getting to know you and we will be praying for you as we all come to grips with our “what if” monsters,

  16. The “what ifs” and the “I should haves” really spoke to me. I sometimes wonder if Facebook doesn’t encourage a lot of that looking back to see some of those “what ifs”. I had never thought of Hagar closing her eyes to what God was doing around her and possibly missing what He had in store for her. “Her circumstances didn’t change. Her awareness did.” I want to daily ask the Lord to open my eyes to the present and see Him here in this moment.

  17. I could relate to this first chapter too. I think all mothers could because we want to make sure there is provision and a ‘nest’ for our loved ones.

    I so appreciate hearing that tiny bit from your Pastor’s wife, Brandi. I have a heart for pastor’s wives… for many reasons. Would love to hear more from her if possible.
    God bless and keep you Brandi as I know that your assignment isn’t an easy one nor is it an understood one much of the time. But… God is very aware and I am so thankful for the strength He gives for the mission He calls us to.

    Fear is a very big issue and if most were honest, we all have some, somewhere. I like what someone else posted on these comments, that fear must be a lifelong battle to overcome and learning to trust God makes it much more bearable.

    Thank you Jess and Angie for this study.

  18. I’m just now joining the conversation, but know this is something God wants me to be a part of. I’ve never met (well, maybe I should say I’ve never even read about!) some one else who struggled soooooo deeply with fear at the tender age of 3 and 4 on thru “grown-up” life.
    It’s a relief to know I was not alone.
    I always thought something was wrong with me. Why couldn’t I cope like my sister and friends? They just went on their merry way and I’d go home and cry over things I was afraid of. I knew if wasn’t normal. My parents almost took me to a psychologist and put me on meds as well, but being a pastors daughter I don’t think they could afford it. I also had a beautful childhood all things considered, so why the crippling fear?? I have no idea!
    I identified with everything you described also in how it followed you into adulthood. I am 33 now, and like you, have learned to trust God more and to cope better, but it is still my greatest vice. Over the past four years, I’ve suffered deeply (I’ve lost my health) but I have also seen God and trusted Him as never before. I’ve been amazed at how brave He’s given me the power to be. When someone says to me, “You are so strong” or “I could never go thru what you are going thru” I absoltutely, positively HAVE to give the glory to God. Because I am a true-blue, doesn’t-get-any-more-scared-than-that-scaredey-cat by nature. Even though God has/is helping me overcome worry and fear, I can ALWAYS use more help with it!! I’m thankful and excited to be a part of this group.
    Kristen

    • Kristen,
      I really connected with your question, “Why couldnโ€™t I cope like my sister and friends? “. That feeling has bothered me also as I struggle with my anxiety. I look at other people around me, and think, “How can they handle this? “. That question has a way of isolating you, and making you feel different and incapable. I’m glad that we can all share our stories, and realize that we are not the only ones with these thoughts and fears.

    • Kristen,

      I have struggled with anxiety and fear throughout my life. It all started with a chaotic childhood. This has taught me to lean on God more. Now I am dealing with feelings of guilt. My youngest daughter, who is now 19, has always been fearful. She went to counseling for a little while when she was 13. We did not have the money to continue with counseling.She went to counseling again at age 18. She was diagnosed with social anxiety. Once again, we did not have the money to continue counseling. I pray for her but also need help with anything that I can do to help her in her daily life. It is hard to find someone to talk to about this because no one seems to understand. I am glad I found this group and I don’t have to feel alone. Praying for my daughter not to feel alone either.

  19. I read this chapter a couple of weeks ago, but Hagar’s story has stuck with me. What hit me the hardest was that the well was right there all the time — she was just so blinded to God’s provision because of her overwhelming fear. Ouch!

    I underlined and starred this line from page 25 regarding dwelling on the “what ifs” from our past: “Unless it is a thought that will spur you on to good action in the future, it isn’t worth allowing back in.” I am realizing that a lot of my thoughts aren’t really spurring me on — they are just keeping me spinning around in the same spot. Not good at all.

    I am excited about reading on… ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks, Angie

    • That line got my attention to Lyli! I’ve definitely been spinning for the last year or two, or maybe five, and I’m really looking froward to moving on now!

      • yes! Man how much energy and space we use inside us when we let worry overcome! I’ve been praying alot more for release from my worries and fears! And the Holy Spirit is able to speak louder and clearer when I do!

