Your first book, I Will Carry You, chronicles the story and grace of the life of your daughter Audrey, who lived only a few hours. It’s obviously a personal message, although the lessons learned and teaching elements are very strong. How has writing on something a bit more removed from your story been a different process?
I think it’s the perfect follow-up book to I Will Carry You, because it is based on another subject that is really personal to me, but I think more people can relate to it. When I began writing I wasn’t expecting it to be as emotional as it was, but it some sense it is a continuation of what I have learned in my walk with God in the wake of losing my daughter.
I think any mom would say that one of her greatest fears is losing a child, so to have walked through that with the Lord has carved out a new depth in my relationship with Him and as a result, has influenced my idea of what fear really is. My prayer is that some of the things I have learned along the way will inspire others to move away from the kind of fear that steals our joy and threatens the hope we have in Christ.
You write in What Women Fear about the grip fear has had on you at different times in your life. Do you believe that fear is something we need to (or can) totally eradicate from our lives?
No. I don’t. I don’t think we can and I don’t believe we need to. I’m not talking about the kind of fear that swallows you up and spits you out here, and I think it’s worth noting the difference between crippling fear and the kind of fear that spurs us on to (good) action. As I read Scripture while writing, I was blown away by the way the Lord has used people’s fears and made them into something beautiful.
How has your faith in Christ given you strength to fight fear? Can you give an everyday example of what this looks like lived out?
I think for all of us, it’s a conscious choice to choose Him in all circumstances. We have to evaluate the situation, remember who God is in it, and rest in the promise that He has our best in mind. At the heart of dealing with fear is the relationship you have with God; the relationship has to trickle into every part of your life, filling the gaping hole of fear with the faith that releases us.
One of my favorite chapters in the book deals with a story from Scripture where I feel like someone had to make a choice between faith and fear, and His response brought me to tears. It reminded me of my own humanity, but also the choice I get to make in moments where I feel hopeless.
Of all the fears you discuss in the book, which do you see most prevalently in the lives of the women around you or to whom you minister?
It’s interesting because when you think about the word fear, you immediately process things that are dangerous in nature, of more phobia-type status. But when I actually asked women what they were afraid of, the answers were more everyday and social in nature. A lot of people say they are afraid of failing, afraid of being “found out,” afraid of being abandoned or alone. It was reassuring to me that there were so many common threads, because I felt like it would touch those who didn’t realize so many others had the same struggles.
You’ve been a writer for years and have a very popular blog but are now about to begin speaking at some very large conferences. How do you hope to see this message of transforming fears into faith take hold in that setting?
For me, just getting up there requires a tremendous leap of faith for me because it’s terrifying! But I guess if I’m going to write a book on fears I need to get on out there and stand up to them, huh? Truthfully, what this chapter of my life represents is another chapter in the story of my life as a girl who has missed out on life because of my fears.
It’s a constant balance, a perpetual choice, but it’s one of which I have seen the other side. I know what it’s like to be caught by the arms of God and I want to live a life that shows others that it’s a beautiful place to be.
Copyright © 2011 by Jim Mueller, President and co-founder of Growthtrac Ministries.