  20. As most of you, I could also relate to Angie’s story of feeling responsible for the safety of those she loved. Maybe it was because I grew up with a single mom. I remember that anytime someone invited me to a sleepover I would either make up an excuse not to go, or I would go and then say I wasn’t feeling well so my mom would come to get me. I was so worried over leaving her home convinced she’d be lonely without me or something might happen. When she would leave for work I would watch out the window, even as a teenager, until I couldn’t see even a speck of her car anymore. I worried so much at times that I would begin to shake. These are things I have barely even thought about in my adult years and I am so thankful that as I read this book and another that corresponds with it extremely well, God is allowing me the opportunity to think on the past, sit with him, bring theses memories to His feet, and let go. So often when I’ve read books before that have asked me to think about or deal with hard things from the past I gloss over that part just wanting to capture some inspirational quotes that might help keep me on the straight and narrow. It’s a relief to me to finally be able to be still, know He is God, and let Him work out in me what I have been afraid of before. Maybe I’ll finally look like that new creation he has already made me!

  21. What y’all said about the what if’s of making a decision – specifically about a big job change struck my tender heart. We’re walking through that right now and satan’s whispers of “what-if” are getting louder and more frequent. This chapter has served as a reminder and encouragement to me that he gets to be no part of this plan – that I can trust that God’s heart for me is good. Exhale…

    • Ingrid-
      I also have had “what if’s” about a big job change that took us from a pretty stable income from 2 jobs, to just my job where we are living off of our savings to make ends meet. As our savings starts to dwindle, I keep going back to the “what if’s” on this job decision. I have to make myself breathe and remember that God has lead us to this place, and that he continues to provide for us, as he always has. But it can be so difficult!

      • My husband finally listened to the HOly Spirit with his job change…been with the old company for 11 years, his first job out of college! Scary change. But he is allready seeing God’s blessings for following His will.

  22. Wow! What a chapter! I am shaking after reading it and thankful that God is allowing me to release some of the fears I’ve carried around for so long. It’s difficult to read for me because I feel as though I’m coming face to face with where I am and I haven’t been able to fully see it, but it’s good and freeing at the same time. It’s also so timely for me as well because my husband is military and is leaving in a week or so to be gone a year in Afghanistan and the anxiety and panic has recently increased so much in my life. God is so good and His timing is right.
    A part that really spoke to me (besides all of it!) was choosing God over hopelessness and not living in a loss we have not lost (like Hagar and her son). I find myself living in those worse case scenarios without them even happening…I suppose that is what fear is and where the battle is. Thank you for this book club and all the ladies here. I’ve never done one of these before because I have such little time with 6 children and homeschooling and everything else life throws my way (and yours ๐Ÿ™‚ that this really works. God bless each and every one of you, I know we all have our own stories to tell, Bambi

    • Bambi – grateful you are here and grateful for your husband’s – and your sacrifice for our country. My husband and I lived apart during the work week for 7 months when he took a new job in another state and we were still with our old home. I had 3 kids, 14, 7 and 2 and was pregnant with a 4th. It was so hard but the whole time I reminded myself that our military families have an even greater sacrific. So thank you…

  23. Well, I didn’t deal with severe fear as a child, but I love how all of you are find out you are not alone! That’s what this kind of thing is all about.
    I had more irrational fears. I had 3 girls close to me as a child that were sexually abused by men in their homes. I stayed in these homes on MANY occasions. So some how I got it into my head that something had happened to me and I had pressured it. How could I have stayed there and nothing happened to me?
    My big “what if” fears have only really started since having children. I am always trying to make sure I’m doing everything I’m supposed to, all the while feeling like I’m failing. “What if” my children don’t follow God? And all that comes with that question plague me.
    The part that really stood out to me in chapter 1 was when Angie talked about Hagars eyes being opened. That “Her circumstances didn’t change. Her awareness did.” So powerful to remember! And when she said “Is it possible that the well is right beside you but you haven’t seen it because your head is hung in grief?” I tend to wallow in my grief and suffering. I am dealing with PPD and sometimes feel like it gives me a right to be upset or sad. But it doesn’t! God is greater than my circumstance! I’m going to write this down where I can look at it daily so I don’t do what I normally do: “As soon as the thought comes, make a conscious decision to set it at the foot of the cross, and make a commitment that you will leave it there”. Thank you Angie for your words!

  24. “What if’s”… wow. I live in these moments in so many different ways.
    First of all, I fear that I will lose my children and my husband very regularly.. and then if I think more about it, I fear that I will lose my parents… or my sister… and the lists build and build and build. I never lived life this way until I realized that bad things could happen to me and my family. And ever since, it can be a huge battle.
    Second, the “what if’s” of past sins… what if I hadn’t had fallen into that temptation and sin to hide from my grief and fears… what if I had relied on God… what if the consequences of my actions are still yet to come… what if what if what if. I loved the part where Angie writes, “What we can do is go to the throne of grace with our regret and let Jesus redeem it as only He can. Take it captive before it takes you. As soon as the thought comes, make a conscious decision to set it at the foot of the cross, and make a commitment that you will leave it there.” (page 25). This is something that I will really have to focus and work on!
    Finally, the “what if’s” on job decisions. A year and a half ago, I felt God calling us to move to a different state and God calling me to a certain job. This move required us to leave a pretty stable 2 incomes to now living off of our savings as my husband searches for a job. I know that God is providing for us, but as the savings dwindles, the “what if’s” creep in. I love the story of Hagar and how when she opened her eyes, God’s provisions were right there for her the entire time.
    Thanks so much for a wonderful chapter to reflect on and work through!

  25. Angie mentioned dealing with what-ifs by reassuring yourself that you are at peace with God, because you listened to His voice and obeyed. That is an area where I really struggle. Sometimes when I pray, I wonder, how to do I receive His message to me? I’m not sure if anyone else feels this way, but I wanted to put it out there, so I might get some insight ( and in doing so, help anyone that might be in the same place).

    Also, thank you Angie for reminding us that prayer is a time to not only release things to God, but to ask Him to show us where we need to focus. And, I understand where you are coming from, in terms of holding on to things. I think I have a white-knuckle grip ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I have struggled with that too Rebecca. I am learning more and more, that when i am worried that i am not receiving his direction, i miss the fact that I actually am receiving it. The key is to trust in the character of God. When I look at who God is… his faithfulness, his love, his tender mercy and care toward His children… and the amount of times He says “do not fear, I am with you, I will never leave you” Then I can be at peace and can walk ahead knowing He is with me. He will direct you in the way to go.

      • So true that worry clouds up the room inside us that we don’t hear the HOly Spirit who IS speaking! Just these last few months am I finally HEARING HIS VOICE! Praise God! And prayers for us all!

  26. One of my earliest childhood memories is of my parents being late to pick me up from daycare. I was the last child there and I remember all the thoughts of “what if they were in a car accident,” “what if they forgot me, where will I spend the night?” I never liked spending the night away from home, slumber parties were a torment, I stayed all night, but I didn’t sleep, and the time crawled until my parents came to pick me up the next day. Even as an adult fear keeps me from trying many new things. I have learned to mask it and most people would say I am very self confident, but the “What If” monster is always lurking under the bed. It is awesome that four books that I have read in the last month tie in so wonderfully together; “What Women Fear,” “A Confident Heart.” “Grace For the Good Girl,” and “In God’s Heart” are weaving together seamlessly to create a veritable God sized security blanket.

    • I used to have the same fear as a child when my mom would be late to pick me up. I would go through all the scenarios. It’s incredible how so many of us can relate to Angie’s story.

  27. I knew after reading this chapter that this was the very book I needed. I have lived for the past 12 years fearing that I ruined something beautiful when my first marriage ended badly. I was young and ill-equipped to handle marriage, but I have regretted ending it with my entire being. I am married now to a wonderful Christian man, but struggle with feeling loved, and loving, like I did in my first marriage. I have felt like, as written on page 24, that I held the keys to what was supposed to be, and now after making the wrong choice to end my first marriage, I am to live without truly being loved in this marriage….like I have tainted the canvas of my life through my own stupid choice. I have surrendured these feelings to God and asked His forgiveness for my sin, but still catch my heart thinking about what could have been. I know divorce is wrong, and struggle with feeling like I’ve completely ruined God’s will for my life. I won’t ever choose divorce again, but scared that I will live in a love-less marriage forever.

  28. Control, may be a small word for so many people but to me I know it has been a BIG word in my life the last few years… Surrendering control to the One who has complete control is an everyday constant battle. How many times just like Angie I have had the conversation with God saying ” I need to do this in order for it to fall into place”…”Where are you God”…I am currently in the middle of a seperation and just have been side swiped and wondered “God where are you”. It isn’t until recently that I know He is walking right along with me and mourning with me. I had a plan, we all do when we get married, Happily ever after, ministry with our spouse, children, growing old together. We never think of the “D” word. Well for a while I was trying to have the control and keep it together and keep my life looking “Picture perfect”. Finally I have given control to God He is walking me thru on this road hand in hand and finally(and believe me it is day by day surrender) I am letting go of the control like Sarah. I am not living among the ashes anymore but I see the well finally! Jesus is my redeemer and I am just here for the walk of my lifetime.

  29. This chapter just reminds me of a practice that I started this past year. Whenever I say, “what if?” I turn it into an “even if”. Even if my fears come true, what then? Is God still good? Is God still in control? Do I still choose God?
    I found myself practicing it yet again today while parenting my newly adopted son. I started in with fear ‘what if he never gets better? What if he never truly trusts me?” So I turned it around – EVEN IF he never gets better. Even if some parts of him never heal. Even if he never learns to truly trust…will I quit? will I still love him? No, I won’t quit. I will love him as long as it takes, even if that day never comes. I think the ‘even if’ practice is how God has been helping me see the well.

    • Thanks so much for sharing this, Suzanne! I am going to borrow it from you and try to remember to turn my “what-ifs” to “even-ifs”.

  30. I think a lot of my “what ifs” centre around my own inadequacies. The fear of having to do things on my own, not realizing that God is the source and the strength we SO need to rely on!
    Instead of seeing His provision in situations, I become paralyzed and overwhelmed with “what if I fail? what if it’s too much to handle? what if I can’t help?”
    I am so thankful for the story of Hagar being brought into this chapter, because it really spoke to me throughout this past week. I was reminded of it when I was in a situation that seemed hopeless. I felt inadequate in my ability to comfort and help someone, when I remembered Hagar (thanks in part to having read Chapter 1).
    She sat there…didn’t pray, just cried out because she was about to witness her child die of dehydration.
    God answered… he was there! and he provided.

    Earlier in genesis, again in the wilderness, she called him the God who sees.

    He sees. He hears. He knows. He is with us.

  31. I had a total epiphany studying this chapter. The idea that God has been with me through everything and it was my panic and fear of assuming that he had abandoned me which blinded me made me realise that his plan led me through the past 6 years and has brought me to a better place than I could ever imagine. I have renewed belief in God and trust that his plans are better than mine!
    Life changing! And that was just chapter One!

  32. My reflections on the chapter: http://followingthestepsofourmaker.tumblr.com/post/11194199342/the-fear-of-what-if

    There are so many fears of what if in my life right now with heading to university and leaving people behind.

    I can relate to Hagar so so much; far too often I jump to conclusions when things arise in my life – always to the worst case scenario aswell. I end up closing my eyes to the blessings the lord puts in my life, and I don’t open them until I turn to God as a wreck and He opens them for me.

    I have been so blessed by this book. Definitely great timing of the Lord (yet again i get a kick in the behind that I would have known this if i just trust Him!).

  33. I’ve been dealing with my anxiety and fear since I was a kid. On one hand, I’m glad to know that I wasn’t the only one. On the other hand, it makes me sad that so many of us had such huge fears at such a young age.

    I’m so glad that Angie wrote about taking our fear to the cross over and over. It really isn’t a one-time thing! I wish it was as easy as “just don’t worry”! It is good to see it acknowledged as something that we will have to continue to do day by day!

  34. I can relate to this chapter as well. Thank you for sharing this book in such a time as this. Appreciated Brandi’s thoughts on this chapter. The take-away from this chapter for me is on pg 25 “What we can do is go to the throne of grace with our past regret and let Jesus redeem it as only He can.” Seeking to take every thought captive and take it to the throne. Praying for His healing from the inside out.

  35. The concept of Hagar’s perception of her situation changing, not the actual circumstances, really resonated with me. I tend to ‘catastrophise’ things; picturing the worst case outcomes, although I’m doing this less and less.

    I find it very hard to listen to that still inner voice that should direct me; I start second guessing and soon I have no idea what belongs to my head and what belongs to my heart. I wish God came with flashing lights and a loudspeaker…

  36. The part that has stuck out for me is when Hagar was so fearful she struggled to open her eyes and see that God had taken care of her already. The well was right there for her to go to. Her fear blinded her from seeing that God already knew and was thinking ahead for her. I know that I have done that so often in my life. I have always been a sort of control freak. I was the perfect teenager and behaved and cleaned my room and did what I could to stay out of trouble but only cause it’s how I felt in control of my world. If I didn’t do this I felt as if I lost control and would crash and burn and not be able to deal with it. Of course as I got older God taught me how strong I was when my husband divorced me after 13 years of marriage and left me to raise two kids alone. I learned that with God I could get through this. Now not that my fears are gone. I have an everlasting fear of not being in control and it has fed into a food addiction and I am now working through that. But I know that with God I can. And I thank-you for the book that will help me.

  37. I may be the odd one out but I’ve always “sided” with Hagar. She really seemed to get the short end of the stick, I mean really, she was just doing what she was told and ended up being disowned by Abraham and Sarah. Admittedly though, I never noticed the part about her eyes being opened to the well. I mean, I’ve read it before, but it never dawned on me that it was there and she just didn’t see it. And that’s really how I end up a lot of the time, I know God provides but I just don’t see it because I’m too worried about any number of things to stop and look.

    The big thing for me in this chapter though was the statement on page 21 “…the central issue is the feeling that you aren’t in control…it’s the realization that you aren’t in control”. I know I’m not in control, and to an extent that really bugs me because it means I can’t make things come out how I think they need to be. I don’t really think “if I don’t do ____________ then ________________ will happen” but I do go “this is what needs to happen so I need to do __________________” and then I get upset if it doesn’t work out. Who in the world am I to say that I know what needs to happen? Can I see the big picture? That’s a big no! So how can I possibly know what’s good for me, or my family? Yes, there are times when I do. Like, what’s for lunch, I know candy does not make a healthy lunch so I choose something else. But that’s not really all that important when you stop and think about it. And essentially, what I’m doing when I try to do things my way, is telling God that I know better, which is a load of baloney!

    I also really liked the part about how if something isn’t a thought that makes us more forward, it’s not worth it. There are lots of things I wish I’d done differently but at the same time, I see how those things made me who I am now.

  38. I am so glad to be reading this book! Thank you Angie for writing it. I know God wants me to read it, because I came across it accidentally. I have read the last two Bloom selections with you guys. But since school started and I went back to work, I’ve hardly visited incourage. (terrible, I know!) A friend from church had bought your book and another friend of hers sent her an autographed copy. Needless to say, she didn’t need two and gave me one. When she gave it to me I thought I should visit incourage again and there I find it’s the new book club book!
    I am such a chronic worrier and am fear so many things! I am the queen of what-ifs and my mind spirals out of control way more than it should. I also get paranoid about loved ones traveling and constantly fear I have some terrible disease. My husband has banned me from WedMD. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I definitely didn’t worry as a child to the extent Angie did. But I would say I worried and feared more than a normal kid that my parents would get divorced or that something would happen to my brother.
    So thanks again for this book, and I can’t wait to read more!

  39. The What If’s in life have consumed for as long as I can remember in my 31 years of age. It ranges from what if no one likes me to what if something happens while on the interstate driving.

    The biggest thing in this chapter that resonated with me is when Angie said, ” I believe Satan preys on these moments, taunting us with our own self-doubt, rejoicing as we replay things over and over, desperate for a different outcome. ”
    How true this rang with me. When my marriage is not as great as it could be, instead of trying to fix it, I go to the what if’s in my life.
    What if I were with him instead, what if I left my husband, what if, what if, what if….

    I had never stopped to think this was actually Satan trying to tear my life apart. I never stopped to think to turn it over to God.
    I only reacted and reached out to the what if guy. Where I got my what if behind in what if trouble, emotionally-not physically.
    Not only one time but twice, within the same year.

    Then crept in the fear that something beautiful, and my marriage is just that, was ruined. It was only through open communication and God that I realized I really do have something so beautiful right here in front of my eyes.

    I refuse to let Satan have that hold on me anymore. The Lord couldn’t have given this book to me at a better time.

  40. I so related to this chapter, because the fear of “what if” is something I struggle with constantly. I have beat myself into a pit time and time again thinking about all the ways I could have done something differently to avoid the pain and the hurt. But, I love what Angie says on page 28, “I don’t want to walk through this life with my eyes closed, convinced that God has forgotten me.” He is there, always, walking with me through the storm…and, when I focus on Him (like Peter did when He walked on water), I can learn from the past, move on from it, and live in the new mercies He has set before me. I also love how Angie talked about being specific in our prayer, so the devil can’t get a foothold. The devil knows our weaknesses and preys on them…but when we cover our weaknesses in prayer, the devil ceases to have control. For when I am weak, He is strong.

  41. I read this chapter right before bed, and it shook me so much that I had trouble sleeping that night. I have been imprisoned by the “what if’s” for a long time. My husband and I tried to conceive for 5 years via IVF treatments with no success. I also thought to myself, what if I did this or that differently, I could have had a different result. Then, we were selected to adopt a baby from our hometown. Everything went smoothly. We had the newborn for 2 months, and then the birth mother decided she wanted the baby back. I was so fearful, sad, and the “what ifs” started flying around in my mind again. By the grace of God, my husband and I found out we were pregnant a month later! But I was still imprisoned with the thoughts that something bad would happen or go wrong with the pregnancy. I am happy to report that we have a happy and healthy 1 year old. I can honestly say that I am a stronger Christian than I was before we started our fertility journey. I have come to trust God in all situations, even when you don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. However, I am not immune to Satan’s attacks. Just this past week, my husband and I made the decision for me to resign from my job and stay home to raise to our son. Immediately the “what ifs” started to plague me. My thoughts went something like this “what if we don’t have enough money to supply all our needs?” This is something I need to keep turning over to the Lord…

  42. I’m in the what if I screw up right now…Do we have the choice to choose a vasectimy? Both my husband and I feel peace having our two girls, and with the sickness I had last pregnancy and the fears, grief and anxiety I had the last month of her pregnancy and the year after, along with the homeschool years ahead…we just see the birthing season in our lives finished. We are being open to adoption in years to come…but growing and birthing another child just doesn’t seem our path. Yet we worry about it every month…about becoming pregnant. I know we’d be happy and fine, but if this is a choice we can make by God then we want to. And if we end up pregnant anyway then God certainly meant we were not out of that season! I don’t know…I know what others are going through this seems minor, but to us it is a big decision because we want to follow what God wants for US! Not what anyone else is doing or not doing. Prayer. Prayer. Prayer and letting go of the What if I screw up…

  43. I am feeling so behind. I absolutely loved this book and have so many underlines and things written in the margin that I didn’t want to respond without having the book right in front of me. So the What If chapter, ugh. Pg. 26 ‘I long to be a woman who walks in the moment God has given me’…..
    Pg. 27 ‘I have heard you’.
    I have spent too much time going over how I should have done things differently, I want to live in the NOW. I long to let things be the way they are and know that I am following God and keeping my eyes focused on Him. There are many things I wish I had done differently, but there are many things that God has used because of the way I did something. In God’s love, sheila

  44. I love how Angie is taking a person from the Bible and bringing to light how they dealt with fear in many of the same ways we do today. It sure does emphasize in a beautiful way that He is the same yesterday, today and forever. I also appreciate Angie’s personal stories that are relatable and personal as well…they add so much to this!

    Relating a lot to Brandi, the sentence, “It is so easy to fear we have ruined something beautiful,” has overplayed in my mind over and over. And again like Brandi, it’s mostly about parenting, the fear of failing, of ruining these precious souls God has entrusted to me.

    One thing that has helped me summarize the chapter and made it stick even more has been making a list of the following three things that are addressed in the chapter. For list-lovers like me, this might be helpful. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1.) WHAT IS THE FEAR that Angie is writing about and how does she define it, and how does it play out in my own life.

    2.) WHAT IS THE TRUTH ABOUT GOD? WHO DOES HE SAY HE IS? What are the attributes of God that Angie talks about in the chapter that specifically give hope and the character of God that we can trust (i.e. for this chapter: His faithfulness, how He’s always with us and will not take His hands off me).

    3.) REFLECTING ON WHO GOD SAYS HE IS AND HIS PROMISE TO ME, THEREFORE I CAN ____________ (i.e. for this chapter: I can have confidence in what’s to come, what He has in store for me; and be convinced He’s always with me; grateful and expectant.)

    This exercise has helped me be able to fix my eyes on Jesus, focusing on who He says He is. Who He showed Himself to be to Hagar, for instance, is the same Person He wants to show Himself to me. It helps me clearly see more of His promise and elevate Him more than the fear. It’s a way of writing it out in surrender to Him and then acknowledging who He. And He’s always greater, isn’t He?

  45. […] reading the book “What Women Fear” written by Angie Smith along with the (In)Courage Bloom Book Club.ย  I’ll be writing my responses each week here.ย  It seems to fit very well with the weekly […]

  46. Thank you all for your beautiful sharing. Brandiโ€™s sharing in the video โ€“ the fear of โ€œWhat Ifโ€ โ€“ the โ€œWhat Ifโ€ I screw this up โ€“ I have one chance โ€“ to be a mother, a wife, a daughterโ€ฆhow do I juggle it all and do it well? This really hit home with me. The need to control โ€“ because of the fears. The โ€œWhat Ifโ€ had a profound effect on my life when my daughter was working in the Bahamas and was being influenced by some people who definitely didnโ€™t have her best interests in heart. The โ€œWhat Ifโ€ nearly drove me insane – partly because of the realization that I had no control – she was an adult. I sought both therapy and medication โ€“ neither of which did any good. The counsel I received was anything but Christian. It was only when I surrendered – my realization that I had no control – never did; and gave her to God that things began to change for her – and for me. Part of that surrender involved looking deeper into myself and asking for forgiveness from some people for my hard heart – I felt I needed to be as pure as possible so my prayers would be more meaningful. It’s still an ongoing process as I’m trying to discern God’s plan for my future. Thank you all for being part of His plan in my discernment. God bless you all.

  47. I am really at a loss as to what I should say. In fact, I am not sure any of this will even make sense.

    I have found so many moments in this book that were so very real, and hit so very close to home, that I found myself shaking at times with the very anxiety that I struggle with.

    Although I know that fear of God isn’t covered until the last chapter, I know that it is THIS fear that has fed each and every other fear that I have. Anxiety relating to God and my fear of Him leaves me frozen and struggling with giving each and every other fear I have over to the very “person” I am afraid of.

    Being raised Catholic (and still being Catholic), I feel as if I lost, and am still hoping to find, the deep connection, with lack of paralyzing fear, that many of my protestant friends have/had.

    In one such effort I picked up the book “Heaven is for Real” to read each night to my kids. It was as much for me as it was for them. I want them to be secure and safe and strong footed in their belief of God. However, with anxiety being at the very core of my being, while reading the book, I instead focused on the ONE chapter regarding “The coming war” in Heaven and now have a new fear to add to my existing ones. Why won’t my mind let me focus on the wonderful, beautiful and blessed promise of Jesus’ love? And why don’t I have enough knowledge of the Bible and God and his plan for us to work through this?

    As I told my sister, in an effort to laugh off the fact that I am sure this is the tipping point and the one instance that makes me officially crazy, “Now I get to be afraid of Heaven too. Nothing is off limits.”

    I hope that I can eventually find peace. It almost seems too eager to find it in every moment and in the small things, but maybe, at the very least in my relationship with God. It is after all, the most important thing I could ever do. You, Angie, are helping me to do this. Although I still feel very much like you described yourself at the first Bible study (sorry! skipping ahead), I look at who you are now and can’t imagine you ever being unsure of where you were.

    I hope I can one day look back at myself in the very same way.

    My kids deserve more than a mother who forces a smile, or a laugh, when my mind is anywhere but where it needs to be and is completely consumed with worries.

    I want to live life – not endure it. My kids deserve that.

    • I feel compelled to add that we also read from actual devotionals that tie directly into the Bible.

      I was just hopeful that a story told by a four year old would be encouraging to them and give them a perspective that some of their children’s books didn’t.

      Anyway….. Sorry. That was just a disclaimer.

      I have the constant need to over-explain as evidenced by the length of my first post.

      • Hi Kim,
        Your comments touched my heart. I also have the “constant need to over-explain,” so I can relate there.
        God loves us all very much, unconditionally in fact, and desires for us to have a personal relationship with His Son Jesus. It’s not a matter of religion or denomination or whatever else it might be called. It’s knowing that we need a Savior because of our sin (which we all have) and reaching out to Him and accepting Him. Then He takes away all our sin (past, present and future — it was all future at the time He died), and gives us eternal life with Him. He is always with us to love us, encourage us, help us through any fears we have (I can relate because I’ve had so many over the years, beginning as a very young child), and teach us more about Himself. I will pray for you.

  48. Wow…I am blown away by how God is working through this book and you ladies to reach and touch people in such a relevant, life changing manner. We are so thankful for you-for your ministry-and for your ear to God’s call on your life. May you be and feel abundantly blessed! Women in particular so need women mentors like yourselves-thank you.

  49. (I’m a week late to the discussion, but wanted to share anyways)

    The part of chapter one that impacted me the most was reading the simplicity in God opening Hagar’s eyes to see the well. It was always there, but she was blinded by her fears. The passage goes on to encourage the reader to pray for our eyes to be open.

    It’s so easy to be crippled by fear. It feels horrible, yet it’s eerily comforting for probably too many of us. I’ll definitely be asking God to open my eyes and give me clearer vision.

  50. I am in absolute awe reading this book – I’m a week late, but the blessings are not at all short. The beginning of the chapter was so similar to my own life, from standing at my sister’s crib for hours at 2 years old, just making sure she was still breathing, to clinging to my mom on the first day of school as my sister went in and grabbed a chair. When I got to the part that spoke about Hagar mourning something that had not yet happened, I shook my head in familiarity – I do that too. Fear has always been a part of my life, this is one of the first times, I have seen fear spoken about in such a completely honest way. I am realizing that some times, it’s not going to be a walk in the park, but we must depend on the Lord, because he will be there. He will always be there.
    I’m starting chapter 2 and there’s even fear reading the title, because I have just recently realized that one of the patterns in my life is abandoment, but Im not going to let this fear keep me prisoner because I just know I will learn how to deal with it, in a way which is pleasing to the Lord.
    I cant explain how blessed I feel right now. One of my favorite parts of this chapter was this:
    “I long to be a woman who walks in the moment God has given me, with
    full confidence in what’s to come. I know it isn’t always going to
    look the way I want it to, but I long to internalize the fact that He
    is never going to forsake me or take His hands off me.”
    Because I long for the same.

  51. I never, ever would have considered myself as a “fearful” person. I actually have always thought I was a very go-lucky, go get ’em type of girl. After reading the introduction and chapter one I really started to realize that fear grips me in many areas. It may not be what I had previously considered as “fear,” but it is still a form of fear.
    My son has recently been placed on the Autism Spectrum. The last few months have been filled with “what if’s” and “why’s.” Although no one knows where autism comes from yet, there is still always that whispering of satan into my ear of “what if?” What if I had eaten differently? What if I had breast fed him longer? What if I had opted out of the new Hepatitis B shot offered at birth? I have just been living with these “what ifs” for the last few months and figured they were a part of the process of discovering your child has a disability. However, after reading this chapter I have come to grips with the fact that it is satan trying to discourage me. Satan trying to make me feel like a horrible mother. Satan trying to get me to question God and why he would allow this to happen to my family and my son. I have prayed to God to rid me of these thoughts and these “what ifs.” I have asked him to allow me to be at peace with the situation and to enjoy every moment as if nothing has changed. I already feel God’s presence in the situation as my son has had several major breakthroughs in his development the last few weeks. I am positive that these break-throughs are God just giving me a little nudge to say, “See? I am still here.”
    I am so thankful that I stumbled across this online book club. Though, it is difficult not having the companionship of meeting face to face, I know that we all care for and will pray for each other just the same. Thank you for allowing us all to be a part of it:)

    As a side note, is anyone from the Jacksonville, NC area? I would love to start an in-home book club to follow along with the book and in-courage. Just a thought:)

    • And just to add to the part where I saw I KNOW that it is God’s hand showing me that He is still there, and still cares, page 28 says, “I wasn’t always nourished in the way I was expecting or wanting. Sometimes it comes in a form we don’t recognize at the time. Its only in the looking back that we realize God’s hand was in it. He provided for us when we thought we wouldn’t see the light of day again.”
      I am going to work on becoming more aware of “God’s hand” as my family is going through this process. I think sometimes we become so overwhelmed by the negative things, that we over look the ways God is trying to show us He cares. One more way Satan uses our doubt to discourage us.

  52. I have been following along with each chapter, but today I felt compelled to come back to chapter 1. I suppose it is because this is an area where I struggle daily. My life is ruled by “what ifs”. I have obsessive compulsive disorder, which makes me question my every action or decision. What if I “ruin something beautiful?”, as Angie says. That runs through my mind like a freight train obliterating all other thoughts. In the midst of my pain, I suppose I just needed to share this.

  53. I just got the book so I’m trying to catch up on all this. Angie’s example of someone moving into a new job is exactly the situation that I am in right now. I have found myself living as if I made the wrong decision about the job, because it isn’t working out like I thought it would. I have been praying about letting go of this destructive attitude this week, and it is really making a big difference in my outlook. Thank you for bringing me to the understanding of the damaging “self-talk” that is going on inside of me right now.

  54. Just like the amazing women who commented above, I am LOVING this book, and this chapter (and the video) really spoke to me. “What if” moments can be total monsters and give satan power over us that is unhealthy and so painful. I loved what you spoke about in the video…”There is a difference in learning from past mistakes and ruminating over the million-and-one ways we might have done it better.” I also LOVED what Angie wrote on page 25…”We can’t go back…What we can do is go to the throne of grace with our regret and let Jesus redeem it as only He can. Take it captive before it takes you…you will develop the strength that comes from leaving the weight with Someone who is equipped to carry it.” Thank You, Lord Jesus!!! And thank you to Angie too! :0)

  55. What an AWESOME chapter. My goodness, there were so many points that I highlighted but the pattern I noticed was that each one had some form of the words I must be in control. It’s so hard for me to let go and let God. When I was younger and being bullied and hurt in other ways, I felt so out of control. As a result, I had to be in control of EVERYTHING else around me. This spilled over into my spiritual life and I find it’s still very hard for me to wait for God to work. It was really comforting for me to read page 25 where Angie writes: “What we can do is go to the throne of grace with our regret and let Jesus redeem it as only He can. Take it captive before it takes you.” WOW! That struck so close to home I thought Angie was inside my head! LOL! I really loved this chapter, thanks so much!